7 Questions with Paul Flewitt

Today on the FlipSide I’m pleased to feature author Paul Flewitt. For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with Paul, let’s take a moment to get to know him…

My beautiful picturePaul Flewitt lives in Sheffield, UK with his partner and their two children. He is a writer of horror and dark fiction.

Paul is the author of “Smoke” a flash fiction which appeared in OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes anthology, “Paradise Park” from JEA’s All That Remains anthology and the stand alone novella “Poor Jeffrey” through CHBB’Vamptasy press. He continues to work on further pieces…

Welcome Paul! Now let’s get to the questions… Using ten words or less, tell me about your book.

A zombie/paranormal horror like you’ve read before

Sounds great! What song would you want to play during the opening credits of your book were it made into a movie? Why?

Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult, I think, because it fits the theme of the story quite well.

Who would you want to direct the story of your life? Is there anyone specific you’d like to play you?

There’s a question I’d never thought I’d be asked. Hmm… think!… erm…erm… okay, Francis Ford Coppola would do a good biopic and to play me, Jenson Ackles because my missis really likes him.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you prefer to hand write your works or type them directly into your word processor?

I’m probably a pantser. I generally know how a story is going to begin and roughly how it will end; the middle bit is always a mystery to me. I always handwrite my first draft and use the typing process to edit and embellish on what I’ve written in pen and ink.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself: something you wish you knew then that you know now?

It’d probably be “just do it, kid and screw the doubters and the haters… you won’t know any of ‘em in ten years.” People did say it, but I never believed it.

That’s great advice! What are the three books that really inspired you to become a writer?

Imajica, by Clive Barker, The Long Walk, by Stephen King (Richard Bachman) and probably Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien.

Now it’s time for the Rapid. Fire. Questions.

  • Coffee or tea? Tea
  • Cats or dogs? Dogs
  • Snow or sun? Sun
  • Print books or eReader? Print books, by the shelf load
  • Nachos or potato chips? Potato chips
  • Baked or fried? Fried, I’m a Yorkshireman
  • Candy or chocolate? Neither, I’m more of a savoury kinda guy
  • Comedy, Romance, or Horror? Comedy Horror?
  • Action, Science Fiction, or Animated? SciFi
  • Classics or Modern? Depends on my mood and the writer.
  • Old World or New World? Old World, definitely,
  • Sweet or spicy? Spicy
  • Comfort or Speed? Who’s driving?

Thank you Paul! If you’re interested in connecting with Paul, you can find him on Twitter, his Amazon Author Page, or Facebook.

Now let’s take a look at Paul’s short Poor Jeffrey… Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon!

front cover 2Sometimes magic works…

Grief drives people to extreme behaviour, and when Poor Jeffrey Kinsey is killed, his friends go to some extreme lengths to bring him back…

But Jeffrey’s death isn’t the only thing going on in town…

Several girls have disappeared, only to be found half eaten by an unidentifiable creature later… it’s enough to drive a town insane.

For Tommy, Jade and Chloe the next few weeks will make them or break them… and a story begins…

Poor Jeffrey; he never wanted death to be this way…

Climate Change Blog Tour: Guest Post from Daniel Durrant

ClimateChange_DanielDurrant_PostCard

Daniel Durrant is touring the internet this week on a virtual book tour, supporting his debut novella. A Steampunk tale with elements of espionage and suspense, Climate Change is book those who love the genre are not going to want to miss. So when I found out I was going to be hosting Daniel, I had a simple question for him – I wanted to know what went into creating the world his characters lived in. What I received from him is a delightful piece titled:

This Animal is of No Use to Mankind

Daniel Durrant

Climate Change is the first piece of Steampunk I’ve written, so the process was a steep learning curve for me. When the idea struck me I was tremendously excited – so much so that I drank several beers in something akin to the celebratory equivalent of a pre-emptive strike. But when the alcohol wore off, I realised something terrible; I had no idea how to write Steampunk.

After a short panic, I approached the problem like all good geeks: I would plan it first. The setting, at least, was easy; the quest to navigate the Northwest Passage provided that. Above all else, Steampunk is defined by technology, so I made that my next job. The “decay engines” I imagined effectively shaped the political landscape of my fictional world (and sometimes the geographical landscape, when they malfunctioned).

The development work was great fun; I wrote thirty pages of notes detailing every aspect of life in my re-imagined world. Then, realising I was enjoying it too much, I stopped and hit the last task – my characters.

The fact is this: you can have the best novel ever conceived, but without great characters it’s rubbish. Now, having drawn this very detailed alternative world, I didn’t know what the inhabitants would be like.

Our attitude and beliefs are the direct result of life experience. We’re all defined by the world we live in. The same needed to be true of my characters, but everything I came up with felt a bit “twentieth century” and just didn’t work.

Eventually I pinned down the problem. Yes, my characters would see advanced technology, but in the nineteenth century. They needed to see through Victorian eyes. The issue was how to portray that.

Then something – luck, fate, call it what you will – intervened, and I happened upon the Children’s Home Book of Natural History, dated 1855. This pocket-sized hardback has just 93 pages, each devoted to a domesticated or wild animal. The little engraving prints are lovely, but the real value is in the text.

There are too many gems to list here, but most precious amongst them are that “elephants are the most sagacious of all beasts”, that “a tame puma can make a suitable pet for children” (seriously) and that “a good dog is of more service than many idle men or boys”.

But best of all is the entry for the hippopotamus. A brief description is followed by the summary: “this animal is of no use to mankind”. Those eight words are a remarkably concise expression of the nineteenth century mind-set: “we can’t eat it, train it or wear it. Can’t even make glue out of it. It is worthless.” The Victorians saw everything as a resource to be used up.

Yes, Steampunk is all about twisting technology, but attitudes and beliefs must be twisted to match. Given the technological opportunity, would the Victorians have replaced slavery? You bet they would, and so my marionettes were born. Would new medical knowledge be used purely for good? No chance; in my world Edward Jenner makes his living from biological weapons.

Going right to the heart of the novel, what about the polar ice caps we worry about today? Merely a barrier to be destroyed; the environment was something to conquer, not cherish. That realisation defined my novel, and along the way, even provided the title. Perhaps fittingly, it was all inspired by a little book published in 1855. I rather like that.

Thank you Daniel! Now that we’ve read a little bit from his mind, let’s take a moment to get to know him a little better…

DD PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR – Daniel Durrant is a new author writing mainly in the horror and science fiction genres. His short stories have been published in anthologies in the UK and USA, and he is currently working on his first full-length novel. He lives on the Norfolk Coast in England.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***

And now let’s take a look at Climate Change and read an excerpt from it!

ClimateChange_DanielDurrant_FrontCoverPromoIn a world driven by steam and power-hungry Industrialists, can one man change the course of history?

Edward Rankine, inventor and engineer aboard the battle-cruiser Dominator, has devised an ingenious plan to open the frozen Northwest Passage.

Believing he is performing a service for the benefit of mankind, Edward is appalled to discover there is a saboteur in his midst.

Working with a crew of ‘Jacks and Jills’, mechanically enhanced humans sentenced to a life of servitude, Edward is forced to battle on the icebound waters of the northern seas.

Not only does Edward have a mutiny on his hands, but he must also find a way to save the passengers aboard the Dominator, possibly abandoning his own noble ambition in the process.

Will Edward’s plan succeed in the face of adversity, or in failing to clear the Northwest Passage will he stumble upon something greater?

Purchase Links:

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US | Canada | UK |Australia | Germany |France | Italy | Spain | Brazil | India | Mexico | Japan

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An Excerpt from Climate Change by Daniel Durrant… At the end of the excerpt is the giveaway information!

On the ride out, Edward tried to glimpse the modifications that were his design. All space forward was taken by three quadruple turrets. They began to pass the castle, but before the stern became visible, the ship was lost in a fog bank of her own making.

“She has decay engines?” Charlotte asked, watching steam engulf the superstructure.

“Yes, four.” He pointed at the cooling towers. “I can arrange a tour if you’d like,” he offered, hoping to impress.

“Yes.” She smiled. “I would.”

After hopping off at the loading pavilion, they pushed through the crowd and showed their papers to the Royal Marine manning the embarkation point. He directed them toward the nearest elevator, but as they approached, an enormous man began to close the gate.

“Hold, if you please!” Edward called, hurrying forward.

The giant hesitated, but dropped the latch at the signal of an expensively dressed woman standing beside him. The platform began to climb, but those aboard were unprepared. Near the guardrail, two men struggling with a huge portmanteau overbalanced.

Muscles battled gravity as the platform continued skyward. Gravity won. The luggage teetered on the edge before plummeting down, dragging one of the men behind it. They landed together. Clothes, trinkets, and blood dispersed across the unforgiving stone.

“Medic!” Charlotte yelled, running forward. “We need a doctor!”

Edward knelt down and grabbed the man’s wrist, but found no pulse.

“We shan’t need one, I’m afraid.” He shook his head.

“He’s dead?”

“Don’t trouble yourself, Miss,” a marine said. “He’s only a Jack.”

“A Jack?” Edward removed the man’s woolen hat. The scalp beneath was fashioned not from flesh, but metal. A bundle of wires trailed down under his collar. He stood, and looked around. Free from distraction, it was obvious; the stevedores moved with the stilted gait of the converted.

“You bloody fools!” The woman from the elevator barged past them, directing her staff to clean up. “Don’t touch that!” she shouted, as a maid picked up an ornate music box. She snatched the item away, and passed it to the tall man.

“Can I be of assistance?” Edward offered.

“I very much doubt it!” His offer seemed to feed her anger, but then she calmed. “It was a gift from my father,” she said, perhaps trying to justify her outburst. “Excuse us.”

“Lady Holden,” Charlotte murmured, as they climbed aboard another elevator. “I see she’s every bit as charming as her reputation suggests.”

The name seemed familiar, but Edward had no chance to enquire about it.

As they stepped aboard, a young man burst through a service door, charging toward them.

“Stop!” someone hollered, but the man paid no heed. He dashed for a loading ramp, but a gunshot ended his journey. He collapsed beside them, blood erupting from his chest.

Marines ran forward with guns drawn, but had no more targets.

“Sir? Madam? Are you alright?” An officer lowered his weapon, and stepped forward.

Edward looked at the would-be escapee. Blood spread unchecked until it hit the edge of the plank under him. Acting like a miniature dyke, the caulking carried it to the gunwale drain.

“Yes, we’re fine. Thank you, Lieutenant,” Charlotte replied.

A rhythmic hammering sound finally drew Edward’s attention from the body. Looking up, he saw Captain Fitzjames approaching. Standing nearly seven feet tall on his pneumatic legs, he strode forward to join them.

“I must apologize,” the Captain said. “Hardly an appropriate welcome, Miss Redpath.” He smiled. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“Captain.” She nodded. “I was most grieved to hear of your injury at the battle of Buenos Aires.”

Redpath? Charlotte Redpath? Edward tried hard to keep his face blank, but knew he’d failed. Charlie? Stunned, he shook his head.

“Chance hit from a shore battery, but the objective was achieved. The Argentine Navy was completely destroyed.” Shrugging, he tapped the brass thigh tank. “The admiralty insists my uniform should be tailored to hide them, but I believe it does the men good to see that officers share the danger with them.” He turned to Edward. “Doctor Rankine, I presume?”

“Yes, Captain.” As a civilian, Edward had no protocol to observe, but pulled himself upright nonetheless. “It’s an honor, sir.”

“Hmn. Frankly, I don’t care for what you’ve done to my ship, Doctor. The loss of the aft turret concerns me.” He frowned, but then a narrow smile crossed his lips. “However, I must admit I’m curious to see the system in action.”

“Sir, look at this.” Kneeling beside the body, a Marine pulled the man’s shirt open. A small tree was tattooed on his sternum.

“Creationist!” Fitzjames growled. Air hissed from a bleed valve as he stamped a foot. “Lieutenant, organize a search-”

“Sir, we have another one!” Two Marines exited from the nearest elevator, dragging a man between them. “Caught him in the engine room, sir. Chief Engineer said he was tampering with the vortex transducers.”

“You are aboard a vessel of the Royal Navy,” Fitzjames said, clipping off each word. “Sabotaging a ship-of-the-line carries a mandatory life sentence. Take him for marionisation.”

“No!” The man sagged down between his captors. Only their grip prevented his collapse. “Captain, I beg you!”

“I’m sorry, son. It’s too late for that.” He hesitated. “Be grateful we have a good surgeon. It won’t hurt.”

Listening to him scream as the Marines hauled him away, Edward wondered if the dead man hadn’t been the luckier one. At least he couldn’t suffer any more.

“Captain, chance seems an unlikely explanation for this,” he said, trying to focus. “We have to consider that someone has leaked details of our mission.”

“You’re suggesting there’s a traitor aboard the Dominator?” Fitzjames snarled.

Thinking himself the target of the Captain’s anger, Edward took a step back.

“Damn it, you’re right. Too much coincidence.” He called the officers close. Through clenched teeth, he ordered an immediate departure. “We don’t want a panic. Keep this quiet, but place double guards on all restricted areas.” Surrounded by his entourage, he walked away, still issuing orders.

“You’re Charlotte Redpath?” Edward asked.

“The last time I checked, yes.” She looked down at herself.

“You might have told me.” The daughter of one of the wealthiest industrialists in the world, and he’d taken her for some grubby scout. Edward shook his head, feeling dizzy. He couldn’t take much more of this. As if the expedition alone wasn’t terror enough, trouble had struck before the ship could even sail.

“I’m sorry, Edward.” She touched his arm. “Don’t sulk. It wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun.”

“Oh, Miss Redpath?” Fitzjames turned back. “As I said, this is a vessel of the Royal Navy.” He gestured at her filthy clothes. “Sponsor or not, Her Majesty’s rules dictate a dress code.”

***

It’s a Giveaway!!

Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of Climate Change by Daniel Durrant to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!

Win 1 of 5(five) copies of Climate Change by Daniel Durrant

SUMMER OF ZOMBIE 2014: John O’Brien Teaser!!

Have got a treat for you all today!! John O’Brien, author of the A New World series is touring the internet along with 32 other Zombie authors during the Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour!

So without further ado, let’s get to this teaser!!

Seattle, Washington

Untold Stories large2Captain Sheldon Hendricks stands just outside of the cockpit door near the front entryway nodding at each passenger as they board. If his other duties don’t interfere, he likes to greet the passengers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mary, the lead flight attendant for the flight, is stunning. It’s not that he has any ideas about taking it further than talking with the occasional flirt thrown in. He just isn’t like that for a number of reasons. He has observed too many ugly situations arise when flirtation becomes more. He is one of the few that keeps his private life separate from his professional one. Anything that has the potential to bring drama into his life, he avoids at all costs, regardless of how attractive anyone is. He’d been bitten by that one a couple of times before the lesson finally sunk in. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t look though, or do a little friendly flirting from time to time. He is human after all.

Mary and he chat amiably between greeting the passengers and him checking the enroute weather reports. Sheldon enjoys flying the red eye flight out of Seattle to Minneapolis and feels a little let down that this is to be the last one for the foreseeable future. It just doesn’t support the decreased number of fares. Normally, this flight is filled with every available seat taken. Tonight, however, they are less than half full with fewer than a hundred passengers. The operations center had cancelled numerous flights in the last few days for the same reason. The Cape Town flu virus has taken its toll on the tickets sold; along with a vast number of crew ill and unavailable to staff the flights.

As a matter of fact, they are going to have a late takeoff due to having to call up an on-call flight officer and a flight attendant. He and the ticket agents decided to board the aircraft on time though in order to shave off a little time. The on-call flight crew members reported that they were on their way and Sheldon knows that he can cut some time off their flight with the jet stream on their tail.

Several of those boarding entered attempting to stifle coughs. Sheldon nodded at them in sympathy. With all of the hours he’s had to fill in, he hasn’t been able to get his flu shot even though there is a company mandate to get it. He isn’t sure when he’ll have time, perhaps the following day; he’s just been too busy having to fill in on other flights. There were days where he’s barely made crew rest and there was talk about the Federal Aviation Administration suspending that requirement for the short term. The same availability was affecting the controllers and was another reason for the cancellation of flights.

With the number of passengers boarding with flu symptoms, Sheldon worries that, with the enclosed nature of the aircraft, the virus could easily spread. He’s surprised that, considering the contagious nature of the flu, those exhibiting symptoms are even allowed to fly. However, the need for fares is apparently overriding any concerns along those lines. The CDC put out a warning about flying but there has yet to be a mandate prohibiting it.

The floor of the aircraft rocks as the baggage handlers close one of the compartment doors. The airliner is fueled and the flight route has been put into the nav computer. When the flight crew members arrive, they should be able to make a quick start and push back from the gate.

Sheldon checks his watch for perhaps the twentieth time in as many minutes. He’s proud of his on-time departure statistic and is a little annoyed that the virus has affected it. The number of passengers boarding slows to a trickle, allowing him to talk more with Mary, which he doesn’t mind and alleviates his annoyance to a large degree.

One of the late passenger arrivals rounds the corner of the walkway being assisted in a wheel chair. The woman, in her mid-twenties, has a blanket over her lap. Her pale face, with red-rimmed eyes, and constant runny nose makes it apparent that she is deep within the throws of the flu virus. Sheldon nods but the woman is too ill to raise her head and acknowledge his greeting. It’s the seventh passenger to require such assistance to board the flight.

Watching as the woman is assisted into her first-class seat, courtesy of Delta, Sheldon hears voices echoing down the walkway. Turning, he sees the on-call flight officer and flight attendant round the corner towing their wheeled luggage behind them. Following behind is one of the ticket agents.

Sheldon steps aside as the on-call members begin stowing their gear. The flight officer nods his greeting and heads into the cockpit get ready for the flight. Mary takes the final manifest from the ticket agent.

“Everyone has boarded so we should be ready on our end. Have a good flight,” the agent says, exiting the aircraft to assist with closing the door.

Sheldon informs Mary of their flight and arrival times, telling her that they’ll try to make up some of the time enroute.

With the door closed, Sheldon enters the cockpit and seals the door shut. In the cabin, Mary begins making her announcements for everyone to get settled in so they can push back quickly, apologizing for the late takeoff and gives their estimated enroute and arrival time into Minneapolis.

With clear skies overhead, allowing the multitude of stars to twinkle on a black velvet background, Sheldon looks to the lights shining in the mostly empty terminal buildings of SEATAC. He is reminded of why he likes the red-eye flights so much. It’s the peacefulness that they afford and the limited traffic flying the airways. The radio isn’t filled with the constant chatter of controllers directing traffic in and around the busy airports. It’s like they are the only ones aloft and it brings him back to his early days of flying, when he could actually enjoy the feeling of being airborne. He is able to forget feeling like a bus driver and allow himself to sink into the peace of the night.

Climbing steeply out of the basin of Western Washington, the twin engines of the 757 howling with their characteristic whine, Sheldon banks the aircraft to the east. The lights from the western corridor, from Seattle south to Olympia, shimmer under the night sky. Moonlight glitters off the waters of the Puget Sound fading behind, also reflecting off the ice fields of Mount Rainier to the south.

Levelling off at their cruise altitude of 35,000 feet, Sheldon sets the autopilot and glances at the lights of Spokane shining off their nose ahead. The glow of the city rises starkly amid the darkness surrounding it. Settling back into his seat, he wants to enjoy the last night flight that he’ll see for some time.

Looking at the approaching city, he reflects on the current pandemic sweeping across the world. Many of his friends have been stricken with the virus, but with advent of the vaccine, he hopes the contagion will be brought rapidly under control. He’s not sure just how much longer he’ll be able to function with the continuous flights and lack of rest. With Spokane sliding past the wing, he wonders how many below are currently lying on their sick beds. The lights continue to sparkle regardless of how many have been afflicted.

With a strong jet stream pushing them, they leave Spokane far behind. Entering the western edges of the Rocky Mountains, the intercom light from the cabin illuminates, letting him know one of the flight attendants is calling.

Probably to see if we want something to eat or drink, he thinks, answering.

“Captain,” Mary says, “I just thought you should know that the woman in 3A is out cold and looks worse. She’s one of those who had to be wheel-chaired in. We’ve been trying to rouse her without success. There are others in economy that are in the same condition.”

“Are you sure they aren’t just asleep?” Sheldon asks, knowing most of the passengers on red-eyes try to get whatever rest they can.

“That’s what I was thinking but they look really sick; worse than when they came in. They’re all very pale,” Mary answers.

“Do you think it’s bad enough that we need to divert?” Sheldon asks.

“I’m not sure.”

“Okay, make sure the door is clear. I’m coming out,” Sheldon states.

“It’s clear.”

Sheldon informs his co-pilot, a man he hasn’t flown with before, of the situation and that he’s going into the cabin.

“Be ready to divert us. We have Salt Lake City to the south and Denver ahead,” Sheldon says, rising.

Entering the cabin, he closes the door and is greeted by Mary. Looking over the dimly lit interior, he sees some of the overhead seat lights shining down, brightly illuminating a couple of passengers who can’t sleep and are attempting to catch up on their reading or work. He’s been on enough of these flights that he’s surprised that their neighbors aren’t complaining about the lights being on. There’s not much for the flight attendants to do on these flights as they usually suspend the in-flight service so as to not wake the passengers.

Under one of the shining lights in first class is the young woman in question, seated next to the window. Over the top of the seats, only her head is visible and is pressed against the cream-colored plastic wall with her eyes shut. Even from the front galley, he can see how pale the woman looks.

“I was worried so I’ve tried waking her several times,” Mary says, standing to the side in the galley.

“And the others?” Sheldon questions.

“They look in the same condition and we’ve tried waking them as well. They just aren’t responding,” Mary replies.

Sheldon nods and takes the few steps to the seat row. A series of very slight bumps rock the aircraft as they proceed through a small area of turbulence inherent over the Rocky Mountains. No one wakes to the slight tremors.

In the darkened cabin, the light illuminating the woman makes it appear as if she’s under a floodlight, the circle of brightness highlighting her pale face. Gazing at her, Sheldon observes dark circles under her eyes, giving them a sunken look. On her cheeks, there appears to be gray blemishes darkening her pale skin. He’s not sure if she had a pale complexion before, but it now looks waxy and almost translucent. Her skin seems clammy and looks as if it should be moist. There is no doubt in his mind that this woman is very ill and, considering how many people across the world have died from this pandemic, he knows she needs medical attention soon. Upon leaving the cockpit, there was a possibility of a divert. Looking at the woman, that now becomes a definite reality.

“Show me the others,” he states, looking to Mary.

They journey down the narrow aisle, working their way past sleeping passengers and doing their best to avoid the occasional elbow or foot poking out into the passageway.

The next ill passenger is just behind the exit seating over the wing. Seated in seat 28E between two resting passengers, is a middle-aged man wearing a light-colored sports coat. His head is tilted to the side, almost resting on his shoulder. His condition is similar to the woman in first class.

Sheldon knows he has a situation on his hands. He has no choice but to radio that they have an emergency medical situation as soon as he makes his way back to the cockpit. First though, he wants to see the remaining ill passengers. Mary and he meet with another of the flight crew as they make their way to the rear. All of the sick ones brought aboard are asleep and have the same gray tinges on translucent, pale faces. Near the rear of the aircraft, a young boy, about twelve years of age, is in the same condition. None of the passengers awake to the gentle ministrations of the flight crew. All in all, there are seven who appear to have taken a turn for the worse.

“Okay, we’re going to divert into either Salt Lake City or Denver,” Sheldon tells the flight attendants. “You’re about to become very unpopular and the passengers aren’t going to like it. Just be ready to make the announcement once I decide where we’re going and be prepared to deal with some irate passengers.”

“We’ll offer them free drinks if that’s okay with you,” Mary says.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea. I suppose it’s the least we can do. Except for the sick ones. They don’t get anything except water. If anyone gets too unruly, you know how to handle it. Call me if someone gets overly upset.”

Stepping around elbows and outstretched feet, Sheldon slowly makes his way back to the cockpit thinking that operations is not going to receive his divert well. However upset they may get, they also know that it will be a worse situation if Sheldon continues with his original flight plan and one of the passengers dies.

Pausing at the row with the young woman, Sheldon assesses her condition once again. The woman is panting but not heavily. He is startled as she abruptly opens her eyes. Turning sharply toward him, he sees a wild expression in her gaze. He takes her look for one of fear. Perhaps her illness and sudden waking is causing her to not understand where she is. With his frequent travels, he’s woken under those circumstances many times. Recovering and with her fearful expression, he seeks to reassure her.

“It’s okay, ma’am─” Sheldon begins.

The countenance of the woman that Sheldon first took to be fear immediately becomes one of a feral nature. She draws back her lips, a low growl coming from deep within. The woman snaps toward the man resting next to her. With her mouth opening, she tilts her head back. A high-pitched scream fills the interior of the cabin, jarring awake the man next to her, along with most of the rest of the passengers.

The shrill nature and volume of the scream causes Sheldon to jump backward. The man sitting next to the shrieking woman gasps deeply as he rapidly comes out of his slumber, jumping in his seat only held down by his lap belt. Mary, standing next to Sheldon, adds her scream of shock.

Sheldon recovers and, thinking the woman is in deep pain, bends forward, once again attempting to reassure the woman. With a speed belying her illness, she turns in her seat and lunges toward her seat mate. The man shies away but the seat belt fastened about his waist prevents him from escaping.

The young woman, her shrieks subsiding, snarls and grabs the man by the front of his dark, lightweight jacket. Before Sheldon can react, the woman pulls the man toward her, sinking her teeth into his neck. Shocked by the suddenness of her actions, and not believing what he is seeing, Sheldon watches as the woman’s teeth bite into the exposed flesh. Bright red blood sprays across her pale face and runs down the man’s neck.

Screaming from the intense pain, the man tries to push the woman away but her grip on him is firm. The man tries to pull away but only succeeds at stretching his torn skin. Sheldon, reacting to the brutality of the attack, grabs the woman’s head, trying to help the man push the woman away. Shaking her head, she rips a chunk of flesh from the man’s neck, sending more blood streaming.

Doing the only thing he can think of, Sheldon reaches down and unbuckles the man’s seat belt. Grabbing his neck and screaming in pain, the man tumbles over the arm into the aisle. Knowing the woman entered the aircraft alone, he can only think she is delirious from her illness. In all of his years, he has never witnessed such a horrific act.

The woman spits out the mass of flesh and begins shrieking once again. She lunges toward Sheldon but the lap belt holds her firmly in her seat. The woman is frantic in her attempt to get at him and he can only imagine what will happen should she remember to unbuckle. This is one moment when he wishes he had a sky marshal aboard. The wounded man is lying in the aisle, still screaming with one hand holding his neck, blood leaking between his fingers and staining the carpeting. The other passengers, fully awake now, look on with shocked expressions. Most are unable to see what is going on but can to see the man lying at Mary’s feet.

The woman wiggles and continues lunging, pulling against her restraint. Sheldon is at a loss as to what he should do. His training involved protecting the passengers and crew, and if the situation arose, subduing anyone threatening their safety by any means. Thoughts race through his head, trying to figure out a way to subdue the woman without posing a risk to the others. In her current state, he’s not sure how to go about that. They have no means to administer a sedative.

Knowing that he’s about to make the biggest mistake of his flying career, and going against his base moral character, Sheldon swings toward the lunging woman. His fist connects solidly with her upper jaw, snapping her head backward. Momentarily stunned, the woman ceases her frantic attacks and quiets.

That should have knocked her out, Sheldon thinks, hoping the punch will pull the woman out of her current state.

The woman, blood circling her lips and dripping down her chin, shakes her head and continues her attempt to get at Sheldon. Not believing that this is how he gets to spend his last night flight, he punches again, feeling a jolt of pain in his hand. The woman collapses sideways, falling across the middle arm rest. Drops of blood slowly drip from her lips, soaking into the seat fabric.

“Get the first aid kit,” Sheldon directs Mary, nodding toward the man on the floor. “And find something to tie her hands.”

The remaining passengers look on with shocked expressions. About to reassure them that the situation is under control, a shriek similar to the one the woman emitted comes from farther to the rear of the aircraft.

All heads, once focused on him, turn sharply toward the sound. Looking past Mary, who has halted in mid-step, Sheldon sees a man rise quickly from his aisle seat. In the gloom, he watches as the man lunges down the aisle. He can’t see much other than a flurry of movement due to one of the other flight attendants standing in the passageway near the exit rows. The on-call attendant, who Sheldon recalls flying with once before but can’t remember her name, has turned toward the scream.

About to call out a warning to her, he watches as the woman stumbles and falls heavily to the floor, the man on top of her. His shrieks filling the cabin, the crazed passenger begins tearing at her face and neck. Screams of fear erupt from those passengers near the flight attendant being ravaged. Brushing past Mary, Sheldon begins a headlong flight down the aisle. Even in the dim light, he sees the attendant looking at him with pleading, pain-filled eyes.

Before he can get to her, several other passengers leave their seats to help the woman. The man and attendant are quickly engulfed in a sea of bodies. A couple of the would-be rescuers are tossed back from the pile, some landing in the aisle while others are thrown into adjacent seats. The entire cabin is filled with cries of fear.

Sheldon loses sight of the attendant as several men punch at the crazed one, trying to subdue him and pull him off her. One man, standing to the rear of the pile, suddenly lurches forward and goes down, pushed from behind by another. The twelve year old boy claws at the man’s head and leans down to sink his teeth into the exposed neck.

Sheldon slows, seeing a woman climbing across the top of the seats and attacking the seated passengers. A red splash of blood passes through the stark beam of one of the overhead lights. The young boy stops attacking the man and begins an onslaught of another passenger seated nearby. Stunned, realizing that the sick ones have gone crazy, Sheldon is at a loss.

He is unable to get past the pile of bodies in the aisle, many of whom have ceased to move. The crazed man who pushed the flight attendant down emerges from the pile only to continue his attack on the people seated in the nearest row. Panic ensues with many rising from their seats and pushing toward the front. In the rush, Sheldon is forced backward, stumbling into Mary who is looking on at the brawl open-mouthed.

The entire cabin is involved in a fight with many rushing to get out of the way. In the dimness, dark stains begin coating the walls and overhead bins, lines streaming down from the thicker blotches.

With a rush of passengers approaching, Sheldon knows he won’t be able to stop them before being trampled underfoot. It’s a dilemma between protecting the passengers or his crew. He’s not certain how he can safeguard the passengers at this point. Stymied by indecision, he watches the approaching horde. Behind them, he sees others go down. The first man attacked lies at his feet. Sheldon can’t hear his moans above the chaos rolling through the cabin. The very aircraft threatens to shake apart from the screams of terror, the shrieks of the infected, and cries of pain. All of his other flight crew are trapped behind the passengers streaming for the front.

“Into the cockpit, now!” he shouts to Mary.

She remains standing, transfixed by the horror coming at them. Grabbing her shoulder and turning her, Sheldon pushes her toward the cockpit.

“Go!”

Stumbling over the prone, wounded man, she comes to her senses. With a quick glance behind, she starts for the cockpit with Sheldon following. Knowing he can’t open the door, he grabs for the attendant’s phone and punches the line for the cockpit.

“Everything alright back there?” the co-pilot asks.

“This is Hendricks. Open the door and be quick about it,” Sheldon responds.

Seconds later, although it seems like an eternity, the door opens a crack. Sheldon pushes Mary inside. Following, he closes it quickly behind. The screams permeating the cabin, become muffled. Leaning against the door, Sheldon becomes aware of his panting breath and pounding heart. The co-pilot, standing behind Mary, looks bewildered having heard the screams. His face tells of a hundred unasked questions.

“I’ll tell you in a sec. Right now, we need to get this aircraft on the ground,” Sheldon states, starting for his seat.

The cockpit door shakes from repeated fists hammering on the other side. His co-pilot turns to the door but Sheldon ignores it as he belts in. Looking at the nav display, he sees that Denver is the closest airport lying twenty minutes away to the southeast. As he sets in a new course, he briefly relates to his co-pilot what is happening. Sheldon has trouble telling it because he really doesn’t know what just happened. He sees the look of disbelief in the eyes of the flight officer. If it wasn’t for Mary backing him up, he would think he was the one going crazy.

He keys the mic. “Denver Center, this is Delta 1493 declaring a medical emergency. Requesting divert from present position direct to Denver International.”

“Delta 1493, Denver Center. Copy emergency. Turn right heading one two zero, descend and maintain two five thousand. State nature of medical emergency.”

Sheldon really doesn’t know how to respond to that. He knows if he tells them what he saw, they’ll think they have a lunatic pilot on their hands.

“Center, we have a number of passengers attacking the others. We have numerous casualties and we believe that most of the flight crew are down. The cockpit is secure.”

Sheldon can imagine the looks the other pilots on the frequency are giving one another right now.

Thank goodness we’re on a red-eye and there aren’t many flights airborne, he thinks, knowing it would be a hard one to live down should the world hear about it.

The pounding against the cockpit door continues with a frenzied pace and intensity. He can only imagine the fear that the passengers must be feeling. However, there is nothing he can do.

It’s not like they can go anywhere from here and we certainly can’t hold many in the cockpit. There’s no way I’m letting those crazed ones in here.

The long pause from Denver Center continues. “Delta 1493, state number of casualties and nature of attacks. Squawk appropriate code.”

Sheldon knows the message of his aircraft being attacked is making the controllers believe that he’s being hijacked. However, he can’t really say that, although those infected people may inadvertently bring down the aircraft.

Sheldon replies that their squawk is correct and that he has an unknown number of casualties on board. Denver Center tells them that they are cleared direct Denver and to descend at their discretion. They are giving Sheldon clearance to do as he deems appropriate.

A particularly hard slam against the door shakes the cockpit. All three turn toward the entrance with concern. Rising, Sheldon peers through the peep hole to determine what is going on. The expanded fish-eye view is startling. One of the pale-faced passengers is standing in the aisle. At his feet lie a number of bodies, some piled on top of one another. The man takes a run at the door. As the peep hole fills with his body, Sheldon flinches. The entire aircraft shakes as the man slams into the entrance with his shoulder. The hinges, although holding, vibrate.

Sheldon turns toward the front of the aircraft. Out of the windows, a few pinpoints of light shine from miles below. The lights from Denver and its surrounding cities glow from far away directly off their nose. The altimeter winds through 30,000 feet. His thoughts feel muddled, in shock most likely. Here he stands, on what was to be his last red-eye for some time, a flight to be enjoyed in peace. Instead, he is six miles in the air, flying over some of the most rugged, mountainous terrain in the world, a cabin full of dead passengers, with crazed sick people trying to get into the cockpit.

This all might be easier if we weren’t trapped miles high with nowhere to go. This is it. If they get into the cockpit, there isn’t anywhere to run.

Hoping the door does its job, and thankful, in a strange kind of way, for the need of it, Sheldon retakes his seat. Mary hasn’t moved from the side and is gripping her shirt, her eyes wide with fear. The co-pilot, who Sheldon still doesn’t know although they exchanged pleasantries, looks on with worry but without the fear he should be feeling, his not having witnessed what happened.

Another hard slam startles him. He never knew someone could hit the door so hard and he isn’t sure how long the entrance will actually hold under the onslaught. He informs operations of their predicament knowing he’ll be in for a psyche exam first thing in the morning.

Bang!

Another hard crash shakes the cockpit. Instead of weakening, as he would expect, the crashes against the door seem even harder.

Perhaps out of desperation.

His heart thuds against the wall of his chest. Not knowing if the infected in the back will start hammering against any door they see, Sheldon has the co-pilot and Mary go on oxygen in case of rapid decompression.

Denver Center continues to guide the flight, allowing for any deviations that Sheldon might require. He informs them that he thinks the entire passenger manifest might be either injured or dead. This will make the authorities treat the flight as a hijacking which will extend this long night. Sheldon doesn’t care as long as he can get the 757 on the ground before the infected break through the door. There isn’t an escape hatch built into the aircraft but he’ll feel better knowing they can’t fall miles to the ground.

Slam! The door shakes.

The lights of Denver are closer as they pass through eighteen thousand feet. Their voices and actions are shaky as they progress through their approach to field checks. It’s a race between the structural soundness of the door and the airfield. The cockpit entrance is meant to withstand tremendous pressures to keep potential hijackers out, but Sheldon doesn’t know if it was meant to handle the pounding its taking.

It feels as if the crashes against the door are timed with each couple of hundred feet they descend.

How can those infected sustain that kind of intensity without harm?

Twelve thousand feet.

They turn to the east, setting up for a long turn to final.

Bang!

The vibration sounds different. It has a ring to it as if the door is loosening. Beads of sweat break out on his brow. The race is going to be a close one.

Please let the door hold.

Although muffled from his headset, Sheldon hears Mary whimper with each slam against the door. Passing through eight thousand, with the engines in flight idle and speed break deployed to aid in their rapid descent, Sheldon turns to a long final. In the distance, he sees the strobes of the approach lighting system and the steady white of the runway lighting.

“It’s been a helluva night,” the co-pilot says, bringing the flaps down another notch.

“That it has,” Sheldon replies, adjusting their airspeed.

With the continued pounding behind them, almost in their sub-conscious, the gear is lowered. They forgo their normal announcements as, well, they just do, feeling the need for them to be rather moot at the moment. Three green lights flash on and remain steady near the gear handle.

Seven thousand feet, two thousand feet above the ground, and descending in a landing configuration. The pounds against the door continue. The aircraft shakes as it goes through turbulence stemming from the mountain waves. Sheldon applies small corrections to the controls to keep the aircraft aligned. The strobes from the approach lighting blink in rapid succession, pointing toward the runway.

Their bright landing lights illuminate the red metal towers of the approach systems as they flash underneath. Another bang on the door and Sheldon can definitely feel and hear the difference. He knows the door is giving way.

Six thousand feet and the strong beams of their landing lights begin picking up the runway markings. The red flashing lights from the responding emergency vehicles stand out near the runway along its length. Sheldon knows that some will chase the aircraft down the runway when it lands. Due to the nature of their emergency, they’ll stop and hold on the runway, awaiting further instructions.

Almost there.

*  *  *  *  *  *

The tower crew watches Delta Flight 1493 approach, their binoculars trained on the landing lights growing larger and brighter by the second. Due to the nature of the emergency, they’ve cleared the field and airspace around. Of course, it’s early in the morning so they don’t have much traffic to begin with.

With clearance to land given, it’s just a matter of waiting for the flight to touch down and then handing control off to the authorities. They are short-staffed due to the large numbers who have called in sick but, using on-call personnel, they have enough to manage.

The reports from center were sketchy. The pilot reported that the passengers were being attacked and that they had numerous casualties on board. How many there might be were unknown as the pilot was unsure. The latest report indicated that the pilot, co-pilot, and one other flight crew member might be the only ones left alive. They had also reported someone trying to gain entry into the cockpit. That means a hijacking and it may leave Denver closed for some time.

Staring at the approaching lights, the tower personnel note the occasional swing as the aircraft rides through turbulent air. The red flashing lights of emergency vehicles stand to the sides of the runway, the only real indication that something is amiss with the flight. Other than that, it looks like any other airliner approaching for a night landing. The runway controller holds a radio in his hands, ready to turn control of the flight over to the FBI agents who arrived a short while ago. Once the wheels touch the ground, it’s their show.

Over the approach lights, the landing lights break through the darkness. The aircraft experiences another wobble of turbulence which is almost immediately righted. The runway threshold begins to be illuminated under the intense glare. Going through another moment of turbulence, the 757 slews slightly to the side. Used to seeing the effect of turbulence from the wind passing over the mountains a short distance to the west, the controllers gathered together in the tower expect an immediate correction. They are taken aback, and then watch in horror, as the aircraft slides to one side of the runway and slams into the ground. Dirt, metal, and fuel are thrown into the air and off to the sides. Skidding across the ground, the aircraft begins coming apart. The fuel, thrown from ruptured tanks, becomes vaporized by the impact and ignites with a tremendous concussive explosion that lasts only moments before settling back down to a slow burning fire.

They were right about one thing; Denver would be closed for some time.

***

SummerZombie Shirt Front

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author

 

7 Questions with Dean Drinkel

Today on the FlipSide, I’m featuring an interview with Dean Drinkel. If you’ve yet to become acquainted with Dean, here’s a little information about him…

deanmonaco1Dean M Drinkel: award winning writer, poet, scriptwriter; award nominated short film director; playwright / director.

Welcome Dean! Now let’s get to the questions… Using ten words or less, tell me about your book.

Horror, nasty, gratuitous, complex, manic, Paris, clever, terrifying, metaphysical, inspired.

What song would you want to play during the opening credits of your book were it made into a movie? Why?

Coincidentally I’ve been working on a script based on one of my stories very recently. There is a great track by Moby called ‘Stella Maris’ which would be bloody perfect.  In 2012 I won a screenplay award for a script I wrote called ‘Bright Yellow Gun’ which was inspired by a Throwing Muses song of the same name. I promised Kristin (lead singer, songwriter of the band) that if the film ever got made then we just had to use the song – she’s up for it.

Who would you want to direct the story of your life? Is there anyone specific you’d like to play you?

If I couldn’t do it myself (I have experience!) than, it would be either the French director Christophe Ruggia or the Belgian director Stephan Streker. I suppose I wouldn’t mind David Lynch either. To play me, whilst they look nothing like – Leonardo Dicaprio, Dane DeHaan or a very talented French actor, Vincent Rottiers – in fact, how about a number of different actors playing me at different times of my life – yeah, I like that idea. There are perhaps two British comedians that could have a good go too – Ricky Gervais or Vic Reeves.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you prefer to hand write your works or type them directly into your word processor?

I like this question because in all honesty it depends what I’m writing. If it’s a script I love just hitting the keys and letting my fingers do the talking, if it’s a short story then I tend to do the first couple of drafts handwritten and then onto the laptop. The creative process is really different I find depending on what you’re writing, I tend to ‘think at different speeds’ if I’m using the pen or the keyboard.

For me, what I always need is a title and then I can go from there. If I don’t have a title then I’ll just stare at the blank screen / paper and procrastinate. Give me that title and I’m gone…sometimes of course, I get inspired by a phrase or a person and that can take me down a creative path but it always comes back to the title.  Of course, if the title changes during the working process then I can find myself in all kinds of trouble ha ha.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself: something you wish you knew then that you know now?

Ha I have these discussions quite a lot, especially as I get older. I’ve got a good friend who has lots of ‘creativity’ but perhaps doesn’t know how to express it or get it out of his system. We’re working on something together as we speak which HOPEFULLY will see the light of day later this year. My advice is simple: write, write, write; never be ashamed of what you do and do all you can to do what you love. I went to University and after graduation a whole load of us stayed together and we ended up getting ’9 – 5’ jobs and joined the rat-race – shouldn’t have done that: as soon as graduation came, I should have packed my bags, gone back to the family house, locked my bedroom door and just got on with it.  There’s a great scene in Leonardo’s Total Eclipse, where he played the poet Rimbaud. His lover, Verlaine, rents him this crummy room in a loft in the middle of Paris. It was a shit-hole BUT it has a desk and Rimbaud is happy. He ushers Verlaine out of the room, he takes out his pen and paper and off he goes – happy as a pig in mud!

What are the three books that really inspired you to become a writer?

Clive Barker’s Books Of Blood; Brett Easton Ellis American Psycho; John Fowles The Magus.

Now it’s time for the Rapid. Fire. Questions.

  • Coffee or tea? Tea – Early Grey
  • Cats or dogs? Cats – just
  • Snow or sun? Sun
  • Print books or eReader? Print every time
  • Nachos or potato chips? Nachos
  • Baked or fried? Baked
  • Candy or chocolate? Candy
  • Comedy, Romance, or Horror? Horror
  • Action, Science Fiction, or Animated? Science-Fiction
  • Classics or Modern? Classics
  • Old World or New World? Old World
  • Sweet or spicy? Spicy
  • Comfort or Speed? Comfort

Thank you Dean for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to connect with Dean, you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, his website or his blog.

Now let’s take a look at the anthology Dean recently edited The Bestiarum Vocabulum (TRES LIBORUM PROHIBITORUM)…Clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon!beast frontA catalog of mythic beasts and demons that were summoned by esoteric means. Once owned by Count Allesandro Di Cagliostro, it was thought forever lost in a fire at the Chateau de Versailles. Two hundred years later, twenty-six modern day masters of the macabre bring The Bestiarum Vocabulum back from the ashes. Authors include: Emile-Louis Tomas Jouvet, Jan Edwards, Martin Roberts, Lisa Jenkins, Peter Mark May, Raven Dane, Joe Mynhardt, Rakie Keig, D.T. Griffith, Mark West, John Palisano, Amelia Mangan, Robert Walker, Christine Dougherty, Tim Dry, Nerine Dorman, Dean M. Drinkel, Christine Morgan, Tej Turner, D.M. Youngquist, Jason D. Brawn, Lily Childs, Andy Taylor, Sandra Norval, Adrian Chamberlin, and Barbie Wilde.

The Coven Blog Tour: Guest Post from Angie Gallow

Angie Gallow is currently touring the internet in support of her vampiric horror debut novel, The Coven. I wanted to learn a little more about Angie’s process and in that, to learn just who her favourite character is. Luckily, she told me the answer and I’m sharing that with you all. But before we get to that, let’s learn a little bit more about Angie…

The author known as Angie Gallow enjoys all things weird and creepy. A great lover of books and words, words, words as Hamlet would so eloquently put it. Even though this is the first novel published, the author has been writing for years, honing her craft through the fine professors at Columbia College in Chicago.

Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

TheCoven_AngieGallow_PostCard

So let’s hop in and learn just who Angie’s favourite is…

Do Writers Have a Favorite Character?

Angie Gallow

Many would equate a writer having a favorite character is similar to asking a mother if she has a favorite child, but yes, I do. I spent a great deal of time coming with up with diverse and interesting characters for my novel and in that development time, I became very attached to the character Grace LeVine. Many have said she favors my personality but the reason I enjoyed writing her was because I purposely made her mysterious.

It is believed that writers know their characters inside and out; what they would do in certain situations, when and where they were born and how they became the character we know them to be. Some writers enjoy showing their characters off in the sense they’re showing off what an awesome personality they’ve created. But Grace was like my little secret. With every other character, we can draw a line and figure out what makes them tick, but Grace is a bit harder to figure out.

I wanted Grace to be this mysterious little creature who has an ear for language, who becomes fluent in a language simply by hearing it for the first time. She is notoriously cool, calm and collected to the point where even being kidnapped by the band of rogue vampires doesn’t ruffle her. This is because I know all that Grace has been through in her mortal and immortal lives; she’s a runaway from a Baton Rouge orphanage who had to figure out a way to survive on the harsh streets of Victorian London. I loved knowing everything that went through Grace’s mind without showing it; I loved veiling her behind her even-tempered, Devil-may-care demeanor and expert gambling skills, which no one seems to know how she acquired.

Grace was my favorite because as much as I wanted to give her colorful past the spotlight, I refrained believing there should always be a character lurking in the story that only the writer truly knows. Although I know everything about all of my characters, Grace is really nothing like me. Although we share the same go-with-the-flow demeanor, Grace can stand in the face adversity and take it without flinching. Grace is simply one of those people who saves her emotions for the serious situations that call for her to be angry, sad, happy, or fearful; she doesn’t waste them. And when she makes up her mind, she’s made it, except when it comes to Lauren, he’s her only soft spot.

Thank you Angie! Now let’s take a look at The Coven and get to an excerpt from the book!

TheCoven_Final_cover_frontAfter a gruesome betrayal, vampire Sebastien Vilmont is flung into a whirlwind cat and mouse game when his traveling party is ambushed by an opposing group of bloodthirsty vampires. Maurice, the leader of Sebastien’s coven, makes the decision to not only wage war against the opposing vampire clan, but a clerical organization known as The Diocese Club who wishes to exterminate all vampire-kind.

Trying desperately to protect the secrecy of their coven’s location below the streets of Whitechapel, London, Sebastien finds himself at odds with Maurice in his desire to not engage in all-out war with the renegade Catholic faction. At the same time, he must also battle the other vampire coven to guard their anonymity from humans. In doing so, Sebastien is forced into choices and alliances he might not otherwise have made.

Set in the tone of Victorian England, The Coven is a thrilling and horrific journey through the seedier workings of the vampire underworld, and pious ideology of The Diocese Club.

Purchase Links:

Amazon:

US | Canada | UK | Australia | Germany | France | Italy | Spain | Brazil | India | Mexico | Japan

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Barnes & Noble

iBooks (Apple)

***

And there’s a giveaway!! 

Win 1 of 5 copies of The Coven by Angie Gallow

***

An Excerpt from The Coven by Angie Gallow…

Two

“You in or out, then?” Lauren Granger said tossing a coin onto the table as his Cockney accent honeyed the room. A marathon Poker game in the cellar had been in session the majority of the night. Lauren peered over his hand of cards with a toothy, mischievous grin at Sebastien.

“Surely, if you have enough money to cover your loss,” Sebastien retorted, raising one eyebrow. Lauren rolled his eyes and let a sigh pass from between his teeth.

The large round table they sat at was filled with empty glasses that held red residue, cards, coins and banknotes. Sebastien snuffed out his cigarette in a smoking tray, ending the wafting ballet of red smoke only to replace it with a fresh one. It dangled idly from his lips as he lit it and studied his cards as though they were a complex mathematic equation and one misplaced step would ruin his answer. Another coin fell on top of the pile.

“In.” Grace LeVine’s southern accent echoed. She sat beside Lauren at the table. Sebastien glanced up at the small beauty who wore a look of calm indifference as she rearranged the cards in her hand. Grace’s eyes seemed to hold every star in the sky within them and carried a complexion of the finest bowl of butterscotch money could buy.

Lauren leapt up from sitting on one of his loose suspender straps then rearranged himself back in his chair.

“Nervous, comrade?” Octavio Perez grinned sheepishly as he fingered a banknote in his white hands before letting it fall onto the table. His eyes were sharp as knives and he grinned like a plotting villain.

“He never wins, he’s got nothing to be nervous about,” Octavio’s twin sister, LaStacia passed a wink across the table at Sebastien, who chuckled silently behind his cards.

“Bugger off, the lot of you,” Lauren sighed, relieved at the fact he was incapable of turning red.

“Not our fault you play like a dog,” Lee Green’s deaf-accented voice sounded at Lauren. Lauren twisted his nose a bit and looked at Lee with a grimace.

“You just call me a doll, then?”

“He’s said, ‘dog’, love,” Grace looked at her sweetheart then back to Lee, signing what he said back to him. Lee nodded with a light giggle, “Dog,” Grace made the sign for the word, sliding her fingers together as one does to snap them. Grace had learned Lee’s mode of communication in the same fashion she had learned Spanish. Grace would become fluent by hearing any language only once and she was the only person in the entire coven who could communicate effectively with Lee.

Sebastien glanced over his cards once more before a small hand reached passed him for a waiting glass. Calvin Bell was only a head taller than the table. He carried a round tray in his small arms that he would place empty glasses.  The little boy circled the table with his tray. No one sitting asked him for much of anything and did their best to ignore the fact that a mortal child was acting as their servant.

Calvin passed Grace, who would carefully slip a series of coins from her own pocket into the lad’s as he moved past her. Calvin smiled lightly and eased past Lauren, who merely took his glass back before Calvin could lift it.

“I got it, lad, no worries,” Lauren would often say whenever Calvin attempted his duties. Finally, as the child finished his rounds, Sebastien lifted the tray from his hands. Calvin looked at Sebastien with sapphire eyes that twinkled innocently.

“Have a seat,” he moved an empty chair closer to the table for Calvin, who did so reluctantly. Sebastien placed a hand fondly on the boy’s head.

Everyone sitting at the table was considered an outcast within the coven. Lauren and Grace’s poverty was apparent the moment they arrived. The only possession of value between them was a pocket watch Lauren inherited after the death of his father at the age of six. Having only been in their twenties when they were transformed and used to living in squalor, Maurice had assigned them quarters near the coven house’s cellars.

Calvin sat quietly at the table, watching the card game. The child was the only mortal within the coven’s walls. He was bound to the place after a group of vampires invaded his home and killed his family; he was found hiding from the slaughter in his bedroom closet. He was carted back to the coven and given to Alaric, under the coven’s strict rules that children were never to be killed. The child was made to earn his keep as the coven’s servant boy and would forever remain.

LaStacia and Octavio were often never trusted; their clairvoyance kept others away. They would often take turns mystifying and otherwise, terrifying coven members with their sight, finding members of the coven and telling them information without warning. It was such a random occurrence that members would be fearful of what they could be told; the intense and thorough insight had forced them out of the coven’s acceptance.

Lee was unknown and deaf. His inability to communicate properly was viewed as something distasteful, like an illness that was contagious should one get too close. Maurice shunned him by appointing him as a personal secretary. He was given an office and enough work to seal him away for as long as needed. It was unknown how he arrived or found out about the coven but despite being locked away, nothing about their home was a mystery to him.

Sebastien had been unable to blend into the well-kept coven. He continued to live the life he was accustomed to; alone and private with few friends. He was never fond of a wealthy lifestyle nor could he comprehend the need for extravagance. The coven house was bathed in dazzling colors, rich ornaments and glossy furnishings. Members were proud to match their new home with decadence, refined etiquette and holier than thou behaviors. Sebastien was often revolted whenever he was made to participate.

He took a swallow from his glass and looked over at Lauren.

“I will see your five shillings,” Sebastien threw coins onto the table, “and raise you… ten more.”

Lauren’s eyes widen at the sight of the money on the table. Calvin giggled at the sight of his twisted expression as Grace placed her hand on his elbow.

“Breathe.”

Sebastien eyed his competitor with a smirk and Lauren could only blink. Lauren looked down at his cards, holding an incomplete pair and felt his stomach lurch. He threw his head back against the head of the chair and threw down his cards.

“Bloody hell!”

Octavio finally revealed his hand; an ace, a king, an eight of clubs and four of hearts. His sister looked at him with contempt, having bet their last banknote. She slapped the back of his head as Octavio cradled his face in his hands. Lee looked around and shrugged, his hand was no better, if not worse than Octavio and Lauren’s. He laid the cards out and took his loss.

Grace and Sebastien eyed one another with competitive glares. Grace had made a career playing every game that one could bet on before her life as a vampire and Sebastien tried to think of new ways to outplay and outthink her.

“Ladies, first,” Sebastien graciously motioned towards Grace.

“Yeah, too bad you called me a ragamuffin earlier,” she countered.

“That was before money was on the table.”

Grace looked down at her cards with a somber gaze for what felt like an eternity. Her nimble fingers teased the edge of the cards as she made the few subtle adjustments to their order. Octavio looked over at her, his elbows still resting on the table in defeat and his sister leaning over as she watched Grace’s unraveled expression. Grace leaned forward as she plucked a card from her hand and raised it just before it hit the tabletop.

A royal flush presented itself on the table and Sebastien’s face fell to the floor. Lauren and Lee let out hearty laughter as Grace’s hand swiped the money from the table. She smiled warmly as Sebastien wiped his face free of tension before letting out a hard sigh. Grace put her money in the front pocket of her trousers. “Maybe now we can buy our way out of the cellars?” she looked at Lauren.

“Good luck with that bargain,” Lauren laughed.

The game ended and the friends went their separate ways. Calvin trailed behind Sebastien like a faithful pup as they climbed the stairs from the parlor. They emerged in the main corridor, greeted with a glowing chandelier that bounced light from whatever surface it touched.  Sebastien began down the hall, towards his chambers when Alaric approached him coming from the opposite direction. Calvin was waved along as Alaric stopped short in front of Sebastien.

“I’ve been looking for you all evening.” Alaric placed his arm slightly around Sebastien, turning him in the opposite direction. He spoke in a cagey whisper as he led them down the hall, “Father has an idea that I think we should consider.”

“We?” Sebastien inquired. His suspicions mounted as he recalled the volatile reaction from Maurice months prior, after Sebastien recounted his tale of how he had arrived. He had buried the account in the back of his mind, giving no real thoughts to it as he carried on with his existence. Alaric shushed his friend, telling him to keep his voice low.

“Yes, we,” Alaric affirmed.

They finally stopped and Alaric opened a door and ushered his friend inside. He shut the door behind him and motioned for Sebastien to sit. The room was dim as the two sat across from each other and Sebastien pulled out another cigarette, striking a match.

“Since you’re one of the few survivors who has seen the vampires that have been employed by the Diocese Club, Father wants you to assist with his plans,” Alaric explained.

“What are his plans?” Sebastien’s tone was matter of fact as he eyed his friend intently. Sebastien’s cigarette hissed as he inhaled. Alaric explained that Maurice was drawing plans to capture one of the vampires who had been trained to work for the Diocese Club, saying that Maurice would extract information from the vampire by any means to use against the Diocese. Sebastien closed his eyes and removed the cigarette from between his lips.

“And how does he intend to do this?” the sarcasm in Sebastien’s tone was not missed and Alaric leaned forward.

“That’s where you come in.”

“Excuse me?” Sebastien raised an eyebrow and looked closely at his friend. Contempt grew in his eyes and Sebastien unfolded his legs and leaned forward, “Does it look like I want to be involved with something as insanely dangerous as that? I understand your father’s motives and means to exact revenge but for the love of God! Even with one, two or all of those vampires, we will never have enough information to take down that organization! The attempt at a war is a suicidal plot that I will not be a part of!”

Alaric looked at Sebastien and silently weighed out his friend’s convictions. Alaric continued to stress that the plan would help end the savage attacks on their kind. He continued to say that the plan could assist in finding the other vampires in the hunting group. Yet, the more he talked, the more Sebastien stubbornly shook his head.

“I will not be a part of a campaign that has the strongest potential for our downfall. Tell your father that regardless of any amount of information he extracts, the Diocese Club is too elusive. Hell, where would you even begin to search for one of those vampires?”

Alaric’s face darkened as Sebastien stood from the chair and made his way towards the door.

“We know ourselves well enough to know where to look for them.”

Thank you Angie!

#Winners Announced!!

The giveaway I was running for the #SummerofZombie blog tour ended last night at 11:59pm EST and I have picked the winners!! In no particular order they are:

Claire Rees

ZombieGlorya QueenoftheDead Snodgrass

Susan Pigott

Tammy Gaylor Beard

Rebecca Besser

Each of these wonderful Zombie fans wins a digital copy of Glimpses of the Undead and Days with the Undead; Book One!

A huge thank you to all whom entered and downloaded a #FREE copy of The Dead of Penderghast Manor!

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A Monday for Anything: Guest Post by Celia Bonaduce

Today on The Flipside, I’m featuring a guest post from author Celia Bonaduce. If you’re not acquainted with Celia yet, here’s a little information about her…

Celia-BonaduceCelia Bonaduce is an award-winning producer whose credits cover a lot of ground – everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone. If Celia Bonaduce’s last name is any indication, she is proof that TV talent runs in the family.

An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been a lifelong ambition. The Merchant of Venice Beach is book one of her three-book deal with eKensington, a digital imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp. The follow up novel, A Comedy of Erinn, has also been released, and book three, Much Ado About Mother, will be coming out on May 29th, 2014.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

So what did Celia choose to tell us about? Well, her guest post talks about one success and one challenge she’s faced in writing her book. So without further ado, here’s Celia!

When I was writing the first book of THE VENICE BEACH ROMANCES (The Merchant of Venice Beach), I decided I had to stay focused on the business at hand – writing the book(s).  I was very focused – my job was to write the books and get an agent. It was my agent’s job to find a publisher.  So I never let my mind wander into daydreams about finally getting my books out there.  I would do MY job and let my (somewhere in the future) agent do his/hers.  So, I would have to say my greatest success was the day that Sharon Bowers of the Miller, Bowers, Griffin Agency said she would represent me.  She called on my cell phone while I was at the library with my mother.  I stepped outside to take the call and came back in to tell my mother, but since we were in the library, I had to talk in a hushed voice.  Add to that the fact that I was crying like a crazy person and my mom couldn’t understand anything I was whispering.  I kept trying to tell her it was GOOD news, but we had to go back outside, so I could share the news.  I was crying really hard and my mother said she didn’t have any idea how important getting an agent was to me and to tell the truth, until that very moments, I didn’t know it myself.

Staying on task remains a constant challenge especially since that time-suck FACEBOOK came into my life.  Now that I have three books to publicize, I’m looking at Facebook and Twitter and Instagram several times a day – with the excuse that I’m “using” social media to get the word out there!  I’ve made a deal with myself:  I click a stopwatch when I start lurking social media and when I stop the clock, I see how much time I have wasted, and make myself write for that amount of time.  Sad, but true.

Thank you Celia! Now let’s take a look at Much Ado About Mother

Much-Ado-About-MotherLook out, Venice Beach–the Wolf women are all together again. But when 70-year-old Virginia arrives with her teacup Chihuahua and unshakeable confidence, she senses trouble. Erinn is keeping secrets–like being broke and out of work–and Suzanna is paying too much attention to the wrong man–a Latino dance instructor who nearly broke her heart once before. Virginia’s ready for the third act of her life, and she intends to make it rousing and romantic. Now she just has to convince her daughters to throw out their old scripts. If life has taught Virginia anything, it’s this: there’s more than one way to a “happily ever after”…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

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There’s also a Giveaway!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Giveaway is International

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#FREE Promotion and #GIVEAWAY

It’s Friday the 13th and what would this day be without a few treats for everyone??

First up, Phrenic Press has decided to put my short story, The Dead of Penderghast Manor, on FREE promo from today until June 15th. That means you can go to Amazon and download a copy for your reading enjoyment without having to shell out any of your hard earned pennies!  Clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon for the download!

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Also available for free on these Amazon sites: 

Canada | Australia | UK | Germany | France | Italy | Spain | Mexico | India | Japan | Brazil

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And in addition to that, I’m running a giveaway as part of the #SummerofZombie Blog Tour spearheaded by Armand Rosamilia from today until June 15th!

What’s up for grabs?

5 prize packs which include digital copies of both Glimpses of the Undead, my short story collection and Days with the Undead: Book One.

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 Enter for a Chance to Win!

And do you want to know what’s cool?? If you download a #FREE copy of The Dead of Penderghast Manor, you get extra entires! If you want to read the short, and leave an honest review for it on Amazon, you’ll get even more entries! 

7 Questions with Jay Wilburn

Today on The Flipside, I feature an interview with Jay Wilburn, author of many things including Time Eaters. Let’s take a moment to get to know him a little better…

meJay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in the swamps of coastal South Carolina. He left teaching after sixteen years to care for the health needs of his younger son and to pursue writing full time. He has published a number of works including the novel Loose Ends: A Zombie Novel and Time Eaters. He has a zombie story in Best Horror of the Year volume 5. Jay is one of the featured authors in the Dark and Bookish documentary project.

Welcome Jay! Now it’s time for the questions… Using ten words or less, tell me about your book.

Time traveling cannibals really ruin your plans.

What song would you want to play during the opening credits of your book were it made into a movie? Why?

I Am the Cosmos” by Chris Bell  … It has that weird, timeless sound and it encapsulates the futility of trying to encapsulate the entire universe.

Who would you want to direct the story of your life? Is there anyone specific you’d like to play you?

My life? Well, Bryan Ekardt of Wayward Son Productions is filming the documentary Dark and Bookish that is following me a few other authors including Max Booth III, Jessica McHugh, Adam Millard, Derek Deremer, and more.

Maybe Kevin Smith could direct the fictionalized version. Playing me … Danny Trejo or Babette Bombshell.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you prefer to hand write your works or type them directly into your word processor?

I outline longer pieces and keep extensive notes on characters and story details in notebooks as I’m writing. I usually go off outline fairly quickly. I keep detailed notes on characters from physical traits to behaviours to quirks to anything else that comes up as the story goes. I think life can be chaotic, but it has themes because people create patterns.

I always type directly to the laptop as I write the story. I never want to do a job twice. I’ll edit a hundred times, but I draft for a finish line.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself: something you wish you knew then that you know now?

Oh, I wrote a whole novel about how trying to do this destroys the universe. I would be floored with fear if I knew a fraction of what I’ve been through before it happened. “Write a zombie novel in the early 90’s. Don’t even worry about it being good.”

What are the three books that really inspired you to become a writer?

The Stand

The Hobbit

The Revelation of John

Now it’s time for the Rapid. Fire. Questions.

    • Coffee or tea? – Tea: cold, sweet, and continuous
    • Cats or dogs? – neither. Animals are for eating
    • Snow or sun? – Sun
    • Print books or eReader? – I’ll take money from both and read both, but I love print book in hand.
    • Nachos or potato chips? – I refuse to chose. This is America and I want both
    • Baked or fried? – I want to believe baked, but it is probably fried
    • Candy or chocolate? – candy
    • Comedy, Romance, or Horror? – Horror for movie and book; comedy for TV
    • Action, Science Fiction, or Animated? – Sci fi
    • Classics or Modern? – I love both, but I guess classics in most things
    • Old World or New World? – I’m not good with change, but can’t give up the New World comforts.
    • Sweet or spicy? – sweet
    • Comfort or Speed? – Comfort

Thank you Jay for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Jay you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, his Amazon Author Page and his website.

Now let’s take a quick look at Time Eaters… Clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon!

te cover 2Following his father’s suicide, Al and his best friend, Nick, devote their lives to building a time machine. When future versions of themselves begin popping up, they find it safe in concluding they’ve succeeded. However, when an endless army of time-traveling cannibals make an entrance, all the Als and Nicks of the myriad of timelines in the universe must do everything they can to reverse the apocalypse they may have accidentally started.

Book Blast: The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker

Last2

The Last Ancient

Eliot Baker

LastAround Nantucket Island, brutal crime scenes are peppered with ancient coins, found by the one man who can unlock their meaning. But what do the coins have to do with the crimes? Or the sudden disease epidemic? Even the creature? And who–or what–left them?
The answer leads reporter Simon Stephenson on a journey through ancient mythology, numismatics, and the occult. Not to mention his own past, which turns out to be even darker than he’d realized; his murdered father was a feared arms dealer, after all. Along the way, Simon battles panic attacks and a host of nasty characters — some natural, others less so — while his heiress fiancee goes bridezilla, and a gorgeous rival TV reporter conceals her own intentions.
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Excerpt:
Driscoll gets on one knee beside Fernandez and jots notes in her pad. I point out some coppery feathers on the other side of the clearing. She tells me to be quiet while she’s writing. I ask about the marks on the deer’s back. She says silence is gold. Fair enough.
They don’t know I dropped out of Harvard Medical School my fourth year. I’ve also been on safari in Tanzania. I understand trauma and slaughter. The slash marks in the deer’s neck and shoulders are deep and precise. Its back is torn up. Something mounted it and ripped its head off, like a giant hyena or a wolf or even an exotic hybrid, but with the strength of a bear. The missing limb and heart and the disembowelment are confusing, however. Those look surgical. Meanwhile, the skull looks bashed, cracked open; yup, there are blood stains on the boulder. And the marks on the animal’s back resemble puncture wounds. Click.
A sunray shoots through the sharp woody tangle. Lights up something beside the feathers. It glows like a golden strand of spider web. I point it out, but Fernandez tells me to zip it. I salute him.
A cloud passes over the sun. The golden thread dims. I pluck it from beside the feathers before it disappears. It lights up again in my hand. The thing’s weird resilience and luster is captivating. Probably a hair, but more like a small-gauge acupuncture needle. As I pocket it, something glows blue and then extinguishes in the brush ahead of me. Maybe the sun hit on colored glass or a butterfly or a blue bird.
Twigs snap in the distance. Then more. We share a silent what-the-hell? moment. The rustling and snapping gets louder. Closer. We discern growling. Something is crashing along the path that Dr. Driscoll just carved with her machete. I suck in breath and swivel my head. Fernandez is up, his hand on his Glock. No predators on Nantucket, right, Sergeant? Even Dr. Driscoll’s dusky face goes pale.
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Eliot-BakerAbout the Author:
Eliot Baker lives in Finland. He teaches communications at a local college and runs an editing and translating business. But he would rather sing (in English) for his heavy metal band and write novels full-time. He grew up near Seattle, got his B.A. in World Literature at Pitzer College, and got his M.S. in Science Journalism from Boston University. He was an award-winning journalist at the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror, and before that he wrote for the Harvard Health Letters. He spent four years pursuing a career in the sciences while at the Harvard Extension School, during which time he spun old people in NASA-designed rocket chairs and kept younger people awake for 86 hours at a time in a sleep deprivation study. He likes good books and bad movies, as long as there’s popcorn served.
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 Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
$10 Amazon gift card
Giveaway is International.