Monthly Archives: October 2013

Spotlight On: Jeffrey Kosh

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SPOTLIGHT ON: JEFFREY KOSH

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

It’s a bit of that and that. Part sea adventure, part horror, but with a lot of piratical fun. Readers already know the original short, and many asked me to expand and give a true end to the story. I tried and had a lot of fun.

 

Quick description of it.

Dead Men Tell No Tales – The Full Tale is the complete novel of Captain Daniel Drake and the crew of the Banshee’s Cry. Think of the short story like one you heard in a tavern: quick, dirty, and lacking details. In the full tale you get the truth.

I always wondered where the Banshee’s Cry crew got all those corpses to decorate the ship’s hull for crossing the DevilSea and what happened in 1708. Well, here are the answers. 

 

Something unique about it.

It’s my most cinematic story. Readers know me mostly for my poetic language and moody atmospheres (Stryx, Haunt, Revenant). In this novel, I mixed a lot of swashbuckling action and witty dialogues with stomach turning  descriptions and hordes of rotting creatures. However, there’s also much characterization and interplay. And much more humor, too. Think of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ in the zombapocalypse. But no Jack Sparrow in it, sorry; my Daniel Drake is a bit more like Mal Reynolds of Firefly with a hint of Banderas’ Zorro.

There are two strong female characters in the story: a sexy, but shady voodoo priestess (Kaya) and a badass pirate woman (Le Corbeau Noir) who had a stormy relationship with Drake in the past.
Add to this the most creepy – and disturbing – villain I ever conceived (The Crimson Roger) who refers to himself in plural and a cast of characters that speak with different accents (a Scottish helmsman, a Swedish lookout, and an old Irish admiral to name a few) and you’ve got the idea of how big was my headache when I wrote this. I spent more time finding a way to put on paper old Caribbean patois than at writing the flamboyant combat scenes. There are many tongue-in-cheek tributes to famous sci-fi series, horror movies, and comics. I dare you to find them.

This, along with Black Brig (my free short story), is the cornerstone of the Dead Men Tell No Tales Universe, an alternate history setting I intend to expand with the next novel, Bloody Cross. I have a bible for this universe, complete with a timeline, nations, and mysteries.

 

Links for people to buy it.

Dead Men is available in paperback and ebook edition by May December

Publications

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F4MGNHS

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/353798

 

Your promo links.

http://maydecemberpublications.com/

 Dead Men Tell No Tales - The Full Tale - Jeffrey Kosh

Your short Bio.

Jeffrey Kosh is the pen name of an author of two novels, some novelettes, and a long series of short stories. Perhaps best known for his horror fiction, Jeffrey also writes erotica and likes to experience different paths. His works have been published by Alexandria Publishing Group, Grinning Skull Press, May-December Publications, and EFW. He is also a graphic artist, creating covers for various authors and publishing houses. His various careers have led him to travel extensively worldwide, developing a passion for photography, wildlife, history, and popular folklore. All these things heavy influence his writing style. His short story ‘HAUNT‘ was featured in the ‘FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE‘ anthology, while ‘ROAD OFF‘ became the lead in the ‘SCARE PACKAGE‘ collection. His debut novel, ‘FEEDING THE URGE‘ is now at its second edition.

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Spotlight On: Paul Flewitt

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Paul Flewitt

 

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

Poor Jeffrey; Horror

 

Quick description of it.

When Jeffrey dies, his three closest friends decide to take the laws of nature into their own hands and bring him back. At the same time, Cal Denver comes to town. Poor Jeffrey sees the lengths than mankind will go to in the effort to maintain the status quo… with shocking and horrific results

 

Something unique about it.

It brings together some of my personal favourite elements in horror fiction in a way that I don’t believe has been done before. Where else could you find a zombie, a serial killer, lashings of dark magic and buckets of gore and a few ghosts thrown in for good measure?

 

Links for people to buy it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poor-Jeffrey-Paul-Flewitt-ebook/dp/B00FW9OFNM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382471172&sr=8-1&keywords=Poor+Jeffrey

 

Your promo links.

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Storytrees-Leaves/352745188170046

Twitter; @PaulFlewittJEA

Amazon; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Flewitt/e/B00FG34L7O/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1382471474&sr=1-2-ent

 

Your short Bio.

Paul Flewitt lives in Sheffield, UK with his partner and their two children. He is a writer of horror and dark fiction with JEA press.

Paul is the author of “Smoke” a flash fiction which appeared in OzHorrorCon’s Book of Tribes anthology, “Paradise Park” from JEA’s All That Remains anthology and the stand alone novella “Poor Jeffrey”. He continues to work on further pieces…

A Zombie’s Tale: Reflections

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Trip Through My Mind

Zombie PumpkingOctober is the month where leaves change, the weather gets cooler, and children grow more excited by the coming of Halloween celebrations. This month I took the opportunity to highlight one of my guilty pleasures- zombie apocalypses. (I feel I can finally spell “apocalypse” without sounding each letter out in my head.) Before the accusations start that I am jumping on the zombie crazy food truck, I want to share that I have been a fan since the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead. My movie collection and book shelves reflect my years of enjoyment with the zombie genre.

Besides allowing me to delve into the zombie genre, the past month has also provided me a better understanding of the writing community.  October gave me many firsts. I did my first interview with author, Mark Tufo. The interaction was enjoyable and I learned  about what goes…

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Spotlight On: Jacqueline Druga

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Jacqueline Druga

 

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

Nodding – Horror

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Quick description of it.

Based on the ‘real life’ disease called, Nodding Sickness, which basically turns children into living zombies, the book takes a look at what would happen if the virus mutates and becomes a global pandemic.

 

Something unique about it. 

Instead of focusing on the infected, it focuses on the parents and what we would do as parents and the heartbreaking choices we have to make.

 

Links for people to buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EEHKASC

 

Your promo links.

www.jacquelinedruga.com

 

Your short Bio.

Jacqueline Druga is a native of Pittsburgh. She is a full time writer of multiple genres and has been interviewed as a bio warfare authority on the History Channel.

Confession Time: Ike Was an Accident

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Vote for Ike… or something like that.

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While preparing for our weekly radio show, Friday Night Writes (Friday night from 8-10 EST on FlaglerBeachRadio.com) Armand and I were throwing around some potential discussion topics when Armand suggested Creating your biggest character and giving it the playful subtitle The Ike Syndrome – as a nod to my biggest character.

I started thinking about the origins of Ike and I quickly realized that I would have no great insight to share as to how my larger-than-life protector-of-Flagler-Beach came into being…because I never had any designs on creating a character of such mythical proportions.

Okay – maybe mythical is a bit much, but you get the point.

Here’s the story behind the story…

…cue flashback effects and eerie music…

When I began writing my first novel, Living the Dream, I never intended it to be released.

Living the Dream

I’ve told the story about how I had a crazy dream which…

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Guest Post: Adrian Rawlings

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5 Horrific Subgenres of Horror

What scares you? What keeps you awake at night and causes you to quake and tremble beneath your sheets? The things you find horrifying might resonate well with others, while some might not understand what all the fuss is about. However, truth be told, we’re all scared of something and different things can terrify different people.

Horror-themed television programming and most of what Hollywood has to offer tend to be rather conventional when compared to the utter litany of subgenres that are out there. However, as the years have gone on, more and more movies have blurred the lines, giving rise to some of the most twisted subgenres. Most of the credit goes to Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense who would frequently blur the line between what were ostensibly thrillers and the horrifying surrealism of his direction. Thanks to him and other creative directors, there are far too many horror subgenres to talk about in the space permitted.

So, listed below are five of the best.

No 1

Eastern icons of cinema like the anime Akira and the film Tetsuo: The Iron Man, these are both great examples of body horror. This subgenre places heavy focus on the graphic depiction of destruction and degeneration of the human body, but it can also include parasitism and mutation as seen in The Thing. What makes the subgenre so effective is that it instills a certain sense of personalized dread whenever the viewer sees such a visceral depiction of body horror. In the case of The Thing that sense of dread is pretty easy to comprehend – it’s saying “you’re next.” That’s why many top horror lists still have a soft, squishy spot in their hearts for The Thing and others like it.

No 2

Post-apocalyptic horror has been a pretty popular genre in a lot of recent Hollywood offerings from Viggo Mortensen in The Road to Zombieland. The undead have been particularly prominent in really driving home just how bleak life can be for those not lucky enough to be wiped out in the apocalypse. When there is no infrastructure, no law, no morals, no civility – when humanity loses its humanity, you truly are on your own, and that can be especially frightening.

No 3

They say that crazy people only think they’re getting saner while the truly sane individuals are the ones who actually question their own sanity. However, what if those who question it are so crazy that they actually think they are sane and able to question their dwindling sanity? You can go crazy asking those questions behind the questions and that’s really the essence of psychological horror – the uncertainty. It’s horror from the perspective of an unreliable narrator who never quite knows what’s real. Shutter Island was a great example of this along with Session 9.

No 4

The 1979 film Alien popularized the tagline “In space no one can hear you scream.” Alien is regarded by many as the quintessential sci-fi horror movie with others like Event Horizon following in the wake. What makes these films effective as far as horror is concerned is the sheer claustrophobia they induce. You’re on a ship with nothing but the deadly vacuum of space outside – there’s only so many places you can hide.

No 5

So… there probably aren’t too many people out there who could honestly say they like being murdered and/or tortured to death. The mere thought of a toe or finger being cut off or being pierced with a fishing hook is a little unsettling. So, why make splatter horror movies and why go out and see them? There have been lots of psychological studies on this but no one can really agree on why we are both horrified but intrigued with these “splatter films.” Maybe it’s a way for us to get as close as possible to it (and confront it)…or maybe, deep down, it satiates that inherent thirst for carnage.

The list of subgenres goes on, as long and as varied as there are individuals with their own individualized fears. What you find scary might not affect others in the same way…and what others find truly terrifying may be a trifling thing, indeed. The beauty of horror and its various subgenres is that, now, it’s less of a sweeping sensation – capable of hitting us all where we live.
AUTHOR: Adrian Rawlings; @adrianrawlings2

BIO: Adrian Rawlings is a TV and horror blogger. Look to him for the scoop on hit movies and TV shows, horror, tech reviews, how-to’s, and more.

Coffin Hop 2013

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Coffin Hop 2013 is HERE!

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It happens once a year: dozens of horror authors team up to do a blog hop complete with awesome prizes, scares, interviews, excerpts, and more!

When? October 24th! And it lasts through Halloween. Click THIS LINK to check out all the participating authors. You never know what you’ll win. It’s the biggest virtual Halloween trick or treat for fans or horror novels and short stories! Find out more on the blog hop by visiting the site that’s up and running all year Coffin Hop.

What am I giving away? 

FREE copies of 

Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days

Still Dying

Thirteen zombie tales set in the world of the “Dying Days” series… stories about old friends and new, including Tosha Shorb, David Monsour, Steve ‘The Breeze’ Brack, Russ ‘Madman’ Meyer, Jeff Beesler, Morris Chambers, Michael Ross, and many more!

Plus, includes an unedited preview of the forthcoming “Dying Days: Origins” novella featuring Tosha Shorb. 

40,000 words of zombie intensity… welcome once again to “Dying Days”… 

Just use the FREE COUPON CODE at the link!

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: ZZ58X
Expires: November 26, 2013

Guest Post: R.J. Sullivan

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The Evolution of a Character

The birth, growth, and rebirth of Blue Shaefer

 

Yesterday on Sheila Deeth’s blog I conducted a fictional character interview with Fiona “Blue” Shaefer, the protagonist of my two novels Haunting Blue and its follow-up Virtual Blue. In a way, this article will cover the same story from my internal thought processes and perhaps offer some insight into the sometimes-uneasy symbiosis I share with the character.

Since the release of Haunting Blue three years ago, Blue Shaefer has gained many fans. Very vocal, passionate fans. As her creator, this makes me very happy. There are days when I wonder if the character has more fans than the author, and then I start thinking about something else for fear of learning the answer. Earlier this year, while wrapping up the draft of Virtual Blue, I let slip to one of those fans–also a beta reader–that Virtual Blue may be the last Blue Shaefer story.

She did not take the news well.

As I closed in on the finish of the novel, I’d convinced myself I’d done everything I could with the character. For one thing, as I stand here in my mid-40s, I’m a long way from the age of my cocksure, dynamic punk girl protagonist, certainly much more distant than I was when I penned the rough draft of her story in the mid 90s–myself a recent college graduate barely in his mid 20s, and like Blue, passionate and ready to set the world on fire with my stories.

Through a long story summarized as “life happens,” Haunting Blue and the character attached to it did not see publication for 15 years. So, even though most of my readership has only known Blue coming on three years, she and I have spent the better part of a decade and a half together.

She started out in the rough draft dating a computer geek in the mid 90s when the internet had first blossomed, listening to Concrete Blonde and Tori Amos on her Sony Discman (which played only one CD at a time–how did she survive?) and years before cell phones were mandatory accessories. Eventually in a mid-2000s rewrite, I gave her an MP3 player and cell phone, though I found a pretty easy way to destroy that phone when I needed to.

The overriding issue was obvious. It was a lot easier to write about a teenager at that time than it is today on the other side of 40. I don’t want to be *that* writer–we’ve all seen them–writing young adult characters aimed at young adults and missing the target entirely because the author barely remembers those years and the readers can tell.

So I planned a couple of years ago to conclude Blue’s story while at the same time symbolically pass the baton to another protagonist. A mature professional with the perspective and the resources of someone closer to the author’s experience. Virtual Blue was supposed to be that book. One way or the other, Virtual Blue marks the point where all upcoming plots begin to focus on paranormal investigator Rebecca Burton.

But it’s not as simple as that. Something happened while writing the latest chapters of Blue’s story. Between the changes to her life in Haunting Blue, and the results of her experiences in Virtual Blue, she emerges no longer the carefree, rebellious teenager she started out as fifteen years ago. She’s been scarred. She’s grown up.

I found myself unable to ignore this fact as I added the final polish on Virtual Blue. Perhaps it’s Blue herself saying “I’ve come this far, you can’t dump me off now.” Whatever it is, Blue intends to play a role on my future tales–not the Blue of Haunting Blue, but Blue as she is now.

And so as I wrapped Virtual Blue, I planted seeds for the future, but not the seeds I intended. Blue’s and Rebecca’s paths will cross again. And as I sit here today, six months since I submitted the draft to Virtual Blue, I find myself thinking that may even happen sooner than later.

I know this will make many of my devoted readers quite happy.

For those who are considering the adventures of Fiona Shaefer for the first time, the current edition of Haunting Blue is going out of print. But don’t worry, a new edition from Seventh Star is on tap for….well…as soon as possible. Not long.

I can’t tell you what to do, but the new edition will include some plot tweaks, one major correction, and new art by Bonnie Wasson. In the meantime, Virtual Blue was written as both a sequel and a very approachable standalone novel. You can read my evaluation of reading my books when I guest-blogged on Come Selaway Monday.

Thanks to Armand Rosamillia for letting me guest post today!

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Spotlight On Interviews Starting on Halloween!

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Spotlight

Starting at 8 am EST on Halloween my month-long Spotlight On interview segment will be up. I wanted to promote other authors out there, so authors are answering six easy questions from me about their latest release. 

I’ve gotten so many great interviews in so far I might end up running three a day… 8 am, noon and 4 pm EST throughout November. If they keep coming in, I’ll spread it into December, too… the more the merrier. I’d love to help everyone. 

If you are an author and interested, drop me an e-mail and let me know and I’ll send you the Spotlight On info…  armandrosamilia (at) gmail (dot) com 

First up on Thursday… Jacqueline Druga, Paul Flewitt and Jeffrey Kosh. 

Armand 

Guest Post: Debbie Fletcher

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Horror Movies – Not Just Killing Sprees!

When you think of a horror film, you think of movies such as ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘The Shining’, but horror movies can have their funny sides too. Just because they’re filled with all kinds of brutal attacks and scary-looking creatures lurking behind every corner doesn’t mean that one of them can’t run into a wall now and again, does it?

Horror-comedies are the perfect film to watch around Halloween, which, as it happens, turns out to be just around the corner. Rather than running around your local area wearing a bed sheet with eye holes cut out, or dressed as a witch going out in search of various treats from the neighbours or playing tricks on them if they refuse, settle down in front of a horror-comedy to get into the spirit. There is a list of some of the best of all time over atwww.wow247.co.uk  but here are two that will have you crying with laughter and hiding your eyes behind a cushion moments later

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Shaun of the Dead (2004)
If a zombie being beaten to death with a cricket bat and old records is your kind of thing, then you have to watch Shaun of the Dead. Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost you’re guaranteed laughter already, but when zombies start roaming the streets, biting innocent bystanders and turning them into zombies too which can only mean one thing – hide in the pub!

In the middle of the mini-apocalypse that grips the town, Shaun (Simon Pegg) tries to win his girlfriend back with varying degrees of success, but could this apocalypse bring them back together?

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The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Five friends going for a short break in a remote cabin in the woods – what could possibly go wrong? It sounds like the obvious plot for a horror film, but the group are being watched at all times by a series of cameras located around the cabin.

The cellar door, as they often do in horror films, flies open for no reason and the group eventually decide to go and investigate. What they find is a series of antiques – or so they think – and a book, that when read awakens a number of zombies…

 

The Carnival 13 Is Released!

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Come one, come all! Step right up and join thirteen masters of macabre literature as they take you on a journey unlike anything you’ve ever traveled. We’ve got freaks, fantasy and fear; all lined up waiting to take your breath away.

Will you be tempted by the Freaks of the Flesh? Astounded by the Freaks of Fantasy? Baffled by the Freaks of the Mind? All this and more await you for just the small price of three tickets… and your soul.

Featuring all-new and exclusive chapters from John Everson; Jason Darrick; Dan Dillard; Charles Colyott; Dale Eldon; James Garcia Jr.; Matt Schiariti; Anne Michaud; Rebecca Besser; Armand Rosamilia; Jon Olson; Brent Abell; and Julianne Snow – this twisted tale will leave you gasping until your last breath.

All proceeds to benefit Scares That Cares!

 Laughing your head off

Available at:

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico

CreateSpace

Smashwords

*   *   *   *   *

The Carnival 13 Excerpt:

 

From Chapter One – John Everson

 

“I hate fuckin’ carnivals,” Brian said to a captive audience of clothes. They hung silently on their hangers, steadfastly refusing to comment. He absolutely did not want to go to the carnival. His clothes weren’t going to argue. But that didn’t change the fact he had to get dressed.

The colorful B & S Enterprises trucks had started unloading and setting up the tilt-a-whirl, Pirate’s Delight, and Bumble-Bee Bop rides in the Blackburn Mall parking lot on Wednesday. Polly had seen them on her drive to work after school. As much as Brian hated the damn things, he wasn’t going to let her see that, not after Polly had asked – with big gosh honey please eyes – if they could go. He was sure his face had lost all expression when he’d realized what she was begging for, but he’d gained control before letting her see his game-losing stare.

“Uh, sure!” he’d somehow managed. And Polly, excited about the idea of cotton candy and watergun balloon games, had managed to ignore or completely miss the look of frightened, anxious “Oh God, please no!” on her boyfriend’s face for the second it had appeared.

He rolled his eyes in the silence of his room and pulled his American Idiot concert t-shirt from the hanger. Somehow it seemed appropriate.

Fifteen minutes later, he was forcing a smile on the doorstep of Polly’s place. When she came to the door, light brown hair perfectly tousled over her shoulder, wearing a tight pink t-shirt and blue cut-off jean shorts, Brian’s forced smile changed from false to full-on for-real. She looked delicious.

“Don’t be too late,” her mom called from inside the house.

Polly turned and flashed an “oh puh-leez” look behind her. “I won’t,” she promised. Then she took his elbow and pulled him toward the driveway. “C’mon,” she said. “I want to get there before dark!”

Brian took another look at her glowing smile and even brighter eyes and decided that as much as he hated carnivals, this was going to be an amazing night.

***

The mall parking lot was already packed when they pulled in and were directed off the asphalt to an impromptu lot in the neighboring field. The carnival itself straddled both the asphalt and the long, normally empty grass to the west of the mall. It was the first real heat of summer, and everyone in town was ready for a party. The visiting carnival gave them a good excuse, and they didn’t pass it up. It looked as if everyone in Blackburn had turned out. The buzz of the crowd was already loud above the festive music of the midway. Brian and Polly stood in a long line at the ticket counter for 10 minutes before a ticket-taker – oddly garbed in clown makeup, with pitch-black fingernails – snapped up their money and slapped down two generic red rectangles that said ‘Ticket’, proving they should have entrance.

“Can we get cotton candy?” Polly asked, as soon as they stepped past the ticket booth.

“Sure,” Brian agreed, and led her across the asphalt to an electric pink cart just a few steps away. A man in a white coat and hat was busy swiping a cardboard cone around the inside of the glass cart, gathering up strands of spun sugar to create a hive of sweet cotton for someone waiting just on the other side of the window. The air around them throbbed, alive with tinkling bells, calliope music, and the screams and laughs of people diving and soaring not far away on one of the big oval rides that took you up into the air almost to the moon before suddenly dropping down to the earth in a pendulum arc that looked guaranteed to end in a crash to the pavement. Lights caught them, blinded them in hazy yellows, reds and blues and then were momentarily gone.

They were in the center of it all, and Brian knew that his trepidation, no, alienation about the carnival, was not going to find a receptive ear here. All around them people were having a blast.

They eventually made it to the concessions cart’s window and as the white-clad man spun sugar onto a paper cone for his girlfriend, the hair on the back of Brian’s neck stood up straight as a voice from behind yelled out, “Polly! What is up, girl?”

It was Francis Blellingfield. Brian knew that without looking….

Lighting Up Your Friday Night

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I’m mentioned so I was forced to reblog this…

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Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.    ~Robert C. Gallagher

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Back in July the Castaways Took Off…it was the beginning of a new adventure for myself and two writer friends – Armand Rosamilia and Becky Pourchot. We started a radio program dedicated to the writing world and all form of things creative in and around our stomping grounds – Flagler Beach.

The show was immediately heralded by critics…words like groundbreaking and intense were bandied about; along with predictions like the blockbuster hit of the summer. (Or maybe that was Jaws…I’m not sure).

Anyway – our show was well received and pretty much the talk of the town (Flagler Beach is a small town). We learned as we went along, aided greatly by producer-extraordinaire Vern Shank.

Now here it 3 months later …and like Bob Dylan said – “the times they are a…

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Keyport Cthulhu And KDP Select

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Ancient

I’m going to try something a bit different and go completely against everything and everybody (except, of course, Robert Chazz Chute)… I’m going to take a series off of every platform but Amazon and enroll it for the next 90 days in KDP Select and utilize free days.

Keyport Cthulhu is this series, and since the fifth and final story, “Evil,” is completed, I thought it time to mess around with the many sales platforms. You see, despite having the first four parts (“Ancient,” “Barren,” “Cabal,” and “Dagon“) on Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, SmashWords and iTunes, the only place I actually made any decent sales was Amazon. In fact, everywhere else wasn’t even worth the time unless you count the freebies I gave out thanks to a SmashWords coupon. 

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I’m a huge fan of Robert Chazz Chute’s excellent and informative Blog and he’s gone back into KDP Select. So I Skyped with my fine Canuckian friend (it’s a pleasure to see his angelic face when we speak) and barraged him with questions, my own ideas and fears and cried like a little girl until he took pity on me and told me the Golden Truth: just do it and damn the torpedoes… I’m not sure if that’s even a real saying or a Tom Petty album, but you get the idea. 

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So, I’m doing it… all five stories will only be available on KDP Select, and on November 9th or thereabout the complete stories will be available in eBook and print formats for your reading perusal. 

Who knows… maybe some free days of the original stories will jump start some sales and get people reading the Keyport Cthulhu series and the rest of my many releases. 

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Look for “Evil” to be released this coming weekend! More details to follow!

Armand

Keyport Cthulhu

Guest Post: Doris O’Connor

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Thanks so much for having me here on my tour with my yummy wolf 

Under the Alpha’s Protection was one of those stories that came out of nowhere and demanded to be told, and surprised me with its varied twists and turns. I’m a complete and utter panstser, so I never know what’s going to happen, and this story was no different.

It takes on a decidedly dark turn when Nikita gets kidnapped and is held hostage. It’s one of the many things I like about writing paranormal stories. The added danger and touch of horror you can add to these stories. Typically I pitch my unsuspecting human heroines against supernatural beings that they have no idea existed out of the realms of fantasy.

Nikita is no exception to this. She won’t even read paranormal, because that’s just crazy stuff. Men do not sprout fur and claws and bay at the moon. No, Nikita is very much of the opinion that no such things exist. Even when she is attacked by a mysterious, scarred, menacing figure on the night of the full moon, it doesn’t change her opinion. So, he had a pack of wolves with him, so what? They were just wolves, odd to be sure—who has wolves in the middle of London?—but the world is full of odd folks.

She might have claw marks on her back, but that doesn’t mean she’s marked or maimed, and her best friend’s Raoul’s eyes do not glow, when he’s annoyed.

No, no, no…

Hmm, let’s just say, Nikita has to change her opinion on a lot of things. The night she is attacked everything changes.

Friends become lovers, a wolf claims his mate, and Nikita becomes a target, as she gets thrown into an old war for leadership of Raoul’s pack.

In her struggles to survive and make sense of it all, Nikita has choices to make that will affect all those she hold dear.

I shall leave you with a little excerpt of when it dawns on her, that supernatural creatures are very frighteningly real.

****

Excerpt:

Nikita blinked in the murky, damp, dark cellar she came to in. The stench of wet dog invaded her senses, overlaid with the nauseating smell of blood, and sweat. Something trickled into her left eye, obscuring her vision further, and when she went to swipe it away, chains tightened, their clanging too loud in the still air.

Adrenaline shot through her system when she realized she was restrained. Arms and leg shackles cut into her tender flesh. The shackles were connected to heavy duty chains suspended from the walls. She shook her head to try to clear her vision and immediately wished she hadn’t, as the dull ache in the back of her head erupted into intense stabs of pain radiating down her neck into her spine, and all over her body.

Of course, whoever had kidnapped her, had hit her over the head with something heavy. Her stomach heaved when she realized what the dark liquid was that trickled down the side of her face and into the cleavage of her work uniform. It was blood, her blood, and it explained why she felt so weak and disoriented. Something shifted next to her in the obscure darkness, and a puff of hot air hit her bare thigh. She flinched and tried to get away, but the chains held her fast. Whoever those slow and intermittent breaths belonged to, was also restrained, as there was more rattling of chains, and then a half human, half animal groan, that sent ice through her veins.

“Who’s there? Anyone?”

Approaching footsteps had her wishing she’d kept her mouth shut, as a door swung open with an ominous creak, and Nikita blinked in the bright shaft of light that entered the cellar.

“Tell Draco Raoul’s bitch is awake.”

Her heart stopped at the mention of Raoul, and then turned into a jackhammer. Harsh, fluorescent overhead lights came on with a ping, obliterating the darkness and blinding her in the process. All she could see was the broad shouldered shadow of a hulk of a man towering over as he approached. Rough fingers dug into her cheeks and turned her head this way and that, while his cold hearted, yellow eyed stare turned the blood in her veins to ice. The stench of this man, thing, whatever the fuck he was, hit her square in the gut, and she heaved.

He released her and slapped her face with enough force to spin her head around. Stars exploded behind her closed eyelids, and a renewed intense wave of pain shot through her nerve endings. From the top of her head right through to her toenails, she hurt, and she desperately tried to get her breathing under control in the way Raoul had shown her.

“In, out, in through your nose, and blow it out through your mouth, baby. Puff that pain away, and let the pleasure follow.”

Tears filled her eyes, remembering that scene, the first time he’d pushed her too far out of her comfort zone. The most intense pleasure had indeed followed that erotic pain he’d inflicted, but here right now, only misery followed.

God, Raoul, I need you.

Her heartfelt plea went unanswered, of course. Where was Raoul, and what had all this to do with him? She wasn’t going to give the man smirking down on her now the satisfaction of letting him know how scared she was, and how much he hurt her, so she straightened her spine as best she could, and glared at him.

“Who the fuck are you? I demand that you let me go immediately.”

Her captor just laughed and turned his back on her. She froze when she spotted the large syringe in his hand, but it seemed that wasn’t for her. No, it was for the wolf, lying chained on the ground next to her.

A wolf?

Nikita bit back the scream bubbling on the back of her throat at this discovery. That explained the wet dog smell at least. The hulking beefcake of a man holding the syringe pulled the wolf’s head up by the scruff of his neck, and Nikita did screech when she looked into Darius’s pain-clouded eyes.

Set on the body of a wolf it was Darius’s bloodstained face she saw. He offered her a weak smile, and their captor just laughed.

“Cutting your next dose fine, aren’t we, wolf boy? We can’t have you shifting now and telling all our secrets to your Alpha’s bitch.”

Darius flinched when the other man pushed the syringe into his neck, and Nikita watched in horror as the wolf’s body contorted. Darius growled, and in front of her eyes, his face contorted from barely human into the fur covered snout of a wolf. His eyes were the last thing to change, and Nikita threw up.

The kick to her ribs hurt like hell.

“Fuck it, bitch, you chucked up all over my shoes. Damn human bitches, can’t take the fucking heat.”

Through the pain and the misery another voice registered. The cruel, perfect diction tones of that educated voice was a throw-back to the night she’d been attacked.

****

Blurb:

Nikita Ashton and Raoul Saint Germain have been friends for five years, so when Nikita is attacked, there is only one place she can run to—straight into Raoul’s arms.

 

Raoul is the Alpha of his pack and he is furious that the woman he loves has been harmed on his territory. Were it not for the fact that Nikita does not believe in anything even remotely paranormal, his wolf would have claimed her years ago.

 

Nikita is in need of tender, loving care, not his baser needs that are threatening to overtake him. However, when Nikita admits that she knows about his being in the lifestyle, the Dom in him cannot resist the challenge to make her his submissive.

 

Blissfully happy in their new Dom/sub relationship, everything changes when Nikita is kidnapped. Can Raoul get to her in time to save her life?

 

Be Warned: BDSM, spanking

BUY LINKS:

http://www.evernightpublishing.com/under-the-alphas-protection-by-doris-oconnor/

http://www.amazon.com/Under-the-Alphas-Protection-ebook/dp/B00FMFGLJW/

http://www.bookstrand.com/under-the-alphas-protection-mf

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-underthealpha039sprotection-1312066-147.html

Author Bio

Glutton for punishment would be a good description for Doris… at least that’s what she hears on an almost daily basis when people find out that she has a brood of nine children, ranging from adult to toddler and lives happily in a far too small house, cluttered with children, pets, dust bunnies, and one very understanding and supportive husband. Domestic goddess she is not.

There is always something better to do after all, like working on the latest manuscript and trying not to scare the locals even more than usual by talking out loud to the voices in her head. Her characters tend to be pretty insistent to get their stories told, and you will find Doris burning the midnight oil on a regular basis. Only time to get any peace and quiet and besides, sleep is for wimps.

She likes to spin sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, BDSM to F/F, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.

Stalking Links

Website Blog Twitter  Facebook Pinterest  Evernight Publishing

              Amazon All Romance E-Books BookStrand Barnes&Noble

 

Happy Halloween: Part One Zombies

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Heiditassone's Blog

glam zombieThis past summer I have had the pleasure to meet a few local writers in Flagler County, Florida. I’ve known Tim Baker for a few years, he writes thrillers with humor. I met Becky Pourchot at a ribbon cutting, she writes YA about Ghosts, and most recently, I met Armand Rosamilia, who writes mainly about, you guessed it. Zombies. I love cop books, thrillers, books on ghosts, demons, and zombies. I’ve been a horror reader since I fist picked up The Stand, by Stephan King, when I was 16. You will see more about these writers on my blog from time to time. Please read them. Support our local artists.

Zombies. The one thing I noticed recently is the trends that go from year to year. Zombies are like the  latest handbag from Prada, Prada handbagor shoes from Manolo Blahnick.220px-Manolo_Blahnik_on_Whitney_Port_Shankbone_2009_Tribeca this year its all about the Zombie. A few years back…

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Guest Post: Julianne Snow

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JulianneSnow2

My Favourite Six Things About Halloween

Julianne Snow

 

 

Halloween is such a special occasion in the life of a horror writer. It’s the time of year where we can let our hair down and revel in all things spooky and scary. Not that we don’t do it the rest of the year, but something about the month of October just makes it easier for us to publicly spread our glee. And it’s with this thought in mind that I share with you a list of six things I absolutely love about this time of year.

CANDY – C’mon, you all knew this was going to be somewhere on the list so let’s just get it out of the way. I love Halloween candy and you can get much of it year round these days, but there’s just something about the mixed boxes of little chocolate bars that brings me back to being young again. If you’re wondering what my favourites are, they’re Twizzlers, Tootsie Rolls and Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

 

KIDS IN HALLOWEEN COSTUMES – If you cannot look at a group of kids in costumes and gush at how adorable they are, there is something fundamentally wrong with you. I’m with you that it’s not scary, but you’ve got to admit all those witches, goblins, pirates and superheroes make you smile. And if they grow up loving the holiday, they just might develop a love of horror and join the dark side with us.

 

PUMPKIN CARVING – I wish I had pictures of the pumpkins I carved last year. While scraping out the guts and seeds isn’t my favourite job, I love to create scenes to display on my front steps. And I’m not going for the typical frightening face; I want something that showcases my love of Halloween and my knife skills.

 

WATCHING SCARY MOVIE MARATHONS – Every year different channels have them. Whether it’s a marathon of Halloween or Friday the 13th, there’s just something about watching the classics at this time of year that makes them much more satisfying.

 

IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN – Who doesn’t love this classic from our childhood? And yes, I realize I’m dating myself here, but every Halloween I make a point of sitting down and watching this classic just for the nostalgia of it. I’d even suggest it’s a little bit of a cult classic in some circles.

 

HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS – I love being scared. It’s such an exhilarating feeling! And I’m lucky enough to live close to many different Haunted Attractions open during the month of October. For those of you that may also live in and around Toronto, there are many things you can check out. Canada’s Wonderland has its Halloween Haunt, Niagara Falls is home to Nightmares Fear Factory, Kinston has Fort Fright, and Whitby scares patrons with its Scream Works. If you don’t want to leave the city, Toronto is home to The Power House of Terror and Screamers (at the Exhibition Place). There are also a whole host of kid friendly adventures too.

 

I love Halloween!

Julianne Snow is the author of the Days with the Undead series. She writes within the realms of speculative fiction, has roots that go deep into horror and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. Julianne has pieces of short fiction in publications from Sirens Call Publications, Open Casket Press, James Ward Kirk Publishing and Hazardous Press as well as the forthcoming shorts in anthologies from 7DS Books, Phrenic Press, and the Coffin Hop charity anthology Death by Drive-In. Be on the lookout for her contributions to a number of collaborative projects to be announced shortly.

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @CdnZmbiRytr

Facebook: Julianne Snow

FB Fan Page: Julianne Snow, Author

Amazon Author Page: Julianne Snow

Blogs: Days with the Undead & The FlipSide of Julianne

Guest Post: Dan O’Brien

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I want to thank you for having me on your blog to promote the release of my latest publication. Water is a novella in the B-Sides universe, which follows people in a post-apocalyptic world. While each story is a standalone adverture, together they form a deeply intricate web of action, drama, and hope. Here is a brief summary of the novella:
The next installment in the B-Sides series follows a father and son living out a quiet life in northern Arizona. A strange occurrence at the border, and a series of events that turns the world upside down, plunges society into a spiral from which it might not be able to recover. Having to flee from their home with a band of unlikely friends in tow, the open road beckons. 



Can they survive? 

And here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:
Tuesday
His phone vibrated as it slowly ventured toward the edge of his nightstand. Shaking and spinning, it was a ballet of electronic futility. James had left it behind; it wasn’t even an afterthought as he neared the valley of sand and heat that he had passed through only the night before. There were two reasons to live in the desert: sunsets and sunrises.
This particular morning was no exception.
The valley was formed of a crimson pastel rock that from a distance looked like the mountains at the entrance to some unknown world. But in the morning and just before the wisps of night grab a hold and smother the day, there was an explosion of colors. It was a beautiful cornucopia of blistering and beautiful art.
The sun crawled just above the sand dunes, flooding the valley in sunshine. The splashing light tumbled across the rock formations, and iridescent stones ignited the walls of the basin.
This was the part of the day James loved the most.
This was when his life felt less worthless.
There was purpose here.
The sun came into the valley each day to create this beautiful marvel, and each day he was here to witness it. The twisting serpent of the road wove in and out of the majesty of nature, until the paved parking lot of his daily grind came into view.
A grotesque sign was perched just off the road.
It read: Our Stuff.
The door of the jeep creaked as James closed it. He pulled his red vest over his black t-shirt and ran a hand through his short hair.
The parking lot was mostly empty.
A beat-up Buick had been parked there since the late 90s and had never moved. By this time, it was a makeshift homeless shelter for local transients. It was an important component of his duties for the day, driving off the homeless when they panhandled in front of the store.
Silence permeated the morning––a rare treat James relished in the early mornings. She walked in from the other side of the parking lot. A blue Honda with a dented door and missing hubcaps was parked some distance away. She was his dream girl, of a sort. She was married to––or had been, it was a strange situation to be sure––a local drunk and abuser.
Light brown hair to her chin: It was often combed over one eye, mirroring a childhood memory. There was too much eye shadow to hide indiscretions, long shirts to hide bruises.
She was a broken doll.
“Hey Violet,” James mumbled as he got closer, chancing an awkward wave.
She rarely looked up and when she did, all he was struck by was the wide eyes that looked at him in gratitude for recognizing her existence. This day, she smiled weakly. Dimples in her cheeks deepened as he got closer.
“Hello, James,” she whispered back, her voice small.
He felt protective of her.
As he neared, he smiled widely, invitingly.
“Did you bring Julie with you today?”
Julie was her eight-year old daughter who often frequented work with her mother when her father was away on a binge, or more violent than usual. James felt defensive of her as well, much to his detriment.
She shook her head. Most of the time she wore an over-sized coat with a faux fur lining and hood that was often the barrier of her hidden face.
“Her father took her today.”
James nodded absently, as he could not imagine what that man could do with a child. He could barely take care of himself. Too often, he would barrel into the store––half-drunk and yelling––and would have to be dragged out by the police. The automatic doors at the front of the store did not open as they approached.
Reaching out, James pulled them open and gestured for Violet to go first. She bowed her head, making an already smaller person even more diminutive. The interior of the store was still dark. The echo of the speakers played elevator music, water-downed versions of songs no one wanted to hear. As Violet disappeared into the aisles of the store, James turned and shut the front doors and locked them.
“See you later,” he spoke, trailing off at the end.
*
The morning passed as it often did.
The sun rose.
Heat sweltered in the desert and the fringe humanity of Miranda sought air-conditioned shelter. James was a walker, a transient employee who sauntered through the store. Seeking out customers who required help, he sometimes cleaned the bathrooms. Often, he attended to those duties that fell between the cracks of other employees. As the morning gave way to the afternoon, there was a palpable tension in the air.
Customers were more curt than usual.
People left angry.
It was not until James had the distinct pleasure of interacting with a deranged desert degenerate that he began to understand what it was about that day that was enraging people so.
“Nametag.”
James did not register the cruel tone at first.
“Nametag,” he repeated, this time drawing James’ attention. “Nametag, I’m talking to you. Turn around.”
James turned, his grimace dissipating into an even line.
It was his best attempt at a smile.
The man was a caricature of a person. His chin disappeared into his pocked neck and his bulging brown eyes seemed to be of two different sizes. Crooked teeth were revealed as he opened his mouth to speak once more.
“Hey, what about customer service? C’mon, nametag.”
“What can I help you with, sir?” mustered James.
The man’s face twisted into a sneer.
He was wearing a shirt three sizes too small, his hairy belly exposed from just beneath the dirty white shirt. Putrid breath radiated from the man. It was an odor that could have risen from a trash heap in the Mojave Desert. “Attitude? You giving me attitude now, nametag? Time like this, in a crisis and what not.”
“I’m sorry that you feel I am being discourteous…”
The man sneered again. His voice, though masculine, broke as he spoke again. “Using big words on me now, college dropout. You think you’re hot shit, selling commodities to us lower folk.”
James looked at the man in disbelief, his behavior was deplorable. “Perhaps if you can just calm down, I can help you find whatever it is you are looking for.”
The man moved in closer, the scent of body odor was overpowering. “You some kind of wise guy? Why do you think I’m here? You retarded? Don’t you listen to the news? Don’t you know what’s going on?”
James looked at him, bewildered.
“Sir, I…”
“Water,” the man spoke clearly. “Water, I need water.”
“Bottled water? Is this about the Hernandez thing? The border?” queried James, making a connection slowly, though uncertainly. “Are they peddling hysteria already?”
“Hysteria, boy, you must be living under a rock. It’s coming. That border thing’s old news. Poison is in Texas now, parts of New Mexico. They’re talking about rationing and sanctions on tap water. You believe that shit?”
James looked around the store. “I really don’t.”
It had evaded him previously.
The scampering populace of Miranda bustled about the store, arms full of plastic water bottles and greater containers. One woman had another by the hair, dragging her away from the last water bottles on the shelf. People screamed at each other, pointing accusing fingers, claiming water as their own.
“It would appear you aren’t the only one looking,” replied James, as he pointed to the pandemonium. “Best of luck to you.”
The man glowered at him as he passed by, but James could not believe his eyes. Lines were backed up, people nearly climbing over each other to get water and carry it away in the heat of the day, to survive.
He stalked over to the throng of people who had begun to congregate around the empty shelves. As he approached, the masses turned as one. Their bleary eyes and angry words were upon him before he could even speak.
“Where is the water?” one cried.
“Is there more?” queried an elderly woman shakily.
“What do we do?” screamed another.
James held up his hands, trying to calm them.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, but they continued to bicker. Each voice rose above the others. Some shoved those smaller than themselves, like a rabid mob. He raised his voice. Some mumbles remained, but most had directed their attention at him. “Let’s all calm down for a moment. I will go in the back and see what we have.”
He moved away from them, not giving them time to object or grow ever angrier. The store was packed. Never in his eighteen months there had he seen such a rush on the store. He wondered what it was he had missed to which everyone else was reacting so intensely. Pushing open the double doors that led into the warehouse, James sighed.
The madness was tangible.
It permeated the air, made it thin.
Other employees had congregated in the back, seeking shelter from the madness. Two of them talked loudly with each other. One he knew, the other was a new employee or perhaps someone with whom he had never crossed paths. The first was dressed in a style that could only be described as early fuckup. The other was the kind of person who you would not give another look, as average as they come.
An unevenly mounted nose ring, jagged teeth, and a tone that was filled with ignorance: The younger man James did not know spoke in an overbearing tone.
“This is epic. All these fucking hillbillies running around like the skies are falling in. I’m surprised the fat ones aren’t screaming Chicken Little. Epic.” He held his hands up demonstratively. “Epic.”
Average Bob watched the less-than-eloquent fellow employee with a listless gaze. “The news said it was serious though…”
“The news? You can’t trust the news, man. They are trying to pull some bullshit over our eyes. Always, trying to force your hand,” he continued to rant.
James moved past, making sure not to make eye contact, as he did not wish to engage them in some kind of rhetorical conversation. As he moved out of earshot, he could not help but shake his head at the redundant movie references that took the place of grammar and syntax. There was only the replacement of actual thought with recycled thought. It had become the repetition and regurgitation of the words of another. He was not necessarily bitter toward fan worship, but was simply irritated by the lack of thought most other people his age seemed to show. They were more content in the safety of what other people thought––more concerned with their small shell of a world and not the greater picture.
His face twisted into a scowl as he moved past racks and racks of brown boxes marked in black permanent marker with various numbers designating position, quantity, and retail-related mediocrity. As he reached the back, where normally there were pallets upon pallets of shrink-wrapped water cases, he swore.
Reaching down, he picked up the wayward bunched band of plastic that had once held the pallet in place. There were seven empty pallets, the entire back stock of what the store carried.
Where had he been?
How had he not seen this?
The voice startled him. “Pretty intense, huh?”
James rose slowly, turning to face Violet. “Yeah, wild. How did I not notice all of this water going out?”
She moved next to him, folding her arms across her chest. “You’ve been in a daze lately, moving around as if you didn’t notice anything, anybody.”
They lingered like this for a moment.
Neither spoke––nor breathed really––except in fractured, shallow breaths. Finally, letting out a burst of air and licking his lips, James shifted his feet and ran a hand through his hair. “I should check on those people out there. They were acting like fucking animals.”
Violet nodded, tucking her hands inside her sleeves.
“Yeah, my break is almost over. I should be getting back.”
James nodded again, awkwardly.
Turning away, he disappeared into the racks once more, leaving Violet to her thoughts. He shook his head and mumbled to himself in mock anger. Whenever there was a moment when he and Violet seemed to connect, they both froze, neither making a move. She was scared, but was looking for a way out.
He knew that.
He could be there for her.
Smacking a hand against his forehead, he whispered to himself angrily. “Stupid.”
A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.

Guest Post: Alex Laybourne

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2013-06-01 Highway to Hell

The dead have risen and a desperate struggle for power has begun. The military are evacuating all survivors in passenger planes. With their destination unknown, one group of survivors led by a journalist named Paul Larkin, decide to share their experiences with the hope that when combined, their stories will reveal the answers that the government had not been willing to give themselves.

Nine survivors banded together, yet none of them realized, as they stood to tell their tales that they stood on the brink of discovering a conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen.

Crab your copy from Amazon today for just $2.99

2013-06-24 Me

Alex Laybourne:

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that he became a horror writer.

Married with four children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

‘Diaries of the Damned’ is his third full length publication along with numbers short works.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Laybourne/e/B00580RB18/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Laybourne/212049612180183
Blog: http://alexlaybourne.com/

Ebook Cover

Sample:
Chapter 1 – Boarding

Paul Larkin sat in his seat and fastened his seatbelt. His body was caked with sweat and dried blood. His ears rang from the gunshots, and his ankle was swollen again; remnants of an injury he acquired jumping from the first floor window of his suburban home. At least, it used to be suburbia, before everything went to shit.
He sat back and let out a long, deep breath. Shock threatened to take hold of him, so he closed his eyes and waited. The plane filled up and the cries of those refused admittance echoed down the walkway, swiftly followed by the sound of their execution.
Paul spared but the most fleeting of moments thinking about it. He found it strange how killing and death had become such a large part of his life.
“Excuse me,” A fragile sounding voice stirred Paul from the calm place he had just started to settle into. “I believe this is my seat.” An elderly woman, late seventies at best stood before him, her face was smeared with blood, while one eye had been covered by a filthy rag that had been hastily secured to her face with what looked like duct tape.

Guest Post: Allison M. Dickson

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Allie-Sideways

Don’t Flinch, Don’t Apologize

As strong as I might seem to some people, either based on my sometimes brash online persona or my imposing linebacker-like physique, I am a bit of a wimp. I hate stepping on people’s toes or feeling like I’m in the way or being in the spotlight in the middle of a crowded room. I see myself often as an obstruction or a nuisance, steering my Mack truck of a body through a world of Matchbox cars made of glass. Meandering through a packed bar will almost guarantee contact of my boobs or my ass with someone’s front or back, possibly causing them to drop their drinks and hate me for life. A ninja I will never be.

This feeling of “not wanting to get in the way” often translated to my writing, especially in the beginning. On way more than one occasion, I’ve found myself (or people have found me) mincing through a plot, not wanting to impose myself on the reader with things that might make them cringe or dislike me in some way. I’ve pulled so many punches that around last year, I found I could take all that reserved kinetic energy and tow a ship across the desert. But this stored energy is a bit like a cancer of the spirit, and it eventually grew into a sense of pent-up frustration and angst, that I wasn’t stretching myself enough, that  I wasn’t grabbing the reader by the hair and saying, “LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT WHAT I WROTE HERE!” So I let it all out when I sat down to the computer to write STRINGS, a 350-page spleen vent that is sure to rouse readers in a way that I have never roused them before. For better or worse.

I’m bracing myself for the worst, because that’s just my nature, but even if they call me a misogynist or a sadist or a nihilist or any other “ist,” I will not apologize for “going there” or getting in your face and making you drop your drink. STRINGS was the answer to the call I was feeling deep inside to stand up, use my brutishness to my advantage for once, and be the “dark contemporary fiction writer” I bill myself to be. It’s my “throwdown” book. Now I guess it’s up to the readers to accept the challenge.

STRINGS Front Cover

Come Join the Horde

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Trip Through My Mind

All Zombies all the time, this month, TTMM has featured zombies. Not the normal subject for the site but since Halloween is upon us and I wanted to share my enjoyment of the zombie horror genre, it seemed like the logical choice. Throughout this month, you have been introduced to a just a few of the growing horde of independent authors who are entertaining readers with their visions of all things zombie. The zombie apocalypse genre has stumbled its way from the darker corners of popular fiction to overtake the masses of hungry readers. Much of the popularity in zombie fiction can be attributed, for the most part, to the new way of getting stories published and the social media to which they independently market the books. Self-publishing and eBooks have opened the doors wide to writers and a genre that was previously ignored by the main stream publishing.

Independent…

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Guest Post: Aspen DeLainey

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AspenDeLainey

To Blush or Not to Blush: That is the Question…

 

You caught me!

I blush a bright fiery red. I squirm in my chair. My mouth dries out. I want to cover my eyes.

‘What would my mother think?’ are the words that run through my brain as my fingers type the scenes I shouldn’t even imagine.

I know what she thinks about my writing. Unfortunately. She told me back when she read AAA Love which Pocket Smut (a defunct paper magazine) published in 2010 and Every Night Erotica reprinted in April 2012.

She is horrified. She cannot fathom how a decently-brought-up woman can write anything concerning sex. That belongs behind the closed bedroom doors, kept out of the public eye in her mindset, thank you very much. Never to be talked about in polite society.

I think her idea of ‘proper’ writing has rubbed off on me. Not only is she uneasy about me writing anything; she and my father told me years ago to ‘leave writing to the experts’. Now I stoop to writing about—please whisper this  to yourself—SEX.

But only insofar as that I’m embarrassed when I write those scenes. I still am. And I’ve written lots of them. Some for practice and some in the stories I will let the world read.

See, I am a product of my upbringing, the more restrained, almost puritan, post war culture, mixed in with the hippie era I spent my teenager years in. A dichotomy of warring attitudes – repressed to free – in one fast swoop through my generation.

I read somewhere that an individual learns one’s own family cultural heritage, and absorbs it, before five, all before the local society gets in to make its mark. Early grades in school, along with the teacher’s culture sets its overlay. Teen peers, teen society, teen culture plays a part, especially when the child rebels against family values as they try on the mantles of adulthood, choosing their own. Usually the child accepts his or her family values, esthetics and belief system. At least that’s my belief.

So of course I feel weird writing about something ‘we never talk about.’ Something so secret I didn’t learn the mechanics of until I turned thirteen, in a totally female health class, after our parents signed a release form to allow us to take this extra-curricular class. We sat, grouped closely around the school nurse as she whispered the doings of the ‘dreadful’ act. I remember her as Miss something.

It is hard to overcome early childhood training. A struggle to put images of something so pleasantly vile on a page designed to be read by someone else. How could I write this? How could I edit it?

To help me find the correct visions, I hit the erotic writing sites, reading, and blushing over erotic stories. I hopped over to the psychology of sex sites and the sociology of sex sites. While everything I read helped me, it also didn’t. I now knew more the mechanics than I ever dreamed possible. But I could not write them any of the ways I read by other authors.

I shrugged, starting to write my own version of those scenes. Nothing quite like jumping off the deep end, right?

It took me weeks to be able to go back over my first erotic scene. I’d thrown away many as I tried to describe that part; afraid of what I wrote, ashamed to be even thinking it. It was trash. Finally I rewrote that scene, using humour to get me over the hump, so to speak. I like that scene now, the one where Leticia finds a young martial arts expert in Love ‘n Lies. My first ‘real’ sex scene. I even read it out at When Words Collide, the writers’ convention in Calgary every mid-August.

I felt proud of myself. I don’t think I blushed. I didn’t stutter. I received congratulations for reading with expression.

I plan to write these types of scenes again. Maybe lots of times. But I’ll probably always blush.

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Synopsis for Love ‘n Lies

Gaining weight is a human problem. At least that’s what Leticia always thought. But when this vivacious vampire wakes from her year-long slumber and discovers that her formerly svelte frame has retained a few extra pounds, it becomes apparent that something has gone amiss.

 

A girl just can’t wander around the Calgary Stampede in clothes that don’t fit! So she sets about the task of shopping and working out a low-cal diet of humans she can live on. When her friends notice how depressed she is, one of them suggests she adopt a tomcat named Justin to keep her company. Little does she know that she would fall madly in love with her new kitty. The moment she does, the spell cast over Justin is broken and he takes his true form – a long, tall, dark haired man with an insatiable sex drive. Letty is more tempted than she ever thought possible and can’t keep her hands off him anymore than he can keep his off of her.

 

After taking him back to her childhood home, Evermore, to consult with the head wizard Silvius, she soon discovers the Warlock who cast the spell over Justin isn’t letting him go so easily.

 

Throw in a nasty twin sister who’ll do anything to get her hands on what Letty has, including Justin’s more than hot body, and you end up with Love… ‘n Lies!

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, India

CreateSpace

Smashwords

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @AspendeLainey

Blog: http://theevermorechronicles.wordpress.com/

 

Author Bio:

Aspen lives in the Foothills of Alberta with her husband, two of her four children, a dog, a lovebird and a glaring of semi-feral cats. You will often find her watching the wildlife happily feasting in her vegetable garden in the early morning dawn. Being a lover of nature, and all things natural, she wouldn’t trade her country lifestyle for all the beans on the stalk.

 

A die-hard believer in fairy tales, Aspen hopes her fairy godmother is the Muse. Lending credence to this notion is one of Aspen’s earliest memories: writing a story for her little brother in crayon on a favored picture book and earning a spanking as her first critical review.  Never deterred, Aspen continued to make up stories, and hone her craft, until finally letting a few escape her clutches in 2010.

 

Love ‘n Lies is Aspen’s first work in The Evermore Chronicles, the concept for which was developed while she was employed in the seniors’ medical field. Do paranormal beings suffer from medical problems also? What happens to aging Vampires, Wizards, Trolls and the like? The questions begged to be answered… And of course, their stories needed to be told.

Reblog: Coffin Hop Blog Tour With Armand Rosamilia

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“Tool Shed” by Armand Rosamilia is mentioned a time or two…

http://www.angelicknightpress.com/2013/10/coffin-hop-web-tour-starts-for-angelic.html?spref=tw

ToolShed

Writing: A Career Or Your Hobby?

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Writing: A Career Or Your Hobby?

 

            I write full-time, as anyone reading this blog will know. I have been for the last two years, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I can think of no better job than being my own boss, creating something from scratch each day and then having to do most (if not all) of the work to make money doing it.

            For years I wrote between work schedules, kids, marriages and divorces and a hundred other things. I wrote sporadically and I wrote random stories and have a ton of unfinished and/or vague ideas on hard drives, thumb drives, floppy discs and a dead Brother word processor. I wrote when I could and I just sat down and wrote something with no real goal in mind and no real focus.

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            Until two years ago, when it was sink or swim. I had no financial backing, no spouse to fall back on to pay the bills. I tried to find a ‘real’ job but there’s nothing out there for a forty-something retail manager who made really good money and worked really long hours.

            I decided to give this writing thing a shot and gave myself twelve months. I read every blog I could about writing and publishing and asked advice, learning from guys like JA Konrath and Scott Nicholson, authors who were already in the trenches and making an honest living doing this.

            I set a personal dollar figure goal but also wanted to put out at least 12 releases in the year because from my research I knew the more you had for sale the better off you were with potential readers finding you.

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            I am very lucky in that I can write fast and can focus each day to hit a 2,000 word day. I usually do more. My record in one day is 18,000 words, done in a little over 16 straight hours. I have a nice 10,000 word a week goal, so anything over 520,000 words a year is a bonus.

            But I’ve run into authors who put out one 25,000 word novella in a year, buy 500 copies in print at $7.00 a book and then end up selling 10-20% of them locally. And consider themselves having a career in writing. I suppose you could argue they do, but is it really a career or a hobby? Too often I see the bored housewife syndrome. Writing is something for them to do to fill up their time, and that is not a bad thing. Writing is a great release and helps with stress and getting away from reality, but when you suddenly decide you are a legitimate author you need to back it up, have some actual goals in mind and try to get somewhere with it.

            Or else it’s a hobby.

            Not everyone strives to be a successful author, published and making money and enough to pay their monthly bills. I’ve talked with dozens of authors who just wanted to put that first book out to say they could do it, and other authors who have a steady income and do the writing gig on the side when they have time, and enjoy doing it.

            But the goal is to know what you are and who you are, and know your limits. Taking on too many projects and never completing them is a sure way to let people know you aren’t serious, and feeling you don’t need to be on Twitter or have a blog of your own or do any of the leg work is another way to always be known as the quirky local author but never getting enough sales to justify you proudly exclaiming you’re a legitimate writer doing this for a living.

            Because it is a hobby to you.

            The first year I did this full-time I had 26 releases published, more the next. This coming November alone I will have 10. Which might be more than the hobby people have in their career. Why? Because I’m focused, and if I don’t sell another book I don’t eat.

            This is my career and I’m living the dream doing it.

            How about you?

Armand

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