Traci Kenworth says Sarah caused “chills creeping up my spine” – drop by to read her review! If you’re looking for a genre-specific book to read, Traci regularly posts links to reviews on various blogs – an excellent resource.
Sarah by Teri Polen. 2016. Black Rose writing. Netgalley.
Cain Shannon and his family recently moved into a new house after the death of his father. Strange things begin happening. The attic door opens by itself. Cold spots deepen. Cain feels like he’s being watched. The family’s cat, Eby, acts spooked. Cain, a horror buff, wonders if his house is haunted. He and his friend joke about using a Ouija board to bring the spirit forth.
When they set up a camera to record things in his room, they catch a ghostly specter on it. Soon afterward, Sarah visits Cain for the first time. She says she wants his help. When he is knocked unconscious at his soccer game, he begins to experience periods of blackouts and find himself watching the football players with hostility. He breaks up with his girlfriend who manipulates him and…
It’s Friday! Indie Author Friday, to be more specific, and Christopher D. Schmitz is here today with his fantasy books, unusual question from a fan, and excellent taste in Netflix.
After merging with her copy from an alternate reality, college student Claire Jones is thrust into a setting beyond imagine and must fight alongside Zabe, her self-appointed, inter-dimensional guardian. Together they must stop an evil warlock from shattering the laws of existence who, above all else, seeks Claire’s blood as the key to controlling the all-powerful Tesseract. If the evil one gets a drop of her blood he can rip a hole in time and space and summon his dark nega-god into existence.
The book I’m currently pitching hardest is my paranomal YA adventure, Wolf of the Tesseract. Following WotT coming out with Black Rose Writing, I’ve written two new books and I’m in prewriting for the sequel: Through the Darque Gates of Koth. I also have the second novel in my fantasy series coming out in a few weeks (Rise ofthe Dragon Impervious.) Readers can get that the first novel for free by signing up for my mailing list on my main website. I’ve also had good feedback from my sci-fi Dekker’s Dozen: The Last Watchmen which is similar in feel to Firefly and DarkMatter, but with a steampunk-time-traveling twist. Plus zombies… in space. There might also be a clockwork ninja. All of my books (plus ten others) are on Amazon or on my personal website.
What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?
Kill the passive voice.
What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?
I had someone email to ask if a supporting character (Jackie from Wolf of the Tesseract) was based on a real person–if so could I pass on her information? Reader would very much like to ask her out on a date.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I took up writing short fiction exclusively for several years so that I worked on starting the story, evolving a plot, editing, killing babies, finishing the story, and dropping the mic. It also helped to learn to write succinctly and ramble less–writing shorter sentences for space reasons began to teach me how to write varied lengths and write with rhythms to move the pace and story rather than just impart communication.
Any unusual talents or hobbies?
I play the great highland bagpipes.
What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?
I watched the entire Gravity Falls series–it’s almost a perfect cartoon touching on great themes and paranormal elements similar to Stranger Things (which might be my favorite show). But I would have ended it slightly different… as I watched it with my teenage children I noted that the ending was good, but I would’ve left Stan Pines as a vegetable and had his brother take him across the world on a sailboat while becoming his caretaker to reinforce the seriousness of his noble sacrifice. (Then my daughter said, “No–you would’ve killed everyone.” She has read most of my library and she might be right. I don’t always play nice with my characters.)
If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
I often feel a little bit like Boromir from Lord of the Rings. I wish I was Aragorn, but I know the real me… at least I’m not Sméagol.
Christopher Schmitz has a growing platform and is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. He has a Master’s degree and attends regular conferences and workshops. In addition to a human day-job he also writes for his local newspaper and has produced pieces for online youth resources. He lives in Minnesota with his family, occasionally competes in pro BBQ competitions, and drinks unsafe amounts of espresso.
Lloyd and Cassidy’s last adventure was to honor a life. This time they are out to end one.
It was a normal, violent mission to Texas that should have had nothing more than beer-induced hiccups. That is until an old enemy makes off with Cassidy’s jeep and most of their gear. Needless to say, she’s pissed off and challenging Lloyd for the psychopath of the month award. With the mouthy serial killer by her side, she is going on the warpath from Dallas to Miami even if it means declaring war on the drug cartels.
So strap in for another wild ride through the Shattered States and learn why you never mess with Cassidy’s jeep.
“So your boss thought she could send assassins to kill the Riflemen,” the black-haired leader says, earning a cheer from his men. A firm smack to the prisoner’s head silences her gurgling attempt to deny the charge. “Nothing you say can prevent the inevitable. Don’t go thinking that pet serial killer will save you either. The idiot brought a paintball gun to Texas and thought he’d win a gunfight? I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did. All we need to do is find the body and we can collect the bounty on him too. Guess you’re lucky that he’s wanted dead and you’re wanted alive by that warden up north.”
“I’d be careful, boss,” a sword-wielding gang member warns. She leans away from the angry glare, but rolls up her sleeve to reveal a sloppily stitched wound. “While this one isn’t as tough as her reputation says, she can still hit hard. Lost two men before we restrained her and three more are nursing broken balls. Maybe we should use some of our tranquilizer stash and keep her sedated.”
“No reason for th-” Top Hog begins as he runs his hand across the prisoner’s forehead. He rubs his fingers at the sensation of something sticky between his fingers and looks closer to figure out what he has touched. “This scar is fake. Made from glue or something. Are you sure this is Cassidy?”
“She was with Lloyd Tenay at the bar,” a one-eyed man replies in a shaky voice. He shifts from one foot to the other when everyone else takes a step away from him. “You told us to look for him and a blonde woman. She had the denim jacket, the forehead scar, cursed a lot, carried two pistols, and even has the correct tramp stamp. Everyone was calling her Cassidy after she drove up in the blue jeep too. We made sure that everything checked out, boss. Even bribed the bartender and two waitresses.”
Sweat beading on his face, Top Hog draws his large gun and presses it to the prisoner’s temple. He leans around her, his eyes repeatedly darting toward her hands to make sure they are still bound. Lifting her white shirt, he sees the unique tattoo that the widespread stories mention Cassidy getting a little less than a year ago. The design is two pistols back to back with vines of bone curling around and binding them together. A strange discoloration catches the gang leader’s attention and he rubs his thumb along the woman’s side, pushing his weapon harder against her head to prevent wiggling. He swears that he feels a seam, so he gets a dirty fingernail beneath what turns out to be a flesh-colored sticker. Top Hog yanks it off and shows it to his men, the prisoner biting her lower lip to avoid screaming. He can already see that the tattoo is smeared from where he has touched it with his meaty fingers.
Enraged and embarrassed, the gang leader is about to kill the fake Cassidy when he hears distant rock music. Within seconds, he realizes that the source is getting closer and is soon joined by maniacal laughter coming over a crackling megaphone. With a snap of his fingers, Top Hog orders one of his men to take the prisoner to his office while the others run for the exit. Nobody gets very far before a blue jeep, which has been outfitted with a wide battering ram, smashes through the front of the warehouse. The vehicle leaves a gaping hole in the wall, which is made worse by hooked chains on the rear bumper that catch and tear more of the obstacle down. The jeep continues at full speed through crates, shelving units, and the slower gang members whose deaths are celebrated by honks of the horn. Tires screech as the driver hits the brakes and gets the car to spin, the move appearing to have no purpose beyond making those inside dizzy. With an embarrassing thud, the vehicle hits the back wall and hisses to a stop.
The gang have already drawn their weapons and are cautiously approaching the jeep when the sunroof opens. Bullets fly at the blonde figure that leaps out, the projectiles creating so many holes that the top half of their target falls off. The legs of the cardboard cutout are casually tossed to the floor before the shriek of a megaphone makes everyone cringe and cover their ears. With the tattered remains laying face up, the frustrated criminals realize that they have destroyed another Cassidy decoy. They are about to inch closer when the jeep briefly roars to life and a man inside begins making engine noises. The sounds change to the exaggerated screams and detailed begging of those whose parts are still stuck to the scuffed battering ram.
“So that was your plan, Cassidy?” Top Hog asks with a chuckle. He turns to see their prisoner is trying to roll away and fires his gun into the air to stop her. “Two decoys, so that you could get the drop on us. Guess you thought more of us would get run over. You still have thirteen of my crew standing and you’re cornered in that jeep. Now, the only question is if I send a piece of you back to the Duchess as a message that she should stay out of my business. Damn northerner needs to stay out of Texas’s business.”
“Actually, that young woman was the bait and I was the distraction,” Lloyd announces from inside. With a gleeful laugh, he opens one of the doors and yanks it back when the gang shoots at him. “Well shit. That was my favorite power window button. Anyway, people make that mistake all the time. You see, bait draws you in and, at least here, allows the real predators to follow you back to the previously hidden hideout. Not even a sign to help us out, which is very rude and unaccommodating. Now, the distraction’s job is to keep you looking in one direction while a mischievous maiden of mayhem prepares her new toy somewhere else. Don’t bother running, boys, because she’ll take that as an insult.”
Top Hog and his men turn toward the hole in the wall, which has exposed them to the large parking lot. The sun forces them to squint at the lone figure standing behind a loaded mini-gun, the weapon glinting in the midday light. Clouds move across the sky, which makes it easier for the gang to identify the denim jacket and blonde hair of their enemy. They take a few shots at the distant woman, but their bullets either miss completely or bounce off several riot shields that are strapped to the weapon. A slamming car door causes them to jump, but they turn in the wrong direction and are unable to stop Lloyd from racing toward the prisoner. Wearing orange pants from his time as a prisoner and a red shirt with a lightning bolt, the black-haired serial killer seems like an obvious target as he scoops up the young woman and dives behind a box of grenades. Suddenly afraid for their lives, Top Hog and his men attempt to scatter and hunt for cover.
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.
Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.
For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders. – Goodreads.com
Wow. Describing this book is difficult, but I’ll try. Take Red Dawn, The Matrix, Lost, and The Hunger Games, shake them up in a bag, and what comes out is the plot of Nemesis. This book twisted, turned, and steered me in so many different directions I was never sure exactly what was going on – and it was wonderful. After reading so many books, not many surprise me anymore.
The setting is present day Idaho – but after a few pages, it’s evident something’s not quite right. And then the pace never lets up. This book is well-written, with natural dialogue and contains both captivating and frustrating characters. Although it’s not a problem for me, there are shifting POVs, so be forewarned if that’s a distraction.
I plowed through this book in a couple of days, but don’t let the 400+ pages scare you – it’s actually a quick read. And I can’t wait for the next book! Nemesis is scheduled for publication March 21st, 2017.
Thanks to Penguin First To Read for the digital ARC.
Welcome to the first update of the week.. and as an author on the bookshelves I get to share my news too today. But first a catch up with two other authors. I am taking a look at some of the authors who have entered the bookstore since the begining of December over the next week. Unless of course any of you reading this who are in the bookstore have news of a recent release or great review. Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
The first author update is for Teri Polen who released her debut novel Sarah at the beginning of December 2016. Since then she has received 26 reviews and here is one that is right up to date.
Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to…