BOOK TOUR: A Haunting at Marianwood by E.M. Munsch #mystery

A Haunting at Marianwood

Dash Hammond 
Book Six
E.M. Munsch
 
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Mystery and Horror, LLC
Date of Publication: October 18, 2022
ASIN: ‎B0BJ4GYGD2
ISBN-10: ‎1949281213
ISBN-13: ‎978-1949281217
Print length: ‎217 pages
 
Book Description: 
 
Life is good for Dash Hammond. He’s recently remarried his childhood sweetheart, Dr. Maevis Summers, and together they’re raising his four-year-old son, T.J. in the Hammond family homestead in Clover Pointe, Ohio. A retired Army colonel, Dash now keeps himself busy fixing everything from a leaky faucet to an unsolved murder.
 
It is no wonder that his cousin Billy McCafferty calls on Dash for a road trip to Kentucky when  his oldest sister is in trouble. The president of a religious order, Sister Miriam Patrice, Miri Pat to those who knew her before she took the veil, has been hearing things, seeing things and misplacing things. A very competent woman, she refuses to accept an unearthly reason for all this.
 
Marianwood, the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Mother of God, is located on an old plantation thought to be haunted by its original inhabitant, Miss Victoria Harris, who is rumored to prowl the grounds and cemetery in search of her murdered beau. 
 
When the Ohio contingent arrives, they discover that things are not as simple as your ordinary haunting. 
 
In a battle of wits, will the victor be supernatural or a very corporal retired Army colonel?
 
 

Excerpt:

A HAUNTING AT MARIANWOOD

Sister Miriam Patrice slid back from the kneeler. The quiet of the church soothed her as it wrapped its velvet cloak of serenity around her. She sat, hands folded,
once in prayer but now to stop the trembling. Glancing at the sunlight
streaming through the stained-glass windows casting a rainbow on the empty
pews, she drew in deep slow breaths. She looked at the watch pinned to her
tunic. Time to get back to work. She rose to leave the church, her place of
refuge, a place free from the distractions of the running the community and the
new retirement home the sisters established to help make ends meet.

The members of the Sisters of the Blessed Mother of God found their numbers
dwindling. New recruits, as Sister Miriam Patrice called them mimicking her
cousin Dash Hammond’s military jargon, were very rare. The teaching
congregation once had more than a hundred sisters. Vocations, callings to
either the religious or the educational side of the community, had fallen to less
than a handful each year.

As she walked down the aisle to the back of the church, she heard it again. Tap, tap, tap. She stopped to listen, making sure she wasn’t mistaken. That sound
sent shivers down her spine. Squaring her shoulders she walked to the doors
next to the church exit. One led up to the choir loft, the other down to the
cellar. In days past she had gone up the stairs; today she would go down.

Pulling the doorknob, Miriam Patrice met the resistance of a locked door. She pulled out her keys and unlocked it. She struggled with the door, suggesting to her
that no one had gone to the cellar in a while.

The stone steps were worn but sturdy. She moved cautiously into the darkness, one hand on the wall to steady her nervous knees, the other searching for the
handrail. Her hope was that the security guard forgot to close the door one day
and some critter, not two legged, was trapped down here and making the tap,
tap, tap sound. Logically she knew this was wrong, but the alternative could be
worse.

Decades ago they discovered one of the newer buildings constructed during a period of rapid expansion had been built on an underground spring. It wasn’t long before the building tilted, as did their finances. What a waste of time and money.
Fearful that what she would find was a tell-tale pooling or bubbling of water,
she moved forward slowly. She said a silent prayer that she would not stumble
into a puddle, a precursor of the inevitable unwelcome news.

Her trek seemed unnecessarily slow though reason told Miriam Patrice she should alert one of her sisters where she was just in case she lost her footing. But
her reasoning had not been the sharpest of late. She blamed her sleepless
nights, not because of an uneasy conscience but an overabundance of concern for
her congregation and its uncertain future, both financially and individually.

After spending a half an hour poking into the corners, searching for the origin of the sound, Miriam Patrice gave up. She needed a flashlight if she wanted to do
a proper search. Next time she would be prepared. Next time, she told herself,
she would be less skittish, more confident that she could deal with whatever
sprung up from the tap, tap, tap. After deciding this, she nodded to herself.
At least she didn’t hear a drip, drip, drip.

The sound had stopped so she returned to the church. As she locked the door behind her, the tap, tap, tap began again, louder this time. If she permitted herself, she would have said damn.



About the Author:

 
Elaine Munsch is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but has spent her adult life in Louisville, Kentucky.  She graduated from Nazareth College of Kentucky located outside of Bardstown and attended The Ohio State University for her graduate work. She has been a bookseller for fifty years working in both large and small, chain and independent bookstores. She opened the first Barnes & Noble in Kentucky where she set up a mystery reading group which is still active today. She also taught classes in the mystery genre for the Veritas Society and joined the local chapter of Sisters in Crime.
  
With Susan Bell, she co-edited MYSTERY WITH A SPLASH OF BOURBON, an anthology of bourbon related stories.
 
As E.M. Munsch, she writes the Dash Hammond series set on the shores of Lake Erie. The latest title, A HAUNTING AT MARIANWOOD, is set to be released at the end of October.
 
 
 

RELEASE BLITZ: A Raven Remix by Sarah Hualde #YoungAdult #CozyMystery #Paranormal @Sthecoffeejedi

 

A Raven Remix

Paranormal Penny Box Set 
Books 1, 1.5 and 2 
Sarah Hualde
 
Genre: YA Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Date of Publication: 11/15/22
ISBN:  9781736756645
ASIN:   B0BKFLD85D
Number of pages: 550
Word Count: approx 80,000
Cover Artist:  OlivaProDesign
 
Book Description:  
 
Most people run from death,
But not Penny.
She chases it down.
 
Penny’s premonitions put her friends in peril. Join her as she stalks the bird of death by following the musical clues he leaves behind.
 
Will she and her cheeky cat, Spades save the day?
Or will the Raven be one step ahead?
 
This Paranormal Penny Boxset features books 1, 1.5, and 2 in the Paranormal Penny Mystery Series.
 
Join Penny and Spades as they thwart murderers before they strike.
Amazon     Kobo     Apple     BN

Excerpt:

It wasn’t life that flashed before my eyes as Betty Fae thwacked me between the shoulder blades. It was death and disaster—replays of all the faces of shock and sadness worn by acquaintances of my past. Death of one sort or the other followed that stupid Raven.

I remembered them all. Vividly. The writer, the homeschool mom, the surfer, the politician. They were among the near-strangers I’d encountered and endangered.

Following their faces came the really painful pictures. The friendly child advocate, the sweet boy next door, and losing my aunt and uncle. After them, but always above them, followed the loss of my sister and father.

All because of the same intolerable bird. Gracious enough to give me a glimpse of their perils before nudging them to the brink. Impending doom sat, staring at me, from the cup of the only friend I had in town- Janice Rockland. It lingered there amid the froth bubbles, telling me Janice Rockland had twenty-four hours, at most, left to live.

My eyes watered. My throat closed all the tighter. Even after it dislodged my Belgian waffle. Air battled past my suffocating emotions. I gulped it down,
despising myself and fearing for my boss.

Janice and Betty Fae offered me a glass of water and napkins, thinking they’d saved the day. Little did they know. Trouble had just landed in their small town.

Janice watched me through the rest of the meal. If I told her she was about to die, would she be able to eat? I sipped my coffee and avoided conversation.

Long ago, I’d explained my weird glimpses to one of the Raven’s victims. Instead of believing me, my friend grew increasingly sarcastic about my confession. He mocked me. I didn’t blame him. I’m not sure I would’ve believed me, either. In the end, his sarcasm killed him. Laughing and gesturing like a mad bird to make fun of my premonitions, he’d lost control of his bicycle and collided with a garbage truck just as it was lowering its load.

No, I wasn’t about to tell Janice about her Raven. I’d keep watch. Stay sharp. Once the bird made an appearance, he wouldn’t leave until his prey was dead. Accidentally or with malice aforethought.

The next song, movie quote, television commercial, or anything ominous could clue me in on how to save her. At least I could give it a shot. If I didn’t keep a constant eye on Janice, her death would be on my head.

 

About the Author:

 
Sarah lives in California, in a home that brings her happiness and hay fever. She loves God, loves her family, and loves freshly brewed coffee. She has a husband who cooks, a son who stop animates, a daughter who loves animals, a dog that follows her everywhere, and a turtle who scowls at her condescendingly.
 
Her mother raised her on Mary Higgins Clark, Diane Mott Davidson, and Remington Steele. Her grandmother shared True Crime stories with her as they plotted how to get away with the perfect murder. It’s no surprise that Sarah became an award-winning spinner of suspenseful tales brimming with quirky characters. Mysteries are in her blood. Not that she could survive one of her own stories. She confesses, “I’d be snuffed out by chapter two.”
 
 
 
 
 
 



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BOOK TOUR: Asylum by Susy Smith #dystopian #romanticsuspense @susy8469 

 

Asylum 

Asylum Series 
Book One
Susy Smith
 
Genre: Dystopian Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Balkan Press
Date of Publication: August 17, 2021
ISBN: 195487118X
ASIN: B09C4WRJQH
Number of pages: 330
Word Count: 87k
 
Tagline: A fight for freedom
 
Book Description: 
 
In the aftermath of the Big Crash, the President of the United States declares martial law. The National Guard rounds up citizens who are never heard from again. While fear and chaos reign, a small band of revolutionaries rise up to resist.
 
Lacy Monroe, barely out of high school, never saw herself as a leader. All that changed after the Big Crash. When the rest of her family fled, she remained on the farm, the last piece of land in the state holding out against the hostile government. Alone and vulnerable, she endures a horrific attack, yet survives and offers sanctuary to others like herself—until an old friend turns her world upside-down.
 
Jace Cooper has harbored a secret for years—he is completely in love with his best friend’s sister. The world is crumbling around them, no one knows how long they will survive, and all he wants is to protect Lacy and stay with her.
 
With the National Guard circling ever closer, hunger and sickness taking a toll, and betrayal and jealousy threatening to destroy the group from the inside, the struggle to hold onto the farm pushes them to the brink. And Lacy is keeping a secret so devastating it could drive Jace to unthinkable actions. Is the farm a safe asylum—or will the fight for freedom destroy them?
 

Book
Trailer: https://youtu.be/T1kpaMsvkSw


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Excerpt

“Can I ask you something?” Lacy asked quietly.

Jace looked over his shoulder. “Anything.”

“This tattoo on your back.” She ran a finger down his spine. He shivered.

“Yeah?”

“Why do you have it? I mean, what made you get a wolf-dragon tattoo? It’s unique.”

“Do you want the short answer or the long one?” She trailed her finger back up his spine. “Just tell me what was on your mind. Did you design it?”

“Yeah, I did,” he said, his voice husky. Her fingers kept tracking his spine and he found concentration difficult. “I’ve always been fascinated with dragons. The
symbolism behind the myth. I love everything about them. But the dragon needs
temperance. With great power comes arrogance, conceit, and a thirst for even
more power.” He chuckled and glanced at her.

“Just about everything you’ve accused me of.”

Her hand stilled. “Jace, I—”

“It’s okay,” he reassured her, giving her leg a squeeze. “Don’t feel bad.”

“Go on,” she urged.

He continued to tread water. “Well, the dragon holds immense possibility while the wolf relies on his instincts to guide him. Combined, the dragon sees all the
possibilities before him, but the wolf chooses based on instinct. His heart
guides him. It’s a balance. The dragon embodies primordial power. The wolf
checks it with his ability to relate to others. The wolf takes on everything
the dragon is—his protection, loyalty, fearlessness, and strength—and enhances
it, makes it stronger. The two combined incorporate everything I want to be.
The tattoo is a reminder. Especially when I’m having a bad day.”

She laughed. “Or when someone accuses you of being conceited?”

“Pretty much,” he admitted. “Do you like it?”

“I do. You said you designed it. Does that mean you drew this?”

“Yeah. I knew what I wanted.”

“Wow.” She sounded impressed. “I had no idea you could draw. You’re talented.”

He grinned. “Girl, you have no idea just how talented I am.”

“And the dragon rises.”

Laughter burst from his chest. “Touché.”

A red-eared slider swam their direction. “Look.” He pointed at the turtle’s nose jutting out of the water.

Her grip around his neck tightened. “Let’s go back.”

“He won’t hurt you,” he said, laughing, but swam back anyway. He helped her out then hoisted himself on the dock beside her. He retrieved his shirt and offered
it to her. “Dry off with this.”

She took the shirt and mopped her face. “Pond water is so gross, but that was fun.” She gave him a demure smile. “Thanks. I needed that.”

He spent the rest of the day making her laugh. Being her distraction. But as the
afternoon waned, so did her spirits. She shifted from cheerful to pensive. The
temperature dropped as the western sun burned to the ground. “I guess we’d
better get back.”

She sighed. “Yup. Duty calls.”

They untied their horses and started back. When Highway 11 stretched before them like a winding, black snake, he trotted up beside her and grinned. “I saw the
girl I used to know today.”

They crossed the highway onto Monroe land then she turned and faced him, eyes full of pain and regret. “That girl is gone, Jace. She doesn’t exist anymore. If
that’s who you’re looking for then give up because you’re wasting your time.”
She gave Acer a nudge and galloped away. Frustrated, he urged his horse
forward. She wasn’t going to run. Not this time. He raced beside her and
grabbed her reins.

Eight hooves skidded on dirt and loose gravel and halted in a dusty cloud between the two farmhouses. His horse whinnied, tossing her head. She jerked her reins out of his hands. “That was a stupid thing to do,” she shouted. “I could’ve been
thrown!” Chest heaving, he jumped off his horse. His boots thudded on the
gravel. He stomped around Acer, trying to check his frustration. The girl was
scared, and he didn’t want to demolish the progress he made today. He reached
up and plucked her out of the saddle. “Stop running from me, girl.” He studied
her and saw her demeanor shift from anger to fear. “I’m not going to hurt you.
If you’d crawl out of your pain long enough, you’d see that.” She flung her
hands up, eyes glistening.

“You don’t think I’m trying? I’m drowning trying to save everyone else, but
who’s gonna save me?” She bit her lower lip and looked away. He drew her into
his arms and to his surprise, she didn’t fight him. He rested his chin on her
head and whispered, “Hold on to me. I’ve got you.”

 
Guest Post:

Creating Character: Breathing Life into the Cast of Asylum

If you remove characters from a story, any story, all you’re left with is a news report, right?So, characters, even though they’re metaphors, should feel, act, and speak like people. If you plucked your characters out of your book and Geppetto’d them into real, living beings, would they withstand the test? Or would they fall short as too perfect? Or too flat? No one is princess perfect just as no one, not even the most obtuse person you know, is two dimensional.

  1. First impressions. What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone? Unfortunately, for most of us, it’s their physical appearance. When readers meet characters in a story, they must be able to “see” what they look like. I read a novel recently, and the author never clued me in on what eye color the main character had. For me, that was super annoying. Seasoned authors will tell you to character sketch and that’s one of the first things I had to sit down and do. I mentioned eyes, and for me personally, that’s a big deal. I tend to focus on eye color (for better or worse). You have three basic colors to choose from: blue, green, brown, and their variants. It’s how you describe the color and what shines through them that will help bring your character off the page. My main character, Lacy, had green eyes, but what about them? In Jace’s point of view, he described the color changing with her mood from a thoughtful forest green to glittering diamond hard. Conversely, Jace had blue eyes, but not the light, ice blue of Zach, his brother. They were dark, sometimes with a humorous spark, and other times darkened with desire. In moments your characters can’t speak, their eyes can. Any character can have green, blue, or brown eyes. Breathe life into them. Otherwise, you’re left with a main character’s eyes the same boring brown as your supporting cast.
  2. Give your characters flaws. This was hard for me to do. Even though I wanted Lacy, my main character, to react to diverse, difficult situations with unerring grace, I realized she couldn’t. I let her make mistakes: lose her temper with Jace, treat Hailey harshly, yell at Cat. I placed her in unthinkable circumstances. Of course, she was going to fail! Why? Because that’s what people do. How they handle and grow from their failures shows the reader of whatmettle your character’s made. Crawl through their head for their reactions. At the beginning of Asylum, Lacy suffered a brutal attack. As her rapist was leaving, I felt I had to show how absolutely devastated and angry she was. I can’t tell you how many times I re-wrote the scene until she uttered two words to himthat summed up everything she felt. As an author, I’m never happy using vulgar language, but at that point in Lacy’s life, those two words were exactly what she would’ve said. Even though I fought her (and myself), I eventually conceded they were the best two words to write.
  3. Character vernacular; keep it real! If it sounds stiff and too formal as you read it back to yourself, it probably is. I had to go back and edit in contractions, and even use words like, y’all. Two of my characters needed their speech to set them apart. Raul, born and raised in Mexico, needed to sound different. Think about how a foreigner doesn’t contract their words. They say things like, “I do not understand,” instead of,“I don’t get it.” Edwards, an older gentleman and from a different era, used words like fella instead of guy or man. Set your characters apart by what they say, how they sound. Otherwise, you’re back to a news report.
  4. Oh, the feels… Showing my character’s emotion instead of tellingabout it was what I struggled with the most. Those dang adverbs ending in ‘ly’ tripped me up more times than I can count. Don’t underestimate the power of movement. Show your character’s frustration by pacing, running a hand through their hair, heat rising up their neck, etc. In Asylum, I wrote, “Her feet slammed against the wood floor. Her socks softened the impact, and much to her disappointment, muted the sound.” This showed Lacy’s frustration. It took a lot of work to edit in how Lacy felt by her actions. Your character’s differing personalities will show through their actions. In Hailey’s case, she showed how she felt by simply sniffing. I didn’t have to say she was too haughty to do menial household chores to convey her personality. I wrote, “She sniffed. ‘I don’t plunge toilets.’” Can you see it? I can.
  5. Do you know someone who’s eccentric? We all do. Don’t be afraid to give your character a quirk or two. Cat entered Lacy’s life and quickly became her surrogate mother. Even though Cat wasn’t a main character, I wanted her to stand out as no-nonsense, and a bit audacious. She kept the farm running and everyone in line with nonsensical metaphors. One of my favorite examples is when she chastised Jace for picking a fight with Travis. She said, “Travis didn’t have anything to do with what happened to Lacy and you know it. I’ll admit, sometimes he has no more sense than a snake in a snowstorm …” Memorable, right? I mean, who wants to be compared to a snake in a snowstorm?

Breathe life into your characters. You’re omniscient, the master of your own universe. Whether your story is plot driven, or character driven, you need strong characters that will live inside the readers mind long after they’ve finished the book.

About the Author:

 
Susy Smith has a bachelor’s degree in English and is a language teacher for the Kanza Tribe. Her debut novel, Asylum, won the 2020 WriterCon contest in the novel category. She loves creating a home on paper for the characters in her head and dabbling in poetry. She lives in a small Oklahoma town with her husband, four grown children nearby, and two spoiled dog-children.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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BOOK TOUR & INTERVIEW: Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding by Cynthia Fridsma #urbanfantasy #thriller #authorinterview @cynthia_fridsma

 

Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding

Cynthia Fridsma
 
Genre: horror/thriller/urban fantasy
Publisher: CynhiaFridsma.COM
Date of Publication: November 24, 2021
ISBN Paperback: 979-8773139225
ISBN Hardcover: 979-8779427166 
ISBN Audiobook: 978-1669614173
ASIN: B09MJXPCMY
Number of pages: 280
Word Count: 67,415
Cover Artist: Cynthia Fridsma
 
Tagline: Since the pandemic, she stayed home. Then they kidnapped her friend.
 
Book Description:
 
Since the pandemic, Sybil Crewes hasn’t left home. She stopped her duties as an ATU agent (Anti-Terrorism Unit). But then, she got a disturbing phone call. Her friend, Harry Brown, has been kidnapped, and this forces Sybil out of her house.
 
While doing so, she uncovers an illegal lab where they created a deadly COVID-19 variant that turns its victims into skinned zombies. She contacts the ATU to resume her duties as an ATU agent to stop the new threat and save the world from its undoing.
 
Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding is a fast-paced modern horror/thriller novel, and partly based on true events.
 
 
 Amazon      Kobo      Google
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Libro     NookAudio
 

Excerpt

The cold air was refreshing as she sprinted to her Ford Mustang in the parking lot. After she sat down in the driver’s seat, she opened Windows Maps on her cell phone to search for the address her evil handler had texted. Since Microsoft stopped
supporting Windows Phone, she couldn’t use her voice to enter the address in
the navigation app of her cell phone. It felt weird to go unarmed, on a mission unknown, while the navigation calculated the best route from her current location. Whoever captured Harry held all the cards. At the moment, she had no other choice but to follow up on their instructions. She started the car and drove off. Luckily, there wasn’t much traffic on her way to the mansion.

Since the pandemic, life was slow. People had more time on their hands, working from home, distracted by their kids and spouse. Eating more comfort food—watching TV all day, or in Sybil’s case, spending time with her pet rabbit, Max, and trying to avoid the news. She didn’t have a TV. Well, she did, but she used her 70-inch display as a monitor. It was connected to a Windows 10 laptop with an external soundcard attached to a Dolby digital surround set. Felicity installed the equipment and showed Sybil how to use her dinosaur cell phone as a remote control for the
laptop.

The laptop offered her a safe window to the world. She had online meetings once a week, on Sunday night at eight, and sometimes she watched the news on CNN. Most of the time, she used the laptop to binge-watch streaming media. Prime video, Netflix, Disney Plus, and reruns of her favorite TV shows: Body of Proof, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she loved movies starring Denzel Washington. My life during the pandemic.

She wanted to floor the gas pedal, but then she noticed a police car and she slowed down considerably. The police vehicle turned left at the intersection. She glanced over her shoulder. A truck came into sight, and a few more cars appeared on the street ahead of her. Morning rush hour was about to begin, even though she hadn’t
expected it.

Sybil reached her destination in twenty-six minutes after she floored the gas pedal when she reached the outskirts of Boston. She had some time to kill, but she didn’t want to waste it by sitting in her car. So, she explored the area. The mansion
didn’t stand out by itself. It was a wooden, two-story building, Victorian architecture style, late 1800s, set in a rural landscape outside Boston, normally a thirty-five-minute drive if she hadn’t gone way above all posted speed limits. Its shingles used to be white at some point.

She exhaled and contacted Vanessa Dogscape—an ATU data analyst, and currently married to her friend and coworker Felicity Walker. Perhaps Vanessa could help her—off the record. She didn’t want to involve the ATU. It took a while before Vanessa answered the phone.

“Sybil. You know what time it is?”

“I’m aware of what time it is. Look, I need your help. Harry’s been kidnapped by—I don’t know who. Anyway, they want me to do some errands.”

“My God!” Vanessa replied in a worried voice.

“I need you on this. But please, keep it off the record. I don’t want to endanger Harry’s life.”

“Sure. How can I help?”

“Perhaps you can pinpoint them somehow and get their location so I can kick some ass?”

“I need more intel before I can do anything,” Vanessa said.

“They contacted me via my cell phone and sent me a text message. Oh, and a picture of Harry’s battered face.” She gritted her teeth at the thought.

“Send the text message and the picture to me. And please activate the ATU app Felicity programmed three years ago for your Windows Phone, so I can tap into each conversation and perhaps ping their location while you talk to them. Are you sure you want me to help you off the record? It’s better to make this an official ATU investigation. At least, let me inform Jack.”

Sybil closed her eyes for a moment. If the criminals found out she had informed the ATU, it’d complicate things. Perhaps endanger Harry’s life. But then again, she sure could use all the help she could get. Otherwise, she wouldn’t bother Vanessa with it. Taking that into consideration, and the knowledge that Jack was a professional, Sybil agreed to Vanessa’s suggestion.

Despite the sun in a clear, blue sky, her body responded with a shiver that ran down her spine. She did not know what to expect as she stood near the abandoned mansion with its weather-beaten, cracked walls covered in pointless graffiti. But she knew she had to go inside as she sat down on her haunches, studying the rusty sword
lying in the mud. She took a deep breath before she carefully touched its sticky
handle. Blood! Clotted blood.

Her stomach gnawed at the sight. She smelled. It wasn’t human. She stared at the mansion as she heard a strange sound she couldn’t identify. Immediately, her old instincts kicked in—weird sounds coming from an abandoned mansion equals danger. She grabbed the sword in both hands, jumped up, kicked the battered door wide open and ran inside. It was time to act; this was no time to be cautious. Lives were at
stake.

The wooden planks creaked under her feet as she rushed into the dark hallway. The sound of rasping breathing reached her eardrums when she entered a dark room with just enough light to see the overturned furniture and the bloodstained, fractured walls …

Author Interview

What do you love most about the genre you write?

I love to combine multiple genres together as one. For instance, one of the main characters in my book: “Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding” is Sybil Crewes. A vampire who hates being a vampire (horror genre). But she’s also a part-time ATU (Anti-Terrorism Unit) agent, to keep America safe from terrorist attacks (thriller genre).

Combining these two genres makes a story more vivid. Rather than fighting monsters, Sybil also faces terrorists with the help of her friends from the ATU and from a Medical Examiner working for the coroner’s office in Boston.

Blending two genres into one makes my books unique. I don’t use classical horror themes—no religion, no vampires turning into bats, or sleeping in a coffin during the day. Sybil clips her fangs and use liquid silver (kind of like colloidal silver, but with a higher percentage of silver particles) daily to pass on for a human and eat solid food.

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I find my inspiration in the news. The news is my most important tool to blend reality with fiction. If I find an interesting article on a news website, I do a lot of background research. Like the pandemic and fake news—before I write. I love to combine reality with fiction. I also use personal elements in my story.

I see you like Edgar Allan Poe. If you had to pick one of his stories as a favorite, which would it be and why?

I grew up reading books from Edgar Allan Poe. As a kid, I enjoyed watching movies starring Vincent Price adaptations of The Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, The Raven, and The Masque of the Red Death.

The story I loved most, back in the days, is “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

It’s a story about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition. The narrator describes his experience of being tortured. What I liked about it, is that the story is effective at inspiring fear in the reader because of its heavy focus on the senses, such as sound…

Can you tell us about your furry writing companion?

Max is a three-year-old free roam small tan rabbit—our condo is bunny proof—and he loves to be petted on his head. He’s my best friend, and he asks daily for attention. I love giving him that. He follows me around like a dog when I stand up from the couch to get something from the fridge. Max doesn’t like carrots. When I try to offer him a carrot, he gives me the look. Which is a good thing because I read carrots have too much sugar in them. His favorite snack is Timothy Hay.

Before I go to bed, or when it’s 7:30 a.m., I lie down next to him and talk about anything that bothers me. He’s a great listener, and he knows how to keep a secret.

And I partly wrote my book on my cell phone while lying next to Max.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone pursuing their dream in the creative arts, what would it be?

The best advice I can think of is this: write everything that pop-ups in your head. Don’t overthink it. Just write. Read it back the next day, scrap the parts you don’t like, rewrite some of it (don’t overdo this), and prepare yourself to send your story to a few people. Listen to what they say about your writing. And don’t be annoyed about critics.

About the Author:

 
As far back as she can remember, Cynthia Fridsma has been listening to exciting stories told by her mother. She grew up reading books by Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, and Philip K. Dick, among others. It was Cynthia’s mother who inspired her to start telling—and writing—her own stories.

Ms. Fridsma’s writing career started after a handicap in 2014—she has a tremor in her right hand, numbness in the fingers, and pain in her wrist. She had to give up her other creative outlets, such as photography, computer programming, and gave up on juggling, so focused on what she could do rather than what she couldn’t do. Besides writing, she sometimes plays guitar—in Jimi Hendrix style.

 
Cynthia lives with her husband and pet bunny, Max, in Amsterdam.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Book Tour: Dragon(e) Baby Gone by Robert Gainey #urbanfantasy @RNGainey @RoxanneRhoads

Dragon(e) Baby Gone

Reports from the Department of Intangible Assets 
Book One
Robert Gainey
 
Genre: Detective Fantasy
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication:  June 28, 2021
ISBN:978-1-5092-3658-9 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5092-3659-6 Digital
ASIN: B095GNZJCN
Number of pages: 254
Word Count: 69,377
 
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
 
Tagline: Overworked. Underfunded. Outgunned. Sometimes the greater good needs a little help from a lesser evil. 
 
Book Description: 
 
“Dragon is hard to overcome, yet one shall try.”
 – Nowe Ateny, Polish Encyclopedia, 1745
 
Diane Morris is part of the thin line separating a happy, mundane world from all of the horrors of the anomalous. Her federal agency is underfunded, understaffed, and misunderstood, and she’d rather transfer to the boring safety of Logistics than remain a field agent. 
 
When a troupe of international thieves make off with a pair of dragon eggs, Diane has no choice but to ally with a demon against the forces looking to leave her city a smoldering crater. 
 
Facing down rogue wizards, fiery elementals, and crazed gunmen, it’s a race against time to get the precious cargo back before the dragon wakes up and unleashes hell. 
 
 

Excerpt

I guess there’s always been a Department of Intangible Assets, in some
way or another, since humanity first banded together against the dark. Ancient
orders of knights, sects of religions, monasteries and their like had been the
first real organizations determined to hold off the things that bled into our
world from other realities. Great and epic individuals did a lot of work in the
past, though more often than not mere pawns as one ultra-powerful being played
against another. Gilgamesh. Solomon. Miyamoto Musashi for a while even worked
as a kind of Japanese defender against the supernatural. Things must have been
easier back then. If somebody had a problem with a corpse rising from the
ground and eating people, or with creatures slinking out of the mountains and
taking children, they could talk openly about it, and people would fit it
neatly into whatever cultural narrative they had. No press releases concerning
carbon monoxide leaks, no awkward local police trying to stutter their way
through an ogre rampage by blaming gang violence and drugs. If you were a 17th
Century farmer in the Tajima Province of Japan and tengu started picking off
your village one by one, Musashi would come by one day, cut down all those dark
spirits, and then leave. You’d replant your fields, mourn your losses, and tell
warning stories about warding off evil. And, probably, pay him whatever he
wanted.

Modern times gave way to a general idea that reason and logic were
enough to stop something from dragging you into the sewers and wearing your
skin to protect itself from daylight. It’s easy to see why: it doesn’t happen
to a lot of people, therefore it must not happen. I see it all the time, people
who say things like “I’ve never seen a ghost, so they must not exist.”
Oh yeah? Because if spirits did exist, they’d all be tripping over their ghost
dicks to haunt you? Do you understand the preternatural forces that conspire,
the circumstances that line up, to create any kind of ghost? Let alone one that
shows up in your room at night and moans about revenge or betrayal or rattles
some chains and teaches you a valuable lesson about being selfish?

“Well, there’s no such thing as Bigfoot. All those pictures are super
blurry and grainy,” they say, their voices nasally and snobby, like all the
knowledge of the world is pumped directly into their tiny brains through their
tiny phones. I don’t care to get into whether or not any of the literally
thousands of kinds of entities that flit in and out of forests would like to be
called “Bigfoot,” but just because you haven’t left your couch in twenty years
doesn’t mean there’s not something out there you don’t understand. Go stand out
in a remote Colorado forest one night.

Turn off your phone, open your eyes and ears, and wait. When you feel
those eyes watching, and when you know, deep in that primitive monkey brain,
way, way down inside, that there’s more than just the animals you have names
for sharing that clearing with you, then you can call me to tell me that there’s
no such thing as Bigfoot.

That is, if you live to turn your phone back on again.


About the Author:

 
Robert Gainey is a born and raised Floridian, despite his best efforts. While enrolled at Florida State University and studying English (a language spoken on a small island near Europe), Robert began volunteering for the campus medical response team, opening up a great new passion in his life. Following graduation, he pursued further training through paramedic and firefighting programs, going on to become a full time professional firefighter in the State of Florida. He currently lives and works in Northeast Florida with his wife and dogs, who make sure he gets walked regularly. Robert writes near-fetched fantasy novels inspired by the madness and courage found in everyday events.
 
 
 
 
 

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SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW: The Accidental Gatekeeper by Carla Rehse #paranormal #womensfiction @CRehse 

The Accidental Gatekeeper

The Accidental Midlife Trilogy
Book One
Carla Rehse
 
Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Pink Squirrel Publishing
Date of Publication: 06/14/21
ASIN: 9798715331397
Number of pages: 299
Word Count: 82,880
Cover Artist: Damonza 
 
Tagline: Turning the big four-five isn’t a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that’s gone to hell in a handbasket.
 
Book Description:
 
It’s bad enough that Everly’s drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband’s criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. And didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.
 
It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there’s bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town’s founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home. 
 
After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town’s border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. Everly’s mom hasn’t started nagging and she has a whole bottle of wine to herself. But after minute six, all hell breaks loose. Everly gets bitten by a hellhound, faints in front of her hot-and-single old high school boyfriend, and accidentally becomes the town’s Gatekeeper to Hell.  A job she never wanted, isn’t trained for, and can’t shake off like gum stuck to her shoe. And as much as she’s flipping out, the celestial ruling body aren’t too pleased about it either. 
 
Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of this mess, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. Plus, an archangel and his army surround the city and are itching to contain the town’s problems with a heaven-sent big boom. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell she’ll figure it out in time. 
 
 
 

Excerpt CHAPTER ONE

When all the good choices have disappeared faster than kids at chore
time
If eighteen was the age of exciting self-discovery, then forty-five was the
weary age of having zero shits left to give.

What did it matter if my husband of twenty years was rotting in federal
jail? And that our chiropractic clinic had gone belly up, leaving me jobless?
Or that my friends had turned from “we’ll help hide a body” to “we’ve got your
back until the reporters hit our lawn?” I also didn’t care that the DEA had
frozen our joint bank accounts and seized our assets. I never liked that house
anyway.

Homeless. Jobless. Friendless.

Add in a pickup truck, beer, and an old dog and it would be the most
pathetic country song played on the tiniest fiddle ever. I gritted my teeth as
the wipers shrieked across the windshield. Nothing like driving through a
late-October downpour to add to your misery, and the constantly patched roads
in this part of Central Texas didn’t handle rain well.

My phone rang with its cheerful tone that I kept forgetting to change.
Sadie’s name lit up on the display, and I almost knocked it off the dashboard
holder while hitting the speaker button.

“Sadie? Is everything okay? How’s Laney?” I really hoped the trembling
in my voice wasn’t audible. My daughter hadn’t spoken to me in two months,
refusing to answer my calls or respond to my texts. Her girlfriend had even
gone so far as to block me on her social media.

“Mom? Where are you? God, this connection sucks.” Her voice had a
recognizable anxious edge to it. I wanted to ask if she was taking her meds,
but at twenty-one Sadie hated coddling. “Someone needs to talk to you.”

“What?” I eased onto the shoulder of the road, then placed the truck
into park. “Who?”

“Mrs. Collins? Uh, Everly Collins? This is Sam Duncan, your husband’s
attorney? We really must discuss your husband’s case.”

I glanced at the clock on my dash: 10:33 p.m. Duncan was raking in some
serious OT.

“What the hell are you doing with my daughter?”

“Mrs. Collins?” He lowered his voice. “I know you’ve been advised not
to speak with me. But you really need to before certain other people do. We can
meet anywhere you want.”

“Listen to me, you scum licker. Tell my husband and his thug buddies to
leave my kid out of their mess. I’m not afraid of their flaccid threats and
won’t be intimidated.” I slapped at the phone to turn it off, sending it
careening to the passenger floorboard, out of reach and therefore away from
temptation.

I didn’t have the money to replace the stupid thing, but the desire to
take out my frustration on the helpless and innocent electronic device was strong.

Part of me wanted to turn the vehicle around, race to Sadie’s apartment
in Austin, and kick the crap out of that attorney. But I knew the truth. Sadie
had taken her dad’s side and was angry I’d snitched on him. She would do
whatever she could to get him out of trouble. What was a little money
laundering for drug dealers, after all? She might have my dark hair and eyes,
but unfortunately, she inherited her father’s defective moral compass.

A lesson for all the kiddies: choose the sperm donor
for your progeny well.


About the Author:

 
Carla holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Angelo State University. Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of the colloquialisms “y’all” and “bless your heart.”
 
Find out more about Carla and her books at carlarehse.com and connect with her @CRehse on Twitter.
 
 

 

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Release Day Blitz: Lightning Woman by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom #NewRelease #WolfShifters #PNR

Lightning Woman

Wolves of the West 
Book One
Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Genre: Paranormal Shifter Romance
Publisher: GothicScapes
Date of Publication:  June 28, 2021
ASIN: B096PTNWZ5
Number of pages: 282
Word Count:  60,000
Cover Artist: Magnetra

Tagline: Meet the Arizona wolf pack and the ghosts that haunt them.

Book Description:

Are the ghosts of Macy Lyons’ past stronger than the promise of a future with her new lover?

Macy Lyons is a respected member of the wolf pack housed in an old Arizona tourist attraction. Her special Were abilities make her a good scout, and also enable her to see the ghosts that haunt the desert. When those ghosts lead her to a visiting lawman from another state, she must find out why…and if those ghosts have a hand in shaping her future.

Florida detective Logan Carter has chased a criminal all the way from Florida to Arizona, and now can use the help of the secretive wolf pack housed at Desperado to find the crazy werewolf he seeks. But will his attraction to Desperado’s beautiful she-wolf scout be a help or a hindrance to his mission in a landscape so different from his own?


Excerpt:

As Logan studied this female vision that had appeared like a desert spirit borne on the blistering hot wind, he couldn’t help but appreciate her uniqueness. In fact, this representative of the Desperado pack was quite stunning, and radiated enough personal power for her outline to waver.
Pretty and dangerous…
Moonlight slid down each strand of straight black hair that fell to the she-wolf’s waist like sparkling water dripping from the skies. All that hair curtained a narrow body with few noticeable curves and very few wolfish traits, even though she had shape-shifted.
She was tall and slight of frame, with long, shapely legs. Her bare arms were beautifully sculpted with a layer of smooth, lean muscle. One arm bore the swirls of a colorful tattoo Logan couldn’t get a read on from where he stood because his focus kept returning to her face.
A slightly elongated facial structure, shadowed, angular, and with prominent cheekbones, was the real proof of what she was, and made him think this female might be a pure-blooded Were. Under the moonlight, the shadows on her face represented her missing patches of fur, or where fur would have been on any normal werewolf under a full moon. In fact, she bore no fur anywhere that he could see.
Crossing her right eye socket and extending two or three inches beneath it were three stripes of color that could have either been paint or tattoos. White. Black. Green. The effect suggested to Logan she might have Native American roots, though lots of women had unusual tattoos these days.
Damn, though. Maybe she really was some kind of a spirit.



About the Author: 


Linda Thomas-Sundstrom is an award-winning author of 40+ stories in the realms of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and fantasy. She has been published by Kensington Publishing, HarperCollins/Harlequin Nocturne and Desire lines, and GothicScapes.



The Dream Team – Linda’s Reader Team on Facebook:

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3pSKqaV 

Follow Linda on Bookbub:

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Book Tour: Bake Believe by Cori Cooper #YoungAdult @CoriCAuthor

Bake Believe

Book One
Cori Cooper
 
Genre: Teen/YA, Magic
Publisher: Immortal Works Publishing
Date of Publication: November 5, 2020
ISBN: 978-1953491978
ASIN: B08KWMX6BW
Number of pages: 282
Word Count: 78,959
Cover Artist: Immortal Works Art Team
 
Tagline: What happens when you combine Magic and Baking? Cat Anderson will tell you all about it.
 
Book Description: 
 
Cat Anderson doesn’t want much out of life. Give her a circle of friends to giggle with, a few boys to flirt with, a cute outfit, and she is good to go! She especially could care less about food. 
 
But food, it turns out, is a very big deal.
 
In Cat’s family there is a secret too fantastic to be real. Something happens when Cat bakes.
 
Something amazing.
 
Something impossible.
 
Can it be true? Or is it Bake Believe?


Excerpt: Frozen
Waffles

Why am I still in bed?

It’s the last day of summer vacation! I can’t waste one more minute, second, or millisecond sleeping. This is going to be the most epically awesome day of all time! Like, so good that awesome looks at this day and wishes it was this epic. This might sound like a lot of pressure, but I’m ready. For weeks I’ve been keeping track of the summer stuff I love to do most, so I could pick out all the best things. Now, I have a
mental list just waiting for me to get to it:

-Go to the pool.
-Use sun lightener on my hair.
-Work on my tan.
-Try something new at the Snack Shack.
-Meet three new boys.
-Give at least one of the boys my phone number.

I am determined to squeeze the most amount of fun out of every single second of this day. Obviously, I can’t get any of it done while I’m laying here like a slug! I have to get up and call Robyn.

I roll out of bed, no clue what time it is.  My stinking alarm clock has been tick-tick-ticking away the precious minutes of my last summer day, so I have been ignoring it with all of my might. Before I stand up, I smack the clock face down on the nightstand. I should have done that before. The irritating neon numbers, winking in my peripheral, were giving me a headache. And headaches are not epically awesome.

I wonder, would Time stop if I use all my allowance to send it on a vacation to Hawaii? I can find a beachfront resort somewhere far away from me and Time can sit next to the ocean with a fruity little drink. I wouldn’t mind if Time decided to stay there for a couple weeks even. This could totally work. Even Time must need a break sometimes.

Or maybe not, since that darn clock is still going at it, just muffled now.

I plop my pillow down on my nightstand, to shush it even more, and I tiptoe to my bedroom door. As quietly as possible, I ease it open, so it doesn’t squeak. It does like to squeak sometimes, and I don’t want to wake anyone up in case it’s super early. For all that trying to ignore the clock’s tick-tocks, I didn’t actually look at the time.

I’ll just check when I get my phone.

Because of the family ‘no screens in bedrooms’ rule, my phone spends the night in a basket on the coffee table. Out of habit, I look both ways before I slip out of my room and into the hall. Not a creature is stirring. Even so, I prefer to sneak along the walls and slink around corners like I’m in some big deal spy movie. It’s just more fun that way. I serpentine down the stairs and army crawl across the living room. When I’m almost to the coffee table, I execute a super awesome somersault that
leaves me on my back, staring up at the phone basket.

Nailed it.

I reach one arm into the basket and rummage around until I feel sequins. My phone! The most beautiful creation of turquoise and silver sparkles, I am very happy to have it in my hand.

I hold the phone above my head, over my face, while I text. My arms start to fall asleep instantly, but I ignore them, because this is super important.


About the Author:

 
Cori Cooper lives in the magical Arizona Mountains, which she’s pretty convinced is the setting for all the fairy tales. 
 
Besides writing stories, she adores hanging out with her family, playing board games, hiking and baking, baking, baking. Like Cat’s family, she’s positive Cinnamon Rolls fix everything.
 
You can connect with Cori on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website – Coristories.com. 
 

Spotlight: Invasion of the Undead by Samurai Dan Coglan #horror #zombies @CoglanDan @RoxanneRhoads

 

Invasion of the Undead

Death Stalker Chronicles 
Book One
Samurai Dan Coglan
 
Genre: Horror
Publisher: L’Oste Vineyard Press
Date of Publication: 5-28-2021
ISBN: 978-1-7353896-7-7
ASIN: B08XNS92W5
Number of pages: 242
Word Count: 60500
Book Description:
Former Marine Lance Corporal Chase Brooks fought the enemy in Afghanistan and lost his unit.
Now back in America, he fights to keep from losing his mind, as he is repeatedly attacked by the undead that he believes wiped out his men overseas.
Convinced that what he saw over there was real, he goes to war to wipe out the undead on American soil.
#samuaraidancoglanbooks #invasionoftheundead #deathstalkerchronicles #lostevineyardpress #horror #zombies #horrorbook #zombiebook
 

Excerpt

“Get those damn charges set, and let’s get out of here,” I growled into
my mic.  Shadows moved around me, and a turbaned face appeared out of the
murky darkness.  I shot the onrushing insurgent twice and looked around
for more.

“Come on, come on, come on,” I muttered.  “We’re past time for
evac.  Move your slow asses!” Lt. Rodriquez was suddenly at my side,
scowling.  “We’re doing the best we can, Corporal.  Hold on to your
hat.”

“Charges set, Lieutenant,” Stevens called out.  “That makes all
four; we can blow this popsicle stand!”

“About damn time,” I snapped.  “There are hostiles everywhere.
What the hell is this place, anyway?”

McGavin scoffed.  “It’s a temple, Brooks.  Remember? We had a
briefing and everything.”

“Screw you,” I told him.  “This ain’t like no temple that I’ve
ever seen.  And it smells like a fucking crypt.”

“No lie,” my buddy, Lance Corporal Jeremy Stevens, chimed in.  

“Marines,” Rodriquez barked.  “Let’s go.”

I led us back out, the six of us in tight formation.  Stevens was
on my left flank; Sgt. Bates was on my right, and the Lieutenant was in the
middle with the beady-eyed “guide” that the Colonel had stuck us with.
McGavin brought up the rear.

Dead bodies were everywhere; our ingress had come with a high body count.
I ignored them.

Two tours had made me immune to corpses. I had bigger priorities.

There was a commotion in front of us; heard but not seen.  Voices
cried out in excitement.  We froze.

Our position was suddenly hit with massive spotlights.  “We’ve been
cut off! Break left!” Rodriquez yelled as gunfire erupted all around us.
We returned fire, hot and heavy.
Being in front has its disadvantages.  I got hit three times, twice in the
chest and once in the leg.

My vest took the brunt of the two to the chest, but the leg shot really
sucked.  I went down but staggered back to my feet and kept fighting.

Stevens took over point; Lt. Rodriquez slid over to his spot and put me
in the middle with the guide, who looked scared out of his mind.  I didn’t
blame him.   

We raced through the gloom, moving downhill but not having a choice in the
matter.  McGavin took a round to the lower back and went down.  I
shouted, and the unit took up positions around our fallen comrade.  

We created a semi-circle facing back the way we’d come, weapons up and
ready.  There wasn’t long to wait.  The horde was on us quickly, the
heavy sound of their AK-47s threatening to overwhelm the sharper cracks of our
M-4s.  

It was over in less than sixty seconds, and to my amazement, we were
still standing.  There were bodies all around us, and the air was thick
with the smell of cordite.  Clouds of smoke from the gunfire obscured our
lights even further.
It was like being in hell, I thought, sweeping the area with my carbine.
Something flashed in my light, and I swung back.

There was a figure standing at the edge of the light.  It couldn’t
be a friendly, so I shot at it.  I missed, and it ducked behind a pile of
bodies.  The Lieutenant motioned, and Stevens and I went out to get
whoever it was.  

I’d taken maybe three steps when the figure reappeared, much closer.
I could tell it was a man, head and neck wrapped in a shemagh.  One
arm was holding a bundle, and the other was outstretched toward the ceiling.

His eyes were glowing red.  I blinked.  His eyes really were
glowing; it wasn’t goggles or an optical illusion.  Glowing or not, I knew
what my job was.  I put that head with glowing eyes in my sights and prepared
to pull the trigger.

Our guide, who’d been useless and paranoid the entire mission, started
screaming and babbling in complete gibberish.  The only part that I could
make out was something about Manziel or manzazu or some such nonsense, but his
outburst caught me off guard, and I missed my shot.
Suddenly there was movement all around us.  The bodies of the enemy
combatants were stirring.  Impossibly, they were staggering to their feet.
All around us, corpses were rising from the floor, their eyes shining a
baleful crimson.

“What the fuck?” Stevens shouted.  “This ain’t happening, man.”

I put a three-round burst into the chest of the corpse nearest me and
blew out his heart.  It didn’t seem to affect him at all; he just kept
shuffling toward me, his arms reaching out.  I shot him again, this time
doing the Mozambique technique that had been drilled into all Marines.
The two shots to the body didn’t do anything, but the follow-up round to
the head dropped it.
I could hear my unit screaming, cursing, and shooting the reanimated dead
bodies all around me.

 They were coming at us from every direction.  

We tightened our circle, trying to cover each other as we changed mags
and shifted targets.  It didn’t matter; they overwhelmed us. There were
just too many of them, and we couldn’t put them down fast enough.

I watched in horror as my best friend, Jeremy Stevens, was pulled down
by a mob of freaking zombies and torn apart.  Behind me, Lt. Rodriquez
screamed, and then his voice trailed off into a muffled gurgle, and I knew he
was gone, too.

My mag ran dry, and I reached for another, determined to keep fighting.
My fingers closed on air.  I was out.  The undead pressed in,
their hands clawing for me.  I swung the empty rifle like a club, trying
to clear a space.

The undead mob pulled the rifle from my hands, so I drew my Colt 1911
handgun.  It was a fine weapon, and I was good with it, but it only held
eight rounds.  Those eight rounds went quickly.

 When the pistol was empty, all sounds of gunfire ceased.

I was the last of the unit standing.  The zombies surrounded me.
To my right, two of the obscene things were eating my Sergeant.
Behind them, more were tearing our guide to pieces.
I spun to my left and saw what was left of Stevens.  Hands fastened onto
my vest, and I twisted away.  More grabbed hold of my legs, and I went
down.  

The zombies crowded around me.  Behind them, looking on, was the
man with the glowing eyes, triumph on his face.  He cackled with glee.

In desperation, I felt around for anything to use as a weapon.  My
hands reached above my head and found the remains of the Lieutenant.  His
head had been ripped off.  My hands shifted lower and found the detonator
on his belt for the explosive packages that we’d set.

I yanked it free and held it up.  The zombies were all over me,
and their leader was looking down at me, sneering.

“Fuck you,” I screamed and pushed the button.
There was a distant rumble, a pressure wave, and then the world collapsed
on me.




About the Author:

 
Dan Coglan, A.K.A. “Samurai Dan” is the acknowledged masters of marital… er, martial mayhem.  Dan travels the civilized portions of the U.S., bringing his unique show to curious and horrified audiences alike.
In addition to their high-energy, mostly safe stage shows (where razor-sharp blades and barbs fly),  Dan teaches historical and hysterical panels on the way of the warrior.  Offering a wide range of lectures and interactive workshops, Dan provides joy and laughs wherever he goes.
Due to a supreme lack of filter, Dan also performs standup comedy in censored and uncensored settings.  A storyteller at heart, Dan is releasing his first book in his Deathstalker Chronicle Series:  Invasion of the Undead.
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Book Tour: Hunting the Beast by W.T. Watson #urbanfantasy @WTWatson2

 

Hunting The Beast

W. T. Watson
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Publisher: Beyond The Fray Publishing
Date of Publication: March 5. 2021
ISBN: 978-1-954528-02-4
ASIN: B08Y76T3QF
Number of pages: 220
Word Count: 64,934
Cover Artist:  L Douglas Hogan
 
Tagline:  Werewolves, cryptid creatures and a protagonist straight out of the pages of lore! 
 
Book Description:
 
An ancient evil stalks the Adirondacks…
 
A ghost hunter is faced with events she has never seen before…
 
A private investigator is not at all what he seems…
 
When Zachary Collins agrees to help the head of Buffalo Paranormal Investigations with a hostile haunting, he has no idea he will be immersing himself in the hunt for an ancient monster or that the monster may be hunting him.
 
Zach will need all of his skill, both magical and mundane, to keep his client alive and to survive Hunting the Beast. 
 
 

Excerpt

Stakeouts are not the most interesting part of my jobs but, on this night, the surveillance duty was alright. It was warm for an October night in Buffalo and Chippewa street was alive with a number of interesting characters. I took a sip of the hot Jamaican Blue I had picked up from the local coffee shop and scanned the street again, trying to parse a werewolf out of the crowd of students and young professionals
moving up and down the street.

I’d been told by one of the local witches, a frequent information source, that she had seen a wolf that she did not recognize from the local pack at The Palmero, the local metal bar. Now, it was possible that Alonso Martinez, the Buffalo Pack Alpha, had inducted a new member but, if so, I should have been informed. I am, after all, the
Buffalo Region’s Black Dog and I am responsible for enforcing the Charter, the laws
of the Otherworld, on the werewolf population.

Whether Alonso was holding out on me or we had a rogue wolf in our midst, I needed to know about it so I had been watching the Palermo for several evenings, hoping to encounter the mysterious werewolf.

I had finished my third cup of coffee and was beginning to think that this night was a wash when I spotted the wolf. He had come around the corner from Delaware slowly. He was a young man of average height incongruously wearing aviator shades in the dark night. It was not the silliness of the sunglasses at night that cued me; it was
the fact that as soon as he got close to the human crowds people formed an
unconscious ring around him.

Humans have worked hard to become rational beings, to ignore the things that go bump in the night, but they have not evolved so far that they do not recognize a predator in their midst. The boy did not even have enough control to damp his inner carnivore so that he could mix with human society. That made him a rogue and my job now was to bring him in.

I exited the car slowly, conscious that sudden movement might alert the werewolf and moved across the street. Even an untrained wolf had uncannily sharp senses so I checked to make certain the wind was blowing in my face before moving closer to my target. I had dressed in black so I blended with the Goth crowd outside the Palermo until I was directly behind my subject. Speaking softly enough that nonhuman ears could not hear me, I murmured, “ Listen carefully and do not move. I know what you are. Stand quietly and I promise you that no harm will come to you . . . 

About the Author:
W. T. Watson is a coffee addict and writer of both fiction and non-fiction.
He infuses his work with his expertise in cryptozoology, monster lore,
magic, Forteana and the paranormal. W.T. brings a unique shamanic and magical
perspective to all of his work after over 30 years of exploration in these
topics. When he is not writing or reading about monsters, he can be found
outdoors allowing his dogs to take him for a walk around his neighbourhood in
Kitchener, Ontario.  He lives with his spouse, Stacey, in a townhome that
would be jammed with books if it weren’t for e-readers.