Ebook Giveaway & Interview: Eva Gordon, Author of The Alpha Wolf’s Pet Trilogy

Folks, please give a warm welcome to Eva Gordon. She kindly let me heckle her with questions and is also offering up an ebook set of The Alpha Wolf’s Pet trilogy to one lucky winner. Scroll to the end of the post to check out that giveaway!

If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

Wow. There are so many. How can you make me choose? I would love to be on any Lord of the Rings movie, perhaps a hobbit. Or a rogue fighter on Star Wars. A zombie on The Walking Dead. However, since I’m a big fan of Outlander that’s the one I would choose. Being in Scotland and wearing period clothes would be a dream come true.

What’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

You do realize you are asking a former anatomy/physiology and biology teacher? So many so little time. I’m a big fan of scatology or the study of feces. I was once part of a mountain lion study and we were able to determine what they fed on and their health based on analyzing their poop.

If you were sent on a magical quest which other 4 fantasy authors would you take with you?

I would make sure I was the alchemist and take along Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth series) Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel’s Legacy series), Neil Gaiman, and throw in Diana Gabaldon (because she might bring along Jamie Frasier from Outlander). Maybe put them in my fantasy novel, The Stone of the Tenth Realm.

Do you have any phobias?

I don’t have any phobias, however I do suffer from a different neurological condition known as Misophonia. Not a phobia. Triggers such as chewing noises, gum popping, slurping and sniffing for example drive me crazy. I’m not alone; celebrities Kelly Ripa and Kelly Osborne are misophones. Authors Franz Kafka and Anton Chekov also suffered from this condition. Ear plugs help.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

As a kid I was a tomboy who wanted to be an explorer and animal behaviorist like Jane Goodall. Hence, my degrees in Zoology and Biology. Although, I was a bookworm I never thought about writing until later.

The Desert Island Collection: what books make it into your trunk and why?

Survival books and my iPad filled with plenty of science fiction and fantasy novels. Naturally, I would have a solar charger for my device.

Which favorite bookish worlds would you like to visit?

The world of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Tolkien’s, and shamelessly, my novels. My worlds can be dangerous, but I’m smart and there is always a gorgeous hero will give me a hand. Winks.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

The Debate of All Time, would you rather live in the Star Trek or Star Wars universe? I think I would have to choose Star Trek where I would be a science officer. Safer. Although, it would be cooler to be a Jedi master in the Star Wars Universe.

About Author Eva Gordon:

Eva at Stone Henge

Eva Gordon writes genre bending paranormal/fantasy/steampunk and historical novels with a strong romantic element. Alpha heroes and brilliant feisty heroines. HEA with a kick. She loves to create stories that combine her passion for mythology, steamy romance, and action/suspense. Her imagination takes her from one universe to the next. Thus far, she has several series up as well as single titles waiting in line for production.

Eva has a BS in Zoology and graduate studies in Biology. When not in her den writing, she can be found teaching animal lore at writing conventions, at work at the raptor rehabilitation center, wolf sanctuaries, or to satisfy her inner Hemingway on some global eco adventure.

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Places to Stalk Eva Gordon

website ~ blog ~ Amazon ~ facebook ~ twitter ~ goodreads ~ pinterest

Book Blurb about The Alpha Wolf’s Pet Trilogy: 

The Alpha Wolf’s Pet Collection includes the entire trilogy. Each book is a different stage in the romantic relationship between alpha werewolf, Dominic and Mia, his human lover. Paranormal steamy romance and page turning suspense. Alpha Wolf’s Pet series introduces the universe and some of the characters in the offshoot paranormal romance suspense series: Team Greywolf, Slade, Book 1 and Chernobyl Werewolf, Book 2.

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iBooks ~ kobo ~ Audible

GIVEAWAY!!!

Eva is graciously offering up one ebook set of The Alpha Wolf’s Pet trilogy to one lucky winner [OPEN INTERNATIONALLY]. Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1) What geeky argument have you been a part of? 2) Where do you live? Giveaway ends May 4th, 2017, midnight.

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Book Giveaway & Interview: Josh Matthews, Author of the Hell Gate Saga

MatthewsHellGateEveryone, please welcome Josh Matthews to the blog today! Today he chats with us about his time in the CIA, his inspirations for Hell Gate, and plenty more. If you want to find out about the GIVEAWAY, then scroll to the bottom. Now, on to the interview!

If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

I would want to be a walker on The Walking Dead. But I would want to be one of those prominent walkers who has an extremely bizarre and gruesome death and who has his own “name” in The Talking Dead’s In Memorium segment.

What makes you cringe?

Tidal waves, both the real ones as well as the monstrous tsunamis that appear in disaster/apocalypse movies. To me, the idea of staring up at a wall of water hundreds of feet high barreling toward you is the worst nightmare I can think of. What really left me cold and empty was watching the live video footage of the tsunamis devastating the Japanese coast following the earthquakes in 2011.

If you could, what book or movie or TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

For TV, it’s a toss-up between Start Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. The writing on those shows was brilliant and the acting was superior.

For writing, it would be Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series. That series was a fascinating blend of vampires, paranormal activities, and Cold War politics blended around a vampire mythos that is truly unique.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

The worst job I had was substitute teaching. I tried it when I first retired and moved to Florida to pick up some extra money. The first assignment I accepted I was sent to the toughest high school in the city and given a class where my only instructions were “don’t let them hurt each other.” I avoided any major incidents in class, but needless to say I never accepted another assignment again.

Where is the farthest from home that you have traveled? Would you like to live there?

That’s a tough question because I’ve been all over the world. If I use as the criteria the longest amount of time it took to travel to a location, I would have to say Manchuria in northeast China. I had a good friend who worked in Shenyang and I went to visit him for two weeks. We toured a lot sites related to Pu Yi (the last Emperor of China) and his pro-Japanese World War II puppet government of Manchukuo. Some of the places we visited had not been seen by Westerners in decades. And yes, Manchuria will be a location for a future Hell Gate book.

As much as I enjoyed Manchuria, I wouldn’t want to live there (no offense intended, Shenyang). If I had to live overseas, it would either be South Korea, where I spent three years living in Seoul in the 1990s, or Germany/Austria, which I have visited frequently and fell in love with.

Who or what are your non-writer influences?

This is going to sound cliché, but the biggest influence has been my mother. When I was in school, she never tried to make me conform to fit in with the other kids. She always nurtured my creative side and encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do. A lot of my friends’ parents used to get upset if they read horror novels or magazines. Not mine. My mother did not mind that I read nothing but horror novels in middle school, as long as I was reading. Of course, I think she was silently relieved when I added history to my favorite reading list, and decided to go into government service rather than be a serial killer.

The next influence was Darren McGavin as Karl Kolchak on the TV series The Night Stalker. I watched that show religiously as a kid. It wasn’t the monsters or the plots that thrilled me; they were cheesy as all Hell. It was a combination of Darren portraying Kolchak not as a hero but as a typical guy once again caught up in a terrifying situation, and his writing style on the show. Yeah, it was a throwback to the pulp fiction of the 40s and 50s, and was not very good, but to an impressionable twelve-year-old Kolchak was the epitome of cool. That TV show was what made me want to become a writer.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

I already did the job I wanted to do—I worked for the CIA for twenty-three years. That job allowed me to travel throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and gave me the opportunity to become familiar with such issues as nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, biological warfare, and cybersecurity.

If I gave up writing and choose another career path, I would like to be involved either in industrial espionage or crash site investigations.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 4 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, because they are the true masters of horror and I want to see what made those minds tick. H.G. Wells, because so much of his writing is prophetic and I would love to know where he came up with his ideas. And finally, Forest J. Ackerman, the father of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the Bible for all Monster Kids growing up in the 60s and 70s.

They could order whatever they wanted to, my treat. Afterwards, I would provide whiskey and cigars so we could sit around and discuss writing for the night.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

I really don’t want any. When I worked for the CIA, for several years I was in charge of Invisible Ink, the Agency’s writers’ group, and arranged for scores of authors, screenwriters, graphic novelists, and others to come and visit. They would talk to Invisible Ink for an hour or so, answering our questions, and then we would give them the grand tour of the compound, topped off with lunch in the Agency dining room and stop by the gift shop. Because of that, and my subsequent career as a writer, I have been fortunate to have gotten to know many celebrities on a personal level. That’s not saying I wouldn’t go all fan boy if I met the right people, like The Shatner or Milla Jovovich.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

That’s hard to answer. I used to watch all kinds of horror and science fiction movies back in elementary school, and would then read the original novels (I learned at a young age that “based on a story by” has a very loose interpretation). That is how I read so many of the classics as a kid—Poe, Wells, Verne, Stoker, Shelley. I remember being disappointed with many of the novels because they had very little connection with the movie.

However, the first book I remember having a major impact, and which I can still remember to this day, was Graham Masterton’s The Manitou, about an Indian medicine man who kills himself during the white man’s invasion of North America and then comes back in present day New York City to enact his revenge on the white man. A shaman fetus growing on the back of a young woman, deformed by x-rays to determine what it is. An elevator filled with butchered police. A nurse turned inside out when the portal to Hell opens. This all makes quite an impression on a twelve-year-old boy. It was also the book that got me hooked on modern horror.

About Josh Matthews

AuthorJoshMatthewsJosh Matthews is a former New Englander who now lives in north Florida with his wife, teenage daughter, and four lovable but exasperating pets. Josh used to work for the U.S. Government where he had the opportunity to travel around the world and be exposed to numerous cultures, many of which will appear in the Hell Gate saga. He has always been a fan of horror novels and monster movies, and sees the Hell Gate saga as his way to share that love with a new generation of fans.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ Amazon

MatthewsHellGateSynopsis of Hell gate, Book 1 of the Hell Gate saga:

Sixteen-year-old Jason is living a nightmare within a nightmare. He is trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world that has been overrun by demons from another realm, but it was his mother who opened the door in her experiment gone wrong. In a last ditch effort to redeem his family name and unload his guilt, he joins a squad whose mission is to destroy the Hell spawn around Mont St. Michel. When his team arrives in Paris to close the Hell Gate they discover an environment more frightening than anything they could imagine and demons more terrifying than they had ever encountered before. Time is now racing against them. Can he gain his redemption along with the respect of his peers or will a new web of lies threaten to rip apart his world and jeopardize his team’s only chance for success?

Buy the Book:  Amazon

GIVEAWAY!!!

Josh is giving away one print book (U.S. only) and two Kindle versions (international) of Hell Gate. There will be 3 winners total. Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments below: 1) What country do you live in? 2) If you could have dinner with a dead author, who would you dine with? 3) Leave a way for me to contact you. Giveaway ends Jan 17, 2017 midnight my time.

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Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: C. T. Phipps, Author of Cthulhu Armageddon

CTPhippsAuthorEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author C. T. Phipps. I really enjoyed his book, The Rules of Supervillainy and am very excited to see his latest, Cthulhu Armaggedon, out in audiobook. So don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post – an Audible.com version of Cthulhu Armageddon, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. 

If you could be an extra on a horror movie or TV show, what would it be and what role would you have?

I’d have to say I’d probably do best as an extra on SUPERNATURAL. I wouldn’t really fit in as the bearded pudgy Southern author unless it’s as a zombie on The Walking Dead. I also was a huge fan of the show for the first five seasons with my wife making a regular ritual of it. As for what role I’d have, I’d love to be the guy who gives them a vital clue before dying horribly. I’m realistic about my chances in such a situation.

I’d also love to have a guest starring role on an adaptation of one of my books but baby steps. Hehe.

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonWhat makes you cringe?

It’s funny but I’m not afraid of things like spiders, clowns, closed spaces, heights, or any of the usual things but am mortally terrified of embarrassing situations. I could probably deal with the Slenderman more easily than I could an awkward conversation about emotional stuff. It’s funny because my wife thinks I’m a big baby about that while we have our weekly horror movie-a-thons but flee at any romance films.

Ironically, I had a lot more trouble writing the emotional beats of THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY and its sequels than I ever did with the zombies or demons. It’s similar with CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsTheRulesOfSupervillainyWhat now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

I’d like to say H.P. Lovecraft because while I’d love to interview J.R.R Tolkien, I probably wouldn’t be able to come up with any interesting questions for him. With H.P. Lovecraft, I would have a bunch of them ranging from talking about racial issues, the meaning of his monsters, and so on. It’d be a conversation he’d probably walk out on me during but it would certainly be enjoyable. Then again, we might just bond over our shared love of the weird. I did, after all, write the novel CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON to follow up on some of his ideas.

Personally, I’d like to know what he thought of the way his stories have spread out and become so influential.

PhippsEsoterrorismIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

That’s a tough call because I really do love to resist books I’ve read in the past and see if I can get anything new from a re-read. I’ve re-read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE over and over again. I’ve also done the same with the LORD OF THE RINGS. So I’ll avoid the usual answers and go with THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher. Those books have been something I’ve enjoyed for almost seventeen years now and helped create my love of urban fantasy. I loved reading about Harry’s crazy adventures, his myriad femme fatales, and experiencing the crazy combination of humor with dramatic storytelling which is the heart of the series. Being able to enjoy that all for the first time again would be grand. It was a big influence on THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA, ESOTERRORISM, and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsStraightOuttaFangtonWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Writing is my most difficult job! Well, actually, no, it’s all the things around writing. The job of editing, advertising, and selling your book to your audience is a full-time job well after the “fun” part of making it work. Being an indie author definitely has its advantages over one of the big publishing houses but one of the reasons I could never be a self-published author is because I’m overwhelmed with the parts I do do. LOL.

Still, I would never do anything else.

PhippsTheGamesOfSupervillainyWhat book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

I’m a very video game-influenced author as I love the interactivity of being able to project a portion of yourself into the game world, particularly RPGs. So it’s actually a complicated question as the majority of books are more like movies in that you’re along for the ride but don’t really have a way of impacting the plot. The exception to this was the fabulous “Witcher” games which managed to preserve the feel of the classic fantasy series while also allowing you a lot of choice in the narrative. I also loved THE SHADOW OF MORDOR which isn’t about any of Tolkien’s characters but set in his world with someone not so morally pure.

If I were to see one of my books adapted to a video game, I’d definitely choose THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY, STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON, and CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON in no particular order. I think Rules would be particularly awesome as you’d have this big wide open sandbox full of colorful characters. You could also decide whether Gary goes the Anti-Villain route or becomes pure evil.

PhippsTheSecretsOfSupervillainyWho are some of your favorite book villains?

If I had to choose favorite villains from books other than my own, I would choose Grand Admiral Thrawn from THE THRAWN TRILOGY, Jaime Lannister from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ Sauron. In the first case, Grand Admiral Thrawn is such an elegant and cultured character you actually want him to win despite being up against our heroes.

Jaimie is such a three-dimensional character that it’s hard to even say he’s a villain rather than a differently valued protagonist. Sauron? Sauron never even shows up in-person but casts such a shadow over everything that he manages to become a pervasive presence nevertheless. I also have a strong fondness for Gentleman Johnny Marcone and Lara Raith from THE DRESDEN FILES.

If I had to choose my favorite villain from my books, I’d probably choose Alan Ward from CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON. He’s a scientist and wizard with knowledge dating back to the Pre-Rising world which everyone has forgotten. Alan has the desire to save humanity from destruction and is willing to do anything, break any taboo, and do whatever horrible thing is necessary to figure out a way to preserve the human species.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Warning – Easily Distracted.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

Shorter.

I always saw myself as a writer, too. Which is why becoming one is such a gleeful thing.

Thanks for the interview!

Book Blurb for Cthulhu Armageddon

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonCthulhu Armageddon is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters).

John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and the suspicion that he’s “tainted”. Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of the man who killed his friends. It’s the one thing he has left.

Places to Find C. T. Phipps

Blog

Website

Facebook

Twitter

GoodReads

Amazon

Audible

GIVEAWAY!

C. T. Phipps is generously offering up 5 copies of the Audible.com audiobook of Cthulhu Armageddon. You can enter the Rafflecopter below or you can answer these questions in the comments: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Who are your favorite book villains? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaways ends November 19, 2016, midnight.

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Giveaway & Interview: JD & Amy of Whimsy & Wonder Creative Press

CollinsOfRobotsAndZombiesAndWizardsAndStuffDear Dabbers, please give a warm welcome to the brains and beauty behind Whimsy and Wonder Creative Press, Amy & JD. It was a real treat to interview this couple. We chat about several TV shows, where to spend the holidays, the tribulations of self-promotion, and plenty more! Also, don’t miss out on the paperback GIVEAWAY – scroll to the bottom for that.

If you could be an extra on a TV show, what would it be?

J: We actually were extra’s on TV show once. It was a show called “Murder In Law”, a show about people getting murdered by their in laws, and we were in one of the cheesy reenactments, which was a lot of fun. If I could do it again I would want it to be on Game of Thrones as a Wite, or on The Walking Dead as a Zombie, because who doesn’t want to be put in professional quality zombie make up at least once in their lives?

A: I would like to be an extra on Outander. So I could potentially see/meet (stalk) Sam Heugen.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

J: I think a supernatural creature, because I’ve always wanted to befriend like a cool monster or something that would be my friend or companion or something, so maybe if I was rescued by supernatural creature, like a mogwai or a hippogriff or something I could make that a reality.

A: Space Alien. That way we can become friends and they can prove to me that everything they cover on Ancient Aliens is true.

What fictional world would you like to visit for the holidays?

J: Harry Potter for sure. First of all it’s just really friggen magical. Secondly, I’ve always dreamt of Christmas at Hogwarts, and thirdly, I feel like less terrible things happen in the Harry Potter world than a lot of others. Like, Westeros I would be for sure worried about whether I would even make it through the holidays. Middle Earth is also extremely terrifying, although a holiday in a hobbit hole does sound rather cozy. Basically I don’t want to spend the holidays in a universe where I end up being somebodies red shirt, and overall Hogwarts seems pretty safe, what with the Dark Lord vanquished and all.

A: I would go to Who-ville.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

J: We were actually just talking about this. I would love to re-watch the Sixth Sense and Empire Strikes Back again without knowing the twists ahead of time. I was too young to watch either of those movies when they came out (I wasn’t even alive when Empire came out), so by the time I was able to watch them they were entirely spoiled for me.

A: I think I would want to experience The Lord of the Rings movies for the first time.

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

J: I think The Hunger Games would make a really bitchin’ video game, but I would want it to be something where I could design my own character and pick my own weapons and skills and stuff. Like you could choose whether you want your weapon to be a bow and arrow, or a sword or a trident or whatever, and then choose to build up specific skills like foraging, or hunting, or camouflage before finally duking it out in a random arena with different environments like forest, or dessert or tundra. Actually the more I think about it the more that sounds like an amazing game. Somebody should get on that.

A: I would really enjoy a video game version of Carrie. It’s probably the closest I will ever get to having telekinesis and working out my high school issues.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

J: Warning: Is Prone To Dancing In Embarrassing Places (including but not limited to; grocery store lines, bowling alleys, and movie theaters).

A: Warning: Can become very hungry – keep snacks nearby.

In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?

J: I have a really hard time with this actually. It’s really challenging to get anyone to listen to you in the void that is the Internet, and there’s way to many talented people making good stuff, so it’s really hard to get noticed. Add to that a crippling condition I have called social awkwardness, and it can be kind of a mess sometimes. That being said, it does have it’s moments, when people really seem to enjoy what your doing.

A: It’s a very fun job to have, getting to be like hey everybody look at how awesome we are. The most challenging part is some people just aren’t interested or may give criticism on things you have spent a really, really long time on. That can be very nerve racking.

CollinsPeopleSuckIf you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

J: Sherlock Holmes, because I would be really curious to see what he would deduce just from seeing me. GandalfProfessor X and Dumbledore, because they’re so wise and I’ve always wanted them to be my life coaches, so I would seek their guidance. Since I get one more probably Xander from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, because I feel like we would be good friends.

A: I would choose Jamie Fraser from Outlander Because he’s gorgeous I’m not going to pass on that opportunity. Gandalf from Lord of the Rings – I feel like he would have really good advice on life. Furiosa– from Mad Max: She is just so bad ass would love to have a beer with her. Effie Trinket– from the Hunger Games- I feel like she could give me style advice and I could see her getting along really well with Gandalf. And Michone from The Walking Dead- another bad ass female who probably would become best friends with Furiosa…..and maybe me…..

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

J: Well, we’re just getting started so I’ve yet to have anyone gushing over my work, but I did get to meet Stan Lee at a Comic Con once. It was at the little photo booths they set up where you pay to get your picture taken with a celebrity and I was so excited, so I wanted to come up with something clever to say. It’s crazy because I had a very long line to wait in to figure it out but I didn’t, so when my turn came I couldn’t think of anything except for “it’s so great to meet you”, and because it was Stan Lee, and because he is possibly the coolest human on the planet he just clapped me on the back and said “You’re god damn right!” and then they snapped the picture. It was awesome. I still have the picture.

A: When we got our picture of George Takei he said “OH My Look At Youuuu.”  So I took that as a compliment and felt like my life was pretty accomplished after that.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

J: I can’t say that I can think of just one, because that’s kind of just our life. We’re always bickering about some odd movie or another. Amy still makes fun of me for liking the movie “The Mist”, which she refers to as “The Mist-take”, which she thinks is very clever.

A: There are many to choose from and now that I cant think of any but Jerrud and I tend to get into arguments about how fast the zombies would be moving on TV shows. Pretty much our whole relationship is arguing one geeky thing to another.

CollinsOfRobotsAndZombiesAndWizardsAndStuffBook Blurb for Of Robots and Zombies and Wizards and Stuff:

Have you ever wanted to read a story about a dancing robot? How one about a vicious hamburger eating, teenaged zombie? Or perhaps a retired super hero working a day job as mailman? Have you ever felt that your life would be enriched by a fierce and vitriolic debate amongst wizards about beard lengths? Have you ever once felt a talking tree might have the answer to all of your problems? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book might be for you*. In the tales within, you will find all of these, and so much more. So go ahead, give it a try. You just might find what you’ve been looking for. *Please consult with your doctor before reading this book to discuss risks of an awesome overdose

CollinsPeopleSuckBook Blurb for People Suck

People suck, especially when your not one of them. In this adult(13+) picture book follow the journey of human suckage as explored by creatures suck as a yeti, a swamp monster and space aliens.

Places  to Stalk JD & Amy

Website

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Amazon for People Suck

Amazon for Of Robots and Zombies and Wizards and Stuff

 

GIVEAWAY!

JD & Amy are generously offering up two copies each of their books: Of Robots and Zombies and Wizards and Stuff, and their new picture book People Suck. These will be paper books and, therefore, we have to limit this giveaway to USA only due to postage. To enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following in the comments: 1) What state do you live in? 2) Do you have an awkward fanboy/fangirl moment to share? 3) Which book would you prefer to win? 4) Leave a way to contact you! Giveaway ends November 15th, 2015, midnight.

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Book Giveaway & Interview: Geoff Camphire, Author of the Charlie Dead Series

CamphireCharlieDead&SoCalledZombie ApocalpseEveryone, please welcome Geoff Camphire, author of the humorous zombie Charlie Dead series! We discourse on zombie movies, what a zombie obstacle course would entail, what zombies symbolize in modern society, and plenty more. Also, don’t miss out on the paperback giveaway (US only please) – scroll to the end for details on that.

If you could be an extra on a zombie movie or TV series, what would it be?

Getting shot in the forehead with a crossbow on “The Walking Dead” would be pretty darn cool. I’d make a great zombie. I’m almost lifelike. Almost.

How does it feel, I wonder, to be a treated like a monster? In my CHARLIE DEAD trilogy (‪http://tinyurl.com/peqqlls), teenager Charlie Dunlap, newly infected with the zombie virus, fears he’s about to find out. These young-adult sci-fi novels explore life among the undead in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian America. I hope people enjoy it as much as shows like “iZombie” and “The Walking Dead.”

What’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

If punctured, the human heart can squirt blood more than 30 feet. Which can make it hard to catch it in your mouth.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death, would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

Definitely a supernatural creature. Specifically, a zombie. Even more specifically, it would be Wendell Reed, the main zombie character in my CHARLIE DEAD series.

Charlie is a teenager trying to avoid becoming a zombie, and Wendell, for a variety of reasons, tries to help him. In doing so, Wendell risks being utterly destroyed himself.

Of course, for a zombie, this is as close to “certain death” as one comes. After writing about Wendell for years, I’ve grown quite fond of the big, undead lug. So, would I save him if I had to choose someone to rescue? I suppose — but, fortunately, as an author, I can do whatever I want!

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

One year, when I was a kid, “The Exorcist” aired on network TV for the first time on Halloween. It was an edited version, but still pretty scary. I remember coming home from trick-or-treating, planting myself on the carpet in front of the tube in our basement game room, and gobbling candy bars alone in the dark. It was like an out-of-body experience.

At one point, a commercial came on — and suddenly I became aware of myself. Bathed in the glow of the TV screen. Scared halfway out of my mind. And grinning like a madman. Looking back, I understand now what a pivotal moment that was.

CamphireCharlieDead&TheSeedsOfZombieChaosHow does modern pop culture influence your work? Do modern cultural references date a piece or add touchstones for the reader?

Well, I grew up in Pittsburgh, which really was ground zero for the explosion of zombie movies that’s given the world its modern vision of the living dead. I’ve never shaken the infection — or the hunger to spread the zombie virus.

Of course, as an adult now, I experience pop culture a little differently. After enjoying the “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” books along with my kids, I started wondering why young-adult zombie literature didn’t offer a series of comparable quality. So I wrote my own.

People today are fascinated with zombies — and for good reason. The planet is swarming with mortal dangers, existential threats and systemic efforts to take over our lives. We’re all afraid of being gobbled up, turned into zombies. Mindless zombies and the walking dead invite us to tackle the hard questions of free will and what it means to be really alive. The real stumper isn’t “How do we kill zombies?” but “How to do we live with the reality of zombies among us?”

And I want my post-apocalyptic world to be familiar, but not too much. Without dropping a lot of references to things like specific products or movies, I try to paint a picture of people as they live today, struggling and striving, often unsuccessfully, to make their world normal again. Turns out, that’s hard to do when there are zombies everywhere.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

How important is reality in my fiction? I’m not sure that reality is particularly important in my reality. I write about zombies, after all.

That said, I don’t feel like art is obligated to be absolutely faithful to all the mundane facets of real life. Sure, fiction is most entertaining when it feels somehow plausible — when characters’ motivations make sense, when the words coming out of their mouths sound like things they’d say, and when events unfold within the rules of a reality established by the story. So reality is important. But it’s the reality I create that matters. And that reality isn’t filled with paragraphs punctuated by trips to the toilet.

Over the years, are the changes in society reflected in today’s villains and heroes?

Our heroes have stayed mostly the same over time. They’ve always had to overcome obstacles, externally and internally. That’s what makes them heroes. And they’re important, sure. But if I’m being honest, I am much more interested in our villains — specifically, our monsters — and what they say about us.

Creepy as it might sound, I take inspiration from the simmering panic I hear in the voices of ordinary people. When you ask people about their fears, what do they talk about? Faceless enemies, terror groups, existential threats. A growing sense of freedom being taken away. Outsize control exerted by governmental, religious and economic forces. And the desperation to somehow escape becoming just another one of society’s dead-eyed drones.

That’s why we’re drawn to tales of zombies. Most zombie stories focus on the fight-or-flight response to attack by the unliving. But in real life, there’s no escape. You certainly can’t avoid death. Even before that, there are forms of “zombification” that find you, no matter what. You can never completely get away from the drudgery of work, the limits placed on your free choice by society, and — maybe most important — the tendency of people to treat each other as lesser-than, inhuman monsters.

We’re all running from the zombie plague, and we’re trying to figure out what it means to really be alive. So I wanted to write about the ways we learn to live, hopefully, in a reality that’s always is and always will be overrun with zombies.

CamphireCharlieDead&TheSpoilesOfZombieCombatIf you were sent on a survival quest which other 4 zombie fiction authors would you take with you?

Richard Matheson, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman and Seth Grahme-Smith. Why? Realistically speaking, I don’t think I’m going to last long on any “survival quest.” I’m going to be one of the first to go down. So, I figure, I might as well enjoy some scintillating conversation with innovative intellects before I become somebody’s lunch.

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

This question really is not fair, because I feel like I’m being set up to self-promote. But I’m taking the bait. Naturally I feel like my CHARLIE DEAD books would make the most amazing video game ever. Personally, I’d want to be Charlie. But others might choose to be characters like the undead Emma Fletcher, buddy Sam Curtis, or the zombified secret agent Wendell Reed.

Then the good guys face off against the bad guys. And not just rabid zombies. The villains are legion — including the loony zealots of Orthodox Life Church, the ruthless opportunists of Nolegys Corporation, and the jackbooted thugs of the Community Health Enforcement Watch, or CHEW. The “Zombie Combat” tournaments in the video game could be just as wild as those featured in the books, where normals and zombies go head to head. And heads do roll

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing zombie fiction, I’m a husband, a father, a freelance journalist, and a communications guru who runs a public awareness campaign reaching over 50 million people a year with information and resources about science education. Also I watch zombie movies. Lots and lots of zombie movies.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

Aside from slender, Dr. Seuss-style children’s books, the first real book I remember reading by myself was “A Wrinkle in Time.” I was in elementary school, and I can remember being blown away by the bizarre combination of supernatural fantasy and science-fiction, the careening adventure and high drama, the wrenching emotion, and — maybe most — the characters I wanted to know better. What a storyteller L’Engle was! What a story!

You have to run a zombie obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or fictional)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?

Merlot. I think a simple red would pair best with my friend Gavin, who is catastrophically clumsy. Gavin would make excellent zombie bait, I think. Outrunning him would provide me with my escape. And since red wine goes with red meat, I might be tempted to share some with the zombies feasting on Gavin. Then again, I just might save the bottle for myself. I do like to have a drink while I’m enjoying a show. Buh-bye, Gavin!

CamphireCharlieDead&SoCalledZombie ApocalpseBook Blurb for Charlie Dead & the So-Called Zombie Apocalypse:

Zombies, zombies, zombies! How does it feel to be one of the walking dead? Hunted? Not free? Never allowed to live the life you choose? Charlie Dunlap, newly infected with the zombie virus, fears he is about to find out.

Charlie doesn’t want to become one of the mindless corpses at Norwood High School, where his few friends include the zombified Emma Fletcher. In this post-apocalyptic Armageddon, undead hordes are part of the horror of daily life.

Just as Charlie is losing hope, though, a mysterious government agent appears at the door, raising questions about the boy’s late mother. How was the vanished scientist connected to the origin of the virus? Why was this terrible plague unleashed on the world? And who is now targeting zombies for persecution?

Charlie, recruited to aid in the investigation, faces each new adventure with a dose of gallows humor and fading hope for a cure. But Charlie knows there’s more than his own fate on the line. At stake is the power to control the whole human race.

Will Charlie survive? Who can he trust? In a world at war with the living dead, it’s not always easy to tell who the real monsters are.

From author Geoff Camphire comes this high-flying, pulse-pounding zombie novel series, a new kind of dystopian science fiction. “CHARLIE DEAD and the So-Called Zombie Apocalypse” is Book 1 of the acclaimed CHARLIE DEAD series.

Places to Find Geoff Camphire & his Charlie Dead series

The CHARLIE DEAD books are available as paperbacks and ebooks on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/peqqlls. Go online to check out the first installment — “CHARLIE DEAD & the So-Called Zombie Apocalypse” — and click “Look Inside” in the upper left corner to read the first chapter. You can “like” the Charlie Dead Book Series on Facebook and follow @Geoff_Camphire on Twitter for news and updates. And learn about CHARLIE DEAD and more by author Geoff Camphire at www.geoffcamphire.com. Also, catch him on GoodReads.

GIVEAWAY!!!

Geoff Camphire is pleased to offer one free full set of CHARLIE DEAD paperbacks — Books 1, 2 & 3 — to the first U.S. resident who, after this Q&A appears online, emails him at geoffcamphire@yahoo.com with his or her favorite quotation from the first installment, “CHARLIE DEAD & the So-Called Zombie Apocalypse.” Join the zombie feast! Bon appetit! You can check out the first couple of chapters of Book 1 over on Amazon using their ‘Look Inside’ feature. Hint: This gives you plenty of awesome quotes from the book!

Ebook Giveaway & Interview: Kerry Alan Denney, Author of Dreamweavers

Kerry Alan Denney AuthorEveryone, please welcome Kerry Denney to the blog today. He’s here to chat about his books, movies, TV series, favorite authors and plenty more. Enjoy! Also, Kerry is offering an awesome giveaway – 1 ebook of each of his books, Jagganath, Soulsnatcher, & Dreamweavers. Scroll to the bottom for info on how to enter.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

A supernatural creature first, then a space alien. A superhero would just rescue me and then leave to rescue someone else (or take down a nefarious super-villain, lol). But I could potentially learn something interesting and/or valuable from the other two. A supernatural creature might stick around and teach me secrets about the other side, beyond the grave—secrets about life and death, or parallel dimensions and alternate universes, some of my favorite subjects. A space alien might teach me about other worlds, other life forms—including intelligent, sentient species—and possibly reveal the mysteries of the universe… if they don’t serve me for dinner first.

But then again, this answer could get me into big trouble: the supernatural creature might steal my soul or turn me into a newt (yes, a Monty Python reference) after it rescues me, or the alien might be intent on conducting medical research involving anal probes and the like. 🙂

DenneyDreamweaversIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

If I only get to choose one each (what a conundrum!)…

Book: WATCHERS by Dean Koontz. One of my all-time favorites, read it five times, because I absolutely LOVE the main characters: Travis, Nora, and especially Einstein—and the creature is amazing too, and even generates sympathy for its hopeless plight and nature despite its savage, relentless ferocity. That’s swiftly followed by THE ANUBIS GATES by Tim Powers, SWAN SONG by Robert R. McCammon, THE STAND by Stephen King, and THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin—because they were all incomparably spectacular. Okay, so that’s five. Who could choose just one?!?!

Movie: Really, only one? THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR. Highly underrated and way overlooked as a true classic tale of love, loss, friendship, betrayal, and ultimate redemption. After watching it for the first time, I was transported into a most pleasant reverie for hours, and the theme and storyline stuck with me for weeks: multiple virtual realities within virtual realities, wow. I’ve seen it at least ten times, and own the DVD. But then again, I also absolutely loved Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness. Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. Everybody got that?!?!

TV series: FIREFLY, of course. I was reluctant to watch it at first, even with all the numerous rave 5-star reviews on Netflix. I figured the reviewers were just diehard sci-fi fans, and that I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t watch it until 2012, but I binged on it once I started watching. When I finished watching the last episode, I was hyper-Jonesing for more… fortunately there was SERENITY to tie things up. Firefly was one of the greatest shows I’ve ever watched. The characters are all well-written, well-acted, and realistic, and the writing was superb—not to mention the excellent laugh-out-loud humor prevalent throughout the show! Joss Whedon outdid himself with this short-lived series. A swift kick in the teeth, ass, and family jewels to the buttholes who cancelled this extraordinary show.

More and more we see fiction being multimedia – a book, a TV show, a PC game, a graphic novel. How do you see the publishing industry evolving to handle this trend? Any plans to take your works in the multimedia realm?

I think the publishing industry is evolving quite well in handling this trend. We’ve recently been inundated and even overwhelmed with movies made from PC games, and some of their plots actually play out like a video game, lacking character development and personality. But you can’t argue with their success, despite their plasticity and deficit of realism or believable situations. I enjoyed most of the “Resident Evil” movies (although Milla Jovovich certainly helped with that, a lot), and the “V for Vendetta” movie was an excellent, well-written, and entertaining adaptation of the graphic novel (and yes, Natalie Portman helped with that too). And then there’s the extraordinary show “The Walking Dead”, also adapted from a graphic novel… a show on which I and countless others are hopelessly and happily hooked (and I don’t even care that much for zombie stories).

As for taking my works into the multimedia realm, I’ll be happy to… I just need some help with that at this point in my progressing writing career. How cool would that be if someone like Joss Whedon read one of my novels and decided he wanted to make it into a movie? Or even if some popular producer wanted to turn my work into a TV series. Terry Goodkind was catapulted into mega-success when the SyFy Channel took his “Sword of Truth” fantasy series and turned it into the popular “Legend of the Seeker” TV series, and the multimedia scene is replete with similar amazing success stories.

I look at it this way: If you’re going to dream, dream big. I certainly do. It’s the only way to make the Big Dreams come true.

DenneyJagannathIf you were sent on a magical quest, which other fantasy authors would you take with you?

How many do I get to list, lol? And a quest in search of what? 😉

Charles de Lint, Patricia A. McKillip, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Terry Goodkind, Tim Powers, and Douglas Adams (if I could resurrect and reanimate him).

Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

There’s not a lot of them I want to read that I haven’t. Probably the top five are A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Paradise Lost by John Milton.

One of the greatest classics I have read is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, the ultimate tale of revenge.

With the modern popularity to ebooks, a book is no longer limited to a specific genre shelf. It is now quite easy to label/ place an ebook in multiple genres (i.e. YA, Fantasy, Horror). How do you see this affecting readers? Have you been inadvertently lured outside your reading comfort zone?

I give credit to readers for being smart and knowing how to find what they love the most. In fact, I love that we have numerous categories in which our books can be found. It works very well for me, because I write in a way that blends several genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, supernatural, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic, along with suspense and thrillers—and can therefore be listed in any and all of those categories. I think that helps increase my exposure to a more eclectic selection of readers and helps me reach and build my target audience. Some reviewers of my two previous novels JAGANNATH and SOULSNATCHER have even commented in their customer reviews on Amazon and Goodreads about my ability to successfully mix genres in my work, and I consider that high praise indeed. Bring it on!

As for my own search for good reads, I can only ask one question: Leisure reading time, what’s that, lol? I’m always busy writing something, seeking publication for my previous works, editing a finished novel, or creating a new work-in-progress. But yes, I still do find the time to read a good bit in my favorite genres—which just happen to be the multiple genres in which I write.

I’m a huge James Rollins fan, and feel especially proud, honored, and privileged to have received rave testimonials from Mr. Rollins for both SOULSNATCHER and JAGANNATH. His blurbs can be seen in the “Editorial Reviews” section on the product sales pages for those novels on Amazon. I’m also a huge Dean Koontz and F. Paul Wilson fan, among many others. So no, I have definitely not been lured outside of my comfort zone with this trend. It works in my favor, and I’m sure it does for other writers as well. I even like the extensive list of sub-categories within genres.

DenneySoulsnatcherIf you could own a famous or historical art work, what would it be? Would you put it on public display or keep it privately?

Tough question. I appreciate and enjoy a varied selection of famous art. I’m a huge Salvador Dali fan, and as creepy as the art of Hieronymus Bosch is, I love his demented works too. Escher’s work is a trip also.

It would be spectacular to own The Scream by Edvard Munch, not because it’s such a great piece of art but because it has riveted so many art lovers over the years, drawn such appreciative worldwide attention, and horrified generations with its simple but elegant theme of darkness. However, I’d be happy with The Temptation of St. Anthony or Enigma Without End by Dali.

And yes, I’d display it for all the world to see, damn right!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you choose to do?

Easy: I would spend all my time and effort figuring out how to travel to a parallel dimension or alternate universe where I can be a writer, because a writer is what I am.

I’ve been a writer of different sorts all my life: from winning a first place award for a short story when I was fourteen to 30+ years of writing, playing, recording, and performing my songs as a professional musician, including the release of four CDs.

We can no more change the nature of what we are than we can fly through the sun and come out the other side alive and intact.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Bugs Bunny, Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes, Jilly Coppercorn from The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint, and Audrey Parker from the show Haven (rowr!). But I’d be fine if the others couldn’t attend for some reason or another as long as that wascally wabbit was there.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

My new paranormal thriller DREAMWEAVERS was published on August 4, 2015 by Juju Mojo Publications. Paperback and e-book editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Amazon link:

Both editions on Goodreads

My short story From Darkness We Come was published in the popular anthology series AT HELL’S GATES 3: BOUND BY BLOOD on July 31, 2015. It’s an honor to be in such good company with so many talented authors and colleagues, but it’s especially an honor and a privilege to be published in this anthology because 100% of proceeds goes to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a charity that provides financial support for the dependents of United States military personnel lost in performance of their duties. God bless our troops!

Amazon link At Hell’s Gates 3

Come join me and award-winning online party hostess Leslie Whitaker at Facebook online for the DREAMWEAVERS Book Release Party on Sunday August 9, 2015 from 3 to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (2–5 p.m. CST, 1–4 p.m. MST, 12 noon–3 p.m. PST). Lots of fun contests with prizes awarded! Six Amazon Gift Cards and several different e-books will be won by someone… maybe you. Plus plenty of other wacky fun and overall general madness. Best of all, you can attend the party online and win prizes in the comfort of your own living room or wherever you take your laptop or tablet.

Facebook Party Link

For more information on all my novel and short story publications—along with lots more great links including my blog and various awards and rave reviews—please visit my author’s website Kerry Alan Denney is The Reality Bender at http://www.kerrydenney.com.

Places to find Kerry & his works

Post-apocalyptic sci-fi/ horror thriller JAGANNATH (#1 bestseller!) on Amazon

Paranormal thriller SOULSNATCHER on Amazon

2nd Place Winner – 2014 Book of the Year: The Drunken Druid’s International Book Award

Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender author/ fan page on Facebook

Kerry’s Amazon Author Page

Kerry’s Goodreads Author Page

Follow Kerry on Twitter

Send Kerry a friend request on Facebook

GIVEAWAY!!!

Kerry Denney is generously giving away 1 ebook each of Jagannath, Soulsnatcher, and Dreamweavers. Each is a stand alone novel, so we will have 3 winners. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL! Ends September 3, 2015 midnight. To enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following in the comments: 1) If you were sent on a magical quest, which fantasy authors would you take with you?; 2) Leave a way to contact you should you win (email preferred); 3) Do you have a preference which book you win?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zombies & The Football Apocalypse

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I finally watched The Walking Dead. Yes, I live under a rock. It is a dry, dusty, desert rock that may or may not have been peed on by a lizard. My Main Man (M3) watched the seasons available on Netflix (because cable doesn’t exist out here and who wants satellite anyway?) and finally I was sick and tired enough to give it a go.

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First, I am a biologist at heart and by degree. Reanimated flesh is just silly and so totally unlikely to happen. The body dies, it starts to break down on the cellular level. Without the cells whole, there is nothing to reanimate. The point is, I have trouble believing in zombies and without belief, how can I take them serious?

OK, so yes, football comes into to this in a moment. I’m not into football either.

For those who haven’t seen the show, it’s mostly based in Georgia. For our main characters, shit starts going down in Atlanta and spreads outward from there. At first, folks think it is like a bad, bad flu and that the government will get a handle on it, shelters will be put in place, vaccines and medical care dispensed, and in 6 months (tops) life will be back to normal. So a lot of folks chose to band together with their campers and RVs and basically have a very extended campout. The women do the cooking and the cleaning, the men do the patrols and peeing on trees to mark their territory.

Yep. For the first 2 seasons, the women are all but useless in this new, zombie infested world. There is one female character who starts learning to use firearms in Season 2, but mostly the women are like a commodity to be protected and shuffled around. The men go on and on about how to deploy their manpower, like the women can’t learn to use firearms, bows, or even pointy sticks (zombies aren’t particularly hard to kill once you are committed). Just a note, come Season 3 all the characters, male & female, young & old, are badass at dispensing zombie execution. And, yes, it is awesome and I am now addicted to the show, eagerly awaiting the next installment in Netflix.

So I was complaining to my man about this particular aspect of the series (because I was hooked on it for all the drama, especially concerning how kids grow up in this new world) and I had to back up a bit. I’ve grown up rural, not in a big city. I have one pair of heels and the rest (all 5 pairs) are books or sneakers. I know how to use firearms and break down and clean the ones I own. I know how to butcher a goat from live to freezer. Our home is heated with fireplaces. You get the idea.

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But what if I hadn’t grown up with most of these skills (I added some later in life). What if I suddenly found myself in a very foreign lifestyle? Hence, The Football Apocalypse! I imagine locker rooms full of jocks and cheerleaders, millions of fans, and mascots. Angry coaches and the beer wenches. I don’t watch football, not too sure about the rules, etc. M3 does watch football and likes the rules.

So I asked him, ‘If there was a sudden and irrevocable Football Apocalypse, where every surviving person had to be attached to the game in some manner, do you think I would survive?’

M3 isn’t stupid. He thought long and hard before he replied. ‘No.’ He’s not a man of many words.

‘What if I was a water bearer? I could carry water to coaches and players. I wouldn’t run across the field or anything stupid like that.’

‘Hmm. No.’

I sighed heavily. M3 is a thoughtful guy. He doesn’t tell me I can’t do something without having his reasons. He knows me and the snarky mouth I have in reserve for sporting events. He was probably picturing me ripping the head off a mascot and slamming it into some athletic player, spilling his/her beer (yes, in my Football Apocalypse women will be playing the field), and ensuing chaos would swamp over me, ending in broken bones and tears.

He patted my back and said, ‘I’ll get you some pompoms.’

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Interview: Mari Adkins, Author of Midnight

AdkinsMidnightHello everyone, please welcome Mari Adkins. She’s launching her book, Midnight, today! And she had time to swing by here and chat about the usefulness of Google maps, Buck Rogers, bloodlines, and Harlan County. You can check more about her book at Apex Publications.

1. What fictional world would you like to visit for the holidays? Is there a fictional holiday that you would like to take part in?

People are probably sick to death of me going on and on about Cornwall, brown betty teapots, and Penelope. But if I could go anywhere, I’d like to spend time inside Rosamunde Pilcher‘s The Shell Seekers. It would make me insanely happy to visit Penelope at Podmore’s Thatch and have lunch and afternoon tea. I would think around the middle of April would be perfect. The flowers and trees in her gardens would be sprouting and blooming. The vegetable garden would have been turned and seasonally planted. Everything would be homey, especially with the singing birds and laundry on the clothesline. And of course, inside, her father’s painting would still be hanging on the wall.

2. Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

Reality in my fiction is just as important as the paranormal along with everything else. My Harlan County is, of course, based on a real place.

It’s a three hour road trip from Loyall, Kentucky, to Lexington. Likewise, it takes forty-five minutes to get from Loyall to Middlesborough, which is more or less halfway to Knoxville, Tennessee. So yes, getting places takes time. With Sami’s stories, she usually went to sleep, unless she was driving; then, I’d make note of the length of the drive, insert a discussion (if any), and have the characters listen to music and/or check out the scenery and/or think Really Deep Thoughts.

I don’t know about my characters, but personally, I require a pit stop at the Happy Mart in Pineville on the way to Lexington, followed by another at Renfro Valley Shell; reverse that for the trip from Lexington. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve sometimes had to add a stop, each way, in Corbin.

There’s plenty of cussing in Midnight. I tried to tame a lot of them, but Sami is fond of her many f-bombs. I’ve tried to use a bit more creativity in the teenagers I’m writing now. Teens are going to swear; it’s as much part of finding their identities as the clothes they wear and the music they listen to. Sometimes saying, “charlie foxtrot”, “cuss panties”, or “my hind foot” don’t and can’t convey how someone truly feels in a given moment.

My characters end up in showers, baths, and looking in the mirror a lot. It’s not uncommon or strange for them to end up doing these things together. Females tend to get their periods right on schedule without any comment. But if it comes as a “bad time”, the reader hears about it, plenty.

SizemoreAinsworthAegriSomnia3. More and more we see fiction being multimedia – a book, a TV show, a PC game, a graphic novel. How do you see the publishing industry evolving to handle this trend? Any cross over pieces (TV to book, book to PC, etc.) that you have enjoyed?

I reserve comment on how I feel publishing should be handling such changes. I can say I can’t see them as trends; I definitely see them as change. Having said that, I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead and Justified. While I haven’t read the TWD graphic novels, I have read the short “Fire in the Hole” that the pilot for Justified was based on.

4. What nonfiction works have you found useful in building fictional worlds, cultures, and plots?

As I’ve mentioned, Harlan County, Kentucky, is a real place. So, in a way, a lot of my worldbuilding is already done for me. However, I’ve made use of digital and print histories, genealogies, maps, and photographs. Mostly my own photographs–with the exception of the story set in 1959, obviously. I spent 1995 to 2013 talking with Art Halcomb Sr about Harlan County. We got to the point where he’d sometimes call me with questions. The running joke in our family is that I know more about the county than some of the people who live there.

Google Maps with street view has been useful. Not much of the county is available on street view, unfortunately, but there’s just enough that if I need to know real quick what something looks like, I can click through–which is often simpler than combing through a gigabyte of pictures.

I’m also one of those writers who creates or downloads floorplans of the buildings my characters spend the most time in. If I don’t, I’m sure to write a character going through a wall instead of taking a flight of stairs, looking out a window that doesn’t exist (onto a view that doesn’t exist), or taking an elevator into oblivion.

I’ve also made use of a 1995 county telephone book so I have authentic local names. For example, I might pull a last name from one part of the county and a first name from another and use that to start building a character.

AdkinsHarlanCountyHorrors5. In writing your bad guys, do you want the reader to enjoy hating on him/her, or do you want the reader to be waiting for that magical moment when they redeem themselves?

I’m one of those writers who doesn’t write physical bad guys. Sometimes readers have difficulty comprehending the lack of a physical antagonist. Readers are conditioned to believe a boogeyman or other kind of physical threat is necessary. But neither is. Just like in real life, characters don’t have to wage physical battles to grow as individuals. My leads battle their inner selves. Sure, there’s outward conflict. But inward battles can be even more damaging and traumatic than what we might face from someone else.

6. As a young reader, unspoiled by the realities of this world, what stories and authors drove you to delusions of grandeur, expecting to be swept up into a magical tale or a laser battle?

Anything by Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury gave me this. When we studied space in second grade (way back in 1976), I fully expected to be living on the moon by 2010. I thought that would be so awesome. Space stations, lunar colonies, daytrips to Mars, and so forth. I thought this would be common. I got my laser battles from visual media–Star Wars and Buck Rodgers. I’ve always envisioned a future world made of science filled with magic, which in my opinion, aren’t mutually exclusive; they comprise a whole.

ScullyEnterAtYourOwnRisk7. Writing in the fantasy genre, how do you take the standard tropes and turn them sideways? Or even upside down?

I wanted to write a “human having a vampire problem” story. How would it be if vampirism wasn’t at all like we’ve learned from books, movies, and even common folklore? How would it be if this vampirism was genetic, passed through bloodlines?

I kept asking What if? What if? What if?

My characters are human first. The vampire certainly lies at their core, but the vampire isn’t what or who they are. They aren’t monsters. They’re people. They have jobs, go to school, have parties, visit family and friends, have babies, fall in love–and have real, human problems.

One of the characters is quite fond of telling anyone who’ll listen, “You’re a vampire. Being a vampire is pain.” And that, to me, encompasses the entire human condition.
Humans have limits. Humans can be pushed only so far before they break–figuratively and literally. Vampire genetics makes that a bit trickier. They still become ill, grow old, get hurt, be killed–anything that can happen to a “regular human” can happen to them. The vampire genetics can make all that better or worse, depending on the overall health and mindset of the person at his core.

8. How did you celebrate that first time experience of having a piece accepted for publication?

My first reaction to having something published was, “Are you serious?” I jumped up and down a bit then had a glass of wine. I love a party, but I’m not much of a party person, despite the jokes I make about holding raves. The feeling returned when I received the anthology and got to hold it in my hands. I’d sometimes go to the shelf and look at it and see if it was really there. Or I’d read the table of contents–just in case!

9. Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

Midnight, my debut novel, launches May 27th. I have a signing June 7th at the Lexington Farmers Market at The Morris Book Shop booth.

AdkinsMidnightSynopsis of Midnight:

Samantha Clark has always known she was different. Growing up feeling unwanted and unloved, she escaped a bad childhood by going to college. There she quickly fell into an unhealthy relationship in an attempt to form a connection with another person, to be needed and loved in a way she had always craved. When the abuse becomes life-threatening, Sami is on the run again, turning to a college-friend for help. What she finds is not only a place to crash while she tries to make a plan for the future, but acceptance, friendship, and a new hope of ‘family’.

Set in rural Kentucky in 1985, Midnight is the inward journey of Sami’s self-loathing, self-reflection, and eventual self-acceptance. Through the love of her friends and the mysterious Michael, Sami not only heals from the scars given earlier in life, she finds her personal strength.

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