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Archive for the ‘Dark Fantasy’ Category

Demon cover brown-reducedThe Dreaming Demon is an atmospheric 14,000 word dark fantasy novella, inspired by the classic works of Haggard, Howard, and Lovecraft. My inspiration for this story came from the disappointment of reading too many formulaic modern adventures where ‘a secret that will shake the world’ is uncovered. I have always much preferred reading the classic old adventure tales, and was yearning for a return to this age of storytelling. In writing this novella my aim was to gently regress the reader back in time from the present day to the golden age of adventure, through the memories of the characters. This leads to the uncovering of a tale of adventure with a dark underbelly, as the protagonist gradually realises that something sinister lies behind the expedition he has been persuaded to undertake into the jungle. My work generally involves the uncovering of darkness lurking beneath the surface of our world, although the style of storytelling in the Dreaming Demon is a slight departure for me.

About the Book

In 1592 the monk Ferdinand de Castile set out for the New World to preach to the natives in the jungle without knowing about their Gods and the power they hold. All that survives is his journal, the ramblings of a tortured soul on the fringes of sanity, recounting tales of a forgotten city long since lost to the rain forest. Now an expedition led by Sir Albert is to attempt to rediscover this city and its secrets. What mysteries and horrors led to the city being deserted by its inhabitants and engulfed by the jungle? Why is the beautiful but enigmatic Lady Athelton so intent on following in the monk’s footsteps? Will the mission lead to the discovery of a city paved with gold and jewels, and fame and fortune for all involved? Or does something more sinister lie in wait in the depths of the jungle?

Alex Avrio

About the Author

Alex Avrio was born in England to Greek parents, and has spent her life living in both Athens, Greece and various places in the UK. Alex currently lives with her husband in Newcastle upon Tyne. Alex has always been a keen writer, but waited until she completed her PhD in e-business before finally realising that writing was her calling. She mainly writes in the Dark Fantasy genre, where dark forces or supernatural powers lurk beneath the surface of our world, unknown to the general population. In addition to The Dreaming Demon, Alex also has two novels in the pipeline, which are due for release in 2015.

Website  / Excerpt / Amazon / Smashwords 

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Cover Small - Seed of EvilThis novella begins an entire up-coming saga: The Saga of Evil. In production for about ten years it finally reached the light of day in February of this year and is gradually taking the world by storm. The novella itself combines military Sci-fi and horror and takes it to a whole new level with fast-paced action and more. It’s a book no one should miss out on. The events within the book start a ripple that will in time reach across an entire universe, but right now you just have to ask yourself: Are you ready for what lurks out there? Seed of Evil: An Ancient Evil Rises is a thrilling and intense ride no one should miss out on.

Barbara Garcia from Readers’ Favorite: 

“Seed of Evil: An Ancient Evil Rises by Robert Friedrich takes place in the not too distant future. The moon and Mars have both been colonized, and are being mined. The mining team on Mars has uncovered a structure of non-human origin, and in the process of studying it, have inadvertently released a horrifying evil. Now contact has been lost with the colonists on Mars, and deciphering a corrupted message indicates that something has gone wrong, but no one is prepared for just how terribly wrong. Corey and his elite team of Marines are brought in to investigate, and are confronted with this evil almost right away. As his crew is picked off one by one, Corey finds himself alone to battle the evil that’s been unleashed. It’s an ancient evil with immense power, but Corey gets some help from an unexpected source.”

“It is a fast paced story, but I never felt overwhelmed or rushed through it. Narrated by Corey, I easily got a good sense of who he was, and with good world building and nicely descriptive combat scenes, I was quickly immersed in this story and was rooting for Corey all the way. Being a Marine, Corey kept his cool fairly well when confronting the spawns of this evil, but I was a bit creeped out just envisioning the bloody mess all those bodies made, and most definitely when he had to face the winged creature with all the heads on it. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read packed with action and a spooky sci-fi kind of feel.”

Blurb

THE SAGA OF EVIL BEGINS…

From a distant galaxy far beyond our time, the most ancient of all EVIL awoke before descending upon our unsuspecting galaxy. The planet it reached never faced such a threat, but didn’t submit to it, either. In a final attempt to survive, a prison between dimensions was built, the last hope to hold the DARK POWER for an eternity. The planet withered and died, and its people found a new refuge among the stars. That planet is now known as: Mars.

But even eternity doesn’t last forever. Ignorance and an infantile arrogance of a nation leads to its release. And once again, it only leaves death in its wake.

Read the fast-paced Sci-Fi/Horror, where the elements of OCCULT meet with an advanced MILITARY thriller, wrapped in a colossal battle between good and evil.

The first part of a new, long-awaited Saga, from the internationally renowned author of “The Darkness Within” will give you a gulp of a SMASH HIT and will leave you wanting more…

Bio

robert foto3miniRobert Friedrich is an Author who writes in a multitude of styles which include Novella’s, Short Stories, Poetry and even Screenplays. His books are famous for taking an unconventional route through the darkest of places and emotions, and are generally driven by fast paced action and direct-from-heart dialogue. His current releases include: The Darkness Within: A Novella, Enlightened by Darkness Anthologies, The Book of Metal Lyrics and Seed of Evil, which is the first part of an entire up-coming Saga. Robert surprises his audience by how different, each of his book’s tone, message is and how they are visually descriptive. He also designs his own book covers and trailers.

“A fictional Dystopia is better than a fake Utopia.” — Robert Friedrich

Website: http://robapexenterprise.wix.com/robert-friedrich

Book links (Excerpt is directly there via Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IF63J9K

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00IF63J9K

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8N6oMt4tuU

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Dear Romantic Fantasy Fans,

Here it is, Folks! Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, FREE on Kindle.

WHEN?  Starting today, from Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

To get your free download NOW from the Kindle store, click on each title below. It’s as simple as that!

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone 


Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

Between truth and deception, between justice and abuse, a stonewiser stands alone with the stones. Or so begins the stonewiser’s oath. But what happens when a rebellious stonewiser discovers that lies have tainted the stone tales?

In a world devastated by the rot’s widespread destruction, only the tales preserved in the stones can uphold the truth and defend the Goodlands. In this world, stone truth is valued above anyone’s word, and stonewisers are the only ones capable of retrieving the tales from the stones, the only link between past and present, order and chaos.

Sariah is the most gifted stonewiser of her generation, but her talent does not atone for her shortcomings. A survivor of the Guild’s brutal training, she is curious, willful and disobedient. Yet not even Sariah is prepared for what she finds when she steals into the Guild’s Sacred Vaults: A mayhem of lies and intrigues that shatters her world.

Hunted, persecuted, and betrayed, Sariah must make an unlikely alliance with Kael, a cynical rebel leader pledged to a mysterious quest of his own. The fate of their dying world depends on their courage to overcome centuries of hatred and distrust. But not even the grueling journey has prepared them for what they are about to discover. Because nothing is really as it seems, and the truth is more intricate and devastating than they ever suspected…. 

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9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

Sariah’s reward for revealing the stone truth: a death sentence.

The executioners have arrived and Sariah, the most powerful and controversial stonewiser of her generation, has been judged and condemned to death. For the last few months, Sariah has been hiding in the Rotten Domain, trying to find the elusive tale capable of uniting a divided people teetering on the brink of a catastrophic war. As she is dragged to the nets, where an eel rave has been stirred to maximize her execution’s gruesome spectacle, Sariah knows she cannot escape her sentence. She is guilty of the crimes for which she’s been condemned and no one, not even Kael, the Domain’s foremost rebel leader, can save her from the executioners’ righteous justice.

But Kael is more than just a formidable warrior; he is also a cunning strategist and Sariah’s steadfast lover. Risking all he has, he bargains with the greedy executioners, bribing them into delaying Sariah’s execution, buying her precious time and a last chance to realize the mysterious legacy that the stones have imposed on her. The agreement is hardly a reprieve. It encourages a mob to hunt Sariah for ransom, banishing her from the Rotten Domain and imposing heavy fines on anyone who tries to help her. Worse, it requires her to wear an irremovable, mysterious bracelet. If she doesn’t return to the executioners with the tale in hand when the allotted time expires, Kael and his kin will be ruined and the bracelet will kill her.

Hunted by the executioners, the Guild and the Shield, Sariah and Kael embark on a desperate search. Their journey will take them to the depths of the Rotten Domain, where Sariah must wise a guiding beam out of the wild tale stored in a stone-carved game. The beam will lead them through the warring Goodlands—where the rot is on the move—to the land beyond the Bastions, where a zealous people guard an ancient stone that could hold the key to their search. Along the way, Sariah and Kael must overcome deadly traps, torture, heartbreak, agonizing defeat and devastating losses in a desperate attempt to avoid war and answer the mysterious call of the stone. 

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9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone

 

Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

“Do you know why the stones grieve?” the woman said to Kael. “Not for a soul, I’ll tell you that much. The stones don’t grieve for the passing of a lowly woman or the madness of a smitten man. They don’t mourn death, or lost love, or broken dreams, or loneliness or despair. Yet you will make them wail. For you, the stones will weep.”

In their most perilous adventure yet, Sariah, the rogue stonewiser who stunned the world by discovering lies in the stones and defying the all-powerful Guild, and Kael, the rebel leader who against all odds loves her, must find a stolen child, the only one capable of setting rule upon chaos, preserving the future of stonewising, and defeating the rot ravaging the land. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The coveted child they seek is said to be an abomination. He is also their son.

It’s a daunting challenge. Their child is in the hands of a deceitful enemy who has fled to a mysterious ruler, a rival deity with unfathomable powers pledged to destroy the goddess and eradicate stonewising from the world. Worse yet, the land is engulfed in strife, the rot is spreading faster than ever, and Kael is haunted by a malevolent curse compelling him to kill the woman he loves.

In a dangerous journey fraught with shocking twists, Sariah and Kael must do more than defeat their foes, unravel the mystifying forces vying to control their lives, and discover the mysteries of ages past. They must challenge the stones, defy the goddess and confront their cursed fates. Because only by embracing their destinies do they stand a chance to save their child and their world.

 

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

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Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.

After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her at www.DoraMachado.com.

 

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earp1While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?

Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest anthology, SHADOW MASTERS: AN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE HORROR ZINE. When did you start writing and what got you into horror?

A: When I was a little girl, I spent nearly every Saturday night at my best friend’s house. We would try to stay up late and watch the Bob Wilkin’s Creature Feature here in Sacramento. (I say try because we always fell asleep on the floor in front of the TV). Wilkins always showed gothic vampire films and B-grade monster mashes.

That started my love of the genre…and then came Carrie by Stephen King. Need I say more?

Q: Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?

A: It’s always a teacher, isn’t it? My fifth-grade teacher told my mother: “Encourage her writing and discourage her artwork.” Ha! That says something about my drawing ability.

Q: Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?

A: Oh god, yes. Before computers, there was the typewriter and gobs of White Out. Then technology advanced, making writing better for everyone. Embrace technology! The “good old days” are really the “difficult old days.”

11736839-22769210-thumbnailQ: What was your inspiration for putting together SHADOW MASTERS?

A: My inspiration is to combine best-selling writers with the talented lesser-knowns. SHADOW MASTERS is the first time The Horror Zine has compiled original, never-before seen works from horror greats such as Bentley Little, Yvonne Navarro, Scott Nicholson, Melanie Tem, Elizabeth Massie, Earl Hamner, Simon Clark, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Ronald Malfi, Lisa Morton, Jeff Bennington, JG Faherty and many others; this amazing collection of works also includes a Foreword from Joe R. Lansdale.

Q: Do you have any short story plotting secrets? Do you use index cards or special software?

A: I have written the “secrets” for short story writing that can be found in the June issue of The Horror Zine (under TIPS) available now at http://www.thehorrorzine.com.

Q: What do you tell your muse when she refuses to collaborate?

A: I say “I’ll be back” and file it in my “unfinished” folder. Then I work on something else. Or go out and enjoy the day. The point is, you cannot force your muse. She comes to you.

Q: Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?

A: Not really. Writing is like your job: you set aside a certain amount of time each day. If your muse is uncooperative, then you can always do edits on what you have previously written.

Q: How do you celebrate the completion of an anthology?

A: Splash it all over The Horror Zine, Facebook, and Shocklines!

Q: What do you love most about the writer’s life?

A: Well, you have to understand that I am also an editor. I think I like that best, because I get opportunities to work with the most talented (and nicest) people in the world.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: The Horror Zine is always seeking fiction, poetry and art from morbidly creative people. Come visit us at http://www.thehorrorzine.com.

Purchase SHADOW MASTERS from Amazon (paperback) and on Kindle.

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Note from the author:

The Goodread’s Paranormal and Horror Lovers BOOK OF THE MONTH is now up for voting BUT JUST UNTIL OCTOBER 5! PLEASE vote for my EVIL STALKS THE NIGHT-Revised Author’s Edition. I would so appreciate it. VOTE HERE:
http://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/72294-book-of-the-month-small-press
Warmly, author of 16 novels, 2 novellas and twelve short stories, Kathryn Meyer Griffith rdgriff@het.net

*****

Evil Stalks the NightRevised Author’s Edition is special to me for many reasons. It was my first published novel in 1984 and as it comes out again on June 1, 2012, rereleased from Damnation Books for the first time in nearly thirty years, it’ll bring my over forty year writing career full circle. With its publication all fourteen, and one novella, of my old books will be out again for the first time in decades. Sure, it’s been a grueling, tedious two-and- a-half year job rewriting and editing these new versions but I’m thrilled it’s over. I have my babies reborn and out in the world again…and all in e books for the first time ever. Now, perfectionist that I am, I can finally move forward and write new stories.

I’ll start at the very beginning because, though Evil Stalks the Night was my first published novel, it wasn’t my first written one.

That first book was The Heart of the Rose. I began writing it after my only child, James, was born in late 1971. I was staying home with him, no longer going to college, not yet working full time, and was bored out of my skin. I read an historical romance one day I believed was horrible and thought I can do better than that!

So I got out my borrowed typewriter with the keys that stuck, my bottles of White-Out, carbon paper for copies, and started clicking away. I’d tentatively called that first book King’s Witch because it was about a 15th century healer who was falsely believed to be a witch but who was loved by Edward the Fourth. At the library, no computers or Internet back then, I did tedious research into that time in English history: the War of the Roses, the poverty, the civil and political strife between the Red (Lancasters) and White Rose (Yorks); the infamous Earl of Warwick and Edward the Fourth.  Edward’s brother Richard the Third.  A real saga. Well, all that was big back then. I was way out of my league, though. Didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I just wrote page after page, emotions high believing I could create a whole book. So naïve of me. Reading that old version now (a 1985 Leisure Books paperback) I have to laugh. Ironically, like that historical novel I’d thought in 1971 was so bad, it was pretty awful. That archaic language I’d used–all the rage back in the 80’s–sounds so stilted now. Yikes! Yet people, mainly women, had loved it.

And so my writing career began. Over 40 years ago now. Oh my goodness, where has the time gone? Flown away like some wild bird. It took me 12 years to get that first book published as I got sidetracked with a divorce, raising a son, getting a real job and finding the true love of my life and marrying him. Life, as it always seemed to do and still does, got in the way. The manuscript was tossed into a drawer and forgotten for a time.

Then years later I rediscovered it and decided to rewrite it; try again. I bundled up the revised pile of printed copy pages, tucked it into an empty copy paper box and took it to the Post Office. Plastered it with stamps. I sent it everywhere The Writer’s Market of that year said I could. And waited. Months and months and months. In those days it could take up to a year or more to sell a novel, shipping it here and there to publishers, in between revising and rewriting to please any editor that’d make suggestions or comments on how it could be better. Snail mail took forever, too, and was expensive. But eventually, as you shall see, it sold.

Now to Evil Stalks the Night.

In the meantime, as I waited for the mail, I’d written another book. Kind of a fictionalized look back at my childhood in a large (6 brothers and sisters) poor but loving family in the 1950’s and 60’s. I started sending that one out as well. Then one day an editor suggested that since my writing had such a spooky ambiance to it anyway, why didn’t I just turn the story into a horror novel…like Stephen King was doing? Ordinary people under supernatural circumstances. A book like that would sell easily, she said.

Hmmm. Well, it was worth a try, so I added something scary in the woods in the main character’s childhood past that she had to return to and face in her adult life, using some of my childhood and my young adult life–my heartbreaking divorce, raising my young son alone, my new love–as hers. It was more of a romantic horror when I’d finished, than a horror novel. I retitled it Evil Stalks the Night and began sending it out. That editor was right, it sold quickly to a mass market paperback publisher called Towers Publishing.

But right in the middle of editing Towers went bankrupt and was bought out by another publisher! What terrible luck, I remember brooding. The book was lost somewhere in the stacks of unedited slush in a company undergoing massive changes as the new publisher took over. I had a contract, didn’t know what to do and didn’t know how to break it. Heaven knows, I couldn’t afford a lawyer. My life with a new husband, my son and my minimum-wage assistant billing job was one step above poverty at times. In those days, too, I was so clueless how to deal with the publishing industry.

That was 1983, but luckily that take-over publisher was Leisure Books, now also known as Dorchester Publishing. A publisher that quickly became huge. Talk about karma.

As often as has happened to me over my writing career, though, fate stepped in and the Tower’s editor, before she left, who’d bought my book told one of Leisure’s editors about it and asked her to give it a read. She believed in it that much.

Out of the blue, in 1984, when I’d completely given up on Evil Stalks the Night, Leisure Books sent me a letter offering to buy it! Then, miracle of miracles, my new editor asked if I had any other ideas or books she could look at. I sent her The Heart of the Rose and, liking it, too, she also bought it in 1985; asking me to sex it up some, so they could release it as an historical bodice-ripper (remember those…the sexy knockoffs of Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss’s provocative novels?).  It wasn’t a lot of money. A thousand dollar advance each and only 4% royalties on the paperbacks. But in those days the publishers had a huge distribution and thousands and thousands of the paperbacks were printed, sent to bookstores and warehoused. So 4% of all those books over the next couple of years did add up.

Thus my career began. I slowly, and like-pulling-teeth, sold ten more novels and various short stories over the next 25 years–as I was working full time, raising a family and living my hard-scramble life. Some did well, my Leisure and Zebra paperbacks, and some didn’t. Most of them, over the years, eventually went out of print.

And twenty-seven years later, when publisher Kim Richards Gilchrist at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, an apocalyptic end-of-days-novel, and The Woman in Crimson, a vampire book, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course–and all in ebooks for the first time ever) my 7 out-of-print paperbacks, including Evil Stalks the Night–I gave her a resounding yes!

Of course, I had to totally rewrite Evil Stalks the Night for the resurrected edition, as well as my other early novels, because I discovered my writing when I was twenty-something had been immature and unpolished; and not having a computer and the Internet had made the original writing so much harder. Also in those days, editors told an author what to change and the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it.  There were so many mistakes in those early books. Typos. Grammar. Lost plot and detail threads. In the rewrite I also decided to keep the time frame (1960-1984) the same.  The book’s essence would have lost too much if I’d updated it.

As I finished the final editing I couldn’t help but reminisce about all the life changes I’ve had since I’d first began writing it so many years ago. Though it was actually published in 1984, I’d started writing it many years before; closer to 1978 or 1979. I’m as old as my Grandmother Fehrt, my mother’s mother and who the grandmother in the story was loosely based on, was back then. While I was first writing it so long ago, I was a young married woman with a small child holding down my first real job and trying to do it all. Now…my Grandmother, mother and father have all passed to the other side. Many other family and friends I’ve left behind, too. I miss them all, especially my mom and dad. It’s strange how revising my old books reminded me of certain times of my life. Some of the memories I hid from and some of them made me laugh or cry. This book, though, is the most autobiographical of all my novels as it contains details of my childhood, my devastating divorce, and what my life was like when I first met my second husband, Russell, who’s turned out to be my true love. We’ve been happily married for thirty-four years and counting. Ah, but how quickly the years have clicked by. Too quickly. I want to reach out, at times, and stop time. I want more. I have so much more life to live and many more stories to write.

So Evil Stalks the NightRevised Author’s Edition (http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79 ) republished by Damnation Books/Eternal Press will be out again for the first time in nearly thirty years on June 1, 2012, and I hope it’s a better book than it was in 1984. It should be…I’ve had over thirty more years of life and experiences to help make it so.

Written this 1st day of June, 2012 by the author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

***

A writer for over 40 years I’ve had 14 novels, 1 novella and 7 short stories published with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, the Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press since 1984. And my romantic end-of-the-world horror novel THE LAST VAMPIRERevised Author’s Edition was a 2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS FINALIST NOMINEE.

My books(all out again from Damnation Books http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79 and Eternal Press http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=422): Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forge, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire, Witches, The Nameless One short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away, Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella, In This House short story, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, The Woman in Crimson, The Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction) ***

You can keep up with me on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019954486, my Author’s Den www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith  or my My Space www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith

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Hello everyone! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new ongoing vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

I’m very excited to be a guest blogger at The Dark Phantom Review! This is my first official blog tour and I’m simply amazed by the support I’ve received from the community of bloggers, reader, and fans—so, thank you very, very much for joining me today.

This is the fourth (and final) week of that tour. Looking back, I realize that I’ve written guest posts about reading, writing, varied opinions about reading & writing, and even random musings … but I have yet to write a post about væmpires. Since it might be prudent to rectify that situation before it goes any further, I’m going to explain more about the world of væmpires than the information collectively offered by book descriptions, promos, and/or reviews.

So, here goes …

The Background:

Væmpires (pronounced “vempires”) takes place several thousand years in the future. Sometime in the late twenty-ninth or early thirtieth centuries, humans triggered WWIII. The resultant nuclear winter lasted for hundreds of years and wiped out the vast majority of the population. Water levels rose. The face of the world changed.

When the world recovered from the Great Devastation (as it’s called), the Atlantic Ocean was gone, creating one immense continent surrounded by water. Antarctica and Australia were uninhabited. The few island groups that existed were in constant danger of being swallowed by the remaining oceans, so efforts to inhabit them were quickly abandoned. The peoples of earth spread throughout the continent and grew roots. The calendar was reset at 1 AD (After Devastation).

The new world recovered at an exponential rate. Scientific and medical advancements eradicated most sickness and disease. In less than a thousand years, the human population soared to an estimated thirty or forty billion people.

But the geography wasn’t the only thing that had changed. Vampires, beautiful beings with an inescapable need for human blood, crawled out of the radioactive miasma to settle in dark places. For years, they hid by day and hunted by night, feeding at the fringes of civilization.

Their discovery, delayed yet inevitable, sparked the H-V (Human-Vampire) Wars. For hundreds of years, neither side gained a decided advantage—vampires were physically superior, but were greatly outnumbered and had difficulty reproducing.

In 1000 AD, the creation of synth-blood (synthetic human blood) changed the world once again. Vampires were no longer slaves to their hunger and humans no longer needed to fear their genetically-superior brethren. Vampires emerged from the shadows and the underworld, cautiously at first, but with increasing enthusiasm as humans welcomed them with open arms.

Understanding that their time as the dominant species was ending, human leaders suggested a series of agreements designed to broker a lasting peace between the two races. Earth was rechristened Tarados (Earth Two) and carved into seven provinces—North & South America, North & South Atlantica, North & South Africa, and Aurasia. Four provinces were placed under vampire rule, a bold concession that nevertheless ushered in a true golden age of peace and prosperity.

The first væmpires appeared around 1500 AD. The creatures—warm-blooded with a hunger for cold vampire blood—were quickly dismissed as anomalies; poor, unfortunate victims of some horrible new mutagen or, perhaps, lingering atomic contamination. As the situation not only persisted, but grew, world leaders stubbornly refused to acknowledge that any problem existed.

Eventually, the truth became clear: væmpires were former vampires. And each væmpire was a bigger, stronger, faster version of its former self. There was no rhyme or reason as to who morphed—male or female, old or young, from one end of the world to another—no vampire was safe.

No one could determine why the mutations occurred or how to avoid them. New synth-blood variants failed to quell væmpire hunger. The væmpire population grew to a point where they demanded rights and representation on a par with humans and vampires. Instead, their leaders were summarily ignored, discredited, or otherwise rendered impotent. Væmpire gangs formed, menacing neighborhoods in major cities.

The gangs became increasingly violent as diplomatic endeavors proved ineffective. With all three races at odds, the largest gangs evolved into terrorist cells intent on fulfilling a new agenda: the eradication of humanity; the enslavement of vampires; and the ascension of væmpires as the new world leaders.

This is where Væmpires: Revolution begins.

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Væmpires: Revolution

It is the morning of Princess Cassandra’s sixteenth birthday. Everyone’s attention is focused on the heir to the vampire throne. World leaders, the rich and famous, and VIPs from every corner of the globe have gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate the momentous event.

Cassandra’s boyfriend, Daniel, is late for the party. He’s still outside the city when all hell breaks loose. What he believes is an act of terrorism proves to be a full-fledged revolution. Væmpires have launched coordinated attacks across the globe.

The vampire and human leaders are killed. Cassandra is missing. Daniel is the acting king. Desperate to find the princess, Daniel and his friends fight their way across the besieged city. With the hopes of the free world resting on the shoulders of four vampire teenagers, væmpires unleash their secret weapons: a new breed of væmpire that is far deadlier than any ever seen before.

What can four teens do against an enemy that can shape-shift, fly, and walk through walls?

Væmpires: White Christmas is set six months prior to the events described above, but was designed to be read after Væmpires: Revolution.

Væmpires: White Christmas

It’s almost Christmas. With the global holiday days away, the people of the world should be turning their attention toward celebrating peace and goodwill, but tension between humans, vampires, and væmpires is at an all-time high. Desperate for solutions, King Brant schedules a secret summit deep in North America’s Northern Forest. Along with Queen Anne, Princess Cassandra, Daniel’s family, and the human president and First Lady, the vampire leader seeks to reaffirm the ties between humans and vampires, while brainstorming ways to respond to the growing hostility among væmpires.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Cassie’s relationship is at an all-time low. The princess is still reeling from her breakup with Vielyn, and Daniel doesn’t know what he should or shouldn’t do to help. Little does he know that the summit will be flooded with surprises—guests, allegations, accusations, proposals, and even Christmas Eve revelations—but not all of the surprises will be pleasant.

So, there you have it—the Væmpires saga in a nutshell. It’s an urban fantasy/dystopian series, combining fantasy, sci-fi, horror, action, and romance in bite-sized chunks for your enjoyment!

I hope you enjoyed my guest blog. I’d love to hear what you think of it. Comment here, stop by my website, or even drop an email. I’d also love to hear from you if you check out Vaempires. Below are some links where you can find me:

Website

Email

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Goodreads

Books on Amazon.com

Books on Smashwords

Books on iTunes

As a final note: I’d like to thank all of you (one more time) for stopping in and offer a very special “thank you” to Mayra for allowing me to be a guest blogger at The Dark Phantom Review today.

Take care,

Thomas Winship

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To win an ebook or print copy of this book, simply leave a comment! (Print copy US shipping only.) Thanks!

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I don’t intentionally read books to drool over hot muscular men. It’s just what happens to me sometimes. I’m enjoying the story, loving the plotline, and then out of nowhere a gorgeous guy steps on the scene, capturing my heart. I have plenty of book boyfriends, but we’re all busy with things to do, so I’ll just give you my top five drool-worthy hotties!

1- CURRAN, The Beast Lord of Atlanta
(Ilona Andrews- Magic Series)
This blond hair and grey eyed Were-lion is funny and dangerous all at the same time. If you would like to date this guy, I would tread carefully because his girlfriend Kate knows her way around a sword.
Any Curran POV that Ilona Andrews puts out I devour within seconds!

2- JERICHO BARRONS , The Sociopath we love to hate!

(Karen Marie Moning- Fever Series)
Most of the series you have no idea what species Barrons belongs to, so I’m not going to say it, just in case some sad person out there has not had the pleasure to meet my sexy sociopath. Let’s just say he is an exotic looking guy with dark hair. There’s a pretty sizzling POV sex scene that Karen Moning recently published this month. Check it out!

3- RICHARD, The Wolf King
(Laurel K Hamilton- Anita Blake Series)
This tall, dark, and handsome Boy Scout is an unwilling member in Anita Blake’s harem. Many see him as a whiner, but I love his desire to stand up for what he believes in.

4- BONES
(Jeaniene Frost- Night Huntress Series)
This Vampire is a devoted and loyal lover who loves to bite interesting parts of the body. I think that’s what really sticks out to me the most about him.

5- KISTEN
(Kim Harrison- Hollows Series)
I just love my Vampires! Many people are probably saying, “Kisten? Who?” This hottie is in the earlier part of the series. To avoid giving away any spoilers I won’t say anymore, but after a certain book in the series I must admit I sent some horrible emails to Mrs. Harrison. I was so upset.
(In fact… I don’t know if I am quite over the trauma…. Or if Mrs. Harrison has stopped that restraining order.  )

Honorable Mentions

MeShack and Zulu, OF COURSE!!
(Kenya Wright- Habitat Series)

MeShack
A half Black and Iranian Were-cheetah that purrs when he is. . . happy. He’s also the lead singer to Mahogany Groove and considered a playboy around the Santeria habitat.

Zulu, The Heart Ripper
He organized Mixbreeds For Equality. He’s called The Heart Ripper because when he discovers a drug dealer is selling to kids in his neighborhood. . . he rips their hearts out of their chest.

Fire Baptized
By Kenya Wright

Since the 1970’s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.

Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.

Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend Meshach and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention.

While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

Kindle
Paperback
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/a28T5HzpGJ4

About the Author:

Kenya Wright always knew she would be famous since the ripe old age of six when she sung the Michael Jackson thriller song in her bathroom mirror. She has tried her hand at many things from enlisting in the Navy for six years as a Persian-Farsi linguist to being a nude model at an art university.

However, writing has been the only constant love in her life.

So here we are Kenya is publishing her first book, Fire Baptized, the urban fantasy novel she always wanted to read. This novel is the first book in a series.

Will she succeed? Of course.

For she has been coined The Urban Fantasy Queen, the Super Iconic Writer of this Age, The Lyrical Genius of Our Generation. Granted, these are all terms coined by her, within the private walls of her bathroom as she still sings the Michael Jackson thriller song.

Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on Kenya’s head at night.

http://kenyawright.com

https://twitter.com/#!/Firebaptizedd

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Bill Swears calls himself a service brat. He was born in Great Falls, Montana. He’s lived in England, Iran, Germany, and nine states. Bill flew military helicopters for twenty-two years, seven in the Army and fifteen in the Coast Guard. He sold his first short story while he was a Coast Guard rescue helicopter pilot, and immediately began writing a book. He finished that manuscript ten years later, after retiring from active duty.

On November 15, 2003, Bill broke his back while ditching a homebuilt experimental airplane 100 NM out to sea from Maui, Hawaii. He retired from the USCG in 2004, after spinal fusion surgery and rehabilitation. He says that there is an upside to that, because he shows up on Google searches: http://starbulletin.com/2003/11/18/news/index4.html. Although he does show up on Google searches, Dark Phantom suggests that there are better ways to do that and Bill agrees. 

Bill met his wife Teri in high school in 1978. They married in 1982, but didn’t get around to having children for seventeen more years. They have two kids, thirteen year old Alexa and eight year old Michael, and will celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary in July. Bill claims that they lost track of time.

The Swears family lives in a beat-up old log home on a ridge line in Peter’s Creek, Alaska with a brace of rare breed Eurasier dogs and a pair of cats. Bill earned his MA in English and graduated on Groundhog Day 2010, the year he turned fifty. He works as a technical writer and editor for a little known federal bureau. He has a spanking new webresidence and blog at www.BillSwears.com, and blogs at http://wswears.livejournal.com/.

About the book, Zook Country:

Metamorphic plague has swept the globe over the last five years. Victims become rabid non-sentient zooks, immensely strong and so fast that a normal person can’t see them move. A third of humanity has died, but people are fighting back, balanced on the razor’s edge between survival and apocalypse. Jake Chestnut and Gary Landon, both ex-army, are partners in Seraglio, an independent Kent, Washington based zook hunting firm. Both lost their families to plague and are part of the less than one percent of humanity with the innate ability, ESP, reflexes, and willingness to shoot where the zook will be next that are necessary to combat feral zooks. Zook-hunters are charged with hunting down and killing plague victims. These battle scarred men and women have been on the front line with no reprieve for five years, and the survivors have developed an esprit de corps similar to that of a WWI Aerosquadron.

Killing zooks for a living is tough, but the alternative is worse; eight months after infection, zooks metamorphose into non-corporeal ghasten, who live in collectives, herd zooks, kill with energy discharges, and create rifts in the fabric of reality that have swallowed cities. While working a contract to clear a first of its kind community/safe enclave for the elite, somebody tries to kill Jake, Gary, and their crew. With Gary badly injured, Jake must untangle a web of conspiracy to complete Seraglio’s contract and seek vengeance. What he discovers may lead to civil war.

 

 

Interview:

From Coast Guard rescue helicopter pilot to apocalyptic science-fiction adventure writer. How did that come about?

I was reading science fiction in grade school. A lot of it. I read through all of the science fiction in the city library nearest my house when I was eleven, and in every school library from the time I left fourth grade until I graduated from high school. I couldn’t be forced to study my school-work, but that science fiction stuff my mother so disapproved of? I never really stopped. Before I joined the military I wrote a couple of science fiction short stories – really bad stories, but with a core of humor that my friends (and other people I was able to intimidate into reading my stuff) noticed. So I guess the question is more, “How did a budding young writer end up flying Coast Guard helicopters?” Now that was a long road. I knew I wanted to write, I knew I wanted to be a pilot, and I knew I wanted to be the world’s first independent cargo dirigible captain. But I really wasn’t ready to write in my early twenties, and I banged my head against that, until one day Teri pointed at one of the then popular commercials that said “The Army; the only service that will take you straight from high school to flight school.”

She still claims that she was joking, but nine months later, with an impressive battery of tests behind me, I was swearing into the Army for rotary-wing flight school. I thought initially that I’d like to follow in Dad’s footsteps,  join the Air Force and become a jet pilot, but after I’d flown helicopters for a few years I realized that I was just having too much fun to give up the rotary-wing lifestyle. Flying seems like a young man’s career, and I stayed with that for my first career, moving to the Coast Guard when I realized that saving lives fit me better than taking them (training to take them. I’ve never been in combat). So, it seems like I’m breaking into a whole new gig, writing fiction, but really, I’m taking time to do something I’ve always loved. And now, I have a bunch of sea stories that I can weave into my writing!

What was your inspiration for Zook Country and how did you come up with the concept of ‘Zook’.

Believe it or not, I started writing about Jake and Gary while I was talking about using voice in dialogue at rec.arts.sf.composition. I threw out a snippet that was very close to the opening you can read today. I liked the characters and started to write, not knowing where they’d go. I got about two chapters in before I began to feel the shape of the novel to come. That’s when I wrote a rough story-arc that I followed for the rest of the draft.

As I originally wrote it, the story was mostly contemporary dark fantasy, with zooks being part of an attack on the human race by evil dragons. A good dragon had found his way to earth as well, and became a major character in my earlier draft. I was picked up by an agent almost immediately, but he convinced me to take out the fey/magical aspects and give it a more down to earth explanation. I miss Thomas the dragon even today, but the novel that came out was much tighter and easily visualized. The agent? He left the publishing industry entirely, though we’re still friends.

I remember when I first started to develop the zooks that I was thinking about vampires, and that I wanted to write a guy version of urban fantasy. At the time I was thinking that I wanted a new monster because I didn’t want to be stuck in somebody else’s pigeonhole, but that I also wanted to borrow from known monster archetypes so that readers wouldn’t be completely alienated. It seemed like burning up in contact with silver and being able to heal almost instantly would be recognizable as monster traits. Becoming non-sentient and apelike came from my prejudices about what happens to rabies victims in the later stages of the disease. After that, I just let the story flow and Ghasten came along as if that’s what is supposed to happen to hyperspeed feral apes.

I came up with the name zook as an integral part of the world I was imagining (and beginning to dream about). At first I didn’t know where the name came from – I finally posted a longer section with RASFC and asked my friends there to comment about zooks, especially the name, which worried me a little. Ric Locke (Temporary Duty: available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble) said that it was clearly a mashup of Zombie and Gook, and that made complete sense to me. Soldiers find ways to dehumanize their enemies so that they can get on with the business of killing them. I don’t really think of zooks as being zombies, but the parallels are obvious, so maybe my hind-brain was already making the connection.

I understand you first self-published the novel before it was picked up by Twilight Times Books. I love success stories like that. Can you share with my readers how that happened?

I’m proud of my writing, but promotionally, I’m a real neophyte. After five full years in one publisher’s recommended pile (I checked in with her every few months and was always reassured that it was in her pile, and that she’d eventually get around to looking at it), while gaining and losing two agents from a rather famous F&SF centric literary agency, I gave up on waiting for the industry to get around to looking at me. I spent some months prepping the book for self-publication, setting up ISBNs, buying cover art, getting a copy/line edit from somebody I trusted, and running the whole book through several members of my writers group. Then I put it up on Amazon Kindle and nothing much happened. Apparently Amazon is releasing so many e-books that their market is glutted with new titles (or, just maybe, I’ve been lost in a sea of voices shouting “Buy me! Buy me!” and if I can get the right attention, some few people will want to face a new monster in their darker nights). While I thought about whether to expand my markets to other e-book providers or join Kindle Select, I sent promotional messages to each of my Facebook friends, and everybody I ever traded e-mail with, asking for reviews. Stephanie Osborne suggested that I friend Lida Quillen and offer the book to Twilight Times Books.

Sending individual messages to each of your Facebook friends is terribly labor intensive, but it netted me a few promises of reviews, and the name of a promising publisher. Here was this small but growing press with authors that I recognized, and here I was, starting to get a really good notion of just how time intensive and pricey it was to promote myself, so the idea really had a shiny glow. I queried Lida, she read the book and liked it, and then suddenly I was barreling down a road I thought was closed to me.

The road has been bumpy, but I went from 2007 to 2012 with the book in a big publishing house but no action at all, then was picked up and published in 11 days. I couldn’t decide whether ecstasy or head-desk was the correct response. I settled on muted excitement with a sense that the other boot would soon drop.

I understand Zook Country wasn’t the original title

I originally wrote the book under the title Seraglio, because Jake and Gary named their company that, and because it has an uncomfortable resonance with something the bad-guys have done. Nobody at all liked that title, so I was casting around for a better one when my German publisher told me that he’d publish the book only if I renamed it Zookland. I like Zookland quite a lot, but thought that here in the US it came too close to the names Zombieland and Zoolander. In fact, for the longest time, if I Googled Zookland I got the Ben Stiller movie.

Anyway, Zook Country as a term is reminiscent (to me!) of Injun Country, which I hoped would have meaning to some part of the US crowd. 

The novel was also published in Germany. Is it still available there and was it published there in German?

Yes it is, yes it was. Zookland was translated to German by my friend Dirk Van Den Boom, and is available in hardback or trade paperback at http://www.atlantis-verlag.de/, or in trade paper or kindle from Amazon.com here in the U.S. – for anybody who speaks German. Really, anybody who speaks German should buy both books and compare them. Yeah, that’s the ticket. 😉

Tell us a bit about your writing process. Are you a morning bird or a night owl? How long does it usually take you to finish a book?

I’m a morning bird by ingrained habit, but a night owl by inclination. Before joining the military, Teri and I thought nothing about watching the sunrise before going to bed. Now, I’m awake between 4:30 and 5:00 am whether I like it or not, and whether I’ve been asleep for three hours or seven. I’m probably most productive in the mornings, and on my days off from work, which is why it was so useful to be able to take this interview at such an early hour here in Alaska.

I’m not an outliner exactly.  I usually start with a group of characters and a situation, then write a few chapters and decide who and what I like.  Then I write what I call a chapterboard, which is sort of like an outline.  I write a brief description of what I think will happen in each of twelve chapters.  That description is sometimes a sentence, and sometimes two or three paragraphs about what I have in mind.  The length of the description and the length of the chapters have absolutely no relationship, as far as I can tell.  In one chapterboard from another book, “Tanos and Carolyn get married” was the description of three long chapters that involved an assassination plot and a vastly overcomplex royal wedding.  The twelve chapters I write my chapterboard around have never come out in fact.  Zook Country had a twelve chapter board, and came out to 33 chapters and an epilogue. Sometimes my characters disapprove of a planned action and go off to raise their own Cain.  I do, generally, get to nudge them back toward my preferred ending.

I don’t know that I have a “usually” when it comes to finishing books. My first book took almost a year to write.  Zook Country took less than three months in its original form.  Now I have a high demand day job, so things are taking longer.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

Chapter 17, when Jake smells apples and tastes mocha. Anything more would be a spoiler, IMO.

Seriously though, having “favorite” scenes in a book that shivers between dark and light is difficult.  I like the moment toward the end when Donna ends up out of bullets with her men dead or dying around her, defending herself with nothing but a stiff silver wire and mad martial arts skills. Donna is way cool and a far better character than I ever deserved to dream up – and like some of the best characters, she wasn’t intended to be there.  She created her own space in my head and broke out onto the page without the least regard for my feelings.

At the other extreme, there is a scene when Jake and Gary take down a two year old zook that hurts every time I read it, and that cost me a lot of sleep when I first wrote it.  In a way, I guess you could call that a favorite.

What did you find most challenging while working on Zook Country?

During the first draft? Getting to sleep at night. Zook Country came off my fingers almost as quickly as I could type. I woke up ready to write and had itchy keyboarding fingers all day. Of course I had to do other things, like eat, and chase people down in the street to get them to read snippets, so that wasn’t mindlessly easy. But then, I found a couple good first readers, and they kept hounding me for more chapters, so I could focus more on getting the next thing written.

I thought that writing the book would be the hardest part. When I got a call a few weeks later from an agent, I thought my authoring world was made. But when that agent friend asked me to reimagine the book without fey elements? That moment comes in a close second on the challenge scale. I felt so challenged that I wanted to fly to New York and have a loud chest to chest discussion with this fellow I’d never met. Then he arranged for his boss to visit me in Anchorage during BoucherCon 2007, to tell me that I had no idea what I was doing with dragons. I didn’t really believe the agency’s advice until I’d finished and smoothed the sans magic version, and even then I was pretty mad. I was really “challenged” when the agent I’d started with up and left the industry just as I was turning in Zook Opus mark deux. More challenged yet when the boss that hadn’t liked my dragon also turned out not to like my monsters, metamorphic plague, or anything except the characters, which he thought should be in an infantry based space opera out in the Zagravian sector. We dinked around for another two years before realizing that without the first interested agent, the boss was never going to be satisfied with an Earth based adventure.

What’s on the horizon for Bill Swears?

I’ve promised to write Rogue Country, a sequel to Zook Country next. It’s set in the Oregon wine country near the River of the Rogue. I’ve got two other novels in progress. One is a straight up space opera that I’m calling Mutiny on Hellespont, and the other is high fantasy, or maybe swords and sorcery, and an immediate sequel to my first (so far unpublished) book, Split Affinity. The sequel, which is currently at 80K words, will be called Growing Affinity, and is part two of three. I can’t let myself finish it until I’ve fulfilled my promise to Dirk Van Den Boom, who wants to exhaust himself translating the next zook story.

And, my day job. Ouch.  Somebody find me a very wealthy zook enthusiast to pay my bills while I punch out the next book, please!

Author’s facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wswears

Link to excerpt: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ZookCountry_ch1.html

Link to purchase page: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ZookCountry_ch1.html. Buy it at the excerpt in any e-format, or link from there to Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007J6DPPA), or Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zook-country-bill-swears/1108892461).


Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

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I read somewhere that the average apprenticeship for a novelist is ten years. The other I’ve heard is “1 million words” before most can produce a novel worth reading. For some reason, for me, most of those words ended up being spent on the same set of characters.

I wrote different books, mind you. That’s the funny part. I wrote six full-length novels only to be unsatisfied with each one.

There were common threads through all of the books…such as, the main characters always had psychic abilities. After the first few versions, I realized I kept getting stuck on certain concepts in building the world. I mentioned this to another writer friend, and she suggested, quite sensibly, that I do some research.

I stared at her blankly.

“Research on a made-up phenomenon?”

She gave me an equally puzzled look. “Don’t you live in San Francisco?”

That actually made me laugh. I also had to concede her point.

I’d always shied away from the New Age thing, though. I may have lived in San Francisco, but I grew up in the South Bay, where my parents were Catholic and my friends agnostic. I’d gone to graduate school in New York City and felt pretty staunchly grounded in the material world. On the other hand, I had a research background, was a history buff already, and I’d even taken up martial arts to understand one of my characters. So I tried to approach my friend’s suggestion in the same light.

I started to research psychic phenomenon.

I admit, most of what I read initially struck me as pure bunk.

I kept at it though, and eventually began chasing more reasonable-sounding threads, most of them pertaining to more ancient systems of meditation and philosophy. I’d always resisted meditating in the past…yet, from a research perspective, the more hardcore practitioners fascinated me. In addition to some pretty amazing powers of concentration, a lot of these people seemed unusually happy…and in a real way, not a giddy, ‘let’s pretend’ way.

Of course, at a certain point, I had to try it myself…so I got heavily into meditation for about six years. Throughout that period, I didn’t write much fiction. When I came out on the other side, however, I found my entire approach to the book I’d wanted to write had changed. I started from scratch yet again and finally wrote the book that felt like the “right” one.

How did I know it was right?

Because I immediately wrote the sequel.

So when people ask me how long it took me to write the Allie’s War books, I always feel like Orlando when I say, “Well, the first one took…awhile.”

Since then, I’ve had a pro writer tell me that some ideas come along before the writer is ready to write them. My very first (real) novel ended up being that kind of book.

In this case, however, I think the book really wrote me.

Rook: Allie’s War, Book One
By JC Andrijeski
Published By White Sun Press

28-year-old San Francisco native, Allie Taylor, at least thought she was human. But when she meets her first real seer, a race of human-like beings discovered in the 1900s, he tells her that not only is she a seer, like him, but that all the other seers believe she’s going to end the world. Unfortunately, no matter what she does, everything that happens after that only seems to prove him right.

Smashwords

About the Author

JC Andrijeski is a bestselling author who has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction essays and articles. Her short fiction runs from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism, politics and history. Her short works have been published in numerous anthologies, online literary, art and fiction magazines as well as print venues such as NY Press newspaper and holistic health magazines. JC currently lives and writes full time in Sidhpur, India, at the foot of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, a location she drew on a fair bit in writing the Allie’s War books.

website: http://www.jcandrijeski.com
blog: http://jcandrijeski.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/syrimne1
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-C-Andrijeski/119289867659
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4470130.J_C_Andrijeski

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I am a new author with two published books to my credit. The Last Degree (DIP Publishing) was released last month. The book was inspired by my obsession with conspiracy theory. I am a Christian who believes in doomsday prophecy. I also believe there is a shadowy government that is running the world behind the proverbial curtain. The prime suspects are the Bilderbergs, Freemasons, Illuminati, Bohemian Club, and/or Club of Rome. Conspiracy theorists hold that the elite will reveal themselves once they organize the world under one government. This theory is called New World Order, and my novel links it to biblical prophecy. Crazy, right? I’m not alone. Some are much more serious about this line of thinking, going as far as constructing underground living quarters, preparing for the end.

My second book, Halo of the Damned, will be released on February 7th. Once again religion inspired me. This book isn’t as serious, but research still plays into the plot. I stumbled upon an article about the Yezidi religion many years ago. Part of their religion is about angel worshipping, particularly Malak Tawas, the peacock. This angel is known as Satan in the West. I mixed the obscure religion with my own cynical views of the advertising industry and turned it into a novel.

About the books:

The Last Degree: Secret societies plan for the first phase of New World Order. The novel is dedicated to all Birthers, Truthers, 2012ers, Tribulationists, and/or conspiracy advocates that question the inner circle of the elite.

Halo of the Damned: A fallen angel uses the advertising industry to gather souls for Satan.

Author’s Bio:

Dina Rae is a new author that is here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her research on the Yezidi religion and love of art inspired her story telling for Halo of the Damned.

Her other novel, The Last Degree, is a fictionalized account of the Freemason’s role in the New World Order. Dina’s grandfather was the Most Worshipful of his lodge. The subject has always held a personal interest.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is an avid reader, tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on conspiracy theories.

Link to author’s website or blog: dinarae.co
Twitter: @HalooftheDamned
Link to excerpt: dinarae.co
Link to purchase page: EternalPress.biz for Halo of the Damned and http://www.amazon.com/Last-Degree-Dina-Rae/dp/1937182053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328143707&sr=8-1, dippub.com, Barnesandnoble.com for The Last Degree

Watch the trailer for Halo of the Damned

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