You Won, YOU WON!

This Creepfest Blog Hop was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I met some outstanding people who do the same thing I do, and I am really grateful to those who chose to come under the Netta Microscope, so to speak. Most notably, I’d like to thank:

Rebecca Treadway, for organizing and herding a bunch of writers (girl, you haz balls of steel!)

You just KNOW it had to feel like this!

Patti Larsen
Marissa Farrar
Stant Litore
Thea Gregory
Jessica McHugh
Lori Whitwam
Katie John
Jack Wallen
Red Tash
Kim Koning

and a special mention to Eden Baylee, the Queen of Twitter.

Much love and many thanks to you all!

You guys ROCK!

Now, on to the winners of my sweeps as chosen by Random.org….

The twelve winners of the e-copy of “Athena’s Promise” are:

Kim Koning
Georgina Morales
Jessica McHugh
Marissa Farrar
Nora Peevy
Ash Krafton
Stacey Stiferd
Mary Rajotte
Thea Gregory
Melissa Murphy
Stant Litore
Katie John

YAY!!

Wooohoo! This is FUN!

The winner of the signed print copy of “Athena’s Promise” is…

Marissa Farrar!

HOORAY!

Yeee haw!

And finally (and ironically!), the winner of the $20 Amazon gift card is….

Rebecca Treadway!

No, he doesn't come with it, but I though I'd give you some eye candy. Heh!

Congratulations to all winners. Please contact me for your prize and I will send them out ASAP.

Don’t forget, you can still visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs to discover some amazing writers!

Thanks so much for participating, and have a blessed and fun holiday season!

*MUAH*

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Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 11 – Who Is Red Tash?

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

Red Tash is the author of This Brilliant Darkness and quite an intriguing woman. From her website:

Red Tash knows that all you really care about is that she writes good stories. She does that. Red’s books make you think, make you wonder, make you laugh, and keep you turning pages. They’ve been known to keep hardened readers up at night, racing to the end of the book.

Visit her at her website for a free sample of her brilliance, dark or not.

Who would you say is the one person who has had the most impact on your life?

I assume you mean to imply positive impact. I honestly don’t want to answer that, because of the super-corniness factor, but I will give you a hint. His birthday is coming up very soon, and it’s kind of a big deal.

Negative impact is a sad story. Not very holly jolly, but I would be lying if it I said it didn’t affect every longform fiction piece I’ve worked on so far.

Who is the one literary character you would date and why? Where do you go and what do you do?

There is no one I’d wish to date again in a million years. I am very happily married, and I’m a newlywed, and at my age, there is nothing appealing about dating whatsoever. I will say, though, that it would be super cool to hang out with Charles Simic, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, JK Rowling–these are my writing idols. Elizabeth Bishop. Mark Twain. Poe. Stop me! I like people, the stranger the better.

As far as completely fictional characters go, I used to say I didn’t understand why people ran off with the Doctor, on Dr. Who. But now, I think if the Doctor would have asked me when I was much, much younger like he did Amy Pond, I’d probably have gone.

Tell us what your writing process is like. Pantser or plotter?

A little of both. I’m down to the end of Troll or Derby, and I’ve got each of the last few chapters outlined. Scenes keep stretching themselves out, and that’s irritating me, so I’m having to kinda force some of that pantsing to fit my plotting. It’s okay. It’ll work out.

Sit on Santa’s lap and tell him your five deepest desires for Christmas.

You really want to know this? You want me to break out into song doing My Grown Up Christmas List? Because I can.

There is truly nothing I desire for Christmas as a human errand. All those desires are on the shoulders of angels.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing writers today?

Deciphering the market. If you want to try and go indie, do you have a strong enough platform to support your sales? How many hours per day are you willing to promote, and will you be satisfied with the resulting sales? If you’re trying to be traditionally published, how long are you willing to let your story sit and bake in the sun, waiting for someone to buy it? Can you stand to watch indies with lesser stories become best-sellers, releasing book after book, while your masterpiece rakes in rejection after rejection?

I wrote to one of my former favorite agents last week. Got a nasty reply in response. Just, really, you know–uncalled for. Rude. I was considering querying for my upcoming novel. It’s so good, and I would really love to have that advance and that pre-release support. The prestige of being chosen, as lame as that sound to many, still exists in the eyes of most book-buyers. So, do I query or not, considering my favorite choice was a total bitch? How much of that do I feel like putting up with? It’s one thing to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter what people say, but the book I just published sat in a drawer for years because of what one unqualified reader decided about it. The power of “no” is huge, and I don’t know if I want to deal with that again.

How has your journalism background impacted your fiction writing?

Very, very much. I see the story unfold in my mind, and I report it expressly as it happens. My non-fiction is much more emotionally charged. All my writing benefits from snappier pacing, a distinct writerly voice, and well-researched background. Geez, let us not forget the virtues of writing in AP style. 😉

Tell us about your upcoming projects. Inquiring minds want to know.

Troll or Derby is a YA fantasy with a heavy dose of sex, drugs, rock & roll, and roller derby. It’s set in rural Indiana, in the realm of the evil troll overlord McJagger and his Fairy Godsmacker roller derby team, home court entertaiment at his illegal casino. Roller Deb, a teenager raised as a human, discovers she’s a fairy, and falls in league with McJagger’s rogue troll nephew, and the two of them create havoc everywhere from the flea market to the feed store. There’s a lot of magic, blood, fire, and a Thunderbird named Biggie Smalls. In other words, it’s a love story.

After that I might do the sequel to This Brilliant Darkness. There is also a line of folks asking for a non-fiction book I promised under my respectable journalism identity and all that. So, we’ll see. I might work on two books at once. Well, three. I already have a memoir half-written, as well.

When you are feeling at your lowest, what book or movie do you read/watch to make you feel better?

There are so many good ones, but my all time fall back is Harry Potter. I love the books and movies, but there is little to compare to the pure escapism of listening to Stephen Fry narrate the British audio versions. The American versions by Jim Dale are also nice, but Stephen Fry + J K Rowling is a home run.

I have also been known to watch Christmas movies year-round. Elf, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Love, Actually. If I someday write a Christmas book, it’ll be because of those.

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

Hopalong to the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and plenty of chances to win cool, free swag!

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Creepfest Blog Hop Day 10 – Meet Jack Wallen

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

1. Okay, about this zombie thing. What attracted you to write about the living dead?

I’ve always been a HUGE horror fan. Ever since I was a child. But ultimately the zombie fascination comes down to how the zombie can be used for such a powerful social, political, and emotional metaphor. This is especially true for the upcoming “meh” generation which really seems to have their heads so firmly planted in their smartphones, they are lost to everything around them.

But the impetus to write the I Zombie trilogy hit me hard one day when I asked myself the question: “What would it feel like to become a zombie?” I was so compelled by that question, I had to have an answer. I knew the only way to answer the question was to write the book myself. Thus was born I Zombie I.

2. What one thing scares you enough to wet your monkeypantz?

I’m one of those that isn’t scared by much. That’s a good thing, considering what I write (and that I write at night when the house is dark and quiet). The one thing that scares me enough to make me wet myself is obscurity. The idea that I (and everything I have worked so hard on) would fade away without anyone remembering, is that thing that makes me curl up inside of myself and wonder why someone hasn’t tightened down my straitjacket buckles.

3. Speaking of scary, sit on Santa’s lap and tell him your five fondest wishes for Christmas.

Well, Santa, here are my five wishes for Christmas: 1) I want my book sales to explode and my fans/readers to REALLY enjoy my work. 2) I want Clive Barker to finally get the Hellraiser reboot off the ground. 3) I want to walk into my day job, wearing a Vera Wang ball gown and heels, and hand the owners my letter of resignation. 4) I want my next two series (The Book of Jacob and Klockwerk Kabaret) to be met with wild abandon. 5) I want Rob Zombie to finally contact me to ask permission to film the I Zombie trilogy (Mr. Zombie, a heads up, the answer is an emphatic YES!)

4. Why do you think the horror genre is so popular with readers?

I don’t think the horror genre is popular as a whole. What I firmly believe is that horror has the most loyal fans of any genre. Why? Because for so long there was nothing for readers to sink their teeth into besides the old guard: King, Campell, Straub, Andrews, etc. Readers were desperate for something new and when they found that something new they were willing to cling to that author through thick and thin. And besides, people love to be frightened. They love to read a book, while tucked safely under the covers of their beds, that makes them wonder how or if they could survive. We are voyeurs by nature. We can’t help but look at the train wreck as we pass by. Being able to witness that train wreck, as it happens, knowing no one was hurt, is a huge attraction to human beings.

5. What is your writing process like and how many quarts of blood do you go through?

My writing process goes like this: I hand write my first draft in bed. Once that draft is done, I do the first rewrites as I transfer it to digital format. Once the first rewrites are done, I print that out and re-read, correcting issues and making sure the story is coherent. Once that is done, I send the story to beta readers and then on to editors.

As for blood? Well, let’s just say this: I am currently working on the third book in my Fringe Killer series. I wrote a kill scene and decided I wanted the discovery of the body to be when the reader discovered just what the killer did. But the more I thought about it, I realized I was cheating the reader from experiencing the blood bath from the killer’s perspective. So I went back and let the killer have her way with the victim. It was brutal.

6. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing writers today?

With the advent of the indie author scene, there is now an incredible amount of books out there. This is a GREAT time to be a writer and a reader. Problem is, how to you get your books seen when it sits in a pile that reaches the sky? You have to be clever in your marketing and, as far as I can tell, few of us authors are marketing professionals. We are artists, not business women and men. It’s the single biggest challenge we face and many fail. The most important thing to do is have patience and continue crafting. Eventually, if you do things right, your books will sell. If you lose patience you stand to make a mistake and lose major ground.

7. Not only do you write, but you also design book covers. What made you decide to take on book covers?

I knew what I wanted my covers to look like and no one was doing that kind of work. Yes, you can get some seriously wonderful covers if your books are of the Paranormal or YA genres, but so much of the horror covers were cliché and I didn’t want that. I had the skills and decided to put them to work. I think my horror covers really connect with the story. That’s very important to me, as I take the emotional kernel of a story and make it the core of the design for the cover.

8. You’re throwing a holiday party. What writers, either famous or not, would you invite and what would you serve?

My invite list would be pretty short: Clive Barker, Stephen King, Edward Lee, Max Barry, Neil Stephenson, Shea MacLeod, Heather Marie Adkins, M. Edward McNally, PJ Jones, Talia Jager, Alan Nayes, Lizzy Ford, Julia Crane, and Poppy Z. Brite.

9. Where is the safest place to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse?

With me. But honestly? There is no one safe place to wait it out. You’ll have to be on the move. Food and water could run out. Eventually enough noise will be made and the horde will find you. Moving about is the best option. But, if I did have to pick one singular location to wait it out, it would probably be the Center for Disease Control. Neither zombie or the infection that caused them will be getting into that building any time soon.

10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I have quite a lot in the works. First and foremost is the third book in the Fringe Killer series, Endgame. Following that I will be completing the second Shero book (Shero II: Zombies and Bridesmaids) and then it’s on to some seriously exciting projects. I have a new zombie series planned, called The Book of Jacob. If you’ve read the I Zombie trilogy, the name will be familiar. This series will take place some thirty years after the I Zombie series and will be a much darker, bleaker series.

After “The Book of Jacob, Verse I” is finished, I will embark on what might be my most exciting project to date. I am going to venture into more steamy more punky worlds in a series called “Klockwerk Kabaret”. I can’t tell you how excited I am about starting that series – mostly because it will be a complete departure from my usual fare. But I do promise it will be quite different than the average steampunk novel. It will include my usual dark take on the world as well as plenty of corsets!

For more information on my upcoming works (and other fabulous things), check out my blog on monkeypantz.net.

BIO

Jack Wallen has a goal — to become the Zombie King. He won’t do that by dining on the brains of helpless victims. Instead he will write and write until his fingers and mind are nothing but meat for the beasts. During that time Jack will produce works of zombie fiction that are both enjoyable and cringe-worthy.

Of course, being of the insane writer clan, Jack isn’t just happy with the penning of zombie fiction. Oh no, the nightmare does not end there. Like the late, great Freddy Mercury, Jack wants it all — so, he will continue writing his Fringe Killer series as well as his joyous celebration of all things diverse — Shero.

For his inspiration to begin reading and writing, Jack thanks the ever-incredible Clive Barker for penning in a genre with words of grace and horror.

LINKS

I Zombie I
Amazon
Smashwords
Paperback

My Zombie My
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

A Blade Away
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Paperback

Gothica
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Paperback

Shero
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Paperback

Get Jack’d
Twitter: jlwallen
Facebook
Zombie Radio

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

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Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 6 – This Is Thea Gregory

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

Thea writes zombie stories and science fiction. She was raised in rural Quebec, where her imagination was often her only friend, and this upbringing also engendered a fanatical love of reading and books.

Thea moved to the city at the tender age of 17 to study science, eventually majoring in physics, because physics is awesome. Her first love has always been science (fiction), and she maintains an unquenchable thirst for discovery and the unknown.

Hobbies: Reading, writing, cooking, gardening, yoga, cycling, gaming, anything Star Trek or Dune related, daydreaming, exploring, and trying new things.

Thea has two cats (Pip and Bonk), and one boyfriend (with two cats of his own), a former video game designer who moonlights as a cover artist.

1. Your premise for zombie stories as bedtime stories is very intriguing. What was your inspiration?

My inspiration came out of childhood for the first story. My mom used to tell me stories about people who comatose, but still able to hear/feel the world around them, but unable to interact. One day, I was pacing at home, and the idea that being a zombie could be a similar experience to being in that special kind of coma just clicked. I had other subsequent ideas for zombie stories after that, which I linked together to create the rest of the series. The overarching theme of the Zombie Bedtime Stories is that it’s about normal people in a bad situation—there are no super-prepared shotgun-chainsaw-machete wielding adrenaline junkies—just ordinary, scared people who want to escape with their lives.

2. You recently participated in the NaNo madness in November. How did that go, and what would you do differently?

NaNoWriMo went relatively well for me. I set the goal of finishing my 50000 words on the 25th, and I managed to do just that. The tough part for me was the face that I wasn’t in good health for that month, and the medication took a lot out of me when I needed to be at my most productive. Some days, I would sit at my screen for twelve hours trying to eke out my meager 2000 words, and on better days I would finish in two or three hours.
As for things I’d do differently, I think I’d make sure I was healthy this time, and do more character planning and outlining of the main plot.

3. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell him your five most desired wishes for Christmas.

I’m a Christmas baby, and I think at this point all I want for Christmas is a nice dinner at a steakhouse. Even a pub would be nice. It’s a little scrooge-like, but my dream is to spend Christmas in a country with no Christmas.

A Kindle would be nice, too, if not a touch materialistic. The rest would be miscellaneous kitchen stuff: a pasta machine, a pressure canner and a food processor.

4. Why do you think the horror genre is so popular with people?

I think horror is popular because it appeals to that dark place inside a person that likes being traumatized. The best stories are the ones that stay with you and hide under the bed at night, and horror has a way of working itself inside your mind. Even the most mundane everyday object can become an instrument of terror, and the possibility for near endless stories and unique monsters means that it’s very hard to burn out on.

5. You’re going to dinner with five literary figures who are they and who do you want to sit next to?

I’d say: Frank Herbert, William Shakespeare, George Orwell, Mary Shelley and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I’d want to sit next to Frank Herbert and George Orwell.

6. What would you say are the biggest challenges in publishing today?

I’d say the biggest challenge is the learning curve. Regardless of how you choose to get your material out into the world, you still need to do a ton of research. Even after you’ve chosen your path, you still have a lot more research and learning to do. I don’t see much of a way to circumvent this, but at least there is a vast online community of helpful writers and their blogs to assist newcomers.

7. If you could live in any fictional world, which one would you choose and why?

Most fictional worlds don’t appear to be great places to be a woman, which makes the decision pretty easy. I’d say the Star Trek universe is probably the friendliest—it’s full of cool technology, humans have “evolved” and you can do whatever you want in a perfect utopia. It’s not going to happen, but it sure would be sweet. Second place would be the Dr. Who universe; it seems dangerous, but cool.

8. What is it about zombies that you find so fascinating?

With zombies, I like that they look like us, but they’re not human. There’s some kind of existential terror when trying to understand what we have that they lack—a mind, empathy, compassion, a pulse—while realizing that they are very, very hungry. Any person can become a zombie, no matter how kind-hearted or otherwise domesticated.

9. What do you think is the biggest misconception about independent artists?

I think it’s the assumption that we are the lowest common denominator. It’s a problem that compounds obscurity with bad experiences and/or prejudice. It’s not an attitude that can be changed overnight, but we exist and we’re not going anywhere.

10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I have a few projects on the horizon.

• I intend to continue with the Zombie Bedtime Stories series, part three just came out, and I have about fifteen total short stories and novellas planned for that series. I’m going to begin writing part 4, Bedlam, next week.
• During NaNoWriMo, I wrote a science fiction novel entitled Sanity Vacuum. I’m in the process of editing it, and I am really happy with how the story turned out. There’s big potential to expand on it, which is something I’m looking to begin planning out in the new year, in parallel to the Zombie Bedtime Stories.
• Once the Zombie Bedtime Stories are finished (I estimate mid-late 2013), I have a few dark epic fantasy books I’d like to write, as well as a very twisted paranormal romance.

Catch up with Thea at her blog, Nerdy Gnome, and you can find part one of the Zombie Bedtime stories here!

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and lots of free stuff!

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

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Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 5 – Stant Litore, King of Zombies

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

Stant Litore writes about the restless dead, and the first volume in his series The Zombie Bible is now available at Amazon. It’s called Death Has Come Up into Our Windows and tells the story of a prophet imprisoned in a well in a dying city; each day, his gaolers toss one of the ravenous dead in after him. You should read it; the book will leave a mark on you. Stant lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters, and stays out of certain parts of the mountains during the dark of the moon.

1. What sparked your obsession / interest in writing about zombies?

Zombies look at your face and they see nothing. They don’t see a person. They don’t see a soul. They see food. I don’t think there’s anything more terrifying, or more resonant with the issues of injustice and lack of compassion in our world. To what extent do you see a human soul when you look into another’s face? I mean to what extent, really? Or do you see an object to maneuver around, or a being who can serve your purposes, whether for business or pleasure, who can (metaphorically) fill the hungers you have – the hunger for approval, or for affirmation, your hunger for a parent or your hunger for a child, your hunger for sex or your hunger for competition? To what extent are the acquaintances and coworkers in your life … food? That’s a question Father Polycarp asks in my second book,What Our Eyes Have Witnessed, and it is a question that an encounter with the ravenous dead demands of us. Faced with the ultimate incarnation of hunger, we have to deal with our own hunger. We have to rethink what other people actually are to us, and what it means to live and what it means to die, and what part justice or ethics has in that.

2. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell us your top five wishes for Christmas.

An excellent year of health for my wife and children. The opportunity to hunt for a house. Good sales and good readers. More awareness among my community of the poverty in the community, and of the growing issue of underground slavery and human trafficking right here in our own town. Four is all I can think of; I’m a cheap date.

3. As an indie artist, what would you say are your biggest challenges?

I suppose there are two. The first is honesty. It’s not challenging so much at this moment, but I could see it getting there. The problem is like this. When you are an indie without the surrounding apparatus of a publishing firm, it can be tempting to cut corners on your own work, to rush things, to make decisions that have a short-term payoff but will cause you trouble down the road. This is the case as long as you aren’t accountable to anyone else. In my case I’m with a small indie press, and I have one of the best editors I know. I sought him out. And I am committed to being honest with myself about what I need to work on in my art. My editor is both encouraging and ruthless.

The other challenge is credibility. Because of the ease of e-publishing on a budget, there are a lot of indie writers who are publishing work that a professional editor would tell them is a draft (don’t get me wrong, though; some of the best books I’ve read this year were both indie and polished). This has the effect of keeping many readers leery of indie publishing. I decided early that the marketing plan for my series would place a premium on setting the foundation for credibility first, before moving aggressively after sales.

4. Did you always want to be a writer? What set you on this path of storytelling?

Always. Before I could write, I drew pictures on paper. Telling stories is in my blood, and if I stop for a week, I become the most cranky, cantankerous person you can imagine. Some things you can’t hold in any more than a flower can stop from blooming at the touch of the sun.

5. What is your writing process like? Pantser or plotter and why?

It’s both. In a very basic sense, the outlines for my current stories are suggested by the biblical tales I’m retelling, but that’s too simple an answer. I usually start with a scene that is very dramatic to me – though in fact it might be a very quiet scene — say, a loving moment between a couple. But, for me, it’s a scene full of drama and human life. That’s usually where I discover my characters.

Then I start writing a character arc – a few scenes where my characters make significant choices. That becomes my outline; it grows organically. By then I’ve an idea of what’s happening with this plot and at least a little idea of who’s in the story and what their lives and their choices are about, and then I just start to tell the story. And about two thirds the way through it, I learn eight things about my characters I didn’t know before, and I learn what thematic questions this story is demanding of its readers, and then I just keep rewriting it until I have it right.

But the key is to learn early on what choices these characters have to make, and why those choices are important to them and to the world they live in. That’s an exciting process of discovery and a tremendous wrecker of outlines, if I were so foolish as to start with an outline. But once you know what five scenes are the defining choices for one of your main characters, you know what your outline looks like. Everything else that’s going to happen in your story is made necessary by those moments of choice.

6. Give us a list of five things you think would be the most useful in the Zombie Apocalypse.

A machete, a greenhouse in an inaccessible location, access to clean water, a good supply of toothpaste, and a good book, at least one. That last is to keep you sane.

7. What writers have inspired you?

So many. Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, and C J Cherryh come readily to mind.

8. What is the one thing about the publishing industry that irritates you the most?

Nothing that I can think of. I’m currently an independent not because of any longstanding issues with the industry – I have none – but because I like to be at the helm, and because I get a thrill out of the process of publishing and marketing. I get energy from it and a bit of an adrenaline high, the kind that comes with facing almost insurmountable odds and still producing something beautiful.

9. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

For the next year or two, I am pretty wrapped up in The Zombie Bible. Today the first volume, Death Has Come Up into Our Windows, has hit #8 in the Amazon bestseller list for horror, and the second, What Our Eyes Have Witnessed , has just been released for Kindle and Nook. But there are a lot more stories waiting to be told. You can get a brief preview here . You will see zombies in the Old Testament and the New, and you’ll see men, women, and children making difficult choices in difficult times, and fighting to live lives that are about more than just surviving.

Don’t forget to visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and tons of free swag!

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

Share

Creepfest Blog Hop Day 4 – An Interview With Marissa Farrar

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

One of the most fun things about a blog hop for we writers is meeting other writers and picking their brain, not to mention adding substantially to our To Be Read pile! Get ready to add more. It is my pleasure to introduce Marissa Farrar.

1. You have a degree in Zoology, which is really cool! But what prompted you to give up that career to pursue writing?

I always wanted to write; I’d been coming up with stories since I was a kid. However, I’ve also always had a sensible head on my shoulders and I knew how hard it would be to earn decent money through my writing. I spent most of my degree writing instead of studying, so as soon as I graduated, I made the decision to follow my heart instead of my head.

2. How is zoology similar to being a parent of two children?

It’s not! Apart from perhaps needing a lot of patience (there is a lot of sitting around in Zoology studying animals that aren’t doing anything!).

3. What is your writing process like? Plotter or pantser?

I’m a total pantser! People who intricately plot out whole novels totally intimidate me. I always have a vague idea about what I want to happen in a novel, but normally it’s the characters that are most real in my head. I let them lead the way and just write down what they do. With my latest novel, ‘Buried’, I thought the story was going to end one way, but then one of the main characters did something I totally wasn’t expecting. The good thing is, because I wasn’t expecting it, my readers won’t be either!

4. You’re a published indie author. What would you say were the greatest challenges of going indie and why did you make that choice?

I was traditionally published for a couple of years before choosing the indie route. I became very frustrated because there were so many things I wanted to try out but couldn’t because the choices were being made by the publisher. In the end I was lucky enough to get my titles back so I had new covers done, had them re-edited and then re-launched the books. I’m happy to say it’s the best decision I made.

I’d say the biggest challenge is still around people taking indie’s seriously. There’s a lot of misconception that the only reason writers go indie is because they can’t find a publisher, but that simply isn’t the case. I’ve had a publisher and have turned down several offers from other publishers. I’d have to be offered a pretty damn good deal now to ever give up my digital rights.

5. What is it about the horror genre that attracts you?

I’ve always love horror. Even as a child, I used to sneak downstairs and read my mother’s horror novels by the light of the fish tank. I think it speaks to that dark and twisty side of me I normally have to keep under wraps.
6. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell us your top five wishes for Christmas.

(Other than wishing for world peace, etc. I really only have three…)

For my family to stay happy and healthy. For next year to be easier financially. And the big one… To get to the point in my career where people are talking about my name as the next big thing in the horror and dark fantasy genre.

7. “Alone” deals with the serious issue of domestic violence. Why did you choose this theme for your book?

I never wanted for the theme to be domestic violence; it just happened to fit the theme of empowerment I was going for. I wanted to show how one person can start off broken, fragile and terrified, but draw strength from someone else. However, I also didn’t want Serenity to lean on that other person. I wanted her to learn how to be strong enough to take care of herself. I hope that’s what I did.

8. What advice would you give to new writers?

Get involved with other writers and learn, learn, learn. I’ve learned so much from the other authors I’ve met blogging and social networking. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and above all, they’ve helped me learn my craft.

9. If you could sit down to tea with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’m going to be really unoriginal and say Stephen King. He’s always been a hero of mine!

10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’ve got so many! At the moment I’m just finishing edits for my novel, ‘The Dark Road’, which I hope to have out by the end of the year. I’m writing the third book in my ‘Serenity’ series. I also have another two completed manuscripts which are still in need of edits and will be out next year. Finally, I’m planning a YA spin-off from my ‘Serenity’ series, featuring one of the characters. I’ve never written YA before but I’m up for the challenge!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Annetta!

Alone

Caught in a violent and abusive relationship, Serenity thinks there is no escape.

Upon meeting a stranger, Sebastian, she is shown the possibility of a different future.

Only Sebastian has a dark secret; he is a vampire.

As Serenity’s life takes a terrifying turn, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed; one of murder, love and immortality. She is forced to confront her own weaknesses to save both her own life and that of the vampire she has come to love. But in the end all that matters is; can she find the strength to be Alone?

Book two in the ‘Serenity’ series, ‘Buried’ is also now available to buy from your favourite eBook store!

Author bio: Marissa Farrar is a multi-published horror and paranormal author. She was born in Devon, England, loves to travel and has lived in both Australia and Spain. She now resides in Devon with her husband, two children, a crazy Spanish rescue dog and four hens. She has a degree in Zoology, but her true love has always been writing.

Her dark take on a vampire romance, Alone, was first published in 2009 and has now been re-launched by Red Hot Publishing. The second book in the series, Buried, is now available to buy. The third in the series, Captured, will be published early 2012.
Her short stories have been accepted for a number of anthologies including, Their Dark Masters, Red Skies Press, Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don’t, Triskaideka Books; and 2013: The Aftermath, Pill Hill Press. Her own collection of paranormal short stories, Where the Dead Live, is also available.

If you want to know more about Marissa, then please visit her website at www.marissa-farrar.blogspot.com. You can also find her at her facebook page, Marissa Farrar, Author or follow her on twitter @marissafarrar.

She loves to hear from readers and can be emailed at marissafarrar@hotmail.co.uk.

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

Share

Creepfest Blog Hop Day 3 – An Excerpt From The Amazing Patti Larsen

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

Patti Larsen is one of the hardest working writers I know. The woman is quickly building an empire; she is legend. I interviewed her here, so I thought it might be fun to post an excerpt from the heart-pounding first novel in her The Hunted series. To reiterate from what I discussed on the first day of Creepfest, Run is the kind of horror that makes you hyperventilate and start at strange shadows in the corner. In this series, Patti takes you on a wild and amazing ride, so fasten your seat belts and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. Enjoy!

The first book in Patti's series, "The Hunted". Get ready to Run!

Excerpt of RUN, book one of The Hunted series

From author Patti Larsen: I’m afraid of the dark. Mostly because of my overactive imagination. And while this is a truth in my life, for some reason my muse insists on sending me scary stuff to write.

The following is an excerpt taken from my young adult thriller series, The Hunted. In book one, RUN, sixteen-year-old Reid has been kidnapped and dumped in the wilderness. A foster kid with only his sister to miss him, he learns his purpose–he, and other kids like him, is prey. Reid must run or die.

Reid encounters a pair of normal men, hunters themselves, but oblivious to those who are trying to kill him. Unsure if they are friends or not, he tries to tell them what’s happening.

Reid is about to run off when he hears it. The howl dissolves his hope, strips away his new found plan of escape and reduces him to a tearful child all over again.

When the last echo of it fades, Reid can barely breathe or stand. His knees quiver so much he is sure he will collapse at any moment. He won’t survive another call, his heart will quit. He looks up and into Mustache’s face. The man is very pale, brown eyes almost blotted out by his pupils, swollen by his own fear.

“What the hell was that?”

“I told you,” Reid whispers. “The hunters.”

Scar is next to them in an instant, voice low and deep, his urgency a cloud that envelops them all. “I’ve never heard anything like that before.”

“Me either.” Mustache chews on his namesake, eyes scanning the trees. “Damn it, we can’t just leave.”

Scar nods. “I’m not running.”

Both men exchange a look before Mustache turns to Reid.
“Come on, kid,” he says. “Let’s go see what all the fuss is about.” His words are confident, but Reid hears the quaver in them. Both men move forward in the gloom.

He can’t go with them. It’s the last place on earth he can go. His feet are lead, legs locked in place. Every nerve and fiber of his body begs him to run the other way. But he only heard one howl, one voice. For all Reid knows, they are surrounded. If he runs, leaves the men with the guns, he could be heading right into a trap. At least with them he has their weapons to protect him.
Swallowing a giant ball of fear, Reid stumbles forward and goes with them.

“Tell us about them.” Scar stays close, eyes never resting anywhere for long.

“They’re fast,” Reid says, flinching from the memory of them.

“They move like ghosts. I’ve never seen anything so fast.”

“But they’re men,” Mustache says.

Reid’s breathing tightens, his chest constricting. “They look like men.”

Scar’s hands adjust on his gun. “Well, we’re ex special forces, kid,” he says. “And nothing is faster than us.”

Reid doesn’t say anything. He can’t. It won’t do any good anyway. They are wrong. He watches them move and he knows in his heart the hunters are faster. But are they quicker than a bullet? Reid does his best to ignore the fact both men are criminals, illegal game poachers. He doesn’t care. As long as they kill the hunters, they can shoot whatever the hell they want.

He considers asking them about rescuing the other kids and for the first time Reid actually lets himself wonder how many of them are out there and how many have already died at the hands of the black-dressed men. Lucy’s beautiful face flashes in his head, but he forces her aside. When the hunters are killed, when Mustache and Scar show him the black-clad men can die just like anyone else, Reid will worry about the rest. But not until then.

Yet again he thinks about running for the fence. But by then they are deep into the forest, almost to the clearing. Reid feels a chill run up his spine. He holds back a little as the two camo-clad men move ahead of him, rifles ready. They go quietly, smooth movers themselves, rubber-soled boots barely making a sound on the littered path. Scar is the deadlier of the two in Reid’s opinion, all sinew and cat-like grace. He feels his confidence rise. Maybe the men are right after all. They certainly look deadly to Reid.
Until he sees a flash of black in the trees and his heart stops beating. He can’t breathe or call out and can only watch in horror as the three hunters drift around his salvation like spiders on a web.

Reid knows it is a trap before the men even notice the hunters are there. But again he is unable to act. Words freeze to the inside of his throat, his blood sluggish in his veins as his whole body sinks into shock.

Mustache finally spots the first hunter and spins, weapon ready, but too late. Reid doesn’t even have the power to flinch as a shower of fine blood droplets arcs out from the man’s throat. Mustache gurgles, weapon dropping to his side, suspended from the thick leather strap, swinging like a pendulum. Both of his gloved hands clutching at the arterial spray coating the nearby trees with red.

Mustache half turns, knees buckling under him in a death dance, graceful as he falls. His eyes meet Reid’s, more blood squirting out between his desperate fingers. The second blow is even faster than the first. Bile surges to Reid’s throat when the hunter severs the man’s head and sends it flying, spinning, spraying blood in a colorful arc. It lands at Reid’s feet, sending more blood up and outward, the weight of the head rolling over to halt face up. Those brown eyes stare into his, the mustache dripping crimson into the dirt.

Scar has only a moment to shout, “Rich!” and raise his own rifle before his left leg is severed in one slice. His mouth gapes wide, the scar on his cheek pure white against his skin from the pressure of his fallen jaw as he looks down at his missing limb, nothing below his knee but air. The cut is so clean he is in perfect balance for a long moment, as though suspended by fine wire, a marionette gushing blood onto the ground. He topples in slow motion, gun swinging around. He fires one shot, another, but they go off into the forest, harmless.

A hunter appears at his side, oozing close as he hits the dirt. Scar is rolled over onto his back in one smooth motion. The hunter’s hand rises over the fallen man’s abdomen.

Reid’s sanity begs him to run, to get away and not watch, but he can’t help himself or them. The first hunter bends over Mustache and together they slice downward, gutting both of the men in synch.

This is enough at last. Reid’s feet are working again, his blood pumping. He turns and dashes into the forest, back on his original path, a new image there to replace the one of the dead boy.
Mustache gapes at Reid in his mind, the severed head his memory’s new companion as he runs for his life.

You can find RUN on Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore and on Smashwords.

She looks like she means business, doesn't she?

About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. Books one and two of The Hayle Coven series, Family Magic and Witch hunt are also out now, with the sequels, Demon Child and The Wild, due in December of this year. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.

You can find her:

On her website: Patti Larsen
On Facebook: Patti Larsen, Author
Her writing blog: Patti Larsen Writes
Her book blog: Patti Larsen Books
On Twitter: Patti Tweets
On Amazon.com and Goodreads

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

Share

Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 2 – Rollin’ in the Deep

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

I thought I’d start off the Creepfest Blog Hop with something special just for you. This story was written especially for Joshua Guess’s Living With the Dead Universe, and until today, has only been seen in LWtD: Year One.

At the time, Adele’s hit, “Rolling in the Deep” was playing everywhere and I love the song. I researched the phrase and found different meanings to it — in the urban dictionary, it means having someone’s back, or letting people know you are not one to fuck with. “Rolling in the deep” also conjures an image of a small ship battling the deep, dark ocean in a storm.

So, here’s little Pete’s story. He might be a kid, but he’s rolling in the deep.

Rollin’ in the Deep

I’m watchin’ them from the tree stand. They can’t climb trees too good, so I think I’m purty safe up here. It’s a might chilly when the wind comes a’whippin, though the winter season is still a few weeks off, I reckon. I nicked some of that stuff Dr. Evan was makin’ in the clinic, and sprayed it all over my jacket like Daddy taught me when he was trying to make me a man by taking me out huntin’. I’m kerful to stay upwind anyways, and I got a purty good sightline even through the leaves. Only then it was about deer huntin’, and now it’s about makin’ sure the zombies don’t get me.

At least, not ’til I’m ready.

People think they’re gross and ugly, but they ain’t, not really. Look at ’em. They’re strong. They don’t seem to worry too much about nothin’. The colder weather might slow ’em down a lick, but they’s pretty lively, mostly. They don’t smell no worse than the stuff Daddy used to hunt with. And they smell a sight better than my uncle Joe Bob, come to think of it. Some of them act like they’s right smart. A lot smarter than a lot of people I know, anyways.

When we was huntin’, Daddy’d hand me a brown bottle. “You spray it all over, Pete,” and the stink of deer piss made me like to gag. I held it in, though, ’cause if I gagged or threw up all that would get me was a beatin’. This zombie stuff stinks way worse, but there ain’t no one around to call me a sissy boy or punch me if I gag. I hold it in anyway.

The zombies ate my daddy. I can’t say this really bothered me overmuch. Momma pitched a fit, and Uncle Joe Bob was pretty mad, but it wasn’t like the world was gonna miss him much. I know I didn’t. I figgered the zombies did me a favor and I owed ’em one. At least I wouldn’t get beat no more ’cause I wasn’t being man enough for him. I wouldn’t have to hear about being a “sissy boy” and sent out to sleep in the barn on account I wasn’t fit ta be with “normal” folk.

At least, that’s what I thought when the zombie tore into Daddy’s neck and ripped out his throat. I forgot about Uncle Joe Bob.

After Daddy done got ate, Uncle Joe Bob said we had to get on our knees and thank the Baby Jesus we was still alive. I was grateful and all, but three hours on your knees is a lot of thanking. He listened to the radio and said we were gonna have to move to somewhere safer. Momma said, “We ain’t gonna cotton to no folk lessen’ they’s good God-fearin’ people.”

Uncle Joe Bob said, “Woman, shut yore mouf. It ain’t like they’s a lot to choose from enymore.” Momma jest clutched her Bible and shut her mouth. Daddy knew how to handle the women-folk and Uncle Joe Bob was no different.

I didn’t much care one way ta’ the other, to be honest. Warn’t like they was gonna ask for my opinion, anyways. Nobody much listens to a kid, specially a kid like me. Not ’til we got to the compound, and even then, people don’t pay much attention to the kid of a buncha hillbillies.

See? Lookit that one over there. See ‘im? He’s one of the smart ones. They called them “smarties” at the compound. See how he’s herdin’ a group of the zombies together? Like he’s got a plan. He ain’t fallin’ apart like a lot of ’em do, neither. And he moves faster than the rest, even in the colder weather. I find that downright innerestin’, don’t you?

At first, bein’ at the compound was a lot better than jest bein’ with Momma and Uncle Joe Bob. The people of the compound had it secure purty good, workin’ on a big wall with plenty of supplies and stuff. You could tell they been workin’ hard and pullin’ together. I don’t mind hard work, it was a sight better than where we was, and a lot safer. There was food and ammo and nice people. Mostly.

‘Cept for that creepy preacher man. He’d be churchin’ every Sunday, jest like things were normal-like, and Momma’d drag me along even though I had no taste fer it. I had to listen to hours of how the zombies were God’s punishment ’cause we’s a sinful folk, and Preacher John would point out people livin’ on the compound that were still bein’ sinful, living together without God’s blessin’ and fornicatin’, women with more than one man and fornicatin’, men with men and fornicatin’. Seemed to me he was worried overmuch with fornicatin’. Momma and Uncle Joe Bob went along with all of it, like I didn’t know about their own fornicatin’. I wonder what the preacher woulda thought about that, although he had his own thang goin’ on, sure did.

After the churchin’, Uncle Joe Bob would git all worked up, like Daddy used to git. That’s when I’d really have to watch kerful. You know, strut around and agree with everythang he said. Pretend I thunk the way he did about the pit of sinfulness we landed in, and how everybody here but us was headed for the Devil’s house and taking us with ’em because they’s was the cause of the zombies in the first place. Momma’d chime right in. Didn’t really much care, to tell you the truth, until Uncle Joe Bob started in on Patrick.

Patrick was special. He was always lookin’ out fer me, took time to talk to me while I was workin’on the wall and actually paid attention to what I said. I used to like Patrick a lot. Mebbe that’s why Uncle Joe Bob was really on his case. “What you hanging around that faggot for, boy?” he’d yell at me. “What’s wrong with you? Don’chu you know that’s why the zombies are here? Preacher John even says so!”

“I ain’t hangin’ around him,” I’d say. “I’m jest workin’ like I’m s’posed to.”

“Well, you watch yerself, boy. I swear, I see a zombie comin’ fer me or a queer boy, I’d shoot the queer boy first, no questions axed. Even if’n they was related.” Then he’d squint his eyes at me like I was under one of them fancy microscopes Dr. Evan used. Momma’d stand there and nod her head, eyes bright and hands clutching her everlastin’ Bible.

“’Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither male prostitutes nor homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God’,” she cooed, caressing the covers of that danged book. “That’s what it says in Corinthians, that’s what Preacher John says. These people here are walkin’ on dangerous ground, and I ain’t aimin’ to go to hell or get et by the zombies ’cause they can’t control they’s urges.”

I didn’t bother to say they was a lot more people in that passage of Corinthians, like idolaters, adulterers and fornicators, not to mention thieves. I warn’t gonna point out Uncle Joe Bob and Momma had a little of their own fornicatin’ goin’ on, neither. And after I saw what went on after churchin’ in the preacher’s house I jest concentrated on not gaggin’ when any of ’em started shootin’ off they mouths.

I almost tole Patrick about it, but I guess I’m glad I didn’t, the way things turned out. I thought Patrick liked me too, but he really didn’t. He got hisself a girlfriend, and he didn’t have much time fer me after that. Yeah, it kinda hurt my feelins. I thought he was different.

I started spending more time in the clinic, sweeping floors and cleaning up. Miss Juanita and Dr. Evan were nice people. I learned me a lot of stuff, ‘specially bout the zombies. I tole Momma and Uncle Joe Bob about the bacteria thang, and Momma threw one o’ her hissy fits and wanted me to quit working there.

“I ain’t gonna have my only son tainted and turned into a zombie!” she yelled. “I ain’t gonna git et in the night by my own flesh and blood! Sweet Jesus, deliver us!”

But Uncle Joe Bob talked it over with Preacher John and they tole her to shut it and me to keep my eyes open. I swear, Uncle Joe Bob wouldn’t so much as take a dump without Preacher John’s say-so.

It was Preacher John’s idear to mark people’s houses. You know, the ones fornicatin’ and stuff. O’course, when we got caught and that little girl died, I felt awful even if Uncle Joe Bob said it was a sign. Of what, I don’t know. Lindsey never did nothin’ to nobody as far as I knew. The compound people were pretty mad. They ran ole’ Preacher John right outta here and left him nekkid in the cold wilderness. But I knew that ornery ole’ cuss’d be back. Them religious folk, they got a way of sticking around.

Momma and Uncle Joe Bob got a whippin’ and had to work extra hard for a bit, but they never did give me up. Hoo doggy, they was madder than a wet hen. Uncle Joe Bob said, “Who do they think they is, enyway? They ain’t got no right whippin’ people, it warn’t our fault that girl got et.” He rubbed his butt, scratched his crotch, and kept on goin’, Momma bobbin’ her head like it was attached by a string to Uncle Joe Bob’s right hand. “Preacher John said that was probably a sign o’ her momma and daddy’s sinnin’, and they had it comin’. We’s gittin outta here, Lily Mae.” Momma jest nodded and nodded.

“But I don’t want to leave, Uncle,” I started to say, but he smacked me across the face so hard I tasted blood.

“Don’t you smart off to me, boy! You ain’t stayin’ here with this bunch of faggots and fornicators! ‘Lessen you want to be one of them yerself. Is that what you want?” To my way of thinkin’, this bunch of faggots and fornicators were a sight better than what I was dealin’ with, but it ain’t like I had a choice. “You owe us, boy, don’t you never fergit that. You shoulda been whipped right along with the rest of us. I say we go, and yer goin’ with us.” He was right, I knowed it.

I’m still watchin’ that smartie, watchin’ what he’s doin’. He’s got a group of zombies gathered over there, see ’em? They’s jest standing there, I know they don’t talk. At least, I don’t think they do, but that smartie’s got something going on. I wonder what he’s doin’ with ’em. He’s walkin’ ’round in a circle, ’round and ’round. Every once in a while he reaches out and touches one and they shudder. I wonder if it has somethin’ to do with that bacteria thang Dr. Evans was talkin’ ’bout. The wind’s changin’, I kin hear the leaves rustlin’ and the smell is purty rank, but I think I’m still okay up here.

Anyways, I was right about Preacher John. It warn’t too long before he was back. Tole you he was ornery. Even the zombies didn’t want to et him, and I don’t blame ’em. He and Uncle Joe Bob huddled together for a coupla days, whisperin’ and I jest knew they was up to no good. I tried to warn Patrick, but he didn’t have no time fer me no more, and it wasn’t like I had friends to tell. They’s nice people at the compound, don’t git me wrong, but livin’ with Uncle Joe Bob and Momma didn’t make me very popular. It’s like nobody wanted nothin’ to do with me.

Any chance I had of gittin’ along without Uncle Joe Bob and Momma was killed right along with Preacher John when he held up that little kid in front of him when we was tryin’ to git some stuff from the armory. Somebody had the guts to take the shot, and down ole’ Preacher went. The compound people were danged mad about the whole thang, but what can you ‘spect from a man like Preacher John?

There was a lotta harsh words thrown ’round, sure was. Oh, Uncle Joe Bob blamed it all on the preacher, but he was hell-bent on gittin’ outta there. He was locked up for a spell when we tried to git some vittles from the storage, and I guess the people from the compound decided we all should git on with the goin’ if we wanted to so bad. I didn’t want to leave, and I’m thinking none of the other kids did neither, but we warn’t never gonna be one of them and we all knowed it. So even though they gave us a choice, it warn’t much of one.

That smartie is still circling around his buddies. He stops for a time at the ones he’s touched and I could swear they’s talking. One by one the rest kinda jest wander off. I guess they ain’t innerested in what he’s sayin’. Dr. Evan said somethin’ once about how they’s changin’, gitting smarter and passin’ that along to the others. I guess they ain’t all cut out fer it. Makes me wonder.

Leaving the compound was hard, but it warn’t nothing compared to what I had to deal with once we was outta there. Uncle Joe Bob ain’t dumb when it comes to survivin’, that’s fer sure, but he leaves a heap ta be desired when it comes to people skills. They’s all holed up about five miles from here, but after a couple of weeks of getting’ beat fer no reason and watchin’ him have his way with all the women-folk whether they wanted it or not (and most of ’em didn’t) I’d had enough.

That’s why I’m in this tree stand and watchin’. There’s no way I can take on Uncle Joe Bob by myself. I’m jest a kid. But look at them thar zombies. They’s strong, and they never give up. I ain’t stupid. I bet I could be a smartie.

And a smartie zombie’s a sight smarter than Uncle Joe Bob.

***

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

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Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 1 – What You Can Expect

I am a Blog Hop virgin.

When I first heard of the Creepfest Blog Hop, I wasn’t sure it was for me. After all, I’m not really a horror writer, per se. That’s not to mean I’ve never written horror — au contraire. If you’ve read any of the stories from Not Nice and Other Understatements, you’ll see there are a few stories in there which would fit quite nicely under the “horror” label. The one which instantly springs to mind is “Wickedly Smooth”, which gives me chills to this day every time I read it. “Athena’s Promise” certainly has its horror moments and even a few monsters. I was assured my work definitely has a place in the horror family. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it :)

Doesn't he look all warm and fuzzy? Heh.

So exactly what is a blog hop and what the hell is going on?

It’s like this:

There’s a list of fabulous blogs right here for your convenience. Every blog is hosting a GIVEAWAY. That’s right, like FREE STUFF. (Including me, but keep reading.) Hop from blog to blog, and you just may come away with enough swag to fill a Santa bag. (Hey, that almost sounded like a poem! Heh.)

You’ll meet a wide variety of authors; have a chance at some free fiction; learn something about the community of horror you may not have known before. It’s a great way to pass the time when you’re supposed to be working or if you have to look busy but there’s no way you’re looking at another report because you feel as if you see one more your brain is going to snap and you’re going to pick up a sharp, stabby implement (could be a pen, could be a letter opener, could be a spork) and gouge the eyes out of the next phucktard who asks you a dumb question about something they should know better than you but of course, they don’t make the effort, they just want you to do the work for them and you have dreamed for weeks of quarts of their blood gushing from their newly severed tongue and splashing all over those stupid damned reports that you’d rather set on fire with a gallon of gasoline and an old-fashioned match…

Whoops. I may have gone off subject there. Sorry.

So, for the next twelve days here on Word Webbing, you will find fiction excerpts and interviews with some very interesting and twisted people. As far as free stuff goes, how about this:

At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

MUAHAHAHA! Come with me to the dark side!

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Share

Creepfest Blog Hop and the Meaning of Horror

Tomorrow starts the Creepfest Blog Hop and I really have been looking forward to this.

But Netta, you may say. Why are you so excited about a Creepfest? You’re not a horror writer.

Well, it depends on how you define “horror”.

For the record, although I know labels are necessary in the literary world, it’s mostly for marketing purposes. If you can’t put a label to your work, how are you supposed to market it properly? You need to hit your targeted audience, and if you can’t figure out what you’re writing, how is your audience supposed to figure it out?

Another factor is the blurring of genre lines. It’s not uncommon to find paranormal, sci-fi, horror, romantic, or literary elements all contained within the same book or story. And that’s not a bad thing.

But for the sake of argument, let’s talk strictly horror.

Yes! This is an ALMOST EMPTY coffee pot! Totally horrible, but there are even MORE horrible things. I think.

Many people are introduced to horror through high school reading of authors like Poe, Shelley, Stoker, or Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). Still others have explored horror through authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Robert Bloch…the list is long and impressive. Horror as a genre has quite a distinctive history and showcases some of the finest writing around. In other words, there is gold in them there stories, people. Please don’t make the mistake of pigeon-holeing a writer because they may have written a dark story or two.

The purpose of writing a story is to elicit a response from the reader. Horror certainly serves this purpose. It plays on the reader’s innermost fears, and if done properly, will make an impression long after the last page is turned. Remember Poe’s “Telltale Heart”? I bet you do, even if the last time you read that story was in high school English class. Horror writing can showcase the human condition in a infinite number of ways. How people react in dire circumstances — whether it’s zombies, a serial killer, or a monster — really reveals true character.

However, horror isn’t always a monster or a crazed killer. Take Poe’s story. There’s no monster (unless you count the main character who buried a heart beneath the floorboards). The horror of that story, in my opinion, is the madness experienced by the protagonist, and how his crime ate away at his mind until he finally collapses into insanity.

Although Stephen King has been classified as a “horror” writer, if you read a cross section of his work you’ll find horror elements, true, but he writes a lot more than that. It’s not necessarily the “slash and gore” or supernatural horror which has permeated the genre that Sai King produces, either. For instance, I consider “Apt Pupil” one of THE most horrifying stories I have ever read, and there isn’t one supernatural element in it. No slash and gore. But amazingly horrible, all the same.

Of course, there's THIS, too. *SHUDDER*

So what is horror? It can be things that go bump in the night and slither in the dark corners. It can be the vampire stalking the streets looking for the next victim, the ghost lurking in the shadows waiting to eat your soul, or it can be the nice man living next door with a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts. But the real core of horror is fear, and human fears are as varied as the humans themselves. In other words, what scares you may not scare me at all, and vice-versa. And this is why I’m so excited about Creepfest.

During the next twelve days, you will find a wide variety of writers who explore the darker side. Some writers are considered strictly “horror”, and others, like myself, who cross the boundaries into other genres such as dark fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal shenanigans, and other sub-genres. You’ll find monsters, sure. But you’ll also find a lot of other things, things like humanized zombies, monsters who aren’t what they appear, psychological horrors, emotional and spiritual horrors which can’t be destroyed with a silver bullet or a stake to the heart, because the horror may actually live inside you. You may even find funny horror; horrors that may surprise you and even better, affect you. Isn’t that the point of a good story?

So, I encourage you to visit during the days of Creepfest, because I am not only going to introduce you to some really great writers through interviews but even better, through excerpts from their work. I’m going to include some work of my own you may not have seen plus an excerpt from “Athena’s Promise”. I’d like you to keep an open mind, and give these writers a chance to move you. Every day will be something different, something tasty. And to further encourage you to broaden your horizons, I’m going to run a sweepstakes.

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

TOMORROW, LET THE CREEPFEST BLOG HOP COMMENCE!

MUAHAHAHA! Come with me to the dark side!
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