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SFP Emagazine vol 1

STAFF LIST ASMSG ASMSG FOUNDER AND ADMINISTRATOR: R. Grey Hoover MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR: R. Grey Hoover ASMSG ELECTORATE COORDINATOR: Melodie Ramone ASMSG ELECTORATE CO-ADMINISTRATOR: Danielle DeVor, Karen Prince TWITTER ACCOUNT COORDINATOR: Christoph Fischer TWITTER ACCOUNT DEPUTIES: Amber Easton, Katherine Logan, Maer Wilson SQUEAKY TWEET TEAM COORDINATOR: Maria Lenartowicz, SQUEAKY TWEET TEAM DEPUT: Christoph Fischer TWEET TEAM: Duncan Whitehead, Maria Lenartowicz, Christoph Fischer ASMSG NEW MEMBER OUTREACH: Katherine Lowry Logan CO-ADMINISTRATORS:Dianne Harman, Kirstin Stein Pulioff YOUTUBE PAGE ADMINISTRATOR: Maer Wilson CO-ADMINISTRATOR: Melodie Ramone PINTEREST ACCOUNT COORDINATOR: Maer Wilson FACEBOOK PAGE COOORDINATOR: Natasha Johnstone W.O.W. EDITOR IN CHIEF: Mike Barnett THRILLER & MYSTERY HUB MODERATOR: Khalid Muhammad SFP INDIE MANAGING EDITOR: Travis Luedke SFP INDIE COVER & LAYOUT: Joseph Murphy. Cover: Original images from DeviantArt: Mirish and Mystic Morning. Fiction section graphic original images from Ferelwing and IndigoDeep. Review section graphic from Ann Emerald Stock SFP HUB MODERATOR: Travis Luedke, Joseph Murphy, Maer Wilson Submission Guidelines Submissions open only to active members of ASMSG. Material must be in fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal genre. Preference will be given to editorial pieces. To ensure you’re inclusion please ensure you only use graphics for which you have legal rights to use. If you cannot find appropriate graphics, contact magazine staff. They MAY be able to assist you in finding graphics. SFP Emagazine vol 1 Copyright © March 2014

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ARTICLES

CONTENTS

Vampire Tropes That Need To Be Staked Brian Patrick Mckinley Why Is Scifi Sexy? -Patricia A. Knight In The Spotlight - Hunter S Jones Tips On Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse J. B. Cameron 5 Big Problems Facing Science Fiction Writers And How To Solve Them - M Joseph Murphy Coffee Chat With Kirstin Pulioff -Ally Shields Blacula And The Power Of Music -Danielle Devor Special Report – Transcript Of The Thulukans Danielle Devor Tokenism – Why I’m Furious At The Fantastic Four Casting -M Joseph Murphy Interview With Karen Plaisance Brian Patrick Mckinley Why I Ignored Everyone’s Advice And Wrote Another Damn Vampire Novel – Brian Patrick Mckinley In The Spotlight –Simon Okill -Maer Wilson Required Reading For Vampire Authors Brian Patrick Mckinley

FICTION

M Joseph Murphy - A Fallen Hero Rises Alex Mahon - When Midnight Falls Electa Graham -Stranded Muse Kirstin Pulioff - Sneak Peak Of The Escape Of Princess Madeline Travis Luedke – Excerpt from The Shepherd

REVIEWS

Lone Wolfe Rising By Jami Brumfield Live From The Road By P.C Zick Tilted Truth By Ken Boehs Perfection Unleashed By Jade Kerrion The Clay Lion By Amalie Jahn Lichgates By SM Boyce Bifrost Bridge By James Bradley Clark Orbs By Nicholas Sansbury Smith For Whom The Bell Tolls By Shane KP O’Neil` Tell Me When I’m Dead By Steven Ramirez Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again By Simon Okill The Unholy By Paul Deblassie The Shepherd By Travis Leudke Initio By Alyssa Auch Bentwhistle In A Chilling Revelation By Paul Crude

Council Of Peacocks By M Joseph Murphy Rune: Episode IV Entombed By JH Glaze The Clearing By Thomas Rydder Luna Sanguis By Simon Okill The Edge By Leslie Lee

PG.4 Pg. 04 Pg. 07 Pg. 09 Pg. 11 Pg. 13 Pg. 15 Pg. 16 Pg. 17

VAMPIRE TROOPES THAT NEED TO BE STAKES – PG 4

Pg. 19 Pg. 20 Pg. 21 Pg. 23 24

Pg. 26 Pg. 28 Pg. 30 Pg. 32 Pg. 35 Pg 36

Pg. 37 Pg. 38 Pg. 38 Pg. 39 Pg. 40 Pg. 40 Pg. 41 Pg. 42 Pg. 43 Pg. 44 Pg. 45 Pg. 45 Pg. 46 Pg. 46 Pg. 46

Pg. 47 Pg. 47 Pg. 48 Pg. 50 Pg. 50 Pg. 51

WHAT MAKES SCIFI SEXY – PG

7

IS TRAVIS LUEDKE THE NEXT RICHARD LAYMON? PG

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Vampire Tropes That Need To Be Staked Brian Patrick McKinley

As a writer and avid reader of vampire fiction, I’ve seen a lot of different themes, styles, and clichés come in and out of popularity over the years. Rather than nit-pick which is which, it’s easier to call all of these things tropes, which is a more neutral term that has come to mean any sort of regularly occurring metaphor, symbol, or literary device.

With that in mind, I decided to come up with a personal list of what I think are the top 5 vampirerelated tropes that have become over-used recently and need to be put to rest. You might agree, you might disagree, and you might even want to put a sharp wooden stake through my eye, but I hope this will give any vampire authors some food for thought. To be fair, none of these tropes are beyond redemption, but I think that many of them have become so familiar that authors are beginning to include them in their stories without any good reason. Maybe they think they’re expected now. That way leads to Blandsville and the Land of Been There, Seen That. Without further introduction, here’s my list:

5. MONSTERS, MONSTERS EVERYWHERE! This is the current vogue in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance that owes its popularity to authors like Laurel K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and others. The logic goes that, if vampires are real, so is every other damn mythological creature, horror archetype, folktale monster, and nursery rhyme character! So now we have an avalanche of kick-ass monster hunters who sleep with vampires, fight tooth fairies, shoot it out with Sasquatches, barter with leprechauns, and ride unicorns into battle against demon-possessed Minotaurs while arch-angels battle candy-house witches in the skies above I think we just need a few more monsters... Seriously, aside from comedic value, what do all of these creatures bring? Ask yourself if your series really needs the entire monster menagerie before you throw them in because “everyone else is doing it.” I’ve gotten to the point where I find it refreshing to read a story about vampires that doesn’t feel the need to include every other type of monster, too. Build your world carefully. The best kind of fantasy always keeps a foot grounded in the real world.

4. Putting On The Game Face This one we owe to movies like The Lost Boys and TV shows like Forever

Knight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer,

and Angel, but because of their popularity it has begun to crop up in vampire novels as well. This is the idea that vampires alone aren’t scary enough, so they have to have a special “monster face” that they bring out for feeding or whenever they want to surprise someone into screaming and running away. C’mon, really? A risen corpse who can socialize with you before leading you off alone to drink the blood from your body isn’t scary enough?

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A serial killer with super-human powers isn’t enough? I’m a bit of a nit-picker, I admit, so the idea that muscles re-arrange themselves

in the vampires face all for the purpose of giving them a wicked Halloween look just doesn’t make any sense to me.


Movies do it because their special effects guys get bored, but there’s no excuse for it in a novel. If your vampires are some form of demon, that’s great, but either keep them possessed and looking normal or make it a permanent transformation. The reason vampires are fascinating and

3. Playing With Your Food You see this in so damn many movies and books and it just makes me want to scream every time! A bunch of vampires get some humans together for dinner and, before you know it, there’s vampires laughing with blood smeared all over their faces, vampires tearing open jugular veins with gleeful abandon and spraying blood all over the wall, and vampires wearing entrails like Mardi Gras beads! Yes, yes, we’re supposed to recoil at how savage and capital-E Evil these vampires are, right? Instead, I find myself thinking “How pathetic!”

frightening is because they are the monster with the human face.

4A. Everybody Was Kung-fu Fighting Just a quick addendum to that last bit is another that we owe to Joss Whedon

Seriously, when’s the last time you and a bunch of friends had dinner and poured the soup down the front of your party clothes? Laughed and poured gravy all over your face? Scooped up half your mashed potatoes and threw them against the wall before shoving your face to the plate to lick up the rest? If your answer to any of these questions is a number other than never, then please remind me to never accept a dinner invitation from you. Even evil people can have table manners! When blood is your food supply, why slop it around like a three-year-old? Vampires can be cruel without being sloppy and, in my book, an elegant predator is far more interesting and frightening. Leave the

and the Blade series. Not every damn vampire in the world is a martial arts expert! Outside of China and Japan, nobody in the f***ing world knew anything about this style of fighting until the 20th Century! Ancient vampire sword master: no problem. Ancient vampire kick-boxer? No. Just no.

mindless mauling to the werewolves, please.

2. Romeo and Juliet … Again … and Again … How many times do readers need to read the same story before moving on? The first thought that comes to mind is Twilight, but this formula has been going far longer than She Who Must Not Be Named has been writing. Vampire Romeo and Human Juliet, Werewolf Romeo and Vampire Juliet, Werewolf Romeo and Human Juliet, Vampire Romeo and Vampire Juliet—it’s all been done. Several times.

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2A. Boy, Girl, Boy

I’m going to make a few female readers mad here, but I don’t care, because it has to said. Does EVERY female heroine in EVERY paranormal series have to be loved/ lusted after by EVERY male creature she encounters? Furthermore, do we have to put up with the same damn “love triangle” over and over again? “Gee, I love HottieMcFang, but I also get superjuicy every time Rugged Wolfbane comes near me! What’s a girl to do? My life is, like, so complicated!” I realize that this is a cherished and time-worn female fantasy, but seriously! If every series with a male protagonist included the hero having a threesome with different gorgeous twin sisters in every book, the feminists in the audience

Now, I’m not saying get rid of romance in a vampire story, because that would be a ridiculous request (not to mention killing an entire genre), but let’s try to do something just a little new! For one thing, keep in mind that Romeo and Juliet was effective because it was a tragedy! It doesn’t work out! In every novel I read with this kind of story, however, it always works out hunkydorey in the end. I’m a romantic, too, and I’d love to believe that love

conquers all, but if you’re going to pull that story off then you damn well better earn it! Elevate your star-crossed lovers above the stereotype with strong characterization and throw in some twists! Here’s another idea: Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, and many other Shakespeare plots are out there just waiting for a clever supernatural riff. Let Romeo and Juliet rest in peace for a while.

would start campaigning for book burning!

and really only needs, say, a wine glass’ worth of blood a night. Really? How convenient! He’s always a fantastic and considerate lover, just dark and mysterious enough to be attractive, but otherwise completely harmless. Blech! This is not a vampire. This is a male model with a blood fetish! I fully support the idea that vampires can be both heroic and villainous, but let’s try to keep some vague connection to the mythology, shall we? The vampire should be given his due and there should always be real danger present or else you’re just contributing to the slow sterilization of the vampire genre. Let’s keep our vampires deserving of the name, okay?

Because it’s not sexist and offensive when a girl keeps a harem.

1. I’m Too Sexy To Be A Monster Okay, here’s my least favorite trope in recent fiction: vampires who have been neutered so much for romance purposes that they hardly bear any resemblance to vampires anymore! We’ve all seen this, I’m sure: the super-rich, super sexy, super powerful vampire romance god who maybe has a problem with sunlight (but sometimes not even that)

So, that’s the list. I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear any reactions or your personal additions to the list in the comments! Stay thirsty, my friends! (source: http://brianpatrickmckinley.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/vampire-tropes-that-need-to-be-staked)

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Why Is SciFi Sexy? Patricia A. Knight

In the time-honored tradition of storytelling, I will try to illustrate with words why Sci-Fi is sexy. Here are a couple of paragraphs that came hot off the keyboard. Clear your mind. Settle into your chair and relax. Now imagine this: I, Darla Marie Dexter, object of alien fixation and thus representative for the entire human race, sat alone in my neighborhood Chicago bar – the one with the too-loud music and the tacky plastic tablecloths that my ex used to disparage. But I was waiting for a male from the planet Vortus. What would he know from plastic tablecloths? It was late, but the joint was packed. A good local band had played tonight. I chatted with Max, the bartender, and sipped my girly mixer with the pineapple on a stick and a cheesy little umbrella. I was always too embarrassed to order one in front of my sophisticated former boyfriend but I was a sucker for anything coconut. Max’s head lifted and his eyes shot to the door to draw my attention to the new arrival. I would have known, regardless. I felt it when he walked in. Because of my seniority with the Office of Extra-terrestrial Assistance, I’d been assigned as personal, cultural liaison to the Vortian. You know, prevent any social faux pas, educate the alien on how Earth inhabitants behave, that sorta stuff. I just didn’t realize how intimately he wanted to liaise. I hoisted my cocktail and tried not to stab my eye out with the umbrella as I gulped the entire contents.

Source: Rainbow Leia by Jagged Eye, DeviantArt

“It’s the Vortian, Darla. Back to work. Make us proud.” “Yeah, Max. I know.” I ran shaky fingers through my page-boy hair cut. First putting my brunette locks behind my ears, then pulling the hair back to cover the blush that heated my cheeks. I did know. I could feel the Vortian’s arousal. I could feel the blood pounding into his groin. I could feel the expansion of his male, ah, parts . . . yeah, you heard right, parts. See, that was the thing. I didn’t imagine I felt it. I really felt it. That mind telepathy stuff made the male delegates from Vortus a real hit with us earth ladies. Well, that and the extras that wrapped around and tickled your, ahem, while they, ah, stroked inside with the other, ah, thing. I picked up my bar coaster and started to fan my face. And then I was looking at me through his eyes. I could see my slender body perched on the barstool, my miniskirt barely decent, my four-inch stilettos caught on the wrung of the stool. I inhabited his body – a body that was, whoa, gorgeous, and equipped with that little something, ah, extra. And all the time there were these erotic images of what he wanted to do to me rolling through my mind like classy porn – memories of what I had looked like coming apart underneath him the last time he’d done me. Holy multiple orgasms! Take me to your leader. I shoved the empty fruit-drink toward Max. “Maxie, I need some ice water, fast.”

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The closer he came, the hotter I got. The bar stool I was sitting on was getting a little slippery from all the extra moisture down there, if you know what I mean. I knew, without even turning around, when he reached out to touch me. I could see it through his eyes. “Darla.” The deep whisky velvet of his voice added to the sensory overload and I turned with a brilliant smile. “Ulrik.” “Are you ready?” “Absolutely.” Oh, lordy, the things a woman will do to save Earth. There! Now, dear reader, you are going off to have sex with a telepathic alien with vibrating parts. Can you get THAT on earth? (If you can, will you please give me his number?) Editorial Note from Travis Luedke: I hope you all enjoy Patricia Knight’s futuristic, smoking hot novels! (I certainly have).

To find out more about Patricia Knight, please visit: http://www.patriciaaknight.com/the-verdantians.html

Patricia A. Knight is the pen name for an eternal romantic who lives in Dallas, Texas with her horses, dogs and the best man on the face of the earth – oh yeah, and the most enormous bullfrogs you will ever see. Word to the wise: don’t swim in the pool after dark.

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In the Spotlight: Hunter S. Jones Maer Wilson

Today’s featured author is Hunter S. Jones with her newest short story, Fortune Calling . Let’s find out more about her.

Hunter in her own words: The art form I create when writing is much more interesting than anything you will ever know or learn about me. However, since you ask, I have lived in Tennessee and Georgia my entire life, except for one “lost summer” spent in Los Angeles. I was always a complex kid. My first published stories were for a local underground rock publication in Nashville. Since then, I have published articles on music, fashion, art, travel and history.

Currently, I have a music/entertainment blog @ExPatsPost.com. My debut novella, Fables of the Reconstruction, was published in 2012. I have a series of sexy vignettes on Amazon called Tales from a New Amsterdam. Moon Rose Publishing included my novella, Magic in Memphis, in their anthology, A Celtic Tapestry in March 2013. Magic in Memphis is currently available as a short story on Amazon.

Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Rice have always fascinated me, although like any Southern girl, I will always idolize Margaret Mitchell for writing Gone With The Wind. I also adore the works of John Grisham, and own a huge selection of his books. I live in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, my books, too many clothes, too many shoes and way too many stacks of notepads and journals.

Read on for more about Hunter and her newest story. Dallas Fortune is a small town girl with a gift for playing guitar. A member of her family has played the Grand Ol Opry since it began as a simple radio show in 1925. But, they are the minstrels, the troubadours–session players–not stars. Dallas lives her life on the road. She’s just another guitar player with a dream until she finds an antique blue mandolin in a pawn shop. Her life comes into focus as the enchantment of the mandolin captivates her audiences. The Guitar God of Nashville beckons her. Everything is there for Dallas at last, until a stage accident sends her home and shatters her dreams. Blow after blow she fights the hand of fate. Is she destined to lose out in life? Hope, dreams, and love seem to be just out of reach. Every girl dreams of a happy ending. Dallas Fortune has the best Fairy Godmother in Country Music history. Will she help make Dallas’ dreams come true? Is the future among the stars, in the cards or locked in your heart? Fortune Calling is the first story in The Fortune Series. Set in contemporary Nashville and rural Tennessee, the series chronicles the life and loves of Dallas Fortune.

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Now let’s shine the spotlight on Hunter! Maer: Do you use beta readers and, if so, what qualities do you look for in a beta? Hunter: Yes, I use two main betas, one is a reader, the other a writer. I take their advice, usually, since the see the story from two different perspectives. Maer: What is a one line synopsis for your story? Hunter: Is the future among the stars, in the cards or locked in your heart? Maer: Is this a stand-alone or part of a series? Hunter: This is the first installment in The Fortune Series. The Story of Dallas Fortune. I am planning on writing three installment for the series. All three will be short stories or novelettes. Maer: Sounds like fun! Which character, other than Dallas, is one of your favorites to write and why? Hunter: Ernesto Lorenze. He wrote himself. I knew what he looked like, how he spoke, how tall he is ... everything. He is fantastic! Maer: If you had to pick a color to describe Dallas what would that be and why? Hunter: Blue. Shades of blue. She is a guitar player who suffers an accident. She has to re-learn how to walk. She moves back to her family farm in rural Tennessee. Do you need more? Maer: Who are your favorite authors to read? Hunter: Thousands of authors, simply thousands. Right now, I am reading an Alison Weir book, Elizabeth of York. The history books clear my mind, somehow. I always read one before I start a new project. Maer: What a great idea! Can you share a bit about the project you’re working on now? Hunter: It’s a story of making your way in the world. Of finding out who you are and the people you need to surround yourself with, due to the positive influence. Maer: What do you do when you’re not writing? Hunter: Working out, shopping, love to travel. Good conversation over a great glass of red wine is a favorite. Maer: What influenced you to write in your genre? Do you write in others?

Hunter: My genre is Fiction. The story finds me, whether it is horror, erotic, or romantic. I never know what I will write about until the story finds me. Maer: What music, if any, do you like to listen to while writing? Hunter: No music while writing. It’s just brain overload and I cannot focus. Music before I write gives me a sense of the rhythm of the words, the flow of the story line. Each story has had its own theme song. For instance, Fortune Calling has the feel of an old Dwight

You can find Fortune Calling: The Story of Dallas Fortune. (The Fortune Series) at Amazon.

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Yoakum song called Guitars, Cadillacs ETC. ETC, Maer: Thanks again for stopping by today. Do you have anything you’d like to add? Hunter: Thank you very much for featuring me today. I have greatly enjoyed working with you. And a very special Thank You to my readers and supporters. They are the best. They have such a good positive energy. They mean a lot.


TIPS ON SURVIVING THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE By the Writers of AMCs The Walking Dead (or some random guy who isn’t affiliated with the show at all) J.B. Cameron you do, don’t pick up those scissors and try to finish it off.Fooling those cunning dead people with your razorsharp wits is half the battle!

1. Whenever possible, be sure to travel through dark, dense forests with the noisiest, most incapable individual on the planet. Give this person a loaded gun, saving only a pocket knife for yourself. This will come in handy for digging your own grave while your companion howls in fright and ineffectually empties their magazine into the air in the face of a zombie horde.

2. Collect as many babies as you can and carry them with you at all times.A crying baby is zombie kryptonite. If babies aren’t available, then find a hair stylist who’ll give you dreadlocks. This not only makes you invisible, but unlike covering yourself in dead guts, it’s waterproof! And a baby with a dreadlock? You’re golden!

3. Zombies got you pinned down? Don’t have a molotov cocktail to throw at a wrecked car for a distraction? Try spraying some water in their faces. Zombies hate this more than cats do!

6. Never trust anyone brave enough to fight for another’s safety. Hanging around with them will only get you killed. Better to simply shoot them in the head firstand put them out of their inevitable misery, or if that’s too difficult,let a child do it for you. Most young people are refreshingly homicidal, once you take away their video games and cell phones.

4. While foraging for supplies, be sure to stock up on all those little knicknacks that you’ll find kicking around abandoned homes. Who needs weapons and ammo, when you can simply distract a zombie by tossing snowglobes at it? 5. Impressed with your ability to trap a live zombie in an enclosed space, without harming it in the slightest? Tag your victories with some butt-kicking, post-apocalyptic graffiti! But whatever

7. Always, always, always... run backwards! Everyone knows that zombies can’t get you, as long as you’re looking them in the eyes.

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8. Zombies have notoriously bad eyesight, no sense of smell, and really poor hearing. As long as you don’t stick your neck, arm or leg anywhere near their mouths, you should be fine.

9. Always travel in a crowd. That way, the zombie horde that your noisy friends will invariably attract will become completely disoriented at the sight of everyone running off in different directions.

10. Learn how to use a crossbow, or any kind of Japanese weapon. You’re pretty much just screwed if you don’t. Don’t question it.

Watch The Walking Dead on AMC for more invaluable tips on how to stay off the menu during the zombie apocalypse! Original article here: And Now For Something Completely Different About the Author Freelance author, screenwriter, and graphic designer J.B. Cameron hails from New Brunswick, Canada - though his humble Atlantic origins rarely shine through in his writing. A product of American TV, his often dark style and black humor typically

Source: DeviantArt: phelandavion

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5 Big Problems Facing Science Fiction Writers and How to Solve Them M Joseph Murphy

Recently I read an article from last year in which J. Michael Straczysnki spoke about the biggest problems facing science fiction. Here are five common problems facing science fiction writers and how to solve them. 1. “NETWORKS STILL DON’T TAKE SF SERIOUSLY.” It’s not just the networks.Many people roll their eyes at all types of “genre” fiction. This is kind of ridiculous because the best science fiction is written to be extremely serious. At its core, science fiction is a social commentary that shine a light on the human condition. It asks the hard questions and offers solutions.

Solution: Give your story depth and

Sneer all you want at L. Ron Hubbard. I fell in love with his writing before I heard anything about Scientology. He wrote a wonderful article on science fiction and the role it plays in society. He stated that science fiction, much like morality plays in times before, allowed us to sneak a message past the reader. Rather than hammer home a message

2. “A SPACE-SHOW DOESN’T WORK BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO CHARACTERS IN SPACE. IT HAS TO BE ON EARTH OR NOBODY’LL BE INTERESTED.”

like a church sermon, we bribe the reader to pay attention with spectacles. Science Fiction is supposed to break boundaries and challenge the reader.

have the courage to face the big issues.The next time someone rolls their eyes at you because you “only write science fiction”, stand up for yourself. This is not a moment to slink away. It is an opportunity to educate the ignorant.

When people say this, what they’re telling you is audiences need an “in”. They need something to relate to. If your audience cannot relate to the setting, situations, or characters, they will stop reading.

Solution : Give your characters realworld problems no matter how fantastical or alien their surroundings are. The best science fiction deals with the human condition. Rather than keep your story on Earth, keep your characters and plot grounded in things your audience can relate to. 3. “YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. IT’S SCIFI. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE.”

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Doing whatever you want to do is a sign of a lazy writer. That does not mean you have to spend half your book describing the science behind the events/object in your book. That is also the sign of a lazy writer.

Solution : Establish rules for your science and follow them. Even in the purest fantasy, you need to logic and rationality behind your writing. You don’t have to get a Doctorate in astrophysics; however, you do need to know the mechanics of the science in your story, at least at a layman’s leve. 4. “BECAUSE ITS SF, THEY ALWAYS THINK THAT SOMEHOW OR OTHER THE ‘FATE OF THE WORLD’ HAS TO BE AT STAKE.” Straczinksy goes on to say “If you’re doing a drama, no one suggests that solving the relationship problems or the murder has to save the world, but they feel that it has to be that way if you’re writing SF, which is why it’s also so often the rule in SF movies. It’s absolutely crazy-making. 2001, one of the most classic SF motion pictures of all time, could never get made today. Not a chance.” I’ll admit, I’m very guilty of this in my own writing. Back in high school, when we read Death of a Salesman, my English teacher told me it was kind of revolutionary. Most tragedies, she said, were about important men: world leaders, kings, presidents. Who cares about the little people?

Solution: That doesn’t mean you have to blow things up every five minutes (I’m looking at you, Michael Bay) but you need events. You need drama. You need love and lose, humor and – yes – even sexuality. Even if you are writing about microscopic organisms on Mars, your readers are still human. Write things that humans care about. CONCLUSION Here’s how J. Michael Straczysnki’s words of wisdom to the critics of science fiction: “I keep waiting for a paradigm shift to

happen that will let network and studio execs see that SF is the same as any other genre in terms of how you approach it – logically, character based, with challenging ideas and forward thinking – but I worry that it might never happen in my lifetime.” You’ll notice I’ve said nothing about how to convince other people to take science fiction serious. There’s a reason. The only thing you can control is yourself and your actions. Forget about the detractors. Focus on improving your writing.

Solution : Look at your own writing. Have you forgotten the littlepeople? Why not write a story about a waitress who loses her job because the entire staff has been replaced by robots? Or the high school teacher trying to prevent her students from cheating now that everyone has neural implants. Stop picturing your book being turned into a Michael Bay film. 5. TOO CEREBRAL, THEY SAY. NOT ENOUGH ACTION. Remember what I said about morality plays? The same rule applies. Your book is not supposed to be a church sermon. You have to entertain the audience.

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Original Article on M Joseph Murphy’s Blog


Coffee Chat: Finale of Kirstin Pulioff's Trilogy Ally Shields

Thanks for joining us for coffee and book talk.

We’ve been privileged to follow Kirstin Pulioff’s Madeline from the beginning of her adventures as a young woman approaching her adult years in The Escape of Princess Madeline. Today, her creator Kirstin Pulioff is here to talk about what happens now that Madeline has made that transition and achieved her happily ever after in the final book of the trilogy. Welcome, Kirstin! I’ll pour us both large cups of black coffee while you remind readers of your bio, and add a little something about yourself that we haven’t heard before. Bio: Kirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in Oregon, and enjoys being a stay at home mom. When she’s not writing, she is busy with her kids and church. And that extra something: I recently had a fun experience hiking up in the Portland woods. My kids and I were hiking at the Portland Arboretum, and as we were heading back to our car, we saw filming trailers. Intrigued, we investigated, and found them shooting an episode of Grimm. What a fun experience. The kids had fun building a fairy house around the trees while a friend and I watched part of the episode be filmed, and met the cast. It was probably the most random run-in while hiking… and I was glad we didn’t see the bad guy on the trail!

Ally: Now that we’re settled with coffee in hand, shall we get started? This book is the last in a three book series. How does it feel to say goodbye to these characters? Were you ready? Kirstin: Surprisingly I was ready. I have loved being inside Princess Madeline’s head these last few years, struggling with her challenges, and enjoying each adventure, but it felt time to let the additional adventures go unwritten. I was able to tell the story, tie the trilogy together, and create the happily ever after that I envisioned for her. It’s hard to describe that feeling, like when you put the last piece of a puzzle together, or hear the door latch behind you. It felt complete, and the right time to say “The End.” Ally: What’s next on your writing agenda? A new series? A new genre? Kirstin: I actually have a few ideas in mind. The first new story is going to be a YA Fantasy adventure, geared for the older teens, tentatively titled Dreamscape: Saving Alex. I also have ideas rolling around about a middle grade fantasy adventure series for boys. It’s always exciting to see where the muse will take me. Ally: What are your best marketing tips for fellow writers? Kirstin: I struggle with this as well. I think the best advice is to be consistent. Be consistent with the amount and type of media you do. Different venues feel more comfortable for everyone, and I would suggest that you find that one that works for you, engage with other people, and have fun.

Ally: Put on your reading hat for a moment, and tell me what book or books are at the top of your TBR pile. Kirstin: Oh... I just finished this great urban fantasy, wink wink. No, I have a couple new books that I plan on reading. A YA fantasy by Alyssa Auch, Inito, and the Hunger Games. Yes, I am hanging my head in shame. I put it on my list months ago, but I plan to start reading it very soon! Ally: Let’s finish up with some quick answer questions: I am my own worst critic. True or False? Kirstin: True Ally: I love winter. Bring on the cold and snow! True or False? Kirstin: False Ally: Will you be watching the Olympics’ coverage on TV? Kirstin: (Nods) Ally: I have a secret addiction to ___________ (fill in the blank). Kirstin: Coffee (ok, not so secret… so how about peppermint bark) Ally: Favorite actress Kirstin: Jennifer Lawrence Ally: It was delightful to have you, Kirstin. Do come back and tell us about the next book – whatever it turns out to be. Kirstin: Thanks, Ally! Always a blast.

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Ally: Now let’s take a quick look at the conclusion of Madeline’s story, Princess Madeline and the Dragon. BOOK BLURB: After a season of battle and rebuilding, the Kingdom of Soron is exhausted. With the return of the exiled wizards, the Spring Faire, and her upcoming wedding, Princess

Madeline is looking forward to a peaceful season of celebration. When the mysterious green dragon reappears, threatening the kingdom and the king, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden won’t rest for long. Faced with this incredible new danger, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden must find a way to lead their kingdom and secure their future. Can they find the answers hidden within their mother’s cryptic messages from the past, or will the dragon destroy everything they hold dear? Follow Princess Madeline as she embarks on a dangerous new adventure to save her kingdom and her family. Buy Links: Amazon Smashwords B&N Author Links: Kirstin Pulioff’s Website Kirstin Pulioff on Goodreads

Blacula and the Power of Music Danielle DeVor

Last night, my father and I were watching a documentary on VH1. This is surprising because my father does not tend to watch documentaries, but this one happened to be about Funk music. If you know my father at all, he is the biggest Motown fan. All of his favorite music comes from the 1960′s and 70′s, and because of him, I have a wide taste in music now. Inevitably, we start talking while the documentary is going on-either about the musicians or something that happens to pop into my head that loosely has something to do with what we are watching. In this case, the soundtrack to the movie, Blacula. Blacula, if you haven’t guessed already, is a blaxploitation filmfrom the 70′s. It is about an African prince, Mammuwalde who visits Dracula thinking that they will become business partners. Dracula, of course, has other ideas, and Mammuwalde’s wife is killed and he is imprisoned and made a vampire. Fast forward to the 70′s and a couple of gay designers buy the contents of Dracula’s castle and Mammuwalde is reborn. Minus the cheesy title, as far as 70′s vampire filmsgo, it is actually pretty decent. And, IMO one of the best things about it is the Funk inspired soundtrack. Needless to say, on the agenda for today is to listen to the soundtrack and get in my funky groove. Snow be damned.

Original Article with extra graphics can be viewed on Danielle Devor’s blog

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SPECIAL REPORT-Transcript of the Thulukans. Maer Wilson’s Portals Danielle DeVor

(Editor’s Note: These notes were not published back in the early part of the 21st century as the reporter had hoped, but have been recently found in a private archive. The reporter had hacked into secret FBI files,among other officialsources. We did receive permission from the Thulukans to publish them at this time.) It should be noted that the following

report and excerpts from interviews with the Thulukans was gathered at great risk to this reporter. This reporter was forced to research various sources to extract information. It is well known that this new power couple – friends to such magical powerhouses as Prince Belus, Elven delegate to Earth – are well-placed and heavily involved in offworld interactions. However, efforts to find out exactly what their roles are

have met with numerous roadblocks. It’s also known that the Thulukans have some interesting abilities, but the true scope of those abilities is still unknown. For that reason we are publishing these excerpts anonymously. (And hoping thulukans don’t mind.)

(Editor’s Note: Obviously Thulukans did mind.)

the

` Fiona Thulukan, also known as La Fi, in a transcript of an conversation recorded in front of Thulukan residence.

audio

Interviewer: Could you tell us what abilities you have? What about your husband? What exactly can he do? La Fi: And how is that your business? Interviewer: The world is interested in you. La Fi: Why? Interviewer: Well, let’s see...friend of elves, heavily involved in some way with the events surrounding the opening of portals and return of magic. Um, hey...come back! Transcript ends

Erik Thulukan, III, also known as Thulu. Transcript of audio interview in front of Thulukan residence. Interviewer: Hey, Thulu, could you answer just a few questions? Thulu (recording boosted, as he is soft-spoken): Depends on the questions. Interviewer: What abilities do you and your wife have and how did you become involved with the elves and other magical races? Thulu: We can see and hear the dead. I can find anyone that’s lost. And we were hired to assist in a situation prior to the portal openings. Unfortunately, that’s all I can say due to client confidentiality. I’m sure you can appreciate how important it is to keep that confidentiality when dealing with powerful magical folk. (A quiet chuckle, presumably Thulu’s.) Interviewer: Will you be involved in the new talks being set up? Thulu: I can’t imagine why we would be. Transcript ends

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Notes from the private FBI files of Special Agent Kevin Brown Fiona (La Fi) and Erik (Thulu) Thulukan – La Fi is very suspicious of any human authorities. She has a deep-seated fear of being locked up and studied. This fear verges on paranoia, but is mitigated somewhat by her husband and his more open attitude. It should be noted that she is gracious and loving to friends, but strangers are kept at a polite distance. She seems closer to the so-called Elder races than she does to humans outside her family. Thulu is more approachable and sociable. However, his information is not much more forthcoming than his wife’s. His friendly demeanor may mask the fact that you really have not learned any more from him than you did from her. We do know that both have paranormal and/or magical abilities. The precise nature of those abilities can only be speculated at this time. It is thought that La Fi is psychic, although that is not certain. She is much more of a cipher than Thulu. We know that Thulu can find people and objects and has helped the police regularly. He has a particular soft spot for lost children and has been instrumental in the safe return of over a dozen children, through his police liaison, Detective Jeremy Lassiter. Efforts to hear conversations inside the boundaries of their property have failed. It is believed that either technological or magical means have been used to block any transmissions. This is in spite of the bug I planted in their parlor. I will continue to monitor the situation and attempt to get closer to both, although after my meeting with them, I’m not at all certain that will have the results I’d hoped for. They remain an enigma, but I do not feel they pose any danger. They are simply an anomaly I wish to better understand. Report ended.

(Editor’s Note: The rest of the reporter’s notes – if there were any – have been lost. This fragment is all that remains. The reporter took great pains to make his/her identity and has never been identified.) To find out more about the Thulukans, check out Maer Wilson’s new book, PORTALS.

For supernatural detectives Thulu and La Fi, “normal” is a relative term. La Fi is a medium, Thulu is a finder, and their usual clients are already dead. But when their friend Reo is shot, and a group of stranded angels show up at their house for help to find a missing child, things are striking too close to home.

And now the portals that let the magical races return to Earth have started opening on their own. With trips off-world, a kidnapped psychic and changes to their own abilities, Thulu and La Fi are hit with a lot more than they usually handle. Of course, their magical friends are there to help, but even they may not be enough to save an increasingly unstable Earth.

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Portals is the sequel to Relics and is Book 2 in The Thulukan Chronicles. About Maer: After a successful career being other people, and later teaching others the many tricks of that trade, Maer Wilson has decided to be herself for a while. Turns out she’s a writer. She’s always loved stories, especially fantasy, mystery and sci fi. Maer was born in the Year of the Dragon and has a dragon-themed room in her home, but sadly no dragons in the back yard. When she’s not writing, Maer plays online video games, teaches college and reads. She also co-hosts the literary podcast, MythBehaving and writes for two gaming fansites. Maer lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her two dogs, a chihuahua and a poodle. Portals is Book 2 in The Thulukan Chronicles. You can find all books and novelettes in The Thulukan Chronicles at Amazon. Visit Maer’s website at http://maerwilson.com/.


TOKENISM: Why I'm

Furious at the Fantastic Four Casting M Joseph Murphy

In the reboot of the Fantastic Four movie, Johnny Storm will be played by Michael B. Jordan. Some will ask why I’m not satisfied with Hollywood increasing diversity. But that is not what this casting choice is about.

I could just imagine the Hollywood executives sitting in a room saying “We need a black character in the movie black people won’t see it.” This is not creating diversity. It is token-ism. If studios were concerned with creating diversity, they could focus on any of the interesting and complex persons of color in comic books. Michael B Jordan would make a great Luke Cage. He is not Johnny Storm. Johnny and Sue Storm are supposed to be brother and sister. Why isn’t a black actor playing Sue Storm? Are we really supposed to believe Michael B Jordan and Kate Mara are brother and sister?Some people claim when fans are upset at casting decisions it is because they are racist. Bull. I’m not the racist one. It’s the studios who think I will be placated because they stick a random black actor into a cast.

I’ve also heard the argument that making a white character black is not the same as making a black character why. Why? A change of race is a change of race. I know when I’m being pandered to. Fundamental to the character of Johnny storm is that he is Sue’s brother. I supposed they could make him an adopted brother but all that says is “Hey we wanted a black person in the script so we shoved one in.” Nothing against Jordan. He was great in Chronicle which may be why the director, Josh Trank, wanted him in the movie. Chronicle is one of the best written superhero movies I’ve seen. Which is why I

am so disappointed with this lazy, insulting casting.

I: Photo Source: http://collider.com/chronicle-review/

HOW STUDIOS COULD TRULY CREATE DIVERSITY I’m a geek. I’ve read Marvel Comics for other 35 years. I know there have been black members of the Fantastic Four including, at various times, Black Panther, Storm, and Luke Cage. Why aren’t we seeing them in this movie? If they wanted diversity, they could include Wyatt Wingfoot, a First Nations character, or another woman in the cast. Instead, we get another token black guy. And we’re supposed to be happy about this? I’d like to say no one is fooled by the studios. Unfortunately many people are. They see this as a sign of inclusion. WHO IS DOING DIVERSITY CORRECTLY I have much more respect for how Marvel introduced the new Ms. Marvel. Rather than turn Carol Danvers black, they introduced a completely new character, Kamala Khan. By focusing on Kamala, a 16-year-old Muslim from New Jersey, we get to heard different stories, hear about life from a different perspective.

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The TV show Arrow introduced a new character, Diggle. Rather than leave him a token black character, he exists as a full character with an interesting back story. CONCLUSION Making Johnny Storm black is not creating diversity. It is a feeble, lazy way for studios to say “Look at how progressive we are.” If they wanted to be progressive, they would tell Luke Cage’s story. Or Kamala Khan’s. Or Black Panther. Or any of the dozens of other existing characters of color. Fox is not the only studio to do this. It seems every movie or TV show needs its token black person now. It’s ticking off the fans and angering people of color. You may be fooling some people Fox, but you’re not fooling me. Shame on you. Original article with extra graphics on M Joseph Murphy’s Blog.

Interview with Karen Griffin aka Karen Plaisance Brian Patrick McKinley

My series of interviews with the authors of Fresh Blood continues today with the talented (and very funny) Karen Griffin! 1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? My name is not Karen Plaisance. Karen Plaisance is the name I use to hide from the voices. I am a hack writer/blogger/massage therapist. I don’t do happy ending. If you ask, I’m legally allowed to kill you with my t-bar. I’ve been writing since I was five. To be fair,A is for Apal wasn’t the bestseller I thought it would be, but I’m hoping for better sales with the reprint. I think it’ll do well with today’s hipster market. No happy ending! You have been warned. Brian: Which story did you contribute to Fresh Blood and what made you want to write that story? Karen: The story “Ghosts and Houseguests” started out as an unpublished novel I wrote years ago that I shortened for the anthology. I got the idea for the character Dori before I came up with the plot. A child vampire seemingly dependent on her elders turns out to be the oldest known vampire in existence. She runs New Orleans and who knows what else? And she likes dumpster diving and can’t keep track of time to save her unlife. I loved the irony. Brian: What other work have you done? Karen: I wrote a book a while back called Mercy Bound. A fated death oracle is accidentally blood bound to a vampire when a job interview goes horribly wrong. The leader of the New Orleans vamps wants to use her for her gift, a group of

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vampire hunters wants her on their side so they can destroy the New Orleans vamps, and her vegan/witch aunt just wants her home for dinner on time. Wacky hijinks ensue. I’m currently writing the sequel. It will be finished sometime before I die. Brian: What is it about vampires that makes you want to write about them? Karen: Vampires are smokin’ hot. Not the sparkly ones. Never the sparkly ones. (Insert Cringe Here) Brian: What other interests do you have and how do they influence your writing? Karen: I’m secretly obsessed with the 90’s. That was my era. I want my era back. I’ve been told this will probably not happen unless I build a time machine or start to age backwards or something. MB takes place a few days before Y2K. The main character has the ability to tell the most likely way a person might die, and I eventually plan to introduce a character that will be a die hard Saints fan. His most likely death day will be February 7, 2010 from a heart attack. He’ll have a smile on his face, though. Figure it out. Brian: Give us some links where we can find your other work (if available): Karen: For those of you who want to know the real me, call my mother. She accepts bribes. Be aware, I get a piece of that action. I can’t give out her phone number or address, so here’s my Facebook page instead. Yes, that’s my real name. And my real nose: www.facebook.com/karen.griffin.961

If it’s gripes and existential nonsense you’re looking for, my blog Doomtown is chock full of ranty goodness! Feel free to hit up the tip jar ‘cause ranting ain’t easy. If you like the site, please follow. The one follower I have is getting lonely: http://doomtowndoomtown.blogspot.com/ You can buy my books on Amazon or Smashwords.

Karen Plaisance Blog Karen Plaisance on Amazon Karen Plaisance on Smashwords


Why I Ignored Everyone’s Advice And Wrote Another Damn Vampire Novel! Brian Patrick McKinley So, why vampires?

That’s the question I’m most often asked when people ask me about my writing at all (it doesn’t happen nearly as much as I’d like, since I love talking about writing). I think the most concise answer I can give is that vampires give me a littlebit of everything. In today’s world, vampires have the ability to transcend the monster role they were traditionally given and can now be just about anything. They are the monster that most resembles us. They are us. They are the best and worst parts of our natures amplified and given the power to enact their desires on a large scale. How is that not attractive to a writer? What’s more, being a minor history buff,I love having the ability to pull characters out from various parts of history and examine how becoming a vampire either changes or doesn’t change them. I love researching the folklore of vampires in different cultures and bringing that into my work, but it’s probably fair to say that I’ve been more influenced by the newer Anne Rice style vampire. That crap with crosses and mirrors and holy water never made much sense to me. It’s all based on the idea that the vampire is inherently evil and that the Christian faith is inherently good, both concepts that I reject. Vampires start as people so, to me, there would have to be good vampires and bad vampires. And as for religion, well, what about a vampire that’s older than Jesus? Why the hell would he care about a Christian cross? People created the vampire idea to explain things they didn’t understand, but every

II Source: DeviantArt: Antiplod

good boogey man has to have a weakness, so they made those up too. I wanted to start from scratch with my vampires.

I started with the idea of doing a different take on vampires than what I was seeing out in the movies and novels of the time. Thiswas many years back, however, so certain things have caught up a little. But I liked the idea of vampires having a society, a political hierarchy that explained why nobody knew about them. If you live forever, what do you do with your time? We could hold a Masquerade Ball! In most movies, all vampires worry about is feeding, but think about it like a person. How much of your day do you worry about eating? A society gives you what you need to survive (food) without having to work as hard for it, so you have time to do other things. In my vampires’ case, they spend their time building up their personal power

so that nobody can mess with them. The more power and wealth you have, the safer you are. It’s been that way for hundreds if not thousands of years. All a vampire needs is to save some money and, over time, he’s got a fortune. Money is power in our world and power equals safety. So, that was the basis for The Order. Vampires are the true aristocrats of the world because blood is easy to get when you control the power of nations and, ironically, nations are easy to control when you can offer its leaders everlasting life, enormous sums of money, and the ability to dispose of their enemies. So, I started off with science as my vampires’ basis just because I wanted to do something different and make them more plausible. However, I love seeing magic done well in a book. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, for example, has fairies and magic and different species of vampires and werewolves and all kinds of stuff, but what makes it work is that Butcher explains his magic in a very

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specific way and keeps it consistent within his world. You know how things work in that world, which makes it feel real. I love that! When it’s not good is when it seems like an author is being lazy and describing things as magic because they don’t have the imagination to figure out a way to make things work any other way. Then magic becomes just a deus ex machina that the writer is pulling out of their ass to solve plot problems for themselves without doing the work. My novel also features some sort of magic, you could say, in the Jiang-shi which are the Chinese folklore vampires. They have powers and abilities that normal science can’t explain, but some of it can still make sense if you look at quantum physics. Or, you can believe that they actually have magic and that’s that. That’s my nod to the classic mystical vampire that can’t be explained away. For the purposes of my novel, I combined the Jiang-shi idea with that of the “hungry ghost” that is a staple of Chinese myth. I explained the creation of the Jiang-shi as a Hungry Ghost taking up residence in the dead body and strengthening the po, thus re-animating the corpse. However, I wanted the Jiang-shi to have some distinctive features, so I made them unaffected by sunlight because my regular Vampyrs are. I also made them more psychic/ emotional vampires than blood drinkers, though they can feed on blood that is strong with their emotion of choice. I gave them the traditional weakness to religious items

But, after all that, there was still something crucial missing: why should a reader give a damn about any of this? The story in its final form began to take shape when I realized that I needed a viewpoint character to get the reader into this world. Originally, it was going to be done third person and I was going to follow all the vampires back and forth as they schemed and plotted, but it was all too much. There was nobody for the audience to really root for.

IIISource: DeviantArt BabsxStock

wielded with faith because of the positive energy of the faith which clashes with the negative energies that sustain them. Naturally, given their origins, I wanted to make use of Taoist philosophy in their workings. I forget where I read this, but there was some Chinese demon or creature that tried to avoid sleep because their po was given a taste of their eternal punishment as they slept. I thought this was really novel and different, so I incorporated it into my Jiang-shi as well. For variety, I also gave them the Kuangshi (which is really just the original pronunciation of Jiang-shi), which are the green and white furred monsters of legend, as servants.

Originally, there was this guy named Avery who had just been brought in by Caroline and was kind of her side-kick. However, he never worked. Nobody I showed the script to thought the character belonged. I was going to get rid of him when it occurred to me that maybe the reason he didn’t work was because we weren’t seeing things from his viewpoint. Once I decided to write the entire book as Avery’s story, everything else sort of fell into place and the book became richer and more poignant. Here’s a guy who is coming into the situation with the same expectations that the vampire reader has, along with the same context, and so the reader hopefully is right there emotionally with Avery when confronted by these vampires that don’t act the way we’ve all been taught that vampires should act. My name is Brian Patrick McKinley and my first novel is called Ancient Blood: A Novel of the Hegemony. I hope you’ll check it out!

Brian Patrick McKinley on Goodreads Brian Patrick McKinley on Amazon Brian Patrick McKinley’s Website

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4Original Image: DeviantArt ladyxboleyn-d


In the Spotlight: SIMON OKILL Maer Wilson

Phantom Bigfoot, leaving curious evidence of Bigfoot in local bathrooms. Then in the blink of an eye, it all changes for our hero. To his dismay, a teenager with the same prankish ways disappears, rumoured to have been taken by Bigfoot. Can Duane keep the tribe of Bigfoot a secret and protect the forest as the authorities search for the missing teenager? Or will the alien Elders come to regret their choice of Protector and banish Duane from the forest forever without his superpowers?

Known in certain circles as Phantom Bigfoot, Simon is one of the nicest, warmest and funniest people I know. He’s always willing to help another author and share his knowledge. His sense of humor is one that brings a smile and out-loudlaughter. Simon is one of the reviewers over on the MythBehaving website, and it’s always a pleasure to get to work with him. Please join me as we expose – um I mean interview – this awesome author. Simon Okill lives in a South Wales coastal town with his wife where he writes about the crazy adventures of Phantom Bigfoot and his tribe of Bigfoot Babes. Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is book one of a YA adventure series, soon to be followed by Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampettes From Venus. Book 3 is a secret, so secret it hasn’t been written yet. Simon has also written several other books, all available on Amazon. PHANTOM BIGFOOT STRIKES AGAIN Awkward teen prankster, Duane Dexter, would never have guessed how much his humdrum life would change in the space of 1 year. Since his 18th birthday he inherited more money than he could spend, won the hearts of Big Beaver’s women, is hero-worshiped by every kid in town, and all due to The Elders choosing him to be Guardian of the Forest. The alien Elders love their pets – hybrid creatures known as Bigfoot – and genetically alter Duane to take on this massive task as a were-bigfoot. Life is now perfect. Duane runs free in the forest with his hairy friends, listening to the creatures, understanding nature’s secrets with his altered 6th sense. To his astonishment, he can heal all wounds with a touch. But he can’t resist his prankster side, so he lets off steam by inflicting ludicrous pranks on the local Beaverites as

Maer: Thanks for joining us to tell us about your new book. Simon: You are welcome Maer, my lovely Bigfoot Babe and is that a beer I see in your hand, thanks Maer. Maer: I stocked up just for you! But I’ll pour wine for myself. So, Simon, do you use beta readers and, if so, what qualities do you look for in a beta? Simon: Not really, Maer, but I do send out ARCs to get a feel if my work is ready to be published. Maer: What is a one line synopsis for your book? Simon: It’s a sentence that contains a snappy pitch – Maer: Nice try there, big boy. Now answer the question, please. Simon: Hee, just kidding, Maer - Teenager Duane Dexter has been genetically altered to save Bigfoot with his superhero powers. Maer: Thank you! Now I know the answer to this, but please tell our readers: Is this a standalone or part of a series? Simon: Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is book #1 of my Phantom Bigfoot Series of which there are 2 more. Maer: Awesome to hear! Simon, which character, other than Duane, is one of your favorites to write and why? Simon: MB or Chief Mockingbird is Duane’s best friend and is the dog from Scooby Doo with his nose to the ground sniffing out clues as to the existence of Bigfoot, unaware Duane is foiling his every move. What a dumbass! So is Duane for that matter. Maer: LOL. If you had to pick a color to describe Duane what would that be and why? Simon: Green, Maer, for does he not protect the forest and all that dwells within? There’s an Old Indian Legend that tells us if man is green then he cannot be seen – quote from MB. Maer: Interesting legend. So, tell us, Simon, who are your favorite authors to read? Simon: Stephen King, Graham Masterton and more and more so many from ASMSG, not unlike your sweet self, Maer.

Maer: Aaaw...sucha nice guy, you are. :) Can you share a bit about the project you’re working on now? Simon: Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampettes from Venus is book #2 of my series and will be making its big splash this Spring. Duane comes up against some downright nasty little bloodsuckers and has to save his town from annihilation with the help from his teenage friends. Maer: Now that sounds intriguing. :) What do you do when you’re not writing? Simon: Marketing, walking the beach when weather permits which it hasn’t this last month, fossil collecting, I have a large collection of ammonites, inventing new ways to feed Phantom Bigfoot, Geez that guy is forever hungry and keeping the critters outa my cave. Maer: I bet. So what influenced you to write in your genre? Do you write in others? Simon: I write in Paranormal only, and of late adult, but Travis’ [Luedke] book The Shepherd showed me a new path to YA-lightenement and I am stuck to that path now. Maer: Yes, YA is truly fun to read. What music, if any, do you like to listen to while writing? Simon: Music of the fart, um heart, Maer, don’t like distractions, unless the darn cat and washing machine can be classed as such. Maer: Well, that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Simon, thanks so much for stopping by and bringing us up to date on the new book. Do you have anything you’d like to add? Simon: Thank you for the brew Maer and for this lovely little chat, oh can I use your little boy’s room? Maer: Um...yikes! No, I don’t think so, Simon. No freakin’ way am I letting Phantom Bigfoot in my bathroom. But I do appreciate the awesome chat! Really!

Purchase Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again on Amazon.

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Required Reading for Vampire Authors Brian Patrick McKinley

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and you can certainly see plenty of imitation in the vampire genre. There are many forms of vampire novels now, from steamy paranormal romances to old-school bloody horror and so the would-be vampire author has a nearly unlimited supply of reading material to choose from. Chances are, it’s because you love reading certain authors and their takes on vampires that you want to write one yourself. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 5 vampire novels that, in my opinion, represent the basic building blocks of each of the current types of popular vampire fiction.

Most of these are modern novels, so you won’t find Dracula on this list; it’s a fine novel for its time, but let’s face it, if you’re not familiar with the basics of the Dracula story from the various film adaptations and references, then you probably have no business writing about vampires. And, in case you’ve already read my pick or have a strong aversion to doing so, I’ve been kind enough to suggest an alternate novel for each that covers the same territory. In no particular order, here they are:

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice– How could I compile a list like this and not include the queen of modern vampire fiction? I couldn’t, so I put her first to get it out of the way. You may wonder why Lestat and not Interview, but Interview is a little slow in places and just doesn’t have the flow and characterization that Rice developed when she hit her stride. Louis may have set the model for the modern tragic, brooding vamp, but Lestat is the rock star vamp that has really captured reader imaginations the world over. Rice weaves a fascinating, tragic, triumphant, and compelling tale. No one does vivid, sprawling vampire biographies like Rice in her prime and this novel is still the benchmark any historical/ biographical vampire novel should be measured against. Don’t settle for the imitations, read the original and see what created the modern vampire craze!

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Honorable Mention: Pandora by Anne Rice. If you’re looking for a female-oriented biography filled with history and romance, then this later Vampire Chronicle by Rice may be what you’re looking for. A more leisurely paced novel than Lestat’s, it still delivers vivid characters, lush prose, and rich historical detail. The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice – Why would you read Lestat and not finish the story? With Lestat’s history out of the way, this sequel lets the Queen of Vampires take center stage, dragging Lestat around on a globe-spanning spree of destruction, ecstasy, and a glimpse into the very origins of their race. If Lestat was a bit light on the action, then this volume more than makes up for it. This remains the super-powered vampire showdown to end them all and Rice’s unique vampire mythology again set the standard for all that have followed. And, no, seeing the wretched movie version does not count!

Honorable Mention: They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon. This early novel by a horror master is part vamp-ire epic and part disaster movie. As a vampire king takes control of Los Angeles, drawing vampires from all over America to him during a volcanic

eruption! This rare novel deftly weaves police procedural, cinematic action, trills and chills to create a story that should have been adapted for film by now. The Hunger by Whitley Streiber – For those who prefer their vampires a little more non-traditional, but with a little more scientific plausibility, Whitley Streiber’s subtle, creepy, bisexual Miriam Blaylock is the original vampire femme fatale. A disturbing and unique take on the vampire legend, Steiber’s creatures are a separate species rather than undead corpses, capable of the full range of emotion but a tragic flaw for those they choose to love. This is absolutely a vampire novel for adults, not because of any graphic content, but because the complex emotional territory Streiber journeys into is best appreciated by those who have lived and loved and lost. If you read this one years ago when


you were young, I urge you to give it another pass and see if you don’t have a different reaction. Thisone also became a stylish 80s movie, but to really appreciate the emotional subtexts in the story, you really must read the novel. Honorable Mention: The Vampire Tapestry by Susan McKee Charnas. This very unusual vampire tale presents a truly alien and unique vampire who may well be the last of his species. Far less romantic and more pragmatic than most vampires you’ll ever meet, this book presents a series of episodes in the life of the vampire Weyland. This one’s not for all tastes, but certainly one of the more unique takes on the vampire idea you’ll find.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – The granddaddy of vampire apocalypse novels, and maybe even zombie

apocalypse stories, this grim, slow burning novel bears no resemblance to the various movie adaptations that have been based on it (with the exception of Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth, which comes close). Some readers will find it slow, but the horror of the vampires in this novel lies in their numbers and relentlessness. Fans of The Walking Dead and similar fare will appreciate the bleak

atmosphere, but what will truly surprise readers is the profound philosophical

questions Matheson raises with masterful understatement.

Honorable Mention: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. The master of modern horror gave us this wonderful modern vampire classic which is often described as “Dracula in a small Maine town.” While that description is accurate, this novel is so much more. Masterful characterization of people large and small makes the town of the title live and breathe. The setting is so vividly drawn and lovingly rendered that you almost don’t notice the absence of the undead for a large portion of the novel. Atmosphere and steadily building dread replace King’s usual shock and awe in this early masterpiece. Those who like their vampires monstrous and traditional need to take a lesson. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, but Grave Peril if you have to pick just one Okay, you’re saying, but what about us Urban Fantasy writers? Jim Butcher has created a fully-realized and consistent fantasy world composed of everything you’ve ever heard of in a fairytale or mythology book. The thing to read Butcher for is how approachable and sensible he makes the fantastic seem. By having a solid foundation to build on and working to keep the rules clear, his wizard Harry Dresden strikes a crucial balance between being powerful enough to handle the ever-escalating threats he encounters while never becoming so chock full of powers that he ceases to be interesting. Who Harry Dresden is matters much more than the nifty spells he can cast and the restrictions he places upon himself elevate him to a combination of Phillip Marlowe and Harry Potter. The reason this series fits this list, of

course, is because Butcher’s clever approach to vampires having different “courts” each with distinct powers and weaknesses allows him to get mileage out of all the various vampire archetypes. The fact that the series has sustained fourteen novels so far with no

decrease in quality or sales also proves that Mr. Butcher is doing something right and that’s always worth studying.

Honorable Mention: Guilty Pleasures by Laurel K. Hamilton. Not only was it one of the first such series to hit the bestseller lists, but its heroine Anita Blake remains one of the seminal ass-kicking heroines in fantasy literature. In the last few years, the series has sadly degenerated into Mary Sue wishfulfillment and plotless erotica, but back when she was on her game, nobody did this kind of monster-mash Urban Fantasy better than Hamilton. The first eight novels are well worth the read for any aspiring author looking to dip into that well. Characterization was key in these early novels along with a strong voice and gritty realism that balanced the fantastic elements. For those who have already begun their series, it might be worth reading through the Anita Blake series to decide for yourself where it “jumps the shark” or even if it does. You can learn as much from other people’s failings as you can from their successes. Well, there you are. If you look over the list and you’ve read them all, then good for you! Still, some of these deserve a second reading with a critical eye, especially if you’re planning to write something in that vein. C’mon, how could I resist at least one vampire pun on a subject like this?

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EXCERPT FROM A FALLEN HERO RISES M Joseph Murphy CHAPTER 1 In the fieldbender guild of Karaj Robat, the Sage closed his eyes in silent prayer. ‘Some things you can’t come back from. Let’s hope this is not one of them.’ His red leather boots stepped quickly over white marble floors as he headed toward the council chamber. Square columns lined the open-air corridor. A cool breeze from the storm raging outside ruffled his high-collared military cape. It did littleto cool his temperament. Acolytes in white robes bowed their heads in respect as he passed. He ignored them all, clenching and unclenching his fists, eyes straight ahead. This was no time to pretend he cared about decorum. Guards flanked either side of the chamber entrance. They stood at attention, hands resting on the hilts of their swords. Both wore ceremonial armor embroidered with the crest of Karaj Robat: a crow superimposed on a red mountain. The Sage did not slow down as he approached. One guard held up a hand, blocking his path. “No entry,” the guard said. “Fieldbenders only.” The Sage raised one eyebrow and glanced at the other guard. “Sorry, sir,” the second guard said. “He’s new. Baubi, stop being an idjit. Let him pass.” The firstguard, Baubi, shook his head. “Sorry, Jaymes. I’m not risking my job based on your recommendation. Why would I let this stranger in? I don’t even know his name.” Jaymes, the second guard, coughed and went pale. “He’s not a stranger. Thisis the Sage. He’s been a consultant to the fieldbenders since before you were born.” Baubi tightened his grip on the hilt. “Stop making fun of how young I am. Besides, the Sage is a position, not a name.” The Sage cleared his throat. “As amusing as you clowns are, I have places to be. I’m expected inside. No one here knows my true name. Names have power. Everyone calls me the Sage. Now are you going to step aside or do I have to push you?” Baubi started to draw his sword. Jaymes grabbed his arm to stop him. The Sage’s eyes flashed red with an internal flame. “Please go in, sir,” Jaymes said. He quickly opened the twin doors to the chamber. As the doors shut behind him, the Sage heard the two guards continue to bicker. The meeting had already begun. The council chamber was a large, round room. Tall, gilded columns encircled the room. Between the columns, hundreds of fieldbenders spoke to each other in hushed tones. Most were initiates dressed in white

robes. Many blinked rapidly while others nervously glanced at the shadows. ‘They look nervous,’ the Sage thought. ‘That’s a good sign. It means they’re taking this seriously.’ He pushed through the crowd to reach the white marble table at the center of the room. Like the chamber, it was round. Seven robed men were already seated around the table. These were the leaders of the guild, the ones who had summoned him to the meeting. Two of the chairs around the table were empty. The Sage sat in one and turned to listen to the debate. “Eschandel, it’s just not possible.” The speaker, a middle-aged man in green-trimmed silver robes, looked down his nose at a man with slender features in black robes. “Stop saying that, Sirion.” Eschandel slammed his fist against the table. His ice-blue eyes darted from person to person around the table. “For the third time, it is flamin’ possible because it’s flamin’ happened. Sit there and deny it until the moons fall from the sky. It changes nothing. Last night, fifte en Seers had the same vision. A blaze of light flew through space. It slammed into the dimensional prison. Now there’s a crack in the Void.” “I think what Sirion is saying is that, perhaps, the Seers are mistaken.” Thiscool voice came from a white-haired man in skyblue robes. Though much older than the first two speakers, his eyes were sharp and clear. “We need more than their word before we panic.” Eschandel took a deep breath. “As I was about to say before Sirion stuck his head in the sand...again...ewhave more proof. I present Bender Mikhel from DunDegore. His report should shut you up.” The white-haired man cleared his throat. “Sorry, Latimer.” Eschandel hung his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “His report should help clarify things.” The white-haired man, Latimer, smiled and nodded to show his support. The Sage turned as a new figure stepped forward. Like the majority of the crowd, this man wore the white robes of an initiate; however, his robes were dirty, the hem caked with mud. He had obviously been traveling. “I’m Mikhel,” the man said. “I can’t speak of the Void directly but my guild has reason to believe it is damaged. It’s the only explanation for what we found. Something fell out of the Void.” For a moment, there was silence. Then the room erupted into curses and shouts of disbelief. Latimer lifted a hand and everyone hushed.

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“Please,” Eschandel said, “continue.” Mikhel wiped sweat from the edge of his neck as he looked around the room. “I’m part of the research team from DunDegore. As you know, we’ve explored the ruins for decades. The old Behersker city goes down for miles. We’ve only uncovered the first 50 levels. Usually we find trinkets – tools, dishware, data disks. Yesterday we found something else.” “Spit it out already,” Sirion said. “We don’t need an archeology lesson.” “Yes, sir.” Mikhel’s ears turned red. He glanced at Latimer but, unable to look the leader of the guild in the eye, he focused on Eschandel. “We found a sword. At first, we assumed it was a sculpture, perhaps part of a statue we had yet to discover. No one’s ever found a Behersker weapon. There’s considerable doubt they actually had conventional weapons. But it proved to be anything but ornamental. The blade was translucent yet harder than any metal, even darkstone. The hilt was opaque and appeared to be crafted from onyx. It’s also impervious to damage. We tested it against fire, electricity, acid and blunt force. No effect. When we tested its reaction to fieldbending we began to realize exactly what we’d found. It seemed to eat every spell we threw it at. The archeologists asked me to examine the sword because of my area of expertise. Starfall.” “By the Oak.” Latimer covered his mouth with trembling fingers, eyes no longer clear. He glanced at Eschandel. The younger fieldbender nodded and closed his eyes.

attuned to inter-dimensional activity. Two days ago there was activity like we’ve never felt before. After hours of investigation we discovered the cause. Something came into our world. Think of it like a meteor that smashed through the walls of our dimension instead of crashing down through our atmosphere. Whatever it was, wherever it came from, it didn’t close the portal it created. As long as it remains open, other things may enter our world.” “And what say you, Sage?” Latimer stared down at his hands. The Sage cleared his throat. “I say Sirion needs female companionship more regularly. There is nothing more annoying than someone who claims to be a skeptic but is truly a fascist. Whatever happened, I felt it too. Two days ago. It was similar to the opening of a foramen but more...raw. Dangerous. I have no idea what caused it and, as you know, I despise not knowing. We all knew there was a possibility the Void wouldn’t hold forever. If there is any chance it’s compromised we have to alert the Great Castles. You should send envoys to the Valgt’til and the Redgraves.” “I tend to agree.” Latimer placed his hands, palm down, on the table. “At worst, we appear over-prepared for battle. But if we say nothing and there is a crack in the Void, well, we can’t take that risk.” Sirion grumbled. “I’ll have companionship regularly.”

you

know I

get

female

Eschandel chuckled, a wide grin on his face.

“From the look on your face, sir, I see you understand.” This time Mikhel was able to look Latimer in the eyes. “The sword has inscriptions visible only when exposed to Akashic energy. The script wasn’t Behersker. It was Sirian. The sword has a name.”

“Hardly the most pressing issue at hand,” Latimer said. “Sirion, I’ll send you back to DunDegore with our friend Mikhel. Help verify it’s truly the Sword of Kassandra. Your skepticism will come in handy. If it is, we need to safeguard it. Something that powerful in the wrong hands could be disastrous.”

“The Sword of Kassandra,” Latimer said. Mikhel nodded.

“You mean the Quadumvirate, I suppose.”

The room became deadly silent as if everyone had forgotten how to breathe.

Latimer stood and looked around the crowd. “We need to move quickly but keep this quiet. By any oath you hold sacred, this news cannot leave this room. Trust no one. The Quadumvirate has spies everywhere. I’ll head to Castle Grygar myself. Eschandel, I’ll leave you in charge in my absence.” He turned to a middle-aged man in red robes, “Bahrza, I’ll send you to Castle Redgrave. Your connections in the court will get us a quick audience with the royal family.”

Sirion shook his head. “Preposterous. The Sword of Kassandra is locked in the Void.” “Correction,” Eschandel said. “It was locked away. It’s not anymore. If you want more evidence let me introduce you to Leinda Farthing. She’s our ambassador to the geognosts. She studied with Defksquar some years ago, which makes her the best expert available. I’ll let her explain why she’s here.” A woman dressed in deer-hide pantaloons and an unbleached tunic stepped out from the crowd. Her long brown hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail. A tribal tattoo decorated the length of her neck: a dragon “The head of my guild sent me here to deliver a warning,” she said. “I’m sure you all know we specialize in manipulations of foramen and the magnetic subweb of our planet. We are highly

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The Sage raised his hand before speaking. “It would probably be in our best interest to notify the Nizarians as well.” Latimer nodded. “That’s assuming they’re not behind this. Gods only know what that race is capable of. I have someone I trust who will deliver the message. From this moment on, be on alert. The Sword of Kassandra may be the least of our worries. There are far worse things imprisoned in the Void. If it’s cracked, Dispayre could break free.” The Sage bit his inner cheek. “And that means war.” Purchase A Fallen Hero Rises Here


WHEN MOONLIGHT FALLS Alex Mahon COMING SOON – WHEN MOONLIGHT FALLS This will be a collection of fairtytales. More stories will be added to the collection as I just love the cover so much and see no point in changing covers for further stories. Here’s a sample of an already-published story which I have taken off the shelf so as to add to the collection. OIL Elfis threw down his pickaxe and examined his frost-bitten hands. The blisters had hardened since he last checked. And to make matters worse, his back and muscles threatened to seize up. At this rate he would die from overwork and starvation. Then maggots and worms would wriggle inside his eye sockets and play peek-a-boo. Too exhausted and in too much pain, he quit for the day. He’d come back tomorrow. Hopefully, it would have rained by then, making it easier for him to dig deeper furrows. With a bit of luck, he might even manage to plant his potato seeds. He straightened his stiff back, groaning with the effort. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten since that morning. He had no idea where he was going to find food though. He’d eaten the last slice of bread that morning and now his pantry was bare. Bending to get his pickaxe, he heard a faint sound; like a splash of some kind. He slowly turned round. A few feet away a rat was swimming across a pool of murky liquid. Minutes earlier there had only been a collection of potholes where cows once trampled. It clambered out, dripping, and scampered in the direction of Ben Ard Forest next to the field. Elfis guessed the liquid was sewage. Yesterday he had cracked a sewage pipe and almost vomited at the stench. However, this liquid didn’t look the same. He went over and knelt beside it, taking a deep whiff. It didn’t smell like sewage. He brought his nose closer and took an even bigger whiff. His spine tingled with nervous excitement.

bottom of his hooded robe. He’d soon be able to buy a silk one after this. A cawing sound rang in the air. He looked over at an elm tree on the edge of the forest whose branches overhung the field. Perched on its middle branch was Carson, a wily old crow. Carson flew across the field, cawing, “The elf has found oil. The elf has found oil. The elf has ahhhhhhh!” He plunged beak first into the pool. Seconds later he resurfaced, beating his wings against the surface. “Help me!” he screeched. “My plumage is clogged up with oil. I’ll drown.” Elfis loaded his catapult with another stone. He stuck out his tongue, closed an eye, and lined the bird up in his sights. “Big mouth,” he said. “I’ll knock your block off. Just see if I don’t.” Carson dipped and resurfaced. “What if I help you?” he said. “How?” “To sell your oil. Do you know the price of a barrel of oil these days?” Elfis lowered his catapult. “No.”

It smelled like, no, it couldn’t be. He dipped a hand in and examined the liquid as it ran down his fingers. He rubbed them together. This time he was sure.

“Well, I don’t know either. But it’s a lot.” His head dipped below the surface, then popped up again. “Let’s you and I talk business. You want to be rich, don’t you?”

“Oil,” he said. The word came out as rasp.

Elfis nodded. “Ahuh!”

He stood up.

“Then put me on your shoulder and I’ll tell you how.”

“Oil,” he yelled. This time the word echoed around him. “Oil. I’m rich. Rich.”

Elfis sorely wanted to fire a stone at him, but decided to hear what the crow had to say. He fished him out of the pool and put him on his shoulder, facing his ear.

He did a jig, spinning so fast that he lost his balance and fell bum first into the pool. Laughing, he stood up and wrung out the

Carson spread his wings, dripping oil down the back and front of Elfis’s robe. He spluttered for a few moments and then spoke.

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“It’ll take me ages to get this oil out of my plumage,” he said. “Anyway, here’s the plan. We barter with the leprechauns. A bucketful of oil for a kilo of gold.” He tapped a wing tip against Elfis’s temple, leaving a snail trail of oil. “And pretty soon, my boy, we’ll be rich.” Elfis gave him a sideways glance. “We?” Carson lifted his wings in a shrug. “Surely you’re going to give me a cut of the profits.” He cocked his head and winked. “Say, forty per cent.” Elfis gasped. “What? You must be off your rocker. It’s my oil.” “True. It’s your oil. But you know those silver-tongued leprechauns. They’ll have it for free if you’re not careful. They’ve been doing shady dealings for thousands of years. And you?” Elfis couldn’t recall ever doing a shady deal in all his twenty years. He was brought up honest.

“What you screaming for, you big sissy?” he said, picking up the soap. Carson’s beak clattered. “It, it, it’s freezing,” he said in a hoarse voice. Elfis grinned. “I know.” He dunked Carson and rubbed the soap into his plumage, shaking him violently to rinse off the excess soap. Carson spluttered, cursed and cawed his lungs out even louder than before. The water turned black. Elfis emptied the basin and refilled it, repeating the process of rubbing soap, shaking and rinsing. Carson continued to complain and struggle.

“Never,” he replied.

After the fourth basin of water had been emptied, Elfis lifted out a bewildered Carson and set him down on the ground.

“Exactly. Never. Of course, if you think you can go it alone, then by all means do so.” He folded his wings and turned away.

“There,” said Elfis. “How’s that?” “What?” He sounded delirious.

Elfis thought it over for a few seconds. “Thirty percent. Not a percent more.” Carson turned round, a sly grin on his face. “Okay, pal. You got a deal. Thirty percent. Now, can you get me cleaned up?”

Carson staggered around, flapping his wings and falling over. After a few minutes, he beat his wings furiously and managed to lift himself a few inches off the ground. Minutes later he could fly, a short distance at first, then across the field. Finally, he could wheel above Elfis’s head.

“Okay.”

“Look,” he said, “I’m back to my old self.”

Elfis carried him to the well and plonked him in the ceramic basin next to it. Then he winched up a bucket of water, pouring it over the bird’s head.

“Pity. Now why don’t you fly away and get us something to eat? Otherwise crow pie will be on the menu.”

Carson’s beak flew open as he released a long, rasping cawing sound. He beat his wings against the sides of the basin until they hurt. When the last drop fell, Elfis plonked down the bucket on the low wall round the well, next to a cake of soap.

Carson flew higher. “Nobody eats crows. We’d be pretty tasteless.” “Not when you’re as hungry as I am.”

Other books by Alex Mahon: THE HAPPY CAT’S DETECTIVE , SECRETS AND SINNERS

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STRANDED MUSE Electa Graham Faydra’s piece of shit car had finally died. Why it had to die in the middle of fucking nowhere was another question. She hated cliches and a damsel in a wet dress walking up to a spooky mansion was certainly a cliche. Except this wasn’t a spooky mansion, it was an ultra modern home, complete with solar panels and a small wind turbine. Someone who cared that much about the environment couldn’t be a crazy psycho right? The door was cherry red and had an old fashioned knocker that looked odd on the modern steel door. Her hands were slick with rain and wouldn’t respond the way she wanted. It hurt to knock they were so frozen and in that moment she didn’t care if he was a homicidal maniac as long as he let her warm up first before he killed her. Hope filled her as she thought she heard movement on the other side of the door. The door flew open and a disheveled, very sexy man looked down at her. He wore a tight tshirt and loose fitting jeans. Covered from head to toe in all different colors of paint, he looked like a delicious bohemian mess. She could see him take her in through blueberry colored eyes. His full lips curved up in a smile and he looked totally different from a second ago. He pushed his dark messy curls back from his eyes and let loose a small burst of laughter. Faydra imagined a lot of scenarios, but this was far more bizarre then she had imagined.

painting above the fireplace. A white canvas with a single swath of crimson and a smattering of droplets of the same color. Feeling like a fool Faydra tried to cover her jumpiness by pretending it was just a shiver from being cold. The man gave her a smirk that told her she was fooling no one. “You are freezing poor thing. Go upstairs the first door on the left is a guest room. There is a robe in the ensuite bathroom. Don’t worry, it’s big and puffy and covers much more then that transparent clingy dress, you know it really does show almost all your charms.” Looking down immediately she decided he had been exaggerating, but not by much. “Thank-you. I’d love to get out of this dress. Do you have a dryer I can use?” “Its in the same bathroom.” Faydra trudged up the stairs looking back to make sure he didn’t follow. He had already walked away and was heading into another room. He was charming in an assholy way. Speeding up the stairs she walked into a lavender room, decorated in such a way that she wanted to lay down on the down duvet and take a very long nap.

“I’m sorry miss I don’t recall ordering a drowned rat, maybe you should try the next house.” His teeth were perfect and gleaming white. He was enjoying her discomfort.

He was right about the robe and the dryer and she quickly changed and threw everything that was wet into the dryer. Her appearance was goulish. Mascara ran down her face, her hair was a tangled mess. Doing the best she could she fixed her hair into a pony tail and wiped off all her makeup.

“Ha ha. I broke down a ways back and your house seems to be the only one around here.”

He wasn’t around when she came back down so she sat on the overstuffed sofa in front of the fire.

“Yes, I suppose your right, well in that case where are my manners, please come in and dry off. I would offer you the use of my phone, but I’m afraid I don’t have one.”

“Feel better? You certainly look better. Here its a coffee with a little liquor to take the chill out of your bones.”

He stood aside so she could come in, but she hesitated. Who doesn’t have a phone? A strong gust of wind whipped up and it push her in the door. Once inside the warmth was an immediate calming force. She could hear her mother now. Faydra you need an emergency kit for your car. What if something were to happen. You never take a coat with you even in the dead of winter. She hated when her mother was right almost as much as her mother loved being right. He placed his hand on the small of her back to guide her in, an intense sexual heat spread through her whole body and she caught herself starting to lean into him and straightened immediately. What was wrong with her. This guy was gorgeous, but she didn’t know him and he seemed a little odd. A streak of red caught the corner of her eye and she immediately thought blood and jumped away from him. It was a giant

“Thank-you I could use a drink right now.” He sat beside her. He had a mug in this hand too, but he placed it on the raised hearth without drinking it. “Now when I said I didn’t have a phone, that wasn’t quite true. I have a cellphone, but when I paint I let it drain so I’m not disturbed or I’m not tempted to play that blasted angry birds.” He laughed at his own joke. “Anyway, I have plugged it in and hopefully we’ll get reception and you can call a tow truck.” Faydra didn’t know if it was the spiked coffee or the fact he was working towards getting her out of here, but a small knot of worry that had sat in her gut let go. “Thanks so much, I’m sorry I don’t know your name.” “Yes, how rude of me, my name is Sasha and you beautiful, what’s your name?” “Faydra.”

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“What brings you out here in the middle of nowhere without even a coat. Its almost freezing.” “I was trying to get home for the weekend. I travel all over for my sales job and I was hoping to sleep in my own bed tonight. I have a coat I just didn’t feel like getting it out of my suitcase. I hate driving in a coat its so uncomfortable. I guess I should have made the effort.” “Have you a family that will be worried about you?” “No just a cat and a neighbor, but if I don’t make it home tonight, she’ll feed the cat and assume I was delayed.” “Well hopefully we will get you on your way soon.” “I’m sorry, I know this is inconvenient.” “Faydra” his voice was deep and lush, just the tone made her wet. “You are no inconvenience.” He was very close and she couldn’t remember him moving. His arm was on the back of the sofa behind her neck. “Thank-you. I’ll be out of your hair before you know it.” She tried to laugh, but his cool lips grazed her ear. “You are welcome in my home anytime. Someone as beautiful as you can stay as long as you need.” Faydra closed her eyes and stifled a moan. Clasping her hands together so she didn’t reach out and touch him. He ran his lips down her neck laying a quick kiss at the nape of her neck. “Would you like to see my studio?” She tried to clear her mind. A walk, even a short one might do her some good. He took her hand and she felt a buzz of electricity. He led her into a very large room. The moon was shining in and cast an eerie shadow over everything. Sasha flipped a switch and a dim light came on in the corner of the room. The room was wall to wall drop clothes and canvases strewn everywhere. Paint pots of all sizes and colours littered tables and the floor. A very large canvas leaned against the one bare wall. It looked taller than she was and wider than it was tall. Feydra was mesmerized by the outline of the woman in the picture, when he came up behind her. She leaned against him. His delicate hands rested on her shoulder. He smelled earthy and fresh. She wanted him to kiss her, but he stood there. His heat warmed her, her cheeks burned. He pushed her gently towards the canvas. She let him lead her there. “My beautiful Faydra, I have been waiting for you to come so I could finish my painting.” “What do you mean?”

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“I’ve been waiting for someone like you to come into my life, so I could finish this work.” A brief moment of panic started her heart into overdrive. A desperate need to leave over came any sense of decorum. Before she could move at all he grabbed her arms and held her in place. “Shhh” He kissed her neck and she calmed immediately. He reached around and untied her robe. “I need to see your luscious body.” Her glorious breasts fell in shadow, but he could see the outline. He lets the garment fall to the ground. She shivers as her warm flesh is exposed to the cold air. Goose bumps pepper her flesh. Cool lips press against the back of her neck then continued across her shoulder “Faydra... you are flawless.” Cupping her perfect breasts he rolled her nipples in between his fingers and thumbs, then he steps back and runs his hand down her back and cups her two cheeks. “Say my name my beauty. I want to hear it.” “Sasha” It was a breathy whisper. He walked around her. She looked up into his eyes. “Sasha.” She was dripping wet and when he parted the lips of her sweet pussy he was rewarded with her nectar coating his fingers. He brings them to his lips and licks them, then leans in and kisses her so she can taste herself on his tongue. Faydra is trying to concentrate. Something is wrong, but it feels so good. Just a single touch sends shockwaves of pleasure through her body. She should cover herself, but he has said she’s perfect. Why would she cover perfection. “Sit here my sexy muse.” He motioned to a chair that looked vaguely like a throne. She sat he positioned her so one leg was over the padded arm of the chair and the other on the floor. He had a perfect view of those silken pale curls and a hint of the pink tender flesh inside. He had her grip each arm of the chair so nothing was hidden from him. “Perfection. I will get my paints.” He returns naked. His pale skin and chiseled chest make him look like a greek statue. His cock is large and she licks her lips. The need to have him in her mouth was overwhelming. Carrying a jar of red paint and a brush, he smiles and kneels before her. “You are a better canvas then that one over there.” He kisses her. His tongue searches for hers and they play. He nibbles her full lips and she can’t remember ever being kissed with such skill. “Sasha” He doesn’t ask her but she needs to call out to him. His lips are now on her breasts, sucking her hard nipples into his hungry mouth. He stops and she opens her eyes to see him dip his brush into the dark red liquid. He smiles and circles each nipple with the cold paint, making her gasp. He continues to tease her this way. She writhes and arches under his ministrations. Paint drips and runs down her flat belly.


He sets down the paint and kisses the inside of her thigh and inhales deeply. “MMmmm Faydra such a feast. He kisses her outer lips. His tongue dips inside. “Such tasty nectar and all for me.” He parts her lips to reveal the bud inside. Sucking and nibbling he has her moaning and begging for release. Pulling back the hood he drips the cold paint, her orgasm hits as soon as the liquid hits the sensitive flesh. She screams in her release and he plunges inside her as rides the wave of her orgasm. He fucks her without mercy. Fast, hard strokes and she is ready to come again. They are slick with the red liquid, their bodies slide over each other, the pleasure builds in both of them. In the final seconds Faydra looks up to see gleaming fangs and feral eyes. Terror and release hit her at the same time, just as his teeth sink into her neck. The pull of her life liquid from her neck makes her cum over and over until she passes out. Sasha sucks and licks her body clean. He leaves her pale lifeless body in the chair and begins to paint her. He looks back

longingly. He wants her again, but its never the same as the first time and the disappointment will bring frustration and violence. He was full anyway. The lust would fade as he worked to finish his painting. *** A loud knock on the window brought her around. A grizzled out man looked back at her and she screamed. Her neck was cramped and she felt like shit. Rolling down the window a blast of cold air hits her in the face waking her fully. “Jesus lady I thought you were dead. You look like hell.” “Whats going on.” Feydra tried to remember why she was in her car. “I was driving by and saw you on the side of the road. You need a tow or what cause I’m freezing my ass off.” Fedrya sat up straight in her seat and looked at her surroundings. Breaking down here felt like a slip of a memory on the other side of her foggy brain. Nothing made sense, except staying here wasn’t an option. She nodded to the old man and he went about his work.

For more, visit Electa Graham’s Blog

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SNEAK PEAK OF THE ESCAPE OF PRINCESS MADELINE Kirstin Pulioff My favorite new way to start the week… a teaser from one of my stories. Stay tuned for an exclusive look into my new YA Fantasy, Dreamscape: Saving Alex. But, until then, enjoy a piece from my original fairy tale, The Escape of Princess Madeline.King Theodore jumped from his bed. Beads of sweat slid down his temples, as his heart threatened to beat out of his chest. Howling wind forced its way into the king’s chamber, extinguishing the dim candlelight.

Braving the cool stones of the castle floor, he walked to the windows at the far end of his chamber, where a soft tendril of smoke danced above the blown-out candles. Relighting them, he watched the soft orange flames flicker in the wind. Now awake, he leaned over the windowsill, peering into the courtyard below. Nothing stirred in the darkness. Small flecks of glittering light reflected off the garden’s fountains. Around it, dark cobblestones curved and disappeared into the growing shadows. Looking past the courtyard, beyond the castle walls towards the eastern mountains, he watched the rolling hills disappear under a wave of fog. He let out a great sigh, wishing memories could fade the same way.

King Theodore wrapped his velvet robe tighter as the wind blew against his face. As his eyes sought clarity from the outside, his mind wandered back to the nightmare that plagued him. Every year on the eve of his children’s birthday, King Theodore relived the same dream. The warm summer breeze and the horn’s song greeted him as he stood at the window. A line of royal visitors and merchants lined the rolling hillsides on their journey to Soron. In anticipation of the summer tournaments and royal births, attendance doubled, bursting the seams of the small kingdom. Peering into the courtyard below, he watched the frenzy with a smile. Under colorful banners, people ran back and forth, carrying bundles of fabric, bouquets of wildflowers, and piles of farm produce. The smells of freshly-baked breads and pastries wafted up, mixing with the spicy blend of the wizard’s incense. A soft tap on the shoulder brought him back to the room. “My King,” the wizard Elias whispered. “There’s nothing more we can do for her. The queen has passed beyond the grasping hands of our magic.” King Theodore’s heart dropped. The room filled with sage and sandalwood spun as he looked at the group of wizards surrounding the bed. Stumbling forward,

he dropped to his knees, cradling Eleanor’s pale hand in his. “My life, my love, I am lost without you!” The king wept, burying his tear-stained face in his hands. “We knew this day was coming, my lord,” Elias said, sharing a look of concern with the other wizards. “The mirror warned that a sacrifice was necessary to protect and save the kingdom. She died for you. Giving her life to bring you these wonderful

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children and save...” Elias stopped, as his eyes connected with the kings. The tears froze on King Theodore’s face. His jaw clenched at the wizard’s words. “She did this for me?” the king bellowed, heat rising in his cheeks. “She sacrificed herself and left me alone for my benefit? How dare you! Thiswas not a sacrifice she needed to make!” King Theodore stood, and looked the older wizard in the eyes. His face deepened in anger until it matched the red in his velvet robe. “Hear my words, great wizard. Thiswill not go unpunished.” Waving his arms abruptly, he ushered them out, shutting the door in haste behind them. He approached the queen. His body shook as new tears rolled down. He wept quietly until the golden light from the windows faded. Standing quietly, his fingers lingered on the Eleanor’s silk gown. The morning sun rose over the horizon, streaking the countryside with an orange and red wave. King Theodore did not notice this beauty—or any beauty. Sitting calmly in his throne, he watched as the room slowly filled. His face, like stone, refused to give way, noticing but not reacting to the growing crowd, or their sympathies. With weary eyes, and a tight jaw, he looked over the room. Faces painted with anticipation, fear, and curiosity stared back at him. No one had expected him this morning. He barked an order to the nearby steward, breaking the silence.

The steward’s eyes bulged as King Theodore delivered his message. With a curt nod of approval, the steward lifted his horn to his lips, announcing the royal decree. The horn echoed off the stained glass windows crowning the throne room. The gathered crowd quieted, looking at the steward expectedly. The knights stood straight against the side wall, and the wizards folded their arms inside their robes. “By royal decree,” the steward’s voice croaked, “the services of the wizards are no longer needed or approved of in this kingdom.” The uproar of the room overpowered the weak voice. The other wizards leaned in towards their leader, Elias, with questioning looks. Elias refused to break eye contact with the king. With another nod, the king encouraged the steward to continue. A small smile broke the severity of the king’s face as he heard his orders proclaimed. “By order of treason, you are to be punished with death.” The steward hung his head with the last words. A shocked gasp ran through the hall. With a wave of his arm, the king directed the knights into position around the unarmed men.


Elias tightened his lips, and kneeled before the throne. “My Lord, please reconsider these actions. It is not our fault. You must know that.” Every head turned to the king. King Theodore stood, amplifying his authority. “I thought the proclamation was simple to understand. You said it yourself. That you knew of the tragedy before it happened.” Taking slow steps towards Elias, he continued. “You saw this coming—the death of my wife, your queen—and you did nothing. With all your power and foresight, you did nothing to stop this atrocity. That alone is punishable by death.”

The king hesitated at the depth of grief in Elias’s eyes. “However, you are my beloved’s kinsmen, and so I shall save you. Death may be too extreme, but exile is generous. You are to leave by day’s end. Be warned, if you so as much enter the kingdom, or whisper its name, your protection will be gone and I will not stop my men from killing you.”

King Theodore stormed out, amidst a confused uproar of questions.

The next sound King Theodore heard pulled at his heart. Outside the royal nursery, his hands stayed on the steel handle.

The nurse opened the door, bouncing a baby on each shoulder. “Your Majesty,” she cried exasperated. “The children, they cry for you.” “No,” he answered, looking down at the woman, “they cry for their mother.”

The wind shrieked through, blowing out the candles once more. King Theodore let the darkness hide his tears. “My Eleanor, sixteen years have passed, and the children and I still grieve for you as if it were yesterday,” King Theodore quietly cried into the night.

Purchase the Escape of Princess Madeline now on Amazon Barnes & Noble or Smashwords

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EXCERPT FROM THE SHEPHERD Travis Luedke Chapter One Thursday, September 9th, 5:15 p.m. Shit happens, life happens, but for some reason it happens to me a lot. I was kinda hoping life would give me a break – maybe crap on somebody else for a while. Yeah, right.

rule number four: No children over the age of fourteen allowed. For the record, Justin is sixteen.” Returning to the action, I caught Tommy’s upturned face lit with excitement, and then slid the view up the playcenter to Justin. “There’s the big man, putting on a show for his new best friend.” It kinda stung in a way I didn’t like to admit, that Justin was doing all this for Tommy. A couple months ago, Justin was my best friend, my idiot. Or so I had thought.

I mean, look at Justin Shelby. I’m sitting here in my car, in the McDonald’s drive through, and what is he doing? He’s climbing up the side of the damn playcenter. Probably faded on prescription pills he stole from his mom. This guy is begging for life to hit him upside the head. But it never does.

But Tommy was cool. Popular and wealthy, he also happened to be one of the biggest arrogant pricks in my class, and Justin’s ticket into the ‘cool crowd.’

And then there’s his buddy, Tommy Schroeder, goading him on.

“Always trying to prove something.” I shook my head.

“Do it man! You’re almost there!”

Tommy and I don’t get along so well. It’s a Rachelle thing. One of those life things that happens to me so often.

One of the wrestling elite of Moses Lake High School, Tommy’s mere presence inspired Justin to new heights of idiocy. Justin scaled the side of the outdoor playcenter like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Justin skated religiously, a regular at the downtown Moses Lake skatepark across from the Aquatic Center. Like most of us skaters, he was thin, moderately athletic, and had a strong sense of balance from endless hours busting his ass on the concrete. Climbing the playcenter wasn’t any more dangerous than the skate tricks we recorded and posted to YouTube. He quickly reached the apex, damn spider monkey. He stood exalted atop the dome of the airplane-shaped plastic toy. An elementary kid inside gawked up at him from the Plexiglas window. “This is classic!” Tommy whipped out his cell phone and started recording. Looked like a good idea to me, so I did the same. You never know what folly you might catch on video. I mean, this was live action stuff. I could be ten seconds away from a viral Youtube video, Gangnam Style. Tommy encouraged Justin’s antics with loud catcalls. proclaimed his status as king of the hill, arms held high.

Justin

“Yeah bitches, hell yeah!” Justin yelled and hooted at the top of his lungs, pumping his fists in the air. I narrated to my potential audience of millions, “This is a flagrant violation of the rules.” I panned my cellphone camera over to the placard by the entry gate and zoomed in to catch a clear shot of the playcenter rules. “There it is folks, rule number three: No climbing outside the playcenter. And we can’t forget

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I should just keep my mouth shut and catch some choice video, but you know what they say, the observer always affects the observed … “Hey ass munch, get down before you break your neck!” Justin’s head whipped around to the sound of my voice, causing his body to sway with the sudden movement. As soon as he spotted me parked in the drive-through a nasty smirk bloomed across his face. In a moment of sublime inspiration, Justin dropped his pants with a show of lily-white butt cheeks. He obviously hadn’t seen me recording with my cell phone. Tommy noticed me too. “How about a double McAss burger Mikey?” He loves to call me Mikey. He knows I hate it. No one but Tommy calls me Mikey. The girl delivering my cheeseburger held her hand over her mouth to cover her braces as she giggled and snarfed at the sight of Justin’s naked rump shaking back and forth while he taunted, “It’s a full moon tonight Mikey. Hope you enjoy the view!” Perfect. Now Justin’s calling me Mikey. God I hate that name. “It’s Michael, asshole! And thanks for the killer video. Goin’ straight to Facebook.” I held my cell phone out the window for him. Justin looked back over his shoulder in surprise, attempting to pull up his pants at the same time. The knee-jerk reaction caused him to lose his delicate balance atop the apex of the plastic airplane. He fell onto his right side, and slithered down


the side of the playcenter. His hands shot out across the smooth surface, clawing, seeking a grip. There was nothing to grab. I watched him slide inexorably down the outside of the playcenter, pants and underwear still down around his thighs. He tried rolling into position for a feet-first landing. The maneuver would’ve worked if not for the fence being so close to the playcenter. The bright yellow, powder-coated aluminum fence that had aided his climb to the top now blocked his landing on the way down. Justin’s momentum came to an abrupt halt as he hit the top of the fence ass first. I cringed and almost ruined the shot. “That’s gotta hurt.” Justin’s blood-curdling scream of agony made my skin crawl. He sat there, squealing like a stuck pig. The top section of fence tubing had impaled him where the sun don’t shine. Pegged in the holiest of holies, he had two inches of aluminum post going in through the out door. “Oh my god this is insane!”

I saved the ninety-three second video clip of Justin on my smart phone and posted it directly to my Facebook timeline. I had a momentary twinge of conscience. I mean, he was still crying, and Tommy was trying to climb the fence to help him. It looked really painful. “I can always delete it later …” I was gonna call for help, but Tommy already had his phone out as Justin yelled in his face, “Call 911!” I only had a few minutes to get to work. As I drove off, I thought about taking that video down. I probably should have. But it only took fifteen minutes for my video clip to find its way to over 200 students at Moses Lake High School, shared over and over to dozens of Facebook profiles. My first ever viral video. I guess life happens to Justin Shelby too. **** Read more of "The Shepherd" HERE

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Review - Lone Wolf Rising by Jami Brumfield Myth Rating 5 Stars Simon Okill

Another revelation from Becca’s grandmother adds more spice to the wonderful story – telling her she is also a witch spellbound against using her powers – that will keep the reader turning pages as fast as their need to discover the ending which in true brilliant fashion will leave the reader sighing for more. So this reader and all like me are now champing at the bit for more. This FIVE STAR Werewolf-fest with a classy difference is highly recommended and is a must read. Bring it on! Read on for more about Jami and this intriguing book! Revenge has deadly consequences!

Lone Wolf Rising By Jami Brumfield is a wonderful breath of fresh supernatural air. Okay, the subject matter has been done to death by Twilight Series and Sookie Stackhouse Series, or so I thought. Jami has revitalised the teen supernatural genre with fresh blood by the gallons and has actually surpassed those illustrious more famous series by a mile, no make that a light year. This YA Paranormal novel is an absolute must read for all fans of werewolf, shapeshifter, vampire and witches. Orphan Becca is a 17 year old wolf attending school in Arizona. Life is abruptly turned on its head when her pack is wiped out in a war with vampires. Now Becca is the new Alpha, so says the Authority, the rulers of the supernatural world. Becca’s life becomes even more complicated when she discovers she has two suitors for her love, Lucky and Gabriel. All this at 17. It’s too much too soon for poor Becca, but she must handle it. Together they and Becca’s siblings vow to avenge the death of the Arizona pack and Becca’s parents ten years before.

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Rebecca Winters main goal for ten years has been to graduate high school and take down the people who killed her parents. When she stumbled upon a werewolf pack in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona she knew she found a way to make that dream come true. Instead of getting vengeance, an act of war has put her into a position of power and forces her to put her thirst for family justice on a temporary hold. He is duty bound to protect her. Lucian (Lucky) Lamont is a member of the Protectors, an elite supernatural police force that works for the Authority. Their main goal is to keep the humans in the dark about the creatures that live among them. Lucky is assigned to protect and manage Rebecca, despite her refusal of help. His cover is simple; he poses as the dutiful ‘pretend’ boyfriend in order to keep an eye on the new alpha wolf.

Rebecca is pulled in hundreds of different directions while she attempts to find a way to survive the supernatural world, protect her family, and discover who massacred her entire pack days before her first transformation. She doesn’t have time for romance, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And the wolf gets what the wolf wants – or so her alpha believes. While Rebecca manages to keep her head above water as she unlocks political and family secrets that could destroy her, she loses sight of the most important people in her life and one of them pays the ultimate price. Jami M Brumfield has a passion for the paranormal, supernatural, and mythological worlds for most of her life. She believes there is a kernel of truth in every story and loves playing detective to discover what that hidden truth is. She has written most of her life. She started with poems and short stories, then graduated to journalism working for online websites like examiner.com. It was only a natural progression that her love of writing and her passion for the unknown would combine. Lone Wolf Rising the first book of the Winters series is the product of that union. Lone Wolf Rising You can find (Paranormal Romantic Thriller): Winters’ Family Saga (The Winters Series) at Amazon.

REVIEW - Live from the Road by P.C. Zick– Myth Rating 5 Stars

She is his mate.

Sarah Mallery

Gabriel Black thought taking his pack back from the witch that was chosen as the new alpha would be simple. He thought wrong. His entire world was turned upside down the moment he met Rebecca at the Authority Council meeting and he was hooked the moment he kissed her to prove she was not dating his best friend, Lucky.

Live from the Road (Route 66 Fiction)

It’s like being torn between two lovers.


by P.C. Zick Part Thelma & Louise, part Robin Hood and his band of merry men, part the Pied Piper of Hamlin, P. C. Zick hits a homerun with Live from The Road. The cast of characters starts out with two mothers and their twenty something daughters as they travel across the U. S. on the old Route 66 and ends up including a whole host of interesting, displaced people, longing for adventure alongside these four “Road Warriors”. The book is a wonderful cavalcade of life––laughter, charming and clever bantering between the daughters and their moms, pent-up feelings, divorce, wild flings, karaoke, tragedy, emotional and spiritual discoveries, and some tidbits about the history of Route 66, coincidentally known as the “Mother Road”. In short, this is an extremely well-written book that, through its very believable characters and vivid descriptions of the beauties they encounter gives you something for everyone, as the group keeps chorusing, “May we always go where we’re headed and be content with the journey no matter where it leads!” A thoroughly enjoyable read! Definitely recommended. Read on for more about Live from the Road! Live from the Road Meg Newton and Sally Sutton seek a change in the mundane routine of their lives. “Is this all there is?” Sally asks Meg after visiting a dying friend in the hospital. That’s when Meg suggests they take a journey to discover the answer. Joined by their daughters, they set off on a journey of salvation enhanced by the glories of the Mother Road. Along the way, they are joined by a Chicago bluesman, a Pakistani liquor storeowner from Illinois, a Marine from Missouri, a gun-toting momma from Oklahoma, and a motel clerk from New Mexico. Meg, mourning for her dead son, learns to share her pain with her daughter CC. When Sally’s husband of almost thirty years leaves a voice mail telling her he’s leaving, both Sally and her daughter Ramona discover some truths about love and independence.

Live from the Road takes the reader on an often humorous, yet harrowing, journey. Death, divorce and deception help to reveal the inner journey taking place under the blazing desert sun as a Route 66 motel owner reads the Bhagavad-Gita and an eagle provides the sign they’ve all been seeking. Enlightenment comes tiptoeing in at dawn in a Tucumcari laundromat, while singing karaoke at a bar in Gallup, New Mexico, and during dinner at the Roadkill Café in Seligman, Arizona. The four women’s lives will never be the same after the road leads them to their hearts – the true destination for these road warriors. P.C. Zick P.C. Zick began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. She describes herself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre. She’s published five works of fiction and two nonfiction books. Prior to 2010, she wrote under the name Patricia C. Behnke.She was born in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1980. Even though she now resides in Pennsylvania with her husband Robert, she finds the stories of Florida and its people and environment a rich base for her storytelling platform. Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife – both human and animal – supply her fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable. Her fiction contains the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment. In her novels, she advances the cause for wildlife conservation and energy conservation. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion. “This is one of the most exciting times to be an author,” Ms. Zick says. “I’m honored to be a part of the revolution.” Get Live From the Road here.

Review- “The Tilted Truth by Ken Boehs” Ceri London My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book gets five stars for sheer stamina as the author carefully introduces his numerous characters, and the building blocks necessary for the involved story to follow. There are so many characters (given varying degrees of weight throughout) that it’s hard to name the protagonist. I’d say the story belongs to both Adam and Barry, two deeply flawed characters. Adam gets fleeced in a business deal and then proceeds to wreck his life trying to recover the money he has lost, while Barry wants to make money, stay out of jail, make people pay for doing to him what he does to others, while all the time evading a nasty death at the hands of those he has hurt/conned/attacked along the way. Nice guy, not. Electra is Barry’s sister. I don’t care about her hard childhood. She is nuts, evil to the core. Even her love for her brother (a love mutually shared) is twisted. Barry is more complex. Every now and again, I experienced a fleeting empathy for his predicament, but by the end of the book, his catastrophic, selfserving ruthlessness eradicated every shred of pity I should never have felt for him. On the side of law enforcement, we glimpse the start of Ben’s career in the CIA and Cat’s in the FBI. As they climb the ranks, their professional goals bring them into contact with Barry, and each other. I would have liked more of these two. The author pens a realistic portrayal of the intelligence world and the complex operations they manage on a daily basis with a Jack Bauer-style injection of good old-fashioned heroism. Meanwhile, Adam (our protagonist) is determined to get his money back and his actions set in motion the disasters to

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follow as the ripple of vengeance spreads and implodes. Overall, The Tilted Truth weaves a complex tangle of truth, lies and halftruths moving steadily towards an ultimately nail-biting climax in a clean and direct writing style. A sustained tale of one man’s fight for personal justice against a background of revenge, drugs, terrorism, sex, hi-tech espionage, politics and family, this story provides an insight of what can happen to those who get crushed between the messy worlds of crime and law enforcement. For more on Tilted Truth visit here.

Review Perfection Unleashed Myth Rating 5 Stars Lucy Pireel

and do not stretch the suspension of disbelief. They are all fleshed out fully and alive. I rooted for them, all of them, even the scary ones made me feel sorry for them. It were the humans, bar a few exceptions, that were despicable. Plot? Great! I’m not going to give anything away but I will say that the conspiracy lovers will have a ball reading this book. My one and only gripe is that it’s the first in a series and I loath serialised novels, but on the other hand I’m glad that it doesn’t end with this book because there’s more to this story than just told in part one. I can imagine the whole complex woven tapestry with all its twists and turns couldn’t fit one book. By the by, it ends in a perfect cliff-hanger and I can’t wait to read book two. Luckily it is available for download and I don’t have to wait any longer than it takes to press ‘buy now’. Read on for more about Jade Kerrion and Perfection Unleashed! PERFECTION UNLEASHED Danyael Sabre spent sixteen years clawing out of the ruins of his childhood and finally has everything he wanted–a career, a home, and a trusted friend. To hold on to them, he keeps his head down and plays by the rules. An alpha empath, he is powerful in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, yet his experience has taught him to avoid attention.

Perfection Unleashed by Jade Kerrion This book is one that could be easily become reality in the not even toodistance future and it freaked me out, in a good way though. Even the far-fetched plot lines were brought in a way that made them believable. The characters were all more than well developed and even the general, unimportant, minor ones had traits not uncommon to mankind; i.e. The whole population is a reflection of our current state of mind, and behaviour patterns. Even the mutants are what you expect,

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JADE KERRION Jade Kerrion, an award-winning author, got her start in fan fiction. She developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too? So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.) You can buy Perfection Unleashed (Book 1 of the Double Helix series) at Amazon.

Review The Clay Lion – Myth Rating 5 Stars Christoph Fischer

When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives–the in vitros, clones, and mutants–collapses into social upheaval. The abominations, deformed and distorted mirrors of humanity, created unintentionally in Pioneer Lab’s search for perfection, descend upon Washington D.C. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war. Although the genetic future of the human race pivots on Galahad, Danyael does not feel compelled to get involved and risk his cover of anonymity, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.

The Clay Lion by Amalie Jahn is an amazing piece of heart-breaking and uplifting fiction. Aimed probably at young adults as main target audience the book however has a lot to say that is relevant to people of all ages. It is the


story of one brave young woman that choses to go back in time to try and save her fatally ill younger brother. The idea of time travel did not appeal to me at first since it has been done many times and some authors in the genre can try to be too clever for their own good. The Clay Lion is way above that level and raises some fascinating and worthy questions about regrets, missed opportunities, second chances and destiny. By doing so successfully the book qualifies – in my humble opinion at least – as literary fiction and philosophical offering on the subject of turning back time. It made me think hard about what I would chose to relive and try and change in my life. The main story – the disease of her younger brother – is often sad but always full of hope and positive and important messages, a tribute to courage and an appeal to the good side in all of us. Written with charm and emotional wisdom this is hugely rewarding and captivating. A powerful and important read and a talented author to watch.

stay-at-home mom, she started an online blog to document the life of her children. And also found herself writing, many, many to-do lists. On one of those to-do lists, she included “write a novel.” After being encouraged by family and friends, she was finally able to cross it off her list, coming full circle to complete her first fiction novel in 2013. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

why this tour is all about the fans and how they found their first lichgate into the world of the Grimoire Saga.

You can buy The Clay Lion at Amazon

Within 25 pages, I regretted waiting so long. I’ll read just about anything, but the books that hook me all have one thing in common. They become more than books. The words leap off the page, and the story unspools like a movie. With Lichgates (and Treason, and Heritage), the world was made real by prose that was verbose enough to paint the picture, but left plenty of room for the imagination to soar. I really appreciate how each of the characters are flawed, each broken in their own way, trying to put themselves back together and keep their world from falling apart, all at the same time. Lichgates built the world, Treason set the plot in motion, Heritage gave the characters depth, and now I’m counting down the days until book 4 comes around so I can see how it all finally comes together. This is going to be a series that I revisit again and again.

Review: A Personal Lichgates Story S.M. Boyce

Read on for more about Amalie and The Clay Lion! The rules are simple. If you want to travel back in time, you need to be at least eighteen years old. You can only travel within your own lifespan for a maximum of six months. And above all else, you must never, ever, change the past. As Brooke Wallace faces existence without her beloved brother, his life cut short by a rare disease, she can think of only one solution – travel back in time to prevent his death. However, her attempts at fixing the past challenge her to confront everything she believes to be true about herself. And ultimately, she is forced to discover whether or not we can ever truly be in charge of our own destiny. Writing has always been an important part of the author’s life. As a child, she loved writing fiction stories and won a literary award for a short story she wrote in seventh grade. Fiction writing of her youth gave way to the dreaded five paragraph essay as she entered high school and college. Eventually, she transitioned to lesson plan writing as she began a career as an elementary school teacher. When she became a

Heyo! S. M. Boyce here. I’m on this cozy blog today as part of my Finding Lichgates Blog Tour. My hosts are so awesome for letting me show you the stories of how some of my fans found Lichgates and the other books in the Grimoire Saga. So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, I think I should explain what a lichgate is. A lichgate is a portal that ties our world to the terrifying and beautiful world in my Grimoire Saga called Ourea. Lichgates can be found in remote places, and when you walk through a lichgate, the land you cross into is not what you would see if you’d simply walked around the portal. For many fans, stumbling upon the first book in the Grimoire Saga is much like stumbling through a lichgate. That is

Meet Greg. This Lichgates Story

is

his

Finding

I found Lichgates from a BookBub daily digest of cheap books. I downloaded it for free, but even then it sat for a week or so before I opened it up.

Blurb for Lichgates Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things —Ourea. Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone... but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows

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to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing. For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Purchas Lichgates on Smashwords, Barnes & Nobel, Apple, Amazon.com, Amazon UK

Review - The Bifrost Bridge - Book Blast Kristin Pulioff

Title: The Bifrost BridgeAuthor: James Bradley Clarke Illustrator: Marcus Gran Publication Date: January, 2013 Publisher: Wynwidyn Press Pages: 92 Recommended Ages: 8+ Summary: The Bifrost Bridge is a Viking princess fairy tale intertwined with Norse mythology. Silya, the feisty ten year old Princess of Norway, eagerly awaits the arrival of her cousin and best friend, Princess Hedda of Denmark. The princesses are both looking forward to the summer solstice celebration, but trouble lurks in their future as magical villains see the girls as being vital for their deadly conspiracy.

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Hedda and Silya find themselves cast into a dangerous adventure filled with fire giants, female warrior angels and the God of Thunder.Purchase Amazon | Wynwidyn Press Books The Buzz “A delightful and endearing adventure that winds Norse mythology and two young girls through a whirlwind of danger, friendship and standing up to evil-doers. The Princess heroines, Silya and Hedda, engage the reader with their charming day to day life at the celebrated summer solstice festival in ancient Norway... The book moves along easily and the characters are likable at once. A fun read for the parents, and challenging enough for the children because it may have a few new words and characters they may not know. It is an adorable story that will soon become a favorite.” ~ 5 Star Review, Janet, Amazon “Bifrost Bridge is a beautiful fairytale, mixing legend and adventure and creating a wonderful reading experience for both children and adults alike. I read this to my 7 year old daughter, and my 10 year old daughter read it for herself; both of them were captivated by the story. My 7 year old loved the idea of two princesses being such close friends, and my 10 year old loved all of the action and suspense in the story. I enjoyed the Norse mythology woven into the tale. It’s a wonderful family story. I will be reading it to my sons next!” ~ 5 Star Review, Rebecca F., Amazon “When I first looked into this book, I was sure that the world of fairy tales had been overdone so many times that I wouldn’t see much difference between this one & my other classic favorites that I enjoyed over the years with my children... However, I was proven wrong.. This is such a beautiful and entrancing fairy tale! Mr. Clarke takes the often repetitive world of fairy tales and adds an elegant, dramatic twist to it, producing an epic and moving adventure that children will forever cherish! My daughter and I read it together and had many nights where we just didn’t want to put it down! His characters, including the feisty Silya, are memorable and seem so very real! It’s a hard thing to do that with children’s fairy tales and again, I commend Mr.

Clarke for releasing a wonderful new fairy tale to pass on to generations to come!” ~ 5 Star Review, Vicky R., Amazon About Clarke

the Author: James Bradley

James Bradley Clarke is a graduate of Hiram College, The University of Houston, and the University of Michigan. He currently resides in Oxford, Ohio, where he works as an academic librarian for Miami University. He grew up near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and he has spent most of his life in the Great Lakes region. The Bifrost Bridge is Clarke’s first work of fiction. The children’s book was first developed as stories Clarke started telling to his two daughters back in the summer of 2003. Both girls shared a love for classic princess fairy tales, so he invented original princess characters for both of them. As residents in Riverside, Illinois, Clarke’s family lived in walking distance of the Brookfield Zoo where the girls regularly admired the Norwegian fjord horses. When he learned this ancient breed of horse was used by the Vikings, a specific medieval setting for the stories came into focus. As a Hiram College student, Clarke had developed a love for the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, so he chose to borrow from mythology to provide magical elements. The girls became instantly enamored with these stories and they insisted on developing new adventures for the two Nordic princess characters. The first draft of a manuscript was produced during the summer of 2005. Clarke’s daughters were delighted with the bound copy they received as a Christmas gift later that year, so he began the process of becoming an author. Clarke has a love for history and a taste for plot driven stories about extraordinary individualism. Themes of fortitude and self-determination lay at the heart of Clarke’s writing interests. Purchase Bifrost Bridge on Amazon


Review of Orbs by Nicholas Sansbury Smith My rating: 5 of 5 stars Ceri London

The inclusion of material from Solar Storms (the prequel) could have been a little smoother, but overall the story developed at a fast pace to reach a satisfying end with plenty of nail-biting moments that left me ready to devour the next story. This promises to develop into an exciting series. For more info, check out Orbs here.

Review For Whom The Bell Tolls Myth Rating 5 Stars Christoph Fischer

The dynamics between Sophie (eminent scientist) and the pilot assigned to transport her to a biosphere facility hooked me into this story. Sadly, the pilot moved on and new characters moved in, and I was

There was interesting character development, even for the AI on the biosphere team. I went from liking Sophie to being unsure about her before warming to her again. I enjoyed the military characters. Overton’s perception of kids as ankle biters fitte d him well. Timothy? I wanted to understand him, but the value he should have offered the team eluded me. Each character responded differently to the stresses they were under and by the end a new team dynamic was emerging.

This provides the setting for the coming of age of young Vlad and his ‘good’ counter part Andrei. Vlad is being held hostage by the Turks and during this time has his first romantic and sexual encounters while his father is struggling with both, his allies and his enemies in the Balkan. The relationships between father and son, the son and his captives and the individual characterisations are way beyond what a fantasy / paranormal book might offer. The writing is of literary class. O’Neill has done a fantastic job at presenting us with the historical Dracula as opposed to the purely fictional books about Dracula, which distinguishes him from less ambitious and accomplished works in the genre.

Chilling

unimpressed by Sophie’s “boss” as his introduction of the Biosphere facility left much to be desired, but there were reasons for this that were divulged later What kept me hooked (and compels me to give five stars) is that ORBS proved scary. Thiss tory plays on the fragility of Earth’s ecosystem and mankind’s resilience to alien invasion. The alien monsters are described with bloodcurdling realism.

with the Turks. In that regard the book is an excellent account of the historical and political dynamics and dramas on the Balkan and Europe of the time and worth reading for the well researched and competently written historical account alone. The detailed descriptions of the politics and customs of the time are amazing.

The Dracula Chronicles: For Whom The Bell Tolls by Shane KP O’Neill is a very well written historical account of the early days of Vlad Dracula in Transylvania from 1431 onwards. Although young Vlad will later on become a Vampire and the figure that inspired other Dracula stories, O’Neill sticks with this book to the historic figure and describes only the first years of Vlad’s existence. Introductory chapters introduce the theme of the First Great War of the Angels, of Lucifer and his great plan to find the perfect human to carry out his evil plan. The fight between good and evil forces has come to the earth plane and finds itself in the duality which is being set up between a gypsy boy called Andrei and Vlad Dracula junior. Vlad Dracul senior is the Voivode of Wallachia and at the time in conflict

Dark and atmospheric but without any actual vampires this is an amazing and very unique book that hopefully will appeal to the fans of the vampire genre as much as it did to this satisfied fan of historical fiction. Read on for more about Shane and this historical novel! For Whom the Bell Tolls The battle for souls has raged since the truce that followed the First Great War of the Angels. God has struck the ultimate blow and sacrifice to gain the advantage and defeat His fallen angel and estranged son, Lucifer. As Lucifer stands at the foot of the Cross that drains the last ounce of life from Christ and eradicates man’s sins, he realises that his work must begin anew. In time, he comes to understand that his only chance to win this battlewill be to destroy the institution of the Catholic Church to turn man against God, once and for all. He searches for more than a millennium for the candidate to see his plan through to an end and finally

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discovers the one that can cast that final blow. On a cold night in December 1431 in Sighisoara an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil. He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers.

all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels he likes to search out locations with an historical interest and will always hunt for the ruins of an old castle before heading to the beach. You can buy The Dracula Chronicles: For Whom The Bell Tolls at Amazon.

Review: TELL ME WHEN I'M DEAD ~ Splattergore and Guts Galore Travis Luedke

This is their story.

One night Jim disappears, leaving a grisly trail of animal carcasses and murdered bodies. Now Missy, the woman Dave cheated with, threatens to destroy not only his marriage but his sobriety. Between Missy’s jealous demands for attention and the police investigation focused on Jim’s disappearance, Dave’s neatly ordered world quickly spirals out of control. Amid the wreckage of Dave’s personal life, a contagion brings chaos to his hometown of Tres Marias. The condition, known as “the jimmies,” infects hundreds and kills quickly. But the dead find no rest. They rise as ravenous flesh-eaters. Dave soon learns that “not all draggers want to eat your flesh, some want revenge.” And Jim and Missy, both infected, each want something from Dave.

Shane KP O’Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a new dimension to the Dracula myth. He has begun the series with a later Chronicle to give his readers the vampire first. Chronicle #1, For Whom The Bell Tolls, will follow to take you back to the beginning. For Whom The Bell Tolls is due for release in November, 2013.

The quarantine of Tres Marias creates hell on Earth. Badly outnumbered security forces are no match for the growing hordes of undead.

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid lover of history, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject. He built a concept and premise where he could accommodate both Dracula the vampire and Dracula the man

If the zombies don’t kill them, the wackos surely will. Nowhere is safe.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He reads a lot of books from a wide variety of authors though his main interest lies in the horror genre. His love of books is matched only by his love of the countryside and of course, his family. As an added note, he has lived and travelled

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Follow Dave, Holly and a small band of heavily armed soldiers and civilians as they fight to survive looters, paramilitary nut jobs and the zombie apocalypse.

I met Steven Ramirez in the same place I meet most people, Twitter and Facebook. We chatted about books and upcoming novels. He offered to let me read his new novel, TELL ME WHEN I’M DEAD, a phenomenally wellwritten zombie thriller novel. And, I’ll let you in on a secret, this is probably the first book in a series.... THE BLURB: Lucky to have made it to his early twenties, Dave Pulaski wandered through life lost and drunk with his best friend Jim. Then came Holly. She made it her mission to clean him up. And he finally did it. Two years sober, Dave has plans for a family, a steady job and college.

Grab your copy of this insane new adult zombie thriller Tell Me When I’m Dead now! THE REVIEW: Revenge of the zombie ex-girlfriend – an instant cult classic ★★★★★ Steven Ramirez brings on a hard-hitting splattergore zombie thriller, told by the ultimate anti-hero, Dave. Dave’s not brave, he’s not honorable, he’s not a muscle-bound MMA fighter or an exmilitary sniper. He’s a recovering alcoholic, with a past that just won’t quit. The one thing you learn about Dave, he’s good with an axe. Dave had it all going for him, Holly – the perfect wife, a good job at Staples, clean and sober, dumped his loser


drinking buddy Jim. Two years without a relapse, and he had built a real life for himself. But Jim won’t leave him alone. Jim doesn’t know when the party ends.

search for the missing teenager? Or will the alien Elders come to regret their choice of Protector and banish Duane from the forest forever?

Then Jim got the jimmies, and now he’s a flesh-eating zombie. And like many men who live with alcoholism and instant gratification, Dave couldn’t settle for his perfect life with Holly, he had to get a little on the side with Missy. The zombie apocalypse comes home in a personal way for Dave, first with Jim and then Missy.

My Review: As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of modern comedy. Ted, the movie about the obnoxious teddy bear, annoyed me to no end. But, Okill’s Bigfoot story was very entertaining.

It’s the zombie ex-girlfriend straight from hell. Missy doesn’t just want revenge, she wants to eat him alive, starting with the soft, mushy underbelly, where all those yummy guts are found. Every zombie knows it’s the belly that’s the most delicate part of the body. Guts and gore and death galore. This zombie apocalypse is set in a home town environment, where you personally know each of the ‘draggers’ who are dying to eat your guts. And if the draggers don’t kill you, the militant, survivalist whackos will. Pandemonium and martial law equals survival of the fittest. No one can escape the quarantine zone and the widespread madness overtaking the survivors. “People talk about survival. What they mean is killing the other guy.” And that is precisely what it takes to survive in Dave’s hometown of Tres Marias. Don’t hesitate to dive into this novel for your dose of splattergorethriller-horror, and perhaps you’ll learn a few things about human strength and frailty under duress. Purchase Tell Me When I’m Dead Amazon.com, Amazon – UK, Amazon Canada.

Review- Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again by Simon Okill Danielle DeVor

I’ve reviewed Simon on the blog before, and let me tell you, he’s a great guy. Here’s his current bio: Simon Okill lives with his wife, Shirlee Anne in a pretty coastal town in South Wales, UK. After a serious accident at work, he was forced into early retirement due to disability. Simon used his newfound skills as a writer to help with his depression. His writing became more serious as certain A-list actors expressed interest in his scripts. He is presently working on his teen adventure series Phantom Bigfoot Series. Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is book #1 of the series where superhero Duane Dexter has to use all his powers to save the day in Big Beaver. About the Book: Teen Duane Dexter thinks he has it all, money, the hearts of Big Beaver’s women, hero-worshiped by every kid in Big Beaver and The Elders have chosen him to be Guardian of the Forest. The tall blond aliens known as The Elders must protect their pets – Bigfoot – in so doing they have chosen The Guardian to take on this massive task. But becoming The Phantom Bigfoot has its perks for this notorious prankster, scallywag, and local celebrity. Duane lets off steam by inflicting ludicrous pranks on the local Beaverites. To his dismay, a teenager with the same prankish ways disappears. Can Duane keep the Tribe of Bigfoot a secret and protect the forest as the authorities

Were parts of the story gross? Yup. Like his other bigfoot tale, there was some TMI, but it was presented in such a way that it was fun. Were some of the characters kind of irritating? Yes. But they are supposed to be. Think Peter Griffin of Family Guy. (I know I’ve said that before, but Okill is really good at channeling that type of comedy). Duane, the bigfoot friend, is a strange goofy guy. And, with his care for the bigfoot, you just have to kind of love him. Not many people would deal with half the things the bigfoot do to his house. And- the bigfoot are adorable in their own stinky way. I doubt you’d want one as a pet, but they are cute. Five Stars

Review- The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie Danielle DeVor

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Book Description: A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a lifeand-death battleagainst an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Review The Shepherd by Travis Luedke Offers Hope to Weary Horror Fans M Joseph Murphy

About the Author: Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion. SoulCare, his professional consultation practice is devoted to the tending of the soul. One of the few therapists writing fiction with a healing emphasis, Dr. DeBlassie has been deeply influenced by the surreal beauty and natural magic of the mestizo myth of Aztlan. My Review: The first thing I have to say about THE UNHOLY is that I am excited for this new take on fantasy. The merging of magic and Native American healing is unique and fresh. DeBlassie’s main character, Claire, is a joy to read as she finds her way through the human and her ancestral world all the while trying to avoid the evil sorcerer that murdered her mother. The character that stood out to me most was Elizabeth. Her anger and plight touched me while giving me a bit of a creepy feeling. DeBlassie knows how to bring on the suspense. 5 Stars. Purchase The Unholy here.

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Travis Luedke’s The Shepherd offers hope to horror fans weary of the pale, recycled horror populating the current market. One of the coolest things as a reader is finding a new author and watching him grow. In the 80′s, I was was lucky enough to discover Dean Koontz before he hit it big. I watched as he improved with each novel until he became the household name he is today. I get the sense that Travis Luedke is on the same path. The Shepherd is his newest novel and it is definitely his strongest. The plot is tightly woven, wasting no space on unnecessary filler. The lead character, Mike Evans, has a crystal clear voice. Readers will get a sense of his personality from the first page. He’s 16 from a less-than-ideal home who meets a mysterious young girl named Nadia who changes his life. There is more to Nadia than meets the eye. There is a twist in the middle which I won’t spoil for you. Thankfully, unlike so many other writers, Luedke does not bash you over the head with clues. The secret is fun and completely obvious only upon reflection. Much like the twist in The Sixth Sense, I was

expecting the story to go one way. Then it went somewhere completely different. I couldn’t be happier. A word of caution, the book has a warning about mature subject matter. Luedke has chosen to write Mike Evans in a very realistic way. There are copious amounts of profanity, violence, and sexual situations. Many may be offended by the language even though it is realistic based on the character. Though classified as Young Adult, this book has nothing in common with Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games. The Shepherd is not appropriate for young children (although many could argue that Hunger Games isn’t appropriate for young children, either). I chose to read The Shepherd as a straight horror story. It reminds me very much of a good Richard Laymon story. If you’re a horror fan and not familiar with Richard Laymon, I strongly recommend you check him out. Laymon was called “Stephen King without a conscious” (Dan Marlowe). Dean Koontz said of Laymon “No one writes like Laymon, and you’re going to have a good time with anything he writes.” When Richard Laymon was at his best, he mixed sexuality, tension, and the supernatural better than anyone else. Travis Luedke is a fine successor to Laymon although he never devolves in to the pure pornography Laymon was prone to. This is Luedke’s 5th publisher novel. If he continues to improve his craft at this pace, I’m very interested to see where he will take us in the future. Purchase The Shepherd Here.

Review – Initio by Alyssa Auch Kristin Pulioff


story. Maybe because racing through the war only brought me to the *perfect* ending so much quicker. ***the epilogue really pulled everything together and made me smile. I can’t wait to read more form this talented author. Solid 4.5 stars for this book . And you can buy your copy on Amazon for only $0.99.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Inito, which is the second in the Irador series. This is a fantastic fantasy sereis with characters, great adventure, and sweet romance. I read the first book, Lunula over the summer and enjoyed it. You can read that review here. Once I finished, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the seqeul... and when I did, it was hard to put down. Here are my thoughts on Inito.This is a delightful sequel to Lunula. I LOVED Lunula and was anxiously awaiting this release... and I was not disappointed. There was so much to love about this book. Auch’s writing is a great combination between description and action. While reading the story, it was easy to fall into Wynn’s character and struggle with her. And struggle she did. Although she always had her faithful love beside her, she faced many more obstacles and hurdles than before, and many that I did not expect or anticipate. Once again, the characters were written perfectly. I personally loved how this book showed more vulnerability in Wynn, and focused more on combining skills and strengths to defeat an enemy. I also appreciated how her love in Gethin only grew stronger. It was refreshing to see two characters have a relationship that was strengthened by their challenges rather than pulled apart. The only slightly negative, and the reason this dropped form a 5 to 4.5 was that I did feel the ending was rushed. We went from the beginning of a war, to the end in less than 2 chapters... But, it did not take away from my overall enjoyment or recommendation of this

Review: BENTWHISTLE IN A CHILLING REVELATION by Paul Crude Christoph Fischer

form. The setting is magical, imaginative and great fun. Particularly enjoyable to me were the Laminium Ball matches between the dragons. Cude has given his new world a lot of thought and created a detailed and colourful environment. The story of this book’s main adventure begins with a mission in the Antarctica and includes a complex terrorism plot. The opponents in this book are nagas, a new race with their own agenda. Interesting characters, suspenseful action and great humour are plentiful in this book. There is action, adventure and also young love, making this a rich feast of a novel., that should appeal to old and young fantasy fans alike. I don’t often read fantasy but this is a series I am thoroughly enjoying and one that I’d highly recommend. Get Bentwhistle in A Chilling Revelation or on Smashwords

Review Paranormal Thriller Baddassary ~ COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS Travis Luedke

“Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Chilling Revelation” by Paul Cude is the second book in his great fun dragon themed fantasy adventure series. The story begins with a thrilling sequence about Aviva, a dragon who infiltrates the human world at the time of Alexander the Great and Ptolemy, trying to interfere with humans and their world. Other dragons have to interfere with her plot and restore what has been disturbed unwarrantedly. This turns out to be a story told by Peter, a dragon who is currently stuck in human form due to an injury from a precious adventure. The world we live in is that of young dragons at school, part of a society of dragons living underground in a parallel world to humans. There is a king and his council and dragons who can take on human

THE BLURB: There is a dark world, hidden in plain sight, filled with vengeful djinn and shadowy demons. The Council of Peacocks, a group of ruthless wizards, has plans for the human race.

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For centuries they have plotted and schemed. Now, the moment of Activation draws near. Wisdom, an immortal sorcerer, has gathered a band of hybrid youths with extraordinary powers. They are trained to stop the Council. But there’s something that Wisdom doesn’t know. The Council is no longer working alone. If Wisdom and his students cannot stop The Council, the world as they know it will cease to exist. This is the first installment of the Activation Series. Grab your copy now. Paranormal Thriller Baddassary ~ COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS #Paranormal #Thriller #Mustread #ASMSG 575 THE REVIEW ★★★★★ I read this book twice over, as a beta ~ critique reader. The thriller intensity sucked me in, hook, line and sinker. My inner scifi/paranormal/horror geek was thoroughly satisfied. Thisis precisely the kind of book I enjoy reading. It hits all the buttons: Epic battles, epic moments of self-discovery, epic tales of heroes and villains, and of course there’s loads of angst ridden teenagers with badass paranormal/ psychokinesis abilities, trying to find their way through horrific scenes of violence and callous disregard for human life. Can I get HELL YEAH? Its X-MEN meets CLASH OF THE TITANS directed by Quentin Tarantino. *cue the cheesy surfer music* We begin the story with this enigmatic character named Wisdom. He’s just been through a vicious brawl, but he won. Wisdom isn’t exactly human, he’s something else: a demi-god, so powerful he can move through spacetime to restart the battle in an attempt to balk fate. This isn’t the first time he’s fought this battle. But something has changed. Some other party is mucking about in the timeline, the outcome is no longer certain.

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As the tale unfolds, we meet a series of gifted people Wisdom has collected over the years, the Anomalies. They are being trained for the showdown. A secret society of sorcerers known as The Council of Peacocks is plotting their return to power. Once a thriving religious group, they are now led by one of Wisdom’s mistakes, Propates, a man transformed into an immortal. The Council intends to use humanity as a bartering chip in their deals with demonic entities from other dimensions who want a piece of Earth.

journey ahead of them. Jake Rune has recently gone an ominous transformation and has acquired super human powers. Hunting down scrolls is part of their mission…and of course

With his army of ragtag teenager Anomalies, Wisdom intends to stop the Council, at all costs. But these kids are freaks of nature who don’t even know how they came to be, let alone how to harness their wicked powers. And how can a band of kids who have more in common with demons than angels become heroes when they barely understand what the hell Wisdom is asking them to do? In the end, we are securely lined up for the next installment of a very promising series. M. Joseph Murphy raises concepts of faith, religion, an insightful view of human history, and a couple of philosophical questions. Is there really such a thing as fate? And if we could move through time, could we change it?

simply surviving, too. Glaze has created very meorable and likeable characters who are great leads to bring and keep the story alive. They are chasing and are being chased in what might become a tour of the Southern States. Jake’s arch enemy Seraphine has joined the hunt for out young heroes and adds more colour to the story.

Pick up Council of Peacocks on Amazon or Smashwords

Of all four books this is the fasted and most action packed. After setting up the scene and characters and after getting us used to his originally created world Glaze now invites his readers to a more adrenalin-fuelled episode that will be continued in Episode V.

Review: RUNE: EPISODE IV:ENTOMBED by J.H.Glaze

Masterfully written, with natural dialogue and great pacing this is an easy and solid read. A hugely enjoyable feast for fans of fun and suspense-filled paranormal fare.

Christoph Fischer “RUNE (Episode IV: Entombed)” by J.H. Glaze is speeding things up in this enchanting paranormal adventure series geared at young adults and young at hearts. Our trio of protagonists are 18 year old Jake, his girlfriend Maire and Pete, a demon trapped in a dog’s body. Hunted by evil demons the three of them have an exhausting and action packed

J.H. Glaze is a versatile storyteller, born in northeast Ohio. As a young adult, Glaze traveled the country, frequently hitchhiking, and always looking for adventure and new opportunity. Much of the quirky plot lines inherent to J.H. Glaze’s tales were informed by the experience of these early years. Readers will appreciate his accessible, “Hey, I know you,” phrasing, and the everyman voice that will seem so familiar, drawing them in before providing an unexpected


twist. With a blend of horror and humor, he delights in giving the reader a kick in every chapter of every book. The Rune series marks Glaze’s début into the world of young adult fiction. In the style of a television series, each episode is a novelette that ends with acliffhanger requiring the reader to wait until the release of the next episode to learn what happens next. In the first episode, the main character, Jake Rowan, experiences a mysterious transformation on his 18th birthday. Fortunately, he meets up with a dog, later named Pete, who guides him into what he learns is his destiny. As the series continues, Jake and Pete are caught up in a quest to save humankind from the demons that have plagued them for more than a thousand years. J.H. Glaze’s writings include the fulllength novels, The Spirit Box, NorthWest, and Send No Angel, which make up “The Paranormal Adventures of John Hazard.” Glaze has also developed a short story series, “The Horror Challenge,” affording him the opportunity to interact with his readers who are invited to suggest a word or phrase that he will use to twist into a theme or prop in one of his engaging stories. Glaze’s talent as an author with a sincere love of storytelling shines through as he transitions withease from spinning tales of horror that thrill to a heart-warming romantic novella, The Life WeDream. All the while maintaining his compelling storytelling style, Glaze thrills again in Forced Intelligence, the novelette that peeks into the moral dilemma of using animals in experiments for scientific or military advancement.

A self-published author, J.H. Glaze is called one of the New Kings of Horror by fans. He currently lives near Atlanta with his wife, Susan, two dogs who are crazy about him, and a Senegal parrot that merely tolerates him. Purchase Visit J.H. Glaze on Amazon

Review: THE CLEARING by Thomas Rydder ~ Classic Werewolf Horror Travis Luedke? Tired of the same old werewolf-shifter slut-screws-the-wolfpack cliche? How about a refreshingly horrific take on the werewolf genre: DESCRIPTION After twenty years in the Marine Corps, Major Frank Cutlip comes home to the quiet hills of his beloved Pennsylvania to take up a new life as the sheriff of Allegheny County. Professor Beth Lowe took up a post at Paxton University because she became enamored with western Pennsylvania’s charms, a more enduring love than she thought she would ever feel for a man. When Beth’s dog is savaged by wolves, their peaceful lives are shattered, and their fates entwined. On the brink of death, the dog not only survives but grows larger... and more vicious. A thousand-year cycle of carnage is reaching its climax once more, and the peaceful wooded hills will soon be smeared with blood. Sheriff Cutlip leads his community in a hunt for the hidden terror, but then his own brother is bitten, his blood corrupted by the ancient evil. The sheriff must confront terrible choices, and he can’t do so alone. ‘The Clearing’ — a novel of ordinary people thrown together in extraordinary circumstances. REVIEW ★★★★★ Escaping his own personal tragedy of a divorce, Sheriff Cutlip has built an easy life in a sleepy Pennsylvania mountain

county. He likes it that way, simple, uncomplicated, which is why he took the job. All that changes in the span of a few weeks. Beth Lowe lives out at the edge of the forest covered mountains, raising her niece as a daughter after the death of Beth’s sister and husband. Beth’s quiet existence is shattered by the presence of an ancient, monstrous evil. Her dog has been attacked, and within hours, days, it begins to change into something large and vicious. In the hunt for these elusive beasts in the forest, Sheriff Cutlip’s brother is attacked, bitten severely. What began as a simple threat to livestock, becomes an intensely personal battle for survival of their community. THE CLEARING harkens back to the good ole days of classic horror, where werewolves slaughter men who stand in their way. Something reminiscent of The Howling or American Werewolf in London. You won’t find any muscle-bound shifters dragging women off to the wolf pack gang-bang, but you will find a well written thriller with true-to-life characters facing horrific circumstances. Thomas Rydder Bio I was born in 1957 in a small town in Western Pennsylvania that had – and still has – one traffic light. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, and we had few neighbors, so I learned to play quite a bit of make-believe – soldiers, cowboys and Indians, that kind of thing. At the same time, I loved to read and watch old movies. On Saturdays, my dad played in a country western band, and I stayed up to wait for him. It was during that stretch that I discovered the horror movie. You know the ones I mean. Karloff, Chaney, Lee. The masters, right? Fast forward 40 years. I’m now the project manager for a small civil engineering firm in picturesque Charleston, South Carolina with my lovely wife and four rescue pets, two dogs, two cats. Oh – and eight feral cats

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outside that put up with us because we give them two squares a day.

I GAVE THIS NOVEL 5 FATASS STARS

Anyway, since childhood, I’ve loved to create. I played trumpet, sang, even dabbled in genealogy. Nothing quite did it for me. Over the years, I’d composed quite a few term papers and theses (there are a few ex-teenagers in this world who owe their English grades to yours truly), and unfailingly earned an “A”. My wife knew this, and one day just suggested that I try writing.

THE BLURB: Paris 1925. A young woman is nearing

What the hey, I thought. So I sat down and found a writing site called Hubpages. Nice little site, and I started getting the basics of writing a little from some of the inhabitants. I wrote a short story, and everyone liked it. So, I wrote another one. Except it kept growing, and I kept getting more ideas, and it lengthened to 20 thousand words, then 30, then 40. By the time I sat back, I had the rough draft of my first novel, except back then it was called “Werewolves and Flapjacks”. Somewhere along the way I decided to submit my work (now called “The Clearing) to three publishers. I was turned down twice, and miraculously was accepted by the gentleman who gently rules this site, Mr. Tim Taylor. And the rest, as they say, is history. By the way, you need to like Tim...he’s a great guy, and I owe him much, which can never be repaid. I now have a second book available – “Restless Souls: 3 dark fables” – an anthology (novella and two short stories) of ghost stories, and life is grand. Even though I make wise cracks about all of it, this is all like living a dream – and I don’t plan on waking up for a very long time. Pickup The Clearing on Amazon.com Amazon – UK or Smashwords

A 5 Star REVIEW ~ LUNA SANGUIS by Simon Okill Travis Luedke Until this very moment, I hadn’t yet joined the blog your review bandwagon. And, I don’t really do reviews very often, but when I do

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the horrid savagery she witnessed at the hands of her pursuer, Count Lucien. This gothic, dark, poetic tale leads us through the twisted mind of this poor woman as she is entrapped in the bowels of an insane asylum reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno. She and the Count share a commonality, they exist in a perpetual dance of love and hate, mutual obsession. Both are inhabited by the souls of ancients entwined in an age-old battlefor her precious, eternal blood. Through snatches of broken memory we learn Eternal has been pursued by the Count in all his incarnations across ancient Europe, the two of them leapfrogging into one life after another, each vying for that magic moment when her blood will bring forth its gift of eternal life.

her Eternal Vampire state as her birthday approaches. She is held captive by the hybrid vampire she created and slowly drained of her pure blood to keep his addiction in check. She outwits him and escapes to a chateau in the hope of reaching maturity. But he follows her unmistakable scent and massacres all that dare protect his supply of Eternal blood. She awakens in a tiny room trapped and defenceless with amnesia, but something deep in her subconscious yearns to be set free by the next full moon – the date of her Eternal Birthday. Her true self, Eternal, emerges in brief flashes of awareness to protect her from the horrors of this terrifying prison. Desperate, she forges an alliance with her true love, a gorgeous young doctor treating her. But her nemesis is out there somewhere, relishing the hunt for her blood – and nothing will stop him from becoming Eternal. THE REVIEW: A gothic tale of love, hate, obsession, and the quest for immortality… “The sweetest music he had ever heard slowly evaporated from his memory like the dying sighs of a thousand angels.” Eternal – Delicate Rose – Petite Fleur, is a woman with a fractured mind from

“He heard that word again – “Eternal” – carried on a breeze of subconscious design.” This lost soul plays the role of Madonna, bearing aspects of pure innocence and the predatory succubus. Through the centuries she has seduced kings, queens, statesmen, and all manner of rulers. A muse inspiring artists to greatness, forging conquerors from average men, she is a living paradox, the woman every man wants but can never truly have. Simon Okill crafts a lyrical and disturbing story in the grand fashion of Edgar Allan Poe, told from the perspective of tortured souls with dual personalities. The characters are colorful, lively, despicable, yet still lovable in their human frailty. A genre-bender, the story is definitely not what you would ever expect. A clever world where nothing and no one is what they seem, a world mired in grey morality where villains and heroes trade places like schizophrenics. ***Confession time: I read this book pre-publication, and did two rounds of edits. But so what? Its still a good book. Pick up Luna Sanguis on Amazon UK or Amazon.com


Review: ‘The Edge’ by Leslie Lee and why you’ll NEED the sequel Ian Hutson FIVE STARS I hugely enjoyed ‘The Edge’ and want more – if the sequel can’t be found soon then I’ll start a small riot. The author has that knack of raising the reader’s hopes and then dashing them and then raising them again. The text conveys just enough detail to allow the

reader to picture the scene themselves and the characters are all likeable enough for the demise of almost any of them to be emotional. The settings range from the claustrophobic right up to full spaceopera; from a small boy trapped in a subterranean hell-hole through to fleets of giant spaceships manoeuvring around planets and hyperspace. The main protagonist’s character contains elements that we can all empathise with (of being both trapped by and formed by our past) and also has areas where I

couldn’t decide whether he was a gobsmackingly pragmatic hero or the scariest kind of sociopath (mass killing How do you develop from a small boy hiding in a wardrobe to a military man making a gun barrel glow hot? The same way that we all do, I suppose. Great “hard” scifi and a great story. Not many places where you can find that and an emotional, playful 50′ industrial robot. Seriously, splendid stuff.

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ASMSG Scifi/Fantasy/Paranormal Emagazine March 2014  

ASMSG brings you the best of Indie fiction, articles, reviews, giveaways and freebies. Become lost in other worlds as you find treasures of...

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