Wednesday, 31 October 2012

How Nightmares Can Come True

Today, this last day of CoffinHop, I bring you a guest post by A.M. Harte, author of the zombie love anthology, Hungry For You, and her latest dark fantasy, Above Ground.


How Nightmares Can Come True


I had a dream three years ago.

A nightmare, actually.

Alone in a darkened theatre, I watched a group of people come on stage. They looked human. Lean bodies, white teeth, the spotlights lengthening their shadows to grotesque proportions.

When the lights went out, the screaming started.

First one voice, then two, needle-sharp cries melding together. Then came the sickly snapping of breaking bones. I covered my ears but could not escape from the sound. The darkness on the stage was thick, impenetrable, coating my nose and eyes and mouth. But even though I couldn't see what was happening, deep inside of me I knew: their bodies were mutating.

Fast forward three years, and I have just published Above Ground, the very novel that nightmare inspired. My nightmare has come true--for my main character, that is.

I have a love-hate relationship with horror. I loathe nightmares, avoid horror films, and disdain scary books. My first release, Hungry For You, gave me nightmares about zombies for weeks. After writing a chapter of an in-progress novel about demons, I couldn't (and still can't!) look at a mirror in a dark room.

Yet despite my being an utter wuss, I continue to use elements of fear to fuel my writing. So what is it about horror that appeals to me?

Simply put, I think that the dark sides of human nature are the most fascinating. Fear changes people; it can make them do things they'd never have thought possible. It's a test of your character, of your survival instincts.

A writer should write what they know, and fear is one of the emotions that resonates the most with me. I scare easily, so when I'm putting a piece of myself into a story, fear is one of the easiest emotions to access.

Besides, it's kind of fun to see my nightmares come true. Especially when they're not happening to me!


Author Bio:

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the dark fantasy series Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate. You are welcome to gently pester her at http://amharte.com or on twitter at @am_harte.


And please return on Nov. 2nd, when A.M. Harte makes a return appearance for her Above Ground blog tour, bringing an excerpt from her book.
 
Plus, be sure to pop by tomorrow for the announcement of the winner of the copy of The Cult of Me by Michael Brookes and to get the free coupon codes for Killers and Demons and  Ruined City.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

My Favourite TV Vampires and Slayers

As some of you may know I am a huge sci-fi and fantasy geek, so today I’m indulging that side of me and having a little bit of fun with listing some of my favourite TV vampires and their slayers.

A Taste of Vampires

My latest vampire obsession is the character of Hal, from BBC’s version of Being Human. Very OCD, and even more dangerous, this English vamp is fanglicious and gets extra points on the hotness scale for the accent.




Angel and Spike (from Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Joss Whedon’s vampire creations are delightfully delicious on their own, but when paired together they are a perfect combination.



Mick St. John (from Moonlight)

What can I say, vampire private investigators are hot, and this one sizzles.



Damon and Stefan Salvatore (from the Vampire Diaries)

The Salvatore brothers are wickedly appealing and easy on the eyes. They’re definitely a duo to die for.



Marcus Van Sciver (Neil Jackson from Blade: The Series)

Blade: the Series may have been an obsurce show that lasted one season, but it did have the intriguing vampire character, Marcus Van Sciver. Ostensively a villain, he nevertheless had some interesting depth and sympathetic traits. Plus he was a scheming scoundrel and that’s always fun.



And now for a few of the best TV Slayers

Dean and Sam Winchester (Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalaki from Supernatural).

You can’t have one without the other. These two are the sexiest, most dangerous duo to keep the world safe from demons, vampires and all the things that go bump in the night.



Buffy (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

The Buffster rules as the kick-ass slayer, taking on all comers. The reigning Queen of the monster hunters.



Blade (from Blade: The Series)

As stated above I have a soft spot for this show, but whether he was in comic books, movies or TV, Blade was one tough vampire killer.




And one last video in wish fulfilment:



(Disclaimer: None of these videos are mine and all credit for these videos goes to their creators.  Feel free to check them out on YouTube.)

Thus ends fun with the vampires.  Please visit more CoffinHoppers for more amusement.  See the complete list at the bottom of my blog.  And be sure to check out the Coffin Hop Store for more goodies. 


Monday, 29 October 2012

My Trip to Hal-Con: A Recap for #CoffinHop

On Saturday Oct. 27th I set out on a mission: to explore the wilds of the Hal-Con Sci-Fi Convention (held deep with the bowels of the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and report back for Coffin Hop.  And to celebrate a successful mission, one lucky person who leaves a comment will win an ebook copy of the Coffin Hop sampler anthology, Death by Drive-In.  Now here is my report:



My Trip to the Hal-Con Sci-Fi Convention




The day started before sunrise and with a road trip, because the city of Halifax is about a two hour drive from where I live and making the first event required an early start.  I did not venture forth alone, as I went with my friend Dorothy.  Yes, we were just two sophisticated girls getting their geek on. Upon arrival, and after checking in, we headed off to the Haven Panel.

For those of you not in the privileged geeky circle, Haven is a TV show from SyFy filmed in various locations on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and loosely based on Stephen King’s novel The Colorado Kid. The panel opened with a short behind-the-scenes film and an amusing, filmed, greeting from two of the show’s stars Emily Rose (Audrey) and Lucas Bryant (Nathan) who could not attend the Con. Then the audience got to view the Halloween episode of Haven (which has yet to be aired in Canada) before the main event.
That was a Q and A session with Haven’s mysterious newspaper duo, Vince and Dave, otherwise known as Richard Donat and John Dunsworth in real life. The session was quite fun, with the pair being charming and amusing. A good time was had by everyone.






After the Haven panel, we popped around to check out some of the vendors. There were the usual booths of appealing books and models, collectables and steampunk accessories, but two booths caught my eye. The first was Eternal Elf Creations, with their wonderful collection of jewellery; they had a skeleton head cameo necklace I just had to buy. They also have an Etsy store. The second vendor was an artist, Shawn Orne, who does exquisite fantasy paintings and prints. His work is well worth checking out.



To round out the morning we spent a few minutes viewing the costume contest (some great costumes paraded on stage) and then it was off to lunch.














After lunch, I stopped by the Game of Thrones discussion panel while my friend went to see Rene Auberjonois and catch some of the John Rhys-Davies Q and A (which apparently was fabulous; alas I missed most of it). I enjoyed the Game of Thrones discussion though; they were an animated bunch of folks who knew their stuff. Then I was off to a Steampunk session (hosted by the Jules Verne Phantastical Society) for a lively lecture on Black Powder and Steel: Weapons of the 17th and 18th Century. I learned quite a bit about muskets and an interesting tidbit that there were in fact grenade launchers available as musket accessories.

After the taste of steampunk, my friend and I enjoyed some of the Dramatic Reading of Kill Shakespeare, a graphic novel, and watched some of the SCA medieval style sword play. And thus ended the day at Hal-Con.




Kill Shakespeare

An epic adventure that will change the way you look at Shakespeare forever.

In this dark tale, the Bard’s most famous heroes embark upon a journey to discover a long-lost soul.  Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff, Romeo and Puck search for a reclusive wizard who may have the ability to assist them in their battle against the evil forces led by the villains Richard III, Lady Macbeth and Iago.  That reclusive wizard?  William Shakespeare.






Sunday, 28 October 2012

CoffinHop Interview with Michael Brookes

Today author Michael Brookes joins the CoffinHop, coming in from the dark for an interview and offering one lucky person who comments a chance to win a signed paperback copy of The Cult of Me.  Winner will be announced Nov 1st, following the conclusion of CoffinHop.


Interview with Michael Brookes


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

By day I make video games for an independent game developer here in the UK. Gaming is one of my passions. At night I read and write, two of my other passions! I’ve always been an avid reader and I think that’s what inspired me to first start writing. I don’t think anyone can be a good writer without a lot of reading.


Can you tell everyone a bit about your book, The Cult of Me?

The Cult of Me is the story of a young man who has the ability to enter other people’s minds and bend them to his will. For years he tormented those around him, without any of them knowing he’s the cause of their misery. Eventually he grows tired of the game and decides to enact a final, bloody stand. While in prison he discovers that he’s not as unique as he once thought.


Your book deals with mind invasion. Why did you settle on that idea? Was it the psychological aspect of fear and horror that appealed to you?

The idea came from wondering what a child would grow into if they had the power to shape the world around them without any real repercussions. Ultimately it creates a monster, but he’s not born one.


Why did you decide to write in the supernatural/horror genre in general? What do you find most fascinating about the genre?

I find something appealing about horror; fear is probably the first emotion a human ever felt. The supernatural also interests me purely as juxtaposition from the more secular age we live in.


In addition to novels, you write short fiction. Do you find horror stories easier or harder to tell with a limited word count?

In some ways it’s easier. The good thing with short stories is they allow you to explore a single idea without getting too bogged down in the overheads of a novel.


Do you have a favourite story that you’ve written?

Tricky question. I’m very pleased with The Cult of Me, but I have a soft spot for My Final Confession, it’s available for free on my blog: http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-final-confession.html
What I like about this story is it takes an apocalyptic concept and makes it personal. One of my favourite aspects about creating stories is turning things on their heads.


Who are your writing inspirations?

Clive Barker and Ian M Banks. If I could write half as well as them I would be a happy man.


You also work at a video games company in the UK. Tell us what that’s like?

As I mentioned earlier games are one of passions and making games is hard work, but very rewarding – a bit like writing really.


What other projects are in your future?

I’ve just released a few short stories in An Odd Quartet (http://www.amazon.com/An-Odd-Quartet-ebook/dp/B009QJMMPC/) with some fun – if dark stories. I’ve finished the first draft of Conversations in the Abyss, the sequel to The Cult of Me. Through November I’ll be writing another first draft as a part of the National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/).


You can find out more about Michael at his blog:
http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/

And don't forget to comment for a chance to win his book, plus check out the other CoffinHoppers by scrolling down to the list at the end of this blog.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Excerpts, Stories and Poems for CoffinHop

I’m away today at the Hal-Con Sci-fi Convention (happening in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) so I’m leaving you with some creepy stories, excerpts and poems to keep you amused. I’ll be back later this evening to check out any comments.

Here’s a scary story for you:

Margot Wants To Play

Margot tugged her mother’s skirt.  “Come play with me, Mommy.”
“I can’t right now dear, I’m making dinner.  Why don’t you go read a book or watch the TV.”
“Cause I don’t wanna watch the dumb old TV or read a dumb, stupid book.” Margot whispered, safely out of earshot of her mother.  She sighed and took her ball outside.
Across the street Mr McNally waved at her.  “Hi, Margot.”
“Would you like to play with me, Mr. McNally?”  She held up her ball.
“Sorry sweetie, I can’t.  Got to water my lawn.”
Margot pouted as she watched him stroll over to his garden hose and turn on the water.  She was distracted for a few minutes by the pretty spray of water, before she moved on down the street, idly bouncing her ball.
A few minutes later she saw her friend Dave with his bicycle.
“Dave, do you want to play-”
“Can’t, going down to the arcade!”  His shout flew past as he whizzed by on his bike.
Margot stamped her foot.  “Nobody wants to play with me!”
Just then she saw a shiny thing.  It stuck up from the ground, just behind Dave’s back fence.  Strange, she didn’t see it there a minute ago.  But still, it needed to be investigated.  She tucked her ball under arm and raced to see her treasure.
When she got there, Margot stood over it and frowned.  It didn’t look like much, just a silver stick, stuck in the dirt.  Yet, it was her stick, she knew it.  Margot bent and wrapped her chubby fingers around it.  Her hand tingled and she felt giddy as she pulled her shiny prize from the earth.  For a moment she was happy, just for a moment the object was hers, and she held it tight.
Your name is Margot, isn’t it?
Margot blinked and looked down at the polished item in her hand. It sounded like it talked to her.
I did talk to you, Margot. I want to play with you.
“You can talk? You’re a talking-” She hesitated a moment as she wondered what to call her new toy until she remembered something her father read to her in a story. “A talking sep-step-stepter. That’s right, a royal stepter, and you can talk.”
Yes, Margot, I can talk, but I’m not a sceptre. I’m inside the rod you’re holding.
“Inside?” Margot held up her treasure and took a closer look. There did seem to be a top that might open.
That’s right Margot, open the rod and let me out. Then we can play together.
“You’ll play with me if I let you out?”
Yes, I’ll play with you. I like to play with little girls.
The thought of a new friend made Margot happy. “Okay.” She twisted the lid with her little plump fingers until it popped off with a snap. A shimmer of light flooded outward, followed by a thick, crimson smoke. Margot dropped the rod in surprise as this cloud of colour hovered around her.
Thank you, Margot. Now we can play.
The smoke whirled in the air, a translucent, intangible acrobat and Margot laughed. With her pretty voice still drifting on the air, this vaporous creature lunged, filling her open mouth, swelling down her throat, pouring into her nose and blinding her eyes. Her laughter stopped and Margot fell to her knees, her arms flailing, her now sightless eyes filling with tears. She choked on her own breath and fear, her only screams the ones that echoed in her mind. As the last of the strange mist invaded her body, her thoughts, her world became an empty nothing...


Margot walked down an empty street, the only sound the bouncing of her red, rubber ball.  The bright sunshine of the day had given way to the dusky gloom of nightfall, the time when all children should be at home with their parents.

So why was this little child playing in the lane, all alone?  And why was her neighbourhood so quiet?  Where were all the adults?

Margot paused in her game, and stopped under a streetlamp; the glow of the bulb illuminated her features. She smiled, a satisfied grin full of secrets.  It was a grin of razor-sharp teeth, and it reached towards wide, yellow eyes and the barbed horns on her forehead.  She giggled and bounced her ball, staring down the street into the night.

“Come play with me.”



Here’s an excerpt from Gothic Cavalcade:

The men carrying her lifted her and then deposited her body into a glass tank resting within the stone circle. Althea didn’t resist, couldn’t resist; her body still wouldn’t move. The cover slid into place, enclosing her in the tank. Slowly her prison began to fill with a curious liquid, inexplicably materialising from within the glass container. It churned around her, not water, but a black, icy fluid, thick and sticky.
Bitter, aching cold invaded her bones as the sluice seeped over her skin and her clothes. It oozed into her nose, mouth, and eyes until she submerged in the viscous substance. Althea felt panic, feared she would drown, but she found she could breathe. She inhaled sharp gasps of frigid wash as the emulsion flowed down her throat, expanding into her lungs. It crawled into the very fibre of her, shutting out sight and sound. It engorged every sense in darkness and frost, marinating through her body as it permeated into tissue and blood. She wanted to shriek, but her throat was full of fluid. She could only jerk in the throes of frozen suffering, as her body floated in glacial, silent isolation.
Images flickered under her eyelids, colours of deep crimson, indigo, and amethyst, and flashes of cruel brown eyes. A voice whispered in her memory, the words distant and indistinct, carrying the emotions of fear, anger, and sorrow on its breath. A scream, primal and furious, howled inside her raging for expulsion, but she stayed silent, the ferocity still locked against the world. Her body shuddered in powerful spasms and the tank vibrated violently. It rocked in the throes of her body’s reactions for- an eternity, minutes, hours? She did not know.



And for last, a Halloween Poem:

All Hallows

Moon
Ascends high
Time ticks midnight

Storms
Crackle arcane
Bearing odd whispers

Wisps
Of malice
Rouse in shadows

Hunters
Haunt nightfall
Worlds stand quiet

Silent
No breath
Like a crypt

Until
A shriek
Breaks the hush

Panic
In confusion
A hopeless flight

Blood
Flows scarlet
Staining the kill


And in honour of today's short story and poem I'm including some freebie links from Smashwords:

Even the Paranormal Play Sports (a flash fiction story)
Existence (a flash fiction story)
Twisted Shorties (an anthology of stories and poems)

These three books are also available free from B&N Nook, iTunes, Kobo and Sony


And remember to visit the other CoffinHoppers, for more fun horror happenings.  Check out the list and the bottom of my blog for the participants.  And be sure to check out the Coffin Hop Store for more creepy goodies. 


Friday, 26 October 2012

Vampires Are Hot: A Coffin Hop Guest Post by Karen Dales

Our first Coffin Hop guest stops by today.  Please welcome author Karen Dales, who is here to chat about vampires and her Chosen Chronicles series.

VAMPIRES ARE HOT!

I’m not just talking about the vampires you see or read about who are leading men material in paranormal romance. I’m taking about the fact that now, more than ever, we’re seeing vampires on the rise in fiction, television and in movies. But why?

That’s the real blood in the mix, isn’t it?

I’ve been on several panels at different conventions, such as Ad Astra, ConCept, and FanExpo where we discussed where the Vampire was evolving into. Though these talks only lasted an hour, I’m sure we could have gone on for the whole weekend. Regardless of what some people may believe, vampires are here to stay and may in fact be a burgeoning literary genre rather than a trope. One thing, as a vampire fan, that I have discovered, is that there seems to be two distinct vampire camps: Vampires as lovers/heroes as in paranormal romance and Vampires as monsters who would do anything to dominate, subdue, enslave and devour you like the little cow that you are. Sometimes you have these two types coming together where the good vampire beats the bad vampire. It works, but it isn’t something that is new.

In my opinion it was with Anne Rice’s vampire novels that we truly see a new invention on an old idea. In essence, she gave us a new mythology behind vampires. No longer did vampires descend from the lineage of Vlad or Dracula, Ms Rice took the mythos far enough back in time to tie her mythos to the Egyptian mythos. It was brilliant. Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a new incarnation or mythos of vampires since.

At least not until now…

I have endeavored to do just that through the story of The Angel in my series The Chosen Chronicles.

When I started writing the series, beginning with Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles, I had several questions that came to mind. The main one was what the hell did vampires call themselves before the word vampire was even created?

It came to me…they were Chosen. They were Chosen out of humans to become something more, something powerful, but for what exact purpose? The answer to even that question was lost to antiquity, and for an immortal that’s a pretty long time. I do plan on answering it in Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen Chronicles, which I’m currently writing.

Little does anyone know, including himself, the answers all surround The Angel.

In Changeling the reader is given The Angel’s origin story. It is in this novel where many questions arise about him and what it meant to be Chosen. There are two great hints in it; the fact that the Angel is believed to be the Welsh Lord of Death and the Hunt – Gwyn ap Nudd, and The Angel’s interaction with the white faced demons.

 It is in the next novel, Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles, that we are transported through time to the late Victorian age in London. The Angel truly is one of death and I draw upon Christian mythos to help validate our current image of the cloaked figure with skeletal paleness and a blade that cuts down people. It is not a mistake on my part that Gwyn ap Nudd was/is considered an Angel of Death, even today, mythologically speaking. As an author I used those and wove them together.

In the time of Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles, the Chosen have ‘bought into’ the idea that they were the vampires that publishers and penny dreadful published for the mass mortal market. The Chosen have bought into their own bad publicity despite the fact that they haven’t come out of the coffin. The only thing that alerts them that what is being written is not the truth of what they are are the discrepancies of description.

In Angel of Death, The Angel is commanded to the Mistress’ presence or see his Chooser, Father Paul Notus, (yep, he’s a Christian monk and a Chosen), killed. He is then given the task of finding out how the Chosens’ food supply (ie. Mortals) are becoming poisonous to the Chosen and put a stop to it. A solitary creature for the most part, The Angel ends up teaming up with Fernando de Sagres. Fernando is Chosen, but he has fallen into the ‘Vampire lifestyle’ and attitude. He’s the guy you love to hate. He’s also the type that loves a good meal, if you get my drift. The two Chosen are joined by Notus’ mortal housekeeper – Jeanie. She becomes the love interest of The Angel and it is in part her participation in the quest that keeps things very dangerous and interesting.

I’m not going to spoil the end by telling you whodunit, but through Angel of Death, more questions to the true origins of the Angel and how that fits in with the Chosen come about.


In Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles, I bring The Angel and Notus to my home town of Toronto, Ontario, about 100 years after Angel of Death. It is here that revenge against the Angel for having thwarted the attempted genocide against the Chosen comes to play. Unfortunately for the Angel, it comes about in the worst way possible, and not all of it is due to those he hunted down in the first book.

Here I play more. I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, in Shadow of Death my take on vampires becomes different than what I’ve read (at least), and lends to even more questions about the Angel. There are more hints and more clues, but it won’t be until Thanatos is published that a brand new mythos about vampires will be revealed.

Is it hard to do something brand new in the vampire genre, especially concerning its mythos? You betcha. But at the same time I have a plethora of real mythology, archaeology, and anthropology to draw upon. Yes, there’s lots of research that goes into making a mythology seem plausible.

The Chosen are evolving and that evolution will be seen in Thanatos.

Vampires are evolving and that evolution will be seen in the minds/imaginations of those that write about them.
Please enjoy my free short story –“The Guest.” It is a short story of the Angel of Death within my series “The Chosen Chronicles.” http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/139342

You can check out the series here:
Dark Dragon Publishing (free shipping in Canada and USA) –http://darkdragonpublishing.com/books.html
Amazon/Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Dales/e/B004TG6U1Y/
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/karen-dales
Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KarenDales
Kobo - http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=the+chosen+chronicles
iTunes - http://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/karen-dales/id442956746?mt=11

You can keep up to date with me and my writings on:
Website – http://karendales.com/
Blog - http://karendalesauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/karendalesauthor
Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/karendales
Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/karendales
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/karendalesauthor


I like to thank Karen for joining the Hop and if you'd like a chance to win with Karen's Halloween Giveaway, there's still time.  Just pop on over to her Facebook page, like it, and enter the RaffleCopter Contest: https://www.facebook.com/KarenDalesAuthor/app_228910107186452


And please be sure to visit the other Coffin Hoppers, just scroll down to the list at the bottom of this blog to see the participants.  Also, you can check out the Coffin Hop Store for an array of creepy souvenirs.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ghosts, Beasties, And A Werewolf: A Coffin Hop Book Review

Today's Coffin Hop post comes chock full of monsters and ghosts, courtesy of the book  The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural by Steve Vernon.  Here's my review.

My Book Review of The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural by Steve Vernon:

I love a good ghost story, and The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural by Steve Vernon is full of exceptionally good ghost stories, plus fabulous tales of monsters, pirate gold, fairy folk, demons and devils. It’s positively oozing those “creepy tales to tell around the campfire” and the “keep the lights on while you read” scary moments, yet it still maintains a black and whimsical sense of humour.

The book is darkly delightful. My fellow Nova Scotian, Steve Vernon, has collected an odd assortment of horrific tales, from the far corners of our fair province of Nova Scotia, and woven them into a first-rate and entertaining book of folklore. Between the covers you will find the ghostly Lady in Blue, the Phantom Ship of the Northumberland (my favourite ghost story), a Phantom Artist, a Black Cat that lingered after death, Beasts, Selkies, and of course the aforementioned Lunenburg Werewolf.

The author knows how to spin a satisfying yarn, weaving fact, history and folklore into a compelling read. Be the tales truth, fiction or a little bit of both, The Lunenburg Werewolf may leave you believing in ghosts. Or at least loving their stories. I can give The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural a high recommendation; just be sure to leave all the lights on when you read it.



The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural

The wind is howling and a full moon is in the sky-it must be time for more chilling tales from storyteller Steve Vernon. Spanning the length and width of Nova Scotia, these 25 blood-chilling yarns make perfect campfire fare. Some stories are so terrifying that they have been told far and wide, such as the Ghosts of Oak Island or the haunting of Esther Cox. Others, including the Murder Island Massacre and the Caledonia Mills Spook, might be lesser known, but are no less scary. Written in Steve Vernon’s unique style, these stories of the haunted, the supernatural, and the unexplainable are part history, part folklore, and a lot of old-fashioned, frightening fun.

The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural is available at:
Chapters Indigo
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo


And please visit the other Hoppers today.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the blog and check out our list.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

CoffinHop Begins: Introducing Gothic Cavalcade

Coffin Hop has Landed!

Here are the Gory Details:

1) HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME!
2) INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 24 at Midnight (PST)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: October 31 at Midnight (PST)
    Winners will be drawn and posted November 1, 2012
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY SITE'S CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL SITES IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. THE MORE SITES YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME?

Now that you have an overview, let's get on with the festivities, shall we.  My CoffinHop begins with some shameless self-promotion, and a look inside the creation of my new book, Gothic Cavalcade.

Introducing Gothic Cavalcade

Once upon a time, I wrote a haibun poem for one of my online poetry groups, Mindful Poetry, called Gothic Cavalcade. Now it was a nice poem, well received, and that should have been the end, move on to the next story or poem. But there was something about the poem that kept swirling around in my brain...

Gothic Cavalcade

A leaf spirals through the air, her eyes following its path to the ground. She feels a twinge along her spine as she scurries through the darkening woods. Escaping memories tossed aside and left behind, she can’t stop, she needs to keep moving forward. She needs to run.

Brown-eyed girl astray
still waiting to be rescued
drowning in her doubt

Across the distance, strains of calliope music haunt the trees, the sounds wafting in from the carnival tent she left behind. The music chases her steps, rattling the branches above her head. It is the beckoning lure of the family, to call their wayward daughter home.

Refrains collide, break
under pressure, seep outward
A fractured tune spent

I kept wondering, why was the girl running through the woods, who was she running from and where was she headed? What mysterious event happened and what lurked under that carnival tent? So I took my niggling questions and my itchy fingers and started to write a story about what happened inside the tent.
I started out creating a horror tale set in the early twentieth century about a girl named Althea and a creepy bunch of carnival folks, but it did not want remain just a horror story. The carnival had more secrets to share, Althea wanted to tell her whole story and it turned out that horror tale wasn’t all it seemed. What’s more, romance (gasp) started to creep in as I wrote. In the end, what started out as a poem became a hybrid novella of gothic horror and romance, complete with slightly graphic violence and a sex scene (although not together). There’s even music involved.

So that’s how the book got started, and here’s a sneak peek at the finished product:

Gothic Cavalcade


Gothic romance meets Gothic horror inside a paranormal carnival and beyond...

Meet Althea, a desperate woman running from a secretive and miserable past. She encounters Byron, a mysterious and handsome man with secrets of his own. He brings her to his home, the Masquerade Carnivale, and into the midst of his family. There Althea begins to feel safe, to trust, and to love. She finds friends, laughter and with Byron, romance. She thinks she has found a home, trusts she is protected, until the night Byron and his Family betray her.
But do they? There is more beneath the surface at the Masquerade Carnivale, more to Althea’s past and to her future than she believes. One event puts Althea on a path for her reckoning, a path full of pain, fear and ultimately, revenge. A choice is coming for her, one that will change everything.

The Masquerade Carnivale is beckoning... will she answer?


Opening Night
~
The stars sparkled above the mist shrouded tents and caravans of the carnival. The night crackled with an odd vibration, as if a veil of peculiarity settled over the company. The Family gathered in the main tent, the surrounding canvas rippled lightly and the smell of old dirt and memories were in the air. Voices murmured in subdued tones, wariness was felt among the assembled.
Mother had called.
She stood watching them, and absently pushed a white tinged lock of hair from her face, to tuck it back into her mass of upswept grey hair. She seemed a docile older woman with a few of life’s lines etched on her face, but like much with Mother, her appearance hid secrets.
“Come into the circle, children.” She spoke with a soft, commanding tone, and beckoned her brood into the band of strange rune stones that existed in lieu of a centre ring. One by one, they obeyed, and the family crowded around her, whispering among themselves until a gesture from her drew silence.
“I had a dream last night. A visitor is coming, a new member of the family. We will receive her and welcome her into our fold.”
Gasps of joyfulness rose in the air and excited voices chattered in a cacophony of sound.
“A new family member!”
“How exciting, we haven’t had one for ages.”
“Wondrous news.”
“New blood, excellent.”
“Marvellous, a new member for the family.”
“Oh, just stupendous.”
Mother smiled, indulgent of her brood’s enthusiasm. She waited until the din subsided before speaking again. “She will be here soon and we must prepare for her arrival. But first I must choose her companion, the one who will complete the rites.”
Mother looked over her now silent children. Her practised eye examined each one for the signs and fell at last upon a tall young man with dark hair.
“Byron. You will be the one. You will bring her into the circle and make her one of us.”
The young man bowed his head. “Thank you, Mother, for the honour.”
“It is your time. I know you will do well.” Mother laughed and clapped her hands. “Away with you all. We have work to do. The Masquerade Carnivale must welcome another apprentice.”



You can find Gothic Cavalcade at:

Smashwords (Until Oct. 31st use the coupon code GG32U at the checkout and get it free!)




Don't forget to visit the other blogs involved in CoffinHop.  For the full list, scroll way, way down to the bottom of my blog  and check everyone out.  And be sure to check out the Coffin Hop Store for a grab bag of creepy goodies. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

CoffinHop Begins Tomorrow!

The happily horrific blog hop, nattily known as CoffinHop begins tomorrow, Oct 24th and runs until that horrifying holiday of Halloween. I, (as well as many, many others), am participating and I’m ready to creep the socks off you.

As a CoffinHop preview I'm showcasing a story by one our our new CoffinHoppers, V.V. Vaymin, and posting my own Coffin Hop schedule:


Cashword by V. V. Vaymin

"Well what about the price of life? How much is life?" Mr. Welp asked his history class during a current event discussion.
“You can’t put a price on life,” Shelly Macky piped. Blonde, blue eyed, one would think she was a partier, but Shelly was extremely conservative. She went to church every Sunday, despised pro-choice activists, believed the government would never lie to its people, was a vegetarian, and thought that everyone should be the same.
“Well, what do you call war?” retorted Richie Love, a boy clothed in black and considered satanic by the high school populace.  Richie was the opposite of Shelly.  He didn’t attend church because he had concluded that one could talk to God whenever one wanted to.  He believed the church was a fraudulent institution.  As for the government?  Well, the government lied to its people, used its people, and repressed its people with censorships and security laws. He believed the constitution had been written for a reason. He believed that women, each woman, should have the choice to have a child or not. And, he ate meat and loved it.
“What do you mean?” Shelly asked.
“War costs money and you’re going to war to kill people. So, that’s putting a price on life isn’t it?”
“But that’s different from abortion.”
“How?”  Richie asked sitting back in his chair.
“Hello,” Shelly exclaimed, “you’re killing a baby!”
“No, a baby is when the fetus pops out.  And babies die during war.”
“Yes but that’s not the intention. We don’t go to war to kill babies. We get abortions to kill babies. And a baby is the same thing when it’s in the womb verses when it’s out. You’re killing a living being,” she huffed, sitting up straighter. He really irritated her. He just didn’t see.
“So, we kill animals to eat.” Richie twirled a pencil between his fingers.
“I don’t. I’m a vegetarian, and I can’t believe people go through the barbaric act of killing to eat.”
Richie laughed and set the pencil down; it rolled off the table onto the floor. “You are such a hypocrite. You kill to eat. You kill plants.”
“Plants—’”
Richie held up his hand cutting her off. The class, along with Mr. Welp, watched them with amusement. Shelly always had something to say, and Richie was quiet unless a topic intrigued him then he would never shut-up.  Put them together and history class wasn’t so boring.
“If I remember correctly,” he said, “you argued earlier that abortion was wrong because it kills a living being, right? However, plants are living beings.”
“Yeah, but they don’t feel,” Shelly countered.  Her face was flushed; she hated Richie. She thought he was arrogant, violent and argued for the sake of arguing. He picked on her and she often hoped that God would spite him and show him the error of his ways.
“Neither does a fetus before its nervous system develops.  And, how do you know plants don’t feel?  Did you ask them?”
“Ok,” Mr. Welp interjected before they could continue. “Back to the topic at hand. How do you put a price on life?”
“I still think you can’t.” Shelly replied.
“The government and the church do.” Richie said calmly. He wasn’t done arguing with her. For three months he had listened to Shelly preach and criticize everyone’s life but her own and those that were similar to her.
“How does the church put a price on life?” Shelly asked half hysterical.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he mused, folding his arms in front of him, “ten percent of your income is supposed to go to the church in order for you to be a good person.”
“You don’t have to donate and that’s if you’re Catholic.”
“Aren’t you?”
“Mr. Love,” Mr. Welp said sitting on his desk, “let’s drop this and get back to the subject at hand.”
“I thought we were on the subject at hand, but obviously there are a plethora of subjects that are too ‘uncomfortable’ to discuss,” Richie replied getting frustrated.
“Well,” Shelly drawled, “I would never put a price of life.”
Two weeks later, Friday night, Shelly and Martha were on their way to a sleep over at their church. They had stopped at a gas station to fill up the tank, grab some chips and drinks, and were about to pay when Martha decided to add two Cashword puzzles to the bill.
“How do you play these?” Shelly asked once they were back in the car.
“Just scratch the question marks, and then scratch the letter on the crossword part.” Martha said pulling out onto the road. “I heard you and Richie Love were going at it in history again.”
“Yeah, he really makes me mad. He’s so arrogant.”
“Really, I thought he was quiet and sincere.”
“Oh please Martha, you think every guy is a total sweetheart.”
“Hey now.”
“Well, it’s the truth,” Shelly said scratching away the last question mark.
“Gosh it’s hot in here,” Martha said rolling the windows down.
“Yeah, it’s definitely going to be summer soon,” Shelly paused, “I won!”
“Really,” Martha glanced at her, “how much?”
“One hundred dollars!” Shelly exclaimed. As they went around a turn, a gust of wind shot into the car blowing the Cashword out of Shelly’s hand.
“Crap! Martha pull over. I’m gonna get it.”
Martha slowed down, pulled onto the shoulder and flicked on her hazard lights.
“Be careful,” she said as Shelly jumped out of the car, “that’s a blind corner and it’s not exactly thirty-five through here.”
Shelly nodded absentmindedly as she walked back to the turn. The sun had gone down substantially since they had left the gas station, but the fading light reflected off the card turning it into a glowing beacon against the asphalt.
Shelly glanced down the road, no cars. She walked to the middle and bent down to pick up the Cashword.
Martha screamed as a conversion van came around the corner and Shelly was no more.

The next day Pennville Post read:
Girl Killed Retrieving $100 Cashword Card


Author Bio:

Ms. Vaymin spent the early years of her childhood moving across the United States with her nose in a book. With her head in the clouds she dreamt of becoming a writer or an artist. As she entered her teens, however, her thoughts turned to more practical and stable vocations to fit into society but those nagging earlier visions were never far from the surface. When she was 22-years-old she became a no-mortgage homeowner and decided to pursue earlier ambitions. Now at 24 she is the author of the Sci-Fi, thriller The Great Storms and a soon-to-be mother.
Website:  http://vaymin.wordpress.com/




And here’s my schedule for CoffinHop 2012:

Day 1: Oct. 24th- Introduction to my book Gothic Cavalcade

Day 2: Oct. 25th- A book review of The Luneburg Werewolf by Steve Vernon

Day 3: Oct. 26th- A guest post by Karen Dales and a link to her giveaway

Day 4: Oct. 27th- A story, an excerpt and a poem, written by me

Day 5: Oct. 28th- An interview with Michael Brookes, author of The Cult of Me (plus a book giveaway)

Day 6: Oct. 29th- A post on my visit to the HalCon Sci-fi Convention

Day 7: Oct. 30th- Some Fun with TV Vampires

Day 8: Oct. 31st- A guest Post by A.M. Harte, author of Hungry for You and Above Ground

There will also be ebook freebies tossed in at random intervals for your enjoyment and more freebies at the conclusion of the tour.

And be sure to check out the Coffin Hop Store for a grab bag of creepy goodies:  http://www.cafepress.com/coffinhop


Monday, 22 October 2012

A Haunting, Fascinating Love Story: A Review of You, Fascinating You.

My Book Review of You, Fascinating You by Germaine Shames:


You, Fascinating You by Germaine Shames is a graceful, haunting book that brings its small part of history to life vividly. As a reader you find yourself immersed in a world full of happiness, sadness and looming terror perfectly realised on the page.

The book is a fictionalized account of the lives of Hungarian ballerina Margit Wolf and Italian composer Pasquale Frustaci aka “the Italian Cole Porter”. You, Fascinating You breathes soul into their life story, amidst the European setting before, during and after WWII.

The author has done a magnificent job recreating the era for her book, with not only place and facts, but with mood, language and emotion. From the first page you feel as if you are there, in Hungary, in Italy, peering into the lives of these people. I was captivated by the story, how the two main characters interacted, the choices they made and how their lives and their futures were swept into and changed by events beyond their control. It’s a book overflowing with love, sorrow, loss and perseverance.

I much as I enjoyed it however, once or twice the author’s choices in book structure bothered me. She rightly focused on certain events and years and skipped over some others, which gave the book an interesting surreal touch, especially near the end. But I found, where in most instances that added to the pleasure in reading, on a couple of occasions it fell flat for me. Overall though, I highly recommend, You, Fascinating You.

You, Fascinating You is available on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/You-Fascinating-ebook/dp/B007NL12WY/

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Targets and Expectations: A Guest Post from Ethan Jones

Author Ethan Jones is with us today to talk about some of the things you should expect when self-publishing, and to share a sneak peek at his new Justin Hall spy thriller, Tripoli's Target.  Plus, he has some copies of that new book to giveaway to the first few readers who send him an email mentioning his blog post (for his email address check the links list in this post).  In addition to the giveaway, you can also download a free copy of the first Justin Hall thriller, Arctic Wargame, as Ethan is running a three-day promo (Oct 9-11) on Amazon.  So please welcome Ethan, and read on...



Self-publishing and Expectations

As writers, we want everyone to not only read our books, but also love them. The reality is, of course, a bit less stellar and much more sobering. Not everyone will love your books. Not everyone will read your books. In fact, even your closest friends and relatives may not buy and read your books.
Arctic Wargame, my debut spy thriller, came out officially on May 22, although I uploaded it on Amazon.com a few days before that date, just to make sure everything worked fine. I promoted my work extensively on my Facebook personal page (which has almost 200 friends) and Facebook author page and my Twitter account. I e-mailed pretty much everyone on my e-mail contact lists. I put up posters at my workplace and announced it on the newsletter of the church I attend. The result: I can count the book sales from this blitzkrieg with the fingers of one hand.
What is happening here? Why aren’t these people who I consider friends and close acquaintances buying my book? They don’t love me? They don’t care? What, then?
You may have wondered about these things if your experience is similar to mine. The answer to these questions is complicated and lies as much in your expectations as in the reaction of your friends and relatives.
In terms of expectation, there is nothing wrong with aiming high and dreaming big. But self-published writers need to brace themselves for the most likely scenario of a slow start of their career. Gaining recognition and gathering a readership is generally a marathon, not a sprint. Even many traditionally published authors attest to many difficult starts. Allow yourself time and be prepared for a long journey. Nurse patience and develop a hard skin for negative criticism and rejection.
In terms of your friends and relatives, they are not really to blame. At least not en masse. They love you, of course, each in their own way. Some of them are forgetful, fully intending to check out your work, but then life got in their way. Others simply are non-confrontational and do not want to tell you they are simply not interested in the genre in which you write. After all, we have different tastes and what you spent a year or more writing, re-writing and revising may just not be their cup of tea. Then, you could even have the occasional acquaintance or “friend,” who considers your success as a threat or resents it for whatever reason and has has no intention of supporting your efforts.
The bottom line is that even if all your friends and acquaintances bought your book, that is still quite a limited number. The goal of each author is to sell to complete strangers, who pick up your book solely because they heard something good about it, and they want to enjoy a great story. Then, if they like it, they will want to tell their friends about your work.
During the first few days that Arctic Wargame and my two short stories were published I used to check my sales and ranking almost every hour. Now I checked it once a month, just to make sure there some activity is taking place. I promote my work vigorously and I advise you do the same. We can’t control who buys our books, but there is something we can all control: how much promotion and marketing efforts we put on our products. I know we are writers, but self-published authors have the additional task of becoming salespersons. We need to take our work to the public and hope and pray they will enjoy our stories.
And don’t forget to keep writing. Perhaps your second, third or twentieth book will become a best-seller. At least, that’s my hope.


Tripoli’s Target

Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor, Canadian Intelligence Service Agents, find themselves in lawless North Africa on the trail of an assassination plot. The target is the US President, and the hit is scheduled to take place during a G-20 summit in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. But the source of their information is the deceitful leader of one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the area. Ambushes and questionable loyalties turn an already difficult mission into a dark maze of betrayal and misdirection.
Forced to return to Tripoli, Justin and Carrie dig up new intelligence pointing to a powerful Saudi prince bankrolling the assassination plan. What’s worse, Justin and Carrie realize something crucial is very, very wrong with their plan. The summit is only forty-eight hours away and they still have to stop the Saudi prince, dismantle the assassination plot, and save the life of Tripoli’s target.
Tripoli’s Target promises to take the reader through a great story as it becomes the next international bestseller. Fans of David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, and Daniel Silva will love this high-octane spy thriller.


An Excerpt From Tripoli's Target:


“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat
an army of lions led by a sheep.”

“It is better to die in revenge than to live on in shame.”
Arab proverbs


Prologue

Tripoli, Libya
May 13, 6:15 p.m. local time

Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic. He rubbed his sweaty palms against his short khaki pants, his gaze glued to the silver BMW Suburban in front of him. He heaved a wheezing sigh and tapped on the brake pedal. A red traffic light halted the five-vehicle convoy.
A stream of cars rushed through the intersection leading to the business district of downtown Tripoli. Tall skyscrapers rose over most of the city’s old colonial-style buildings. The green and gold banner of Jacobs Properties—one of the major British real estate developers in Libya—beamed from atop the glass-and-steel façade of the newly finished Continental Hotel. The same logo had been painted hastily on the left side of the BMW packed with Semtex explosives. Walid, its driver and a Jacobs subcontractor, had exchanged his blue coveralls for a business suit and the promise of martyrdom.
A glance at the dashboard clock told Satam the synchronized explosion would take place in ten minutes. The thought of the coming carnage drained the last drop of courage from his heart. He rolled down the window, but the humid air—blended with the aroma of fried falafel, onions, and lamb donairs from a nearby street vendor—made him nauseated. He gasped for air, sticking his head out of the window. He coughed and struggled to catch his breath. The drivers in the other vehicles shot him curious glares. Behind the truck, the driver of an old Mercedes honked his horn twice. Satam swallowed hard and wiped the sweat off his narrow forehead. He waved at his audience to show them he was doing all right.
“Satam, what’s the matter, brother?” the radio set on the dashboard crackled. He recognized Walid’s gruff voice.
Satam looked at the BMW. His watery eyes met the reflection of the driver’s face in the rear-view mirror of the Suburban. The driver’s usual wicked smirk stretched his lips, revealing his large buckteeth. Walid waved his hands wildly. Satam could not see behind Walid’s black aviator shades but assumed his eyes were ablaze with rage.
“Nothing’s wrong. Just needed some air,” Satam replied over the radio.
He rolled up the window before Walid could scold him with another howl.
“Great. Now that you’ve closed the window, open your eyes!” Walid barked. “You’re not a coward like the infidels, are you?”
Satam shook his head.
A third voice came on air before he could say anything.
“Cousin, I pledged my honor so you could be a part of this mission. Don’t you back down now!” Satam’s cousin said. He was driving the Toyota at the head of the convoy.
Satam sighed and paused for a couple of seconds. “I’m not backing down. You can trust me. I will not disappoint you or the brotherhood.”
“That’s my flesh and blood who is soon to be a martyr,” said the cousin in a relaxed tone. “Our families will be proud of us, and our reward will be glorious.”
“It’s easy for you to say, since tonight you’ll be welcomed to paradise,” Satam said.
He noticed the traffic lights changing and stepped cautiously on the gas pedal. The truck jerked forward a few inches before the ride turned smooth again.
“Won’t take long before you join us there,” Walid said.
“Yes, but not before being dragged through the secret police hellish cells…” Satam’s voice trailed off.
“Allah will give you strength, cousin, and soon he’ll take you home.”
“He will, brother, he will.” Walid revved the BMW’s twelve-cylinder engine. “For sure, I’m going to miss this ride.”
“There will be plenty of rides up there to keep you and everyone else busy,” the cousin said with a quiet laugh. “Now may Allah be with us all. Over and out.”
Walid nodded and turned left toward the Continental Hotel.
Satam’s destination, the Gold Market, was to the right. He steered in that direction. He zigzagged through a few crooked streets and slowed down when reaching the Old City. The blacktop disappeared, and the uneven gravel crackled under the tires. Old cars, horse carts, and pedestrians came into view, along with whitewashed stores selling gold and jewelry. The streets narrowed into barely a single lane.
Satam rolled down the window for sideways glances to avoid brushing against planters, chairs, and vendors selling all kinds of junk. A stomach-churning stench from days old fish, fried grease, and sweat overwhelmed him. Satam felt his head grow heavy, and he hit the brakes.
The street vendors lost no time peddling their wares. A crowd of young boys swarmed his truck. He yelled and shoved away a few of the bravest salesmen waving handfuls of souvenirs in his face. He kept brushing away the hagglers, when suddenly a pointed metal object was shoved against his forearm. Startled, Satam withdrew his arm inside the cabin. He glanced at one of the boys holding a string of scimitar replicas, the sword tribesmen in North Africa carried in ancient times. The curved blade was dull with a rounded point to prevent accidental stabs. Still, the swift jab at his forearm summoned awful visions of the future.
He saw himself hanging upside down in a dark, grim dungeon, tied to the ceiling beams, while three secret police agents “interrogated” him. They would use various methods to “jog” his memory and break his psyche. Sleep deprivation and intimidation by police dogs were just the welcome package. Other techniques included breaking fingers and simulated suffocation with plastic wraps and water boarding. I will tell them everything right away before they even touch me. He struggled to wipe the vivid images from his mind.
Satam slammed on the truck’s horn to clear a path through the crowd. The blaring horn startled him more than the boys and the occasional onlookers. He glanced at the dashboard, realizing he had less than two minutes to reach the busy marketplace square five blocks away. It will be impossible to make it on time.
He blasted the horn again and stepped on the gas. The truck moved slowly, and Satam wrestled to make a left turn. The alley grew wider. The truck sped up, its wheels dipping and climbing in and out of the potholes. He rushed straight ahead, inches away from oncoming taxis, their honks protesting his unsafe speed. A few sidewalk vendors dove out of the way, their overflowing baskets of bananas and grapes spilling all over the place. Tires screeched as he turned right, jumping the curb and narrowly missing a large bronze planter outside a soap store.
The Mediterranean Sea was now visible to his right, through palm trees, coffee shops, and fruit vendor stands. Satam stared ahead at the wide square, one of the busiest markets in El Mina, the ancient city. The bazaar rumbled with vendors squabbling over a few dinars with tight-fisted tourists. I made it. Yes, I made it. He turned his gaze to the left, toward Tripoli’s skyline, and slowed down before parking the truck in front of a small restaurant. He took a deep breath and dabbed at his forehead with the back of his hand, wiping off a sea of sweat.
The dashboard radio crackled and he picked up the receiver.
“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” The loud voice echoed over the radio. Satam recognized Walid’s shouts.
A second later, a loud explosion rocked the entire square. Satam’s gaze spun toward the business district, where a cloud of grayish smoke billowed around the Continental Hotel. Chaos erupted among the street vendors who scattered and forgot about their produce and the evening’s clients. The patrons of coffee shops rushed to the streets, staring in disbelief at the sight. Cries of hysteria overtook the growing crowd. Elderly women beat their heads and chests with clenched fists. Young men pointed and shouted, their bodies restless. The sharp siren of an ambulance sliced through the cacophony of terror.
With a quick movement of his wrist, Satam consulted his watch. Just as the digits registered 6:31, another explosion shocked the crowd. This time, the bomb hit closer, much closer, merely five blocks away. From inside his parked truck, Satam looked at the bright yellow glow of the blast. High flames leapt at a ten-story office building. A thick cloud of black smoke began to swallow up the tower. The crowd broke into smaller groups. People scurried in all directions. Some ran back to their shops and apartments. Others simply circled the area, perhaps unsure of the safe way out.
Satam knew his time had come. He revved the engine and stomped on the gas pedal. The truck arrowed toward the vendors’ tables. The market was mostly empty, and the truck crashed into crates of fish, baskets of grapes, and barrels of olive oil. Produce scattered everywhere as the truck rampaged through plastic tables and chairs.
A police truck zipped toward him. Satam steered around, not to escape, but to meet the approaching vehicle. The two policemen in the truck ignored Satam. They were going to drive past him, but Satam swerved hard. The right fender of his truck smashed into the left side of the police truck. The police truck jerked to the other side. He pulled over and stopped less than thirty feet away. The other policeman rolled down the window. Satam stared at the muzzle of an AK-47 assault rifle.
“Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot,” Satam shouted and opened his door.
A quick burst of bullets sent him ducking for cover in the front seat. A shower of glass shreds fell over his head.
They’re going to kill me before I even have a chance to open my mouth. Or one of the bullets will blow up the truck. I can’t let that happen.
He looked at the back of the truck. Thirty pounds of Semtex explosives wired into a homemade bomb were stored inside the seat compartments. He noticed the cellphone on the floor mat by his left hand. He reached for the phone. All it would take for him to set off the explosives—and pulverize himself and the policemen—was to tap three preset numbers. His fingers hovered over the phone, but he remembered his family’s honor and the reward waiting for him in paradise. He dropped the phone to the floor, buried his head in the seat, and locked his fingers behind his head.
A minute or so passed before the shooting stopped, but the screaming continued. At some point, he heard the distinct thuds of combat boots marching down the street. The police were approaching his truck. He looked up slowly as a policeman pulled open the driver’s door of his truck and aimed an AK-47 at his head
“Don’t move!” the policeman ordered.
Satam nodded.
Without a word, the policeman juggled the rifle in his hands and slammed its buttstock hard against Satam’s head.



Links:

My blog: http://ethanjonesbooks.wordpress.com is the place to learn about my future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EthanJonesBooks
My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Jones/329693267050697
I love readers' feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address: fictionwriter78@yahoo.com   I promise to write to each and every one of them.

My works can be found here:
Arctic Wargame (Justin Hall # 1)
Tripoli’s Target (Justin Hall # 2)
Carved in Memory: A Justin Hall Story
Burying the Truth
The Last Confession


Author Bio:

Ethan Jones is the author of Arctic Wargame—the first spy thriller in the Justin Hall series, released in May 2012, and Tripoli’s Target—the second book in this series, released on October 4, 2012. He has also published several short stories. Ethan is a lawyer by trade. He lives in Canada with his wife and son.
 

Subscribe Now:

Search This Blog

Monthly Pageviews