Guest Post: Ken MacGregor


Kid Stuff

Ken MacGregor


There are challenges related to being a writer that I never would have imagined prior to doing it. Which is funny, because imagining stuff is what writers are good at, right?

My son, who is seven, was talking about some pretty disturbing stuff (blood, decapitation, guts) and I told him I was worried about his brain. I may have mentioned his needing therapy in years to come.

“But, Dad,” he said, “I need to know about horror. You write horror, and you’re my Dad.”

Now, before you think me beastly, I don’t ever let my kids read the scary, gross stuff I write. I’ve written some children’s books (unpublished as yet, though one has been accepted – Yay!) and some light fantasy I’ve read to them, but I keep the horror on the highest shelf. However, my Facebook feed shows posts from other writers who frequently put up horror images. My own story collection, An Aberrant Mind has a seriously creepy clown on it. When my kids first saw it, both were taken aback. Now, they’re used to it, but my four-year-old daughter still occasionally shrieks when she spots it. But, I’m pretty sure she’s just pretending now.

So, the concern is that the kinds of things I write are having a negative impact on the mental health of my own children. I know it’s not really likely to damage them (so long as they don’t actually read it), but I worry anyway. They’re my kids; of course I worry.

Conversely, I know my son is proud of me for being an author – few things in this world are better than hearing your child tell someone else: “My Dad’s (or Mom’s) a…” with pride evident in their voice and body language.

It’s tough, because I want them to be excited about what I do, but I don’t want them to be adversely affected by the horror genre. I was talking about this with David C. Hayes yesterday, in fact. He’s the fellow who wrote the introduction to An Aberrant Mind. David’s great. He doesn’t seem to have any filters at all. Anyway, I mentioned being worried about my kids getting into horror too young, and he said, “We all did.”

He is introducing his niece to the old Universal monster movies and slowly working up to more modern horror as she gets older and better equipped to handle it.

I have already taken my boy to see The Creature from the Black Lagoon (in 3-D!) at the local art house theater. He loved it. I think we’ll have to hang out with Karloff, Cushing and Lee sometime soon. Because, David (who is a hell of a nice guy, by the way) is right: we all started young. And I turned out all right. Sure, there are some very strange things running around in my brain, but they’re not real and they can’t hurt me or my kids.



An Aberrant Mind

Ken MacGregor


ABERRANT is defined as unusual, abnormal or different. The stories in this book not only differ from most of what you read, but also wildly from each other. A retired school teacher takes on an elder god and his minion; a werewolf picks fights with sea creatures; a neighbor’s lawn may be eating people. Twenty-two stories: scary, funny, weird and different.


In these pages, you will find darkness and fear, revulsion and terror. Mixed with it, however is quite a bit of humor. Sometimes both happen at the same time. So, open it up, join Jim as he fights off zombies with a potato cannon; witness the bloodbath reunion of the first man and his homicidal son; enjoy the monsters, the demons and the deranged.


A word of warning, though: you may never eat a bagel with lox again.


Available for purchase at:


US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil






ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in over fifty anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. You can find Ken on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and at Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken hopes you enjoyed the stories in this collection and that you sleep just a little less well because of them. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.


Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway information:


Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGregor to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!


Win 1 of 5(five) copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGreogor

Guest Post: RJ Sullivan


Introducing Haunting Blue



Starting a Series with a Great Hook


Hello, and welcome to the R.J. Sullivan Blog Tour. Thanks to Armand Rosamilia for hosting this entry. I was asked to choose between introducing either the novel or the series. Luckily, I can do both.


Haunting Blue is my latest release from Seventh Star Press. It’s also the first novel I’d ever published and the first book in my loosely connected paranormal thriller trilogy.


When you know that Haunting Blue is a re-release, it’s not that confusing. Haunting Blue originally came out in 2010, my first novel, originally put out by another publisher. Seventh Star then published my second and third books, and then in December 2013, the rights to Haunting Blue reverted back to me.


I love the editions that Seventh Star put out for Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue, and having SSP reprint the first book gave me several advantages. 1) It created a unified set of covers and interior art by the fabulous Bonnie Wasson. 2) The entire series now has a similar branded look, and 3) It gave me a chance to fix little errors and make some enhancements to the first novel. I added a new poem, and I fixed a timeline problem from the original edition. 4) A better, higher quality e-file (at a better price for the reader) and greater distribution, through outlets not originally available.


Since December and until recently, my novel, Virtual Blue has been available through Seventh Star. Virtual Blue is a direct sequel to Haunting Blue, which meant I was trying to sell the second half of a bigger story without the first half available. As of May, that is no longer the case. Haunting Blue is back, and there’s never been a better time to check out my series.


Though all three books can be read on their own, the series is best enjoyed in this order:


Haunting Blue: is the story of how new student and punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer meets computer nerd “Chip” Farren at the high school of small town Perionne. Blue’s mother moves her from a suburb of Indianapolis to a conservative small town. Whether Blue’s feelings of alienation are real or a self-fulfilling prophecy, the odd couple are drawn together. Her friendship with Chip takes a romantic turn, and he draws her deep into a local mystery. Back in 1990, Gunther Stalt, a psychopath with a hooked hand, pulled off a daring daylight bank robbery and was never captured. Ignoring numerous stories of the “Ghost of Gunther” Blue is determined to help Chip solve the mystery of the robbery, even though it may cost her more than she can possibly imagine.


Haunting Obsession: is another ghost story–this one about Daryl Beasley and his girlfriend Loretta Stevens. Daryl has a fixation on the Hollywood icon and sex symbol Maxine Marie, who died tragically in the early 60′s. Daryl purchases a rare but arguably tasteless souvenir from Maxine’s past, and to his surprise and delight, finds himself “haunted” by the object of his desire. Loretta is not amused, but her warnings fall on deaf ears. Soon, Daryl’s encounters take a turn for the worst, and Loretta seeks help from the mysterious Rebecca Burton, a paranormal investigator and woman of many powers and secrets.


Virtual Blue: picks up two years after Haunting Blue. With their relationship on the rocks due to problems brought on by the events of Haunting Blue, Blue travels to Indiana University over Thanksgiving Weekend to confront Chip and resolve their relationship one way or the other. At the same time, an extremist cult has targeted Chip’s work-in-progress multi-player heroic fantasy video game, and plans to use his technology to teleport a demon into the real world. From ghost hunter to demon slayer (and a healthy dose of techno-thriller), this may be more than Blue and Chip can handle, even together. Fortunately, paranormal investigator Rebecca Burton is already on the case.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of R.J. Sullivan’s “trilogy” as it now stands. An upcoming short story collection will include two additional tales of Rebecca Burton, and a fourth novel is in the works!


About RJ Sullivan:  Haunting Blue is the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer. This is the 2014 revised edition by Seventh Star Press. Seventh Star also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale. R.J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith: Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes.

R.J. resides in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks coffee from a Little Mermaid mug and is man enough to admit it.


Haunting Blue Book Synopsis: Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.

Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer


Author Links:





Wattpad – Do I Dare?

Yes, actually, I’m going to. And you have Robert Chazz Chute to blame, because any time he mentions something I haven’t immersed myself in, I jump in, add 57,006 people to follow, and give it a spin.

Case in point: this coming week I’m going to play around with a new Dying Days story I’ve had spinning in my head for awhile but didn’t know where it would fit in the actual books. I figured I’d leave it alone until I decided to write short stories for perhaps Still Dying 3, but I’m going to explore it now… a few sentences or paragraphs or chapters at a time on Wattpad, and see where it goes. I’m also going to be writing a bit different than I normally would… yep, going to try it with a YA angle using one of the characters from Dying Days 4

Care to join me and see where I go with it? You can follow me at and let me know you’re reading and hanging out. Sound good?

We’ll see what happens… as usual, I love a new challenge.


Dying Days 4 Cover with Blurbs

Guest Post: Michael West


Writing Cross-Genre Fiction


When I sit down to write, I don’t think to myself, “Today, I’m going to create a Horror story” or “I’m going to do a Sci-fi tale.”  No.  Instead, I sit down to tell the best story I can, about characters that appeal to me, and who I hope will also appeal to readers. 

     Most of my novels can fall firmly into the Horror camp.  They have ghosts, demons, and supernatural monsters.  But my Legacy of the Gods series is classified as Urban Fantasy by my publisher.  This fits, because the novels do take place in our modern world; in small towns and major cities like New York and Tokyo. And while they feature creatures like satyrs and dragons, which are more common to epic Fantasy fiction, they also feature aliens and more bloody, horrific elements as well.

     The downside to writing cross-genre fiction is that it is much more difficult to sell.  When I first started shopping the first manuscript for my series around, the traditional Horror publishers came back and said, “It’s not scary enough to be Horror, and it has these fantastic and Sci-fi elements which we don’t do.”  Then, when I sent it to the Sci-fi/Fantasy publishers, they told me, “This is too horrific for us.  Try the Horror markets.” And I kept going in those circles for years.

     But I did not want to cut out the horrific elements to make it more Sci-fi, just as I did not want to get rid of the more fantastic elements to make it pure Horror.  All those aspects helped to tell the story I wanted to tell, and I felt they were equally important to the mythology I was creating.

     Finally, the publishing world seemed to catch up to my vision.  Cross-genre stories became more commonplace.  And Urban Fantasy seemed to become a catch-all term for those square pegs that did not fit easily into the old-fashioned round genres. 

     Seventh Star Press released Book One: Poseidon’s Children in 2011.  Since that time, the novel has gone on to sell copies in England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, and of course, the United States.  And now, with the release of Book Two: Hades’ Disciples, the excitement for the series has only grown. 

As I sit down to write book three of The Legacy of the Gods series, I am not thinking about the genre elements that make up the tale.  I’m thinking about the characters and their individual storylines.  I’m thinking about the story that I want to tell, and if it ultimately gets classified as Urban Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, or something in between, I hope that my readers will enjoy it.  That, after all, is the only thing that really  matters.  


About the author

Michael West is the bestselling author of Cinema of Shadows, Skull Full of Kisses, The Wide Game, Spook House, and the critically acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

West avoids manhole covers and sidewalk grates whenever possible. He just doesn’t know what’s down there, and he’s not sure he wants to find out.


Book Synopsis for Hades’ Disciples

 Terrifying creatures exist all around us, hiding in plain sight. Ancient. Deadly. They gather in secret, conspiring, dreaming of nothing less than humanity’s destruction, and their numbers are growing.

Earl Preston knows the danger all too well. After tangling with a horde of mythological sea monsters in Colonial Bay, he has been tasked with finding these beasts and exposing their plans whatever they may be. But Earl is not the only one with a mystery on their hands. At the very top of the world, Carol Miyagi has stumbled onto an artifact from Earth’s past, something magnificent held captive in a prison of ice and snow. Now, Carol and Earl must work quickly to decipher the will of the gods–a plot that defies imagination–and to stop their followers from carrying it out.

They thought the nightmare was over, but they are about to discover that the horror has only just begun.


Hades Disciples is Book Two in the Legacy of the Gods Series.


Author Links:


Twitter: @bymichaelwest



Amazon Links for Hades’ Disciples

Print Version

Kindle Version

Guest Post: TW Brown


Behind the curtain of the DEAD series


When I first sat down and wrote the opening line for the DEAD series, I was thinking, “Maybe I have a five book series here.” By then end of that book, I knew it was going to take more than that. My mind was made up that I was going to write the “Wheel of Time” equivalent for the zombie crowd. I was set to build an entire world and then take the reader on a whirlwind tour of the apocalypse populated with a cast of characters that might reach a hundred in any given book. And yeah…I knew it was risky. But I also felt that the zombie fans were a group that deserved something with depth.

The formula that I chose was inspired by George R.R. Martin. If you have dipped your toes in the books that the very popular “Game of Thrones” series is based upon, then you know how he does each chapter from a different perspective of one of his characters. I tweaked it for my own devices and came up with “Steve’s Story”, “The Geeks”, and “Vignettes” as my three rotating chapters. If you have read any of my DEAD series, then you know that each book is always 18 chapters long (6 per story line). However, things have changed some since that first book. I learned some lessons.

Of course, Steve’s chapters are all in first person. That lets you really see things from one person’s perspective. You are only as clued in as he is during any particular moment. The Geeks was my homage to every single zombie fan who thinks that the Zombie Apocalypse would be so freakin’ cool. This is the story that I get to sink in to as I write it. I channel many of my friends and the snippets of conversations that we have had since that day in the 70s when we all came out of the original Dawn of the Dead with some fairly silly adolescent fantasies. However, it is the Vignettes where I think I have learned the most as a writer. And that is sort of my focus here as I let you peek behind the curtain.

The vignettes were initially just supposed to be snapshots of the world in chaos. I even toyed with the idea of folding every one of those stories in to my two main story lines. Somewhere along the way, many of those shorts began to take on a life of their own. In fact, they are the source of the most hated and loved (according to reviews and personal emails) of my character; Garrett being the former and Juan the latter.

In the first book, DEAD: The Ugly Beginning, I wrote the vignettes as they came to me. So, there was no order, rhyme, or reason. However, as some of the stories began to take on a life of their own, I started to really get invested in what would happen. By the second book, DEAD: Revelations, I realized something: I needed to keep the stories in the same order chapter by chapter. By the third book, DEAD: Fortunes and Failures, I had a refined formula. What I would do was continue to keep the main vignettes in order, but I would give each vignette chapter what I termed as a one-timer. This would be a single open-and-closed short.

Funny thing about when an author sits down with an idea. They are usually the only one who understands it. So was the case with Vignettes. The idea is one that I would not change as a whole, but I do think that I would have modified it to some extent. And that is where I believe it to be now.

Readers of the series have had to go through this process with me, but I do think what I have now is the way to go. Now, in Vignettes, there are the main story lines that have endured since the first book or two of the series. However, since I try to complete the main ideas of a story arc in each three-book offering, I now introduce a new vignette at the start of books 4, 7, and 10. That will allow me to write a bit of a novella-length story. Some will fold in to the main stories, some will simply reach a climax and end, and others might be melded into one of the other vignettes.

Now, I realize that I still run the risk of “too many characters” as some critics have pointed out. However, I believe that, once you become engrossed in this DEAD world, you will find it a very rewarding experience.

At least that is what I am hoping.

As book nine, DEAD: Spring, hits the ground, I am more excited than ever before. For one, I can’t be sure, but this might be the largest (in terms of word count) of any zombie novel out there to date. And if you find a longer zombie novel, you have to let me know because I am as much a fan as anything else and I would love to read it (if it is good).

Book eight was the riskiest for me due to all of the cliffhangers. But I was fairly confident that, if you have come along for this much of the ride, then you are probably a fan and will be on board for the next one.

So, I hope that you enjoy it. I think that it is my best to date.

TW Brown on Amazon


Guest Post: Anthony Armstrong

Interview with Anthony Armstrong, author of Cadavar Dogs


How long have you been writing? 

I started writing at about eight, but that was pretty much only when stories were assigned in school.  I knew I liked the process and thought about writing a lot, though.  My desire to really be a writer was cemented in sixth grade when my teacher sent me to a junior writing seminar that only allowed two children from each elementary school in town.  I was one of the lucky two, and when he sent me, he told me he expected to see my face on the back of a bestseller someday.  Still working on that one, Mr. Weaver.

Where did the inspiration for Cadaver Dogs come from? 

The title came from a tv show I had on in the background.  It was some true crime show, and even though I knew what cadaver dogs were and had heard the term many times, it stuck out to me that day and I wrote it down on a scrap of paper, saving it until I had an idea to go with it.  The story itself came out of the ether.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling.  I had an idea of the tone, and I knew I wanted it to be about someone struggling with loss, but not being able to grieve or stop and wallow in their sorrow because of some outside horror that had to be dealt with immediately.   I wrote about 3,000 words of it and got stuck.  It sat untouched for probably two years, then I discussed the idea with a close friend and she inspired me to finish it.  (‘Inspired’ in that last line should be read as: ‘threatened bodily harm’) 

What is your writing routine? 

I try to be a disciplined writer and set aside time to write every day, always in the wee hours, but that doesn’t happen as much as it should.  When I get an idea, I make notes first, especially when I think it will be a longer piece: title, character names, plot points, settings, etc.  Then it’s a matter brainstorming and typing.  Sometimes in my notes I will write every thought that comes to me, sort of freewriting, trying to plot things out to the end or as far into the work as I can see.  Once I get a first line written, it begins to spill out and I let it go.  Once I’ve started, I try to write a set number of words each day.  As for the writing itself, I put on mood appropriate music and lose myself in the words that are flowing.

Are you a pantser or plotter? 

Both, actually.  Short stories I usually get the idea and fly by the seat of my pants.  For longer works, I put as many plot points as I can in my notes and the stuff in between getting my characters from one point to the next is on the fly.  Some of the time, my characters disagree with where I think they should go, so they kind of rewrite my plotlines.

What scares you? 

The world we live in scares me more than anything I’ve seen on the screen or read.  I’m kind of an ostrich.  I can only take so much news, politics, reality television, etc.  I also kind of hate it when my printer turns on by itself at 2:30 in the morning.

What do you do for fun? 

Other than writing, I love reading.  I also love horror movies, and I play bass in a band called November Mourns  The record we just put out is very horror influenced as well.

If they made Cadaver Dogs into a movie, who would play Father Englund?Why? 

Yeesh…as long as Robert Rodriguez directs it, he can choose who he wants.  I trust his judgment.

Are you a zombie fan? What’s your favorite zombie movie? 

I am a zombie fan, but I think the over-saturation of them in media is getting pretty heavy.  The idea for Cadaver Dogs came before they really took off.  Way before The Walking Dead and such.  As for favorite movie, I have to go with the start of it all and say Night of the Living Dead.  Honorable mention to Fulci’s Zombi.

The book ends on kind of a cliffhanger. What made you decide to do that? Will there be a Cadaver Dogs sequel? 

That was completely intentional, and originally I had no plans for a sequel at all.  The reason I chose to end it that way was simply because I love books and movies that are brave enough to leave open ends, give you something to think about, ponder over, obsess over.  I really wanted people to finish it in their heads.  I’ve heard many thoughts on what happens after I ended the story and I guess it really bothered some people, a couple of co-workers in particular.  I am glad to say that there is a sequel written, and I like to think what happens is unexpected and will please readers.  It’ll see the light of day, providing Angelic Knight Press likes it and wants to put it out there.  (Don’t tell anyone this, but it was written out of fear of being shanked in the parking lot after work by one of two or possibly three co-workers upset by the end.)

Do you have a zombie apocalypse plan? 

No, but I can run fast and I’m not above tripping people.



David P Forsyth Teaser for #SummerZombie

David Author pic1

Excerpt from Interludes in Hell

By David P. Forsyth



I’m a dead man walking, but I’ve been having the time of my life. If everything goes according to plan there might not be anyone left alive to read this, but I still want to record my experiences during this apocalyptic odyssey. Yes, it is quite possible that nobody will ever read this. So why write it? Under normal circumstances nobody would believe it anyway. Yet maybe aliens or some other species will arrive or evolve and wonder about us. Like we wondered about dinosaurs.  So I am using my tablet to record the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Before this plane lands in Sydney I will upload my testimonial to several secure servers and embed a time delayed release. Some people may read it and learn the truth before they die. And, if there are any survivors, they might be curious about how the world ended.

We are all dying. We don’t want to face it, but it’s true. From the moment you are born the clock is ticking. Most of us never know when the timer will hit zero. For me that all changed four months ago when a doctor told me that I only had six months to live.  It’s cancer. Brain cancer. An inoperable tumor. Hopeless. I know some of you will think, “Ah, the tumor made him crazy,” but you would be wrong. The modern world is the disease that did this to me and I am the cure.  For the past ten years I held a cell phone next to my head for at least three or four hours a day. Damned unlimited talk plans! I’m pretty sure that is what gave me the tumor, but it doesn’t really matter anymore. Besides, that is not what I want to tell you about. It is only important as far as it goes to explain how I got into this.

My name is Alistair Dane Lukan. You might have heard of me, but probably not, at least not yet. I was a blogger and small time fiction writer, when I wasn’t selling life insurance for a living. Is that ironic, or what? In my spare time I used to blog about politics and write cheap science fiction eBooks. Some of my stuff was well received, but after my diagnosis everything changed. Prior to that I had written several blog posts about the problem of global overpopulation in which I promoted birth control and abortion. One of my first blog entries after the diagnosis expanded on that subject, telling people they should be happy that my death would be a small contribution to solving the problem of overpopulation and encouraging folks to kill themselves and take other people with them as a way to further the cause. It was a bitter, tongue in cheek satire, but not everyone took it that way. I got a lot more hate mail than sympathy, especially after a right wing news program linked to my blog and excoriated it. Of course that only made me angry, as if I wasn’t already, and I lashed out with additional postings in which I listed all the human suffering caused by overpopulation, as well as the resulting environmental destruction from our exploitation of the planet.  Some of my blog posts included impassioned pleas to God or governments to rid the world of the burden of mankind through plague or war. The hate mail grew and simply fueled my hatred of the human race at large. I was, quite simply, sick in the head.

Then, about two months after my diagnosis, I got a very different type of message on my personal email. The sender was sympathetic to my plight and agreed with my positions on overpopulation, even offering to help me spread the doctrine in the little time remaining to me. All they asked me to do, if I was interested in learning more about their offer, was send a reply within one hour of opening the email. I thought about it for at least half an hour before drafting a reply. Even then I hesitated, unsure if I should proceed. My mouse hovered above “send” as the hour expired. What happened next both frightened and excited me. The original message deleted itself from my inbox! I had heard that high tech programs could now send messages that would self-destruct, but had never witnessed it.  This was like something out of Mission Impossible. My outgoing reply window was still open and I clicked on “send” more out of curiosity than conviction. The reply went through and what was left of my life changed dramatically.


One week later I was sitting in a first class seat on a flight to Seattle, paid for in full by my new and still nameless online friend. What convinced me? The offer was quite sweet. The person, or persons, who had contacted me would pay for me to live in luxury for the time I had left and help me spread my philosophy to others around the world. It sounded as if I would be a poster-child of sorts for the cause of depopulation. It certainly sounded better than sitting in my apartment waiting to die, with nothing but morphine to look forward to in the way of comfort before the inevitable end overtook me. Of course there was more to their offer than met the eye and I should have known it. Yet even now I think I made the right decision, although you probably won’t agree with me.

When I arrived in Seattle there was a limo waiting to take me to a hotel near the airport where a prepaid room was reserved in my name. Actually it was a luxury suite with more square footage than my apartment at home. A note told me to use room service and watch as many movies as I liked, but not to leave the suite or make any calls until I was contacted the following morning. It was a pleasant night. The next morning at 9:00 sharp there was a knock on my door. I was almost finished with my room service breakfast. My appetite had suffered as the cancer progressed, but I could still stomach eggs and juice. I pulled on a T-shirt and opened the door to admit who I assumed would be my benefactor.

Two people stood waiting in the hallway. One was a genial looking middle-aged man with greying hair and wearing a tan suit. The other was a young and quite attractive woman with black hair and penetrating eyes. They introduced themselves as Bill and Linda. I welcomed them into the living room of the suite. There was some small talk, which I can’t remember at all, having been focused almost exclusively on Linda’s body. It’s a strange thing about dying. Even for someone like me who opposed reproduction on practical and philosophical grounds, the biological drive to procreate is strong. When facing certain death it gets even stronger. I was captivated by the curves of Linda’s breasts when Bill brought me back to earth.

“You need to make a decision now, Alistair,” he intoned. “If you are truly committed to the philosophy that you have been promoting online, we can help you set it in motion before you die. You, and several others, have been chosen to leave a legacy unlike any other in history. But once you leave this room with us you will be sworn to secrecy and committed to the cause. Are you ready for that?”

Slightly taken aback, I said, “Can you be more specific? Exactly who are you people and what do you want me to do?”

“Those are questions that can only be answered after you have sworn an oath of secrecy and committed yourself to the cause,” Linda answered softly. “But after reading all of your work, I am sure that you will be in full agreement with our plans.”  This was a brilliant approach on her part, playing to my vanity as a writer.

“In that case,” I smiled, “let’s get this show on the road. I will agree to keep your secrets. That shouldn’t be too hard anyway, seeing as how I only have a few more months to live. And if your plan includes giving me the VIP treatment like this, then it can’t be too bad.”  Little did I know how wrong I was.

Without disclosing more information, but taking my commitment on face value, they waited while I repacked my bag before escorting me out of the suite. Upon entering the elevator I was a bit surprised that we went up instead of down. Exiting onto the roof area I was delighted to see a helicopter waiting for us. I had never been on a helicopter before. What an adventure this was turning out to be!

My excitement peaked as the helicopter lifted off from the roof and headed towards downtown Seattle. I could see the Space Needle in the distance and hoped we would fly close enough for a good look. But excitement turned to trepidation when Linda pulled out a black hood and slid it over my head.

“What are you doing?” I said, reaching up to remove it.

“Leave it on,” Bill said firmly. “This is part of operational security. It’s vital that you don’t know exactly where we are taking you. We will divulge many things to you, but the location of our base of operations is not one of them. No matter how committed you are to the cause, we can’t take the risk of the wrong people finding us.”

This cloak and dagger stuff didn’t sit well with me, but I must admit to being intrigued. I felt the helicopter bank steeply and it must have circled several times before straightening onto a course that I had no way of guessing.  The flight was not long, perhaps half an hour, and I was taken by surprise when the wheels hit the ground, bouncing slightly. Without removing the hood my new comrades (coconspirators? captors?) escorted me off the helicopter, across a paved lot, and into a building. Only after we were deep inside did Linda remove the hood from my head. I blinked at the bright lights in the white hallway and tried to regain my bearings. “Where are we?” I asked. “And who are you people?”

Linda smiled as she led me into an opulent bedroom without windows and said, “We are the Tabula Rasa and this is our North American base. This is where you will learn our secrets before embarking on a grand adventure. I will do everything I can to make sure you enjoy your stay here.” Before I could react to any of that, she leaned towards me and planted a kiss on my lips. Not just a friendly kiss either. Suddenly her tongue was in my mouth and all other thoughts escaped me.  My time with Linda was too personal to share with you in detail, although those moments still replay constantly in my mind. Linda proved herself to be quite a minx and the consummate hostess. After assuring me that she was using birth control she proceeded to show me what would undoubtedly be the time of my life. No pun intended.


Over the next few days, when I wasn’t otherwise occupied in bed with Linda, I learned that the Tabula Rasa was a secret society dedicated to reducing the global population to sustainable levels. It was exactly what I had been preaching, but it sounded like they had a real plan to make it happen. They didn’t disclose the whole plan immediately, not until I was in way over my head. By that time I was hopelessly in love with Linda (or maybe it was just lust) and had expressed full agreement with the goals and objectives of the Tabula Rasa. I was hooked and willing to agree to do anything to support them. That’s when Bill and Linda dropped their bomb on me.

“Alistair,” Bill began, “I truly wish that we could cure your cancer and invite you to join our long-term mission. You seem to be fully dedicated to the cause. Unfortunately, the medical tests we put you through over the past two weeks have confirmed your prognosis. You have less than two months to live and I’m afraid the final month will be quite painful.”

I thought I had moved past the stage of denial, at least to anger, if not acceptance, but Bill’s words stung me to the core. I had tried not to think about the tumor growing in my head during my time at the Tabula Rasa base. The Vicodin and Oxycodone were keeping my splitting headaches in check. And I was starting to think that I could find purpose and contentment in whatever time I had left. It just wasn’t fair. I had a woman that I was falling in love with and a cause that was dear to my heart. Bill pulled the rug out from under my fantasy. Life is not fair. But you know that by now too, don’t you?

Linda stepped into the silence and said, “There is still a way for you to make a difference for our cause and help bring about the kind of world we dream of.”

“What is it?” I asked without displaying my emotions.

“We want you to help us trigger a depopulation event,” she said softly.

“Huh?” I guess I was still a bit dense, or maybe the shock and pain killers slowed my thought process. “How?”

“We want you to spread a virus that will reduce the global human population to sustainable levels,” Bill explained. I just stared at him.

“It’s what you talked about on your blog,” Linda chimed sweetly. “You really can make a difference by reducing world population before you die. You can fulfill your vision and we can ensure that you have a great time doing it too.”

“I don’t understand,” and I didn’t. Not at first anyway. Bill had to spell it out in detail.  They wanted to send me on a final vacation around the world, spreading some virus at every stop and on every flight. I asked them what kind of virus I would be spreading and told them I didn’t really want to kill millions of people. Bill and Linda exchanged glances. Then Linda made it sound like a good thing.

“It’s just a sterility virus,” she said. “It won’t actually hurt anyone, but it will keep them from having children. It will reverse the astronomical growth rate of the human race. Only those who receive the antidote will be able to reproduce. Within a few generations the scourge of humanity will be reduced to numbers that our planet can sustain. All you have to do is take a grand vacation and release a little bit of the virus at every stop. Will you do that for me, Ally? For us? To help make your vision of a better world come true? You’ll be remembered as a hero to the cause!”

What could I say? She had me pegged and I was a sucker for flattery. I wanted to be remembered for something, even if the vast majority of people would curse me for cutting off their bloodlines and posterity. Still, the plan made a certain kind of sense to me. I’m not sure if I would have agreed to do it, even then, had I known the true nature of the virus I would release. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. The long and the short of it is that I agreed to be a martyr for the cause. I would become their Trojan horse carrying a virulent pandemic on a “make a wish” odyssey to oblivion.


It was the first week of March when I fully committed to the plan. They told me I would have one more week to spend at the Tabula Rasa base memorizing the details before leaving on a two week all-expense-paid trip around the world. All of the reservations and tickets would be pre-paid and retrievable online, but they wanted me to memorize the details of the lengthy trip, down to the flight numbers and addresses of hotels I would be using, as well as popular tourist sites I would visit. I followed their instructions, but truth be told I spent more time memorizing Linda’s body and the things we did together. It was hard to imagine my global journey being any better than the time I spent with Linda in that underground bunker.

Bill and Linda handled most of my training during that time. I can see now that it was as much brainwashing and indoctrination as education, but I doubt that made much difference. Eventually they succeeded in convincing me to look forward to my final adventure. “Just think of all the places you’ll see!” Linda would say. “You’re going to Mexico City, Panama, Rio, and Buenos Aries… And that’s just the first few days. Then you’re off to Cape Town in South Africa! And Cairo, Egypt. We even made time for a helicopter flight to the Pyramids. Then Athens, Rome and Paris with a day in each!  You’ll take a train to London for the final flight to Sydney, Australia, with a short layover at home in Los Angeles. I wish I could go with you!”

“Me too,” I replied honestly. I guess the meds I was taking were effecting my thinking, because it took me quite a while to ask the most important question. “But what do I do after that last flight to Australia? How do I get back here to see you again before I die?”

“Don’t worry about that, honey,” she replied. “It’s all taken care of.” I should have seen through her lies right then, but I was still thinking with my smaller head and we were in bed at the time.  It wasn’t until my final days at the Tabula Rasa base that the cat was let out the bag.

My final phase of training involved learning to operate the instrument I would use to spread the virus around the world. It was quite ingenious. An oversized bronchial inhaler like they gave to people with asthma. The one I trained with was inert, of course, but they wanted me to get familiar with it. The man who introduced it to me was some sort of big shot in the organization. The others called him Dr. Strangelove, but I knew that wasn’t his real name. Nevertheless, that’s how I was told to address him. He was sort of spooky and confined to a wheel chair, so I could see how he got the nickname.  He was also a bit absent minded, which is how he let the true nature of my mission slip.

When Linda and Bill introduced me to him they seemed to stress the fact that I was the one who would release the sterility virus. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, assuming Dr. Strangelove would already know that. But in the course of a private conversation during my last full day at the base, when Bill and Linda were occupied elsewhere, I asked a question that was still bothering me.

“Dr. Strangelove?” I said. “What happens after my final flight to Australia? Should I get rid of the inhaler device?”

“No need,” he replied. “By then it won’t matter at all. In fact, you should probably use up the rest of the charge in the canister while you are still on that plane. But within a few hours of your arrival it won’t matter what happens to it. And it certainly won’t matter to you.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“That is when you and everyone you have infected, as well as everyone they spread it to since being infected, will all turn at roughly the same time.”

“Turn?” I asked softly.

“Yes, the virus will complete the process of mutation and convert the hosts.”

“Convert them into what?”

“Come now, young man!” Dr. Strangelove exclaimed. “They told me you were a willing volunteer. A martyr for the cause.”

“Yes, sir, I am a volunteer. I have terminal cancer and I want to help release this virus so that my last acts will promote the cause of reducing global population to sustainable levels.”

“Indeed it will,” the doctor replied in a calmer tone of voice. “It’s good that you are doing this willingly and for the right reasons. Too many of the other carriers are being sent out to do this blind. We had to hire stupid thugs, even terrorists, to disperse the virus in some parts of the world. Of course they have no idea what they are really being paid to do. I might worry about them compromising our organization, if I wasn’t certain the virus will take care of them before anyone starts asking questions.  But it’s much better to have a true believer such as yourself.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied, trying to keep the shakiness out of my voice. “But since you are the expert here, can you tell me what to expect when it comes time for me to turn? What will happen to me when I arrive in Sydney?”

“Best not to dwell on it, young man. Suffice it to say that one form of existence will end and another will begin, but I can assure you that both will be dedicated to your goal of depopulation.”

“And the people I infect?”

“Exactly the same thing will happen to them at almost the same time as it does to you. This virus is a brilliant construct. Once activated it mutates at a steady rate, even inside the canister you will use to release it. So everyone you come into contact with after you leave here will unwittingly join you in your mission by spreading the virus to every person they come into contact with. Then, after the transition from passive to active phases, you will all continue that mission together. In a very real way you will be leading a legion in furtherance of a good cause. Does that make you feel better?”

It did no such thing, but I wasn’t stupid enough to say so. Instead, knowing my voice would betray me, I simply nodded dutifully and turned away. I spent the rest of that day and most of the night conflicted with feelings of horror, disbelief, and delusions of power. Yes, power. I had already felt it when I thought that I would be ending the population explosion through sterility and attrition. To think that I could actually do it immediately, myself, was a heady concept. It sounded as if a lot of pain and suffering would be involved for a lot of people, but I faced the same thing alone if I tried to live out my final month of life with terminal cancer. The idea of bringing a meaningful percentage of humanity with me had more than a little appeal to it. I was also angry. No, I was mad. Mad at God. Mad at the world. Mad at myself for not being strong enough to fight off the cancer. And mad at Linda for lying to me. I probably could have taken it out on myself by committing suicide right then and there, knowing no other way to avoid the fate I had agreed to. But I was not strong enough to do that. For my weakness and sins countless others will pay dearly.

I probably should have killed Linda on that last night at the Tabula Rasa base, not that it would have changed much of anything, but I couldn’t bring myself to even discuss what I had discovered. I settled instead for rough and even sadistic sex. She seemed to enjoy it. I know I did. We were spent and exhausted when we fell asleep together. She whispered that she would miss me. I pretended to already be asleep.

I left the Tabula Rasa’s secret base the same way I had arrived, on a helicopter with a blindfold hood over my head. I can’t tell you much about where it was, aside from being less than an hour by helicopter from Seattle, and I smelled the ocean. Other than that I only saw the inside of the building, which was quite large. If anyone out there survives to read this, I hope you hunt down those bastards and kill them all. I really had no idea what I was getting into until I read the notebook I stole from Dr. Strangelove’s office. Oh, did I fail to mention that? No matter. It didn’t come into play until days later, but perhaps I should go back and tell you about how I acquired it.


It was pocket size black notebook that had fallen under a desk where I was told to sit while the others prepared the infernal inhalers for my mission. It turns out the virus needed to be activated before I could release it. The mad doctor and his assistants were busy activating several of them while I was waiting. I even overheard where some of them were going. “These three go by overnight FedEx to your carriers back east. Those two are for Japan. We already sent the ones for China, Kenya, Nigeria, and Indonesia this morning. I’ll activate the ones for Central and Eastern Europe next, but I’ll hold them for the carrier to arrive.” Or something like that. Anyway, while I listened to all of that I saw a little black notebook on the floor. I bent down to tie my shoe and slipped the book into my sock. It was a crazy thing to do, but so was the rest of the mess I had become involved with. I just didn’t know how crazy until it was too late.

So I flew away from the secret base with a hood over my head, a little book in my sock, and two deadly inhalers in my carry-on bag. The helicopter also carried packages with other inhalers destined to be shipped across the country and around the world. I almost felt like James Bond, except I knew that he would be trying to kill me if this were one of his movies. I was the bad guy and I knew it. What I had learned about the virus did alter my perspective, but they had done a good job of convincing me that the cause was just. So, instead of putting up a fight and trying to kill the pilot and bring down the chopper, I sat there meekly and plotted my own revenge on the human race. Yes, I was a sick fuck, or hadn’t you figured that out yet? I could blame the cancer, or the oxycodone, or the brainwashing, or the girl, take your pick, but the truth is that I knew I was going to die and didn’t mind taking as many of you with me as I could.

The rest of my story is more of a travel diary than a confession, but some things still need to be explained. I was dropped off on the roof of the same hotel and I asked Linda to accompany me to the airport to say goodbye. I could see her hesitate and hardened my heart to act there and then, but after a moment she agreed. I was glad, but not for the reason you might think. There was a limo waiting for me, just like before, and I asked the driver to close the privacy divider when Linda and I got into the back. Nothing unusual about that, right? I just wanted to cop a final feel. Well, not exactly. I brought my carryon with me, having been instructed to never let it out of my sight. During the short trip to the airport I did kiss Linda, passionately. But as I was doing that I withdrew an inhaler from the bag and sprayed a dose into her face. It went into my face too, of course, but I had nothing left to live for.

Linda’s reaction was priceless and unforgettable. It was as if her whole life flashed before her eyes, followed by the comprehension that it was soon to end. She pulled away from me and started to scream, but I put my hand over her mouth and said, “Shush…. It’s all part of the plan, right? You don’t want to bring children into the world any more than I do. So now you can join me on my journey.” I removed my hand slowly and saw that she was shaking in terror, her eyes wide in fright.

“You have no idea what you’ve done,” she blurted.

“But you told me this virus was harmless, except for making people sterile or infertile. You even said there was an antidote. You didn’t lie to me about that, did you?” I’m sure that some bitterness leaked through my words because her eyes narrowed and her breath quickened. I saw none of the love or compassion she had shown me over the past few weeks, just anger and fear. “So why not join me on my vacation?” I pressed.

“You bastard!” she blurted. “Of course it’s more than a sterility virus. I just told you that to make you feel better about spreading it. And what’s the harm in that? You were going to die anyway. But now you’ve killed me too! What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking that I don’t like to be used and lied to,” I replied as smoothly as possible. “I was thinking that since you want me to take millions of people out with me, it’s only fair for me to take you along for the ride. So what do you say? I’m sure the credit cards you gave me will pay for your tickets to join me on this adventure. We could have another few weeks of fun and games.”

“Fuck you!” she screamed and tried to attack me.

I backhanded her across the face and sprayed another dose of the inhaler between us. She cringed away from me and started to cry. The limo was pulling up to the terminal and it was time to make a decision. I could have killed her right then and there, but I figured I already had. Better to leave her in terror for the next few weeks to spread the virus herself. With any luck she would go back to the Tabula Rasa base and infect the rest of them. But I doubted she would.

As I grabbed my bags and got out of the car I turned back to her and said, “Let’s start over with a clean slate, a tabula rasa so to speak. No hard feelings. I actually enjoyed our time together. And just so you know, I’m still going to follow through with the plan. My options were always limited, more so now that I let the genie out of the bottle. But it puts us on even ground. So this is your last chance to come with me on the vacation of a lifetime.” Linda just cowered and cried on the far side of the limo.  I turned away and strolled casually into the airport, smiling sadly as I walked through a crowd of strangers.


“Lukan” is continued in “Interludes in Hell” ($2.99) which is composed of three prequel novellas to David Forsyth’s “Sovereign Spirit Saga” series that began with “Voyage of the Dead” (currently a FREE download @

Interludes In Hell (cover art)


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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:


Guest Post: Sarah Lyons Fleming #SummerZombie

photo (3)


You’re here because you love zombies. Who doesn’t? Well, I guess the people who keep telling us that zombies are so over. In the “what’s hot, what’s not” columns, they love to tell us that zombies are dead.

They’re right. They are dead, but they’re not DEAD, no matter what the naysayers say. After all, you wouldn’t be here if they were, would you?

Zombies never die, and that’s why we love them. They’re relentless. They can ruin a day at a moment’s notice. Zombies offer us a quick ride to the apocalypse, a way to swiftly bring the world to its knees. An opportunity to imagine how we’d stand up to not only limited resources, but also to hordes of undead bent on our destruction.

And that’s why I write about them, but I don’t really write about zombies. I write about the people facing the zombies—their fears, their strengths, their weaknesses. Every decent zombie book does. And that’s why we keep coming back. Sure, we love to discuss which ammo or machete or bludgeon would be best, but what we really want to know is: How do the characters survive? How does a world like that change you (for the better or worse)? What do you do when there seems to be no hope for survival?

Remember in high school, when we learned about the three basic types of conflict in fiction— man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. himself? A good story has at least one, but zombie fiction often gives us all three. It’s a story of man—or woman, of course—against nature (the zombies, in this case), against himself and against other men.

And all of that makes for a rollicking good time, at least for us readers. The characters, maybe not so much. We scream at them from our armchairs, shake our heads at the stupid things they sometimes do and hope that in a world such as that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes. But we can’t be so sure, can we?

So we keep reading zombie stories. Almost as relentlessly as those zombies we love. We read for the conflict, for the characters and maybe even as a primer in case the zombie apocalypse really does happen. We have to cover all our bases.

And you know what? Those folks who say zombies are so over are gonna be toast. Which means more ammo, food and supplies for us. And, from what I’ve read, that’s not a bad thing.

 UTEOTW cover 300

Sarah Lyons Fleming

Until the End of the World (Book 1)


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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:


Summer Of Zombie Interview: Rebecca Besser #SummerZombie


Summer of Zombie 2014 SPOTLIGHT ON: Rebecca Besser


What is your latest zombie release?

Cursed Bounty


Quick description of it (no spoilers)

When a zombie bounty hunter is sent to a small western town after bank robbers, things get complicated…and deadly for the local sheriff and his men. 

They must fight the battle for moral good against a powerful, corrupt politician and the zombies he controls. 


Something unique about it.

It’s a story with a twist on the normal zombie set in the Wild West.


Links for people to purchase it.


Your promo links.


Your short Bio.

Rebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They’ve come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She’s best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. She’s entirely too cute to be scary in person, so she turns to the page to instill fear into the hearts of the masses. She’s currently seeking an agent with her first novel, Nurse Blood, with hopes to expand her reach of dread through a mass market publication in the future.


*   *   *   *   *


The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:


Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 Post Links


Here is where all of the posts for the #SummerZombie blog tour will be updated on a daily basis in the month of June. You can expect 3 posts a day during the tour from various zombie authors. 

Sunday June 1st

Kirk Allmond (interview) on Blaze McRob’s Tales of Terror Blog

Shana Festa (guest post) on Yours In Storytelling Blog

Monday June 2nd

Christine Verstraete (teaser) on Graeme Reynold’s Blog

Jay Wilburn (interview) on Author Rebecca Besser’s Blog

Jack Wallen (guest post) on G. Elmer Munson’s Blog

Stevie Kopas (interview) on Books, Beer & Blogshit

Tuesday June 3rd

Charles Ingersoll (teaser) at The Bookie Monster Blog

Chris Tucker (interview) on Horror After Dark Blog

Timothy Baker (guest post) on Sweet Southern Home Blog

Wednesday June 4th

Claire C. Riley (teaser) on Buy Zombie Blog

T.W. Piperbrook (interview) on Chris Tucker Books Blog

Stevie Kopas (guest post) on Richard Schiver’s Blog

John O’Brien (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit

Thursday June 5th

Melanie Karsak (teaser) on What Zombies Fear Blog

Rhonda Parrish (interview) on Jay Wilburn’s Blog

Shawn Chesser (guest post) on Manuscripts Burn Blog

Rebecca Besser (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit

Friday June 6th

Stephanie Kozeniewski (interview) on The Darkness Goes ‘Round Blog

Erik Gustafson (teaser) on Darkness Abound Blog

Mark Tufo (guest post) on Leah Rhyne’s Blog

Kirk Allmond (guest post) on Rhonda Parrish’s Blog

Jay Wilburn (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit

Saturday June 7th

Julianne Snow (teaser) on The Twisted Mind Blog

Bryan Cassiday (interview) on Day Zero Blog

Christine Verstraete  (Guest post) on Rhonda Parrish’s Blog

Sunday June 8th

Sarah Lyon Fleming (teaser) on Brewed Bohemian Blog

Thomas M. Malfarina (interview) on Hobbes End Publishing Blog

Ian McClellan (guest post) on Reviewing The Apocalypse Blog

Monday June 9th

Robert Chazz Chute (teaser) on Author Candy O’Donnell’s Blog

Peggy Martinez (interview) on LiteraryEllyMay’s Blog

David P Forsyth (guest post) on Zombie Evolution Blog

Charles Ingersoll (interview) at Books, Beer & Bullshit Blog

Tuesday June 10th

TS Alan (teaser) on Six Feet From Hell Blog

Ian Woodhead (interview) on Zombie Rising Magazine Blog

John O’Brien (guest post) on The Dark Fantastic Blog

Claire C. Riley (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Wednesday June 11th

Jaime Johnesee (teaser) on Girl Zombie Authors Blog

Rebecca Besser (interview) on Armand Rosamilia’s Blog

Alex Laybourne (guest post) on Paranormal Tendencies Blog

Kirk Allmond (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Thursday June 12th

Shana Festa (teaser) on A Life In Limbo Blog

Jack Wallen (interview) on Zombie Guide Magazine Blog

Jay Wilburn (guest post) on Cupcake’s Corner Blog

Chris Tucker (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Friday June 13th

Chris Tucker (teaser) on Darkness Dwells Blog

Charles Ingersoll (interview) on Bones Along The Road Blog

Armand Rosamilia (guest post) on Get Jack’d Blog

Saturday June 14th

Timothy Baker (teaser) on Horror Tree Blog

Stevie Kopas (interview) on Claire C. Riley’s Blog

TW Piperbrook (guest post) on Words, Words, Words Blog

Sunday June 15th

Shawn Chesser (teaser) on Visionary Press Collaborative Blog

Claire C. Riley (interview) on Violet VanDoren’s Blog

Rhonda Parrish (Guest post) on Whatnot Blog

Monday June 16th

Stephen Kozeniewski (teaser) on Zombie Pop Blog

Erik Gustafson (interview) on Under The Oak Book Reviews Blog

Melanie Karsak (guest post) on Storyteller – S.K. Gregory’s Blog

Mark Tufo (interview) on Courtney Rene’s Blog

Shana Festa (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Tuesday June 17th

Thomas M. Malfarina (teaser) on Bryan Cassiday’s Blog

Julianne Snow (interview) on Heath Stallcup’s Blog

Bryan Cassiday (guest post) on Terrorphoria Blog

TS Alan (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Wednesday June 18th

Ian McClellan (teaser) on Chazz Writes Blog

Robert Chazz Chute (interview) on Sparky Lee Geek’s Blog

Sarah Lyons Fleming (guest post) on Armand Rosamilia’s Blog

Timothy Baker (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Thursday June 19th

Peggy Martinez (teaser) on Trip Through My Mind Blog

David P Forsyth (interview) on Word Wenches Guilty Pleasure Blog

TS Alan (guest post) on Darkness Beckons Blog

Ian Woodhead (teaser) on A Book Addict’s Delight Blog

TW Piperbrook (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Friday June 20th

John O’Brien (teaser) on The Flip Side Of Julianne Blog

Jaime Johnesee (interview) on TS Alan: Dark Horizons Blog

Rebecca Besser (guest post) on Whispers From The Abyss Blog

Armand Rosamilia(interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Saturday June 21st

Alex Laybourne (teaser) on The Cerebral Writer Blog

Shana Festa (interview) on Fabulous And Fun Blog

Chuck Ingersoll (guest post) on Brewed Bohemian Blog

Mark Tufo (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Sunday June 22nd

Kirk Allmond (teaser) on The Darkness Goes ‘Round Blog

Christine Verstraete (interview) on Graeme Reynold’s Blog

Chris Tucker (guest post) on Manuscripts Burn Blog

Monday June 23rd

Armand Rosamilia (teaser) on John M Whalen’s Blog

Timothy Baker (interview) on The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Blog

Claire C. Riley (guest post) on One Book At A Time Blog

Bryan Cassiday (teaser) on Rhonda Parrish’s Blog

Julianne Snow (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit

Ian McClellan (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Days With The Undead Interviews: Introduction

Tuesday June 24th

Jay Wilburn (teaser) on Zombie Horror Blog

Shawn Chesser (interview) on Chasing Steampunk Blog

Erik Gustafson (guest post) on Self Publish Or Die Blog

John O’Brien (interview) on TS Alan: Dark Horizon’s Blog

Robert Chazz Chute (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Jaime Johnesee (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Days With The Undead: 10 Word Challenge

Wednesday June 25th

Jack Wallen (teaser) on Stuart Conover’s Blog

Melanie Karsak (interview) on Kirk Allmond’s Blog

Stephen Kozeniewski (guest post) on The Bookie Monster Blog

Shawn Chesser (interview) on Melanie Karsak’s Blog

Rhonda Parrish (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Bryan Cassiday (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Days With The Undead: Would You Survive Your Zombies?

Thursday June 26th

T.W. Piperbrook (teaser) on Kulz’s Captured Imagination Blog

Sarah Lyons Fleming (interview) on G Elmer Munson’s Blog

Julianne Snow (guest post) on Sweet Southern Home Blog

Jaime Johnesee (guest post) on Horror After Dark Blog

Days With the Undead: Pop Quiz Time!

Thomas M. Malfarina (interview) at Books, Beer &Blogshit Blog

Jack Wallen (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Friday June 27th

Stevie Kopas (teaser) on Bufton’s Blog

Alex Laybourne (interview) on Author Candy O’Donnell’s Blog

Thomas M. Malfarina (guest post) on Day Zero Book Blog

Rebecca Besser (teaser) on Blood, Sweat And Books Blog

Days With The Undead: Which Celebrity Would You Want?

Stephen Kozeniewski (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Sarah Lyons Fleming (interview) at Books, Beer & Blogshit Blog

Saturday June 28th

Rhonda Parrish (teaser) on Yours In Storytelling Blog

Ian McClellan (interview) on Someone Read This Blog

Robert Chazz Chute (guest post) on Rhys Christopher Ethan’s Blog

Days With The Undead: Musical Survival

Sunday June 29th

Mark Tufo (teaser) on Zombie Guide Magazine’s Blog

TS Alan (interview) on Darkness Dwells Blog

Peggy Martinez (guest post) on The Power of Passion Blog

Days With The Undead: The Unexpected…

Monday June 30th

Armand Rosamilia (interview) on Trip Through My Mind Blog

Ian Woodhead (guest post) on Author Rebecca Besser’s Blog

David P Forsyth (teaser) on Armand Rosamilia’s Blog

Days With The Undead: Human Vs. Humane

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 – Amazon Author Links


Here are links to the 33 authors involved in the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 for their Amazon Author page

Check out all the releases they have to offer, and not only purchase a couple-three but make sure you kindly leave reviews so they can continue to bring you great stories in the future… and follow the entire tour posts in June on the #SummerZombie event page! 

Alex Laybourne

Armand Rosamilia

Bryan Cassiday

Charles Ingersoll

Chris Tucker

Christine Verstraete

Claire Riley

David P Forsyth

Erik Gustafson

Ian McClellan

Ian Woodhead

Jack Wallen

Jaime Johnesee

Jay Wilburn

John O’Brien

Julianne Snow

Kirk Allmond

Mark Tufo

Melanie Karsak

Peggy Martinez

Rebecca Besser

Rhonda Parrish

Robert Chazz Chute

Sarah Lyons Fleming

Shana Festa

Shawn Chesser

Stephen Kozeniewski

Stevie Kopas

Thomas M. Malafarina

Timothy Baker

T.S. Alan

T.W. Brown

T.W. Piperbrook

*   *   *   *   *

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

Guest Post: Pamela K. Kinney

Before I wrote this fictional horror tale in Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness, “Let Demon Dogs Lie,” it began Hell life as a mere slip of a legend set in the mountain town of Valle Crucis, North Carolina, about a demon dog seen on Highway 194, near a church. The small town takes its name, which is Latin for “Valley of the Cross” from the two streams which meet at right angles in the middle of the valley. There is a stone church off Highway 194, where a dog from the very pit of Hell stalks among the tombstones of the cemetery connected to the church. To escape this beast, you must reach the bridge where below it, the streams meet in a cross. Maybe this is the liquid version of a crossroads? It makes one wonder.

With Halloween being my favorite time of the year, I knew this story about my two characters had to take place around this scary time. Add a dash of costumes due to a party, a late-night road trip for home, and a wife excited about legends of North Carolina she had heard at the party, particularly one about a demon dog, and walla!, “Let Demon Dogs Lie” was born.


From the fiery abyss of the underworld comes 20 hellish tales from the south and southwest. Within these charred pages are stories that will introduce you to the many demons that stay hidden but are always nearby…


20 authors provide stories of possessed people, objects, houses, highways, and the devil’s favorite playground – the forest.


Dare to meet Deidless, a demon who is a buyer of souls. Discover what kind of demons men can summon. Read of battles between good and evil. Learn of ancient artifacts and stones that crave sacrifice. Finally, become acquainted with legions of evil.


Again, we invite you, sit back, dim the lights, and prepare yourself to meet the devils in the darkness.


Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness is the next installment in the exciting anthology series that began with Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us.


Guest Post: Alexander S. Brown


My story, Attachment, in Southern Haunts 2: Devils in the Darkness was inspired by multiple subjects.  For the lead character Tina, I had, at the time of writing this story, befriended a few people who were sensitive to spirits.  While speaking to these individuals, I discovered, in most cases, they would receive visions in the form of flashes or symbols.  They noted on a rare occasion, they could actually see a scene from the past play before them, like it was a movie.

The two innkeepers in Attachment, have names where if they are combined, the name would be similar to the actual possessed establishment which I wrote about.  The location name in my story was changed to protect the property. 

With characters aside, I decided to place my story in December as that month brings many joyous gatherings for numerous religions.  It is also a time where many folklorist tales can cause chills to ravish a person. 

Predating Christianity, the month of December is one filled with many superstitions regarding demons.  Even in the middle ages, folklore was popular that St. Nicholas would ride a white horse giving presents to those children who were nice.  During this same time, folklore stated that St. Nicholas would be accompanied with demons.  For the children who were naughty, they had to suffer at the hands of the demons to atone for their misbehaving.  Since Attachment, is a demonic story, December felt suitable for its setting.

The houses featured in Attachment, are actual houses and the history of the homes that the reader learns about is true.  The homes that I wrote about were used as grounds for satanic sacrifice.  Psychics have investigated the property and said that not only are the houses and land possessed, but the entire street is possessed.  I had learned about this location when I participated in a ghost tour and the stories shared that cold night were tales that frightened me for many evenings to come.

The subject matter of the story regards the fact that if a person explores a possessed area, they have the chance of being possessed by the demon or demons of that location.  Signs of possession might not become noticeable until that person has returned home, making the demonic entity no different than a parasite. 

As always, my story is one of good versus evil.  But I will not tell you which side wins.  You will have to read Southern Haunts 2: Devils in the Darkness for yourself to find out. And on that note, Ghost Story Lover, I bid you a safe farewell and I advise you to read Southern Haunts in the daylight.


From the fiery abyss of the underworld comes 20 hellish tales from the south and southwest. Within these charred pages are stories that will introduce you to the many demons that stay hidden but are always nearby…


20 authors provide stories of possessed people, objects, houses, highways, and the devil’s favorite playground – the forest.


Dare to meet Deidless, a demon who is a buyer of souls. Discover what kind of demons men can summon. Read of battles between good and evil. Learn of ancient artifacts and stones that crave sacrifice. Finally, become acquainted with legions of evil.


Again, we invite you, sit back, dim the lights, and prepare yourself to meet the devils in the darkness.


Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness is the next installment in the exciting anthology series that began with Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us.


Don’t Believe Your Own Hype

the thought process

Open letter (OK, blog post, get off my case) to Myself today from Me three years ago… 

I’m damn proud of you. It is unreal how much you’ve accomplished and how many goals you set before you and have surpassed. If you’d said three years ago you’d have over 100 releases on Amazon, worked with some great small press companies, attended World Horror and other conventions not just in Florida but in many other places, had stories published in some great anthologies with other great authors, had a couple of your story ideas turned into upcoming movies, signed a thirteen book deal with a Hollywood production company, got on the actual radio to talk and play the songs you grew up with, met the woman of your dreams and STILL own the beat-up Kia AND it still started, I’d have laughed. 

All amazing things, and a ton more you’ve accomplished in the last 36 months or so. You got away from a horrible, mind-numbing relationship filled with daily fighting, jealousy over a potential writing career and following dreams you’ve had since you were twelve years old. You set many goals and keep setting goals, and you are easily in the best place you’ve ever been in your life. 

Pat yourself on the back, smile as you sip $20 a pound Death Wish Coffee and eat expensive meals in fancy restaurants and live comfortably in a big new house watching the 55 inch TV you bought with some of your earnings over the 36 months. Pat that growing belly, filled with that expensive food and coffee, and keep smiling. 

And then…

Stop acting like a Big Shot, because you haven’t written a damn word in the last three days and your daily writing goal of 2,000 words a day is kicking your ass. When is the last time you actually hit the goal, or hit it feeling good and not just relieved you actually made it but dreading what tomorrow was going to bring?

When was the last time you actually shut Facebook off or didn’t answer an e-mail immediately? How many Pinterest and New MySpace followers do you actually need? Is breaking 70,000 Twitter followers really more important than writing today? Right now?

Remember Joe McKinney at World Horror Convention? While you drank and laughed with a bar filled with other authors, Joe was upstairs in his hotel room writing. Yep, working. Why? Because he gets it. You have a deadline, remember? Which is now getting closer and closer. 

Sure, you finished Dying Days 4. It only took you about 14 months since Dying Days 3 was released, which you swore wasn’t going to happen. God forbid you start on Dying Days 5, right? By the time that comes out Mark Tufo will be on Zombie Fallout 19

So… sit back and Google your name again and read another wonderful review about a release you wrote two years ago. Enjoy the praise from your many, many followers and your peers in the writing world. 

Who, if they are better than you, got that way because they don’t stop writing and doing the important things, the top three…

1. write

2. write

3. write

Now, shut up and turn off the damn internet and get in your work before you check your Amazon sales for the fifth time today. 

Armand Rosamilia


Guest Post: Judy Serrano


Ivy Vines, has a few things to say to the author after book one of her series was completed.

So, Mrs. Serrano, what made you decide to make the setting of the book in Sedona Arizona?

For starters, Ivy, Sedona has these great vortex areas that are known for paranormal activity. Besides its intense beauty, I thought that a book about psychics or seers, as I call them, couldn’t take place anywhere else.

Well, I really can’t complain. It is a wonderful place to live. There is one thing that I would really like to know. Does Eli ever really fall in love with me?

That is a good question. Men like Eli are rarely open books. That is why good girls tend to fall for them. The temptation to fix them can be overwhelming.

Tell me something. Is there going to be a book two and will I stay with the man of my dreams?

Yes, Ivy, there is a book two and I can never really be sure where the protagonist is going to take me. It will ultimately be your decision.

Oh, I like that. I know I’m not supposed to ask, but will my son be okay?

I can honestly say that your son will have his day in the sun, (so to speak) in one of my future books. He will make his own way into the world. Just wait. You will see.

Do you have any advice for me as I embark on yet another journey?

The truth is that I don’t really write the books. I sit down at my MacBook and let my characters take me on their very own, personal journey. So, keep your head up, don’t loose sight of where you are in life, and love as hard as you can for as long as you can. You simply never know when the ride will be over.

 Front Cover

Ivy Vines, Visions



Moving to Sedona was the only way Ivy could think of to start over. She would meet her high school sweetheart and work on making things right between them. Her psychic abilities were gradually becoming a curse and she needed a new start. Little does she know that when she applies for a waitressing job at a local, upscale French bistro, she will come in contact with the dark and mysterious Eli Dubois. What she doesn’t realize is she has just walked into the middle of the Vortex Murders, which involve a great deal of paranormal activity. Elijah’s army of seers are being murdered, one by one, which seems to be magnifying Ivy’s special abilities. 

Eli’s best friend, Jake, arrives on the scene and reveals the secret that changes everything. With nowhere to turn, Ivy leans on the two men who offer her solace. And who is the old woman in the shroud? Is she a vision, a dream, or is she real? Only time will tell.


Author of The Easter’s Lilly Series and Linked

published by Black Rose Writing

Dallas Parenting

Dallas Book Reviews


Guest Post: Scott M. Sandridge


Heavy Metal Faeries

By Scott M. Sandridge


The Fey love music. Okay, okay, they love all forms of art (well, most of them), but they love music. It’s as much a part of the Fey as the Fey are a part of nature. From ancient to modern, every genre you can think of, the Fey are a part of it. They play it, dance to it, revel in it, and some are even birthed by it.


And Heavy Metal is no exception. Indeed, Metal has spawned the most interesting Fey around. The following are just a few examples of the faeries currently known as the Heavy Metal Faeries:


Headbanger: A cross between a troll and satyr, this big horn-headed lug has a very thick skull, and he’s not afraid to use it to bash through brick walls. He loves the drums.


Nymphosiren: She’s hot, she can sing (or scream), and can kill you with sex. She’s also pretty good with knives and guns.


Axer: Don’t assume this music-loving Sidhe is frail. His guitar can slice off your head with ease.


Base Boy: He might look cute with his fluffy ears, but he can bash you into goo with his spiked club tail. He also plays a mean base.


Gratuitii: Creatures of various sizes and shapes, often female gender (but not always), they have a tendency to pop up from out of nowhere to then strip down to their birthday suits and start dancing for no discernible reason. And as quickly as they arrive, they disappear. On rare occasions, they have been known to get violent, but the majority of the time they’re just too drugged out to bother.


But are these faeries Seelie, Unseelie, or something else? Ask any two among them, and you’ll get five different answers. In many ways they have transcended the stifling ancient labels that have long plagued their ancestors, even to the point of creating their own culture and language outside the two common Courts. And as far as they’re concerned, they’re the only cool Fey around. All the rest of their kin just plain suck.


They also throw the wildest parties. Just sayin.’ ;)


A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court


About the Editor: Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.


Book Synopsis Tales of the Seelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.


But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.


Stories Included in Tales of the Seelie Court:


“Extra-Ordinary” by BC Brown

“Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker

“Taggers” by Christine Morgan

“Wormwood” by Alexandra Christian

“The Harpist’s Hand” by Steven S. Long

“Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau

“Mark of Ruins” by SD Grimm.

“Birdie’s Life at the School for Distressed Young Ladies” by JH Fleming

“Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps

“Seelie Goose” by Eric Garrison

“I Knocked Up My Fairy Girlfriend” by Brandon Black

“The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen.

“The Last Mission” by Cindy Koepp.

“The Beggar-Knight & the Lady Perilous”

by Matthew A. Timmins.

“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern.

“Keys” by Michael M. Jones

“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge

“Gnome Games” by Saera Corvin

“The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle


Be sure to also see A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court, for more tales of the Fey!


Book Synopsis Tales of the Unseelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the second volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Unseelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “evil” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Unseelie Court, from authors both established and new, including Michael Shimek, Deedee Davies, and Nick Bryan.


But don’t be surprised if these faeries decide to play with their food.


Stories included in Tales of the Unseelie Court:


“In Plain Sight” by Rebecca Leo

“The Wunderhorn” by David Turnbull

“Treehouse” by Kim Smith

“I’ll Watch Over You” by Angeline Trevena

“The Enemy of my Enemy” by Deedee Davies.

“Maestro” by Nicholas Paschall

“Prey of the Boggart” by Rony Blechman.

“Fear of Little Men” by Mike Pieloor..

“Faerie Stories and the Bean Nighe” by Carmen Tudor..

“Gifts” by Michael Shimek..

“Djinn and Tonic” by S. Clayton Rhodes

“The Bet” by Jodi Ralston…

“The Fool and his Money” by Nick Bryan

“The Yielding” by J. A. Ironside.

“The Tamer of Beasts” by Doug Blakeslee..

“The Last Sword of Barrow Thorns” by Matthew A. Timmins

“The Rose and the Dragon” by Steven S. Long

“The Brothers Doran” by John A. McColley

“Wonderland” by Stephanie Jessop


Be sure to also see A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, for more tales of the Fey!



Editor Links:








Amazon Links for Tales of the Seelie Court

Print Version

Kindle Version

Amazon Links for Tales of the Unseelie Court

Print Version

Kindle Version

Guest Post: AshleyRose Sullivan


Guest Post from AshleyRose Sullivan, author of Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale


Awesome Jones is a blend of comic and novel. It’s the story of two regular people trying to navigate live, work, and dinner in the midst of a superhero world–until everything begins to unravel. Featuring art–photos, postcards, newspaper clippings–snippets from the characters’ life together. The formatting mimics the look of comic books with blocky, un-indented paragraphs and un-tagged, indented dialogue. My aim is that whether you’re a long-time comics fan or you’ve never paged through a single issue, you’ll be able to jump into the story and read about Awesome Jones, Lona Chang and Arc City without hesitation.


A lot of people ask me how I came up with the idea for Awesome Jones. The truth is, it was an accident. I had an idea about a completely average guy named Awesome Jones. I thought about him often enough that I eventually sat down and began writing. It started with a short story in a notebook. As Awesome’s story grew, I realized I was writing a novel. Now, several years later, it’s a published book and anyone in the world can take up residence in Arc City along with Awesome and Lona.



The only thing Awesome Jones wants is to be a superhero. Until he falls in love.

Despite his colorful name, Awesome Jones is a painfully average man who dreams of being a superhero, just like the ones who patrol his city. It’s been that way since he was a little boy, raised by his grandfather after his parents’ death.

The day Jones starts his new job as a file clerk at Akai Printing Company he meets secretary Lona Chang and everything changes. Lona sees something in Jones that no one ever has and the two quickly become inseparable. But when the perfect pair’s domestic bliss is threatened by a super-powered secret from the past, Awesome Jones has to make a choice. He must decide whether he should play it safe or find the strength to live up to his name and risk everything he’s come to love to save the day like he always dreamed.


This superhero novel is more than just a comic book in prose—it’s a fairytale for adults.




Facebook page:

GoodReads page:






Authors Supporting Our Troops comes to a (technical) end #ASOT2014

The t-shirt design comes in a variety of colors.

Today is Thursday May 15th 2014, the cutoff date for the Authors Supporting Our Troops event started in mid-January. I had to set this date because, while the four months going have been awesome and the support overwhelming, it was beginning to overwhelm not only me but Special Gal and two rooms of the house. 

A fraction of this year's book donations.

When I began this venture (thanks to author Joe McKinney, who did a smaller version last year), I was hoping for 500 books to ship overseas. I got about five times that amount, and every day brought another box of books and more excitement as I opened the box, cataloged and photographed and posted the books on Facebook. 


It also let me see how very cool and generous people could be as well. Authors and non-authors alike donated money to help with the shipping costs, many people purchased special shirts we made for the event, a great school did a fundraiser (thanks, Margie Colton!), Change Jar Books collected money and donated quite a bit (thanks Suzanne and Craig!), many many articles were written about the event online and in local papers, and the boxes of books didn’t seem like they’d ever stop coming. The mailman had less of a smile for me each day when he rang the doorbell. I’m sure he’ll be the happiest to know the event is technically over. 


I say technically because tomorrow, when another box shows up, I won’t reject it or throw it in the trash. I still have quite a few boxes left to ship out overseas to troops in need, and mail 4 or 5 of them out each week (each box contains about 50 books). I still have over 25 boxes left to ship over the next few weeks, and as long as books keep coming in I will keep boxing them up and finding another soldier who wants them. 


So, how’d we do?

Not counting the 59 books I added to the boxes myself, we ended with 2,446 books from 310 authors… that’s an average of 7.9 books per author, which is amazing in itself. I am going to add an additional 54 of my own books to hit an even 2,500 books for the event. And fill the rest of the boxes I have here, too. 


Now, here is some of the fun breakdowns I did today for this… not very scientific and if I forgot something… too bad. This is just me having some fun with the ending of the #ASOT2014 event. I’ll also make some 2015 goals so I can see if we break them in 2015

1. We sold 293 #ASOT2014 shirts in 7 different color variations. Obvious goal for 2015 will be 300 shirts and at least 10 colors

2. Books came in from 45 of the 50 States (I won’t list the 5 that didn’t send a book) – in 2015 I hope to hit all 50

3. 13 boxes came in from non-US places, which was pretty cool – in 2015 I hope we break 15

4. The top States we got books from (by number of authors, not books – that would take too long to do and I’m too lazy):

Florida – 37

California – 29

Texas – 17

New York – 17

North Carolina – 15

Massachusetts – 12

New Jersey – 12

Virginia – 12

Illinois – 10

Pennsylvania – 9

Oregon – 8

Connecticut – 7

and so on and so forth… 

Where do we go from here?

I’m excited to keep collecting books all year, so feel free to keep sending them. There is a permanent Facebook group to keep track as more books come in and more information is present. Officially, on January 1st 2015, we will begin the event again until May 1st 2015 with the goal of breaking this year’s numbers. Several publishers have already been in contact about offering up many of their titles and Rocky Wood, President of the Horror Writer’s Association, asked me personally to contact him before the event so that the HWA could get 100% behind this from the start in 2015. Another reason I am honored to be a voting member of the HWA. 

It has been fun, it has been exhausting, and I’ve been yelled at many times in the past four months by Special Gal every time I drool at the cover of a book I want to keep. 

I couldn’t have done this without so many generous authors, and I’d love to thank each and every one of you for helping the troops who can’t get e-readers, laptops, video games, etc. easily and are in horrible parts of a hostile country, get a few hours of respite with a good book. 

I’m proud to have started what I hope will be a yearly event until every one of our soldiers returns home… carrying one of our books in his pack because it got him or her through a rough night. 



FanBoy Moment: Meeting Brian Keene at WHC

About eight years ago I was a completely newbie author with a couple of fantasy books out and maybe three horror short stories published to my credit (I have a lot more horror stories published now), and I went to Horrorfind Weekend convention in Baltimore, Maryland. I sat at a table in the dealer room and sold a few books and met a few people. It was fun. 

But I stayed in the dealer room for 99% of the weekend, convinced no one there would give me the time of day. And, unfortunately, I was kinda right. A couple of authors were friendly (Michael Laimo said hi to me) but I was just there. And it was my own fault, because I didn’t talk to anyone or make any effort. Believe it or not, I was shy and insecure among all these great authors. 

Cut to the bar area that night. 

Brian Keene was sitting there, and I knew who he was thanks to MySpace (remember MySpace?) and because his book The Rising had completely knocked me off of my feet. I kid you not. I owe the Dying Days zombie series to this man, because without his book I wouldn’t have attempted zombie fiction. I even wrote a piece about it conveniently titled “Why I Write About Zombies” (feel free to read it and then come back for the rest of this post… I’ll wait…)

Brian Keene - The Rising zombie

I walked up to the bar, as close to Brian as I could get without bumping into him, and casually turned and stared at him like a little schoolgirl. Brian Keene turned to me with a smile and said hi. 

I said blahbehchickablehblehugghhhh and felt my chest and throat tighten. Then I did what every cool person does when meeting an idol… I ran away like a little schoolgirl.

Cut to eight years later and across the country in Portland Oregon. 

The World Horror Convention, and while I’d come a long way but had much more to do and to rise, I felt I’d earned a place at least at the kid’s table. And I was fine with it. And when I heard Brian Keene was going to be the Grandmaster of the weekend, I was excited. And then nervous. 

I wanted to meet him. I needed to meet him. I posted on Facebook about my last and only encounter with him, and how this was going to be cosmic payback. I would stride up to him with a grin, pat him on the back and we’d hug it out like real men. Or something like that. 

Of course, on Thursday afternoon, as Special Gal and I had lunch in the hotel restaurant, Brian Keene walked into the lobby and I might have squealed a little. She thought it was quite amusing and ‘threatened’ to call him over, but I was not ready. I needed time to prepare. 

Cut to a few hours later. 

Special Gal and I were walking through the lobby, minding our own business, when I saw Brian Keene chatting with a few people. As I went to go past him he suddenly turned and noticed me. He smiled and said hi. He put his hand out and I turned my brain off and gripped his hand, shaking firmly. 

He said something but I have no idea what because I was too busy trying not to talk or say something incoherent. I nodded, smiled back, and walked away. Special Gal busted my chops the rest of the night but I was flying. 

The next time I saw Brian Keene was at a zombie panel, and as it wrapped up Special Gal turned to me and said in no uncertain terms we weren’t leaving the room without a picture of me and Brian together. 

I nodded dumbly. She asked him to take it and he smiled and took us into the hallway.

Then he put his arm around me and said “we need to do the Devil Horns, right?” 

He had either done his homework and knew who I was (and that I was a fellow Metalhead) or it was an excellent guess. Either way, I was damn proud as the picture was taken. But, wait… there’s more…

“Are you going to the Gross Out Contest tonight?” Brian asked me.

I had no intention of going but I said yes. Of course I was going to go! 

We made small talk for a few minutes and the guy was just genuine. He gave me a few minutes of his time and even said to find him at the bar that night so we could have a drink. 

I learned three things from this encounter… 

1. I am still such a FanBoy when it comes to him but at least I strung a few sentences together

2. THIS is the way you treat fellow authors, no matter how big or small they are. Brian Keene’s WHC posts aren’t just about what he did and accomplished but about pointing out all the new writers he met during the con, and praising the new batch of authors who are inspired by him

3. Special Gal is the greatest woman I have ever met and I am damn lucky to have her in my corner to help me fumble through the non-writing parts of this career. Friends lucky enough to have met her in Portland can attest to this

Brian Keene 

My goal for years to come is not only to emulate him but also to remember this lesson. Oh, and now I want to hang out with him again and pick his brain for hours… and I’ll try not to make it too creepy…


Guest Post: Stephanie Joyce Cole

Compass North

Excerpt from Compass North by Stephanie Joyce Cole:


Meredith sat squeezed against the wall behind the wobbly table with the plastic checkerboard cover. She pushed the last bits of her hamburger bun around her plate. With the long drive finally over, they had stopped to eat at a trailer-turned-diner on the fringe of town.
“So, can we drop you someplace before we take off?” Evan waved to the waitress, motioning for the check.
She took a deep breath and ran her fingers along the pattern in the tablecloth. “Well, I’m not sure…um, I haven’t really decided where…” She looked up and saw Evan frowning at her.
“You don’t have a plan? No place at all to stay tonight?”
Meredith shook her head.
Jan bit at her lower lip and stared at her. “Gee, Meredith, we just assumed you had it all worked out. I wish we could offer you a place, but we’re couch surfing right now until we can get back into our old apartment.”
She saw Jan and Evan exchange anxious glances, and she felt a pang of shame. This wasn’t what they bargained for when they offered a stranger a ride. They didn’t expect to be responsible for me.
Meredith looked down at her hands. She took a deep breath. “I…guess I thought there might be a cheap hostel. I guess I just didn’t think…”
She didn’t have any plan. None at all. She’d hardly focused her thoughts except when the memory of the accident raged back into her head, and when that happened, the terror and pain were almost too much to bear. So she’d tried to smooth out her mind, just letting the hours pass, letting the fatigue and the strangeness of all this wash over her.
No plan. But something had changed now. This was all crazy, but she felt she was watching someone else, someone brand new sitting here in this rundown but cozy restaurant, and that new person was the one with no place to go. It was like play-acting, like being inside of someone else’s skin. Here was a new someone, who didn’t know where she was going to sleep tonight, but this new person wasn’t stumbling around, lost, dragging a huge, black bag of mistakes and bad decisions. She lifted her chin and stared out the window.
“Wait a minute.” Jan looked at Evan. “What about Auntie Rita? I saw her outside just a few minutes ago.” She turned back to Meredith. “She’s not really anyone’s aunt—at least as far as we know—but my mom always made me call her that. I know she’s got a bit of room. She was trying to rent out a spare room a while back, but she didn’t get any takers, I guess.” Jan shrugged.
Evan smirked. “Big surprise. No one wanted to live with Rita. How can that be?”
She glared and him and breathed an exasperated sigh. “Her place is out of town, but you should be able to get back tomorrow without too much of a problem. Rita drives in all the time.”
“Rita, really?” Evan gave a low whistle. “You’re really ready to go there, Jan? You know how she can be.”
Jan pointed her finger at Meredith. “Look, it’s past noon already, and she doesn’t have a clue about where she’s going to sleep tonight. Rita likes me. Well, at least I think she does. I’m going to find her.”
Evan rolled his eyes up at the ceiling. “Rita…jeez…”
Meredith sipped her coffee and stared out the window. She tried to keep her thoughts steady. Now what? She did need a place to stay. She needed to be in a place where her new self might exist, just for a little while. She didn’t want this new Meredith to disappear, not yet.
Puffs of dust bloomed as a brisk, stinging wind whipped at the loose dirt in the parking lot. It was only late September, but the few people outside wore gloves and hats pulled down snug over their ears. Just beyond the rough lot, a greenish-black wall of spruce trees huddled close, their thick boughs knocking and bouncing in the wind. And behind them the tops of jagged and fierce peaks seemingly leaned forward, looming over the spruce. The wild world pushed back here, refusing to let the manmade world have the upper hand.
I am in a new place where I don’t exist. The old Meredith doesn’t exist here.

Title:   Compass North

Author:  Stephanie Joyce Cole

Published:  December 2013

Publisher:  Champagne Book Group

Word Count:  81,000

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller

Content Warning:  Minor Violence

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis: Meredith slips into a new identity and a new life in a small town in Alaska, she discovers it’s not that easy to leave behind the baggage from her past.
Set in the spectacular natural landscape of Southcentral Alaska,
COMPASS NORTH tracks an unexpected journey of personal reinvention.

Reeling from the sudden breakup of her disastrous marriage, Meredith barely escapes a freak accident in Alaska and is presumed dead. She stumbles into a new identity and a new life in a quirky small town. As new friendships grow, Meredith has to learn to trust in herself again.

When a romance with a local fisherman unexpectedly blossoms, Meredith’s secret jeopardizes her hopes for future happiness. And someone is searching for her, someone who will threaten Meredith’s dream of a reinvented life.

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About the Author:

Stephanie Joyce Cole lived for many decades in Alaska before she recently relocated to Seattle, WA, where she lives with her husband and a predatory but lovable Manx cat. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Her goal is to write books that are both thought-provoking and entertaining, and that will carry readers into an adventure in small-town Alaska.

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