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

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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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Audiobook Giveaway & Review: Speakeasy Dead by Vicky Loebel

LoebelSpeakeasyDeadScroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!

Narrators: Emily Beresford & Nick Podehl

Publisher: Pentachronistic Press (2013)

Length: 12 hours 49 minutes

Series: Book 0.5 Demonic Intervention

Author’s Page

Note: This book and it’s loosely tied-in sequel, Keys to the Coven, can each work just fine as stand alones.

Set in Falstaff, Arizona in the 1920s during Prohibition, the Woodsens run a speakeasy bar and also sell some of their surplus alcohol to others. Now a Chicago-based mob is trying to move in and run the alcohol trade. They will be surprised at how little pushing it takes to upset a witch. Meanwhile, the youngest of the Woodsen cousins, teen Clara, is desperate to save her beloved movie star Beau Beauregard. She’s willing to break some rules in the name of true love (or her first crush). Her older cousin, Bernard (Bernie) Benjamin, is just the guy to help her out, even if he has to be lured to the basement and tied to the center of a pentagram. Demons and zombies have never had so much fun as they will during the dance competition!

Once again, Vicky Loebel has given me something original and very funny. There’s a bit of sexy (though it’s pretty PG-13 for this book) as well. Clara is a driven character who’s young enough to not know to look at the bigger picture when it comes to love, yet old enough to have just enough responsibility and autonomy to get into big trouble. She’s dead set on saving her ‘beloved’ Beau even if he has no idea she exists (and that’s because they’ve never met). She’s even willing to become a warlock by summoning a demon and striking a bargain with it. Hans is the handsome demon that appears and somehow he talks things around so that his demon familiar, Ruth, will enter a dance contest. The pit just gets deeper from there on out.

With the Chicago mob, Bernie and his personal schemes, Gladys the Golem, Beau’s resentment over the whole mess, zombies, stolen booze, and an older Woodsen sibling arriving soonish, Clara really does have her hands full. It was so funny! There’s plenty of clever lines and each person really has their own agenda in mind. Clara wants love from Beau, and to not get caught. Bernie doesn’t want to die a horrible death (which is surely what will happen when Clara’s older witch sisters find out about this whole mess). The mob want their booze, the money, and control (and they seem constantly surprised when that doesn’t happen easily). Beau is quite angry with his situation and Clara is totally surprised by what he truly wants. Gladys just wants to get back to housekeeping.

I really enjoyed the various magical elements. There’s the demon Hans and his familiar Ruth which have their intricate little dos and don’ts. Then Gladys who is a Golem and rather protective of young Bernie. One of Clara’s best friends is a ghost whisperer and she has a ghost familiar (Gaspar, complete with Spanish accent). Loebel manages to pull each one into the storyline seamlessly. Moreover, she gives each one rules to work with and she keeps them within those rules. With a comedy, it would be easy to have these various magical folk breaking rules, so I appreciated that once the author laid down a law of this is how this type of magic works, she kept her characters in line.

I did quite enjoy all the flirty, sexy behavior that popped up here and there. Demons love to trade on sex because it builds up their karma, which is basically spiritual coinage. Clara knows all this from her older witch sisters and her book on demons. Yet when the offers are made to her, she’s tempted. Bernie isn’t as naive but he’s not as well-schooled as he likes to pretend either. Ruth, being a large hunting cat most of the time, has a sexy confidence all the time, even when she’s totally mangling her dance partner’s foot during practice. There’s plenty of wit and humor with the sexy bits, making them just as fun as the rest of the book.

Having listened to both audiobook set in this urban fantasy world, I really hope Loebel gives us more. The humor is a bit unique and I love the mix of serious situations, magic, and laughter. Not everyone makes it out of this story unscathed. In many ways, Clara comes of age in this tale. Loved it and looking forward to more of it!

I received a free copy of this book.

Narration: Emily Beresford and Nick Podehl once again did a great job on this book. Even though they voiced totally different characters for Keys to the Coven, I read them far enough apart that I didn’t have character echos in my head, as can sometimes happen when you listen to books set in the same universe that have different characters yet the same narrators. These two are great with all the emotions and also delivering straight lines so the humor is left hanging there for the reader/listener to catch even as the story moves onward.

What I Liked: Arizona!; the Prohibition era; silly mobsters being all tough and hard to take a hint; Clara’s first real crush; Beau’s reaction to that crush; Bernie’s role in all this mess; Gladys is probably the most dangerous one in the mix but knows when to hold back; Ruth is a sexy beast; Gaspar and his Zorro sword; how it all ends with a Charleston.

What I Disliked: Nothing – so darn funny!

GIVEAWAY!

Vicky is generously offering up 3 audiobook copies of her book Speakeasy Dead! The audiobook is available through both Audible.com and Audible.UK. To enter the giveaway, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1)  Do you have either an Audible.com or an Audible.UK account?  2) What attracts you most to this book? Zombies? Prohibition? Demons? Dance Contests? 3) Leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaway ends April 4th, midnight, 2017.

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Dead Man by Domino Finn

FinnDeadManWhere I Got It: A gift

Publisher: Blood & Treasure (2015)

Length: 296 pages

Series: Book 1 Black Magic Outlaw

Author’s Page

Cisco Suarez, necromancer and a wee bit of a dumb ass, wakes up in  a dumpster. Wait. Can the dead wake? Cisco is full on dead and he’s none too happy to learn about it, especially since a variety of folks are set on seeing him dead. Again.

The Miami heat can be harsh, especially if you’re already prone to giving off body odor. Cisco needs info and the first person he runs into that he knows is Milena, who was his sister Seleste’s BFF. Cisco soon learns what tragedy befell his family and he’s heart broken and ticked off all at the same time.

The Haitian gang, The Bone Saints, are after him and he’s not too sure why.  They have a new leader, Baptiste, who is dead set on ending Cisco’ second life. Cisco has few options so he calls upon his friends for info and aide. There’s the Norwegian biker tattoo artist Kasper, his boyhood school friend Evan Cross (who’s as straight laced as you can get), and his buddy in studying the dark arts Martine. Unfortunately, Cisco will get less aide tham he hoped for and more info than he can easily handle.

This is a wonderful nitty gritty urban fantasy detective story. Miami provides the author with the opportunity to mix in several cultures and languages. Of course, I loved all the food references. Cisco has that interesting mix of boyish charm, machismo, underdog, do-gooder, and more power than he can easily handle. It made for a fascinating character set in a place that ties together several cultures, and hence, several mythologies.

I often found myself cheering on this necromancer, which is not something I have done often. I mean, it’s just wrong to mess with the dead, right? But Cisco made me see the right of it. After all, there’s utilizing the dead for a higher purpose and then there’s abusing your necromancer privileges. Cisco sometimes walks a fine line, but that only added to the tension and enjoyment of the story.

My one quibble is the ladies. They are few and far between and mostly are comforters and sex objects. Now part of that is how Cisco sees the world, so I can see that adding to the character’s personality, but the ladies as a whole aren’t well represented. Martine has some skills in necromancy, but she has a pretty small role. Max, a body guard, I think has like 5 lines for the entire book and is one-dimensional. Seleste gets a nod and Milena has the largest role mostly because Cisco spends plenty of time admiring her figure. There’s an od girlfriend who also gets a nod but must be protected from the truth as she’s too fragile to handle it. It’s modern-day Miami, which is known for a lot of things, including their bad ass women (for example the numerous ladies from the series Dexter). Alas, this book was lacking in this regard.

With that said, it was still a very engaging story and an excellent addition to the urban fantasy genre. Apparently, the dead can be used more creatively than I expected. The balance of humor and serious points kept me on Cisco’s side throughout the book.

I received this book as a gift from the author with no strings attached.

What I Liked: Almost a noir detective feel to it; the cover art; Cisco is a very interesting character; great mix of cultures and mythologies; food references; the humor; the serious points; ready for Book 2.

What I Disliked: The ladies are little sidenotes in this adventure.

What Others Think:

James A. Hunter

Giveaway & Interview: Elizabeth Jeannel, Author of The Travelers

JeannelTheTravelersFolks, please give a warm welcome to Elizabeth Jeannel, author of The Travelers, to the blog today.

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?

As a child, I definitely would have chosen a space alien because superheros were real to me, actively saving the world, I just hadn’t met them yet. As an adult, I’ve somewhat grown up. I currently think superheros just live among us waiting for their time to shine. I’d have to say Batman would be my chosen hero because, lets face it, there’s enough billionaires out there that someone could realistically step up and do the job. Until then, my life will not be complete. So, someone who knows a billionaire needs to tell them its Batman time; we are all waiting.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

Modern fantasy definitely affects human cultures today. People are constantly stepping up as they prepare for the zombie apocalypse (which is inevitable, might I add), some are even claiming to be vampires, others are searching for vampires, whether it be lover or hunter, people still look for Big Foot, and the age old Loch Ness, and we all know that the idea of time travel is secretly on the mind of everyone who can comprehend the idea. We want to believe what isn’t real because if the imaginary stay imaginary, life is just too normal.

Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of self-promotion and what are some of the least favorite parts of self-promotion?

I think my favorite aspect about the self-pro process so far is that I’ve really had full control. I decide where to go, what to talk about, who to talk to, and why. No one tells me where I have to go or what I have to do. Ultimately, its up to me.

My least favorite part is that I’m alone. Everything I do is sort of in my hands, and its a learn as I go experience. Most of the steps I’ve taken so far have really come from reading the experiences of others, and trying my best to learn from them. The writing world is so vast, and unless you make the right friends, you aren’t really going anywhere. I’m still trying to make friends in general, but those that I have are amazingly supportive.

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

When I read this question, I imagined that each of us would have the ability to use our writing freely. I.e. we could magically create things and change things just like we do in the word world. So, that being said, I would definitely bring J.R.R Tolkien back from the dead because who doesn’t love classic, by his side C.S. Lewis would be kicking it, I’d definitely add Jim Butcher along for the ride, and finally I’d add one more female to this group of manly men with Lauren Kate. I feel like I’d definitely be the weakest link with this group of literary geniuses, but I still think we would take that magical quest by the horns.

What does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

Sadly, I do most of my writing at my day job. Between caring for my spoiled cat, spending time with my disabled girlfriend, and doing that real work thing, I just don’t have a lot of spare time, except when work is slow. However, I typically leave an earthquake wherever I go, so if I had a Writer’s Den, it would most likely be a beautiful disaster. In all honesty, I’ve written at work between 911 calls, the park, school, the library, Starbucks (because I am a typical white girl and I don’t care), and even in the car at one point, BUT I prefer to be curled up with a blanket, munchies, and my favorite drink by a rainy window. I think that’s when I have my best creating juices flowing.

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 can actually honestly share two of these moments because both are equally worth it.

Since my first book has not been released, and a recent accident forced me to put it off, I’ve had some of my friends and family in full suspense waiting for the release since the spring of this year. Well, about a month ago, I bumped into an old high school friend at our local mall, and she had to stop me and beg me to release my book soon. She even said she checked my facebook page regularly to see if I had posted any tidbits about the book. It was the first time that I realized that other people actually do care about my work, and I can’t get over that day.

My second story flashes back to the dark days before my self publishing adventure began. These were dark times, Susan, very dark times. I was doing the unthinkable and querying like crazy, when I stumbled upon the agent of one of my favorite authors (who shall remain nameless for lack of ridicule from the general public). I literally squealed, scaring my cat, my girlfriend at the time, and my in laws. Quickly, I began forming a query letter, without explaining my outburst, and clicked send. Of course, I never received a response, and it just so happens now that I’m glad about it, but at the time, the idea of having the same agent as one of my favorite authors was something beyond my wildest dreams.

Thank you for the interview, and I hope you have an amazing day!

JeannelTheTravelersBook Blurb for The Travelers:

The town Alex calls home has always felt safe to her, until three girls her age are found dead. When Alex’s father forces her mother to skip town with him, possibly for good, they leave Alex behind to fend for herself and unfold years of lies they have built her life upon. Jaze, who has been invisible by her side for months, appears just in time to eliminate any normality that remained in her life. He’s tall, dark and terrifying, though that wasn’t his intent. Just as Jaze is earning Alex’s trust, the Council, a feared and powerful group of leaders from his world, orders him to protect her with his life.

Jaze quickly becomes torn between his duty and his love for Alex. When her real memories of her childhood return, Alex tumbles head first into Jaze’s strange world and into his arms. While Jaze soon finds that Alex may not be the ordinary girl he had originally assumed her to be. Together the two of them discover that sometimes love and simplicity aren’t always options in life.

Places to Find Elizabeth

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GIVEAWAY!!!

Elizabeth Jeannel is offering up 2 ebook copies of her book The Travelers. This giveaway is open International! To Enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following in the comments: 1) Do you think fantasy fiction affects modern society? 2) Leave a way to contact you! Giveaway ends December 7th, 2015, midnight.

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ZDate: A Zombie Romance by Charley Allen

AllenZDateWhere I Got It: Review Copy

Narrators: Angel Clark, Melissa Chatwood, Ray Greenley, David Dietz, Andrew Wehrlen

Publisher: Charley Allen (2015)

Length: 39 minutes

Author’s Page

 

Gary is a programmer and has been hired by zombies to create a zombie dating website for them. Gary is not too enthused at first, but then begins to see the monetary advantages to such a website. Meanwhile, Greg and Amy have met through the website and are trying to meet in real zombie life.

This was a fun audiobook with a fun cast. There are basically only 5 characters – Gary (evil programmer), Amy (hottie zombie), Greg (another hottie zombie), Stef (Amy’s BFF who would like to be more), and Zed (Greg’s wingman). Being zombiefied is just a new way of life that the young generation has gotten use to. Zombies hold jobs, go to college, and date. Hence, the need for a zombies-only dating site.

The story is told in a humorous fashion, often breaking that fourth wall and talking directly to the listener. Occasionally, the humor was a little overdone, a little over accentuated. But for the most part I was found it amusing and engaging.

My favorite character was Stef (with Gary being a close second). Stef chose to go zombie in order to stay friends with Amy. And I do believe Stef wouldn’t mind if things became more than friendly. Alas, I think she is in for heartache in the future as Amy seems completely oblivious.

Gary was fun partly because he is still human and partly because he is an ass. He really doesn’t like zombies and thinks of them as subhuman. Yet he will take their money to go start a website. He continues to be a jerk throughout the story, but his jerkscapades grow proportionately throughout this short tale. I loved the anticipation of watching him fall!

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from one of the narrators (via the GoodReads Audiobooks group) in exchange for an honest review.

Narration:  The narration was tip top on this book. The full cast, not something you usually see for such a short story, really made this book work. Obviously, each character had their own distinct voice and each narrator did a great job of giving them attitude and emotions (even the zombie characters).

What I Liked:  Fun, humorous zombie tale; zombie dating!; interesting evil character; my favorite character was Stef; fun ending.

What I Disliked:  Occasionally the humor was a little overdone.

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!

Ravaged by Jason Brant

BrantRavagedWhere I Got It: Review copy via the narrator & Audiobook Monthly (thanks!)

Narrator: Wayne June

Publisher: Self-published (2014)

Length: 7 hours 3 minutes

Series: Book 3 The Hunger

Author’s Page

Book 3 picks up roughly 1 month after Book 2 ends. Our heroes are still at the compound they wrested away from the maniacal Ralph. Other survivors continue to join them and the camp’s resources are starting to strain. Add to that, the infected monsters seem to be getting smarter and are targeting the camp. Even with the arrival of a new ally, they might not survive.

Our main foursome continue to face the odds. Each one of them has a demon or three to face in this installment of The Hunger series. Lance York, the man who started the apocalypse in nothing but a hospital gown, has gone from being a sad couch potato to a man of action. He’s at that point where he can look at himself and see the changes – both physically and psychologically. The world has gone to crap and he has risen from it, becoming a man he can respect. I have really enjoyed his story arc because he is just such a normal guy. Perhaps we would all benefit from an apocalypse.

Cass continues to grow as a character too. She was use to fending for herself before the infected covered the Earth. However, her time spent with Lance has shown her the benefits to being a little soft around a few select humans. She’s still a bad ass with a war axe and has her own dress code, but now she has opened a bit to Lance and even Emmett and Meghan.

Speaking of Emmett and Meghan, they play more central roles in this book as well. The group as a whole face some difficult decisions, but both Meghan and Emmett, who have trained and served in their own ways to protect and preserve life, must face the decision to take life. They were fine sidekicks in Book 2; in this book, they are integral and I would miss them if they weren’t there.

The plot line keeps us moving along. There’s still plenty of action and savagery from the infected, but those are punctuated with moments of reflection or humor. One of the things I really like about this series is that the dangers change with each book. We have the human dangers – humans like to be jerks to each other and that probably won’t change. Also, the infected – those savage monsters – have started to show more than bestial reactions to stimuli. They are already incredibly deadly, but now imagine them able to reason and problem solve! It makes for a very exciting plot!

With new foes and dangers, I was concerned for more than one of our foursome throughout the book. The ending was very satisfying and I can only hope that the author continues on with these characters. I am not ready to let them go.

Narration:  Wayne June once again was THE voice for Lance York. I like his average guy in a crappy situation voice. It really suits Lance’s humor. As usual, Wayne had a good array of male and female voices for all the other characters. He even pulled off a Pittsburgh-specific accent for one side character that I thought was very well done.

What I Liked:  The cover art; Cass’s attitude; I was worried about some of characters making it out alive!; the monsters aren’t as stupid as we all thought; trust issues; the ending was satisfying.

What I Disliked:  Nothing – I really enjoyed this book!

What Others Think:

Michael Loring

Fun With Books

Indie Addict

Consumed by Jason Brant

BrantConsumedWhere I Got It: Review copy via Audiobook Monthly (thanks!)

Narrator: Wayne June

Publisher: Self-published (2014)

Length: 6 hours 55 minutes

Series: Book 2 The Hunger

Author’s Page

Book 2 picks up about 1 week after Book 1 ended. Our heroes, Lance York and Cass of the War Axe, are on a boat in the Allegheny River outside of Pittsburgh. Dr. Emmett Brown and soldier Meghan Iverson are still with the duo, providing cover fire and medical treatment as needed. The world continues to devolve in to mutated monsters that roam night and day and militant, power-hungry humans. Yet, the river seems the safest….at least until they lose their boat.

If you read my review of Devoured, Book 1, then you know I really enjoyed the start to this series. Book 2 does not disappoint in continuing the tale. In fact, I will say it is even better because Lance worked through a lot of his issues with his e-wife in Book 1 and we don’t have that slowing down the story line of Book 2. Our main characters are a unit, swiftly reacting to each other. Our plot is moving forward at a good clip. The scenery continues to devolve, creating more traps for our heroes. All the elements are present for a great zombie story, which this is. I enjoyed this book all in one day, coming up with additional chores to keep me in the kitchen or folding laundry, just so I would have a bit more listening time.

Cass continues to be my hero. I want to grow up to be her and do shots with her. She’s very practical in how she tackles this new world, taking axe to monsters and human threats as needed. Plus, I like the way she dresses, even if many of the side characters think it strange. I expect as the world continues to circle the toilet, we’ll see more and more folks dressing as they like instead of according to supposed societal norms.

As Lance spends more time with her, he comes to realize that he isn’t nearly as adept at dispatching foes as Cass is, and this bothers him a little bit. I loved that he was aware of his feelings of inadequacy, and how silly that was with the world as we know it ending and all, and yet he struggled with it. It created some humor and made Lance very human.

Brown and Iverson become more prominent in the story and we get some back story to each of them. Of course, the Back to the Future jokes continue with Dr. Brown’s name, but they are sprinkled throughout the tale and don’t become annoying. Also, we learn the source of the Xavier Virus name – which I won’t spoil here. It is a little joke for geeks and nerds. It made me chuckle.

All in all, this was an excellent continuation of the The Hunger series. Book 2 closed off a few smaller story arcs while opening a larger one. I am very much looking forward to Book 3!

Narration:  Wayne June is a great voice for Lance, who is a pretty average guy. Wayne brings Lance to life with his emotions and his humor. I can’t imagine another narrator portraying Lance. Wayne also has a variety of voices for the ladies and other men. He does a great gruff old geezer and a crazy radio codger.

What I Liked:  The cover art; Cass’s war axe; Lance and his struggle with playing second fiddle to Cass in the zombie killing department; very satisfying ending.

What I Disliked:  Nothing – I really enjoyed this book!

What Others Think:

Michael Loring

Fun With Books

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (& Jane Austen)

Grahame-SmithAustenPrideAndPrejudiceAndZombiesWhere I Got It: Own it.

Narrator: Katherine Kellgren

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (2009)

Length: 11 hours 5 minutes

Series: Book 1 Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Author’s Page

Let me start with being upfront about some things: 1) I’ve never been a Jane Austen fan. I find her works to be silly and inconsequential, full of upper society gossip where the women have very narrow and superficial concerns. 2) I have never been big on zombies. As a biologist, it is hard for me to suspend my disbelief when it comes to reanimating dead flesh (though if an author does it with magic, it is easier for me to ignore my skepticism). But over the past year, I have read and watched some zombie fiction so I have warmed up to the ‘ambivalent’ level (which is quite a bit higher than the cold-shouldered Hell no! level at which zombies previously resided in my world).

OK, now that I have that off my chest, let me say that Jane Austen’s work, zombies, and the warrior Bennet sisters all work beautifully together to create one very entertaining listen! The entire framework from the original Pride and Prejudice is there. There just happens to be zombies, Asian martial arts, and ball jokes thrown in. A few generations before the book opens, the zombies started appearing in England. More tend to pop up during the wet season, as the muddy earth makes it easier for them to come to light. Anyway, it is now very much in vogue for rich families to have their children (male or female) trained in Japan or China in a variety of martial arts. Every family who is worth the notice has at least three dojos in which to practice daily. So, all 5 Bennet sisters were trained in Japan and the family has since returned to England. All 5 are highly encouraged to find suitable marriages sooner rather than later. But with the Unmentionables (zombies) wandering the countryside, attacking carriages and livestock willy nilly, the Bennets are often distracted from their marital goals.

I really enjoyed that the author didn’t try to explain the source of the zombies, or even the mechanism that kept them going. For all practical purpose, with none of the Bennets being doctors or even scientists, it was not really relevant to their day to day lives. I quite enjoyed the numerous interactions with the zombies and the variety of ways they were dispatched. Some of the sisters prefer katanas to long bows to throwing daggers, etc. It was so very amusing to see these ladies dispatching the Undead and yet striving to remain ladylike.

The story line still has Mr. Darcy, who I take is suppose to be the irritable hearth throb of the original book. He too is a warrior and often appreciates the abilities of the Bennets, especially of Elizabeth. He has the opportunity to show off his zombie beheading prowess more than once. Also, he is usually present for the ball jokes. Yep, jokes concerning the ‘most English parts’ of the male physique. And these jokes are carried out in such a fashion to compliment Jane Austen’s work, often bringing me to a fit of giggles. I can only imagine that such jokes truly did take place during that time period.

This particular edition had a forward by the author in which he explains how the idea for the story came to him (via a friend). The author goes on to chat about the first reactions to the first edition of the book (people wanted more zombies!) so this is the new, improved edition with those extra zombies. It was a most excellent read and is probably the only way that anyone will ever get me to read Jane Austen as an adult. Hats off to the author!

Narration:  Katherine Kellgren was an excellent pick for the narration on this book. She was a great voice for the Bennet sisters (each one distinct) and carried out the dry humor perfectly. She played the straight man to all of the jokes, letting them sneak up and sit there in front of the listener. It was great. She also had several male voices (again, all distinct) and some zombie voices. For one character, she had to alter the character’s voice as the story moved forward because the character was slowly being zombiefied. Not an easy task and she did it beautifully (or putrifyingly).

What I Liked:  The cover; the whole idea is awesome; finally got me to read Austen as an adult (not required by school, etc.); the Bennet sisters are warriors!; Mr. Darcy and his jokes; the narration.

What I Disliked:  No complaints here – excellent book!

What Others Think:

Open Letters Monthly

Fantasy

Lit Lovers

Transformative Works & Cultures

Austen Blog

The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson & Kristian Bauthus

Ancient Stout being used as a bookstand.
Ancient Stout being used as a bookstand.

Where I Got It: Review copy via the publisher & Netgalley (thanks!).

Publisher: BenBella Books (2014)

Length: 339 pages

Author’s Page & Illustrator’s Page

This book is one of the funnest and most informative cookbooks I have laid my hands on in some time. And it is way more than recipes for the those with a short list of items to pick from during the apocalypse. It is also full of info on how to build small ovens, fire pits, where to scavenge for food, and thinking outside the box (insects rolled in kelp and smoked over an open fire?). There’s also a list of tools for various projects (like setting up traps for game), how to clean your game before cooking, and even some basics on edible wild plants. And then it goes a step further and provides info on what to do after the initial apocalypse stage, once things settle down and you can too. This info includes such things as setting up a compost pile, shellfish gardening, and more. And there are recipes! Lots of very interesting and tasty (yep, I tried a few myself) recipes.

The book is full of illustrations, both comical (vacant eyed zombies wandering around) and useful (animal track identification). There’s plenty of illustrations of the recipes too, so you have an idea of how your food should look just before consuming it. I especially liked the Zpoc Food Pyramid! The illustrations really made this book a fully visual experience.

The accompanying text has a touch of snark to it (which I loved), plenty of humor, and heaps of practical advice. Let me point out that I live on a farm, so many of the things in this books were not new ideas to me. And yet this book had more than the basics; it had some innovative ideas on ovens (that I hadn’t seen before) and some food ideas that had not occurred to me (such as the kelp and seaweed as a major source of nutrients). I live in a land-locked state, so I hope you will forgive my ignorance on such things. But if the zombie apocalypse ever comes to pass, I will be sure to toss this book into my backpack to provide me guidance as I navigate my way through the turmoil.

The Z-Poc food pyramid, with Pico  Heldig.
The Z-Poc food pyramid, with Pico Heldig.

OK, now that I have gushed about this book, let me tell you about how I got my copy of the book. Initially, I was cruising around on NetGalley and saw this book. It was the cover that caught my eye and then the description. Zombies, cooking, survivalist theme – how could I not request it? Well, I was turned down by some sort of autofilter. But I pulled my courage together and sent a polite email to the publishers asking why I was rejected. They immediately unblocked me and I downloaded a copy. Alas, this NetGalley copy was pretty scant, a mere preview of the full-fledged awesome book I was expecting. And there was some serious formatting issues. So, I contemplated and then decided to contact the publisher again. I thought perhaps they would email over a full ebook version for me to review. But they went above and beyond that folks, they sent a physical copy! And it is a beauty of a book! I am so glad I had the chance to read and review the full version instead of the meager NetGalley version. Just an FYI (since I was unaware as well) – NetGalley has upload size limits on books and due to the numerous (and awesome) illustrations in this book, the publisher was forced to go with a much reduced, preview version of the book for NetGalley.

So, there you have it. This book is perfect for your zombie enthusiast, your adventurous cook, and your organized survivalist. Rarely have I seen such a useful book filled with so much humor!

What I Liked:  The cover; the illustrations; the sheer usefulness; the light snark and pervasive humor; the accommodating publisher!

What I Disliked: Nothing to complain about – excellent book!

What Others Think:

Not Starving Yet

Wall-to-Wall Books

Sarcastic Cooking

Rhi Reading