“Highway To Hell” Will Be Updated in September


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Yep, I’ve made the decision to update Highway To Hell from the NC-17 graphic story to a more R rated one. I haven’t rewritten anything other than some of the really sexual parts, while still retaining the rest of the story. 

In the end, I thought the excessively graphic sexual parts did nothing for the story itself. It even took away from it once I went back and reread it. Again, I wrote this novella five years ago and haven’t read it since it was published. 

I also wanted it more in line with the rest of the Dying Days series as well as fit seamlessly with the sequel, Highway To Hell 2, which will be coming on November 3rd. It will also be a kinda-sequel to Dying Days: Origins as well, wrapping up both stories at the same time. 

So on September 1st I will upload the newer version of Highway To Hell. If you want to read the original first, feel free to buy it asap. Once it is gone it won’t be changed back. I’m not sure how Amazon works but I think you can get the updated version if you bought the original previously, as I’m just updating the files. 

I will also be changing the print copy, too… so the few I have in stock at home will eventually be sold at cons and direct from me, too. 

If you’ve read Highway To Hell and have been asking for the sequel, Highway To Hell 2 is now up as a pre-order. It goes live November 3rd but feel free to show the love and loyalty and place your order now. 

Armand

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Guest Post: Andy Peloquin


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Why Do We Love Horror So?

 

Horror as a genre is quite a fascinating one!

What is it about the “things that go bump” that sends a chill down our spine? Why do our hearts race when we read tales of werewolves, vampires, zombies, or demons? What makes us shiver and quake when we read stories about mind-stealing aliens, hordes of nightmarish creatures, and monsters from mythology and lore?

Fear is a pretty interesting emotion. There are two types of fear:

  • Fear of something — Disease, death, theft, suffering, pain, dishonor, loss of money or status, etc.
  • Fear for something — Fear for your family and loved ones.

Which one causes more terror? Neither trumps the other–both are equally terrifying!

When we experience these fears, our body does some interesting things:

  • Our heart speeds up (by as much as 15 BPM faster than our resting heart rate)
  • Our skin temperature drops
  • Our palms begin to sweat
  • Our muscles get all tense and knotted up
  • Our blood pressure rises

What is causing all of these reactions? Why do our bodies act like this?

Simply put: it’s all about evolution.

Animals and humans have evolved over the years (centuries, millennia, etc.), adapting to their environment. Our brain and bodies have evolved slowly, and there are still certain aspects of our physiology and psychology that have not yet evolved. Look at the appendix and the last thoracic vertebra (the tail bone)–neither of these are strictly necessary, but we still have them.

Our psyche has changed a lot over time, but there are still things that remain unchanged. When we see something that is a threat (even if it’s just on a TV screen or in our minds), our bodies react out of instinct. The “animal” within us has that visceral gut reaction of fear and anxiety, and there is no control over it.

Psychologists aren’t quite sure what makes horror and action movies so appealing to us. Some believe that it has to do with the concept of “rites of passage”. Young males had to undergo certain physical and psychological tests and stressors to be considered “men”. Though many of those rites have disappeared from modern society, they’re not entirely gone.

Look at the “hazing” many college students endure. It’s all about “surviving” the torments–physical and mental. Horror movies and books have that same effect on us. They push our bodies to the limits of fear, and they give us a way to prove our courage. The “scarier” the movie or book, the “tougher” we are to survive it unscathed and unaffected by it.

Here’s an interesting thought: all of the physical effects of horror listed above (the increase in blood pressure, the racing heart, the sweaty palms, etc.) are the same effects caused by arousal and sex drive. Perhaps we “enjoy” horror so much not because of the actual horror itself, but because of the reaction it produces in our bodies. The flood of adrenaline, the surge of excitement, and the emotional “rush” caused by horror is a variety of the pleasure we feel when attracted to someone else.

Whatever the reason, horror is a genre that is here to stay! After all, what would we do without a good book or movie that gets our heart racing, sends chills down our spines, and gives us an excuse to cling to that handsome man or pretty woman beside us?

 

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (Blade of the Destroyer–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

 

The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

 

Title: The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

Author: Andy Peloquin

Official Launch Date: August 21st, 2015

Publication Date: July 11th, 2015

Paperback Price: $15.99

Digital Price: $3.99

Pages: 298

ISBN: 1515038955

 

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Blade-Destroyer-Last-Bucelarii-Book-ebook/dp/B012EI9M4A/

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Blade-Destroyer-Last-Bucelarii-Book/dp/1515038955/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25269614-blade-of-the-destroyer

Book Launch Event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1625045874438351/

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Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

He can also be found on his social media pages, such as:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin

www.linkedin.com/in/andypeloquin/

https://plus.google.com/100885994638914122147/about

https://www.amazon.com/author/andypeloquin

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.peloquin.1

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez and Five Finger Death Punch are both in my playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Reviews:

“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates — http://peterjstory.com/

“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

“From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!” — Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

Reblog: Brian Keene News


He might’ve mentioned the interview we did for Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast at Scares That Care Weekend… and a few other important things going on with him… 

http://www.briankeene.com/2015/08/17/on-diversity-the-approaching-maelstrom-delayed-books-and-more/

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Zombie Escape Amsterdam


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Have you ever heard of an escape room? Being voluntarily locked up in a room with a bunch of friends. You have an hour the time to try to get out. And if you don’t? You fail the game and they just let you out.

Sounds a little anticlimactic doesn’t it? We also had that idea, so we came with something new: Zombie Escape Amsterdam

In our escape room the atmosphere and fear for the zombies is real. Were you are normally pretty comfortable in an escape room, here you really want to get out. With zombies closing in on you, you have to keep focused on all the puzzles en riddles in our laboratory. What kind of genetic modification experiments did these professors preform? Challenge your will power and courage in this escape room full of miserie and mystery.

Opening begin September in Amsterdam.

Www.zombie-escape.nl

+31207527722

info@zombie-escape.nl

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Guest Post: Michael Peirce


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    I’ve been writing intermittently all my life jumping from magazine stuff to commentary. I first trained on screen plays long ago.  Never thought I’d be writing about the Zombie Apocalypse.

 

I’d hit a patch of rough road, when a friend came to me and said he’d dreamed I wrote a musical about the Z-poc.  At first I thought he was just trying to give me something to do to get me back on track – but he handed me a song he’d written – that he’d remembered from the dream.  So – I wrote the musical and included his song.  I quickly put together another fifteen songs to work into the phases of the musical with a script and some ‘glue’ music and six months later I had something.

 

It was to be, or should I say, is to be (God willing) a multi-media production with a sixteen piece orchestra plus a band playing what I call ‘Southern Symphonic Metal.’   Short version – I couldn’t scrounge the resources to pull it off.  What to do eh?

 

So I have derived a novel from it.  I call it “Red Dirt Zombies: The Fight for the River Line.”  I thought I was writing a simple zombie-apoc story where the twist was one state, Georgia, fighting and winning. Nothing to it I thought, since I had the script as a starting point; a sort of rough draft.   A musical is much harder, right?

 

Then I started to really engage with my characters and the challenges they would face. No matter what else, I was determined I would not add to the glut of literature concerned with lone survivors scrambling for a can of beans while using exotic weapons they just happened to find, to fight bandits and zombies.

 

With the premise that Georgia would fight and win I had to figure out what gave the state an edge and how my characters would exploit that edge. I started considering the social implications, mental health crisis, and interaction with central government, at least until central government no longer existed.

 

Particularly harsh, for me, was the realization that while I’m very much a 2A type, that somehow I would have to reconcile Martial Law with the very real need for all to be armed and the fact that everyone would be suffering from extreme PTSD.  Because of the mass insanity, despair and paranoia, suicides and shooting accidents could actually threaten human viability. How would this be handled post war?

 

One of the solutions is a place called the Q-Zone.  It’s based partly on the Austrian Grenzers of Hapsburg times – part time farmers who patrolled the frontiers.  In Georgia – the frontiers are called The Final Line – the trace where our forces halted their attacks and declared victory.  We’re not sure what is out there really, and comms are shot since the US government went down in a nuclear frenzy early in the war.

 

The Q-Zone is a place for mind blown soldiers to “Come Down Slowly,” which I took from the musical, which has a video add with a smarmy recruiter noting that chill pills and ammo are free in the Q-Zone and no mental health exam required.   It’s a place where two young kids who have been lovers try to figure out what that means since they’ve forgotten how to be ‘normal people.’   I base it on a song called   “Life in the Q-Zone: PTSD for Lovers.”

 

Not clear yet if the Q-Zone will fit in this first volume which centers around the fight my central characters are involved in – for the North River Bridges defending Roswell as the Zs flood down from ‘Pill Hill’ where the hospitals are.  It’s where we take a stand and it’s do or die on the river line.  There the Armed Citizens, National Guard and State Defense Force people have the fight of their lives.  And the first two battalions of the upgraded SDF earn their ‘Whispering Death’ patches.

 

Somewhat to my surprise I have found that all the work I’ve done will not fit in one volume so I’m probably looking at a trilogy.  I’m working on a much different nonfiction piece I’d like to get out the door as well, plus I have to push all my new plotting back into the musical, but I learned as a contractor it’s always better to have too much work than too little.

 

I’ve submitted a short story / novella version of this first volume to ATZ and would be very pleased to be published there.  It’s called “Alice’s Posse” and introduces most of the key characters and the story line.

 

This will be no surprise to other writers but my characters took control of this work and ran with it.  Sometimes I couldn’t believe what was coming up – I’ve grown to love them in a way and it certainly took me off on some strange paths.

 

One strange path was my zombies.  My characters assume not surprisingly, that it is some sort of bio-warfare bug. Perhaps it is, perhaps not; but they cannot isolate it or identify it.  All I know is that when these corpses rise they are the nastiest daggone critters you can image.  They are fueled by hate for the living and a simple head shot may not do the job – you shoot these things to pieces.  They are so full of hate and rage they don’t even mass up tightly because they can’t stand each other.  This is about evil.

 

Research was fascinating – I walked all the North River Line along the Chattahoochee – Roswell is truly a beautiful place.  Went to the (fictional) Battle Headquarters at the Roswell Courthouse, the Cultural Center and visited the Governor’s Mansion.  Talked to all sorts of folks and found that among police and soldiers you will find many zombie fans!

 

Atlanta has this massive store of people who almost seem to hope you’ll ask them for assistance.  A very genteel Southern lady at the Mansion nodded politely but sternly reminded me not to let my zombies get on the antique furniture!

 

I need a book cover.  I know what it looks like – I can see it in my head.  I need a “Whispering Death” shoulder patch – crossed rifles with a skull pointing left with a bony finger extended in the universal ‘shhhhhhhh.’   I need a web site and I have to decide on some publishing options – all that seems very daunting some times.  But as our spec ops types like to say, “The only easy day was yesterday.”

 

Most all, I have to finish this ‘final’ edit.  So far I’m on track for the end of August.  I hope everyone likes it.  It’s been a trip.

*   *   *

Michael Peirce (Talbot)

    As a writer I originally apprenticed under a screen writer through five screen plays.  When in Hollywood eh?   I wrote much of the dialogue for those and for the sports script, a song called ‘Here’s Johnny Thunder.” Years later I turned on a baseball game and saw Chipper Jones for the first time and exclaimed, “It’s him!  Johnny Thunder!”

 

My personal study guides at the time were “Rolling Thunder” and “Alien,” both of which became well known movies.  I read the screen plays, I read the novels, saw the films – it was a blast.  A great learning experience but it didn’t take me very far.

 

Ultimately I’ve published in several formats including “Soldier of Fortune,” “Rockwell-Rothbard Report,” and “Destiny Magazine” off the top of my head.  I was also a columnist at LewRockell.com, the libertarian website, for four years.

 

Being published and paid for it is a trip.  I remember living in a cheap motel in Bell, California, where my landlady and her friends were all rooting for me!  My first check was photo-copied on their wall!

 

Additionally, I have been a restaurant manager, a musician/songwriter, a soldier in an African war, a private security agent / bodyguard, a bouncer, a programmer and project manager.  I’m self-educated since I’m easily bored and college seemed silly to me as a young know it all.  I’ve studied military history all my life.

 

I’m currently working on my Z-poc books and another called “Observations” about the sort of bizarre situations and people I encountered in Hollywood and Africa.

 

This link will take you to some of my music.  The two songs that are part of the Z-poc Musical are called “I See My Death in Your Faces” and “Life in the Q-Zone: PTSD for Lovers.”  I play the instruments and my friend Courtney Hamlet does the vocals.  http://www.bandmix.com/miketalbot/

 

Guest Post: Kris Ashton


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The difference between real and fictional horror

 

Those who don’t like horror movies often ask, “What’s the appeal? Why do you get off on such horrible things?”​​

As an aficionado of horror, both good and bad, for more than 30 years, I’ve long believed this question revealed more about the person asking it than anything else. Fictitious horror and real-life horror are completely different things.

Whether it’s someone tortured to death by a serial killer or a regular person watching a loved one die from a terminal disease, the end result is the same: emptiness. The serial killer’s thrill fades and there is only a body to dispose of; the regular person is left with nothing but grief and perhaps a guilty sense of relief that they no longer have to watch their loved one suffer and waste away.

Fictitious horror, especially the movie kind, provides the opposite. As many before me have noted, it is the equivalent of riding a roller coaster at a fun park – it offers the illusion that something terrible is happening, but in the end it stops and when reality asserts itself again it looks better than it did going in. A good horror movie offers a form of catharsis and helps us appreciate our everyday existence.

I’ve always got a rush out of horror movies. Even as a child, when I could barely stand to watch the most frightening scenes, there was a partition in my mind separating reality and fantasy. Some people don’t seem to have that partition, and they are the ones who tend to ask that question in the first paragraph.

Now, does the foregoing sound a touch complacent, even condescending? I wouldn’t have thought so – until I started watching season five of The Walking Dead.

In its third season, this magnificent TV show about the zombie apocalypse introduced a newborn baby called Judith. There was some drama as she came into the world, but then the associated problems one might have while caring for an infant in a dystopia full of mindless cannibals faded into the background. I was so disappointed with this* that I had a go at addressing it in a story of my own, ‘Teething Problems’, which will appear in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine later this year.

The debut episode of season five, however, more than made up for any previous deficiencies.

A quick but necessary aside: in Danse Macabre, Stephen King talks about “psychic pressure points”. The horror writer (or filmmaker’s) job, he says, is to get through the reader’s mental defences and poke these pressure points, thereby evoking terror or horror. My defences, however, had always been nigh on impregnable, so while my heart rate might increase at a particularly terrifying or gory scene, horror never discomfited me.

Little did I know that becoming a father (and nearly two years bonding with my daughter) had put an enormous chink in my mental armour.

In that episode of The Walking Dead, baby Judith is put in serious peril. My heart rate rose, the adrenaline flowed… but I wasn’t enjoying myself. For the first time in my life, I wanted to stop watching, because the empathy was just too strong. What if that was my baby? How could he threaten such an innocent creature?

For those brief couple of minutes, I could sympathise with those on whom I had looked with such disdain for so long.

But I got through that scene and – spoiler alert** – so did Judith. When the episode finished and I returned to the real world, what I felt was elation and a more intense love for my daughter than ever before. So I wasn’t totally wrong. Fictional horror had, once again, done its job. It had given me a new appreciation for what I had.

True-life horror doesn’t do that. It doesn’t restore us; it leaves us bent and scarred, even if there is ultimately a happy ending. Which is yet another reason why those who try to blame horror movies (etcetera) for society’s ills are some of the greatest fools on earth. Not only are they wrong, they don’t know why they are wrong and are too ignorant to ever find out.

* I was a little disappointed, for much the same reason, with the otherwise brilliant 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake.

** I was very slow to abandon DVDs and join the digital download revolution. But when a MASSIVE spoiler from season five appeared on my Facebook feed, I decided – at least where The Walking Dead was concerned – the time had come to embrace change.

Kris Ashton

Kris Ashton is an Australian author best known for his works of dark speculative fiction. His new horror novel, Invasion at Bald Eagle, is available now at www.grandmalpress.com/Invasion.php

Website: http://kris-ashton.wix.com/spec-fic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kris-Ashton-Author/494049427360631

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrisAshtonWrite

 

Dark Moon Digest Announcement


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After five years of life, Stan Swanson of Dark Moon Books and Dark Moon Digest has sold the majority of his share of the digest to Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. It is unclear yet what the future will hold for Dark Moon Books, but Perpetual Motion Machine will now be the sole publisher of Dark Moon Digest, the horror quarterly that first launched in October 2010.

 

Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing is owned by Max Booth III and Lori Michelle, who up until now has been the managing editor of Dark Moon Digest. Effective starting with Issue #21 (October 2015), Booth and Michelle will serve as the digest’s new publishers.

 

With new ownership comes some welcomed changes. For one, writers will now be paid $0.01/per word for each accepted piece of fiction. Dark Moon Digest will also be returning column sections and book reviews, which long time readers of the digest will recognize from early issues. However, authors can still expect the same care and dedication to their stories and readers can still expect the same great fiction they have come to expect from the quarterly. We will be searching for ad space in the near future along with more short stories for upcoming issues. Subscribe to our newsletter at www.pmmpnews.com to stay updated.

 

Perpetual Motion Machine is known for publishing dark crime pieces and disturbing slices of horror. Lori Michelle will be stepping up from Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest to Editor-in-Chief, and Max Booth III’s unique touch will help continue to give life to a digest that has been so rich in nightmare fuel.