Echo of the Cliffs (Juniper Sawfeather #3) by D.G. Driver #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog @DGDriverAuthor

I’m so excited to have D.G. Driver here today with the third, and final book in the Juniper Sawfeather series!  As a huge fan of this environmentally-themed series, I hate to see it come to an end, but I’m also anxious to see where this new book takes Juniper and Carter.  Look for my review in the next few weeks.

This is the third book in the Juniper Sawfeather series – what was your inspiration?

The original book, Cry of the Sea, was inspired by a real oil spill, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.  To keep the series going, I focused on American Indian mythology to tie the stories together. I found this story about warriors that go on a journey to ask for wishes from the sun. One is turned into a merman, one into a tree, and the third into a stone. I thought it was perfect for my series. So, the third book is partly about Juniper’s quest to find the magical stone. I had to find more mythology for this book to make it work, and I was amazed to find so many wonderful legends that fit like puzzle pieces into the story I was telling.

Also, I wanted each novel to focus on a different environmental aspect. The first was about an oil spill. The second was about protecting Old Growth trees. While I was figuring out how to write this 3rd book, I saw a documentary called “Garbage Island” about scientists searching for the giant mass of plastic and garbage supposedly floating about in the ocean. It was fascinating, and I decided ocean pollution would be at the forefront of this book. Then I read about killer whales in the Northwest Pacific and Strait de San Juan region being killed by the toxicity of the water due to construction run-off pollution, and that was the final thing I needed to know before putting this plot together.

Will there be more in this series?

This trilogy is now complete. My publisher and I have discussed doing a New Adult series focusing on Juniper and Carter in their college years, but it’s all just talk right now. I do, however, have a short prequel story called “Beneath the Wildflowers” in the free anthology Kick Ass Girls of Fire and Ice YA Books, and I will be have a holiday-themed short story featuring these characters for a Christmas anthology coming out at the end of the year.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned when writing this series?

The coincidental mythology was the biggest surprise. I tried to focus on myths specifically from the Pacific Northwest tribal nations, and I wanted to keep them as intact as possible. This should have made it tricky to find stories that matched the one I wanted to tell, but miraculously, I kept finding the perfect legends. I did have to massage them a bit to fit. For example, the warrior myth mentioned above has 5 warriors not 3. I found a myth about a heartbroken girl who jumps off a cliff and changes into a waterfall, and it shaped the direction of my novel. Even in the final editing round I found one more piece of mythology that filled a hole I had in my plot.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your fans/readers?

In general people seem to like that the stories have environmental themes but that they don’t overwhelm the story. I hope they still continue to feel this way with Echo of the Cliffs. One fan has told me that she wants to major in Marine Biology when she goes to college because of Juniper. That thrilled me to pieces.

Which Hogwarts house do you consider yourself to be in?

I think I’m a Ravenclaw. (Okay, I just took the test and verified that I am, in fact, a Ravenclaw.)

What book would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?

Well, there is a book called How to Survive on a Desert Island. That appeals to my practical nature (hence me being a Ravenclaw). If we’re talking fiction, I might opt for Swiss Family Robinson for similar reasons.

Echo of the Cliffs is the 3rd book of the Juniper Sawfeather Novels. It will be released on June 6th. Preorder at Amazon or Smashwords  now. Read an excerpt at www.dgdriver.com/echo-of-the-cliffs.html

 

Haven’t started the series yet? Begin at the beginning with Cry of the Sea. Visit www.dgdriver.com/cry-of-the-sea.html to learn about this award-winning 1st book of the series. Read an excerpt, reviews, and find links to purchase your copy.

Want a freebie? Try Kick Ass Girls of Fire and Ice YA, a little sampler of stories by authors published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books that includes the prequel to the Juniper Sawfeather series “Beneath the Wildflowers”. Available at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZKLW59  and Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/718080

D.G. Driver is a multi-award-winning author of children’s and young adult books. She loves to write about diverse characters dealing with social or environmental issues. Often her stories have a touch of magic to them as well. Aside from her Juniper Sawfeather Novels, she has published a YA romantic ghost story called Passing Notes, a middle grade novella bout autism and bullying called No One Needed to Know, and has stories in several anthologies ranging from romance and fairy tales to horror. When she’s not writing, she is either teaching or can be found singing in a local community theater musical in Nashville with one or more members of her talented family. Learn more about her and her work at www.dgdriver.com or follow her at www.facebook.com/donnagdriver or www.twitter.com/DGDriverAuthor

Different Take On An Interview #IndieAuthors #horror

Today’s interview is a little different from what you might usually read here – 10573040because I’m the person being interviewed.  Ana, a Goodreads member, received Sarah from NetGalley and graciously posted a glowing 5 star review, saying “The Harry Potter references make my heart smile” and “a well written book with easily relatable characters whom you can’t help but root for”.  She was interested in learning more about Sarah, my writing process, and me, but didn’t have a blog, so I offered the use of my own.  (On a side note, Ana is a fellow Potterhead, so she’s obviously good people.)  Welcome Ana, my first guest interviewer!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I wouldn’t say I have any interesting quirks – Diet Coke or chocolate gets the 41jwrqyo45l-_sy346_brainwaves flowing, I usually have music playing, and sometimes I wear my son’s flannel shirt.  For some reason, my productivity increases when I wear it – so I confiscated it permanently.  Occasionally my cat sits beside me and stares while I work – he’s a very discerning editor.

Where did you get the idea for Sarah?

Strangely enough, the idea came from my cat.  We’d just moved into a new house, no previous occupants, and Shadow would sit at the foot of the stairs and hiss or growl at something at the top of the stairs we could never see.  Kind of freaky, but it made me start thinking about how a new house could be haunted – the result was Sarah.

Did you do any type of research while writing Sarah?

Not a lot.  I researched metaphysical stores – one of the characters in Sarah owns one and I wanted to get a good grasp on what those types of shops offered.  The book is set in Charleston, SC and the movie theater, mall, and restaurant Cain goes to are real.  I once learned in a writing workshop that it lends more authenticity to your story if you use actual places, so I googled those and even read reviews of the restaurant.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot – my TBR pile is over 100 books and I’m usually reading anywhere from one to four books at a time.  I also review books and feature indie authors on my blog.  Working out and yoga keep me sane, and I’m constantly trying to stay caught up with my Netflix queue and DVR.  I’m beginning to think that will never happen.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How vocal the characters can be.  If you don’t write, you may laugh at that, but it’s true.  I may have a direction in mind for my characters, but sometimes they rebel and do their own thing.  I’ve had minor characters decide they needed bigger roles and I just had to go with it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I’m a huge animal lover and thought about being a veterinarian, but then realized how miserable I’d be if I lost any patients.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I’m not one to tear up easily and can’t remember the first book that made me cry.  However, I was in a book club a few years back and someone had selected A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron – and I couldn’t finish it.  I can watch people be eaten and bashed in the head on The Walking Dead and stabbed, shot, and disemboweled in horror movies all day long – but if animals are involved, I can’t handle it.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It depends on the day.  Some days, the words are flowing and all is right with the world.  Other days, I can’t form a sentence and I’m beating my head against the wall hoping something useful falls out.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

I’m really bad about editing while I write and searching for the perfect word to describe something.  That can work for some writers, but hinder others – I’m in the latter category.  Some of the best advice I’ve been given is just get the first draft down – edit later.  Once I started doing that, my productivity increased.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

The book I’m working on now is developing in an unusual way, but it seems to be working for me so far.  I’m writing out of sequence, creating scenes from two different characters’ POV, then hoping it forms a cohesive story when it’s blended.  Keep your fingers crossed.  The next book may form another way – I’ll just go with the flow and see what happens.

Did you draw inspiration from authors, TV shows, etc. as you wrote Sarah?

I read Stephen King’s On Writing again, a book on craft I’d highly recommend to writers, and attended writing retreats and workshops led by author C.J. Redwine.  She’s a master at world-building.  I’m a big fan of horror books and movies, so I’ve got years of creepy images stored in my brain!

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A black cat, hands down.  Shadow, the cat who inspired Sarah, was black (he’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge now), then we adopted another black cat named Bond a few years ago.  Due to superstition, black cats are the last to be adopted from shelters, but I’ve known several and they’ve all been full of personality and love – consider giving them a forever home!

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Oddly enough, I don’t find it difficult to write from a male perspective – it comes more naturally to me than writing from a female POV.  A friend of mine says my brain is wired more like a man’s, so maybe that’s the reason?  I also have two sons and after years of being around them and their friends, writing from a teenage boy’s perspective comes pretty easily.

What is something you edited out of Sarah?

If I told you one of the things, I’d give away a spoiler.  The other was that Maddie’s character, Cain’s little sister, was a younger brother.  I thought the story read better with a sister and several reviewers have commented on the sweet relationship between them.

Did you identify with any of the characters in Sarah?

After reading Sarah, a friend of mine said Cain was me on the outside, the personality I let people see, but Finn was the real me.  I think he nailed it.

How do you select the names of your characters?

For the most part, my characters choose their own names and introduce themselves to me.  For minor characters, I’ve looked up popular baby names in the year the character would have been born and waited for something to jump out.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Close friends have recognized some things I’ve taken from real life.  One of the lines in the book came directly from one of my friends – something she said in response to a rude woman at a concert.  In the book, it was a comment Finn made to someone.

What was your favorite part of Sarah to write?

The banter between Cain and Finn – those guys talked in my head constantly and I had to cut out a lot of their conversations during editing.  They could go on for hours if I’d let them.

Are you currently working on another book?

I just signed a contract with Black Rose Writing to publish my second book, with the working title of Gemini Connection.  It’s a YA sci-fi/fantasy and will probably be released sometime in the winter of this year.

As a Potterhead, I must ask, what House do you consider yourself to be in?

I’ve been sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore and every other quiz I’ve taken.  My wand is 12.5 inches, fir wood, dragon heartstring core, unbending flexibility, and my patronus is an orangutan.  I’m a bit of a Potterhead too!

Is there something you’ve never been asked in an interview, but would love to talk about? If so, what is it?

The importance of reviews for authors – especially indie authors.  They don’t need to be long, even a couple of lines would be extremely helpful and much appreciated!

Release Day and Interview – Myst (An Island of Myst Novel) by Stacie Wilson @theStacieWilson

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Two worlds separated by magic.
The future of both rests in her hands.

Surrounded by a loving family and her two best friends, Brianna St. James’ life has been filled with love and happiness. Now that she’s graduated from high school, her only worry should be what major to declare in the fall. But when nightmares plague her, and unexplainable things start to happen, any hopes for a simple life flicker and fade.

Drustan, her sworn Guardian and protector, has been sent to bring her home. Now he must help her remember a past that was taken from her and protect her from the dark forces that would see her dead.

Two worlds.
One hope.
Her.

 

Today is release day for Myst (An Isle of Myst Novel) by Stacie Wilson!  I met Stacie last fall at a writer’s retreat where she was pounding away on her laptop – and here we are to witness the results of her hard work and see her first novel published.  I’m so excited to have her as a guest on Books & Such – welcome, Stacie!

Tell us about your writing background.

I’ve always had a love for reading and writing. Secretly, I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. I used to scribble down tidbits of poetry or story ideas on scraps of paper. Somewhere along the line, I lost touch with that side of me for too long.  About five years ago, a friend told me about a new conference for YA authors and their fans in Nashville.  Going to UtopYAcon helped me to reconnect with my love of writing. Since then, I’ve had a few stories published in anthologies, self-published a novella and signed with Anchor Group Publishing for my YA Urban Fantasy, Myst.

What gave you the idea for Myst?

The idea for Myst was actually formed many years ago. I use to do historical re-enactment and we would camp out on the weekends for our events.  There was one morning in particular that I was up at dawn and took walk around a small lake. There was a dense fog covering the grounds and I felt like I’d stepped through a veil into a magical land. The idea that there is a magical realm separated from ours has always stuck with me.

Which characters were the most and least difficult to write and why?

Drustan was a bit of a challenge. At times his single-minded focus and commitment to Brianna was frustrating. His instincts were to protect her at all costs and it’s taking him awhile to realize that she doesn’t need protecting. She’s the one who’s going to save everyone else. Lanie, Brianna’s BFF, was the easiest. She is snarky, funny, and devoted to those she loves. There are many qualities that she shares with my daughter so it was easy to find inspiration for her.

Are you a plotter, panster, or somewhere in between?

Ha!  I plot by the seat of my pants.  I spend quite a bit of time world building, developing characters, and researching elements of my story. I will plot out major events in the story, but after that I just run with it.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Just do it. Don’t wait for inspiration. Just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and just write.

What writers have inspired you?

There are so many! I couldn’t possibly choose just a few. Authors who chase their dreams and encourage those around them to do the same inspire me.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I can juggle
I have a spinning wheel and know how to use it
I wanted to be a concert pianist when I was growing up
I use to do Irish and Scottish Historical Re-enactment
I keep several bottles of bubbles around – when the going gets tough – blow bubbles!!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I think it would be amazing to be able to manipulate the elements. How cool would that be to conjure fire and stir up some wind?

What are you working on right now?

I’m already working on book two in the Myst series, Dreams of Myst. Anchor Group Publishing has picked up the entire Myst series, so I’ll be busy living in that magical world for quite some time!

Where can fans find you?

http://www.staciewilson.com
Facebook: Facebook/StacieWilsonAuthor
Twitter: @theStacieWilson
Instagram: StacieWilsonAuthor
Amazon: http://goo.gl/HGfXJi
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/StacieWilson

 

BIO:
Do you believe in magic? I do. Words have the ability to conjure magical worlds that 5b4f99de-9cd2-488f-b93a-4b46d88cfc65can whisk us away from our everyday lives. There is magic everywhere, you just have to look.

I am originally from sunny Southern California but now call Nashville, Tennessee home with my husband, daughter and our three fur-kids (dogs).

 

Release Day – Much of Madness (Conexus Chronicles #1) by S.E. Summa @SESumma

I met S.E. last fall at a writer’s retreat and discovered we have a mutual love of all things horror – books, movies, etc.  That’s just the natural direction our minds travel when given the freedom to wander.  So she’s good people.  Today I’m so excited to have her as a guest on Books & Such because it’s release day for her first novel, Much of Madness!  Is that a gorgeous cover or what?

 

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Seraphina Pearce doesn’t know what’s more frustrating: her magic’s affinity for death, her best friend’s transformation into an albino Sin Eater, or that simply touching a guy she loves means someone’s headed to the morgue.

After a sin-eating job goes awry, she casts a risky spell and butts heads with a handsome stranger in order to win an infamous grimoire.

Marceau L’Argent is the last person she should confide in because the occult cat burglar has a mysterious past, and he’s made it no secret he also wants the grimoire. He recognizes her dark magic and offers his unique help as a rare curse breaker. If all that weren’t enough, Marceau causes butterflies in her stomach—a feeling she’d long thought dead.

Seraphina was only trying to break her curse—not piss off Death himself.

MUCH OF MADNESS is a Southern Gothic Horror story about loyalty, sacrifice, and maintaining hope no matter the odds.

 

Tell us about your writing background.

I started reading and writing at the age of three and books have been my sanctuary ever since. I spent years writing bits of stories in notebooks, but never putting in the work to see one through. Fear, single-parenthood, and feeling as if authors were some sort of perfect magical beings anointed by thesauruses and unicorn horns. In truth, I lost someone very close to me and it rocked my entire world. After months of depression I forced myself outside and went to my first book fair since books were the only escape from my grief. Within a couple weeks, I was drafting Much of Madness. I’ve spent three years educating myself on the craft, writing new tales, and revising the suck out of this story.

What gave you the idea for Much of Madness?

I live just outside of Nashville, TN. My husband decided for his birthday, he wanted to “play tourist” to celebrate and go to some of the attractions locals generally skip. In the Country Music Hall of Fame, there is a huge steel radio mast that descends from the ceiling in the rotunda. I was spinning in the middle of the room (as one does while visiting in the middle of the day) and looked up at that sharp structure pointing straight at my skull. Bam! I knew exactly what scene would happen there. The rest of the day, scene after scene hit me. Nashville is an unspoken character in my story. My husband’s birthday happens to be on November 1st and I’d won my first NaNoWriMo by the end of the month.

Which characters were the most and least difficult to write and why?

Most difficult: Maximilian (my villain) and Khatereh (a stripper with an interesting pedigree) both gave me trouble. Max needed to have his own motivations and to believe wholeheartedly that his story was the more interesting to tell. Khatereh needed fine-tuning after I decided to not only keep her around, but make her an essential character. My original idea was to behead her around halfway in and torture my Sin Eater with her loss!

Least difficult: Rolf. He’s a rambunctious little ghosty who died as a young wolfboy while in a traveling freakshow. From the first moment I imagined him, he was playfully bouncing around in my head and yelling lines. If I’d listened, there would’ve been less kissing and more poltergeist pranks.

Are you a plotter, panster, or somewhere in between?

Much of Madness was a heart pounding, no clue what I was doing, all-out pantserfest… and took revision after revision to fix. I learned to plot by stacking colorful post-its at a Cherry Adair (Romance Author) workshop and my mind was blown. Before that weekend was over, I’d fully plotted a complex seven POV serial storyline. Watching Cherry’s reactions to my impeccably created plot board and as I explained my demented horror plot is one of my treasured memories as a writer. I’m now a self-professed Plotter McPlottypants.

If you could erase one horror cliché, what would it be?

Hmm, great question. Non-starting cars, sex equals automatic death, and running upstairs to escape a killer are all so tempting. But I choose hitting/stabbing/shooting a killer once, then assuming they are dead… while usually dropping your weapon. I’ve warned my family that if ever pushed to the point of fighting for my survival it would devolve into a vicious, batshit crazy, gorefest. I’ve watched and read way too much horror to think beasties go down after even the tenth strike.

Fav horror book and movie?

Book would have to be by Stephen King, but how do you choose? I’d give a different answer every time I was asked, so today I’ll go with It. Movie would be the entire Universal Monsters collection. They were my childhood introduction to frights and my most beloved.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

Love spicy, ethnic foods – Indian & Thai the most.
I’m 5’11, so I’m always asked to reach *all the things!*
I’m obsessed with octopuses (octopi is WRONG!) and bats.
My Southern accent is so thick Siri cannot understand me.
I’ve been a vegetarian for over fifteen years. Tofu is my jam.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Time manipulation/travel. I’d love to be able to spend time with lost loved ones, write endlessly when the words are flowing, and make humanitarian changes to history. Also let’s just be honest here, I’d gut punch a jerk from middle school who had it coming. Haha!

What are you working on right now?

Drafting the sequel to The Conexus Chronicles, More of Sin.
Editing for of the Debut Collective anthology series publishing in June.
Revising a YA horror serial releasing sometime this year.

Where can fans find you?

Website: https://sesumma.com/

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SESumma/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sesumma/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SESumma

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28174418-much-of-madness

 

Buy Link for Much of Madness:  http://amzn.to/20xvRGv

 

Author Bio:

S.E. Summa lives in Tennessee with her husband and a menagerie of spoiled pets. Growing up in Nashville, she always felt the city’s unique culture and landmarks would be the perfect setting for monsters to play.

A PRO member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Shantele serves as the Volunteer and Membership Coordinator for her local chapter, the Music City Romance Writers (MCRW). She graduated magna cum laude with a BBA from Belmont University.

S.E. started The Debut Collective, a supportive online tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. The Debut Collective is publishing a series of five anthologies in June 2016.

 

Multiple upcoming releases in 2016:

MUCH OF MADNESS, The Conexus Chronicles, Book #1 – February 29, 2016

MORE OF SIN, The Conexus Chronicles, Book #2 – TBD

Four short stories for following The Debut Collective anthologies releasing in June 2016: Act of Bravery, Underdog, Insurrection/Hostile Takeover, and Secret Identity

*The Underdog & Secret Identity stories are tie-ins for The Conexus Chronicles and will feature characters from Much of Madness.

 

#BadMoonOnTheRise Day 31 The Fading by Carole Nomarhas #books #horror

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Welcome to the final day of Bad Moon On The Rise and Happy Halloween!  Today brings us Carole Nomarhas and her collection of short stories, The Fading.  So far, I’ve read two of these stories and found them to be wonderfully chilling – excellent storytelling.

 

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The dead came back. All of them.’

Step quietly, my friend, mind the shadows. This way, this way, there’s something I wish for you to see…

The Fading: eleven darkly-twisted tales of fantasy and horror, magic and superstition. Venture into a place where the veil between worlds is wafer-thin, where the dead join the living and the sun never sets. Drive a road of dust and bones that may never end and may take you places you do not wish to go… Visit a picture-perfect house, in a picture-perfect village, where there is a very special box. Sit for a while on the front porch, and wait for the end of the world, unless something more terrifying comes calling first…

Carole Nomarhas delivers a unique blend of dread and intrigue in short stories that cross genres and lead the reader down paths that were once the familiar haunts of horror and fantasy readers alike. With a delicate brush she paints vivid worlds where serial killers dwell, and digs up past wrong-deeds with dire consequences. Each story is a delicately-woven tapestry of nightmare places and nightmare beings, ordinary folk in extraordinary situations.
Step quietly, mind the shadows, and I will see you on the other side…

How long have you been writing horror/thrillers and what drew you to the genre?

I’ve loved horror as long as I can remember, be it fiction or movies. Mostly I write short stories and they usually fall somewhere on the spec fic spectrum, be it SF, fantasy or horror.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I came back from a long hiatus from fiction, and the first thing I wrote was a horror story, and then another, and then another…  So I decided to add these new works to a collection including previously published work. I also had some ‘limbo’ stories. These were stories that had been accepted, but not paid for – small press, what can I say? There were a couple of stories I had no idea whether they had actually been published. The presses disappeared, but I didn’t know whether the story had been published or not before they folded, and so couldn’t in good faith submit them elsewhere.

So The Fading became a collection of new work, reprints, and my possibly unpublished ‘orphans’.

If you could erase one horror cliché, what would it be?

Vampires. I suspect I’m allergic to them.

What are you working on now?

Short stories, as usual, of various persuasions,  though I’m revisiting a YA fantasy novel.

Favorite horror movie and book?

Hard, hard question.  Firstly, is Jaws a horror movie? Well, I’m an Aussie, so for me sharks are the ultimate horror. Spiders and snakes? I don’t care about those.  Sharks scare me silly, and Jaws is such a perfect movie anyway.  As for fiction, really hard to narrow it down. However, for purely sentimental reasons Salem’s Lot, the first Stephen King novel I ever read.

Author bio

Carole Nomarhas lives in a tiny village in New South Wales, Australia, where the main amenities are a pub and…  well, that’s pretty much it. She has three very strange rescue dogs, two demented rescue cats, and is married to the most patient man on the planet.

Her stories, which fall within the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror, have been appearing in print and online for many years.

After taking a long hiatus from writing fiction, she has returned to her first loves: horror and dark fantasy.

Where to find Carole

Goodreads
Glass City Books
Co-operative Ink
Email carole@glasscitybooks.com
Facebook

Buy links

Amazon US
Amazon Australia
Amazon UK

#BadMoonOnTheRise Day 30 Rotter Apocalypse by Scott M. Baker @vampire_hunters #books #zombies

bad moon on the rise

Welcome Scott M. Baker!  Today is release day for his book, Rotter Apocalypse!

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The zombie apocalypse is about to reach its inevitable conclusion, but not before it unleashes a few more nightmares on Natalie Barzagan, Mike Robson, and Windows.

After breaking away from the rest of the group, Natalie and her Angels succeeded in getting the vaccine to the government-in-exile in San Francisco where Natalie joins the military effort to clear the West Coast of the living dead.

Robson destroyed the rape camp that had kidnapped Windows, but not until after she had escaped. Along with the remaining vampires and a band of camp stragglers, he sets off to build a new compound.

Windows and the ten-year-old girl she rescued from the camp are taken in by a kindly widower who gives them the opportunity to start over and heal their wounds, emotional and physical.

Just as Natalie, Robson, and Windows are settling into their new lives, each will be confronted with a final life or death decision that will decide their fates.

How long have you been writing horror/thrillers and what drew you to the genre? 

I’ve been writing horror since 2003 when I began The Vampire Hunters trilogy and published my first zombie-related short stories—“Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” and “Cruise of the Living Dead.” I’ve been working on the Rotter World trilogy, which concludes with Rotter Apocalypse coming out on 30 October, since 2010.

This is not the first genre I’ve written in. I worked for the CIA for twenty-three years so, when I first started back in the 1990s, my first books were about espionage. The first two manuscripts were amateurish and mediocre, and I never got them published, although I did hone my craft while working on them. The third book was a techno-thriller about North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons and blackmailing the United States. I had an agent and several New York publishers interested in purchasing the book; however, after the terrorist attack on 11 September, the market for that genre dried up overnight.

Switching genres was easy for me. I’m a Monster Kid from the 1960s/1970s. You know the geeky type. I had a stack of Famous Monsters of Filmland in my desk drawer, all the Aurora monster models on display, and a poster of Godzilla on the wall right beside Farrah Fawcett in a bathing suit. Making the transition into horror also gave me more freedom. When writing espionage and techno-thrillers, I had to follow certain guidelines and keep the plots feasible. I don’t have to worry about those same restrictions with horror, and I’ve had fun with it. Over the years, I’ve launched a vampire apocalypse in Washington D.C., had an alcoholic mall Santa battle zombie reindeer, and terrorized New Mexico and Florida with giant insects. I’m not even close to being finished yet.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? 

Coming up with the concept for the first book in the trilogy, Rotter World, was difficult because I wanted to provide an aspect on the story not found in every other zombie novel. I eventually settled on a plot involving vampires releasing a government-created Zombie Virus on mankind, only to have the living dead eat their way through both human and vampire species. A small group of humans and vampires who made it through the outbreak have put aside their differences and joined together in order to ride out the apocalypse. The détente lasts for several months until the doctor who created the Zombie Virus shows up at their camp and claims he has a vaccine that will nullify the outbreak, but it’s located in an underground military facility half way down the East coast. This small band that barely trusts each other now embarks on a road trip from Hell.

[SPOILER ALERT] In the sequel, Rotter Nation, the group returns to their base camp with the vaccine, only to find that the camp has been destroyed by a rape gang and everyone (except for one woman taken hostage) has been murdered. They split into two: one group travels west across a zombie-devastated country to bring the vaccine to the government-in-exile in Omaha, and the second attempts to rescue their friend from the rape gang. [END SPOILER ALERT]

For Rotter Apocalypse, I wanted to do something that is not frequently done in the genre, which is to show the final battles between humans and zombies. This is my favorite book in the series, and not because I cranked up the body count and gore to an all-time high. In a lot of the novels and films in this genre, the main characters fight until they’re eventually over run by the living dead. In Rotter Apocalypse, I explore how the survivors would reorganize and take the war to the living dead. The novel is violent, graphic, and depressing—which is exactly the feel I was going for.

If you could erase one horror cliché, what would it be? 

There’s once cliché in horror that I’ve always hated (although it’s mostly confined to film), and that is the female character being a helpless, screaming victim. Thankfully, it’s a cliché that has been correcting itself over the past fifteen years. It’s the main reason I find it hard to enjoy slasher movies. Yes, there will be women (and men) who will fold under pressure in a horror situation, but they’re the exception, not the norm. In my vampire and zombie trilogy I have several characters that are weak, cowardly, and easily manipulated; it wouldn’t be realistic without them. However, I include strong female protagonists in every one of my books. If I have to battle aliens or the living dead, I want Ripley and Alice by my side.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two projects that I’m very excited about. The first is a series of young adult novels set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a failed anti-matter experiment renders the world’s electronic devices useless and opens several portals between Hell and Earth, allowing hordes of demons to pass through into our realm. The story focuses on a small group of survivors who have figured out a way to reverse the process and travel around the world to close the portals. The second is an adult-oriented series that takes place during World War II and pits Allied intelligence officers against Nazi Germany, which is waging a secret occult war against the West. I received my Master’s Degree in modern German and Soviet Studies, and am a huge history aficionado, so this is a project I’ve been planning for years.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m done with zombies. I’m working with a close friend to flesh out (pun intended) a concept about a U.S. covert operation that uses programmed zombies as weapons, a project which of course goes FUBAR and leads to the inevitable apocalyptic consequences. Think of it as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and Zero Dark Thirty.

Favorite horror movie and book? 

Only one? That’s like asking me to choose who is my favorite child.

Favorite zombie book: World War Z by Max Brooks. I loved the way that he breathed new life into the genre (again, pun intended) by covering the zombie apocalypse from the initial outbreak to the end of the war, and doing it an oral history format.

Favorite zombie movie: Resident Evil. It’s the combination of setting, building tension, and kick-ass action that makes this my favorite zombie movie. If I stumble across this movie while flipping through the TV channels before going to bed, I’m watching it no matter how late it is.

Author bio

Scott M. Baker was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts and spent twenty-three years in northern Virginia unnamed (24)working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott is now retired and lives in Gainesville, Florida as a full-time writer along with his wife and fellow author Alison Beightol and his stepdaughter. He has written Rotter World, Rotter Nation, and Rotter Apocalypse, his post-apocalyptic zombie trilogy; Yeitso, his homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that he loved watching as a kid; The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans fighting the undead in Washington D.C.; as well as the novella Nazi Ghouls from Space (the title says it all). He is currently working on a series of young adult post-apocalyptic novels and a second series about Allied intelligence officers fighting Nazi occultism in World War II.

Scott has also authored several short stories, including “Cruise of the Living Dead” (a zombie outbreak aboard a cruise ship), “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” (an alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer), “Last Flight of the Bismarck” (steampunk zombies), “The Hunger” (cannibalism during a zombie apocalypse), “Lebenden Toten at the Gate” (Nazis versus zombies at Stalingrad), “From Space It Came” (a giant spider from space), and the novella Dead Water.

When not writing, Scott can usually be found doting on the two boxers and two cats that kindly allow him to live with them.

Where to find Scott
Blog
Facebook
Twitter: @vampire_hunters
Pinterest

Buy link
Amazon

 

 

 

#BadMoonOnTheRise Day 29 Raising Hell by Phillip T. Stephens @Stephens_PT #books #darkhumor

bad moon on the rise

Welcome Phillip T. Stephens whose book, Raising Hell, offers a more humorous side of horror!

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A clueless optimist ruins a perfectly good hell.

Pity poor Lucifer. He rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his steps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. His future looks perfect, pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an innocent soul—an overweight optimist who calls himself Pilgrim and who believes he must be in hell to do good.

Lucifer never considers sending him back. Why waste a second chance to corrupt an innocent soul? He orders his subordinates to torture, degrade and humiliate Pilgrim until he promises to become evil if only it will ease the pain. Unfortunately, Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. Always polite and well-mannered, he makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment ever.

Lucifer can’t let Pilgrim continue to wreak happiness, but he can’t send him back untainted, either. When God arrives with a deadline for Pilgrim’s return, he enlists fellow fallen angels Screwtape, Azazel and the gender morphing Mephistopheles in a plot to corrupt Pilgrim’s soul before the deadline expires.

How long have you been writing horror/thrillers and what drew you to the genre?

This was the first book I published, although I have another horror novel I will probably release in the spring and an earlier one I wrote in the eighties that may or may not see the light of day. I’ve loved horror stories since I was a kid. My dad was a Baptist minister and wouldn’t let me watch the late night creature features like the other kids, but I traded the cards with the other kids.

Then I found a copy of Frankenstein in the school library in third grade. It had a picture of a hanging woman with her breast exposed. I made the mistake of showing it, in confidence, to a friend who ratted me out. Even though the book was in the school library I was the one who got in trouble. But boy did I love horror and reading forbidden books after that.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The idea came to me when I was transitioning between two educational jobs, both of which required me to answer to multiple managers, all of whom loved to micromanage. I thought, this feels more like hell with brimstone and fire. Any one of the managers could have been Lucifer. So I pictured this poor guy trapped in a soulless bureaucracy, and the novel came easy. The ten or so rewrites until I was happy with it, however, demanded my attention for several years.

If you could erase one horror cliché, what would it be?

Horror is cliché. The cliché I would erase is another fan’s treasure. I’m probably most tired of the women dropping their drawers for any sexy vampire or werewolf motif, but that’s because my generation included a generation of women who would never be sucked into a life of sexual co-dependency (so to speak). That motif spawned an entire PNR sub-genre so erasing that cliché would wipe out an industry and raise the objection that it’s no cliché.

What are you working on now?

I’m getting ready to release a young adult novel, Seeing Jesus, about a girl who sees a homeless man no one else can see. It’s about as far from a horror novel as a novel can get. Then, in the spring I will release Scent, a horror novel in which the supernatural world needs to be protected from us.

Favorite horror movie and book?

Movie: Ghost Story (John Irvin, 1981). Book: Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness. (It doesn’t get more pulp, but it’s like cotton candy for the brain.)

Author bio

Phillip T. Stephens appears once a year, on Halloween, on the sidewalk of his broken down, rescue cat infested three-story ranch-style duplex in the middle of a forest thick with Central Texas mesquite (where children wander their way up a trail lit by luminarias* to find the crusty old curmudgeon rumored to wait at the end) dressed in bloody bandages and spider webs with waist-length vermin infested beard and riding a broken down wheel chair, brandishing a shotgun on his lap. He rewards the children who make it to the threshold without running away in terror with a kind word and a copy of his book, which sucks for them because the last thing they want on Halloween is a shitty book. They want more candy.

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*A Hispanic tradition, paper bags with candles inside.

Where to find Phillip
Website
Twitter: @stephens_pt
Goodreads

Buy links
Amazon
Createspace