Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Book Spotlight: A Life Removed

Today I have another spotlight, this time for the crime thriller, A Life Removed by Jason Parent. Enjoy!


 A Life Removed by Jason Parent





Detectives Bruce Marklin and Jocelyn Beaudette have put plenty of criminals behind bars. But a new terror is stalking their city. The killer’s violent crimes are ritualistic but seemingly indiscriminate. As the death toll rises, the detectives must track a murderer without motive. The next kill could be anyone… maybe even one of their own.

Officer Aaron Pimental sees no hope for himself or humanity. His girlfriend is pulling away, and his best friend has found religion. When Aaron is thrust into the heart of the investigation, he must choose who he will become, the hero or the villain.

If Aaron doesn’t decide soon, the choice will be made for him.





A Life Removed is available on Amazon




Author Bio:



In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.
In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.
When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

Please visit the author on Facebook, on Twitter, or at his Website for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Book Spotlight: Conquest (The SciFan™ Universe Series Book 1)

Today I bring a delightful treat with a spotlight for the SciFan novel, Conquest (The SciFan™ Universe Series Book 1) by Aleric Elos. I have a look at the book and an excerpt, so enjoy!


 Conquest (The SciFan™ Universe Series Book 1)


by Aleric Elos








A primeval darkness threatens to destroy mankind...
The world's largest gaming platform in the entire industry is led by a man with many secrets. The popular game DarkForce features the World of Zion which has been plagued by the destructive will of the Leviathan for centuries. What gamers don't know is that the World of Zion actually exists, and the Leviathan has fed off of the souls of men and his fodder has become scarce. He now turns to Earth with an insatiable hunger. Only a woman from Earth who levels up to discover a divine inner power can challenge Earth's Apocalyptic Fate.








You can find Conquest on Amazon



Prologue

Shadows of Darkness


The voices in his mind were barely a whisper now, but they were always present. It had taken him hundreds of years to subdue them, and he feared that his true intentions would soon be discovered. Though Timur Demyan had long ago yielded up his soul unto the Leviathan, he still followed his own agenda while he fulfilled the will of his Master.
Timur hid in the shadows of the park, slipping through the darkness from one shadow to the next. His prey walked quickly with eyes darting to each side like a bird weary of predators. A frantic look of desperation was plastered over the other man’s unshaven face as he flipped open an antiquated cell phone.
“Come on…” he heard Jason Bridger murmur to the phone as he approached the fountain, “Answer already!”
“Allan, this is Jason. I know we haven’t spoken in a long time, but I need your help. I’ve stumbled across some disturbing information that involves one of your firm’s clients. I need to speak with you in private immediately. As soon as you get this, meet me on the east side of Buckingham Fountain. There’s little time.”
The instant Jason ended the call, Timur stepped out of the shadows, “Indeed, you have very little time.”
Jason spun around with his concealed pistol cocked and ready, “Back off, old man!”
“Ah,” Timur limped forward with his cane in his crippled right hand while he brandished a handgun with his left, “Not until you return what belongs to me.”
“I’m not letting you get away with this.” Jason shook his head adamantly.
“This scene is all too familiar.” Timur chuckled as he cocked his handgun and aimed, “This is exactly how your colleague died.”
Without a second’s hesitation, Jason pulled the trigger. Timur fell backwards with the sudden impact that hit him in the face. Seconds later a strange greenish glow surrounded his body, and then he disappeared. Jason’s eyes grew wide, and then a bullet ripped through his abdomen. And then another through his chest. Clutching the wounds, he absently dropped his pistol as he fell to his knees.
Timur reappeared from another shadow and the strange glow around his body began to dissipate. He approached with a silencer affixed to the tip of his handgun and picked up the old thumb drive that had fallen out of Jason’s hand.
“As I said earlier, you indeed have very little time.” Timur sneered as he placed the tip of his handgun against Jason’s forehead, “And I might add, your friend Allan has very little time as well.”


Author Bio:


Aleric Elos is the Award-Winning Author of The SciFan™ Universe series. He likes to play MMORPGs, and since he doesn't have the software engineering experience to develop his own games he decided to express his creativity in written form. 


You can find him on: 




Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Drabble Wednesday: It’s Lonely in Space

Today Drabble Wednesday travels the spaceways, the great void between worlds where anything can happen...




Lost

Can you remember?
The planetary existence, the warmth of a sun?
There is no warmth out here, the stars are cold, distant. Dangerous. Like most everything. Even the smallest thing can kill you. Yet they send us out, and we go. Sometimes I wonder why. What appeals to us about black void of space? Wouldn’t we be safer huddled beneath the gentle stars, oblivious of the fate that awaits?
I wish I didn’t know. About the alien armada.
I wish I wasn’t surrounded by outlying stars, floating in an escape pod.
And most of all, I wish I didn’t remember.

~*~





Skitters

Can you hear it in the walls?
The scratches and the chittering between the bulkheads. Something’s in there, poking around. My lieutenant thinks I’m imaging it, says it’s just the older electronics on the station acting up. What does he know? He’s a newbie off fresh Earth Station, no real deep space experience.
Just listen. Down there by the open vent shaft. You’ll hear it good there. That’s it, right there.
You can hear them now, can’t you. All up close.
Please stop screaming. Someone will notice.
I’m sorry., but they said if I feed them, they’ll leave me alone.

~*~




Stasis

I wonder what day it is? Or what year?
It’s hard to keep track in this metal prison.
I can hear the hum and whir of the machinery, even feel the ship’s vibrations. I think. That might be my imagination.
Most people dream in these stasis pods, blissfully unconscious and unaware. But one percent stay awake. Unable to move, open their eyes, or scream. Trapped in their own bodies, marking time as they go insane, a perfectly preserved physical specimen until the pods opens.
Guess which category I fall into?
Stuck for fifty years as a living corpse.
Lucky me.







© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved




Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Spotlight on Clockwork Wonderland

Today we drop down the dark, dark rabbit hole to emerge in a Wonderland of horrors. Today, the spotlight shines through the shadows on the creepy horror anthology Clockwork Wonderland...

Plus, I have an excerpt from one of the stories, so enjoy!


HorrorAddicts.net Press presents… Clockwork Wonderland






Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.


Edited by Emerian Rich

Cover by Carmen Masloski







Featuring authors:

Trinity Adler
Ezra Barany
Jaap Boekestein
Dustin Coffman
Stephanie Ellis
Jonathan Fortin
Laurel Anne Hill
N. McGuire
Jeremy Megargee
James Pyne
Michele Roger
H.E. Roulo
Sumiko Saulson
K.L. Wallis


With Foreword by David Watson



Clockwork Wonderland is available on Amazon



Excerpt from Jabberclocky by Jonathan Fortin



As the fist hit Henry’s jaw, the impact rippled through his whole body.
“That the best you can do, you little shit?” his father roared, looming over him like an irate bear. His father’s hands, Henry knew, were accustomed to detailed, delicate work, bearing tools tiny enough to make clocks tick again. Then, when night fell and the shop closed, one of those hands would curl around a bottle, and the other would form a beefy fist. Henry’s father’s hands, it seemed, could take whatever shape the situation required.
Henry had never had dexterous hands like his father’s. Henry’s hands were clumsy and frail, and shook when he tried to grip tiny tools. If he ever tried to throw a punch, it would be his hand that was hurt. And just then, as he fell to the floor, the pain seemed to rattle his very bones.
“Try again!” His father picked up a clock and threw it to the floor. Gears blasted out, one nicking Henry in the cheek. “Try again, or no dinner!”
Although it hurt to even move, Henry pushed himself up and crawled like a rat to pick up the scattered pieces of clock. As he examined them, he had a rush of panic.
“They’re...dented,” Henry said.
His father brought the bottle to his lips for another swig before coughing.
“Dented? Must have been because you weren’t careful enough the first time, you ungrateful little shit. Dented. Pft. I’ll show you what’s dented.”
He stomped over. Henry, hypnotized in fear, dropped the clock, and even more pieces scattered away.
***
Father had a very bad hangover the next morning.
“Go open the shop,” he grunted from his bed, and Henry obeyed. Henry knew how to man the register and take orders. In truth, he didn’t mind doing it all on his own. It was quieter. Less stressful.
The way Henry saw it, all he needed was a chance. Every day, he watched his father in the shop, seeing him smile so sweetly to the customers. The bear that came out at night was a purring teddy during business hours. But even sober, his father might glance at Henry from the corner of his eye, and the ferocity would be there, warning what might come once night fell. The fear was suffocating. Whenever Henry tried to repair a broken clock, his father’s eyes would be on him, and Henry knew what would be coming if he failed. If he could just work on a clock without his father watching, then maybe he’d get it right.
Henry opened the drapes in the front window and saw the most peculiar thing outside. A man in a top hat was twirling through the streets like some kind of gentleman ballet dancer. Only, the more Henry looked, the less the man seemed like a gentleman at all.
The man’s clothes were tattered, with many rips and brown stains that might have been from mud, or perhaps tea. His hat was absurdly tall, and his waistcoat and tailcoat both had exceedingly long tails that snaked down to the backs of his knees and swished in wide, hungry arcs.
It was a cold, rainy morning, and the street was empty save for the man. He seemed to take no notice of the rain, but merely continued to spin and spin, his arm outstretched, perpetually pointing every which way his body turned. What on Earth could possess a man to do such a thing? He had to be mad. Yes, he was obviously a gentleman who’d lost his mind and—for whatever reason—had not yet been escorted to Bedlam.
So, it was quite alarming when the man stopped spinning at the exact moment his outstretched finger pointed in Henry’s direction.
Henry’s heart stopped. It was the first time he could see the man’s face clearly, and his visage froze Henry to the core. It was a gnarled face, with a nose that seemed as long and jointed as a bent finger. The man’s eyes were wide with glee, and his smile was twisted into a grin that resembled a jagged series of arches.
Panicking, Henry ducked away from the window, but only a moment later, he heard a knock upon the door.
“Is this a clock repair shop?” came a muffled voice. “I find myself in need of your services.”
Henry crouched in the corner, quivering. Unlocking the door was the last thing left to do, and it was certainly the last thing he wanted to do.
“Pardon my rudeness, but are you indeed open?” The knock became a furious rapping.
Above Henry were shelves where clocks ticked incessantly. Combined with the rapping on the door, Henry’s head rattled. All the same, his father had ordered him to open the shop and if Henry did not do that, he would certainly be in danger of a beating. The man in the tall hat was strange, but that didn’t necessarily mean he was dangerous. Henry’s father, however, most certainly was.
Henry reluctantly pulled himself to his feet and went to open the door. The man stood outside, his eyes and grin both unnaturally wide.
“I apologize for any trouble. I seem to, herm, my clock seems to be broken. I should very much like aid.” There was an unusual affectation to the man’s speech, and his eyes had a confused wildness to them, as though he wasn’t quite certain whether Henry was real or not.
“I would be happy to help you, sir. May I see the item in question?” Despite his fear, Henry greeted him with the same smile he’d seen his father give customers many times before.
“But of course, child.” The man with the tall hat dug into his pocket and pulled out a pocket watch. Henry couldn’t help but notice the man’s remarkably long fingers.
Henry took the watch and jerked his hand back, as if trying to snatch a paper from a roaring fire. The man took no notice of Henry’s nervousness. Instead, he tossed a bundle of notes onto the floor and bowed.
“I shall check in tomorrow at nine o’clock precisely. I trust it will be done by then?”
“Well, er—”
“Splendid!” the man interrupted and disappeared back into the rainy street.


To read the full story and more Clock-inspired, Alice Horror, check out Clockwork Wonderland






Sunday, 14 May 2017

Interview With Author Ty Arthur

Today I have an interview with writer Ty Arthur, who chats about writing and his new dark fantasy novel, Light Dawning. For more on his book, check out yesterday's spotlight on Light Dawning.


Interview With Ty Arthur



Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Certainly, and first off, thanks for having me as a guest at your blog! I'm a new dad living in the perpetually frozen Montana with my wife Megan and our son, Gannicus Picard. I've worked as a freelance writer and editor primarily covering heavy metal news and gaming guides for nearly a decade, with the occasional tech piece here and there thrown in for good measure.
Making the move to fiction has been my latest endeavor, and it’s been a wild ride of ups and downs. Even for all the low points though, it’s been well worth the effort, meeting some amazing people in the indie fiction scene and getting to experience the accomplishment of seeing my words finally landing on print and digital devices to be devoured by the readers.


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

In terms of fiction, I've been at this for about four years now, and it’s quite the trip to look back at those first short horror stories I came up with when getting serious about writing anything that wasn't news or entertainment related. The meat grinder that is the book industry nearly chewed me up and spit me out in those early days, but I can say without hesitation I came out the other end a better writer.
So far I've had two short stories published in anthologies (with a whole mess of eye-opening rejections along the way), a standalone sci-fi / horror novella titled Empty, and now my full-length dark fantasy novel Light Dawning is slated to arrive at the end of the month.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Although it takes place in a low fantasy world, Light Dawning is primarily a horror story. Those horror elements come from multiple angles: cosmic horror from ancient things beyond human understanding that are inimical to sane life, but also the more down-to-earth horror of the awful things people are willing to do to one another.
The story revolves around four main characters who are all trying to deal with the grim reality of living in Cestia, an occupied city. It's been three years since the invaders arrived, and no crusading army has ever arrived to oust the soldiers or save the civilians left behind. Conditions have deteriorated significantly for the lower class, with death always around the corner and things much worse than death becoming an everyday fact of life.
It’s in this bleak setting that the characters have to decide how they plan on living out the last dying days of Cestia's former glory. Some will do anything to survive just a little bit longer and want to avoid the notice of their oppressors, while others have embraced rebellion and are willing to engage in any act of barbarity to seek revenge or freedom.
While very much a fantasy tale involving monstrous beasts and people with the ability to wield supernatural powers, the focus is more on a study of how these characters react to their surroundings and how the occupation changes them. For instance, how does one deal with a concept like motherhood in a city where rioting is routine and people being beaten to death in the street is a regular occurrence? Do you embrace friendship and lean on those around you, or reject everyone else entirely since it won't be long before anyone you grow to love will be taken away from you?
Very much in the grimdark genre, I've entirely thrown out the stereotypical fantasy notion of a humble and unsuspecting hero rising to greatness and defeating the world's great evils, and turned most of the standard genre tropes on their heads.


Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

Of all the characters in the book, two stand out most to me. My favorite would probably be Tala, who is the strongest character of the bunch. Despite having been dealt a very band hand in life, she always soldiers on, and she's managed to keep going despite extreme hardship that would have destroyed anyone else. Harboring a dangerous secret within her, she has no choice but to remain strong in face of unrelenting adversity.
Representing how so much is expected of women in a society while they are frequently treated poorly despite their contributions, Tala has to spend every waking moment working to keep a maelstrom of insane whispers and screams from spilling out of her mind. If she lets her guard down for even a split second, no matter what physical or emotional hardship being endured, she could inadvertently open a doorway between sane reality and another place filled with nightmare things. Sadly, very few will ever acknowledge her constant efforts, but if she ever lapses in her vigilance, the world will suffer for it.
Besides Tala, I loved writing the character Father Erret. Not your typical priest or cleric of a fantasy novel, Erret is an extremist who managed to anger his own religion's hierarchy and ended up having to leave his home to spread his beliefs elsewhere. Rather than descending into despair over the city's current condition, Erret is in a constant state of religious rapture, believing the entire invasion and occupation to be a testing of his faith and an opportunity to turn the citizens to his way of thinking. He believes pain to be the proper expression of a life worth living, and would happily watch the entire city burn if it would convert the survivors to his religion.


You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

It’s actually surprising to me that I ended up bouncing back and forth between different genres with each release. I've been reading epic high fantasy since I was old enough to pick up a book, so I always figured if I ever got serious about writing that would be my focus, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Most of my work is based on personal experiences that I translate into fictional settings and then expand upon, and it just happened that my first real attempt at a short story was a modern day horror tale.
My previous novella Empty was actually first conceived as a story about a man contracting lycanthropy and having to hide it from those around him, but as the story progressed I didn't feel like anything was clicking, so I shifted to a space setting with some of the same themes presented through a sci-fi filter.
Considering that my next upcoming work again shifts genre, I'd have to say at this point I don't actually have a favorite, and am having more fun exploring many different facets of fiction rather than sticking to one single style.


Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

I work from a “write what you know” perspective, starting with a small kernel of truth and then extrapolating it out into something more fictional. It’s easier to get invested in the characters and create an emotional or riveting experience if I'm personally attached to the story because it’s something I actually lived through.
There's an old joke that gets thrown around about “being a drinker with a writing problem,” and that's actually the process I use for the core of my stories. Before writing a single word, I spend a lot of time putting together music playlists featuring the themes or tones I'll be trying to express in upcoming scenes, and then I focus entirely on building that world with headphones on and a shotglass close at hand.
When the basic framework of the story is built and several major scenes written, from there I switch to a more sober approach with less music, honing in on the details and making sure all the various concepts are meshing as I intended and that my key ideas are coming through.


What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

If you couldn't tell from the way I switch back and forth between genres, sometimes it’s maintaining interest in one single tale and not writing the frameworks for five or six at a time! When I'm on one specific project and seeing it through to completion, I've learned over time to look for specific mistakes that are easy to miss as you get too close to a project.
For me, those tend to be things like repeating specific words and phrases far too often. You don't notice things like that when you're wrapped up in a story, and it takes some time away and returning with fresh eyes to realize where those mistakes lie. Having reliable editors to give you blunt feedback and not just say “it's great, don't change a thing!” is an absolute must.


What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

Hah, well, these days most of my time goes into exclaiming “what is that in your mouth?!?” or “why are you bumping your head repeatedly against that wall?!?” as my son learns to walk and explores our home.
Outside of keeping a toddler from swallowing who knows what and stopping him from getting into electrical outlets, I'm a huge fan of horror films, and love following all the latest on indie projects and crowd-funded movies. The Void was the big one I'd been anticipating for years, and I wasn't disappointed by its portrayal of a Call Of Cthulhu roleplaying scenario in movie form.
On a similar note, gaming is probably next biggest passion as I work to build a collection of everything from classic old pen and paper systems like Earthdawn to newer entries like Shadow Of The Demon Lord.


What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Light Dawning spent a very long time in the gestation and creation stages, originally starting in late 2015, so I'm excited to get onto something else finally. I'm really in need of a sort of “palette cleanser” that lets me explore other styles of writing, so I'm doing something way outside my comfort zone and putting together a collection of horror-themed erotica coming out towards the end of the year. I realize that's not going to be for everyone though, so no hard feelings if anyone who loved Empty or Light Dawning passes on that anthology.
After that I'm diving into a new full-length novel exploring an action-packed, dystopian noir future. That book is going to be a wild ride, and I can't wait for details on that to finally become available. Looking further into the future, sequels to both of my previous books are absolutely in the works, so if you want to know what happened following Hansen's decision in Empty or need more of the grimdark world of Light Dawning, rest assured they are both coming.



Ty Arthur gets to meld his passions with his work while freelancing for the likes of Metalunderground.com and GameSkinny. His debut sci-fi / horror novella “Empty” was released in early 2016, with many more dark tales still to come. Arthur writes to exorcise his demons and lives in the cold, dark north with his amazing wife Megan and infant son Gannicus Picard.

Website   Amazon Page   Goodreads




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