Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rebecca Besser takes over

Hey folks, today I am turning my blog over to one of the first people that had faith in me as an author. Without further ado I give to you the amazing, inspiring, and absolutely awesome Rebecca Besser.





Out of the Box Zombies
By Rebecca Besser

            Zombie culture has taken the world by storm. We have everything from cell phone commercials to The Walking Dead (the main cultural phenomenon that has everyone at the edge of their seats asking for more – if they’re a fan, that is).
            But, with this surge of interest in zombies comes a problem. What is it? Well, I’m going to tell you.
            The problem is that the reader/watcher gets the same scenario over and over again in almost every zombie story.
            The people in zombie stories seem to always be trying to fight the horde of the undead while they are scraping by day to day just to survive. The survival is what keeps people captivated (and the gore!). If you’re anything like me, you put yourself in the character’s shoes and see if you could do better. You’re in awe of some of the character’s survival knowledge, which actually comes from the author; these are the things that make each author and story just a little bit different. It’s all in the perspective.
            The problem with the plot repetition though, as far as commonality, is that it’s easy to get bored with the same regurgitate plot over and over again. Especially when there’s no new survival info introduced. This gives zombie writers, like myself, a real challenge. Those of us who have been writing about zombies and want to hold our own in the genre need to think outside the normal zombie box, so to speak, and come up with something new to “Wow!” our audience. We need to give the readers new angles…new stories.
            And that’s what I strive to do in my books.
            In my book, Undead Drive-Thru, there is one zombie. Yes, you heard me, one zombie. The story is about a man who comes home to his wife as a zombie, and she loves him too much to kill him, or let anyone else kill him. What does she do? She keeps him like a pet until things get out of hand and others get involved. The book is more about the story of a human heart dealing with the change of a loved one and the dangers that could bring, than the classic “survival” zombie tale.
            Another of my books, Cursed Bounty (a novella available for Kindle), is about one zombie as well… Or it is to start out. There are more by the end. But, in this case, I give you a voodoo zombie who is being used by a politician for personal gain, set in the Old Wild West.
            So…if you’re interested in some zombie tales that are out of the box, you should check out my books.
            Now, when it comes to short stories… I stay old school and go with the hordes of zombies and people trying to survive. There’s still fun to be had there, it’s just harder to be original. In my story, To Walk the Halls (now available to read on my blog), in the Code Z anthology, I take the hospital outbreak scenario on a whole new journey of horrific and wrong. It’s sure to…er…turn your stomach (pun from the story).
            But, even if the stories are something from outside the zombie box, or old school survival, keep reading zombie fiction! Zombies are always fun, right?


Excerpt from Undead Drive-Thru:
PROLOGUE - TWO YEARS AGO . . .
Betty Jones was setting the table for supper when her husband, Sam, stumbled through their apartment’s door. His clothes were torn and duct tape was hanging from his wrists, knees, and ankles. After only five steps through the doorway, he fell hard onto the floor with a grunt.
“Sam!” Betty screamed and ran down the hall, dropping to her knees beside him. She lifted his head and cradled it in her left arm, stroking his cheek tenderly with her right hand. “What happened?”
His eyes fluttered open and he looked up at his wife with pain etched across his face. “Betty . . .” he breathed and then passed out, his head lulling to the side.
Betty shook him and yelled, “Sam! Wake up!”
He didn’t respond. As she moved to lay his head gently on the floor so she could call 9-1-1, she noticed two things: 1) The tape that had apparently been used to bind him, had been cut and not ripped; and 2) There was a small red circle on the side of his neck. On closer inspection, she noted that there was a tiny hole in the center, reminding her of an injection site.
Without thinking on these discoveries for any longer than a split second, she pulled herself to her feet with the help of a small table set in the hallway and rushed to the phone to call for emergency assistance. She’d just gotten through to an operator when Sam suddenly woke up with a loud, startling moan.
Betty dropped the phone into its cradle and darted back into the hall to help Sam to his feet, because his movements were slow and awkward.
She gasped when he was finally standing and she could look up into his face. His eyes were glazed and cloudy – almost completely white – and slobber was running down his chin, dripping onto his shirt.
“Sam, what happened to you?” she asked on a gasping sob. “Please, tell me!”
He leaned closer to her and sniffed loudly before a crooked grin spread across his face, the drool increasing in volume. Without warning he lunged forward and tried to pin her to the wall as his jaws snapped open and shut, seeking flesh.
She spun slightly when he tried to attack her and broke free of his strong grasp, falling to the floor between the hall and the bathroom. The strength of his forward advance flung him headfirst into the bathroom, leaving him sprawled on the tile floor. Quickly, Betty rose up on her knees and gripped the doorknob, yanking the door shut as the phone began to ring, trapping him.
She was sobbing uncontrollably and leaned back against the door for support; she was shaking too badly to hold herself up on her own. She screamed every time he slammed against the solid wood with the entire weight of his body, hissing and moaning.
Slowly, she crawled over to the phone and answered it; the emergency dispatcher was on the line. Betty fought for composer and forced her mind to work. She knew if she told them about Sam, they would come and take him away. After all, she’d seen enough zombie movies to know what he’d become. They would either use him as an experiment – which she thought someone already had because of the tape and the wound on his neck – or they would simply kill him.
In the most controlled, assured voice she could manage, she told the operator that she’d accidentally dialed the wrong number and apologized.
After hanging up the phone, Betty let the sobs she was holding back break forth again.
Once she again regained some composure, she stood and walked shakily back to the bathroom door where the banging continued. She placed her palms flat on the smooth, white, painted surface of the wood and rested her forehead between them.
“Sam,” she called out, “I don’t know what has happened to you, but I’ll be here for you forever. I love you . . .” She paused as her voice caught on a sob. “. . . so much. I’ll take care of you as long as I live, and won’t let anything or anyone hurt you. I promise!”
On the other side of the door, the hungry zombie who’d once been her husband continued to try to get the food he knew was just out of reach; pounding, moaning, clawing, hissing, wanting . . .
Continue reading Undead Drive-Thru by purchasing your ebook copy here:


Find out how to use your purchase of the ebook to be entered to win two signed paperbacks of Undead Drive-Thru:
Rebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They've come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She's best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. She's entirely too cute to be scary in person, so she turns to the page to instill fear into the hearts of the masses.

Find out more about her:

© Rebecca Besser, 2014.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A dash of gratitude





I am a very lucky person. I know, those of you aware of the hell I have been through this year (Here's a LINK to the blog post I made about it) are probably scratching your heads about now, but the reality is --as difficult as things have been-- I have had good friends and family there to help me through the rough spots.



With your support I've forged my way through the worst year of my life. You've helped me to get back up, brushed me off, given me band-aids for my various metaphoric skinned knees, and kept me going down the right path.


I couldn't have gotten through this year without you folks and I honestly just want to say thank you. There have been so many amazing people in my life this year helping me and I feel so lucky for it. Because of that, I wanted to take a moment and just let you all know how grateful I am for everything. Thanks for listening to and, of course, for helping me. You all rock.




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mark Tufo takes over with Part One of 'Through My Baby's Eyes'.

I am excited, honored, and very proud to host Part One of a short story written by the ever awesome Mark Tufo for the Winter of Zombie 2014 blog tour . Without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you the Czar of Zombies, Mark Tufo.






Through My Baby’s Eyes

Mark Tufo


Part One


My name is Mercury Jones. One would guess that I was a professional athlete and I had given myself a flashy nickname. That wasn’t the case. Nor was I slippery in any way. My name was given to me by my asinine father, who stayed around just long enough to saddle me with that moniker. The ink wasn’t dry on the birth certificate before he bolted for parts unknown. Now the question you may have is why. Why did he name me this? Because his friends which were marginally less stupid than him bet 27 dollars and three lines of coke that he wouldn’t take a drink from a thermometer. He did. The comedy of errors didn’t stop there, he drank, snorted, got up and meandered to his then girlfriend’s, my future mother’s house. She snuck him in and before he almost died from heavy-metal poisoning they had a booty call, where I was conceived, lucky me.
Not two seconds after the deed was completed, my father John Jones, his eyes crossed, his skin turned the color of a fire engine then he fell off the bed onto the floor where he began having convulsions. My mother the naive brain-child that she was before heroin became her substance of choice thought he was being funny and that somehow having sex with her had blown his mind. That was of course until my grandfather, retired US Army, Gunnery Sergeant Matt McCoy ran into the room to discover what all the noise was about.
“What the hell is going on Deirdre?” His daughter had her nightgown hiked up past her thighs and the little scumbag he couldn’t stand John, was completely naked. “Did you poison him?”
“Poison? No daddy.” Deirdre quickly pulled her gown down.
“Betsy call 911!” Matt shouted out the door. “John is here!”
“Did you kill him?” His wife shouted back in question.
“I would have, but he seems to have done the hard part himself. Help me turn him on his side Deirdre.”
Deirdre didn’t move. She was looking down on John who was turning all manner of colors. Her fear now was that she may have caught whatever was ailing her boyfriend.
“Now Deirdre! This is the time you chose not to touch him? Might as well, this will be the last time in a very long time you are going to be able to see him. That’s provided he makes it through the night.”
The ambulance was in the affluent neighborhood in less than four minutes. “Where’s the patient?” One of the EMT’s asked as he came in through the front door. “Any idea what’s wrong with him?” He asked when Matt escorted the two of them upstairs.
“Beats me, knowing this jack-hole he probably snorted cyanide.”
The two EMT’s looked at each other.
“Listen I don’t know what’s wrong with him, he snuck in here, diddled around with my daughter then fell off the bed and there he lies.”
“Daddy!” Deirdre cried embarrassed.
“Miss do you have any information that could help?”
She shook her head. “He came from his friend’s house, that’s all I know. Is he contagious?”
“Yeah we wouldn’t want you to catch stupid.” Her dad chimed in.
“Tough to say what is going on without a toxicology report, my guess is poisoning of some kind.” The first EMT said as he took a quick set of vitals. “Harold let’s get an IV in him and we need to transport right away.”

***

My father was in the hospital for three days, it appeared that the cocaine may have actually saved his life. Sped up his system to remove the mercury or something like that. Who would have thought cocaine could have medicinal properties? My grandfather had my mother in a virtual lockdown, he barely gave her enough alone time to take a shower. How she’d managed to get a hold of a pregnancy test was a mystery that she had yet to reveal, and with her now drug-addled mind, chances were she didn’t remember anyway. She somehow got the test yet didn’t have the foresight to dispose of it properly, left it on the vanity. The blue ‘plus’ sign must have given her such a shock she had not been able to think clearly.
Good old Matt was a through and through Catholic and could not see his way for his daughter to terminate the pregnancy, so he did the next best thing and dragged John’s ass to the altar. A shotgun was not visible but it was definitely implied. Yeah all good marriages start off when a 17 year old pregnant girl is forced to marry her 17 year old jobless boyfriend. As soon as I was born, like I said ‘dad’ split, mom was right behind him. Not physically, he didn’t leave a forwarding address, no she found heroin and so enjoyed chasing the dragon, most times she didn’t come home for days. Luckily for me she had moved back in with my grandparents or I would have been another casualty.
I was two, when Matt and Betty had had enough and kicked their daughter to the curb. They raised me as best they could, which given the circumstances was pretty good. I have no complaints, my childhood was decent, I didn’t grow up wanting to shoot up my high school or light cats on fire. I just wanted to marry my girlfriend Rachel, who just happened to be my best friend and raise a family the way it was supposed to be done. We waited until we both finished college before we got hitched. Then waited until we had our careers going before we decided on having a child. I won’t lie, I was scared. Scared I might have more of my father or mother in me than I dared to acknowledge. Would I flee upon his arrival? Or would I drown out reality in a haze of drugs?
Neither, the day my son was born, I fell deeply in love with him. I could not imagine any existence that did not involve him. He was three weeks old when things began to round a dark corner and travel off into the abyss of insanity.


*   *   *   *   *
You can find out more about Mark Tufo by checking him out at these links:

Click HERE to be taken to the Amazon page for this book.
Click the picture to see the book in store.



The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

https://www.facebook.com/events/1524813084430035/?ref_notif_type=plan_user_joined&source=1

AND so you don't miss any of the posts in November, here's the complete list, updated daily:

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/11/01/winter-of-zombie-post-list-winterzombie2014/


Monday, October 27, 2014

I'd like to introduce Christine Verstraete and her character, Becca.

Hey folks. I hope things have been well with you. Today I had the honor of interviewing the talented Christine Verstraete. Her character Becca and my bud Bob also had a bit of an interview. I enjoyed it, Bob had a blast too. Without further ado, I turn things over to Christine.



Thanks to Bob (and Jaime) for letting me and Becca come to visit your site. Please be sure to stop by my GirlZombieAuthors blog during Coffin Hop (Oct. 24-31) and enter my giveaway! Click the Coffin Hop logo on my blog for the contest and Coffin Hop details.

About the book:
Becca Herrera Hayes is the 16-year-old protagonist from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. She finds her life changed when her cousin comes home, and via an accidental scratch, turns her into a part-zombie. Now she has to cope with a weird diet and changes no teenager wants to go through. As she struggles to cope with her new life, she’s searching for her lost mother with her other cousin/BFF Carm while hoping she’ll find something to stop a full transformation… before it’s too late.



Bob the Zombie’s Interview with Teenage Zombie, Becca:

Bob: What is it like being only half- zombie? Do you feel ostracized by those around you for it?

Becca: Sometimes. A lot of people don’t understand. I tried going back to school. Bad idea. It was the worst, well, the second worst day of my life. Even the adults were mean. Luckily my family and friends are there for me.

Bob: Having good friends can get you through anything. What are your plans for the future?

Becca: I’d like to go back to school. I wanted to be a TV broadcaster. Maybe I’ll be able to do that yet, I hope. My boyfriend, Gabe, says I can do anything. He’s nice that way.

Bob: I'm glad you have someone who is supportive like that, it's definitely important. What has it been like for you since you found out?

Becca: Weird, scary, funny sometimes (not a whole lot.) Definitely very, very strange.

Bob: I completely understand that. I deal with a lot of strange. How many battles have you fought against the Zs?

Becca: A pretty lot. I’ve had to protect my cousin since she’s well, not too good at the fighting stuff, but she’s getting better. She’s been there for me so I look out for her, even if we only started out with poisoned paintballs and BB guns. So far it’s worked okay.

Bob: I have a horde that has become my family like that. Now I have to ask you something very serious; if you only had one ice cream flavor to eat forever, what would you pick and why? Yes, I like to ask the hard hitting questions. These are the ones that are important, to me.

Becca: Gosh, I wish. I haven’t tried ice cream again though my aunt makes a pretty good frozen protein pop. You should try them.

Bob: What do you miss most about your life as it was before?

Becca: Real food. Not having spots to cover up. Wearing green. (I can’t anymore; it makes my skin look even grayer and greener. If you were a girl you’d understand.) 

Bob: Thanks for coming by to talk a little bit about your world and what things are like for you. You know my horde and I will support you any way we can.

Jaime: Thanks for interviewing Becca, Bob. I'm going to ask Christine a few questions now.

Bob: Okay, sounds good. Later, folks.

Click to see the book at Amazon
Click cover to be taken to the Amazon product page.


Jaime: So, Christine, why zombies?

Christine: Why not? Ha. I’ve always liked monsters and this is a fun, different way to explore the world of horror.

Jaime: Which character of yours, through all your stories, is your favorite? (I know it's a bit like asking a parent to choose their favorite child, but I'm evil like that. *grin*)

Christine: I do like Becca. She’s spunky, fun, and has a sense of humor which helps when you go from being a normal 16-year-old to becoming a part-zombie with all kinds of weird quirks…

Jaime: What will Becca have to face in the future?

Christine: I’m thinking she’ll be more mature and established, but may face new relationship problems and maybe even a chance to go back to being more near-normal—or not.

Jaime: Can you explain a bit about how Becca became part zombie?

Christine: Her other cousin was changing… and scratches her by accident when he comes home. He went to work in a lab doing, as his sister says, “who knows what” as “he’s not the most responsible” of guys. I’m working on a short story on his experiences, too.

Jaime: If you had to pick only one of these two to read which would it be, Zom-poc or Zom-com?

Christine: Why not both? I think humor fits in everywhere. The “tears of a clown” kind of thing. When you’re not scared to death, you have to find something to laugh about or go crazy, right? I admit both have their place and are equally fun to read.

Jaime: Will you tell us a bit about some of your upcoming work?

Christine: I just finished an entirely different, more adult zombie book. It’s got lots more gore and zombie fighting, plus a historic time period and centered around a real-life crime. It was absolutely fun to write. I’m sending it around now and can’t wait to share news and what it’s about!

Here’s a little excerpt from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie where Becca is helping fight off a zombie family:

            The other three, Mama, Papa and Sister Zombie, clung to the car, their shrieks and screeches getting louder as they fought to gain entrance. Maybe it was sick, but I couldn’t resist. I took aim with the paintball gun and squeezed the trigger. Pop-pop-pop. They landed in an arc, hitting each in turn. The paintball sizzled, the neon poison spreading across the one creature’s back. The second ball splat on the arm of Mama Z, who puller her hair and screeched before she fell. The third Z turned its rotten face my way and hissed like a snake, its rot-pocked tongue wiggled at me, before it, too, fell into the pile.
Yikes. If this wasn’t good for nightmares, I didn’t know what was.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

2014: The Year of Hell



Those of you who know me know what a horrible, awful, shittacular year I have had. For those who don't I'm going to fill you in really quickly before I get to the meat of this post. In January I was attacked by my St Bernard who had a PTSD snap on me from some abuse he had suffered as a puppy. He was two years old when we got him and never really showed any aggression at all. (Here's a link to a blogpost I wrote about it. I recommend it for anyone with children who are getting an animal from the pound.) Because of the nature of the attack and the fact it might happen at any time without any warning signs he had to either be put down or live a hands off life --which he would have hated.

This year --mind, it's only October-- has also wrought me dealings with a less than stellar publisher, a less than professional artist employed by said publisher who plastered pictures of my minor children everywhere because that's obviously what you do when someone sends you a C and D about using pictures of small children without an image release form and consent, amirite?

On July Fourth, my grandma died. Two weeks later, my grandpa's (the same man who had lost his wife) sister in law passed away. One week after that his other sister in law passed away. Two weeks after that loss a family friend I had known since the age of nine committed suicide.

Now, just yesterday, we had to put our thirteen year old golden retriever down. All of this plus a cancer scare on my behalf, (I need to have a lymph node removed but, luckily, it's benign) one on my uncle's behalf --the son of the grandpa who just lost three family members-- and four major car repairs all happened in ten months time. I know many people who have had a wonderful 2014, and I am really happy they had a good year, but I am so ready for this year to end.

Not that this year was all bad; My brother and sister in law brought my nephews over from England and stayed with us for a couple weeks, I went to Disney World with my family (including the grandpa who lost so many) and we got to sleep in pirate ship beds. I don't care how old you are pirate ship beds will always be cool. Always.

I also rewrote my short story collection "Oh, the Horror" and had it professionally edited. With the help of Jeffrey Kosh Graphics my "Bob the Zombie" series got a new --and totally awesome-- makeover.

Chris --my husband-- and I have grown closer and have really strengthened this year. We found that if you look for the good instead of focusing on the bad you can get through anything. Thankfully our kids are healthy and doing well in school, we have a roof over our heads (a beautiful one at that), and I just finished decorating my new office.

As bad as 2014 was for me, I have to say I think I came out a little stronger, a little tougher, and I have far more determination to succeed than I ever have. I hope the end of this year and all of next year are fantastic for all of you and continue to bring growth, happiness, love, great health, and good luck to us all.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Jane The Hippie Vampire takes over!

While she hasn't taken over the world --yet-- she, and her creator Leigh M Lane, are taking over my blog for the day. But, this sort of thing isn't uncommon, as we authors know, sometimes a character can take over everything --especially our imaginations-- until we tell their story. For more on that I give you the indomitable, the amazing, the extremely talented Leigh M. Lane.






When the Protagonist Takes Over
http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Hippie-Vampire-Love-Beads-ebook/dp/B00L0J8ROQ/
Click me to buy!
I don’t know how many times I’ve outlined a story only to find various plot points reconstructing themselves as I go to flesh them out. The same can go for characters: who they are, what roles they play, what type of feel they offer to their stories’ overall tones, etc. Jaime and I were talking just the other day about characters that take over—particularly how Jaime’s Bob the Zombie had begun as a supporting character in another book and how Jane the Hippie Vampire was originally supposed to be a lighthearted reprieve from all the dark and heavy material I typically write.

When I first set out to write about Jane, I only had a few specifics in mind. First, I wanted to present her story as an episodic series of novellas that offered the feel of a mesh of Kung Fu (1972-1975), The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982), and Forever Knight (1992-1996), but also with a slight element of comic relief. I wanted to capture Kwai Chang Caine’s tragic wanderings, Bruce Banner’s desperate struggle against the violent monster raging inside him, and Nick Knight’s seemingly endless search for redemption. I also wanted Jane to be a happy-go-lucky, burned-out hippie whose fish-out-of-water presence in contemporary America would be as entertaining as it was heartwarming.

You can’t always get what you want, however, especially when you’re a writer attempting to write outside your comfort zone. While Jane is indeed all of the above, she turned out to be much darker than planned. The horror elements I’d outlined to be sparse ended up being just that—but also extremely graphic and violent in places. The story arc has grown to include incest, rape, and torture, effectively changing the overall landscape of every outline I’d written for the series. Why this happened is not completely clear even to me. All I can say is Jane took over—and so did nearly every supporting character she’s encountered. Jane has had a rough life, one that has made her horrifying afterlife look like a walk in the park. It all comes together to make an important point about the true dangers that exist in our world: that supernatural threats make for thrilling reads but the real threats out there can be downright terrifying.

This idea begins to solidify in Hair, the upcoming third installment of Jane the Hippie Vampire. While Jane’s encounters in Love Beads and Flashbacks allude to past abuse and include disturbing elements of their own, what they reveal is tame in comparison to that which unfolds in Hair. Her experience in Flower Power, the fourth installment and exclusive release to the upcoming Volume 1 Collection, is even more unsettling. In each story, Jane survives a different, often supernatural, evil, but the greatest evil always exists within the coinciding human elements.
And that, I’ve finally come to accept, is what Jane is really all about.

http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Hippie-Vampire-Leigh-Lane-ebook/dp/B00M9D19PG/
Click me to buy!

About the author:
Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and twelve published short stories divided between different genre-specific pseudonyms. She is married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr. and currently resides in the outskirts of Sin City.
Her traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe, was a 2013 EPIC Awards finalist in horror. Her other novels include World-Mart, a tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut, and the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods.
She recently released Love Beads and Flashbacks, the first two novellas in her dramatic urban fantasy horror series, Jane the Hippie Vampire.
For more information, you can visit her website, “like” her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Amazon author page.

COMING SOON!!!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Leigh M. Lane takes over my blog and interviews her hippie chick vampire, Jane.

Without much ado I'd like to introduce Leigh M. Lane and her vampiric bohemian badass, Jane. Thanks to the both of them for visiting for the day. Enjoy!


http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Hippie-Vampire-Love-Beads-ebook/dp/B00L0J8ROQ 


It’s the Simple Things That Count

Have you ever had one of those days when it seems like there’s something to knock you down at every turn? If you subscribe to Jane’s philosophy, the good and the bad eventually balance out, but there’s always a rose to stop and smell even during the worst of times. While I’m no pessimist, I do sometimes let a bad day stop me in my tracks, so I thought I might do a brief interview with Jane to see how she’s able to keep her chin up amid so much adversity.

LL: Why don’t you start by telling your readers a little about you?

Jane: Well, I was born in 1950 and, until my mother died, had an ideal childhood. I learned at an early age that life is what you make of it—and I really do believe it is.

LL: Even for a person who is undead?

Jane: Especially for the undead. I’ve come across a few living dead people in my life, and the only ones who were miserable were the ones who let their undeath get them down. Sure, we can’t enjoy the sunlight on our faces for long without becoming crispy critters, but the way I see it, it’ll sure be pretty groovy when the day comes I finally can.

LL: So you’re confident there’s a fix somewhere out there for your current state?

Jane: Why not? If someone made me this way, there’s got to be someone who can undo it. Until then, why dwell on all the bad stuff when there’s so much good just waiting for you to appreciate it?

LL: What’s one good thing that gets you through the rough days?

Jane: Well… (a pause). I look damn good for my age. I’m a pretty spiritual ghoul too. Never lose the faith, man. When life hands you lemons, make daisy chains.

LL: You can make daisy chains with lemons?

Jane: No, you make daisy chains with daisies. (scoffs)

LL: Moving on … do you have any words of wisdom for readers out there who might also be undead?

Jane: Peace, love, and granola.

LL: Peace, love, and granola?

Jane: It’s code talk, man. You got any? I’ll pay you back next Tuesday for a granola bar today….


About Love Beads:

She’s broke and homeless. She’s a vegan. She’s undead.

Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she bumped into the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she’s taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that’s left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.

In Love Beads, Jane crosses paths with a middle-aged man who’s encountered her kind before—but he seems happy just to have the company. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, and his secret might just prove to be the end of her.

Love Beads is the first novella in the Jane the Hippie Vampire series.

Excerpt:

THE LATE AFTERNOON SUN negated any relief the light breeze might have offered, and the mottled shadow cast by the massive oak tree stretching overhead wasn’t much more helpful. Jane slumped on a park bench, dozing on and off, a wide-brimmed hat and boxy sunglasses obscuring her face. Her backpack sat beside her, one arm threaded through the shoulder straps to deter potential thieves, and she crossed her legs at the ankles. She wore a ragged pair of blue jeans and a Doobie Brothers tee shirt so old the applique had cracked and faded beyond recognition. Her bare feet were calloused and in desperate need of a good scrub.

She’d find a decent place to crash soon. There was at least one Good Samaritan in every town, and they were usually easy enough to spot. Patience was the key. That—and a practical sense of when the local heat had decided she’d overstayed her welcome. Hanging around anywhere long enough to be recognized was a bad thing. Recognition led to suspicion, which led to a slippery slope that began with harassment and ended with the gas chamber. She’d seen it happen before, and it was a pretty hellish fate for those on the difficult side of killing. There was no respectable place left in this world for vampires, not at least that she’d found, and it was not at all hospitable to a burned-out flower child who couldn’t seem to pull her head out of the sixties.

A handful of adolescents infiltrated the park, putting an end to the peaceful quiet she’d been fortunate enough to have enjoyed for the last couple of hours. The disruption had been inevitable, and she took it in stride despite her exhaustion. She sat upright, watched the kids play flag football for a few minutes, and then donned her backpack and made her way to the sidewalk. It was a sunny day, not at all comfortable, and the heat instilled an aching desire to curl up on the side of the street and slip quietly into a coma. Such extended exposure would undoubtedly do just that—before it reduced her hide to burnt leather—so she moved as quickly as her sluggish legs would take her to the shady overhangs of the buildings across the street.

The town she’d found herself in was small and quaint, with boutiques and small shops packed within a tiny radius. The smell of fried food permeated from a nearby greasy spoon. She considered going in, but she only had a few bucks and some change on her. Moreover, a diner was far from ideal for mingling with the locals. Mingling was the objective; luxuries like food—“people food”—were secondary.

Not like food wasn’t a necessity in its own right, just like water and doobage. A girl could only go so long without her doobage. Life was mundane enough as it was. A little variety, beyond blood type, was all that stood between her and insanity.




About the author:

Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and twelve published short stories divided among different genre-specific pseudonyms. She is married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr. and currently resides in the hot and dusty outskirts of Sin City. Her traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe, was a finalist in the 2013 EPIC Awards in horror.

Her other novels include World-Mart—a tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut—and the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods.

For more information about Leigh M. Lane and her writing, visit her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.

Love Beads is available on Kindle for .99: http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Hippie-Vampire-Love-Beads-ebook/dp/B00L0J8ROQ

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Attack That Changed My Life

In 2012 we were looking to adopt a dog. We went to a local shelter to see a mastiff puppy and when we got there we soon realized the puppy wasn't for us. She was very aggressive and my eldest son felt uncomfortable with her. Instead of just leaving we decided to look at some of the other dogs.

That's when we found Mr B. He was beautiful, and sad, he barely even looked up at us when we stood in front of his cage. You could see he'd had his heart broken and I felt for the big guy. I told him not to give up --that things would get better-- then we left.

On the way home my husband and I looked at each other and I asked if we could go see Mr B the next day. He agreed. There was another couple that applied to adopt the Saint Bernard and we decided that visiting him daily could only help sway the decision our way. Not to mention the more we visited the happier the dog seemed to be.



On the sixth day of our visiting they told us we could take him home the following day. We were so excited. We'd brought our Golden Retriever with us and the meeting between the two could not have gone better. They were so quick to be friends. Even better is when we ran with Bigs (one of my nicknames for Mr B) in the yard outside he was very careful of the boys and making sure he didn't scare them or run them over.

In fact, that 160lb giant was more gentle with our children than our other dog had ever been. The next day we took him home and we were all so happy. He was quite the cuddler and he and I often ran and played outside. He was my best buddy and he was the best dog I'd ever had.


For two years he was with our family and he never showed an ounce of aggression towards anyone. On Christmas he was acting as though his ear were bothering him and I assumed he had an ear infection. When my husband grabbed his collar, to move him away from a table he was about to knock over, Bigs bit him on the arm. We just assumed that Chris had touched the ear with the infection and that he had bit out of instinct. After a couple hour time out Bigs was allowed to return to the family and all was as it had been before. We took him into the vet the following day and started him on antibiotics for the ear infection. In two weeks, on a follow up visit, we were told his ears were clear.






The week before the attack he had a vet appointment to give him one of his necessary shots and he was completely healthy. He was snuggly as always and was my buddy. He actually alerted us to my seizures before I had them, physically herding me to a couch a time or two right before they struck. Then he would sit with me until they were over and would cuddle with me as I came out of them.




He helped our cat get over his fear of dogs and he was a big part of me feeling truly safe for the first time in my life. He was not a bad dog at all. He was, however, two years old when we got him. I don't know what happened to him in those two years but I can tell you it had to be horrific.

A half an hour before the attack I sent my two boys upstairs to play. They'd been arguing and hollering for the better part of the day and I needed a sanity break. Ten minutes later I cuddled with Bigs and was cleaning the living room and dining room when I heard our Golden yelp.

She's fourteen years old so I ran out to see what had happened. Bigs had knocked her down and stole her bone. As I came near he growled. I felt uncomfortable, for the first time ever with him, and walked to the front door and opened it. I told him if he was going to play that game he could eat his stolen bone outside as family doesn't steal from each other.

I reached for his collar and he bit my arm. While I stood there shocked he walked away. He'd made it into the next room. I hadn't even made a sound, because I was still so shocked, when he dropped the bone, turned around, and hauled ass towards me growling and barking. He grabbed my left breast in his mouth and luckily my dozen plus years of training as a zookeeper kicked in and I locked my emotions away. I knew if he got a chunk of me off there would be no bringing him back. I knew if he killed me he would absolutely go after my kids next. There was no doubt in my mind he was having a psychotic break. He tried to pull me to the ground and I moved with him. As his teeth slipped through my flesh he let go and got a better bite again trying to throw me to the ground where he could get at my neck.

 This slip and rebite happened a total of seven times. The last time I realized he wasn't going to stop. I pried his jaws off me with my hands, tearing my own hands on his teeth as I did so, and punched him in the nose as hard as I could.

I know that the most sensitive place on a dog is in his nose. Not to mention if this was a PTSD snap, as I thought it was, I figured hitting him there would interrupt his thinking enough to bring him back. I was right. He shook his head and I could see him as he came to and looking confused he sniffed the air. He laid down and gave me his belly and I carefully went around him and opened the screen door. He loped off outside as if nothing happened and I sat down for a moment to gather myself. I cleaned the breast tissue off the floor as I held my poor slightly shredded breast together.

My kids screamed down for me and I told them to give me a second. That I needed a moment before they came down. I did my best to clean up the blood and breast tissue and I called their dad. See, he'd texted me five minutes before the attack to say his car broke down. No answer so I texted what happened and, on looking at the severity of the injury, dialed 911.

They sent an ambulance and my mother in law raced from where she worked (not far from me) to my house to watch the kids. My husband had a coworker drive him to his mom's house where he borrowed her car and met me at the hospital.

Six hours after I arrived I was cleaned, bandaged, and ice packed up and we were on our way home when the car my husband borrowed died. It was not a good day for us and it was a bad day for Bigs as well.

Animal control picked him up that night and took him for an eight day observation and medical exam. He had no parasites, viruses, or fungal infections that could have caused the behavior and when the eight days were up they were of the opinion that I was. Bigs had a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder rage snap and it would likely happen again. He was put down.

I know some may disagree with that decision but he was not an aggressive dog. There was no real warning leading into the main attack. With that information not even shelters that specialize in dealing with aggressive animals would have taken him. The specialists I contacted told me he would have to live a life where he was completely hands off. This meant no contact with any other people or animals and, to Bigs, that would have been hell. We had him put down and I miss him every day. This is the last picture I took of Bigs and it was taken right before we cuddled. This is my pup twenty minutes before he tried to kill me.


I loved him, and still do. The dog that attacked me was one who was locked in a terrifying memory of something that had happened to him before we got him. My guess is they held onto his collar and beat him. I can't say for sure as we had grabbed his collar hundreds of times without any reaction from him at all. He was well fed and well loved. He had a crib mattress that was his to sleep on and all the toys a dog could want.

This attack changed me in so many ways but the worst is that I realized I could never again adopt an adult animal without fear. When we adopt these pets from shelters we have no idea what has happened to them before we get them. With small children in my house I just can't take that risk. If Mr B had turned on my kids, they'd be dead. When selecting a pet you don't think about how this could happen. After two years of living with this pet you certainly don't believe that something like this could happen.

But it can, and it did. Be careful, folks. This attack was nobody's fault. Remember, he had walked away and was already in the next room when he snapped. He didn't know who he was, where he was, or even what he had done when he came to.

I am not saying all adult rescues will snap and try to kill, it's highly unlikely that any more than 10% of them will, what I am saying is that you never know. I spent fourteen years as a zookeeper. I have a degree in zoology and I minored in psychology. I spent twenty years studying animal behavior and I did not see this coming. Nobody could; that's the horrifying part of PTSD rage snaps, anything could set them off.

Until this point I had adopted all sorts of adult animals without any problems. I had dogs, cats, parrots, turtles, and even fish that I'd adopted without issue. It sucks and I hate saying this but I will never feel safe adopting an adult dog again. That, for me, was the worst part of this attack.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A guest post by Rebecca Boucher

I want to start off today's post by thanking all the men and women who have served our country within the armed forces. Mere words cannot express how much I appreciate you and the sacrifices you have made to keep us safe.

Today, I turn over the reins of my blog to the extremely talented Rebecca Boucher. If you haven't picked up her short story Panel 35 yet you really should. It's got something for everyone; love, loss, and a lesson on how we treat our soldiers. Click the picture to be whisked away and grab this marvelous book.

http://www.amazon.com/Panel-35-Becca-Boucher-ebook/dp/B00KGODO0S/

Now, to hand over the reins! I do want to apologize about the dirty dishes in the sink. I did plan to clean up the place a bit before you got here but I got sucked into Panel 35 and couldn't put it down.



Memorial Day and Panel 35



I wrote this short story mainly to honor my father. And to remind people that Memorial Day is more than barbeques and the start of summer. It's to honor those who have fallen in service to our country. Not just those who fell on the battle field, but those who might have fallen on hard times, fallen into ill health, or just fallen to the demands of everyday life. I learned from my father assimilating back into this country can be hard, when you have seen the atrocious scenes of war first hand. No one comes out unscathed.

 I lost my father fifteen years ago to cancer. But really I lost him long before that. Maybe even before I was born. I lost him when the doctor at the veteran's hospital told him and my mom that he 'wasn't depressed, just lazy. Flashbacks were nothing to worry about. It's normal to wake up with your hands around your wife's neck.' I lost him when alcohol deepened his depression and cut him off from us. I lost him when my mother couldn't keep her family together. I lost him when PTSD wasn't a diagnosis in a book.

 But ironically the cancer I hated gave him back to me. He got sober. He got help. It gave me two years, the best two years we ever had, to know him in my adult life. In the end I knew him better than I ever had before. Maybe better than anyone. That's where Panel 35 comes from. It comes from that place deep inside where ghosts can be the living, and forgiveness can be a gift from the one you're forgiving.

 The 35th panel of the wall holds the names of soldiers that died during 1967, the year my father was in country. The whole wall always tends to be a religious experience for me. The stories my dad told me in the end tare at my heart. And I promised I wouldn't let people forget. It's time for me to finally explore those stories, and I will, through Blake's character.

As a country I think we need to do more to help returning service men and woman. Just recently news stories have focused on the conditions in the Veteran’s hospitals, and the lapse of care for many of our soldiers. Sadly though this is nothing new. The vast majority of our returning service personal are on public assistance, are facing lifelong health battles, and have trouble finding public sector jobs. I know there is no easy answer to all this. Our country is strapped and finding a way to care for all those in need is hard.
This Memorial Day take the time to volunteer at your local Veterans Shelter or center. Stand and applaud as they walk by you in parades. Salute the flag. Take a brief moment to remember just what makes this country great. Panel 35 might be a fictional account, but by all accounts, it’s my story. It’s the story of every son and daughter who has stood at that wall and wondered what could have been. As there is no easy answer, there is just our support and the belief that just one person can make a difference.
I want to thank Jaime for letting me take over her blog today and tell you a little bit about what is just one cause in my life. Jaime is great. And Bob The Zombie is certainly worth the read. 
 
 --Thank you for guesting today. It is a beautiful story and thank you so much for your kind comments. I also want to thank you for sharing about your father, I am so sorry for your loss.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day and Rebecca Boucher



On Memorial Day it's important to take the time to appreciate all our soldiers. It's a day to remember those who gave their lives fighting for ours. Unfortunately too many people see it as nothing more than a four day weekend. An excuse to party, to have fun, and to get out of going to work. 

How sad that they don't bother to look outside themselves to see the sacrifices others make to allow them to keep partying and enjoying life. I am extremely grateful to all of those who serve/served in the name of our country. I can never thank you enough for giving of yourselves, your health, and --in some cases-- your sanity to make our home safer. 

I hope that one day we will look at those who serve our country (as soldiers as well as teachers, police officer, firefighters, EMS) and give them the support and compensation they deserve. I think it's a disgrace that we are sending our soldiers off to war and giving them just above minimum wage for their lives. 

That said, this post isn't about what I believe. This is about a truly talented author, Rebecca Boucher, who has written a beautiful story for Memorial Day. It's called 'Panel 35' and it will be free on Monday as a way to say thank you to our service men and women. It is a story about love, loss, and a reminder that casualties of war don't just occur on the battlefield. As always, click on the picture of the book to be whisked away to Amazon to buy it. 

http://www.amazon.com/Panel-35-Becca-Boucher-ebook/dp/B00KGODO0S/


Without further ado, here is my interview with the kind, talented, and simply wonderful, Rebecca Boucher.

 

JJ: When did you start writing?
RB: I started writing when I was seven years old. I always remember writing. I really just started taking it seriously as a career choice about three years ago though. I got back into it at really hard time in my life. Writing has always helped me work through the hard things.

JJ: What was the first story you remember writing?
RB: The first story I remember writing is a little illustrated book titled Super Koala ;)


JJ: What genre is your most preferred?
RB: Urban fantasy with a sprinkling of paranormal thrown in.

JJ: What challenges you the most in your writing?
RB: Love scenes. I get really embarrassed thinking about my mom reading them.

JJ: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
RB: Talking to other authors, and making great friends all over the world. If I wasn’t writing I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet all the people I have on social media.

JJ: What do you like least about being an author?
RB: Bad reviews.. lol

JJ: How many books do you currently have available?
RB: I have one full length novel titled Hunting The Moon, one short story and I am featured in two anthologies.

JJ: What projects are you currently working on?
RB: I am working on the sequel to Hunting The Moon titled Midnight Raven, and I’m also working on a dystopian thriller titled Evasion. 

JJ: Do you have any books coming out soon?
RB: Hopefully I will have Midnight raven up and ready to go by the fall.

JJ: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
RB: Oh boy, hard to narrow it down. Series wise, The Hunger Games. And the Outlander Series.

JJ: Who are some of your favorite authors?
RB:  Kelly Elliott, Amelia James, Molly Bryant, Jamie Sue Wilsoncroft, Laura Kaye, Stephen King, all our Visionary Press authors. There are so many great authors out there it’s hard to narrow it down.

JJ: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
RB: Classics like Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Horror wise anything by Poe and Stephen King. I read anything and everything.

JJ: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
RB: Oh my god yes. I have playlists for all my books. I like mainly country and hard rock which is a really crazy mix. The book I am writing now I have been listening to a lot of country music for it. Johnny Cash which is weird I guess. 

JJ: Any hobbies?
RB: You can laugh, I have just taken up shooting. Anything outdoors I love.

JJ: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
RB: You can find me on my blog My Life With Boys and Books at www.beccab8.blogspot.com on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rebeccaboucher88  and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BeccaBoucherAut






Scares That Care, She's a Hugger, Dickshark, and a Memorial for an Amazing Lady.

Scares That Care was this past weekend and I finally got the chance to thaw out in the beautiful Virginia heat. (It was 107°F and it was gl...