By Ethan Cross
Joe McKinney’s incredible new book, PLAGUE OF THE UNDEAD, has been described by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Brian Keene as “merciless, fast-paced and genuinely scary”while author Weston Ochse says that “McKinney writes zombies like he’s been gunning them down all his life.” Here’s a description of it:
For thirty years, they have avoided the outbreak of walking death that has consumed America’s heartland. They have secured a small compound near the ruins of Little Rock, Arkansas. Isolated from the world. Immune to the horror. Blissfully unaware of what lies outside in the region known as the Dead Lands. Until now. Led by a military vet who’s seen better days, the inexperienced offspring of the original survivors form a small expedition to explore the wastelands around them. A biologist, an anthropologist, a cartographer, a salvage expert—all are hoping to build a new future from the rubble, which they call the “Dead Lands.” The infected are still out there. Stalking. Feeding. Spreading like a virus. Wild animals roam the countryside, hunting prey. Small pockets of humanity hide in the shadows: some scared, some mad, all dangerous. This is the New World. If the explorers want it, they’ll have to take it. Dead or alive. . .
The prolific McKinney, who’s had much success of late, graciously agreed to answer a few questions.
Tell us about PLAGUE OF THE UNDEAD in one line.
Thirty years after the zombie apocalypse, a ragtag group of explorers sets out to see what remains of their world.
What kind of research did you conduct for PLAGUE OF THE UNDEAD?
PLAGUE OF THE UNDEAD takes place thirty years after the zombie apocalypse. My explorers are from a small town that walled itself up during the worst of the initial zombie outbreak. Since that time, their community has not only survived, but thrived, and now it’s time to see what lies beyond the walls. I spent a lot of time thinking how a community like that would organize itself, and what kind of jobs its people would work at. One of the main characters is a salvage expert, and when things start to go really wrong for the group, he uses all his improvisational skills to make what the group needs to survive. Some of the things I researched were how to silence a rifle using only trash found on the ground, how to build a still out of old car parts, and the art of mapmaking. The research was a blast.
It was supposed to be fun. A chance to get away. An opportunity for two sisters to bond and for one sister to heal. It was a small river, calm, slow-moving. Perfect for a leisurely canoe trip on a beautiful summer day.
But then they hear a baby crying on the shore, abandoned and overheated. Alie and Carin have to take her with them. They can’t just leave her there.
A simple canoe trip becomes a rescue mission. But there’s something on the shore, hidden by the trees. Something that’s following them every step of the way – watching, waiting . . .
Around every bend, the river becomes stranger, darker, more dangerous, until Alie isn’t sure what’s real and what isn’t. The river wants the child for itself, but no matter what it throws at her, Alie’s determined to get the baby to safety. She’s already lost one child. But she’ll have to fight the darkness that haunts the river – as well as the darkness within herself – if she doesn’t want to lose another.
By Brian Knight
The drying up of the world’s oil resources leads to the fabled End of Days. Technology stagnates and communities grow ever more insular. With communication between cities lost and attention turned inward, the vampires rise from the shadows where they have survived for centuries and sweep across the globe.
By the time word spreads, it is far too late and Vampires enslave humanity and keep them in walled cities to breed. The Vampires are masters of the darkness but maintain control by day through the use of thralls—humans who have been bitten but have not yet crossed over, and whose inhuman lusts make daylight as terrifying as night.
VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE, TRAIL OF TEARS is Derek Gunn’s fourth book in the acclaimed series. The author, who is a fan favorite in the genre, agreed to answer a few questions about the book and his life.
Tell us a bit about your new release, VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE (BOOK #4): TRAIL OF TEARS.
It has taken a while to write this one. The first three books came out one after the other and then I took a break to write some other novels. My mind kept returning to the characters in this series though. While I did not leave it in a cliff-hanger, per se, some of the plotlines were certainly not completely resolved.
Many of the reviews on Amazon and a number of mails sent to me directly kept asking for another one so I started to think seriously about where the story could go and how I could make it different but still retain the elements that made the first three so popular.
The fact that Permuted Press wanted to release the first three books in new editions with cool new covers only made the decision easier.
By J. H. Bográn
Thomas M. Malafarina’s new novel—DEAD KILL—opens in the year 2053. It’s been ten years since the long-anticipated zombie apocalypse arrived with a vengeance and wiped out more than half of humanity. However, not only did the humans manage to survive but they also succeeded in destroying the seemingly countless hoards of the undead and regained their rightful place at the top of the food chain. Now living safely in fortified towns and cities, humans go about their daily lives with little concern for the greatly reduced numbers of undead remaining in the unprotected outlands and forests. These creatures have been reduced to roadside nuisances albeit deadly ones.
Beginning with these potent images, I had the opportunity to probe into the mind of one of today’s best and most prolific horror authors.
How did the idea behind the post–zombie-apocalypse for DEAD KILL come about?
Well, every one and his brother seemed to be doing zombie apocalypse books, comics, TV shows, and movies for the past way too many years. And I fought the urge to jump into the fray for a very long time, feeling that the genre had been done to death; so to speak. I decided if I was going to take the time to write a zombie-based book it would have to be different than anything else out there.
In THE PENTACLE PENDANT, Stephen M. DeBock’s debut novel, a contemporary werewolf who becomes a won-woman star chamber takes center stage. METAMORPH chronicles the further adventures of one of the characters introduced in the TPP, and explores the question of what happens when Beauty becomes the Beast.
In METAMORPH, a vampire who has slaked his taste for terror through centuries of history’s darkest eras puts a hold on his covert attacks on America in order to pursue a secret vendetta against a beautiful bi-racial woman who has scorned him.
But the woman has a secret of her own. She is a metamorph, a hybrid shape-shifter with the healing powers of a vampire, the heightened senses and strengths of a werewolf, and the needs that accompany both. Needs that conflict with her strong moral code; needs which compel her to conceal her extra-human identity from the mortal man she has grown to love.
METAMORPH combines known history with speculative fiction, a strong female protagonist, and the pitting of a creature of unmitigated evil against a pair of unsuspecting lovers in a complex cat-and-mouse pursuit.
THE BIG THRILL had a chance to talk with the author and find out a little more about his latest effort.
As your series progresses, what changes are occurring to the story and your writing process?
THE PENTACLE PENDANT introduces the contemporary werewolf Claire and her friends, lovers, and associates, as well as the vampire villain, Daciana, who will link TPP, METAMORPH, and the upcoming HEMOPHAGE. The first book’s focus is the local and contemporary; METAMORPH is a thriller that introduces both Daciana’s back story from the seventeenth century to the present and one of her acolytes who has become a modern-day terrorist. He becomes a threat to Rowena, a character introduced in TPP who plays the protagonist’s role in this novel. HEMOPHAGE, now nearing completion, delves even more deeply into Daciana’s influence upon new characters, again dating from the 1600s and continuing into the present day. Persons and events introduced in the former two novels are intertwined with the lives of the new protagonists of HEMOPHAGE.
By J. H. Bográn
In Michael McBrides’s new novel, ANCIENT ENEMY, Sani Natonaba’s ancestors have lived in these canyons for more than seven hundred years, but they aren’t the only ones. When he awakens to the bleating of his family’s sheep being slaughtered, he learns that something is stalking this isolated corner of the reservation, a predator unlike any he has encountered before, one that attacks with alarming stealth and ferocity.
Only his grandfather knows what lurks outside in the darkness, but a stroke has left him unable to communicate, forcing Sani to embark upon a journey into the distant past to discover the horrible truth. And he’s running out of time. There’s no sign of an end to the killing and already he’s found claw marks and strange footprints around his home.
Sani must decipher the clues hidden a millennium ago by the Anasazi before their mysterious disappearance if he’s to have any hope of surviving the impending confrontation with an ancient enemy that has already hunted his bloodline to the brink of extinction.
What was the inspiration behind ANCIENT ENEMY?
ANCIENT ENEMY was born of a fascination with inexplicable historical mysteries, in this case, the disappearance of the Anasazi from the Four Corners region of Colorado. I previously touched upon it in my 2012 novel, VECTOR BORNE, and felt as though it deserved further exploration. As the story developed, however, it became less about the Anasazi than the modern-day characters inhabiting the land they abandoned. I found myself becoming increasingly invested in the characters in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Rest assured, though, there’s still plenty of action and adventure. The plot revolves around the discovery of clues left in the ruins of a once-great society and deciphering them before it’s too late.
Tim Waggoner has been a fixture in the horror community since around the time people started realizing there was one. The author of numerous novels and three collections, Tim has more than one-hundred short story publishing credits to date in the horror, fantasy and thriller genres and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. THE BIG THRILL caught up with Tim to discuss his latest novel, THE WAY OF ALL FLESH, slated for release this month from Samhain Publishing, and he was kind of enough to answer some questions about the book and his take on writing in general.
Congratulations on your latest novel! Please tell us a little about THE WAY OF ALL FLESH. How did this particular novel, this story, come about?
The seed for the novel was planted in 1994, when I first heard the Cranberries’ song “Zombie.” The refrain “What’s in your head, zombie?” got me thinking. What, if anything, goes on inside the head of someone who’s become a zombie? Is there any remnant of the person they once were? And if so, what’s it like to be trapped inside a rotting shell that’s ravenous for human flesh?
The idea stuck with me for the last twenty years, and it became the basis for the story of David, a man who finds himself trapped in a nightmarish, distorted version of his hometown, which is overrun with insane cannibals and ivory-fleshed, fast-moving demons who seek to kill him. It’s also the story of his twin sister Kate, one of a group of human survivors who hunts zombies and can’t escape the feeling her brother is still somehow alive. And it’s the story of Nicholas, a serial killer who hates having been “upstaged” by the zombie apocalypse.
I love playing with tropes and putting new twists on them, and that’s exactly what I did with this novel. I guarantee it’s not like any zombie novel people have ever read before!
By Dan Levy
Write what you know. We’ve all heard it a gajillion times in school. Later, it was the advice from some well-meaning relatives when we announced that words were going to be a mainstay of our lives/livelihoods. But as his fourth book debuts, Philip Donlay is a great example of a new approach to writing, Write what you’re passionate about.
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Donlay discovered the Pacific Northwest, where he now lives, and a passion for the environment later in life. So, instead of drawing on the flood of stories that would naturally flow from a decades-long career as a global corporate pilot, Donlay decided that Donovan Nash, his series protagonist, would follow Donlay’s passion for the environment.
Donlay explained his series started like many, “I developed some interesting characters, then I needed to find a way to get them into serious trouble.” But in choosing to write thrillers with an environmental slant, Donlay noted, “I know that novels are not a place to preach, but they’re a great springboard for discussion.”
Donlay offered the practice of shark finning as an example of how novels can be eye opening without being heavy-handed. “It’s a tragic and indefensible form of poaching,” Donlay said. “When I started asking people what they knew, I was surprised at how little it was.” So, Donlay knew he had an opportunity to educate and entertain. “People told me they never looked at shark fin soup the same way again.”
By George Ebey
Nate Kenyon, author of eight novels and dozens of short stories in the horror, thriller, and sci fi genres, is back with DIABLO III: STORM OF LIGHT, another exciting adventure set in the world of the popular DIABLO video game series.
Full of a rich mythology, the DIABLO series offers much in the way of fantasy and adventure.
This time around, as Tyrael searches within himself and the Heavens for reassurance, he senses the Black Soulstone’s grim influence on his home. Where harmony of light and sound once reigned, a mounting discord is threatening to shroud the realm in darkness. Drawing powerful humans to his side from the far ends of Sanctuary, Tyrael reforges the ancient Horadrim and charges the order with an impossible task: to steal the Soulstone from the heart of Heaven. Among the champions entrusted with this burden are Jacob of Staalbreak, former avatar of Justice and guardian of the angelic blade El’druin; Shanar, a wizard with phenomenal powers; Mikulov, a lithe and reverent monk; Gynvir, a fearless and battle-hardened barbarian; and Zayl, a mysterious necromancer. With time and the forces of both good and evil against them, can these heroes unite as one and complete their perilous mission before Heaven falls to ruin?
Nate and I caught up recently to discuss the mythos of the DIABLO series and what it’s like to adapt a popular gaming experience for readers.
People still ask me why I decided to write thrillers about cops and … werewolves. As if it were a conscious decision. Sometimes stuff just happens, and next thing you know you’re “that werewolf guy.”
How did I get here?
Well, there was a progression of sorts, and it makes more sense than it ought to. As usual, it’s all about the things we read and watched and listened to when we were kids. The things that piqued our interest, the things that tickled our creativity, the things that made us feel as if we belonged even if we were outsiders. The things that gave us shelter from reality, taught us lessons before Life could, and gave us license to dream (even if those dreams were nightmares).
Growing up, I went through a series of phases that would lead me to the place where writing about a homicide cop who is also a werewolf—and who finds himself in the crosshairs of an evil Blackwater-like security contractor made up largely of (you guessed it) werewolves—would seem completely logical.
I didn’t realize I was on a journey, but apparently I was and its highways and byways led me here, to the release of my fifth Nick Lupo thriller. WOLF’S CUT will be out by Samhain Publishing on March 4.
It was an interesting journey, so let’s step back and map it.
If you’ve had more than enough of vampires and werewolves, you may be ready for MARROW’S PIT, a tale of real dystopian terror from horror-master Keith Deininger.
The setting for this shocking story is called “The Machine,” a huge construct built to enclose an entire range of lifeless mountains. An entire society exists within the vast halls and endless corridors of this clanking environment, living day-to-day with the sounds of squealing gears, hissing steam, and grinding metal. Countless generations have come and gone within this mechanical beast, but this story focuses on one citizen, a man named Ballard. Unlike the protagonist in most thrillers or even horror novels, Ballard is no hero, according to his creator.
“He’s a normal guy,” Deininger says, “a working-class Joe; at least he’d like to be. The problem is that, because of his father, he’s seen a bit more of the world than most citizens of the Machine. He’s poisoned by thoughts of the world outside the Machine, of possibilities.”
It is these thoughts that drive him to question things, making him an outcast from his society. Ballard sees the Machine as a tedious place, filled with ignorance and cruelty. His mundane job seems pointless and he secretly questions the purpose of the Machine.
Most of Ballard’s fellow inhabitants work, live and die within the Machine. Much of how it came to be or what its original functions may have been are lost in the mists of time. Those inside work by blind faith, in fear of and in reverence to the Machine.
Crime fiction author Ines Eberl, who has successfully written across the mystery and suspense genres, recently met the challenge to call on her own law and writing career to craft her first horror novel. In DEVIL’S BLOOD, crime author and lawyer Ben Ingram is living in an old farmhouse in the mountains of Salzburg, Austria, when suddenly things begin to happen that lead him to doubt his mental health. Although he doesn´t believe in ghosts, when a young woman dies under mysterious circumstances, his wonderful mountain world breaks down.
As well as being a crime author, Ines is an Austrian law historian and practicing lawyer. She was born in Berlin, studied at Salzburg University, and practices law in Salzburg. She is a member of both the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writer´s Association. DEVIL’S BLOOD is her fourth novel.
DEVIL’S BLOOD is your fourth novel. Why this particular story for your fourth book?
Ben is a writer of mysteries that take place in the Highlands of Scotland. I included the main chapters of his book in mine so I could switch between the horror story DEVIL’S BLOOD and a real Agatha Christie mystery—HIGHLAND MURDER. I got the idea last Christmas when I drove my car through a cold and foggy night in the Austrian mountains. Two books in one was a challenge that I loved.
By Basil Sands
Welcome to 2014. And as a flash bang of a New Year start let me recommend the latest release by Cynthia Tottleben, a dark psychological horror novel that will have your mind in its clutches from page one: THE EYE UNSEEN.
Cynthia, tell us about THE EYE UNSEEN.
In THE EYE UNSEEN, my characters are festering.
Lucy Tew’s life is a box her mother slowly nails shut. When we join her story it is the autumn of 1999 and she is imprisoned in the rural Iowa farmhouse she shares with her mother. Lucy has little to occupy her time but her dog, Tippy, and the view of the cornfield that stretches out her bedroom window. She suffers through long bouts of solitude and starvation while her mother heehaws with the notion of killing her.
Joan, Lucy’s mother, has a clock ticking in her head that grows raucous as the new millennium approaches. She has long been the hostage of a family curse that is on the verge of fruition, a nightmare that has darkened her entire life and leaves her standing on the precipice of sanity with a daughter she despises locked in the other room and a shiny new ax waiting for her in the corner of the kitchen.
Trapped in the house together, these two women explore the warped boundaries of their noxious relationship while playing hopscotch with reality and trying to bury the demons that have plagued their family for generations.
By Derek Gunn
Zombies eating hamburgers and drinking whiskey! The American dream for the zombie apocalypse? Well not quite. Peter Giglio has presented a unique take on the now all too familiar zombie theme. Rather than becoming a ravenous horde that destroys civilisation, zombies become work drones that appear to be a great untapped resource. Of course the strain on the economy for the living is so bad they may prefer a full blown feeding frenzy rather than the slow death by economic ruin.
This is not a horror or a zombie novel. Well, it is but only in that both themes figure prominently. It is more a social statement that draws on humanity’s strengths and failures. Can a zombie love a living person? Are they self-aware? All these questions are posed in a surprisingly thought-provoking novel.
The publisher is quick to suggest that there are parallels to Philip K Dick and I can see where they are coming from. However, I felt Peter Giglio has managed to lift himself out of the mire of being merely compared to past masters and has created a story that stands on its own without the need for comparison. There really isn’t anything that I have read quite like this. It is disturbing, the longevity of the dead makes more sense in this story than in most and so comes closer to home; and it is worrying, our economy or way of life really could not support itself if we still had to feed the dead (I’m sorry ‘Second Lifer’ is the correct term) as well as the living.
Fifteen years ago Second Lifers began to rise after a young man, more concerned with love than in changing the world, makes a wish. The world changes drastically as the second lifers have to be cared for and fed, there are many parallels to this in our society and this is what makes to novel particularly insightful. No one reading this will be able to ignore the obvious message, but it is not all about the message either. There are moments of genuine humour, surprise, and shock.
Three desperadoes seek one last score before hanging up their guns. They’re lured by a virginal ingénue to a sleepy Mexican village by the promise of silver treasure. The gunslingers discover they’ve been tricked into rescuing the villagers from a pack of the most vicious werewolves that ever bloodied the pages of a book. Though they came for plunder, the gunmen can’t turn their backs on the doomed peasants and instead choose to fight as heroes. They plunge into a final battle that could well leave them as dog meat for the scheming and ravenous lycanthropes.
The story is a wonderful mashup between THE WILD BUNCH and THE HOWLING. What was the inspiration, I mean, why write about cowboys versus werewolves?
Westerns have a white hat versus black hat simplicity—the best ones come down to rooting for the good guys to kill the bad guys. Werewolves make effective heavies because you get two bites at the apple bad guy-wise—first as creatures then as bandits in human form. Plus having werewolves in it made a western hip and contemporary for readers. Mashup is just another term for cross-genre, an arena I’ve been working since I started.
You did a great job setting us in the place and time of the story. Lots of rich, compelling details. Is the Old West a favorite subject? How did you go about your research?
Guess I picked it up along the way. I’ve spent a lot of time on ranches around wranglers and horses in Wyoming, ride well, and am very familiar with firearms. Several years ago I wrote and produced a western in New Mexico with Mickey Rourke where we had plenty of horses, guns, and stuntwork that involved reenacting western situations in considerable realistic detail. For example, we had a quickdraw champion technical advisor who taught us stuff like gunfighters didn’t draw fast and pull the trigger—they drew and pushed the pistol and hammer under the palm of their other hand to fan and fire, often wearing a glove on the opposite hand for that purpose. But a lot of it was imagination, projection into what the moment-to-moment day-to-day details were for characters in this time and place. Research is overrated, in my opinion, and most of writing is dreaming stuff up. You fully imagine it, like John Irving says.
For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
(And NIGHTLIFE hits store shelves!)
Are you ready?
Described as “an action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, NIGHTLIFE pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly,”
“Thrilling, edgy, and scary as hell, Matthew Quinn Martin’s NIGHTLIFE is an outstanding debut and––along with Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE and Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels––it’s also one of the most original takes on the vampire novel I’ve ever read.” —Jason Starr, International bestselling author of THE PACK.
“Wait…your book has monsters in it? ACTUAL monsters? Where can I buy it? Like right now.” —Ethan Cross, International bestselling author of THE PROPHET.
Welcome, Matthew Quinn Martin, and congratulations on the release of NIGHTLIFE! So,
Halloween has come and gone; tell us more about what stalks the streets of New Harbor, what’s NIGHTLIFE about?
Jeeze, this type of question is always the toughest to answer––and it’s usually the first up too. You think I’d be better at answering it by now (or at least ducking it). I’ve noticed that readers/reviewers are doing a way better job than I could at describing the book…so let me just drop a few quotes in here: “An incredibly riveting, edge of your seat plot that [is] equal parts spooky mystery and gruesomely tragic horror novel.”––ALL THINGS URBAN FANTASY. “The ultimate Vampire book…not your modern, sexy, ‘I wanna get laid by a vampire book’…this [is] some scary stuff.”––WALL-TO-WALL BOOKS . “I don’t think I’ve actually read anything like it before, And I was not disappointed.”––THE BIBLIOSANCTUM. “NIGHTLIFE takes the tired old trope of vampires preying on humanity and give us something new, much fresher and infinitely more interesting by that cleverly simple trick of taking the idea of vampires back to their nastier, much less sexy basics.”––UNDER THE EFFING RAINBOW
In the fifth book in the Jake Helman Files series, private investigator Jake Helman returns to New York City after fighting the battle of his life on Pavot Island to save his best friend, Edgar.
He’s anxious to start a new life with NYPD homicide detective Maria Vasquez, but first he must search for psychic healer Laurel Doniger who disappeared while he was away.
As Jake investigates Laurel’s secret past, he’s drawn into a conflict with a being that has existed since the dawn of mankind. This creature is known by many names—Lilith, succubus, witch—but Jake and his allies will come to know her as the Storm Demon, and she’ll destroy New York City to take revenge on those who interfere with her plans.
Gregory Lamberson is a two time winner of the IPPY Gold Medal for Horror and a three time Bram Stoker Award finalist. He is the author of Johnny Gruesome, the occult detective series The Jake Helman Files (PERSONAL DEMONS, DESPERATE SOULS, COSMIC FORCES, TORTURED SPIRITS), the werewolf series The Frenzy Cycle (THE FRENZY WAY, THE FRENZY WAR), and the zombie novella CARNAGE ROAD, which is being developed as a motion picture. His upcoming novel THE JULIAN YEAR is the first TREEbook (Timed Reading Experience E-book).
Here’s my view of STORM DEMON:
STORM DEMON taps into a part of each of us that is hidden. No matter how rational we all are, how rational authors claim to be, there is another part of us, a part that is aware of death, of evil and of fate. This part is what draws me in, what makes me want to finish STORM DEMON, on a night with the wind howling and the rain tapping against my window.
The supernatural thriller, from Amazon’s 47North imprint, features characters from THE RED CHURCH, a Stoker Award finalist and alternate selection of the Mystery Guild Book Club, and DRUMMER BOY, a ghostly coming-of-age tale. The stories are set in the rural Southern Appalachian Mountains where Nicholson lives and are inspired by actual local legends.
“I enjoyed working with Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint for my Fear series, and I had been mulling a return to the world of my first novel,” Nicholson said. “When 47North offered the opportunity to write a serial, I jumped at it. I am always eager to experiment, and Amazon is proving progressive in its digital publishing approach. I’ll still be writing McFALL as it goes live so it’s a bit like walking out on a tightrope in flaming underpants over a canyon full of cobras. Or, perhaps it’s just another day in cyberspace.”
She was raised by her enigmatic grandmother, who held séances in her parlor, mystifying strangers who came to their home on smoky summer nights seeking messages from deceased loved ones.
Year later, she’s settled into a normal life with her husband Joe, and attending art school at Castell Community College in the evenings with her best friend Andrea. But Castell is much more than a school.
Once home to a children’s hospital, the ghosts of the restless dead still roam the darkened hallways, and now they want something from Donna…and they’ll stop at nothing to get it…
By Ethan Cross
After a Near Death Experience (an ‘NDE’) radically transforms the life of eccentric billionaire Nicholas Sheridan, he recruits a team of other survivors to study the experience. Recreating the conditions that opened the gate to the unknown, they will discover amazing connections, common visions and dramatic abilities among people who have come back from the dead. But what they haven’t bargained for is that the gate opens both ways, and something else has escaped death. Something hunting them… Something hungry.
Tell us about NDE in one line.
David Sakmyster: NDE is our collaborative effort to create a thrilling horror novel about an extraordinary team of people who have had Near Death Experiences: how they cope with what they’ve seen on the other side, and also – what demons might have been brought back with them.
Describe your typical writing day. How do you balance your writing with marketing, editing, plotting, and all other commitments?
Steven Savile: I’m a slow riser, but stubborn. I force myself to do the arse-in-seat thing for at least 6 hrs a day, more if I can. It makes me look incredibly prolific but the truth is I’m just really really stubborn. In terms of juggling time, last year was weird. I ‘wasted’ about 3 months of it not actually writing but rather writing an incredibly detailed 130 chapter outline (around 25,000 words of outline here guys) for a last days of the Templar historical thriller. I was antsy. I really wanted to be writing prose. But my head was filled with plot. I’ve never done anything like that before, and honestly about 6 weeks in, I was really regretting it! I’m the worst marketer in the world, I must have had 8 blogs that generally manage 5 posts before fading into some unloved limbo. I have someone who does my website for me. She generally complains I never give her anything to put on it… I do, however, chat football (round ball… kicked, not you know, carried in hands and thrown) on facebook, as Dave can testify. I’m pretty fixated. I’m working hard at remembering I’m married and setting real time aside for life these days. It was harder when I was teaching, and writing, and trying to be a husband and have a social life… something had to give. Mercifully, it was the teaching.
A fantastic discovery is made – a unique species not seen since the dawn of time. A specimen smuggled out of the dark heart of the Amazon jungle. It will be the wonder of the modern times. But the creature brings with it something else not seen by modern man – a primordial parasite, and something that might have been responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs.
A team must travel back to the hidden place where the specimen was found. There, they find a world-within-a-world, a place where mankind is out of time, and where there are monstrous dangers.
“In a book that seems like Jurassic Park meets Indiana Jones, Beck manages to inject realism into a very unrealistic concept. This is a well-written and flawlessly-executed read, and I only have one complaint – it ends where it does. Please, Greig Beck, get the next two parts out on time!” –G.Brown – President, Australian Horror Writers Asc.
“If you love scientific/action/adventure stories, you should be reading Greig Beck. His stories never fail to keep you on the edge of your seat, in fear for the characters and in anticipation of their horrific discoveries.” –The Speed of Write.
“THE FIRST BIRD. Three words: I loved it – a sort of modern version of The Lost World – If you like action, adventure, mixed with fantasy and some horror, this is an author you don’t want to miss.” –TABULA RASA Book Reviews, India
Greig Beck is the multi-award nominated, best selling author of BENEATH THE DARK ICE, DARK RISING, THIS GREEN HELL, VALKERYN and BLACK MOUNTAIN. Today, his books are published globally in print, online and in audio format.
To learn more about Greig, please visit his website.
By Brian Knight
Like a dark cloud of foreboding, stories of horror can cast their ghostly silhouettes across our very souls. Ghost Shadows is a collection of thirteen such stories by modern day master of the macabre, Thomas M. Malafarina. From tales of psychological terror to those involving the demonic tortures of Hell itself, Malafarina seeks to cast his own ghost shadows across the souls of his legion of devoted readers.
Thomas M. Malafarina’s new collection, GHOST SHADOWS, is available this month, and Thomas is here with us to talk about it.
Tell us a bit about your new collection, GHOST SHADOWS, and a few of the stories you think really stand out.
GHOST SHADOWS is an eclectic collection of horror and thriller short stories which I felt didn’t necessarily fit into any particular theme. I was trying to come up with a name for the collection when my wife emailed me a picture she took of her office window at work. Apparently, a bird had flown against the window at some point and the dust which collected on its body made a perfect shadow of the bird on the window. I loved the picture and not only was immediately hit with the book title GHOST SHADOWS, but based on what she told me about some of her coworkers impressions of the image, was inspired to write the short story “Ghost Shadow.” One of her coworkers said it looked like an angel, another thought it looked like a demon. If that’s not fuel for inspiration, I don’t know what is. The story “Ghost Shadow” is less a horror story and more a study in human emotion and interaction during times of stress.
How do you catch a banshee? The consequences of such dark magic are high and may cost your very soul. When a small theatrical company takes on the production of Christopher Marlowe’s play, “Doctor Faustus,” things don’t go as planned. Unexplained stage effects appear as cast members disappear, accidents seem more than coincidence, and an earthquake splits a busy downtown thoroughfare. And there’s a rumored ghost in the basement.
Anne Petty added, “THE CORNERSTONE is my take on the old ‘Doctor Faustus’ tale in which a writer sells his soul to Satan for fame and fortune. I became fascinated with the legend in college and loved what Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe had done with the tale. It got me to thinking what would the so-called Faustian bargain look like today, in our modern unsuperstitious age?”
Frank Michaels Errington rated THE CORNERSTONE five stars, saying Petty “has masterfully blended elements of Christopher Marlowe, John Dee, THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DR. FAUSTUS, and Irish prehistory of the Boyne Valley tomb monuments into a beautifully compelling story. I loved how all the major plot points came together, giving the reader a complete story, told well, with characters I came to love or despise. And despite the subject matter, I completely believed these events may have occurred. There is that ring of truth to the tale.”
The two most powerful entities in the universe have a meeting, and it does not go well. Only seven days remain before all life on Earth will be extinguished. Angels, witches, and demons must somehow set aside their differences and join forces to save the planet. God, who is frustrated and has lost faith in humanity, and the Father of Lies, who sees only opportunity, come to blows, and a powerful witch becomes the unlikely key to mankind’s survival. When neither God nor the Devil can foresee the outcome, what hope is there for the human race?
By Gary Kriss
When the day finally comes that the pen slips forever from his hand, Jeffrey J. Mariotte says he wants only one thing on his tombstone.
Even then it’s not a sure thing that any will gather on Mariotte, a fifty-seven year old Arizona-based writer, who keeps rolling out dynamite thrillers along with other forms of fiction. This month sees the release of his forty-sixth novel SEASON OF THE WOLF (DarkFuse ). Yeap, pilgrim, you read that correctly—forty-six. But wait, it gets better. SEASON OF THE WOLF is also his fiftieth book, provided you don’t count comic books and graphic novels. His short stories and contributions to nonfiction books such as ITW’s THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS? Don’t even go there!
The real battle for Seattle continues in the sequel to Timothy W. Long’s best selling novel AMONG THE LIVING. AMONG THE DEAD finds the surviving characters from the first volume joining the military to take on the phenomenon known as the deaders.
Seattle is under siege by masses of living dead, and the military struggles to prevent the virus from spreading outside the city.
Kate is tired of sitting around. When she learns that a rescue mission is heading back into the chaos, she jumps at the chance to tag along and put her unique skill set and, more importantly, swords to use.
Lester finds a new way to deal with the situation: ignore reality with drugs. When he manages to find himself threatened, he joins with an unlikely ally to take the fight to the dead.
Meanwhile, Mike makes use of his journalistic skills to find the source of the virus, in the process discovering a way to escape the city. Two mysterious words fuel his mad quest: Lazarus Black.
By J.H. Bográn
In the upcoming novel from Toby Tate, LILITH, something has come aboard the U.S. Navy’s newest state-of-the-art super carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, something supernatural and as ancient as time itself. And it’s taking over the crew one by one.
Reporter Hunter Singleton and his wife Lisa, guests invited aboard to witness a routine training mission off the coast of North Carolina, soon learn that the CIA is on board as well, and that some of the ship’s crew are acting irrationally, even violently. When an unexpected monster hurricane slams New York, the ship rushes to assist in the aftermath, and Hunter, Lisa and the crew are faced with the terrifying realization that whatever has come aboard the Ford must be stopped before it is set free on the streets of Manhattan. The clock is ticking…and Time itself is running out.
By Don Helin
In his novel, THE BURNING TIME, JG Faherty delivers a novel so thrilling that Brett J. Talley, author of the Bram Stoker Award nominated THAT WHICH SHOULD NOT BE says, “JG Faherty has delivered a fantastic novel that will delight fans of dark fiction. Horror drips from every page, and his mastery of folklore and the Cthulhu mythos adds an air of reality to THE BURNING TIME that’s impossible to ignore. I highly recommend it.”
Wherever The Stranger goes, evil follows. Wild dogs roam the fields. Townspeople turn on each other in murderous fury. Innocent women throw themselves off bridges. Swimmers disappear, victims of a deadly beast that haunts their waters. And the worst is yet to come. The Stranger plans to open a gateway to the nether realms and release the Elder Gods to bring forth Chaos on Earth.
Only one man knows the truth, a country mage whose family has fought The Stranger before. But can he defeat his ageless enemy before Hastings Mills is nothing but a smoking ruin and the townspeople become unwilling blood sacrifices to the Old Ones? With only the help of a young woman and her teenage son, he will have to use all of his arcane knowledge to thwart his adversary and prevent the final apocalypse. In Hastings Mills, THE BURNING TIME has arrived.
By Ian Walkley
If you’ve sworn never to read a zombie novel, then Derek Goodman’s second novel might be the time to re-consider. Derek takes a new perspective on the zombie apocalypse, adding a humanity and complexity that sets it apart from other stories in the genre.
The main character, Edward Schuett, has just woken up in an abandoned department store to discover that the zombie uprising has come and gone, and he has been a zombie the entire time. Except something is different, because Edward is becoming human again. And that might not be something the rest of the world is ready to deal with.
Rhiannon Frater, author of THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES, says the book “Delivers a unique take on the genre and is one of the best zombie novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It’s now one of my absolute favorites.”
Derek, you mentioned on your blog that you loved reading speculative fiction, sci-fi and horror. Which authors do you feel in these genres have inspired you?
Stephen King was my biggest influence. I always read voraciously as a kid, but it wasn’t until I discovered him that it ever occurred to me that I might want to write as well. The other person that had a profound influence on me was Joss Whedon. He has a way of blending big action with little character moments, and that’s something I’ve tried to achieve ever since.
Jenda, Matteo, and Soborgne have escaped to Vajdahunyad Catstle in Budapest in search of a safe hiding place from the Dracul. When Matteo confesses all his secrets, the girls learn their part in an ancient prophecy that foretells the destruction of humanity.
Soborgne disappears with the strange man from her dreams and Jenda is left trying to convince the others of her friend’s innocence. While Soborgne is busy relishing the life of a vampire unrestrained and learning the dark secrets of her own life, Celeste calls together a meeting of the Coven and the Clan–a group of vampires and witches–to prepare for war against the Dracul. Jenda learns the key to finding Soborgne and preventing the prophecy, but it comes at a steep price.