Multi-Genre Mega Giveaway—May 2017

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The Monster Mash—Creating Believable Beasts

[Lauren Scharhag]Guest post by Lauren Scharhag

I grew up in the 80s. It was a magical time when bug-eyed, glowing-fingered aliens crashed in suburban back yards, when heroes rode luckdragons, when David Bowie danced with goblin puppets, when nightmare creatures battled for the fate of a flawed purple gemstone … well, you get the idea.

For me, the creatures of science fiction and fantasy are just as compelling as the main characters in the story. Anybody writing in the genre knows how important world-building is. Part of good world-building is creating believable creatures for your distant planet or magical realm.

Here are some things to consider when designing your monsters from the claws up:

Magical or Cryptozoological?
Is your creature born or conjured? Did it hatch from an egg, or did a rabbi scoop some mud together and slap a sign on its head? The way a creature comes into being tells a lot about what its habits will be like, where it lives, what it subsists on, etc. Magical creatures don’t have to be as convincing from a biological standpoint—or stand up to close scrutiny at all, for that matter:

  • Don’t feed a mogwai after midnight. Um, isn’t it technically always “after midnight”?
  • How the hell does a Pegasus fly? Does it have hollow bones like a bird?
  • What about Beholders? How do they—ahhh, you know what? Never mind.

As magical creatures, it’s part of their charm. But if we’re talking about an animal that is born or hatched, this takes a little more thought.

What Is Your World Like?
What is your world’s climate like, its ecosystem, its culture? Animals adapt to their environment to survive. Consider how the animal might have evolved in relation to where it lives. Is the animal native to the area you’re writing about or did they come from someplace else? If they’re not native, how did they get there? How do they interact with other species?

Some of my favorite fantasy beings are the elephant-like Mulefa from Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass. Now, it helps that he was writing them from the point of view of a scientist who made keen observations regarding their anatomy, habitat, social behavior, etc. But Pullman obviously put a lot of thought into their ecology. A species of pod-bearing tree combined with some solidified lava beds gives the Mulefa the means to move—and I don’t mean that in the sense that they use pods for transportation. I mean they have evolved in such a way that they now require the pods to peregrinate, attaching them to spurs on their legs and zooming around on them like Tony Hawk.

I was blown away by the level of detail, planning, imagination and originality the Mulefa required. How in the world did someone dream something like that up?

Real Creatures, Alive or Extinct
Start with real critters. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but coming up with good, convincing and memorable creatures for your book has to be more than a Horse of a Different Color (enchanting though that rainbow-hued equine was, he was still just a horse with a dye-job).

I co-author a series called The Order of the Four Sons with Coyote Kishpaugh. It takes place across multiple dimensions. In the second book, the heroes find themselves marooned in an inhospitable, desert world called Carcosa. Keeping the Mulefa firmly in mind as we began to design the world, we gave a great deal of thought to what sort of flora and fauna could thrive under its harsh conditions. We researched animals and plants that live in the Australian and Saharan deserts, as well as Death Valley. To give the animals an otherworldly bent, we turned mainly to creatures that have gone extinct like the Tasmanian tiger for inspiration.

We also took into consideration the symbolism of the place. We have stranded the heroes in a world where everything is either aggressive or toxic. We looked at some of the fiercest-looking desert dwellers we could find, like the Solifugae, an order of desert spiders that can get quite large and look like an ungodly mixture of arachnid and scorpion, with pale, segmented bodies and pincer-like mandibles. They’re not terribly threatening to humans, but the point is, they look scary.

Another type of creature we looked at was some sort of animal to transport people around our deadly fantasy desert. Ultimately, we found our way to tapirs, an endangered South American animal with a prehensile snout (maybe Pullman influenced me even more than I realized!). Related to horses and rhinos, tapirs are decent runners, so with some alteration, we thought they would make fine pack animals. In the course of researching them, we found out that tapirs appear in Asian folklore. In Korean, their name is maek, so we named the creatures “meks.”

Finally, there are the real, live animals that share space with you. I can’t tell you how many creatures in my oeuvre have been influenced by an ugly, runty, squinty-eyed, foul-tempered little cat I found by the side of the road one day and decided to bring home. She has way more attitude than a five-pound bundle of dirty-looking orange-brown fur ought to have, but she’s my little beast, and I love her. Without her, I wouldn’t have stories full of dragons, mermaids, ehlems and man-eating blobs. At least once a day, I pay homage to my little feline muse with offerings of tasty treats. She seems as pleased with this arrangement as I am.

So all those hilarious pet stories you love to tell at parties? Yeah, turn those into fantastical adventures.

Barring that …

Tap into Some Folklore
There’s an entire world of myths, legends, fairy tales and folklore from which to draw inspiration. From kitsunes to skin walkers, from djinn to Baba Yaga—there’s always some creature or entity begging to be remade into a new story.

Obviously, you have the perennial favorites: vampires, werewolves and zombies. Personally, I find those to be a bit tired, but even they can have new life breathed into them—reanimated, if you will. (I know, I know. Feel free to throw things.)

To use another example from our books, in The Order of the Four Sons, we have an Eastern European sorceress who practices necromancy. Eastern European folklore is rich with blood-suckers and the undead. We came up with creatures called eretics, a sort of zombie en flambé. The amount and type of magic it takes to raise and sustain them burns their flesh, so they’re blackened, red and quite disgusting as they lumber about, flaking off patches of skin and doing their mistress’ bidding.

Another resource is the good ol’ D&D monster manual. I’m not saying to blatantly rip something wholesale from the Eberron or Forgotten Realms playbooks or whatever. What I am encouraging you to do is a monster mashup—create composites. Synthesize. It’s amazing what sort of literary Frankenstein might emerge. A fang here, a bit of drool there, some galvanic action and voila! Your creature will be up, wreaking havoc on a poor, unsuspecting populace in no time.

I hope you find my thoughts on monster-making helpful. Thanks for reading, and best of luck dreaming up your own ghoulies, ghosties and three-legged beasties!

Book Blurb

[The Order of the Four Sons Cover]

For centuries, two ancient, magical sects, the Order of the Four Sons of Horus and Starry Wisdom, have battled for possession of the sacred, powerful Staff of Solomon. Whoever possesses the staff can open doors to other dimensions—or rip open the very fabric of existence.

The staff was broken into pieces and scattered across the cosmos.

Now, a member of the Order, Fernando Rios, has disappeared in a small Missouri town.

When a team is sent to investigate, they discover that Rios was close to finding one of the lost segments.

The problem is, he wasn’t the only one.

The Order of the Four Sons by Coyote Kishpaugh and Lauren Scharhag is a classic tale of good versus evil. An epic, magical journey of fantasy and adventure.

Join members of the team, Colonel JD Garnett, novice mage Kate West, Detective Ryan Murphy, scholar Doug Grigori, and field techs Bill Welsh and Cecil Morgan, as they race to stop evil from destroying not just Earth, but a myriad of worlds.

And life as we know it.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

About the Author
Lauren Scharhag is a writer of fiction and poetry. With Coyote Kishpaugh, she is the co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. She lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband, two cats and a squinty-eyed beastling. You can find Lauren on Twitter, on Facebook and on her blog, www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com.

Interview with Jennifer Loiske, Author of Demon’s Touch

[Jennifer Loiske]Today, I’m pleased to have as my guest Jennifer Loiske, author of Books One and Two of the “McLean Twins” series, Black Diamond and Demon’s Touch.

Q. Welcome, Jennifer. Young Adult is a very popular genre—one that even adults enjoy reading. So, tell us what’s unique about your stories?

A. My books are very, very realistic. They’re urban paranormal/paranormal romance stories, but there are so many facts hidden inside of them that even though the creatures are supernatural the story could very well be true. I believe in mixing reality with myths, and making my characters look like they could be anyone you know … the boy next door, your mum, your best friend … In fact, many of my adult readers have said that they couldn’t sleep in the dark for days after reading my stories and that the characters were creepy-realistic. My stories are also fun, a bit sassy, and the ones meant for YA or mature YA, quite sexy. I love cliffhangers, so one of my trademarks is the pacing of the chapters, and ending them in a way that makes it nearly impossible to put the book down before the reader reaches the last page.

Q. Sounds like you really know how to hold an audience. In terms of the theme, what are the one or two things you are hoping the reader will come away with in each book?

A. As said before, there are a lot of facts in my stories. Also, I can’t help but put some of my educational experiences in use whilst writing, so my goal is to challenge my readers. I have very clear values and I’m not ashamed to put them out for my readers to see. So, I’m happy if a reader finds out at least couple of the facts in the story and learns something new whilst enjoying my story. I’d like to think that I’m offering food for the brain as well as entertainment for the soul. Examiner.com described Black Diamond as “mind candy,” and for me it was the best compliment I could have hoped for.

Q. What are you working on now, and is it in the same vein as Demon’s Touch?

A. I’m writing the final part of the “McLean Twins” series so, yes, it’s in the same vein. Hopefully, I will get it done before midsummer so my readers can enjoy it before Christmas. I’m also working on the second part of the “Blood Hunters” series, which is a follow-up to the “Immortal Blood” series. Usually, I have two or three works-in-progress going, so whenever I get bored with one I can easily switch to another. In that way I keep the writer’s block away and will never get bored!

Q. Excellent strategy! Thanks so much, Jennifer.

Book Blurb

[Demon's Touch Cover]

“Magic is all about words and believing. If you believe then anything is possible.”

Shannon McLean had come a long way since she lost her mother. A while ago she’d thought she was alone in the world, a plain Jane with no place to go. Now she knew better. Suddenly she was surrounded by relatives: a crazy talented twin brother, Ian, who literally held the keys to magic in his hands; a demonic father, Connor, who had paid a high price for a one-way ticket to hell; and a wannabe big brother, Simon, who was not only half demon but also a hit man of some sort; and herself … so not a plain Jane but a witch with ancient spells tingling on her fingertips.

Oh, and if that were not enough of a burden for a thirteen-year-old girl, her father had sent her to London on an impossible quest. Truth be told, she might have volunteered, but only because she naively believed that the world was beneath her feet and she was capable of performing a miracle as long as her brother stood beside her. She’d been so wrong.

No matter what she did, or who tried to help her, she kept failing time and time again, and time was not something she had. If she ever intended to save her father from becoming the next king of hell, she had to act fast. She had to find a way to do the impossible and save a demon. After all, every witch knows the hard truth: demons cannot be saved.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

About the Author
Jennifer Loiske lives in Finland in Naantali, which is a small sunny town on the southwest coast. She is a Teen/YA paranormal fiction author, with four exciting series available worldwide: the “McLean Twins” series for teen readers, the “Immortal Blood” series for mature young adult readers, the “Blood Hunters” series—also for mature young adults, and a follow-up to the “Immortal Blood” series, and the “Shape Shifter” series for anyone ages sixteen and up.

Jennifer’s stories are full of creatures of the night—vampires, demons, witches and shape shifters … but even if they are mostly fiction you can find a hint of a truth in every story. Jennifer loves to research, so every time she gets an idea for a new story, she does a crazy Google session looking for places, old myths, names, folklores and magical items—anything that could spice up her story and make it more real for the reader. Jennifer is also part of Authors for Charity, an international author alliance, and team member in Epilepsy FI magazine. She is a pre-school teacher by profession.

You can find Jennifer on Twitter, on Facebook, at Goodreads, and at her blog, jenniferloiske.wordpress.com, as well as on her Amazon author page..

“Tales to Count On”—Subtle Humor Flavored with Dread

I love this collection of stories! And I especially appreciate that the author is as comfortable in the past as she is in the present. Two of my favorites are “Him” and “The Map Room.” The writing is precise and well researched—two qualities that as both a writer and reader I value tremendously. And the tone … What to say about that? For me, the best way to describe this author’s voice is, subtle humor flavored with dread—a little like some of the best ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes. Reading each story is like finishing a nice cup of tea, only to discover something unsettling at the bottom. If you are looking for the fun and the unusual, I recommend this collection. Oh, and don’t forget the tea.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Blurb

[Tales to Count On Cover]

Curl up and enter the eclectic world of S. R. Mallery, where sad meets bizarre and deception meets humor; where history meets revenge and magic meets gothic. Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, these TALES TO COUNT ON, which include a battered women’s shelter, childhood memories, Venetian love, magic photographs, PTDS fallout, sisters’ tricks, WWII spies, the French Revolution, evil vaudevillians, and celebrity woes, will remind you that in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other Amazon reviews here.

“The Shepherd”—A Dark, Contemporary YA Funhouse

[The Shepherd Cover]

Find The Shepherd at Amazon

Add to Goodreads

The Blurb
Skate punks, kleptomaniacs, clairvoyant visions and reincarnation…

The Shepherd is unlike any other Young Adult novel you have ever read.
For me, Mike Evans, a skate punk living in a white-trash trailer park, high school blows.

My dad’s an out-of-work drunk. My ex-girlfriend avoids me like the plague. My best friend, Anita, won’t keep her hands off me…then there’s Moses Lake’s champion wrestler. The a-hole is waiting for an excuse to beat my face into the skate park concrete.

Worse, my visions of grisly death are back again, and if I tell anyone what I’ve seen I might actually cause these terrible events to happen.

I’m in way over my head, and Natasha? The girl I rescued from a hit-and-run? The girl who’s stalking me nightly and climbing through my window? There’s something seriously wrong with that girl.

“A young adult, paranormal, romantic, bizarre and addicting story, and I could not put it down.” – Stephanie, The Boyfriend Bookmark

The Shepherd is different, unique, feels real and fresh and does not follow the usual boring and repetitive ingredients that YA books tend to have.” – MissDevora, Lovers of Paranormal reviewer

“Travis has captured the look and feel of high school perfectly, teenage angst, cliques and first loves. I felt like a fly on the wall taking in all the drama of high school again.” – Jackie, Goodreads reviewer

Sharp, witty, dark and gritty, The Shepherd is a paranormal thriller for all ages. Get your copy of this thrilling urban fantasy – paranormal suspense novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Travis Luedke.

The Review ★★★★★
Travis Luedke is an interesting writer. You might know him from his “Nightlife Series,” which celebrates vampires. When I learned that he had written a YA novel called The Shepherd, I went into it thinking it might follow the path of many of the other YA titles out there today—modern and edgy, but perhaps a little tame. Boy, was I wrong!

What the author has done is to give the reader something dark and fun. Because the characters are teens, you won’t find only raw, seething emotion just under the surface, but lots of raging hormones that drive them to do things they should have thought better of. Add to that some cool skateboarding swagger and a bloody, paranormal twist, and what you get is a story that you cannot predict. The main character, Mike Evans, is troubled for sure. But those around him don’t make his life any easier. Oh, and wait until you meet Natasha. Yeah, just what Mike needs—a sucker punch straight out of Russia.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the author’s ability to capture the immediacy of the modern teen. His dialogue is sharp, and absolutely rings true. As I was reading the book, I could picture high school students speaking this way—not sounding like TV-based stereotypes. I’m guessing that teen readers will find a lot of realism in this story, and will probably recognize some of their peers in characters like Anita, Justin, Rachelle and Tommy.

If you enjoy stories that send you grinding down a rusty handrail, I recommend grabbing The Shepherd. You won’t be disappointed.

The Shadow Box
Explore The Dark Side of Urban Fantasy – Paranormal Suspense with THE SHADOW BOX from NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors.

***A limited offer at a steeply discounted price – only available until Feb. 2015

Ride the cutting edge of dark fantasy in this unique collection of fast-paced, gritty,  suspenseful thrillers. Filled with black magic, vampire trailer trash, werewolves, sorcerers, assassins, clairvoyants, zombie draggers, and old-school gothic horror, a sure bet for fans of paranormal suspense.

Buy Links
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
iBookStore
Kobo
Smashwords

DARKER THINGS by Rob Cornell
Fifteen years have passed since Craig Lockman worked for a shadowy agency fighting monsters most think exist only in nightmares. A mysterious teen girl arrives at his door with his fiercest enemy on her tail. Now he must protect the daughter he never knew from the dark world he thought he left behind.

MOTH by Sean Poindexter
Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to monsters. Supernatural or human, he’s faced all kinds. But when he’s called upon to investigate a missing child, he may have met his match.

THE SHEPHERD by Travis Luedke
After saving a mysterious girl from a hit and run, 16 yr. old Mike Evans soon finds his life spiraling out of control. Facing clairvoyant visions of grisly death, Mike struggles to avert disaster and make his way through the chaos.

COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS by M. Joseph Murphy
A band of misfit, half-demon teenagers join the ruthless, immortal Wisdom, to stop The Council of Peacocks. The Council, a secret society of sorcerers, has plotted for centuries, and now the time has come for Activation – a hostile takeover of Earth.

A DEATH DISPLACED by Andrew Butcher
When Nicolas Crystan unexpectedly sees the future, he acts fast to save Juliet Maystone from a fatal accident, unintentionally “displacing” her–giving her the power to see ghosts. Together, they must use their newfound abilities to unravel a mystery more connected to Nicolas than he ever imagined …

BOUND BY BLOOD by Shane KP O’Neill
Vlad Dracula: ruler, tyrant, warlord, and champion of the Catholic faith, is seized by Lucifer in his moment of death and becomes a monster, born of Darkness. Vlad is charged with destroying the institution of the Catholic Church, to help turn man against God so that Lucifer may finally return to Heaven and end all of mankind.

LUNA SANGUIS by Simon Okill
A mysterious woman awakes in an asylum in France, 1925, with amnesia. As her memory is restored she reveals her true vampiric nature and unleashes a bloody nightmare that might destroy all humanity.

TELL ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Steven Ramirez
When a contagion decimates the town of Tres Marias, recovering alcoholic Dave Pulaski, his wife, Holly, and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive.

THE LONG WAY DOWN by Craig Schaefer
The death of a porn star leads sorcerer Daniel Faust down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and madness. For the first time, black magic and bullets might not be enough to save him from the brink of damnation.

BLACKJACK by Kristopher Norris
When Vincent Black, a gun for hire, is told vampires are all too real, he thinks it’s a joke. But soon he learns that he is not the most dangerous brand of hunter out there…

“The Shadow Box”—Interview with Kristopher Norris

[The Shadow Box]Okay, so you already know you can preorder The Shadow Box: Paranormal Suspense and Dark Fantasy Thriller Novels now. That’s ten novels featuring vampires, zombies and other assorted monsters.

Check out this wonderful collection of dark novels from authors Travis Luedke, Rob Cornell, Andrew Butcher, Sean Poindexter, Shane KP O’Neill, M Joseph Murphy, Simon Okill, Craig Schaefer, Kristopher Norris—and Steven Ramirez.

Today, I am featuring an interview with Kristopher Norris, author of Blackjack. Take it away, Kris!

You are writing in a very popular genre. What’s unique about Blackjack?
That is an interesting questions. I’m not sure how to answer it in all honesty. Urban paranormal is a unique genre. The twists and turns, my love and close ties to the old noir style of mystery helps me avoid that cookie cutter feel.

Personally, I like that my protagonist, Vincent, is human – or rather mostly human. So often in vampire based books we miss out on the human male’s point of view. I’d like to think I bring a certain amount of our stubborn pigheaded nature to the literary world.

In terms of the theme, what are the one or two things you are hoping the reader comes away with?
My hope is the reader was able to dive into the world my characters created for them. Fans ask me, “What’s coming next?” … I don’t know! I know authors talk about the characters being real for them but that doesn’t quite cover it. It’s like watching a movie and I just write down what’s going on in the world of Vincent and his fanged friends. I hope I do them justice.

What are you working on now, and is it in the same vein as BlackJack?Vincent’s second full length novel is done! Currently that manuscript is off with test readers then to final editing. I’m hoping to have a release date at the beginning of the year.

Outside of the ever present Vincent Black, I’ve begun a new series – Half-blood is the working title where a half demon, Conner, fights heaven and hell to save kidnapped children and his own soul.

Buy Links
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
iBookStore
Kobo
Smashwords

Product Description
Explore The Dark Side of Urban Fantasy – Paranormal Suspense with THE SHADOW BOX from NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors.

***A limited offer at a steeply discounted price – only available until Feb. 2015

Ride the cutting edge of dark fantasy in this unique collection of fast-paced, gritty,  suspenseful thrillers. Filled with black magic, vampire trailer trash, werewolves, sorcerers, assassins, clairvoyants, zombie draggers, and old-school gothic horror, a sure bet for fans of paranormal suspense.

DARKER THINGS by Rob Cornell
Fifteen years have passed since Craig Lockman worked for a shadowy agency fighting monsters most think exist only in nightmares. A mysterious teen girl arrives at his door with his fiercest enemy on her tail. Now he must protect the daughter he never knew from the dark world he thought he left behind.

MOTH by Sean Poindexter
Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to monsters. Supernatural or human, he’s faced all kinds. But when he’s called upon to investigate a missing child, he may have met his match.

THE SHEPHERD by Travis Luedke
After saving a mysterious girl from a hit and run, 16 yr. old Mike Evans soon finds his life spiraling out of control. Facing clairvoyant visions of grisly death, Mike struggles to avert disaster and make his way through the chaos.

COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS by M. Joseph Murphy
A band of misfit, half-demon teenagers join the ruthless, immortal Wisdom, to stop The Council of Peacocks. The Council, a secret society of sorcerers, has plotted for centuries, and now the time has come for Activation – a hostile takeover of Earth.

A DEATH DISPLACED by Andrew Butcher
When Nicolas Crystan unexpectedly sees the future, he acts fast to save Juliet Maystone from a fatal accident, unintentionally “displacing” her–giving her the power to see ghosts. Together, they must use their newfound abilities to unravel a mystery more connected to Nicolas than he ever imagined …

BOUND BY BLOOD by Shane KP O’Neill
Vlad Dracula: ruler, tyrant, warlord, and champion of the Catholic faith, is seized by Lucifer in his moment of death and becomes a monster, born of Darkness. Vlad is charged with destroying the institution of the Catholic Church, to help turn man against God so that Lucifer may finally return to Heaven and end all of mankind.

LUNA SANGUIS by Simon Okill
A mysterious woman awakes in an asylum in France, 1925, with amnesia. As her memory is restored she reveals her true vampiric nature and unleashes a bloody nightmare that might destroy all humanity.

TELL ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Steven Ramirez
When a contagion decimates the town of Tres Marias, recovering alcoholic Dave Pulaski, his wife, Holly, and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive.

THE LONG WAY DOWN by Craig Schaefer
The death of a porn star leads sorcerer Daniel Faust down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and madness. For the first time, black magic and bullets might not be enough to save him from the brink of damnation.

BLACKJACK by Kristopher Norris
When Vincent Black, a gun for hire, is told vampires are all too real, he thinks it’s a joke. But soon he learns that he is not the most dangerous brand of hunter out there…

“The Shadow Box”—Interview with Simon Okill

[The Shadow Box]Okay, so you already know you can preorder The Shadow Box: Paranormal Suspense and Dark Fantasy Thriller Novels now. That’s ten novels featuring vampires, zombies and other assorted monsters.

Check out this wonderful collection of dark novels from authors Travis Luedke, Rob Cornell, Andrew Butcher, Sean Poindexter, Shane KP O’Neill, M Joseph Murphy, Simon Okill, Craig Schaefer, Kristopher Norris—and Steven Ramirez.

Today, I am featuring an interview with Simon Okill, author of Luna Sanguis. You might know Simon from his deliciously entertaining “Phantom Bigfoot” series.

Take it away, Simon!

You are writing in a very popular genre. What’s unique about Luna Sanguis?
Luna Sanguis is very different from other vampire novels as it deals with the psychological make up of a vampire with amnesia, trapped in an asylum and hunted by bloodthirsty cult followers. It is very Gothic in a Poe way or Anne Rice and set during The Modernist era of Paris 1925, so you get to meet many of those famous avant garde set.

In terms of the theme, what are the one or two things you are hoping the reader comes away with?
I am hoping the reader will have second thoughts about vampires and may even come to believe they actually exist as my vampires are human all the way. The reader will also, hopefully, get a handle on what it is like to suffer with PTSD and appreciate what veterans go through every day of their lives.

What are you working on now, and is it in the same vein as Luna Sanguis?
SS-Steppenwolf is a paranormal history of the entire WWII seen through the eyes of two German brothers split apart by Nazism. It deals with the real Indiana Jones hired by Himmler to seek out artifacts to empower the Germanic Peoples and ultimately rule the world. A blend of fact and fiction so the reader will not be able to tell which is which.

Buy Links
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
iBookStore
Kobo
Smashwords

Product Description
Explore The Dark Side of Urban Fantasy – Paranormal Suspense with THE SHADOW BOX from NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors.

***A limited offer at a steeply discounted price – only available until Feb. 2015

Ride the cutting edge of dark fantasy in this unique collection of fast-paced, gritty,  suspenseful thrillers. Filled with black magic, vampire trailer trash, werewolves, sorcerers, assassins, clairvoyants, zombie draggers, and old-school gothic horror, a sure bet for fans of paranormal suspense.

DARKER THINGS by Rob Cornell
Fifteen years have passed since Craig Lockman worked for a shadowy agency fighting monsters most think exist only in nightmares. A mysterious teen girl arrives at his door with his fiercest enemy on her tail. Now he must protect the daughter he never knew from the dark world he thought he left behind.

MOTH by Sean Poindexter
Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to monsters. Supernatural or human, he’s faced all kinds. But when he’s called upon to investigate a missing child, he may have met his match.

THE SHEPHERD by Travis Luedke
After saving a mysterious girl from a hit and run, 16 yr. old Mike Evans soon finds his life spiraling out of control. Facing clairvoyant visions of grisly death, Mike struggles to avert disaster and make his way through the chaos.

COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS by M. Joseph Murphy
A band of misfit, half-demon teenagers join the ruthless, immortal Wisdom, to stop The Council of Peacocks. The Council, a secret society of sorcerers, has plotted for centuries, and now the time has come for Activation – a hostile takeover of Earth.

A DEATH DISPLACED by Andrew Butcher
When Nicolas Crystan unexpectedly sees the future, he acts fast to save Juliet Maystone from a fatal accident, unintentionally “displacing” her–giving her the power to see ghosts. Together, they must use their newfound abilities to unravel a mystery more connected to Nicolas than he ever imagined …

BOUND BY BLOOD by Shane KP O’Neill
Vlad Dracula: ruler, tyrant, warlord, and champion of the Catholic faith, is seized by Lucifer in his moment of death and becomes a monster, born of Darkness. Vlad is charged with destroying the institution of the Catholic Church, to help turn man against God so that Lucifer may finally return to Heaven and end all of mankind.

LUNA SANGUIS by Simon Okill
A mysterious woman awakes in an asylum in France, 1925, with amnesia. As her memory is restored she reveals her true vampiric nature and unleashes a bloody nightmare that might destroy all humanity.

TELL ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Steven Ramirez
When a contagion decimates the town of Tres Marias, recovering alcoholic Dave Pulaski, his wife, Holly, and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive.

THE LONG WAY DOWN by Craig Schaefer
The death of a porn star leads sorcerer Daniel Faust down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and madness. For the first time, black magic and bullets might not be enough to save him from the brink of damnation.

BLACKJACK by Kristopher Norris
When Vincent Black, a gun for hire, is told vampires are all too real, he thinks it’s a joke. But soon he learns that he is not the most dangerous brand of hunter out there…

“The Shadow Box”—10 Novels for 99 Cents!

[The Shadow Box]Wow, talk about value! Check out The Shadow Box: Paranormal Suspense and Dark Fantasy Thriller Novels. For those who are really into horror-fantasy, this is a great offer.

Check out this wonderful collection of dark novels from authors Travis Luedke, Rob Cornell, Andrew Butcher, Sean Poindexter, Shane KP O’Neill, M Joseph Murphy, Simon Okill, Craig Schaefer, Kristopher Norris—and Steven Ramirez.

Buy Links
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Product Description
Explore The Dark Side of Urban Fantasy – Paranormal Suspense with THE SHADOW BOX from NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors.

***A limited offer at a steeply discounted price – only available until Feb. 2015

Ride the cutting edge of dark fantasy in this unique collection of fast-paced, gritty,  suspenseful thrillers. Filled with black magic, vampire trailer trash, werewolves, sorcerers, assassins, clairvoyants, zombie draggers, and old-school gothic horror, a sure bet for fans of paranormal suspense.

DARKER THINGS by Rob Cornell
Fifteen years have passed since Craig Lockman worked for a shadowy agency fighting monsters most think exist only in nightmares. A mysterious teen girl arrives at his door with his fiercest enemy on her tail. Now he must protect the daughter he never knew from the dark world he thought he left behind.

MOTH by Sean Poindexter
Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to monsters. Supernatural or human, he’s faced all kinds. But when he’s called upon to investigate a missing child, he may have met his match.

THE SHEPHERD by Travis Luedke
After saving a mysterious girl from a hit and run, 16 yr. old Mike Evans soon finds his life spiraling out of control. Facing clairvoyant visions of grisly death, Mike struggles to avert disaster and make his way through the chaos.

COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS by M. Joseph Murphy
A band of misfit, half-demon teenagers join the ruthless, immortal Wisdom, to stop The Council of Peacocks. The Council, a secret society of sorcerers, has plotted for centuries, and now the time has come for Activation – a hostile takeover of Earth.

A DEATH DISPLACED by Andrew Butcher
When Nicolas Crystan unexpectedly sees the future, he acts fast to save Juliet Maystone from a fatal accident, unintentionally “displacing” her–giving her the power to see ghosts. Together, they must use their newfound abilities to unravel a mystery more connected to Nicolas than he ever imagined …

BOUND BY BLOOD by Shane KP O’Neill
Vlad Dracula: ruler, tyrant, warlord, and champion of the Catholic faith, is seized by Lucifer in his moment of death and becomes a monster, born of Darkness. Vlad is charged with destroying the institution of the Catholic Church, to help turn man against God so that Lucifer may finally return to Heaven and end all of mankind.

LUNA SANGUIS by Simon Okill
A mysterious woman awakes in an asylum in France, 1925, with amnesia. As her memory is restored she reveals her true vampiric nature and unleashes a bloody nightmare that might destroy all humanity.

TELL ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Steven Ramirez
When a contagion decimates the town of Tres Marias, recovering alcoholic Dave Pulaski, his wife, Holly, and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive.

THE LONG WAY DOWN by Craig Schaefer
The death of a porn star leads sorcerer Daniel Faust down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and madness. For the first time, black magic and bullets might not be enough to save him from the brink of damnation.

BLACKJACK by Kristopher Norris
When Vincent Black, a gun for hire, is told vampires are all too real, he thinks it’s a joke. But soon he learns that he is not the most dangerous brand of hunter out there…

Shane KP O’Neill—The Dracula Chronicles

Once read, never forgotten.

EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE BATTLE OF GOOD VERSUS EVIL. THE BATTLE FOR SOULS HAS BEGUN.

The Dracula Chronicles is a new and exciting series adding a fresh dimension to the Dracula legend, which combines the real historical Vlad Dracula with a new and different version of Dracula the vampire. The series has been released in two arcs, one that follows Dracula the man and the other following Dracula the vampire. It is written in a style that is both literary and cinematic, that places you there in the thick of the action always.

The books are historical novels of Gothic horror; religious corruption; political intrigue; tragedy; war; dark paranormal fantasy; and deep romance. The premise is built around Creation and the divide in Heaven that results from Lucifer’s jealousy of the creation of man. This leads to the First Great War of the Angels and Lucifer’s eventual expulsion from Heaven with all those who sided with him. The annihilation of the angels continues, but rather than destroy Lucifer, God agrees to a truce. By its terms, Lucifer can contest the soul of every living being as long as he does not interfere with their free will. Should he control more souls than God at any time, he can ascend again to Heaven and cast God and the angels out. He would then have a free hand to destroy all mankind.

Lucifer turns man against God with ease. God responds by sending his prophets one after another to bring man back to the path of righteousness. It seems to be merely delaying the inevitable and in one last effort to thwart Lucifer, God sends his son made man. In giving his life on the Cross, Jesus wipes away man’s sins. This leaves Lucifer back to where he was at the beginning and means he has to start again. The Catholic Church is born on that fateful day in Jerusalem as Christ’s church on the earth. Lucifer then believes if he can destroy this great icon of God, he can turn man against God once more. He searches for over a millennium for the one who can lead his assault on God. The Crusades give him renewed hope, and he is sure the conflict between Christian and Moslem will provide the one he seeks. When this does not materialise, he turns his attention to the Balkan region where this conflict is renewed with Ottoman expansion into eastern Europe. He finally identifies the second son of Vlad Dracul as the one he can manipulate into achieving his ends. God has prepared for this event, and in the very moment that Vlad Dracula draws his first breath, so does another child sired by Dracul, though born to a gypsy woman. This child, Andrei, is blessed by the angels and bestowed with great powers as a balance to the evil about to be unleashed upon the world.

THE VLAD DRACULA ARC
The Vlad Dracula arc … Books #1 to #5. Set in the 15th Century Balkans, this arc brings to life in its entirety the world in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived. It follows his loves; his triumphs; his many great tragedies; the betrayals he endures; and his great struggle to survive his many perils and secure the autonomy of his sovereign nation, Wallachia, which is sandwiched between the mighty Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. The books introduce you to all the great players of the period, their political machinations, and their great conflicts set within the battle between Christianity and Islam. They follow Lucifer and his schemes to manipulate the young Vlad Dracula into seeing through his great plan. Replete with references that are Biblical and drawn from the writings of the Kabbalah, The Dracula Chronicles also introduce a new vision of Hell and take you on a journey you will never forget.

THE BOUND BY BLOOD ARC
The Bound By Blood arc … Books #6 to #10. This arc begins with Dracula’s last great battle at Snagov in 1476. Despite winning yet another great victory, his enemies mortally wound him with arrows. He orders his men to take him to the chapel at the nearby monastery so he can die on holy ground. To his great chagrin, it is Lucifer who comes to claim his soul. The Dark One speaks of his great vision, and of how he has chosen Dracula as his instrument to bring down the Catholic Church. He bites into Dracula’s neck and then gives him his own blood to drink. In doing so, he creates a monster, superhuman and immortal, who can live through the ages and help him win the battle for souls.

Into the 16th Century, wherever the Catholic Church is harmed or loses its influence, Dracula is there behind the scenes to propagate it all. He involves himself with Machiavelli; Martin Luther; in the Italian wars between France and Spain; the Borgias; Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty; and many more.

At the same time his brother, Andrei, takes up the fight against him and arms the Church with the knowledge of how to counter him. In resurrecting Dracula’s legitimate brother, Radu, from the dead so as to exact retribution against him, Dracula and Lucifer have unleashed a powerful enemy who has joined the battle against them.

PREQUEL—THE LAMB OF GOD

[The Lamb Of God Cover]

This is a prequel to For Whom The Bell Tolls and the entire The Dracula Chronicles series. It offers a taste of what is to come, giving the background of the concept, the Crucifixion, and the night of the births of Vlad and Andrei.

If you subscribe to my blog, link below, I will send you a free download of this prequel. You can also hear an audio version, narrated by myself, on my website and on my YouTube channel.

BOOK #1—FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

[For Whom The Bell Tolls Cover]

“A war rages on around us every day. The struggle to save all mankind. The ultimate evil.”

All is well in Heaven until God creates man. Lucifer’s jealousy leads to the First Great War of the Angels. Hundreds of thousands of years on, the feud simmers beneath the surface. It plots the course of history as we know it today. Both sides manipulate the major players through the centuries to seek an advantage over the other.

The battle for souls has raged since the truce that followed the First Great War. God has struck the ultimate blow and sacrifice to gain the advantage, and defeat Lucifer. As Lucifer stands at the foot of the Cross that drains the last ounce of life from Christ and eradicates man’s sins, he realises that his work must begin anew.

In time, he comes to understand that his only chance to win this battle will be to destroy the institution of the Catholic Church to turn man against God. He searches for more than a millennium for the candidate to see his plan through to an end, and finally discovers the one that can cast that final blow.

On a cold night in December, 1431 in Sighisoara, an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil.

He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary, a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers.

This is their story.

AMAZON REVIEWS—FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
“I never thought a man could be capable of writing with such sensitivity and emotion.”

“Beautifully written with great story lines, the author does not hold back in his descriptions of many brutal acts of violence (save for a very long and tastefully done sex scene).”

“The relationships between father and son, the son and his captors and the individual characterisations are way beyond what a fantasy/paranormal book might offer. The writing is of literary class.”

“FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS differs from Shane K.P. O’Neill’s BOUND BY BLOOD sagas in that it takes place years prior to Dracula’s vampiric existence, but this in no way diminishes the power and intensity of its read. Events unfold with the depth of a historical epic.”

BOOK #2—THE PATH TO DECAY (Release date March 20, 2014)

[The Path to Decay Cover]

“The path we walk, is the path to decay. The only way to live, is to die.”

The great Vlad Dracul is dead, fallen in battle, and his throne gone. His son, the young Vlad Dracula, is consumed with grief and a need for revenge. All alone in the world, he keeps his promise and returns to Anatolia. There, he takes a commission in the Ottoman army. On the fields outside Kosovo Polje in Serbia, he is handed his first opportunity to strike back against the men who killed his father.

He has grown into the ultimate fighting machine, and is feared by one and all. This path to decay, as described by his father, is the one he chooses to follow. Lucifer guides and watches over Dracula, but also deepens his hold over him. As time passes, though, his enemies build in every quarter, and they strive to bring him down.

With nowhere left to turn, how will Dracula avenge his family? How can he hope to win back his throne? As he faces one tragedy after another, these events mould him into the man who will be spoken of for centuries to come. A man who lets nothing stand in his way in his pursuit for revenge, and the throne that was his father’s.

 

PREQUEL—BIRTH OF THE MONSTER

[Birth Of The Monster Cover]

This is the prequel to Bound By Blood, and the vampire arc. It takes you to Dracula’s last triumph on the battlefield, and his last moments as a mortal man. While he lies dying in the chapel of the monastery at Snagov, Lucifer comes to claim his soul. The Dark One speaks of his vision in destroying the Catholic Church in his quest to win the battle for souls, and creates Dracula the vampire.

BOOK #6—BOUND BY BLOOD

[Bound By Blood Cover]

A new edition of this and the next book is currently with my copy editors, and will be released and re-launched with new covers in the summer.

“A war rages on around us every day. The struggle to save all mankind. The ultimate evil.”

As his moment of death looms Dracula suffers the ultimate betrayal. The champion of the Catholic faith in Eastern Europe realises it is Lucifer who is coming to claim him. However, Lucifer does not want his soul.

Instead he bites into Dracula’s neck and then offers his own blood to drink. Dracula suffers his mortal death, but he re-awakens. Immortalised with Lucifer’s blood coursing through his veins, the two are bound by blood for eternity. Lucifer has groomed him for this day and lays out the task before him.

Dracula is to destroy the institution of that which he has championed for so long. By bringing down the Catholic Church he can undo the Crucifixion and turn man against God once more. If he succeeds then Lucifer will ascend again to Heaven and signal the end for all mankind.

AMAZON REVIEWS—BOUND BY BLOOD
“This story is a powerful and sweeping epic. The language, the settings, the characters … they all exude Classic.”

“If you are looking for a vampire novel that is rich in detail, with historical facts, legends and folklore weaved in and splashes of gore and a bit of romance, this is for you.”

“This book will stimulate your imagination as it entertains you. Bound By Blood is among the best vampire novels I have read.”

About the Author
[Shane KP O'Neill]Shane KP O’Neill developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid lover of history, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject. He built a concept and premise where he could accommodate both Dracula the vampire and Dracula the man.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He reads a lot of books from a wide variety of authors, though his main interest lies in the horror genre. His love of books is matched only by his love of the countryside and of course, his family. As an added note, he has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels, he likes to search out locations with an historical interest and will always hunt for the ruins of an old castle before heading to the beach.

You can find Shane at www.draculachronicles.co.uk, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Let There Be Blood

By Tina Traverse

[Tina Traverse]Aaron Brooks is the star of the highly successful TV show, ‘Let There Be Blood.’ He attends glamourous parties, wears the finest clothes, and can have any woman he wants. Aaron Brooks has the world at his fingertips.

Every night, he is tormented by the same reoccurring nightmare. Every day he tries to forget by immersing himself into his work and celebrity obligations.

When he is reunited with his estranged best friend, his life settles into comfortable normalcy. Aaron’s torture subsides. Then his cast mates start being murdered around him. The nightmares aren’t over. They’re just beginning.

Let There Be Blood was born from an idea on how I was going to attract followers to my blog, Writers on the Wharf, which promotes not only my work, but my fellow authors. I decided to promote my blog by hosting a blog series, where I would post a story I would write, and post one chapter at a time once a week for a month. Kinda like a TV miniseries, except with words.

I normally write erotic thriller suspense and figured this would be a good theme for my series. The plot was inspired through my friendship with an actress who is friends with a well-known actor. In between taking acting classes, working and family life, she hosts a fan page for her friend where she spotlights his professional life. This sparked an idea. What would happen to a person if the price of fame became too much?

I wanted to write a story that went beyond the all too common celebrity break downs were they go wild with drugs and alcohol and reckless behaviour as their methods of coping with the pressures of sudden celebrity. I wanted to explore an extreme reaction to the pressure. Let There Be Blood was born.

The story centres on an actor of an insanely famous YA television show who has survived a traumatic event and suffers from nightmares. He has to push past the trauma in order to fulfil his celebrity obligations. The actor finds peace when he is reunited with his estranged best friend and soon the nightmares die away, but not for long. He discovers that his demons are not going to be so easily abandoned.

What happens to my main character is dramatic and extreme because I wanted to show that a celebrity’s life is not all glamour and is never easy. The series met with positive feedback and I decided to turn it into a novel to reach a wider audience.

About Let There Be Blood
Here is an excerpt:

Aaron stepped out the shower feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. He slipped underneath the sheets and before long he fell into a deep sleep.

The sweet smell of fresh-baked cookies beckoned him to the kitchen. The promise of warm gooey chocolate and cold milk made it hard to resist. He glided barefoot towards the kitchen, where his mother would have set a plate filled with cookies and a glass of milk on the counter for his afterschool snack. He loved to sit and talk to her as she diced up the vegetables for supper. This was his favorite time of day; just him and his mom alone, talking.

He called her name as he neared the kitchen, but was met with silence. He called again and again, with no answer. Frantic, he searched the house with no luck. He wandered back into the kitchen and slipped on something warm and wet, catching himself on the counter. Looking down, he saw a large pool of blood and his mother and father lying in each other’s arms, a bullet hole in their foreheads.

Hysterically screaming, he fell onto his parents’ bodies and wrapped himself in their lifeless embrace. Closing his eyes to stave off the burning tears, he heard a faraway voice calling to him.

“Aaron, please help! Help me, Aaron, I need you!” Looking up Aaron saw his best friend standing naked before him, her hands tied behind her back and blood pouring from between her legs.

Aaron sat up in bed, covered in sweat, with Martina still begging for help echoing in his ears. Thirteen years, and his mother and father’s senseless deaths still haunted him; two years after the living nightmare, Aaron could not erase his wife’s voice from his mind. It was a vicious, endless torment that served as punishment for the sin of his neglect.

[Let There Be Blood Cover]

Paperback
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About the Author
Tina Traverse fell in love with writing at the age of eight when she wrote her version of the bible story, “The Good Samaritan,” for a homework assignment. This love grew into a passionate affair and has been ongoing for thirty years; and there are no signs of it waning. Though, she admits, when she was pregnant with her son Christian, the affair cooled.

Tina’s desire to write came calling once again when she needed to find a way to cope with heartbreaking news. Christian was diagnosed with autism in 2010. Her method of coping was to write a story about his journey called “Forever, Christian.”

Tina likes to joke that a girl can only write about real life for so long without jumping back into the world of make believe. She loves to venture into the world of the supernatural; vampires and witches are her favourite! Tina enjoys all sorts of vampires but admits that she is fascinated with the modern romantic vampire (think Twilight and The Vampire Diaries). She is currently working on a vampire series based on her first published book, Destiny of the Vampire, and has other projects in the works.

When Tina is not at the computer creating her exciting, magical worlds, she is kept on her toes by her two sons, Christian and Brandon. Sometimes the author manages to curl up in her favourite chair with a good book.

You can find Tina at writersonthewharf.wordpress.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.