Grasped in my hand, I clutch the chalk, leaving a line of it along the asphalt as a trace your body. When we were younger, the outlines were smaller; butterflies whose wings stopped fluttering, birds who fell from the sky at the end, small squirrels caught beneath the wheels of a faster car.
The world has changed since then. It’s dirtier. Angrier. Apocalyptic in its need to conform to a society where no one cares for their fellow man.
But I still care. As I finish, I look at the tips of my fingers stained dark with blood and chalk.
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2020 Julianne Snow
My choice was easy. I hated choosing dare because they were always so stupid. Who wanted to run around outside in the snow naked or kiss the first stranger they came upon? Not me. Truth was the only game I was ever willing to play but I admit I did love to watch my friends act like complete idiots during their turns.
Their eyes darted to mine, their voices hushed against each others faces. They wanted to ask me something specific; something revealing.
Would they find the courage?
And then the question came…
“Have you ever killed anyone, Marie?”
Copyright © 2020 Julianne Snow. All Rights Reserved
Genre: Mixed Short Stories
Gen Alpha-Z is a powerful little book that packs a massive literary punch. The sequel to the successful debut, The Originals, Gen Alpha-Z is a breath-taking collection of 25 original stories written by talented young writers aged between six and 21 years around the world. These hugely talented authors entered The little BIG Book Competition run by The Lil’ Author Skool in 2018-2019. Judged by an independent panel, eight stories selected to be in this new anthology won and a further 16 were chosen as stand-out stories that merited publication. Launching on Universal Children’s Day – 20th November 2019 – #GenAlphaZ is set to be a huge success that showcases the astoundingly high quality of writing by today’s children and teenagers – the next generation of authors are already showing what they’re capable of and it’s incredibly excited for the future of literature! Introducing the freshest voices in original fiction.
About the Publisher: The Lil’ Author Skool is a not for profit organisation. It was founded in 2016 by London born author A. Bello, who wrote her debut novel ‘Emily Knight I am…’ at aged 12! .We are passionate about encouraging young people to read and write and want to give them as many free and affordable opportunities. The Lil’ Author Skool is part of The Author School (GB Entrepreneur Awards Finalists 2016) and we help young writers aged 5-21 years old. The little BIG Book Comp started in 2016 and The Originals is our first book.
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Genre: Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Deadly Encounters Book 1
With bills to pay, an orphaned niece to raise and her job on the line, Gemma Fitzgibbons needs a front-page story in order to keep her job. A serial killer and a corrupt detective, whose father was accused of corruption, offer headline possibilities, but when she confronts Jack Donahue, the detective is nothing like she expected.
Jack considers reporters to be bottom-feeders, and deep into the investigation of a series of murders in which the victim is posed with a wedding veil, he doesn’t have the time or inclination to delve into the scandal that ruined his father’s career. But Gemma won’t take no for an answer. Neither will she stop investigating the Wedding Veil Killer. When she attracts the attention of the killer, Jack is assigned to keep her safe. But Gemma isn’t about to hide away. She intends to use the leads she’s developed to help him track down the person responsible for the gruesome murders.
Torn between his dislike of reporters and his admiration for the smart, sexy, reporter he’s drawn deeper into the scandal in his father’s past–a scandal that someone will kill to keep hidden.
But, when Gemma uncovers secrets about the scandal, and her life is threatened, Jack is determined to protect her. It’s also time to make a choice–leave the past buried or fight for the future.
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Deadly Encounters Book 2
Kelsey Tremayne’s life unraveled in the summer of her 16th year when she and a friend were abducted. She came out of the experience alive, but without memories of her abduction and her friend was never found. Rumors that she’d killed her friend in jealousy, and that she was mentally unstable, started and eventually her parents moved her away from Carville. Now, she’s back in Carville to settle her aunt’s estate. However, someone is watching her, playing with her mind. Could it even escalate to murder?
One man is willing to stand by her, protect her, and breach the barriers that have guarded her heart for so long.
Sam Carmichael stays focused on the job and keeps his personal interactions limited. The emotional instability of his wife and her subsequent suicide have made him leery of getting deeply involved with anyone. Even so, someone is targeting Kelsey Tremayne and the roots go back twelve years to an abduction that was never solved. As Sam is drawn deeper into the case, he can’t help admiring Kelsey’s strength and compassion and he vows to do everything he can to find the truth and bring her kidnapper to justice.
Can two people hurt by their pasts survive a criminal’s web to find a future together?
Deadly Encounters Book 3
Angie Rossi is a first grade teacher with a large Italian family that is about to celebrate her grandparents’ fiftieth anniversary at a resort in the snowy Catskill Mountains of New York. She’s wrangled her neighbor into playing her date for the weekend. Only, when she opens the door she finds Joe Vanetti, a nemesis from her childhood, ready to be her escort.
Joe Vanetti is a cop intent on tracking down a jewel thief from his past. He’s gotten word that his suspect will be at the hotel where Angie’s grandparents are holding their celebration and where a famous violinist with an equally famous emerald necklace is set to perform. Joe persuades Angie to let him be her date. This Christmas will be one neither will forget, assuming they live to see the day.
About the Author: Zia Westfield creates suspenseful, exciting stories with romance at the heart of them. There is nothing more thrilling than watching two people fall in love despite the odds and the danger surrounding their every move.
She makes her home in Tokyo with her husband and three sons. She holds a full-time job, volunteers too much because she doesn’t know how to say “no,” and generally finds peace.
Zia Westfield “Cream” SwagBag worth $50 (US only)
Zia Westfield “Tokyo” SwagBag worth $50
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*Sharing this from my other site Days with the Undead…
The patter of the rain on the tin roof set the acoustics of the building off, throwing noise at her from each corner. Startled, she peered into the gloom. She knew she’d lost them in the rain, the reverberation of the droplets on the cold ground meant they couldn’t easily track her.
Breathing a small sigh of relief, she sat down on the damp dirt floor to wait out the rain and the dead outside. The rain was calming; protective.
What she didn’t hear over the downpour was the slithering of the animated carcass slowly getting closer and closer…
© 2019 Julianne Snow
Have You Ever…
Have you ever felt the searing pain of a bite? The way your flesh tears away from itself, the warmth of your blood spreading outward? The white hot pain that clouds your judgement as the nerves once hidden are exposed to the harshness of the outside world?
It’s agony, pure and simple. Your body reacts with a flush of adrenaline, turning you into a super human for the moments it can stand the natural drug running through it. Pain becomes numbed, your other senses heightened, but sometimes it’s for naught.
There’s nothing you can do in the face of murderous hunger. A hunger so intense its unimaginable by those not feeding off it.
The minute I fall is the minute it’s over. The pain is more intense and while my eyes don’t want to see my own end, it is inevitable. That face, my blood smeared across it, is the image I see before it goes dark.
Have you ever felt the instinctual need to eat? The way flesh tears away from itself, the warmth of someone’s blood as it flows down your throat? The blinding need that clouds your judgement as the taste of your victim spreads through your amygdala.
It’s ecstasy, pure and simple. Your body reacts with a flush of dopamine, turning your desire into something palpable, orgasmic. Your other senses heighten as the pleasure washes over you, you want—no, need—more.
There’s nothing you can do in the face of insatiable hunger. Your hunger so intense it transforms into unimaginable pleasure misunderstood unless you’ve felt it firsthand.
In a minute it’s over and the bliss slackens, falling off into nothingness but a dull remembrance. The pain of need becomes intense again and your smile turns into a grimace. The body before you is spent, their blood a reminder of the hunger that’s building again.
Copyright © 2017 Julianne Snow
Where were you born?
I was born in Jackson, Michigan and spent my first five years growing up in a three-room quonset hut with no indoor plumbing in Spring Arbor, Michigan. The next six years, I enjoyed a wonderful learning experience in a four-story mansion called The St. Joseph Orphanage where 50 of us young boys were guided by a stern but very well-meaning group of Polish Nuns. There were no TVs or radios on the premises, and we spent most of our time studying, exercising in team sports, or praying to improve our minds, bodies souls. While many of the lads wouldn’t necessarily feel the same, I truly looked at this journey during my developmental years as something that established very good values and direction to my life.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Calming listener always embracing friendships. (Many troubled boys in the orphanage were drawn to me because I would patiently listen to their concerns and try to console them. Friends were easy to come by in such an environment. It has been a rewording trait that has carried over into my later years!)
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While I began my first journey writing a manuscript about investing in 2013, five years after I retired from IBM, I didn’t feel like a true writer. Yes, I was writing and transforming my knowledge into words, but it wasn’t until I followed my heart and mind into a new world with exciting adventures created through my elaborate dreams that led me to my first science fiction novel. I was truly creating something from my imagination where I’d dive into the depths of the lives of Ukkiville’s villagers and the dangers they faced each and every day! I lived in that world for over a year while writing my first novel!
Who is you hero and why?
My speech teacher, Blaine Goodrich, and his caring wife, Marilyn, who welcomed me into their abode during my senior year in high school when I left home. They were amazing and very understanding of my prior untenable family situation. Blaine was instrumental in guiding me toward a sound college education. He and Mar have supported me throughout my life and proudly attend my book signings during returns to my home town.
The New World Series Book 1
Genre: SciFi Action Adventure
A Step Backward
The New World Series Book 1
“The New World” book series, by Andy Skrzynski, is a creative, science-fiction adventure depicting the life-and-death struggles on Earth after an apocalyptic period between 2019 and 2025. If you enjoy a thrilling tale full of suspense, action, a touch of romance, and a crazy twist here and there, “The New World: A Step Backward” and the sequel, “The New World: Blue Moon Generation,” will help you escape your current world worries. The action’s so real and descriptive you’ll feel as if you’re alongside Thoruk, his loyal friends, and the younger generation as they fight the warriors and vicious creatures stalking the villagers of Ukkiville in the nearby forests, lakes, and mountains before the turn of the next century.
Read more to get a taste of what’s to come in, “The New World: A Step Backward.”
In 2075, following the World Annihilation Period and Earth’s 50-year transformation, the detested Skalag clan periodically pillages Ukkiville to murder and enslave its inhabitants. Dangers intensify as vicious, mutant beasts lurk in the shadows, preying on villagers. At the heart of this evil, the twisted scientist, Zolokt, creates killer combinations of animals, plants, and insects to inflict his acts of revenge.
Infuriated by the savage attacks, a young leader, Thoruk, and his two lifelong friends pledge their lives to protect Ukkiville. The determined ruler aims to forever put an end to Zolokt and his followers, for only then will true freedom reign in The New World.
Blue Moon Generation
The New World Series Book 2
Many peaceful years have passed since the devastating battle of 2075. The new generation, conceived under a mystical blue moon, is about to awaken to the vicious attacks unveiled through their parents’ tales. Once, living only in youngsters’ nightmares, ferocious mutant beasts now stir in the shadows of Ukkiville — even during the light of day. Blood-thirsty predators with glowing eyes, gnashing teeth, and razor-sharp claws prey on unsuspecting victims.
Caru, the brave but brash young daughter of Ukkiville’s ruler, fears nothing. Trained by the best and possessing powers of the mind greater than her father’s, she leads her two lifelong friends into the teeth of intensifying perils.
Meanwhile, in enemy caverns on the other side of the mountains, descendants of the evil Zolokt prepare as well, cloning savage creatures from DNA combinations of animals, insects, and plants. Only time will tell how many of the deadly muclones get released.
The New World Series Book 3
On the verge of winter in 2105, a vicious attack soaks a pasture with blood and crushes Ukkiville’s serenity. Ominous premonitions haunt Hoot while similar dangers surge across Old North America. Tormented by nightmares, the courageous young warrior recruits her friends to join her and hunt the demon of her dreams. Before long, they encounter a beast far more ferocious than any discovered before.
Suspicions fall squarely on the village’s nemesis, as Hoot and the leaders of Ukkiville fear Zo and his Skalags have advanced their DNA process to create monsters nobody can control. With little choice but to ready themselves to thwart increasing slaughters, Hoot, her brother, Skeeter, and a precocious android named Andralec hone their skills and special powers. Until the inhabitants of Ukkiville and the surrounding territory halt this growing threat, survival remains all but uncertain.
About the Author: While writing The New World trilogy proved to be one of the most exciting challenges of my life, if anyone had told me six years ago I’d be writing science fiction action-adventure novels, I would have declared them bonkers! For most of my life, I had been an engineering and programming nerd whose main reading materials included technical scientific articles and books with little time to read novels of any sort of fiction.
The few dreams I experienced during my lengthy career as a Sr. Software Development Manager at IBM mostly focused on conjuring solutions to tough technical issues at work. Never did sleep delve into imagining some fictional adventure. But that all changed after I retired from IBM in March of 2007 at age 53 with 30 rewarding years of service. The extra time on my hands provided plenty of hours to devote to more creative endeavors.
My initial attempt at writing capitalized on my 30 years of investing in all sorts of financial assets. I wanted to share my knowledge with our children to aid their financial planning. After completing more than 400 pages of the manuscript, I joined a writers’ group. The members liked the technical content but advised me to liven it up to make in more attractive for my younger target audience of high school and collage graduates getting a start on life. I came up with an fictional world and a couple of quirky characters to weave into my investing lessons.
The members loved the improvements, but an unexpected problem bared itself: my brain refused to churn out nightly ideas about investments. Instead, my dreams gushed with captivating characters and an intriguing new world with plenty of vicious beasts lurking in the shadows of my mind. I had no choice but to follow the fate which unfolded night after night, providing oodles of exciting material to more than fulfill any writing desires. I provided my financial manuscript to my daughters, and from that exhilarating change of direction in 2014, I’ve been creating a fascinating new world at the turn of the next century!
I began writing my first novel, The New World: A Step Backward in June of 2014 and published it on June 28, 2015. A little over a year later, on October 1, 2016, I published Book 2 of the series, The New World: Blue Moon Generation. After a bit of a delay due to the challenges of a serious family illness, I completed the final novel of the Trilogy, The New World: Crimson Winter and published it on November 6, 2018.
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How did you come up with name of this book?
As you get through the book, water, rain, and drowning are pretty important things. Simply enough, Grey Skies is representative of bad weather, and Roman’s experience, especially as the reader dives into the darker parts of his past, can be equated to “feeling under the weather.”
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Wet dirt in the middle of spring.
Do you see writing as a career?
I’m here now, aren’t I?
Do you read yourself and if so, what is your favorite genre?
I’ll read almost anything besides fantasy. Fantasy itself isn’t bad, but it’s slowly becoming the most tired genre. Every book has started to feel the same to me. A lot of reading online has led me to believe that it’ll be a pseudo-medieval world where a collection of misfits gets together to fight evil that is re-emerging after being dormant for centuries. Prophecy stories are awful, so is dragon-riding, so are epic stories about a bloodline battling for control. It’s just an exhausting genre. No disrespect to whoever writes the stuff, I’m sure there are some very very talented people out there writing fantasy that would knock my socks off.
Besides that, horror and bizarro fiction can always be pretty fun. I prefer my books to be on the condensed side and not meander around for a few hundred pages. The perfect book is between 150-400 pages. Maybe it’s just my attention span, but books like Under the Dome by Stephen King are just exhaustingly long and don’t really take me anywhere new. In that same breath, Carrie is a good example of a perfect novel, as is something like Piercing by Ryu Murakami. Despite my love for horror, I’ll read anything that’s good.
Roman Toguri finds himself burying the body of a nun in Boone, North Carolina. As the skies darken and it begins to storm, he is forced to shove the corpse into his trunk and take it home for the night, unaware of the torment that playing God will bestow upon him.
Enter Hell with two bonus short stories: The White Shade, an ultra-violent look into the mind of a mass shooter, and The Black Box, a psychedelic dive into weird horror.
About the Author: William Becker is an 18-year-old horror author with a mind for weirder sides of the universe. With an emphasis on complex and layered storylines that tug harshly on the reader to search for deeper meanings in the vein of Silent Hill and David Lynch, Becker is a force to be reckoned within the horror world. His works are constantly unfathomable, throwing terror into places never before seen, while also providing compelling storylines that transcend the predictable jumpscares of the popular modern horror.
His first novel, WEEPING OF THE CAVERNS, was written when he was 14. After eight months of writing, editing, and revising, the story arrived soon after his 15th birthday. During the writing sessions for his debut novel, he also wrote an ultra-controversial short story known as THE WHITE SHADE that focused on the horrors of a shooting. Living in a modern climate, it was impossible for THE WHITE SHADE to see the light of day. Following a psychedelic stint that consisted of bingeing David Lynch movies, weird art, and considering the depth of the allegory of the cave wall, he returned to writing with a second story, THE BLACK BOX, and soon after, his second novel, GREY SKIES.
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Grey Skies Poster (3 winners)
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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My journey as an author began with a corporate merger. I loved where I worked, and I had this feeling that I would not survive the transition. I grabbed a bottle of wine, went out onto my deck, drank the whole thing and had a good long cry, while I thought about would do. I decided then and there, that I was going to write the book that had been swimming around inside my head. I got up, went inside, and started writing Seer of Souls, my debut novel.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I am a rabid Harry Potter fan, and I own a prop wand (‘swish and flick!’) from HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone movie set.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
Wow, there are so many! I worked as an insurance adjuster for many, many years. One thing that stands out in my mind was the day the burnt house I was in, decided to rekindle. Occupational hazard, but fire departments are really good about not leaving a smoldering fire scene.
What are some of your pet peeves?
As an author, I’d have to say troll reviews. It’s sad that common decency is in such short supply these days. I understand if someone doesn’t like a book, I have books I don’t like, too. I have big girl pants; I can handle honest criticism. But there seems to be a segment of people who get their jollies tearing people down. Bullies exist everywhere, and online forums give them a platform, which is unfortunate.
The Spirit Shield Saga
Genre: YA Fantasy
Prequel to the Spirit Shield Saga
An ancient feud that spills from the realm of the Gods. Four desperate agendas that cross the line. And a boy with a mysterious box is the world’s only hope.
Helga, demi-goddess of the underworld has but one true desire, a young man named Genii. But Genii belongs to her sister star gazing sister, Artio.
Obsessed with possessing Genii any way she can, Helga sets herself against her siblings. The vicious rivalry sets brother against sister and flesh against spirit, as they battle each other for ultimate control of the souls of the dead.
Helga summons a great evil, spawn of the underworld, which left unchecked, will sweep all life into the depths of the underworld, where Helga rules supreme.
In the epic battle that ensues, only one will be left standing, and if it is the wrong one, how will the world survive?
Download this tale of love, jealousy, and magic, today, and dive into this award-winning epic mythology fantasy series!
Seer of Souls
Book One of The Spirit Shield Saga
“A Rip-Roaring Series Opener!” – Kirkus Reviews
The time for hiding is finished. The dead are restless. Fate and destiny collide.
Twins Cayden and Avery Tiernan have grown up in isolation on the fringe of the realm. Gifted with forbidden skills, they hide their growing magical powers. Ancient prophecies speak of the ones with the power to depose the queen.
To protect her throne, Queen Alcina scours the land for evidence of magic, while the darker force she serves threatens the land with chaos. She is not the only huntress however. Primordial seekers discover the twins first but before they can escape, the death of a queen’s guard puts the entire village in jeopardy. To save their town, the twins flee, only to be dragged toward an unknown destiny.
Guided by her gift, Avery senses lies and treachery where others see only truth. Dare she trust her instincts? For Cayden, an irresistible voice whispers to him. Does it belong to the souls of the dead and are they calling him home?
Buy Seer of Souls and plunge into the first book of the Spirit Shield Saga today!
Book Two of The Spirit Shield Saga
A temple awakened. The forbidden mountain stirs.The dead are missing.
Snatched from her home by a Primordial Seeker, seventeen-year-old Avery is imprisoned by the people she intended to serve. In a desperate bid for freedom, she escapes, only to find herself racing against time to save those who seek to use her.
\riven by jealousy, the lust for power and the stain of ancient crimes, conflicting factions struggle to gain control of the magic of a Spirit Shield. Avery must dodge all who cross her path, for each group vies to control her actions.
Aided by the mythical creatures of her native land, she discovers that a true Spirit Shield is much more than a simple priestess. She must fight for control of the souls of the world, and in doing so must face her worst fear of all: family.
Purchase the next exciting chapter in this must read epic saga, today!
Book Three of The Spirit Shield Saga
The underworld writhes. Terror unleashed. Souls enslaved.
The Spirit Shields with memories returned are plunged into a conflict older than mankind. The pending battle pits family against spirit and flesh. The godlings face off for ultimate control of the souls of the dead, each with their own agenda, for there is no love lost between these siblings.
Helga, goddess of the underworld, tightens her hold on those who hold the key to ultimate victory. Meanwhile, Avery struggles to convince her sister Artio that unless they become allies they will fail in their misaligned quest. Cayden, with the aid of Brimstone, struggles to fulfill a destiny prophesied since their original deaths long ago.
Can four warring siblings find peace and forgiveness? Or will they battle to the end of the world, sacrificing all living souls in the conflict?
Don’t miss the exciting conclusion to the Spirit Shield Saga! Purchase your copy today!
*Winner, Dante Rossetti First In Category, Chanticleer Reviews (2018)*
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About the Author: Winner of the Dante Rossetti Grand Prize for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2016 (Seer of Souls, Chanticleer Reviews) and First in Category, Dante Rossetti Best Young Adult Fiction of 2017 (Soul Sanctuary, Chanticleer Reviews) Susan loves to bring new worlds and fantasy adventures to young adults and inspire them to join her on her make-believe journeys. She is actively crafting stories that sing in your memory.
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ebook of the Spirit Shield Saga Box Set (1 Winner)
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