contemporary

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Available for Preorder: Nurse Blood by Rebecca Besser

Published August 19, 2016 by admin

I’ve got a nice, bloody title for horror fans today written by the lovely Rebecca Besser, so check it out! Nurse Blood is on preorder at Limitless Publishing  and Amazon with a release date of August 23rd.

Nurse Blood Front Cover.jpg

 

Sonya Garret roams the bar scene hoping to steal the heart of an unsuspecting victim—literally…

Sonya, better known as Nurse Blood, is part of a team of lethal organ harvesters who seek out the weak to seduce, kill, and part out for profit on the black market. When Sonya meets Daniel McCoy, a young man recovering from a broken engagement, he’s just another kill to line her pockets with quick cash.

Agent David McCoy vows to find out how and why his twin brother Daniel disappeared…

Daniel’s body hasn’t been found, and the leads are slim to none, but it won’t stop David from dedicating his life to solving his brother’s case. When the evidence finally uncovers the shocking truth that Daniel’s disappearance is linked to organ harvesters, David knows his brother is most likely dead. But he’s determined to stop the villains’ killing spree before they strike again.

One last harvest is all Sonya and her team need to put their murderous past behind them…

A family with the rarest blood type in the world is the only thing standing between Sonya and retirement. David McCoy and the FBI are hot on their trail, though, and multiple targets make this the most complicated harvest yet. Will David unravel Sonya’s wicked plans in time to avenge his brother and save an innocent family? Or will Sonya cash in her final kill and escape for good?

Murder for profit stops for no man when you’re Nurse Blood.

***

Prologue

The air inside the nightclub was hazy from smoke machines. Flashes of colored light cut through the swirls in beat with the pulsing music that shook the walls and the floor. The atmosphere was alive with movement―a mass of hot, swaying bodies bent on enjoying the moment. A monster waited in the depths of the darkness to bat her pretty eyes at someone and make them her prey.

The door of the establishment swung open to give way to three eager young men looking to have a good time and celebrate. The trio was instantly surrounded by dancing women. They made their way through the press of bodies to reach the bar.

Daniel forced himself not to scan the crowd for his ex-fiancée, April. But she was the least of his worries, as the real danger was a face he wouldn’t recognize.

Roy got their drinks while Hank and Daniel stood at a balcony that overlooked an even larger dance floor below. The smoke was thicker down there, and there were more lights. The dancers looked like they were paying sensual homage to their deity. The air was tainted with the aroma of perfume and alcohol; it burned the men’s nostrils and fueled their excitement for the revelry to come.

Daniel took a moment to text his twin brother, David, to let him know where they would be celebrating their shared birthday. He received a text back from David saying he was still an hour away.

Roy joined them with three shots and three cold bottles of beer, passing one of each to his friends. They downed the shots in one swallow before turning their attention to their beers.

“Dave will be here in an hour or so,” Daniel announced after downing his shot.

“Awesome—we’re gonna have a great time!” Hank yelled over the music.

As Roy took a drink of his beer, a petite, slim blonde grabbed his waist from behind. He jumped in surprise and turned, recognizing the young woman.

She tucked a finger into the front of his jeans, smiled at him, and tugged him away from his friends toward a table with another girl.

Roy looked back over his shoulder at his friends and shrugged.

“That’s Lynn,” Hank yelled to Daniel. “They’ve been seeing each other for a while. And that’s her cousin Trisha—you don’t want to go there.”

Daniel nodded and looked around. The warming effect of the shot was spreading through his body, relaxing him. He felt less paranoid about running into April.

While he was looking over the crowd, a woman caught his eye. She was a tall, slim brunette, and she was beautiful. She was standing alone at the end of the bar. He watched her for a few moments, and when she looked around, their eyes met.

He smiled and looked away.

Hank noticed Daniel’s mild interest. He knew what his friend had been through recently and why he was gun-shy with women.

“Go for it!” he yelled, nudging Daniel. “Have some fun!”

Daniel looked at his friend, took another swallow of beer, glanced at the woman—noticing she was still alone—and shrugged.

Hank laughed and gave Daniel a shove toward the bar, causing him to slam into two people who happened to be walking past. When he turned to them to apologize, he came face to face

with the very woman he was hoping not to run into: April. The man she was with was leaning on her with all his weight while she struggled to hold him up.

Daniel’s heart clenched in his chest and his lungs seized up for a moment. He felt his hand tighten around the neck of his beer bottle. He wanted to slam it over the other man’s head, but he managed to restrain himself. He didn’t want her to know how much the sight of her with another man hurt him, so he put on a brave front.

“Excuse the fuck out of me,” he said with a sadistic smile, raised the bottle in the air like he was toasting them, and then took a big swig of the brew. He was pleased with the shocked expression that spread across April’s face at his harsh greeting.

They didn’t say anything to Daniel, but focused back on each other and moved around him and deeper into the establishment.

Daniel glanced over to Hank, who was grinning from ear to ear.

He smiled at his friend, nodded, and forced himself to put one foot in front of the other until he made it over to the woman at the bar. While he walked he pretended not to notice that April had glanced back at him several times as she guided her drunken man to a table where he could sit down. He was determined to show April she wasn’t the only woman in the world. He was going to prove to himself and her that he was over the breakup.

“Hi, I’m Daniel!” he yelled when he reached the woman, leaning toward her a little so she could hear him as a new song started to play.

“Grace!” she yelled back.

They smiled at each other.

The couple chatted for a while about nothing important, since it was too loud to carry on a serious conversation, and ordered drink after drink as they stood at the bar. Daniel’s emotional tension eased little by little with every drink. He became more and more relaxed, and friendlier and friendlier with Grace. Before he knew what was happening, they were pressed up against each other while they conversed so they could hear each other better.

“Let’s get out of here,” Grace said. She kissed him and reached down between them to rub his crotch.

Normally Daniel would be shocked and uneasy by such a gesture so soon after meeting a woman, but he’d had enough drinks not to care about how respectable she was or wasn’t being.

He nodded in agreement and looked around for his friends, frowning.

“I have to tell my friends I’m leaving,” he said, taking a step away from Grace.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Grace said, rubbing his crotch again. “They’ll figure it out. Besides, you can call them later and they can pick you up from my place.”

That sounded reasonable so he followed her out to the parking lot. The night was clear and felt cool after the heat from the population of patrons inside the nightclub.

They stumbled together through the parking lot and paused to make out, pressed against the side of her car for a couple minutes before they finally separated their bodies to get in.

Daniel had the passenger’s side door open and was about to climb inside when his cell phone beeped, notifying him of a text. He stopped, stood up straight beside the car, and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket by mistake. He reached into his other back pocket and extracted his cell phone. He frowned and squinted to focus on the tiny, bright screen that said David was only a block away.

“What are you doing?” Grace asked.

“I can’t go with you,” he said with a sigh. “Sorry. I—”

He felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck. He reached up to figure out what had hurt him and spun around at the same time, dropping his cell phone and wallet to the asphalt parking lot.

Grace was standing behind him holding an empty syringe.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but you have to come with me.”

He tried to shove her away, but his limbs wouldn’t do what he wanted them to. His legs gave out from beneath him as the world blurred into a black blob of nothing.

***

Grace shoved Daniel’s tall frame into the passenger seat when he started to fall, smacking his head on the door frame. She quickly picked his feet up from the ground and spun him so she could get him all the way into the car.

She heard laughing as a couple made their way through the parking lot a few rows over, so she didn’t take the time to pick up what Daniel had dropped.

Grace shut the passenger door and ran around to the driver’s side of her car. She scanned the parking lot as she pulled out, not seeing anyone close-by. She’d been careful, watching for people as they’d headed outside, but the distant couple had snuck up on them. Luckily they hadn’t come close enough to see what she was up to. She tensed slightly when she had to pass another vehicle as she pulled from the lot out onto the street, but the man was looking in the opposite direction and didn’t even glance their way.

Once she was out of the parking lot and a couple blocks away, she pulled out her cell phone and called Roger.

“Hey,” she said into the phone. “I have fresh meat…”

©Rebecca Besser & Limitless Publishing, 2016. All rights reserved.

Rebecca Besser 2016

Rebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They’ve come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She’s best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. She’s entirely too cute to be scary in person, so she turns to the page to instill fear into the hearts of the masses.

To learn more about Rebecca visit her Website, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and/or follow her Blog!

 

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Excerpt: Candles (a holiday zombie story)

Published December 15, 2014 by admin

Those who know me well enough (or pay attention to my bloggy ramblings) know by now that this time of year is a mixed bag for me. I don’t necessarily like the cynical part of myself or the part that gets beaten down by emotion from time to time, but it exists. Thankfully, the part that will gnaw off a metaphorical limb to keep going and the part that is determined to see a bit of light in everything also exists. Therefore, stories like this aren’t really out of the norm for me. I’ll warn you, this is not a pleasant holiday story, and it’s not the full story, but an excerpt. The full story can be found in Lost in the Shadows. One of these days I’m hoping to do a collection of dark holiday fiction, because these ideas come easily and they admittedly fascinate me. I like the dichotomy of things falling apart during a time that’s supposed to be a celebration and very well put together. It’s an amplified examination of holiday stress in some ways. Also, bizarrely, the only zombie fiction ideas I ever have are Christmas themed.

***

If it was any other Christmas, the candles would have been purple, pink, and white. As it was, Jamie had been lucky to find extra candles at all.

“This Christmas sucks. No turkey, no presents. We don’t even get a tree,” Tony whined from his seat in the shed’s corner. Jamie bit her lip against the sudden urge to cry. Of all the horrors they’d seen lately, it was her thirteen-year-old that was making her break down. The worst part was that he was right. Celebrating was a stupid idea that just made it all worse. She couldn’t save her family, or even give them a proper holiday. What kind of a mother am I?

“We have a lot of things,” Grant reminded him. There he was, coming to her aid once again. Every time they ran out of food, every time Tony or her five-year-old Andy got sick, every time the undead got riled and tried to charge their hiding spot of the moment, he was there with an answer. He gave her a tight smile over her oldest’s head. He looked as ragged as the rest of them did, but his drawn face didn’t look bad on him. His sandy brown hair didn’t show the light blond in it unless she looked really hard, and they hadn’t been alone enough lately for her to have a chance to look. His grey eyes were reassuring, though there was exhaustion in them, too. It was the same fatigue they all felt, the thing that chased them more than the zombies. It gnawed at them daily, made every little task an ordeal, dragged them lower and lower into submission to the new way of things. “We have a place to sleep. We have food for a few days. We have each other,” he urged. His eyes danced just a little, for her sake.

She echoed his smile, though she had to work to make her mouth move. She hadn’t felt a reason to really smile in so long; even the good moments were quickly overshadowed by another death, another problem, another strange shadow cast on the wall, another night filled with unearthly moaning, another attack. “That’s all we need,” Jaime agreed and wrapped both boys in her shivering arms. How long before I lose them? How long before I lose myself? Grant carefully struck one of their last matches and lit the candles in the Advent wreath made from barbed wire. His large fingers almost hid the match, but they couldn’t hide the tiny, beautiful spark.

“The first candle symbolizes hope.” The tiny blue flame struggled to stay alive. Jamie ran a hand through her dark, tangled hair and wiped it on her stained jeans to rid her hand of the oil. There hadn’t been a good time to wash it lately, especially with the cold weather. Tony and Andy weren’t particularly put out by not being able to take a bath, but it was a little comfort she missed.

Hope. It’s hard to have hope when Amanda was ripped apart by monsters, she thought, shuddering. She closed her eyes and pushed the thought of her baby away. She replayed the scene in her head constantly: how she’d gone to the nursery to check on her, how she’d found the screen knocked out of the open window, how three ugly corpses had been fighting over the infant’s remains. She’d only escaped because her husband Jason had dragged her away, forcing her to take Tony and Andy with her. She hadn’t seen his fate, but his screams had suddenly stopped when they’d reached the front door. The only reason she’d kept on running was because of her boys. That had been in June.

The only hope I have is that Grant found us, she sighed, and tried to focus on his rugged face and not the determined memory of her husband. Guilt came in bucketfulls when one had nothing else to think about besides surviving and the past.

“The second candle is preparation,” Grant continued, gently talking to the boys as he guided his hands to the next candle, his free hand guarding the little flame. Jamie chewed the inside of her lip and curled the dirty blanket she’d found tighter around her. Who can prepare for something like this? Decades of horror movies, of thinking about the most awful things, and there was still nothing we could all do to prepare for this. She glanced to the gun in her hands, stroked the barrel idly. They were down to their last three bullets unless they could find more. The heavy snowstorm three days ago had deterred the hordes that had been quickly giving chase to anything they considered worth eating, but it also made going on supply runs difficult.

She didn’t even know where they were now, except that they had been heading north towards Canada, where the hordes were supposed to be minimal thanks to the cold. They’d raided the empty downtown area of a small town a few weeks ago, and ended up in an abandoned shack on some abandoned plot of land. There wasn’t much cover so she was always sitting there, waiting for the final attack to come, but the weather had helped, at least. None of it, though, was anything anyone could prepare for. It had just happened. As of yet no one even knew how it had started, or if they did they weren’t sharing. Couldn’t share, more likely. Everyone was so cut off from each other, electricity and phone lines were rare, never mind a wireless signal.

“Joy,” Grant narrated, lighting the next candle, moving the match away at the last minute when Andy reached for it.

“I wanna help!” he complained.

“You’re just gonna ruin it or cut yourself again!” Tony grumbled and hunkered deeper into the hooded sweatshirt that was at least four sizes too big for him. “Butthead.”

Grant grabbed Andy’s arm away before he cut it on the barbed wire of the wreath. “C’mere, you, let’s do it this way,” he chuckled and shook the match out. Jaime watched as he helped her youngest get hold of one of the lit candles, carefully guiding the boy’s movements with his giant hand over the tiny one. “There we go…joy.”

“Joy, joy, joy!” Andy sing-songed. He was always doing that, making up little tunes from something one of them said. It had been cute when they’d lived in a nice house and had only the usual things to worry about. The last time he’d done it he’d alerted a shuffling corpse that had gone off on its own for some reason, though that wasn’t usually part of zombie behavior.

No. You know why that thing was on its own. She cleared her throat and blushed when Tony rolled his eyes. He knew how she covered her emotions all too well. You didn’t cover them up then, did you? You ran out and saw your little boy about to meet the same fate as your baby girl. You did what any mother would have done. She shivered and wrapped the blanket tighter. It was so hard to get warm when she’d lost so much weight and her clothes hung on her. You rushed right out, Grant’s advice be damned, and tore that bastard apart limb from limb. She could still feel the blood oozing over her hands, the cold flesh soft and slimy in her grip and smearing dirt on her clothes. It was only once she’d taken the head and gone to retrieve the pieces for burning that she thought to look at the face.

Jason. The thing after her son was half-eaten and had suffered more decay than any living thing had a right to, but it had been Jason. It was hard to feel joy after that.

It’s Christmas, she reminded herself. You’re still alive. You have most of your family. You have Grant. You have more than a lot of people do. Besides, it’s the season of magic and miracles. Maybe a cure will be found. Maybe the weather will kill the rest of them. Maybe everything will all go away over the winter. When she was ten, she’d finally found out the truth about Santa. Her mother had sat her down and explained the facts, but allowed her to be part of the magic from the other side, putting stockings and special gifts together for her little sister who was six years younger. She had done so, always the good and obedient older daughter, but it wasn’t enough. Christmas was about the impossible, the magical. When she’d been alone at night, tucked in her bed, she’d convince herself that her parents were wrong, that somewhere, somehow, there really was a Santa Claus. He just hadn’t been discovered yet, and his legend was so big that he was able to hide behind it, delivering his presents in a way that no one would be able to catch him at. She’d always been good at convincing herself the impossible was possible. Unfortunately, her belief system was running on empty lately.

Holly and Ivy

Published December 6, 2014 by admin

So I do enjoy holiday fiction. I love reading it and I might, just MIGHT have a soft spot for Christmas chick lit and romances (Shut up. It’s December stress). I also love writing holiday fiction. Now, some of this can get…fascinating, especially the pieces that are in Lost in the Shadows. Candles is a story about a makeshift family surviving the zombie apocalypse and trying to stay sane while keeping Christmas Eve traditions alive. There’s also a story about reincarnation and astral travel that may involve the little drummer boy.

Compared to those, Holly and Ivy is pretty tame and normal. I actually got the idea from a writing prompt exercise in like August, though it’s also based on one of my favorite holiday songs and probably owes a little to Hans Christian Andersen in a really backwards way. The story took hold and wouldn’t let me go, though, and soon I had something unique (for me) and special. Not only does it incorporate the holiday feel I love to read about, but it also doesn’t shy away from the fact that sometimes unfortunate things happen during the holiday season. Some people are cynical or burnt out or whatever. Sometimes you need a little kick in the pants, a little magic to help you out.

Sometimes you need a friend who’s a dryad.

When Holly’s life falls apart, she moves back with her parents and has to fight through fear and lack of motivation. When she takes a walk out to the Christmas tree farm her family owns, she’s suddenly shoved face to face with the imaginary friend that isn’t so imaginary – the dryad Ivy. While Holly’s grown up and been burned by life, Ivy remains innocent and eager to cast humans in the role of ignorant murderers. Even she is concerned about her human friend, though, and offers Holly a trinket that could change everything for the thirty-something…but it will change the dryad’s own future, as well.

***

“What do I do with it?” I asked. I told myself I was just playing along, suspending reality to make Ivy feel better. Although if that was the case then perhaps I should have really examined the fact that Ivy was real and not me suspending reality to make myself feel better.

“You hold it now until it gets to know you. You keep it safe in your possession and it shall bring you ease and grace,” the tree sprite giggled.

“And that really works?” No matter how I tried I couldn’t hide my skepticism.

She turned up her pointed nose. “How else would I have survived so well with murderers on the loose? It’s worked for a good long while.” I raised an eyebrow as a sly grin spread just a little too far across her face to make the smile look human. “Do you remember when I snuck to school with that sapling you took for show and tell?”

The next smile didn’t hurt quite as much as I traced the delicate edge of the tiny plant with the pad of a finger. The petaled head shivered and softly brushed against my calluses.  “I thought everyone was going to have a heart attack when you burst out of the thing and started singing to everyone! Mrs. Robinson finally played it off as the whole class playing a trick on her. We had to go without milk time for a week.” I’d gotten in so much trouble with my parents for lying in school and saying that I had a magic plant. Given that I was adamant that I’d been telling the truth, it was a hell of an ordeal for a six-year-old.

“’Twas so much fun!” Ivy paused mid-pirouette. It was downright disgusting that she could hold the arabesque for so long and not even wobble or suffer a leg cramp. “Though I would not want to live in such cold halls all the time.” She paused and took a long breath, much longer than I or any other human could possibly inhale. Before my eyes her skin became greener, infused by the crisp clean air. “You need to be in the trees, Holly. Mortals refuse to understand that they must live where things grow. Now that you’re home, let’s play!” She leapt over my head and landed effortlessly beside her home tree, staring at me expectantly.

Maybe it was being back home or maybe it was just being back in the good fresh air, but her suggestion made me giddy. It suddenly sounded like the exact prescription I needed, the one thing I’d been missing through all those frustrating years. My fragile mind and heart demanded an escape. They couldn’t take any more disappointment, any more expectations or responsibility, and they especially couldn’t take any more reality. I nodded and tucked the strange clover deep in my pocket. The breeze had dried my tears and the heavenly scent of grass and pine put the sudden urge to run in my feet. Suddenly the heavy air and the blazing sun didn’t matter so much and my anxieties were willing to take a momentary backseat to the chance to goof off for an afternoon.  “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” I hesitated, hand still at my pocket.

Ivy flashed a bold grin and stretched up on her toes; her fingers wiggled over her head, making her resemble an odd, scrawny plant. “With you here? Of course! Just remember to come look after my tree when the murderers come around the winter harvest time. You can even help me choose which tree will be my final home so you’ll know where I’ll be.” The words were no sooner out of her mouth when she tore off, dodging branches and bark as quick and swift as a deer. I groaned as I pulled myself to my feet and tumbled after her, muscles screaming at the sudden exercise. Still, I found myself laughing the entire time

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After losing her job and her boyfriend, Holly returns to her parents’ farm. Embarrassed and hopeless, she doesn’t expect to bump into a forgotten childhood friend that wasn’t supposed to exist. Ivy is not only a dryad, but she lives in the pine trees Holly’s family grows to sell at Christmas. As the old friends reconnect, Ivy not only shares her strong oninions, but gives Holly a charm that will change both their lives. As days melt into weeks and the seasons change, Holly’s life magically turns around. Christmas not only brings surprises, but a choice for the human woman. What’s more important: stability, success, and love, or keepinga promise to an old friend?

 

TCM Presents: Haunting Blue by RJ Sullivan

Published July 17, 2014 by admin

HauntingBlueTourBadge

 

 

Woo, blog tour time! Let’s hear it this week for Mr. RJ Sullivan and his book Haunting Blue!

 

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Kindle     Print

Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.

Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

***

And now, a post by RJ that I may have had a facetious hand in <g> Although I admit to nothing that I am implicated in in regards to convention discussions or behavior, heh……

***

Just Don’t Bore Me

 

So Selah and I are friends, storytellers, and writer peers. We’re occasionally found at conventions together cackling over a nerdy joke or dirty joke–usually a dirty nerdy joke. Monday evening she private-message-ed me and asked if she had assigned me a topic. She had not. She replied, in part, “Just don’t bore me.”

Which got me thinking about how those words are the mantra of every audience, and the challenge of every storyteller, since before the invention of the printing press. The only thing that’s changed is how the storyteller meets that challenge.

Boredom is the death of any storyteller. A writer can be provocative, edgy, safe for all ages, retro, whimsical, dark, funny, depressing, ironic, and even get away with being ignorant, offensive, sexist, crude, and politically incorrect (we’ve all read those blogs…yes, you have, too), but the one thing they cannot EVER be is boring.

I have a theory. I doubt it’s just mine, but since I don’t know exactly where I first heard it, I’ll throw it out there without attribution. There’s a simple reason classic literature so often fails to hold a modern reader spellbound, even books that were hugely popular when they came out.

Personally, it took me about eight false starts and most of my life to finally read Bram Stoker’s Dracula from beginning to end. And I consider myself a pretty rabid Dracula guy. I’ve seen all the significant the films (even that painful new TV show already slain with a stake in its heart, and good riddance), know the plays, and own most of the movies. But the original novel was…a chore.

A little research reveals that Dracula, when it was first published in 1897, was thought of as a naughty little book–a phenomenal bestseller whose public reception in modern times would compare more accurately to 50 Shades of Gray rather than a more respectable bestseller such as The Fault in Our Stars.

Many modern readers feel–with some justification–that the material fails to engage them, and they put the book down , frustrated and bored, many unwilling to give the novel a second chance.  By today’s standards, it’s slow, clunky, with lots of historical minutiae, descriptions of mansions, gardens, walls, beaches, and the British seaside, and spends a lot of time with two ditzy women who babble on about their fiancés and knitting and tea and things.

So what happened?

Dracula was first released in England. The 1890s were, to put it frankly, a time when ladylike outward appearances and social ediquette were the law of the land, and Britain was the place that invented those laws and enforced them most strictly in all occasions. It was also the time of the industrial revolution, and new thinking and mores were starting to clash with traditions.

Dracula told the tale of a group of modern people, those who were achieving modern economic prosperity through modern careers, options achievable to many readers and romanticized about. Consider references to Van Helsing and his Victrolla, the earliest form of voice recording device, modern cars are used to chase horses and carriages, ancient magic and sorcery does battle with an early form of psychology.

Dracula included scenes of a vampire lord and his three vampire brides, women who he commanded, who then in turn, seek out a male victim. In a striking scene in which a skeptical reader suspects the man doeth protest too much, the three brides drop to their knees and “penetrate” him with their fangs. Premarital kinky oral with four participants. There’s not much to figure out here. In the meantime, the vampire lord is busy every few chapters arriving uninvited through various women’s bedrooms, where those victims submit to the same “unnatural” attacks, sometimes with only the most surface protest.

To a modern reader and vampire fan who has seen and read every media re-enactment of the vampire orgy in all its graphic glory, these quaint little moments are mostly read over, unnoticed. But in its day, Dracula was the book that “no one was reading” to the tune of millions of copies sold, and “no one” most likely read the novel by candlelight after everyone else in the house had gone to sleep.

Which brings us to today, where the modern reader peruses the latest releases by today’s authors, readers who have seen and read it all. Readers who utter the same mantra as all readers throughout the ages: “Just don’t bore me.”

The next time you’re reading a truly engaging novel, remember to leave a review or an email of thanks to that author. Tell your friends about that author. Tell them you found a storyteller who answered the challenge and answered it well.

Whether it’s Bram Stoker or Arthur Conan Doyle or Edgar Allan Poe or (if I may make a few recommendations) Selah Janel or even little ole’ me, R.J. Sullivan, storytellers have been answering the same call for as long as an audience has longed to hear a story. How they go about it may have changed, but the challenge remains the same. “Just don’t bore me.”

 ***

 I wholeheartedly approve of this post, and I really like what he brings up about Dracula. Thanks, RJ!

RJSullivanPhoto

 

Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.

Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

 

Author Links:

Website: http://rjsullivanfiction.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/R.J.SullivanAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5199299.R_J_Sullivan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjsullivanauthr

 

 

It’s the MMP Anniversary Sale!

Published July 13, 2014 by admin

Looking for some e-books to fill your Kindle or Nook? Want to stock up on romance and select horror and holiday titles? Want to be considered for some great giveaways? Then look no further! Mocha Memoirs Press has got you covered!

For information on the giveaway (which includes select horror and romance titles, as well as swag), and select sales on parts of the catalog, be sure to check out this mmp blog link!

 

For information on the sale on speculative titles, check out this link!

 

Now  Mooner and The Other Man are MMP titles, but my story, Holly and Ivy, is on sale for $0.99 as part of the Christmas in July sale! Check it out now to beat the heat, or save it for December!

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Amazon     Barnes and Noble   Mocha Memoirs Press Store

After losing her job and her boyfriend, Holly returns to her parents’ farm. Embarrassed and hopeless, she doesn’t expect to bump into a forgotten childhood friend that wasn’t supposed to exist. Ivy is not only a dryad, but she lives in the pine trees Holly’s family grows to sell at Christmas. As the old friends reconnect, Ivy not only shares her strong oninions, but gives Holly a charm that will change both their lives. As days melt into weeks and the seasons change, Holly’s life magically turns around. Christmas not only brings surprises, but a choice for the human woman. What’s more important: stability, success, and love, or keepinga promise to an old friend?

TCM Presents: Hades’ Disciples by Michael West

Published July 7, 2014 by admin

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I’m really excited to finally (FINALLY) get my bud Michael West on here to talk about writing. Before I ever met him I was orbiting him for years, and I’m pretty sure there was at least one convention where I was too scared to death to talk to him because he was so far ahead of me and I never thought I’d ever get a project picked up by a publisher, let alone be able to sell anything. And now he has to talk to me every week, mwahahahaha. This is all part of my master plan…

Anyway, he has book 2 of the Legacy of the Gods series out (finally :D), and he is here today!

 

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Terrifying creatures exist all around us, hiding in plain sight. Ancient. Deadly. They gather in secret, conspiring, dreaming of nothing less than humanity’s destruction, and their numbers are growing.

Earl Preston knows the danger all too well. After tangling with a horde of mythological sea monsters in Colonial Bay, he has been tasked with finding these beasts and exposing their plans whatever they may be. But Earl is not the only one with a mystery on their hands. At the very top of the world, Carol Miyagi has stumbled onto an artifact from Earth’s past, something magnificent held captive in a prison of ice and snow. Now, Carol and Earl must work quickly to decipher the will of the gods–a plot that defies imagination–and to stop their followers from carrying it out.

They thought the nightmare was over, but they are about to discover that the horror has only just begun.

Hades Disciples is Book Two in the Legacy of the Gods Series.

 

***

SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?

MW: I do a bit of both, actually.  I do some outlining, but the characters really dictate what happens.  In the past, I’ve planned to kill off characters only to have them do something totally unexpected and live.  And in one case, my novel Spook House, the intended victim ended up being one of the stars of the story.

SJ: Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?

MW: Nothing too weird, but I do like it to be as dark as possible when I write, so I close all the blinds and turn out all the lights.

SJ: Do you believe in the muse?

MW: I do.  My muse is very temperamental, and she comes and goes as she pleases. 

SJ: Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?

MW: I do dream some ideas, and many of them come to me in the shower, in that foggy twilight between sleep and being totally alert.

SJ: bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien?  

MW: She’s a spirited redhead with fairy wings, and she likes to read a lot.

SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?

MW: I don’t really play favorites.  I always think that the last thing I wrote is the best thing I’ve ever written.  That said, however, I do have a special place in my heart for the story “Jiki.”  And my story “Goodnight” is one that I read aloud a lot when asked to do readings.  As far as novels go, The Wide Game captures my teenage years pretty well.  There were no demons or murders, mind you, but it is probably the closest thing to an autobiography that I’ve ever written.

SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?

MW: I write Sci-fi and Fantasy, but Horror has always been a part of my life.  It’s what I love to read, what I like to watch, and what I will always love to write.

SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?

MW: I hate clumsy dialogue and weak female characters.  I think everyone has an inner strength, they just need the right circumstances to bring it out.  And people who write bad dialogue have either never heard people talk, or they never took the time to read the words out loud.  I always read my dialogue aloud.  If it doesn’t sound real, I re-write it until it does. (Ed. from SJ- THIS – SO THIS! TAKE THIS TO HEART, WORLD!)

SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

MW: I would love to be one of Poseidon’s Children or Hades’ Disciples, be able to change shape at will and swim into the depths or take flight.  I think that would be amazing.

SJ: If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why?

MW: I would probably pick “Goodnight,” because that has a very positive message on love and everlasting life.  Or maybe “Hell’s Hollow.”  I think it would be fun to visit that festival once in a while.

SJ: An enemy?

MW: I would love to feed them to Jiki, my Japanese demon.

SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?

MW: I don’t think there is a sure-fire formula.  There are hacks who have become wealthier than Midas, and great artist who have never seen their works published.  I just write what I want to read, and I have worked hard to find the right homes for my creations, supportive editors and publishers who are as passionate about my work as I am.

SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?

MW: Writing is hard work.  You have all of these people in your head fighting to get out, and you constantly question whether or not what you are doing is working.  Unlike actors or musicians on a stage, there is no instant feedback.  It may be days or weeks or months before anyone gets around to reading what you’ve written and can give you any comments or suggestions.  Even then, the chances of finding a good publisher are very slim, and the chances of landing those six-figure deals you read about are even slimmer.  Sometimes I find myself wondering why I do what I do, and the answer is simple: because I’m a storyteller, and I have to tell these stories or go insane.  As I tell my wife, writing stories is much cheaper than therapy.  

SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.

MW: Horror, Sci-fi, and Fantasy allow us to make observations of our own world and comment on various important issues without sounding obvious or preachy.  We can turn a fun house mirror on ourselves and show readers how ridiculous certain practices and prejudices are, and because we are talking about ghosts or monsters or aliens, people who would otherwise be turned off by an issue or a theme may get to see and experience another point of view.

SJWhat do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?

MW: I want people to see my name on a book cover and know instantly that, no matter what the story is, they are in for a great ride.

 SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!

MW: My latest novel (which is my favorite right now) is The Legacy of the Gods Book Two: Hades’ Disciples.

Terrifying creatures exist all around us, hiding in plain sight. Ancient. Deadly. They gather in secret, conspiring, dreaming of nothing less than humanity’s destruction, and their numbers are growing.

Earl Preston knows the danger all too well. After tangling with a horde of mythological sea monsters in Colonial Bay, he has been tasked with finding these beasts and exposing their plans whatever they may be. But Earl is not the only one with a mystery on their hands. At the very top of the world, Carol Miyagi has stumbled onto an artifact from Earth’s past, something magnificent held captive in a prison of ice and snow. Now, Carol and Earl must work quickly to decipher the will of the gods–a plot that defies imagination–and to stop their followers from carrying it out.

They thought the nightmare was over, but they are about to discover that the horror has only just begun.

I am also working on a short story collection, Straightjacket Memories, due out this fall, and the next novel in the Legacy series, Zeus’ Warriors.

 

***

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Michael West is the bestselling author of Cinema of Shadows, Skull Full of Kisses, The Wide Game, Spook House, and the critically acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

West avoids manhole covers and sidewalk grates whenever possible. He just doesn’t know what’s down there, and he’s not sure he wants to find out.

Website:  http://www.bymichaelwest.com

 Twitter: @bymichaelwest

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

 

TCM Presents: Transport by Peter Welmerink

Published June 24, 2014 by admin

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I’m back with a blog tour post for my pal peter Welmerink! I think you’re really going to dig his new book, Transport. After all, everyone loves zombies, right?

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The HURON, a 72-ton heavy transport vehicle and an army of four; tracked, racked and ready to roll, to serve and protect the walled metropolis of Grand Rapids—both her living and her undead. Captain Jacob Billet and his crew patrol the byways, ready for trouble.

William Lettner, the North Shore Coalition High Commissioner, has enemies from the mainland to the lakeshore and needs to be covertly transported home after his helicopter is shot down en route to Grand Rapids. He has no love for a city that give unliving civilians the right to survive. Lettner’s venomous outbursts assaults Billet and his crew along every mile travelled as they are assigned to safely bring him through the treacherous landscape outside the city back to his hometown.

The HURON and her crew will have to face domesticated zombies and the feral undead; marauders holding strategic chokepoints hostage; barricaded villages fighting for survival, and a group of geneticists who’ve lost control of one of their monstrous experiments if they want to complete their mission.

The crew will need to stay strong and trust one another in order to finish the mission and bring their “precious” cargo home, even knowing, all the while, the terrible deeds Lettner has done.

Travelling through West Michigan was never so dangerous.

***

Peter’s provided us with a character post today involving Loutonia Marie Phelps and Bob the gas station attendant, so let’s see what transpires…

Loutonia Phelps by Tim Holtrop

This is Loutonia Marie Phelps. Lance Corporal. Serial number 32 738 306. Marine. Though that really doesn’t mean much, what branch of the service you are from, as these hard times mean pooling and pulling together as one truly united team.

I am the driver of the HURON, a big M213 Ridgerunner-class HTV (Heavy Transport Vehicle). I am the only female member of our crew, the only female M213 driver of what is left of our fleet of those vehicles. It’s not a bad job, considering the world we live in, not a whole lot can damage or go up against my 72-tons of dual-wheeled and tracked, heavily armored bone-crushing transport.

Okay. I have some additional information I’d like to put on record. I figure I’d better log this just in case… Well, in case anything happens that might make this all relevant.

I am writing this while out at Jake’s, I mean, the Captain’s ex-in-laws lakeshore cottage. While he, Stokes and Mulholland are outside closing up shop at the beach house (and I think Stokes is still walking funny from the night before when I had to kick for the extra point), I thought I’d jot this down before we got back on the road.

On our recent mission, when we were carrying our “special cargo,” we stopped while within the UCRA and “talked” to Bob.

As you know, the friendly neighborhood gas station attendant, in his rotted mind, still lives in the 1950’s, but Bob is special. A “satellite Zee,” we use him quite often to gather Intel on the goings on within and outside the Urban Civilian Retention Area, and beyond the city limits.

Trained in Zombie Dialect, I listen to what Bob has to “say” and translate it, informing Jacob, I mean, Captain Billet, what the old guy “knows.”

After Bob mentioned the “old news” about a section of highway way northwest of town being sabotaged, an event that happened years ago, with a clack of his loose jaws and black teeth, he said my children were in “Fat City,” and my ex-husband was in “Nowheresville” and wouldn’t be “rattling my cage” anymore.

Fat City, I looked it up, means a happy place. Nowheresville: a bad place. The Ex wouldn’t be rattling my cage, making me upset, angry, anymore anyway.

My late and abusive husband, as my children, are dead-dead.

I don’t know how Bob knew I even had a family.

But that wasn’t the oddest thing he had to say.

After mentioning Valley State University having a new mascot—their former mascot was a guy in a foam bull’s head—Bob started in on, I am not sure, events of the past? Events of the future?

Bob said, growling, coughing, yellow puss drooling from his dry cracked lips: “Captain will take his last visit home to be finished by your hand. The ghoul girl eats at her father’s heart. Our home will be open once the second killing rain falls from the sky.”

More gnashing of teeth, moaning, three wet coughs: “Your money council is a shuckster. Watch the water and the big weapon that wanders out from your grasp.”

I had not known Bob to talk in such a manner. Riddles, yes, but he seemed hell bent to make sure I listened to what he had to “say.”

It was then some of the other neighborhood walking dead started getting too close for comfort. We had dropped meat crates for a feeding, but hadn’t cracked them… and our neighborhood friends were hungry.

Bob grunted, growled, and made a sound like he was clearing his throat.

“What was that?” Jake, I mean, the Captain, had asked.

I made something up. I said: “Bob says he’s got a special on a lube and oil change.”

Old Bob didn’t say that.

What he said, with what little flickers of lucidity an old dead guy could muster: “No worries, Miss Phelps, I will protect your man when first death descends.”

He simply stood and waved at us as we left, as if we’d just arrived.

That was how Bob rolled.

But those last “words,” the old dead gas station attendant’s words, then and now, I simply cannot shake.

Lance Corporal Loutonia Phelps. Out.

Bob Gas Station Attendant Zombie by Tim Holtrop

 

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Peter Welmerink was born and raised on the west side of pre-apocalyptic Grand Rapids, Michigan. He writes Fantasy, Military SciFi, and other wanderings into action-adventure. His work has been published in ye olde wood pulp print and electronic-online publications. He is the co-author of the Viking berserker novel, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, written with Steven Shrewsbury. TRANSPORT is his first solo novel venture. He is married with a small barbarian tribe of three boys.

 Find out more about his works and upcoming projects at:

http://www.peterwelmerink.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/author.peterwelmerink

 Twitter:

@pwelmerink