Series Saturday: Cover Love

One of my favorites series is the White Trash Zombie series by Diana Rowland. I’ve featured it on Series Saturday before. I do highly suggest trying this series if you haven’t yet!

I’m just so excited for the next WTZ book, and yesterday Diana revealed the cover (thank you Skyla Dawn for pointing me toward that!). I love the cover, and now I’m even more excited to read White Trash Zombie Unchained 😀

Dan dos Santos is one of my favorite artists, and he knocked this one out of the park ❤

How badass is this cover?

 

Guest Post: Marcus Damanda

I’m pleased to welcome Marcus Damanda to the blog with his latest release, Absolution Island.

****

Blurb:

The chase is over. For Rebecca, Daniel, and the rest of the Forgottens of Second Salvations, there is only one choice: get with the program or die. But there’s a spy lurking somewhere within the cabins of Angel Island, someone with contacts in the outside world. Ruth Black is determined to find out who it is before the world learns the truth about her—and about the special punishment ministry of her husband, the Reverend Matthew.

Rebecca and Daniel are not destined to remain forgotten very long.

Welcome to New America: one nation, under God. An island prison, just for kids, built to convert the very worst of them. Kids like Rebecca and Daniel, with one impossible task:

Escape.

Excerpt:

In this excerpt, which appears near to the climax of Absolution Island, we join Daniel, aka “Faust,” as he takes a most important step toward fitting in with his fellow Forgottens. The Reverend Matthew Black tests his “faith.”

The passage was from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 3. The words echoed from the raised chamber of the font at the back of the narthex:

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea.”

The Reverend wore his perfect set of teeth, stretching his lips. He felt the tension in them as he spoke, his voice amplified by the natural acoustics of the room, nothing electronic:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye for the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight.’”

He made no mention of John’s raiment of camel hair, nor of his diet of locusts and wild honey. These were little details, readily available to anyone who chose to read the whole passage. What the Reverend wore was a cotton short sleeved shirt under a purple and white silk robe, along with loose pants he would quickly change out of after this introductory part of the service and before his regular sermon.

The roughly nine hundred parishioners who were watching him would only be able to see the Reverend from the waist up. Sometimes, that was a good thing, as he often had a tendency to get excited during these performances. But not tonight.

He shared a look with his wife, then addressed the audience:

“Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”

A few called back to him:

“Glory to God.”

“Glory to the Son!”

“Hallelujah …”

The Reverend enjoyed quoting the Book of Matthew, his namesake. He liked to think that he was quoting himself, in a way. That Saint Matthew was only a witness to the baptism of Jesus and not its executor was something he generally put from his mind. The Reverend Matthew tried not to remember that it was actually John he was quoting, most of the time. He wanted ownership of the words. They were perfect.

“O generation of vipers,” he seethed at the congregation, “who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance!”

The door to his right, leading back to the vestibule, was painted white. It opened. Drab, still wearing his standard Thresher’s tunic and sandals, led Faust through it, garbed in his white baptism smock. A faint blush rose high in his cheeks, hardly to be detected.

That was normal. Children tended toward nervousness in the matter of getting baptized. They were often self-conscious, too. There was an implicit admission of one’s own imperfections in the very need for baptism, and it was on display for everyone.

But apart from that faintest of color, Faust seemed otherwise as calm as can be. He started, one cautious foot at a time, into the water where the Reverend awaited him. Three steps to the bottom, three feet of water—all representative of the Holy Trinity looking down on them from the heavens above.

The hem of the boy’s smock floated in the water. Faust held it down with his arms by his sides, even though he’d be wearing shorts underneath. Drab remained in the background, watching, long moments after he should have departed.

The Reverend dismissed the Thresher with a curt twitch of his head, then smiled indulgently at Faust. He put his hands on the boy’s shoulders.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me, He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”

His right hand slid to the back of Faust’s neck, gripped him there tight. His left down the boy’s back.

“Whose fan is in His hand, and he will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner …”

He made as though to move, to lead the boy to his immersion. He saw Faust catch his breath. The music of the pipe organ started. The children began to sing.

And the Reverend paused.

****

It had been Ruth’s idea, what he was about to do. He wasn’t sure how much he liked it. He did want his wife to be happy—to the extent happiness was practical in their marriage—but he was more than slightly confused by her continuing vendetta against the girl she had named Rags, along with how the equally-promising Faust factored into it.

“I want two struggling devils, not one,” she had said. “I want us both to know she’s worth the time and effort of developing. Recent events have brought her potential, even her Solomon results, into doubt.”

Again, he looked at her, seated at one of the pews for church officials by the altar, hands folded primly in her lap. Her expression was calculated, eyes closed as she took in the organ music that fairly vibrated the wooden walls of the narthex, basking in the sounds of eight hundred plus kids singing There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.

“She needs to demonstrate restraint,” Ruth had said.

Rags was not singing.

But Rags was still one of the new ones. She’d been given little opportunity to learn. He’d reminded his wife of this point—although her idea did have some appeal to him. He would enjoy watching the reactions of the campers, not just Rags, as the show played to its conclusion. Still, he was unsure of himself. He was torn.

“She likes the boy, Matthew,” Ruth had said. “Do you understand me? She lusts after him.”

Faust, his face considerably redder than it had been, let his breath back out. He looked confused. Perfectly understandable.

Quickly, before he could properly catch his breath again, the Reverend brought him underwater. And quoted his namesake again, his voice booming over the singing children:

“But he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!”

****

The devil slept at first, just as he always did, and the boy did not struggle.

The Reverend counted in his mind, even as he surveyed the crowd. He didn’t look down. The boy’s reactions were unimportant.

One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand …

He was good at making each count take exactly one second in real time. He’d been at this for years. He had practice. He could do this, and he quote scripture at the same time:

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him …”

The standard time underwater for a boy of this age was one minute. He counted, letting the minute pass. Toward the end, the boy in the water had started to twitch, little kicks. His hands found the Reverend’s.

Fifty-one-one thousand, fifty-two-one thousand …

The Reverend was stronger than him.

He finished the minute, then brought the boy to his feet, back out of the water.

Faust drew in a massive, involuntary gasp of air. His eyes were wide, disbelieving, terrified—

But he had the presence of mind to catch his breath before going down a second time.

“But John forbad him , saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?”

One-one thousand, two-one thousand …

Ruth gave no outward sign of emotion, but the Reverend knew her, through and through. If there was one thing that Ruth was good at, it was the “restraint” she had mentioned—good at it when she controlled a given situation, at any rate. How satisfied she looked with everything, just now.

As for the Rags child, her little friend, the one with the deep brown curling wisps of hair that must have been quite beautiful, when it had been grown out—what was her name?—was holding her hand, trying to sing. Trying to encourage Rags to sing.

Rags’ teeth were clenched. She was holding in a scream so close to the surface that the Reverend fancied he could practically see it—its very sound—trapped at the top of her lungs.

He finished the count, brought Faust up a second time.

A similar response to the first drawing. Made sense. On the one hand, the second time should have been even more difficult than the first, but on the other, the Reverend had allowed him to suck in his wind this time.

“Almost done,” he whispered to the boy, low enough to keep his words just between the two of them, even in here. “One more to go.”

Faust shook his head, pleading without speaking. And that was impressive. He remembered the rules. Drab hadn’t missed a trick, and this boy—this unbelievable boy—still, amazingly, had his head screwed on straight.

He brought him down again.

Still—nothing. No struggling devil. And Rags, who had just seen him take breath, had seen him alive, eyes wide, still hadn’t left her seat or screamed. Now, that was probably something of a struggle … and her little friend was simply dying of fright.

The Reverend addressed the congregation again:

“And Jesus, answering, said unto him, ‘Suffer it to be so now …’”

This time, at thirty, the kicking started. The thrashing and splashing. The boy’s hands on his, the devil trying to wrench himself free. But the Reverend was so much stronger than them, both the boy and the devil who occupied him. The Reverend always been strong. As a lad, he’d been both taller and stronger than almost all of his classmates all the way through high school, just as his father had always been.

“‘… for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness!’” he bellowed.

Ruth wanted him to count to ninety. She had said it was important that he do this. It would make her happy, she’d said.

At sixty-five, the boy took water into his lungs. The Reverend could feel it inhaled through his fingers.

The Rags girl wrenched herself free of her friend and leaped to her feet.

****

Mom? Daniel asked, still underwater.

She was leaning over him, her hands on the sides of his head, her long hair caressing his face even as the Reverend still held him by the back of the neck. She looked down on him. She kissed him.

Don’t give up, Daniel, she said, as clearly as if they shared a picnic blanket out under the bright early August sun.

I miss you, he said.

I miss you, too, she answered him. Every day. But you are no longer mine to claim. You have your own life. You have things to do. Work to do.

Links:

http://www.evernightteen.com/absolution-island-by-marcus-damanda

 

Bio:

Marcus Damanda lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with his cat, Shazam. At various times throughout his life, he played bass guitar for the garage heavy metal band Mother’s Day, wrote for The Dale City Messenger, and published editorials in The Potomac News and The Freelance Star. To date, ten of his short horror stories have been produced by the Parsec Award winning NoSleep Podcast—featuring the brilliant and talented Jessica McEvoy, who has narrated four of his audiobooks as well. Currently, while not plotting his next foray into fictitious suburban mayhem, he spoils his nieces and nephews and teaches middle school English.

Books by Marcus Damanda:

Vampires that DON’T sparkle:

The Forever Show

Teeth: The Forever Show Book 2

Teen horror and drama (subgenre, “H’rama”):

Devils in the Dark: The Devil in Miss Drake’s Class Book 1

A Devil in Daylight: The Devil in Miss Drake’s Class Book 2

The Devil at Play: The Devil in Miss Drake’s Class Book 3

Dystopian future (There goes the neighborhood …):

The Salvation State

Absolution Island: The Salvation State, Book 2

Keep up with Marcus Damanda by visiting:

https://www.facebook.com/MarcusDamandaAuthor/

Check out his audiobooks, narrated by Jessica McEvoy, at:

Audible.com

And keep an eye out for his next scary story at …

https://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/

 

The Damned On Sale!

The Damned will be on sale today through Sunday~ only $0.99!

Click on photo to purchase!

Eight years ago, slayer Tuck Houston lost two of her closest friends to a Damned vampire named Josef Dragos—a beast who traded the sun for darkness and blood. She’s been hunting him since the day she walked into the carnage he created. But Josef has hidden himself well in the underground, from both slayers and other vampires.

 

When slayers around the globe start disappearing in a familiar pattern—Josef’s pattern—she’s put on the hunt. And despite the painful memories and very real threat to her future that come with tracking him down, Tuck is certain of one thing: she is going to make Josef Dragos wish he’d never been born.

New Release: Beautiful Nightmares

Meet the Women of Horror on the Ides of March… Beware.

Click cover to purchase

Demons, Vampires, Dark Readers of the Mind, Unspeakable Horrors and Ghosts that lurk in the night. When the sun fades behind the horizon and darkness falls, these are the things that chill your bones. Every bump, every whistle of the wind, every distant cry a nightmare waiting to unfold. Frightening. Terrible. Beautiful.
Beneath this cover you will find twisted tales of the macabre from some of the best in modern Horror, including:

Skye Knizley
Sarah Davis Brandon
A. Giacomi
Lily Luchesi
Laurencia Hoffman
October Weeks
Kindra Sowder
Faith Marlow
Petronela Ungureanu
P. Mattern
T.M. Scott
Nicolajayne Taylor

Cover design from Rebecca Poole of Dreams2Media

Read them, if you so dare, but leave the lights on. You never know who, or what, is lurking at the edge of darkness.
Beautiful Nightmares, a Horror Anthology from Vamptasy Publishing, the leader in Indie Horror.

All proceeds to be donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Supernatural Sunday

In writing news:

*Sera’s story is now over 15k! I’m excited where this story is leading. It gained a lot of momentum over the weekend, and I added a little over 4k. I can see exactly where the first book is leading, and know the ending. This is definitely a two book story.

*Short stories- two are done. One for Tuck, and one for the Isles and West series (in Milly’s POV).

*Tuck #3 has found its voice and I’m excited to see where Tuck takes me this time.

*A new, stand-alone slayer story has started. It features a new slayer, and her story feels quite epic 🙂

*The Damned (Tuck Houston #1) will be going on sale March 17th-19th for $0.99. So if you haven’t started the series, that will be a good time to pick up the first book ❤

In other news, I’ve cut the cord with my cable company and have been finding my way around my smart tv and Netflix. I’m loving this no commercial thing 😀 I’ve start binge watching Supernatural (I’ve not seen past Season 4, since I didn’t get the CW with my Directv package) and iZombie (a show I never got to see and am LOVING IT!). I have the CW app on the smart tv, so I can watch the current episodes once I catch up on Netflix with past season of both shows.

I’ve also found a a new love for the tv show Salem, as well as some epic B and D-Horror movies 🙂 And the PBS show, Victoria (not supernatural, but I LOVE period tv shows and movies!).

I really love the freedom of not having cable. The savings is fantastic. I only watched about 6 channels out of the 200+ I had. The only thing I miss is my local morning news. I enjoyed watching that before went to the day job. But I found the app for the local channels, so I can stream it live.

I don’t miss cable- it was a relief when I sent the equipment back. It was getting way too expensive, and I didn’t watch over half the channels.

And that’s about it for the weekend 🙂 I hope you all had a great one!

A Damned Snippet

A snippet from The Damned 🙂 ❤

The Damned

hell-hath-no-fury-1

copyright@October Weeks

Tuck Houston casually strolled through the front doors of the ritzy hotel with a warm smile on her face, her hoodie and jeans soaked through from the rain. “Wasn’t expecting the downpour,” she said as she neared the front desk, cringing inside as her boots left a bit of mud on the expensive carpet.

The clerk chuckled as he regarded her. “I don’t think anyone was. Forecast didn’t say anything about rain.”

“Damn weathermen can’t be trusted.” She laughed as she made her way to the elevator and clicked the button.

“Apparently not!”

When the elevator doors opened a few moments later, she said, “Have a good night, and sorry about the mud.”

“You as well, and no need to apologize.”

When the doors opened again, she made her way to her quarry’s room, letting herself in with the key she’d obtained the day before. Digital keys were much harder to obtain than the old metal keys smaller hotels or motels used. She’d charmed the male clerk into giving her a key so she could surprise her “lover.”

The room was empty, of course. As he’d done the night before, her target was having a “drink” at the bar before retiring to his room, courtesy of some idiot human. Even the Damned couldn’t kill everyone they fed from—got suspicious after a while, to humans and slayers.

Walking across the high-end hardwood floors spread over the entire room, Tuck sat herself down on a chair, kicking her wet boots up on the edge of the bed and placing her pure silver knives on her thighs, which had been sheathed at her waist under her hooded sweatshirt. They weren’t her favorite weapons, but they were best for close contact.

She’d been tracking Samuel Bellows for a little over six weeks, from Boston to San Francisco—the city she was now in. He was responsible for the killing of seven little girls, drinking them dry of blood then abandoning their bodies in the woods. She could practically taste his death on her tongue.

But those girls were not the reason she was after him. His power had lingered at the scenes of several missing slayers. She planned on having a nice, bloody chat with him about that.

Footsteps jarred the quiet about twenty minutes later. Samuel’s footsteps. No human would have heard his steps, but she was more than human. Slayers had a predators’ hearing, and she clearly heard the delight in his gait, and he was humming a lively tune. He had a new target, he had human blood on his tongue, and—she smiled to herself—he had no idea what was in his room.

The key card slid in the lock, the door clicked, and into the darkness of the room came Samuel Bellows; five-foot-ten, a bit heavyset, and reeking of glee.

He was a dead man.

She held her position patiently as he turned on the lights. The look of surprise in his gray eyes when he saw her was so comical that she actually laughed. “Good evening, Samuel. The name’s Tuck Houston. But you can call me Ripper, if you’d like.”

Samuel’s eyes widened in shock as the name registered, as well as the fact that he couldn’t scent her, which was something that came from how her bloodline started. He hissed, clearly not liking surprises so close to sunrise. Especially surprises that were armed with silver knives.

That wasn’t uncommon for his breed of vampire, him not liking surprises so close to sunrise. He was one of the Damned—the dark breed of vampire, the ones who’d traded their immunity to the sun for their bloodlust and savage need.

He took her in, eyes roaming her calm and relaxed position. The hissing ceased. “No scent, so you are a child with blood of the strigoi and a human. You must love that perk,” he said sarcastically, obviously trying to ruffle whatever feathers he thought she may have.

“Perhaps—”

His words died as one of her knives penetrated his throat so fast he didn’t even have time to blink, not able to read her movements through her calm. She walked over to him as he pulled it out, a smile forming on her lips as one of his hands covered the wound. It wouldn’t kill him. The bleeding would slow and stop within minutes, but she’d severed his vocal chords, which is why she’d aimed her knife where she had.

“You know that won’t do you any good, Sammie-boy. You’re a vampire, not a human,” she said, amused, then promptly smashed in his nose. He fell back into the flat-screen television, not breaking the screen nor rattling it from the wall.

She moved quickly to keep his retaliation at bay, catching him by the throat with one hand and preparing to hit him with the other.

His left foot kicked out. She let go of his throat and grabbed his foot, kicking the side of his right knee as she did so, hearing a bone break. The kick caused Samuel to turn and fall to his stomach. He grunted softly when he hit the floor, hard enough that any humans nearby would hear it but not be alarmed. The soundproofing was top-notch in the hotel.

As he lifted up on his right side, she grabbed his left arm and twisted it, hearing several bones break and crush. She took several steps back as he growled—though it was garbled by his wounded throat, which was now healing— holding the limp arm with his good one. He staggered to his feet then fell to the ground a split second later.

The silver was beginning to drain his strength, making his muscles weaken and his skin twitch. Even the black of his eyes began to flicker with gray. He was done for. But she had made certain to only strike him once with the silver blade so that the poison was just strong enough to weaken him, not kill him.

Tuck hauled him off the floor by his good arm, pushing him roughly into the desk chair. Though his energy was waning and he couldn’t draw hard on his power, she took her silver handcuffs out of the left back pocket of her jeans and cuffed him to each side of the chair. She then turned the chair toward the window, and once that was done, she walked over and opened the curtains.

 

What Am I Working On?

Hello all! So sorry for the lack of updates. Here is an update on how the writing is going:

*Word count on Sera’s book is close to 10k now 🙂 I’m really enjoying writing her, and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading her story. I plan for this to be a trilogy, but I won’t know for certain until book one is finished. I can tell you that we do see many familiar faces from the Isles and West trilogy, along with a few new ones 🙂

*I’m close to finishing a couple of short stories and two novellas. I’ll post more about those once they’re finished.

*The Beautiful Nightmares anthology I’m in will be releasing March 15th! You can now pre-order the antho for $0.99!!! I’m so excited for you all to read The Legend of Old Jack! This is a charity anthology, and if you would like to sign up to host the release blitz on your blog, please click the link below ❤

https://goo.gl/forms/kAuS0GQvRv6lhU8w2

And that’s about it for writing news at the moment 🙂 I do plan on writing more Delilah and Milly, never fear–they have many more adventures to share, both new and old.

relax