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

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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, 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 and Goodreads


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 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 🙂


Getting Down With Patti Larsen

When you meet Patti Larsen, you have to squint your eyes, she shines so bright, in person and online. She’s got one of the strongest work ethics of anyone I’ve ever met. She is THE most prolific writer I’ve come across, generous and giving to other writers. That counts for a lot in this business.

Keep your eye on this rising star — and eat your Wheaties, because you’ll need the strength to keep up with her.

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

1. How has your dream of becoming a published writer differed from the reality?

Oh boy. You don’t pull any punches, do you? In one word, VASTLY. I went from THE DREAM of writing a best seller, finding the perfect agent, nabbing a million dollar advance and sitting back to enjoy the accolades of my adoring fans to, well… none of that. Except writing the best seller part. That will always remain.

I’ve learned so much in the last two and a half years. When I dove into writing full time, I was still under the impression this was going to be so easy! And that lasted quite a while. It’s really only the past year or so I decided to actually open my eyes and pay attention. After all, I’m a businesswoman and have been for many years through two other businesses. But when I leapt into publishing, it was like the smart and savvy part of myself took a vacation in favor of having everything done for me.

Since when? It took some great new friends (yourself, Joseph Paul Haines and others) to help me see how much I’d strayed from what I really wanted. With all the changes in this industry, it makes sense to put my big girl entrepreneur panties back on and treat this like what it is–not a fairy tale or a pipe dream but a business.

Am I ever glad I did.

2. You really pump out a lot of material. What is your writing process like?

I think I suppressed the muse for so many years because of fear and other people’s opinions that she’s been saving everything up until now. Seriously. It’s like this faucet has been turned on and the more I drink from it the faster it flows…

My process. I get an idea, I spend two days developing it, turn it into an outline and sit down and write the thing in about eight or nine days. That’s my process. I wish I had a magic bullet to hand to other writers, had some witty or charming way of explaining where all of this material comes from but I don’t. It’s really just that simple. And while I know it isn’t for everyone, please don’t be jealous.

I have to produce that fast. The voices, you see. It’s write or go nuts.

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

3. What do you think is the most important part of being a self-publisher?

Being in control of my career. NO ONE knows what’s good for me and my books but me. NO ONE. And while I am wide open to information, to learning, I embrace what I discover, absorb it, take what I need from it and discard the rest as I see fit. Everything I do, sink or swim, is up to me. The learning curve is massive but it’s also thrilling–and I no longer have to tolerate someone else’s opinions on how I should run my business.

Every writer, every creator, needs to do this at least once. I love to explore all avenues of everything I get involved in. I need to understand how everything works, from typesetting to cover design, editing and proofing, marketing… all of it. Every piece of the puzzle gives me another insight into doing my job better, smarter and faster.

4. What was your biggest misconception of the editing process with a professional editor?

Oh, that my work was absolutely perfect, naturally, and that the manuscript would come back with giant happy faces and lots of notes proclaiming how I was a literary genius.

And while I know I’m fortunate, I can string words together into a coherent sentence and those sentences into paragraphs and those paragraphs into something that makes sense, the editing process has taught me so much more about how I write. I never see comments as criticisms but as an opportunity to learn something more–to take that knowledge and apply it to my work from then on.

So while it didn’t happen the way I imagined, it’s been so much more than I could ever hope for.

5. How much self-editing did you do before engaging an editor?

Not a whole lot, to be honest. I’m pretty lucky that the copy I write is fairly clean. I still need editing, I know that, but I trust my creative process now. I’m a staunch believer in outlining and do most of my editing during that part of development–so major story changes don’t tend to pop up for me (at least so far…). When I’m finished with the first draft, I basically read through it once, catching as many typos as I can as well as fleshing out anything that needs it then send it off immediately.

While some of your readers may flinch at the idea of not revising fifteen million times, I say this: why are you washing the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher? That’s what your editor is for.

6. What do you like the most about the editing process?

EVERYTHING. Seriously. I know most writers hate it, but I love it. Love it. Did I say I loved it? It’s like taking a diamond and adding facets and angles and sparkle until it glows and shines even without any light on it… it’s fun and informative and I adore every second.

The key to it I think is having an open mind and leaving your ego at the door. And trusting your editor. You have to find someone who understands your work, who sees your vision. Shares it. But is outside it enough they can spot the areas that aren’t sparkly yet. I’m lucky enough to have found that person in you.

I don’t let my logical mind control my editing. Again, I feel your readers all shuddering collectively and that’s okay. I don’t think logic really has much of a place in writing, at least, not in the art part of it. When I go through your notes, Netta, I let my heart tell me: does that serve the story? Of course it does! Or, hmm… no, I like it the way it is. Most of the time I’m bouncing in my seat with excitement that you’ve pegged the very thing I’ve been trying to let out and get to. Tip of my mind stuff. For me, that’s thrilling. Like uncovering treasure.

I love it so much.

7. What do you like the least?

If I had to pick something it would be when I screw up and repeat a mistake. I know better than to tell and not show but sometimes the odd one will slip through. You catch them and I kick myself. I don’t like wasting time, mine or yours, so I see those mistakes as failings.

8. What surprised you the most about it?

I guess how much I love it. I didn’t think I would enjoy it this much. I mean, I was raised to think editing is terrible, horrible, painful, that I’d end up hating my manuscript at the end and never want to see it again. That I wouldn’t even recognize it when it was done.

Um… I call bullshit. I love my books even more. Who would want to work like that?

9. Tell us about any upcoming projects.

So many… you and I just finished the edits on Family Magic, book one of The Hayle Coven Novels. It’s due out on or around the 15th of this month. I love this book. It was the first one I wrote in this current incarnation of my career, the very first young adult I tackled. It’s about Sydlynn Hayle, a sixteen-year-old daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord, but she just wants to be ordinary. Syd is my soul sister and I adore her. I’m thrilled she’s finally going to meet the rest of the world.

I’m working on next three books in that series as well as outlining the following four. In November, I’m tackling the Blunt House series, Pins and Needles, Them Bones and Blood Lines, about Alice, a quiet loner who finds a voodoo doll in her grandmother’s house and then wonders why horrible things start happening to people who are mean to her.

That will wrap up this year–next year is another story entirely. I have eighteen novels lined up to write in 2012 and books scheduled into 2015. Busy busy!


10. Tell us something you’ve never divulged in an online interview.

I don’t like to have strangers tell me their story lines–not because I’ll steal them but because I’m so prolific I know I probably have something similar on the back burner–and if I hear someone else is working on the idea I have to dump mine. I have too strong of a work ethic to ever consider writing something I know is already being developed by someone else.

About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal who writes a great deal of horror for someone who is afraid of the dark. She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband Scott and four massive cats.

Where to find Patti:

My website! Shiny!
For the latest news on my work
My writing blog
Because a girl’s got to have a fanpage
I’d love to Tweet you!
My Amazon page!