FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Beneath | #flashfiction #freefiction #amwriting

Beneath…

image011It watches from beneath the flowing water, waiting for its moment to attack, tentacles tensed on the ready, coiled rage and frustration burning, blood boiling as it courses through hardened veins. It can see the bodies playing on the idyllic sand, their screams of pleasure knocking loudly at the vestigial auricles, inciting more anger, more hatred. Waiting for that moment when one chances close enough to grab with a strong, suction-cupped arm, it constricts inside with each high pitched squeal. A little white leg dances close enough and in the breadth of a moment, they disappear.

Beneath…

© 2018 Julianne Snow

Book Tour: Cerulean Dreams by Dan O’Brien

Welcome to the sixth day of the Cerulean Dreams blog tour. It will run until July 24th and will feature excerpts, new author interviews each day, and a video blog by the author. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dystopian world:
Orion, the last city of men. Deep within the desert, a secret lay waiting. Young women found dead in the street. A corporation that controls the sleep of a populace that never sees the light of day. Alexander Marlowe seeks to unravel the mysteries of Orion as he helps a young girl, Dana, flee the city. The closer they come to the truth, the greater the danger that hunts them. Follow them as they search beyond the boundaries of everything they have ever known for answers. 
 
A few questions for the author:

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? 

I often couch characters in the sentiments and personalities of people who are in my life. I hover over speculative fiction, so most of the events are purely fictional. There are some amusing places in some of my novels that were inspired by real events though….

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

I love to write the very sad parts. I find these parts in movies tremendously interesting as well. Also, any time I get to spend time with my antagonist, I consider it time well spent. 

How did you come up with the title? 

My titles are born from the truncation of an entire idea into a single word, or something pithy I thought of. I have blank files of great titles that will probably never be turned into novels. This arises from a need to have a title for a book before I begin writing it. 

What project are you working on now? 

Some re-releases, sequels, serials, and even some all new titles. It will be a busy year.

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

Chapter VI

The out-of-commission tunnel was serene darkness except for dim running lights that traced a path along the exposed electrical work. They had stepped off the beaten path almost immediately, knowing that the dead body on the train and the carnage that had ensued would draw government attention soon enough. 

Marlowe shook his head as he walked, muttering to himself. “Can’t be real….” He watched all around him. Sometimes faces appeared, horrifying renditions of things resembling humanity. 

Often, he would look at the dark corners and see the scurrying forms that seemed to plague his every step. He felt like they were being followed every second they walked. There was something else, some slinking force that haunted their footsteps. 

“It’s the Lurking, isn’t it?” he queried out loud.

Dana did not bother to stop, her long strides like miniature leaps. “You believe me now, do you?”

Marlowe craned his neck. The air moved, swirling about as if there were something twisting in the wind. He watched the darkness, bore through it with his penetrating stare and he swore he saw it. 

“Something is here.”

He drew his firearm slowly, watching as the entity moved in the corner. The folds of its body were whipping like a flag in a gale: a bloated, blackened flag that was sentient. It catapulted itself forward, taking flight. It was a great raptor of shadow that descended from consciousness. 

“Down,” he roared. 

He pushed Dana, his body covering hers. The entity fluttered––ripples of its being undulated like waves upon a rocky shore. Marlowe fired; the discharge of his weapon smoky and the impact meaningless as the bullets passed through the creature.

Dana turned her head, pushing away from Marlowe. 

“What the hell are you shooting at?” she cried. 

Marlowe watched the creature recede. 

It did not possess eyes. Ripples formed a dome that seemed to bob from side to side, as if watching Marlowe. He swallowed hard with his weapon tight in his hand. His gaze firm upon its departure back into the shadow. 

“There was something crawling in the corner, some kind of weird thing that floated in the air.” He looked at the gaze of disbelief upon her face and shook his head. “I know what I saw. There was something there.”

Dana moved past him despite his silent, physical protests. “I don’t see anything.”

Marlowe re-holstered his weapon, clearing his throat. 

“It’s gone now.”

She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. “Of course it is. The thing that you saw that was attacking us, that I didn’t see, is gone. Vanished just like that.”

“Right,” he answered, looking farther ahead into the tunnel. She crossed her arms as if thinking. Marlowe threw his hands into the air in frustration. “I know what I saw. You said something was following us, something called the Lurking. Maybe that’s what this thing was.”

All the mirth in her mockery dissipated. She moved closer to him, her eyes very serious. “You saw the Lurking? The Lurking was here: is that what you are telling me?”

He spoke slowly for emphasis. “I saw something.”

“The Lurking,” she stated.

Marlowe shifted uncomfortably, watching as the undead wandered back into focus. Their gaze no longer seemed steeped in harmful intent. Instead, it shone of ridicule now. 

They were mocking him. 

“Since you know what it looks like, you tell me. It was a giant shadow that rippled in the air and seemed very intent at getting to us. You know anything else that fits the description? Because if you do that would go miles in explaining what’s going on here.”

It was her turn to fidget. 

“I do not know what the Lurking looks like.”

Marlowe scoffed, his laughter soon rolling in the high ceilings of the empty rail path. “You don’t know what it looks like? You are telling me that I didn’t see anything, but you don’t even know what that thing looks like? That’s brilliant. That is amazingly transcendent, Dana. Thank you so much for that insight.”

He turned––his laughter dissipating. 

“Are you coming?”

*

After an hour they emerged from the abandoned tunnel into a vertical shaft that crawled toward the surface. Marlowe grabbed the iron rungs of an industrial wall ladder and pulled himself up with a huff, taking each in order. Dana waited before following, her small body easily climbing the fifteen-meter shaft. 

Marlowe stopped at its apex, feeling around above him for a handle. The shaft would lead them back onto the streets of Orion; back into the race against time for which they seemed so ill-equipped. He found the handle––the slime that surrounded it something of which Marlowe would rather not know the origin. 

“Where are we going?” Dana’s voice seemed small from beneath Marlowe. He wrenched on the handle, the old metal giving way to his leverage. As it finally moved free, he let out a loud breath of air from the exertion. 

Light shone from above; night was giving way to day. “We are going to get some answers, since I seem incapable of coaxing them from you,” he mumbled as he pulled himself through the manhole cover and onto the streets of Orion. 

The sun had begun to make its presence known. The sky was filled with reaching fingers and tendrils of its grasp, the power of the day expunging the night. He sat on the street as he looked down at her dirt-marred face. She had been quiet since their exchange in the tunnel. 

“Give me your hand,” he ordered. 

She did so without question and he pulled her through. As she stood, he replaced the cover with a grunt. Orion was a different creature during the day. The bright signs of the night had dissolved. The effulgent lights that spoke of necessary things were dwarfed by the golden power of the sun. 

Buildings seemed less majestic as the sun shone on them. Dirty on the outside, they were covered in ash and dust that could not and would not be witnessed at night. “Orion sleeps through the day. We will have to be careful,” warned Marlowe as he looked at the buildings. Their appearance seemed more like fossils rather than advanced works of art. 

“Sleeps?”

Marlowe felt for his weapon. 

He did not see the crawling creatures. 

Despite their general creepy nature, he had become accustomed to them; their absence did not bode well for his paranoia. “Orion is a city of the night. I am rarely awake at this hour. The visors regulate our sleep, make sure we are rested, watching our vitals and sleep patterns in an effort to make things more harmonious,” he spoke as he walked out into the empty streets of Orion, the lack of humanity disquieting. 

He looked back at her. 

The sun’s reach bounced from building to building, bringing ever-present light. “I am beginning to suspect that our sleep has something to do with all of this. I haven’t been able to piece together what has happened. That is why we are going to see a friend. To get some answers.”

Her tight-lipped stare revealed a woman who wanted to say more. “Where is your friend?”

Marlowe checked the buildings visually. Without access to the network, he would have to depend on knowing the city by sight. He pointed at a marble statue. Its beauty was disfigured by blackened lines of soot, marred by the inattention of the populace. 

“That is the Barren Maiden. It was placed there some time ago. It was a gift from an artist to the city to commemorate the destruction of the world as we knew it, the infertile landscape that gave birth to Orion.”

Dana ran a hand over it, stepping past Marlowe. 

“It’s beautiful,” she marveled. 

Several hundred meters tall, she was only able to touch the feet of the statue. The woman stood facing west, away from the rising sun. Her clothes windblown, her hair ravaged about her perfect face. Her eyes looked toward the future. “The great matriarch of Orion at its center, we are a stone’s throw from Cerulean Dreams and the Pearl District. A place we do not want to be.”

“Why?” Her mind was still absorbed by the statue. 

“Pearl District is home to OrionCorps main headquarters. My friend lives in the Portrait, just east of here. We should not linger,” he spoke. He started to walk east, past the statue and into a throng of smaller buildings that were painted mustard yellow. 

Dana looked high into the smoky red clouds of the rising sun, seeing that the morning light hid the face of the woman. “What will your friend be able to tell us?”

Marlowe watched the terrain. 

The ground seemed cracked, like it had hardened and split in places. He watched as the cracks crawled across the ground and up the side of the building, shattering the windows into broad webbed strokes. The running board of information that ran around the building did not glint in the morning light. Instead, its information seemed labored and slow.

He stepped closer to the running board, reading the information there. Normally it spoke of rising stocks, news and information that was pertinent to Orion. It was often nothing more than mindless advertising. 

This, however, was different. 

His lips moved as he read it, his neck pulsed: They are coming for you. They are right around the corner. They are going to get you, Marlowe. You can’t run from them. The Lurking is watching you. The board stopped and crackled, electricity arcing and leaping out at Marlowe. 

“Marlowe,” she shouted. 

He looked at her. 

She stood a meter from him. “What are you doing?”

Looking back at the board, he saw that it was simply spewing information about stocks, useless numbers running and cataloguing themselves. “I was looking at the board there. It said….” 

He struggled to find the words. 

“Sir, do you need assistance?” 

The voice was masculine 

Marlowe turned and groaned. 

The crisp OrionCorps uniform seemed unfettered by the morning. His face was clean-shaven, young. He hadn’t yet drawn his weapon. Dana looked from Marlowe to the youthful officer. 

Marlowe tried to shake the cobwebs from his mind. The things that he was seeing were confusing him. “No, we’re fine. We are on our way home,” mumbled Marlowe and then adding, “thank you for your concern.”

Dana’s fear only intensified; she felt like the exchange was slowed. The officer stared at her again, seeing her fearful face. The fact that Marlowe was twice her age and looked like he hadn’t showered in weeks gnawed at the officer. 

She was a pristine young woman. 

Alarms went off in his mind. He touched the side of his temple, his visor coming out only over his left eye. The blue was not as vibrant in the light of day. “What are you doing out at this hour? Aren’t you tired?”

Marlowe could hear the man’s heartbeat, the accelerated thud of fear and anticipation mixed in a dangerous concoction. “Long night, I’m just trying to get my daughter home, officer.”

“Why is your visor up?” 

His voice challenged Marlowe’s sensibilities. 

Marlowe’s arm itched. 

The sun brought the heat with it. The smell of the rail tunnels overpowered his nostrils and he couldn’t remember the last time he slept. The little man was getting on his nerves. “I must have shut it off early. I know the way home without it.”

The officer scrutinized Dana, his half-covered face smooth, as if oiled. “Is that your father? Are you in trouble? Your heart rate is too fast, your pupil dilations read as if you were in fear for your life. Is this man taking you somewhere you don’t want to go?”

Marlowe watched Dana. Before this night, he had only seen dead young girls, their once-perfect features distorted and mangled. 

He had gotten to one of them in time. 

She wasn’t dead. 

Dana looked at Marlowe. 

She was shaking now. 

Opening her mouth, no words came out. 

Her eyes were glassy and wide. 

“He’s….” 

The world snapped. 

Light became brighter. 

The night was gone and with it the madness that had impaired him. There were no longer denizens from some horrific dream. He had the girl and nothing was going to stop him from getting answers. “Not her father,” Marlowe finished. 

The officer turned, his weapon drawing with him. 

Marlowe was already in motion. He grasped the officer’s hand as he tried to pull his weapon free. His startled look brought a sad smile to Marlowe’s face. He pulled the trigger, the weapon exploding against the officer’s leg. 

Screaming out in pain, he fell back. 

As he did so, Marlowe pulled the officer’s weapon from the holster and steadied it on his prostrated frame. The man covered his face, though his lips moved. He was using the visor to communicate. 

The shot caught him along the left temple, shattering immediately any connection he had with the network and OrionCorps. The man twitched, the involuntary spasm drawing a panicked gasp from Dana as she hid behind Marlowe. 

“Sorry kid,” he whispered as he placed the young, dead officer’s weapon inside his long coat and turned without another word. 

Dana stood over the dead man, kneeling and touching his face where the round had impacted. She smoothed away the blood-soaked hair from his face. He had been handsome. She had not wanted him to perish like this, but he would have interfered. He would have undoubtedly complicated things. 

The sun was in full view in the east, proud and strong. She hoped that the day would be better for the two of them than it had been for the young officer that morning.

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.
Would you like to win a copy of Cerulean Dreams?

All you have to do is comment on a post during the tour. Two randomly drawn commenters will be awarded either a physical or digital copy of Cerulean Dreams.

Visit http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/ and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!


Nine Questions with… Daniel Sherrier

Today, on the FlipSide, we have an interview with Daniel Sherrier, author of RIP: Touch and Earths in Space Volume 1: Where Are The Little Green Men?. Welcome Daniel, why don’t you take a moment to introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

DanielSherrier headshotHi, I’m Daniel, and I write science fiction, paranormal fantasy, and some comedy here and there. I launched my first e-book series at the end of last year and a second a couple of months later. They’re called Earths in Space and RIP. The former explores alternate human civilizations on other Earths throughout the universe, and the latter involves a guy physically beating up ghosts. (I don’t mind if you break away for a moment to plug those titles into your Amazon and B&N search engines for a quick download. Go on. No, really. I insist.)

Previously, people have deemed some of my play scripts fit for public performance. I graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in English and Theatre, so you can guess how rich I’m not. I’m getting ready to test for my black belt in Thai kickboxing. Also, I once jumped out of an airplane. That sure was something.

Thank you Daniel; tell us about your writing process?

I start with a tentative outline, and by “outline,” I mean rambling stream-of-conscious ideas pouring onto my word processor. In the midst of that rambling, I figure out a basic structure, and when I think I have a beginning, middle, and end in mind, I plot the early scenes in greater detail until I’m ready to face that dreaded blank page.

While writing, I break one of the “rules.” I edit as I go. Several reasons for this, but the big one is to build my own confidence by reassuring myself that I am indeed capable of smoothing out that horrific first draft.

Music is essential throughout the entire process, especially soundtrack music.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I’ve always wanted to write comic books. That’s actually why I started writing in the first place when I was nine years old. I’d be thrilled to write Superman in any medium. I’d also love to write a huge, sprawling X-Men novel, independent of official comic book continuity – I’ve even made some notes regarding such a concept. The ideas started coming to me, and they kept coming. Now if only I had the rights…

If only… What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut: Vonnegut showed me how to write outside the box and have fun with it.

The Diaries of Adam of Eve by Mark Twain: I loved the alternating first-person narrators. It got me thinking about point-of-view.

Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller: My favorite comic book storyline, and it’s much more than your typical super-hero fare. A man is broken down and figures out how to rebuild himself. It showed me how action-packed entertainment can be about something.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: A superb series, especially the middle three books. Rowling juggles quite a bit, and almost all of it is fun and addicting.

The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman: It’s a master class in imagination.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I’ll go with the Earths in Space cast, at least some of them. This is a tough one, and I wouldn’t mind casting talented unknowns, but here’s who springs to mind for some of the characters:

Amena…Gillian Jacobs (Community)

Kaden…Sean Maher (Firefly)

Sela…Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)

Whit…Greg Grunberg (Heroes)

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

I’d re-read that list to make sure my eyes aren’t going. Then I’d wonder what parallel reality I stumbled into.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

A weekly ice latte gives me a nice boost. I’ve never been able to mix alcohol and writing. That kind of drink merely makes me lazy.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

General assorted stuff. I spend time with my three-year-old niece, and it was with great pride I introduced her to The Muppet Show not long ago. For exercise, I take a kickboxing class. I always enjoy a good play, TV show, book, comic book…I’m a sucker for great, addicting entertainment.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

Here’s the beginning of the second RIP novelette, “Alone.”

Friday was deader than usual. Pamela felt the reason why the moment she stepped outside and started shivering. Her heavy wool jacket afforded her some protection, but her exposed face chilled in the breeze while her scarf sat uselessly on the passenger’s seat of her car. She had meant to bring it inside, but she had a lot on her mind.

Pamela shoved the wooden door into place while securing a stack of books beneath her other arm. She turned the key and gave the knob a pull to make sure it shut properly. Maybe someday the board of trustees would toss them the funds to get the thing fixed, but she expected to have said good riddance by then. As long as nothing broke off on her watch, she could live with the cranky old building’s stubbornness.

Thank you Daniel! Now let’s take a peek into RIP: Touch…

RIP 1 TouchOpening yourself up to a whole new world can leave you vulnerable — but it’s the only way to grow. That’s what Rip Cooper has to do when he learns he can perceive ghosts with his five senses as if they were flesh and blood people, and he’s just as solid to them — in fact, the only solid thing to them. This young loner has to overcome his fears and kill dead people to prevent them from corrupting the living. He works alongside an impure angel and his ex-best friend’s ex-girlfriend as they teach him how love can conquer fear.

RIP is a series of novelettes that tell one larger coming-of-age and redemption story.

In this premiere episode, “Touch,” Rip may be a successful freelance photographer making a name for himself in a new town, but personally, he’s in a rut. No friends, no goals, no greater purpose. He’s going through the motions…until the “angel” Serissa informs him he’s “one of the Seven.”

Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will whisk you away to Amazon!

If you’d like to connect with Daniel you can find him on his website, Facebook, Twitter, or his Amazon Author Page.

Don’t forget to join my next week when I will be interviewing author Lorne Oliver!

Cover Reveal – Seeing Ghosts by James Garcia Jr.

Time for a treat! One of my author friends has a new book coming out soon and I get to show you the cover and tell you a little more about it! So exciting!

Here are a few words from James himself –

So, you ask, how in the world could a guy who started reading and writing horror fiction end up writing a romance? Well, it is a paranormal romance, so it really isn’t that big of a leap…

Truth be told, although I grew up reading The Amityville Horror and early works by Clive Barker and Mr. King, and watching films like The Thing, Poltergeist and the original Friday the 13th films, my tastes have evolved with age. Now in my 40’s I find myself more comfortable with horror suspense than horror gore. If it’s splatter or torture porn, I’m really not interested. As one may excuse language and nudity when it’s necessary for the plot, I feel the same about violence. There’s certain rough aspects to The Exorcist, The Silence of the Lambs or more recently Let Me In, but the stories are so good that they work on every level.

Though I grew up with horror fiction and heavy metal music, my teenage years and a real lack of dating brought me to face issues of the heart. Even though my wife and I have been together now for twenty five years, I still remember those teenage years where every sad song seemed to be about me. Perhaps one might suggest that there is still a small part of me that wonders if love can be forever, and whether I might yet find myself alone once more? Only God knows. We have a wonderful life together, yet there’s still a part of me in touch with those feelings of love and loss.

My favorite novel is not scary in the least: Beach Music by Pat Conroy. It is a work of genius. It is not paranormal, and I never wanted to read it; however, a sister-in-law of mine coerced me into picking it up. All these years later I have yet to put it down, reading it or at least parts of it periodically over that time. It is great drama and has a bit of everything in it. I will go to my grave a happy man if I’m considered half as good a writer as Mr. Conroy. Couple this with the fact that I’m most comfortable with a romantic comedy on my television, and you will now begin to understand how it came about that I ended up writing Seeing Ghosts.

I always hoped to write a haunted house story before my writing days were finished, but I did not want to rush it. I had seen too many films or books begin with so much promise, but fall flat in the end. This is not to say that I have written the greatest haunted house story in the history of mankind. But I do think I have come up with something that is very special – it certainly is to me.

And I hope it is for you as well. You’ll have to let me know.

As I say over at my blog, we’ll talk soon.

Now if that doesn’t make you wonder, I don’t know what will! Here’s the synopsis of Seeing Ghosts

Paul Herrera finds himself bequeathed a mysterious old house near the California central coast by a deceased aunt he never knew. The woman who shows it to him is the spitting image of his wife, taken from him three years before in a senseless car accident which also took his unborn son. While he deals with the ghosts of a past he cannot let go, there are new ghosts Paul must deal with – alone for the week in the expansive two-storey house that he will soon discover holds many secrets. Eventually, he will see that he is surrounded by ghosts as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world – his sanity.

And now for the cover!!

Sharing copy

Beautiful isn’t it? Seeing Ghosts is slated to be released on June 3rd, 2013 and there is a Facebook event that you can join here.

An Interview with Brent Abell

Today I have a special treat for you all. Brent Abell, the author of the fantastic novella In Memoriam has agreed to answer my questions and his publisher has placed the novella on sale for the occasion! I highly recommend that you pick up a copy, even if it’s just to see what all the fuss is about!

Welcome Brent, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you. (Great place to inset your bio and expand on it if you like)

IMG_0080[1]My name is Brent Abell and I reside in Southern Indiana with my wife, two sons, and a pug that has some sort of funny line about him in every book I’m in.  I enjoy coming up with a different saying for him when I type up a new bio.  The writing bug hit in 2010 and I composed a flash fiction piece for the open mike at Mo-Con that year.  I was nervous, but I managed to get through it and enjoyed the fact one of my favorite authors grabbed a lighter and started waving it around after I read the twist in the story.  Since then, I have work in print or upcoming in over twenty publications.  I’ve battled moments of uncertainty and doubt about choosing to write, but it seems when I get down something comes along and really reminds me I did make the right choice.  The pinnacle so far has been the release of In Memoriam, my debut novella.  It was a two year labor of love…no, at points it really did feel like what labor must feel like.  Once again, it came and went without too much fanfare and I began to feel like it wasn’t all that good until some reviews came in recently and changed my point-of-view about it.  Remember kids, for all the stuff you need to know be sure to stop in at http://brentabell.wordpress.com and join the party by signing up to follow the blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Tumblr… It really does go on and on after a while…

I think that each of us battles moments of uncertainty and doubt, but you need to buckle down and continue to do what you love – even if it’s just for yourself. What is your writing process?

When I can grab some time, I get behind my keyboard and just go with it.  Right now I don’t use outlines, but I do put a lot of thought into the beginning and the ending.  The middle I let flow from my head while I write.  I’ve tried to use an outline or a sketch about the story and while it can help focus me, I start to resent that piece of paper floating over my head.  What I do now is jot some quick notes about people, places, and plot ideas I need to remember.  In the short stories it’s easier for me to keep track of everybody, but as I’ve found out with writing Southern Devils, I’ve had to write the characters on a dry erase board so I can keep tabs on them and mark them out if I need to.  When I started doing this, I realized I inserted a soldier and then forgot about him in the narrative.  I try to hit 1k words in a sitting and I go through stretches where I’m really good about it or where it’s like I’m not a writer at all.

I am eagerly anticipating the release of Southern Devils, so get a move on it!! Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I would love to break into Sci-Fi and have the opportunity Tim Lebbon has had recently by writing a Star Wars novel.  My werewolf origin story, For Our Sins: A Fable (from Crowded Quarantine Press’s Ten Silver Bullets) is very fantasy based and was mentioned in reviews because of it.  In my mind, I do have a dark fantasy based YA book or three planned and one day I might get around to writing them.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

1) IT by Stephen King – I came into my 6th grade reading class and threw the book on my desk and freaked my teacher out.  I was lucky because my parents gave me a wide berth to read what I wanted because of how high my reading test scores always were.  Without them doing that for me, I’m not sure I’d have read that much.

2) At the Mountains of Madness and Other Stories by H.P. Lovecraft – Another book that shaped my early teen years.  What else can be said?

3) The Complete Works of Edger Allen Poe by Edger Allen Poe – His dark and foreboding words helped build my love of horror and the macabre.

4) Ghoul by Brian Keene – Even though I’ve only read this book in the past few years, it resonates with me and my childhood.  It brought back the memories of the kids on my block and the things that binds friends as well as tears them apart.

5) The Monster’s Ring by Bruce Coville – This was ‘the’ book for me as a young boy.  A boy goes and buys a ring that can turn him into a monster?  Hell yes!  This book led me to love monsters and evil things and I wore out two copies of the thing.  From here I moved to EC Comic reprints (like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror) and it opened the door to every other horror book I’ve ever read.

You mention in the forward of In Memoriam that it started out as a shorter piece. What made you decide to lengthen it?

After I completed the original short story I looked at it and didn’t feel like I told the whole story.  I also didn’t like the way I portrayed the main character.  The tale is also set in the town of White Creek, a place I’ve created to play in with my stories and I wanted to bring in some people who are going to appear in other places.  The events set in motion by a certain person and a page is going to spill over into other tales.

Do you ever worry that the controversial nature of the subject matter could potential ward off readers?

I didn’t think about it until it was accepted by Rymfire Books for publication.  Once I started the rewriting process, the words I put on the page spoke differently to me and I realized that what I wrote was the story that demanded to be told.  If people are offended, I make no apologies, I was a slave to the will of the story.

There is a particularly visceral chapter near the beginning that I wasn’t sure I was going to get through – do you ever ask yourself if you’ve gone too far with anything that you’ve written?

That scene came to me during the rewrite.  The editor wanted me to flesh some parts out more and I had the idea floating in the back of my mind.  I had this entity floating around, but why was it so angry?  Why did it do the things it did to certain people?  I wanted the reader to feel what the person in that scene went through to make them so full of hatred and despair.  It was extremely difficult to write and ripped open some things that will take a long, long time to scab over again.  If there was a passage I’ve ever written that I slit my wrist and bled on the page, this was it.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

Since In Memoriam is the main topic, I’ll cast it:

–Sophia Myles as Andi Winters

–Dave Franco as Chris Wallis

–Brian Cox as Father Chester Dunhill

–John Goodman as Roy

–Colm Feore as Dr. Henry Meade

–Chris Pine as Damon Smith

–Ashley Smith as Ashley Smith (she can play herself)

–David Tennant as Father Maxell Channing

That’s a great cast! From the actors that I am familiar with, I can totally see Colm Foere play the doctor and Chris Pine as Damon. What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Easy!  Call in to work, quit, and go back to bed.  Once I wake back up, I’ll fire up a cigar and open up a bottle of rum (only if I slept past noon).  After it all sets in, I’ll have to start writing whatever my follow up is going to be so I don’t go broke… I did just quit my job!

Only if it were past noon? Seriously? You’ve been talking online lately about a pet rock. I’m assuming that it will appear in a story, but I could be wrong… Would you please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress?

Ah, the pet rock is a story I’ve been working on that is in honor of the great giant (fill-in-the-blank) films of the 50’s and 60’s.  I wanted to think outside the box and huge pet rock pulverizing a town was what I came up with.  I am also finishing up a story set in a local tuberculosis hospital that was torn down a few years ago.  There are two projects I’m putting together with some other good friends of mine for later this year that I can’t talk about yet.  Lastly, I’m in the home stretch of Southern Devils which is my Civil War zombie series.  I’m getting ready to start editing and rewrites before trying to find a press for it.

The first nine lines of Southern Devils:

The blazing rifle fire lit up the quiet Tennessee countryside.  Flames roared from muzzles and the shots boomed, echoing in the mountain twilight.  Unholy war cries erupted from the heavy green brush beside the trail, trapping the Union scouts between the mountain’s side and the guns flashing from the forest’s cover.  The coming darkness hid the advancing Rebels and the Union gunfire found nothing but air as they missed their marks.

Major Kenneth James’s horse reared back in fear and threw him to the sun hardened dirt trail.  The air rushed from his lungs, stolen by the dry, cracked earth.  Forcing a breath, he bounced back to his feet, pulled his pistol, and waved it from side-to-side trying to get a shot at their attackers.  He made out figures silhouetted in the flashes when shots were fired, but in the growing shadows he couldn’t tell friend from foe.

In the heat of the raging battle, he never heard the Confederate soldier who chewed into his jugular coming.

Great excerpt Brent – again, I am patiently awaiting its release (or at least a preview copy). Is there anything else you’d like to say before I release you?

Well folks, thanks for stopping by and I’d also like to thank Julianne for having me!

Until next time…

Thank you Brent for taking the time to answer my questions. For a limited time only, Rymfire Books has placed In Memoriam on sale for 99¢ and I highly recommend that you go and get yourself a copy. I recently read and reviewed the novella and you can find my review here. As an added bonus, let’s take a quick peek into it…

inmemoriam copyIt’s coming.
It feeds on fear and driven by hate.
It’s coming.
Andi Winters is about to find out the price for her choice is vengence.
It’s here.
Caught in between the natural and supernatural, Andi Winters is about find out the price she must pay.

All decisions have consequences, some good and some bad. Andi Winters has made the biggest decision of her life and sets in motion a chain reaction putting everyone and everything she ever loved at risk. Something has been summoned and Andi is caught in the middle of forces beyond and from this world. Now the time has come for her to pay because what was once thought to be thrown away and forgotten is hungry for her soul.

Click on the cover and you will be whisked away to Amazon…

If you would like to connect with Brent, you can find him on his blogs Brent Abell and Brent Abell’s Dark World, on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on his Amazon Author Page.

Nine Questions with… Lavinia Urban

Today we welcome author Lavinia Urban to The Flipside. Hello Lavinia, why don’t you take a moment to introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

pic of meHi, I am Lavinia Urban and I grew up in a small town in England before moving to a small village in Scotland in 2000 after meeting my husband. We have two beautiful daughters called Erin and Kasey-ray.

I have been writing since the age of 12 and only the last couple of years I found the confidence to share my work.

I stopped writing for a while, then in 2006 I sat and wrote a short story about my eldest, who was 5, and her classmates. It was about how you should stay in school and study and bullying is wrong. The school absolutely loved it.

After that Erin kept asking me to write her another story. One night I dreamed one of the scenes in my first book, Erin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning. The rest is history as they would say J

Tell us about your writing process?

Currently I am writing the third book in my Erin the Fire Goddess series, as well as (trying) writing a bonus book for the series plus a zombie book.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I currently write in the Young Adult fiction genre, but I am also writing a zombie book, which I have not decided on the genre yet. I will just see how it flows before I decide. I will also be writing a romance book which will definitely be aimed for adults.

Awesome! I love Zombies! What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

If I am honest, books have not influenced me to write per se. It is more that I have read a book and thought ‘wow I want my readers to enjoy my books as well as I have enjoyed reading this’

If anything influences me to write it is my two wonderful daughters. The book series is actually named after my eldest and the character has a sister named after my youngest.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

Oooo I have not thought about that. I have had readers talk about the soundtrack. They say Alicia Keys ‘Girl on fire’ makes them think of my books.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Scream lol. I would probably text my husband before updating my Facebook status lol.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Chocolate, lol, and sleep; most of my ideas come from my dreams.

I’m a sucker for chocolate as well – sometimes I need a piece just to help get me through a terribly trying scene (emotionally of course). What do you do when you’re not writing?

House work, reading and Facebook games (they are sooooo addictive!)

Aren’t they thoug? I often wonder if they are made simply to stifle my productivity… Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

For the first week, after that awful incident, I stayed at the cottage and cried. Just when I thought I was all cried out and my body couldn’t take any more fresh tears ripped through me, leaving me feeling drained; both emotionally and physically.

The feeling of helplessness ripped through me as I would drift in and out of consciousness. Everything swirled around me in a blur. Only one thing I was sure of……………….the rain. It beat down heavily, not letting up in the slightest. It seemed to echo my sorrow. However, I knew the cause of the rain and this brought fresh waves of sadness, humiliation and anger. How dare he be sad!

Towards the end of the week was when the fire inside me began to grow. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It started in my heart; the flames building with every pulsating beat. Then slowly it spread, causing me both pain and anguish. I would scream in horror as the feeling of being cooked from the inside out took hold of me.

Let’s take a sneak peek into Erin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning

eRINFireG_Book1Cover copyErin Tait is a 15 year old girl, born with a birthmark covering the left side of her face.

She moves to her parent’s home town of Galladale, where all is not what it seems.

From day one, Erin is bullied by Jessica Watson, for looking at Sean Jackson.

Why is she trying to keep Erin away? It’s hard when Sean goes out of his way to talk to Erin, causing the bullying to get worse.

Erin is lonely and scared; she doesn’t know what to do. Can she control the fire inside?

Sounds great huh?? Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you directly to Amazon.

Thank you Lavinia! If you want to connect with Lavinia, you can find her on Facebook on her author page and book page, as well as Twitter.

Join me next week when I will be interviewing Dina Rae!

IndieGoGo Campaign: The Great Interruption

The Great Interruption will follow the perils of a young girl as everyone around her slowly vanishes. She will grow up in a world alone and then be forced to deal with impact of everyone’s return. The novel will parallel the experiences of every person growing up. As young people move away from family physically and symbolically, they must decide who they are and what of their family they intend to keep with them. This identity can be complicated by returning to the people that had been left behind in the journey. The mystery of The Great Interruption will have to be discovered by the characters, the readers, and the backers of this project.

An IndieGoGo Project by Jay Wilburn

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If you are able to contribute, please do. Jay is a man with a plan, who’s looking to get something cooking. He needs your help, so if you can, give him a hand.

Your money will certainly not be wasted. Plus he’s going to give you goodies if you give him money – consider it bartering.

And trust me, in the end, you get the better end of the deal. Jay is a fantastic author and you will not be disappointed with his writing.

If you wish to pledge, please visit his campaign on IndieGoGo – The Great Interruption.

Nine Questions with… Scott M. Goriscak

Today I’m joined by the magnanimous Scott M. Goriscak, an author and advocate of the horror industry. Welcome Scott, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

ScottGoriscakI began writing in high school but it wasn’t until a conversation with Horror Writer Clive Barker did my writing turn to the dark side. I published his first collection of short stories, Grim and Ghastly in 2008 and followed up with a second collection Dead and Decaying in 2009. Also in 2009 my first story submission Home Sweet Home was selected for the 2010 Masters of Horror Anthology! The following year I was again chosen for the 2011 Masters of Horror anthology Damned If You Don’t with his story Easy to Digest. In 2011 I was published in numerous anthologies. Soup of Souls Anthology (No Man Left Behind), I Believe in Werewolves (Parenting-Not for the Faint of Heart), Satan’s Toy Chest (Playing with Dolls), Satan’s Toy Box: Toy Soldiers (The South Shall Rise Again), Post-Apocalyptic Raids (Who are the Faithful),  Spirits of the Night (Lost and Found), and Field of Shrieks in The Spirit of Poe anthology which all proceeds of the publication go to keeping the home of Edgar Allan Poe open to the public due to the city of Baltimore cut its funding. In 2012 I founded THE HORROR SOCIETY.

The HORROR SOCIETY is a community of authors, artists, screen writers, filmmakers, actors, editors, publishers, and musicians who work and contribute to the universe of Horror. The goal of this community is for the individual to share and promote their work by networking with others in the industry to further their careers. We also want members to share their experiences to educate and help others avoid making decisions that would prevent them from achieving their goals. In addition we want to promote conversation between the individuals of the horror community that may have never met under normal circumstances. We want to bridge the gap between the veterans of the industry with the new generation. This is not a fan page; all applicants will need to be contributing to the industry of Horror in some fashion to be accepted. We want to encourage creativity, discuss ideas, inspire where we cannot be critical and discourage. The Horror Society, making the world darker than we found it.

Tell us about your writing process, Scott?

Having a full-time job, I write at night when my wife and children are sleeping. My writing sessions usually last a few hours before my imagination starts to fade.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I have had moments where I think about writing children’s books but problem that I seem to run into is the stories never seem to have happy endings. Just ask my kids; “Goldilocks and the Three Vampires” didn’t end well for the little girl. So at the moment I am content with horror being my home.

I think that’s a fair answer – though I’m sure many of us are dying to read “Goldilocks and the Three Vampires”… What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

1. The first horror comic I read.

ScoobyDo

2. The first book I read about horror.

HowtoCareForYourMonster

3. Clive Barker’s Books of Blood – It was so cutting edge at its time. Made me really think about being original.
4. Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot – This was the freshest story I had read about Vampires.
5. Edgar Allan Poe’s Collection – Poe’s work to me was so far ahead of both his and our time. Don’t know if we can ever catch up to his talent or the way he thought. One can only wonder what he would have achieved if he didn’t die so young. You can read his stories over and over again without losing interest.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

First I would choose my short story Easy to Digest and as a main character selection I would have to say DJ Qualls from the film Road Trip would be my choice to cast as the main character.

Great choice, Scott. What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

I would thank everyone that made it possible. First and foremost the fans, then my Editor, and last my Publisher. Enjoy the moment and continue writing.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

No I’m sorry I don’t.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

This is my problem. I don’t suffer from writer’s block. I write all the time. I have a dream diary; I have a tape recorder in my car so that I can record my thoughts while driving and I carry a mini pad to write down any ideas that may come to me while out and about.

I have notebooks upon notebooks of ideas and sketches – glad to hear that my need to jot it all down before I forget it isn’t odd. Please share with us the first nine lines of a current work.

From “Field of Shrieks”:

My sleep was once again interrupted in the middle of the night. I jolted upright with the same, but more intense apprehension as the night before, that I wasn’t alone! Unlike the previous night I was able to focus and I hesitated to turn on the light, intrigued by the sensations before hearing the most blood curdling shriek I ever heard. The hair stood up on my neck and the room suddenly felt cold. The scream was so clear that I sprung from the bed and ran outside to offer assistance.

I stopped running when I didn’t hear any further sounds toward which to run. There I stood, barefoot in the dew soaked grass in the middle of the back yard surrounded by the silence of the dark and listened hard with dismaying observation. Then I heard a low moan, then another from behind me. A scream followed. I frantically spun around after each sound to see where the sounds originated, but I didn’t see anyone. A chorus of suffering and crying screams, shrieks, and moans continued and escalated in volume, echoing through the darkness. I shielded my ears with my hands against the cacophony, as if I was in the middle of a crowded room closing in on me. I felt a touch upon my shoulder and ran panicked, back into the house. Glancing back over my shoulder as I ran I thought I saw numerous shadows gathering where I had been standing. The screams and moans continued until the back door slammed closed behind me. Then all was silent.

Great excerpt Scott, one I definitely want to read the end of! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions and for giving my audience a glimpse into your career as an author. You can find Scott’s books on Amazon. Now let’s take a sneak peek into Horrorism – Scott’s current collection…

This is the collection Scott M. Goriscak’s fans have been waiting for. With three previously published stories and five brand new ones, Scott delivers the scares his readers have become addicted to. Compared to an early Clive Barker, Scott’s writing pulls the reader in to the story, before plunging them straight into a fear filled finish. Don’t read this book at night, especially if you’re alone in the house…

Horrorism

Don’t forget to join me next week when I will be interviewing author Tim Miller.

Nine Questions with… Jeff Jake

Today I’m joined by an author new to the Indie publishing. His name is Jeff Jake and if you’re unfamiliar with him and his work, let’s take a moment to acquaint you. Welcome Jeff, why don’t you introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

JeffreyJakeI’m originally from St. Louis Mo. and currently live in Southern Illinois. I have been happily married to my wife Heather for almost 19 years. I have two children, Alyssa (22) and Matthew (15). I work for a company full time and have recently taken up writing on the side. Assassin’s Retribution is my first novel to be published. I hope to add more to the list in the near future. I’m currently working on my second novel, The Valiant Incident. I’ve wanted to write a novel for over 20 years. So for me this is kind of a dream come true.

Tell us about your writing process?

I like to use a dry erase board to block out a framework for my novel and develop my characters. From there…. I dive in.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I plan to write in many other genres. My first and second books are sci-fi, mainly because that is an area that I am most comfortable. That said, I plan to write some fantasy, WWII, and even have an outline for a zombie novel.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

To narrow myself to just 5 books would be hard. I’ve read so many. Ever since I can remember, my dad would take me to the library with him. We would spend hours looking at books. So, I can’t really say with any certainty what the top 5 would be.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

Well I only have one and a half books right now… So that’s easy. In Assassin’s Retribution, my main character is a female assassin named Natasha Frisk. My first choice would be Angelina Jolie. Should she not be available, I would go with Scarlett Johansson.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Wow… What if?? After I told my wife, I would call my mom and dad to let them know.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I like to have background music playing (instrumental) and a large glass of sweet tea.

I sometimes need music in the background as well; it gives me something to ignore and actually helps me to concentrate. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I like to spend time with my family. We like to watch various TV shows and enjoy going to the movies. If you’re asking what I do to bring home the money, I work at a local fuel pump manufacturing company, Airtex Products, LP. I’m in the human resource department.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

An excerpt from ‘The Valiant Incident’…

With a blinding flash of light, the heavy cruiser Valiant drops back into real space and begins to drift. Her massive main drives sputter and die. It’s taken all that they have to bring the ship here out of harms way. Her exterior shows the scars of battle. Several spots still venting precious atmosphere into space. As the ship drifts and pitches over like a dying and beached whale, the crew scrambles to repair critical systems.

On the bridge, a haze permeates every corner. Panels spark and crack as circuits overload and fail. Several stations have to have fires put out. Captain Rosek turns to his navigator, “How far did we make it?” He is concerned the drives didn’t hold out long enough to get them out of the Xeneg’s sensor range.

“We managed to jump 24 parsecs.” She glances at her captain with a hopeful look.

“Good. That should be enough. Get me our location. Comm’s, see if you can reach command and advise them of our situation.” Walking over to the damage control board he motions for his XO to join him. “Harlan, I need you to go over the damage and start prioritizing the crews. We need to get propulsion, shields, and weapons back on line yesterday.”

Nodding to his captain, “I’ll get right on it.”

Thank you Jeff! If you’d like to connect with Jeff, you can find him on Twitter or Facebook. And now for a look at his book Assassin’s Retribution…

AssasainsRetributionIn the future, technology is the new currency. Assassins are used by companies to stop or steal the latest cybernetic designs. Natasha is one of the best in the business. However, a nemesis from her past has found her, and now she must hunt him down or be killed.

Don’t forget to click on the cover to be taken to Amazon!

Join me next week when my guest will be F.P. Curti!

New Release: Finding Esta by Shah Wharton

Finding Esta Christmas Giveaway Banner

Finding Esta Christmas Giveaway Banner

Welcome to the

Finding Esta‘ Launch Christmas Giveaway!

Yes – it’s finally here. After three years of writing, re-writing, beta readers, editing, cover designing, book trailers, yet more edits and many agonising hours of formatting, the first instalment of The Supes Series is ready and finally up on Amazon! There are five e-copies (you choice of file: ePub/Mobi or PDF) up for grabs, so please have a go and get Finding Esta FREE for Christmas. It’s $2.99 on Amazon, and will be for sale on Smashwords and Kobo in by February, and in print shortly after that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is the fabulous cover – Like it?

BRIEF Blurb: A young journalist sets off to find Esta, but is unprepared for all she finds, and soon realises it’s a journey from which she may never return. This is a new adult, urban fantasy about one woman’s struggle to retain her identity while everything she knows crumbles around her. Finding Esta is the first of an Urban Fantasy/New Adult Series

Please enjoy the book trailer

Yeah, But What’s The Book About?

An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.

When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnap of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.

Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….

Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searching for logic, feeling deceived by both.

Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?

Author Biography

Shah Wharton

Shah Wharton

Shah began meeting authors and bookworms galore when she began blogging back in 2010. She’s learned a lot about blogging and writing on her adventure, mostly from the awesome advice of her online peer-group.

She uses her imagination to write short stories as well as the poetry, but stumbled into her first novel, but falling in love with the character Luna in a short story she wrote 2010. It became grew into Finding Esta, the beginning of Luna’s journey to self-discovery. Finding Esta is her début novel and the first of The Supes Series.

Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and picture enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her qualifications include BSc(Hons) psychology, counselling, mentoring.

She also has one short story published The Dead Party & two poems published in anthologies.

Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive. She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.


SHAH’S CONTACT FORM


Get Social With Shah

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Acknowledgements.

Praise to…Derek Murphy at Creative IndieCovers who developed the incredible book cover

& AubrieAnne at Who’s Your Editor? who did the final edit

Shah would also like to add…

Huge thanks to all the beta readers, patient and enduring online friendships,

and to the mass of wonderful writer resources, all of which took me from thinking,

“Could I do that?” to “Hell yeah, I can do this!”

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For more on Shah’s other writing, inc. poetry and short stories,

try Shah’s Scribbles.

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