Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts

   Publication date: February 25th, 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads The highwayman brought his hand up and ran his fingers through the bea...

  

Publication date: February 25th, 2020




The highwayman brought his hand up and ran his fingers through the beard. 'Where do we go from here?' he asked the Bundy-ish reflection. Sooner or later, the monster would have to be fed." 

Having abstained from killing for almost a year, the Highwayman is coming unglued. 

Unsure if the FBI is watching, Lance Belanger spends his days and nights in a paranoid malaise, longing to kill again. Meanwhile, in Bucharest, Romania, an Interpol raid leads to clues and a witness who can identify the Highwayman. Armed with new evidence, newly promoted SAC FBI Agent, Dave Maxwell heads for Bucharest, as his team of investigators redeploys their investigation on their original suspect, Lance Belanger. It would appear, the net is closing. 

But the Highwayman has other ideas. 

Just after dusk, outside of Pittsburgh, four strangers exit a service van and perpetrate the mass murder of four families in their suburban homes. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to connect the killings to Highwayman, and when they raid Belanger’s properties, they are left a parting gift. 

Another murder and a message for Maxwell from the Highwayman himself. 

Come and find me! 

The killing ramps up, Maxwell leads a posse of investigators across two states, north to Canada to try and thwart the Highwayman in his endgame, that involves kidnapping, mass murder, and betrayal. 

The predator is now the prey. 

But can they stop him before he disappears for good?



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I always approach a piece like this with the same thought.

Wasn’t Stephen King available? 

Mr. King is too busy to tell you how to do it, so here I am, M.J. Preston, about to give you the goods on writing and what it means to be successful. Get ready for the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I am not a guru; nobody has beat down my door, offering me to teach a Masterclass. But along the way, I have learned a thing or two about the craft, so here are some essential survival tips.

To make a million dollars writing, the first thing you’ll need is four million dollars. That’s cover advertising, flights, book signing tours, giveaways, your agent, publicist, and of course, you’ll need a kick-ass book too.  But if you haven’t got four million bucks, here are a few tips.

Tip # 1

The truth is that there is no advice I can offer as a writer of either horror or crime-thriller that will make a new writer’s life any more or less successful. If there was, I’d be charging admission, commission, and royalties. 

Tip # 2 

Success doesn’t depend on tremendous advances from publishers and movie options. Nor is it being the darling of the writing world. True success can be found in the story you write and how readers react. You write a novel, hope it finds an audience, and there you have it. There is no magic formula, no technology, App, or Masterclass that will turn you into the next Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, or James Patterson’s ghostwriter.

Tip # 3

I recently corresponded with a successful author to wish him good luck on a newly launched book. He thanked me and stated that he believed we make our good luck. Tempted to ask him if he had a particular formula for luck-making, I did not. That is because my interpretation of this author’s luck was to follow the path of his career. His luck-making was to keep writing, keep moving, one story to story, novel to novel, because not only do you give an audience a buffet of different tales and characters from which to choose, you also get better with every word you write. If people dig your stuff, they’ll keep reading it, and that’s how you make your luck. But that isn’t all. Stay humble. Embrace your readership and appreciate them for taking the time out of their lives to read your work, whether your audience is one or twenty-five million. 

That is what this writer has done. That is his formula for good luck. 

Tip # 4

I believe to be a good writer, you must always be an observer of the human condition. Personally, I am a voyeur who doesn’t peek in your window. Instead, I catch glimpses, take mental notes, and store them in that battered filing cabinet in the back of my brain. If you are the target of this voyeurism, I may have a piece of you in that filing cabinet. Things in those files might include your mannerisms, accent, tempo, tone, and how your eyes light up with a smile or darken with a frown. You don’t know it, but I might be inside your head looking out through your eyes, putting myself in your place because I am always taking an inventory. Sometimes unconsciously. Maybe you have a limp? A limp? Hmmm. What could I do with that? 

His limp was a ruse, a wolf moving among the sheep. The street was a chaotic bloodbath. Bodies everywhere. Buildings in the rubble. The limping man moved briskly. And for a good reason. The second bomb hadn’t gone off yet.

Are you thinking about that second bomb? I know I am, and like you, I’m not even sure where and why the first bomb went off. But the muse brings gifts, and with that, I begin to build a world with characters and backdrops. And yes, I’m dropping little hints of upcoming work, but I’m also laying it out for you. That’s how this writing gig is. If you’re here for the movie options, accolades, and red-carpet treatment, you are here for the wrong reasons.

If you’re here to tell stories, show us what you got.

M.J. Preston


   To my neighbors, I am a quiet and assuming guy who works blue-collar. What they don't know is that I also write dark speculative fiction. My work has been printed all over the world. I have four novels on the market and a fifth and sixth in production. My short fiction is available with numerous pubs, including magazines and anthologies.

I have my own writing style but would say I was influenced by authors like Robert R. McCammon, Joe R. Lansdale, and John Sandford.




Publication date: June 9th, 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads N ot all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. When Amelia turned 12, she be...


Publication date: June 9th, 2021


Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse.

When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.


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Body horror and the female body
by Melissa Eskue ousley

I love stories where magic comes with a price. I was thinking about that concept as I wrote
Constellations of Scars, which is about a girl who grows pearls under her skin. A gift like that would be both a blessing and a curse. You could sell the pearls and become wealthy, but the act of growing the pearls would take a toll. It would be painful and leave your skin marred by scars. It would also be a dangerous gift, because if the wrong people found out about it, they might exploit you to enrich themselves.

I paired Amelia’s gift of growing pearls with her menstrual cycle because it seemed logical to link the phenomenon to hormones and a monthly occurrence. To stay true to the story, I needed to describe the process of growing pearls in a way that was both magical and realistic, that gave a sense of the pain and horror that a person would experience if they had to go through that every month.

But how much horror is too much? There’s a fine line between evoking horror and keeping readers engaged, and pushing that boundary so far the reader becomes disgusted and is turned off by the story. That line is subjective. Every reader has different limits when it comes to horror.

On the other hand, the human experience—growing older, dealing with illness, wrestling with one’s own mortality—is full of horror. In the end, that’s what Constellations of Scars is about: what it means to be human. Amelia’s experience, and the experiences of some of the other characters in the story who have physical oddities, may be different than that of most human beings, but suffering is universal. We all know what it’s like to experience pain and hardship. In that sense, horror is a shared experience.

Melissa Eskue Ousley is an award-winning author living on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, two charming cats, and a piranha. Her suspense novel, Pitcher Plant, is set in Seaside, and won a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. Her young adult novel, Sunset Empire, debuted in a bestselling boxed set. Her short stories have been included in Rain Magazine, The North Coast Squid, and various anthologies. When she’s not writing, she can be found volunteering for her local wildlife center, caring for injured owls and hawks.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Publication date: May 14th, 2021 Publisher: Eerie River Publishing Links: Amazon | Goodreads H OW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO GET YOUR SON BACK? Som...

Publication date: May 14th, 2021
Publisher: Eerie River Publishing
Links: Amazon | Goodreads


HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO GET YOUR SON BACK?

Something is lurking within the woods just beyond the young Dreyer family’s new country home. And an evil that has been hiding in plain sight for centuries is about to emerge.

A neighbor is brutally murdered, their 4-year-old son goes missing in broad daylight, and the local town of Bensalem devolves into a cesspool of finger-pointing and chaos.

With nowhere left to turn, Aaron and Ellen Dreyer are forced to venture into the woods to find their son. But in the process, they uncover a force larger and more sinister than anything they ever could have imagined.


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Well, hello there! My name is Drew Starling.

I’m an author of horror and dark fiction. I love writing strong female leads and I’ll promise you one thing: the dog never dies.

If you wanted to trace back the history of my writing career, my mother would refer you to a poem I wrote about bats in a graveyard in 2 nd grade. She still has it, laminated and smashed in a binder of decades old memories from my childhood.

But I started writing horror in earnest about three years ago when something really strange happened to me.

Every year, my friends and I rent a cabin in the foothills of Shenandoah National Park. It’s really out there. No people, no towns, just trees and grass and hills. Three years ago, I arrived at the cabin straight from a trip I took to India, and I had the WORST jet lag I’ve ever had. I’d sleep all day and be awake all night.

Anyway, one night when I was lying awake, I rolled over to my side and gazed out the big front window of the bedroom I was staying in. The view overlooked a gloriously vast meadow filled with pine trees and wheatgrass, and right around 4am, when everyone else was asleep and a new dawn mist was forming in the distance, I saw this large shadowy thing slowly move across the land. I got up to look at what the thing was, but I couldn’t make it out, only to see that it was absolutely huge. It didn’t do anything crazy, it just moved – almost hovered – from one side of the meadow to the other.

After I was done being completely terrified and the sun came up, my mind ran wild with story possibilities. I scribbled an idea down on a piece of paper and recounted it to my friends that very day. Turn it into a short story! Turn it into a screenplay!

I was shocked they actually thought it was… good. So I did, and it started a little thing I was just going to post online until some fellow indie authors encouraged me to do more with it. I spent the next two years writing, and rewriting, and editing, and rewriting, and RE-rewriting, and just last week it finally saw the light of day in the form my first full length novel, Sentinel.

I’ve already got a sequel in the works, and I’m releasing a short story collection later this fall with my best short fiction to date. If you want to check out my work, I’d be utterly delighted if you gave Sentinel a try (free on KU for a limited time). 

Thanks very much, and I hope I get to scare you soon!

DS

An Amazon bestselling author of horror and dark fiction, Drew Starling is a husband and dog dad who loves strong female leads, martial arts, and long walks in the woods with canine companions. He would like to think his plots are better than his prose, but strives to make his words sound both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. He listens to Beethoven, Megadeth, and Enya when he writes, and he’d be absolutely delighted if you’d consider joining his mailing list (which you can find a link to about one and a half mouse scrolls up this page). His only rule of writing: the dog never dies.


Drew Sterling | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon



Sentinel


Book Tour Schedule

May 31st
Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1
Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com
I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

June 1st
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

June 2nd
Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
The Musings of a Final Girl (Spotlight) https://musingsofafinalgirl.wordpress.com/
Cats Luv Coffee (Guest Post) https://www.catsluvcoffee.com/

June 3rd
Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/
Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/
@gin_books_crochethooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gin_books_crochethooks/
Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

June 4th
@evelovesbooks_travel_art (Review) https://www.instagram.com/evelovesbooks_travel_art/
Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/



Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Publication Date:  April 9, 2021 Links:  Amazon   |  Goodreads M ore than 20 years after her abduction at the hands of the elusive Pan, Wend...



Publication Date: April 9, 2021
Links: Amazon Goodreads

More than 20 years after her abduction at the hands of the elusive Pan, Wendy Darling is all grown up and a successful detective. But when a local girl vanishes in the middle of the night, her past comes rushing back.

Grieving the death of her mother, Detective Darling wants nothing more than to throw herself back into work. When the Lord Mayor’s daughter, Rosalie, vanishes, she insists on taking the case, triggering memories of her own past abduction. For years, Wendy struggled with her nonsensical memories of her captor, who she only knows as Pan. Yet the more she uncovers about Rosalie’s disappearance, the more Wendy is convinced her worst nightmare has come true—Pan’s back. Her fears are confirmed when the girl suddenly reappears and Wendy realises she’s walked straight into Pan’s trap…

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Navigating the world of social media 
by liz butcher

As an author, I found myself inherently bound to a multitude of social media platforms. It’s a necessary evil in the world of the indie author and can often feel like you’re tumbling down the rabbit hole a ’la Alice in Wonderland. Start talking about algorithms and click rates and my eyes glaze over—terrible, I know! I don’t pretend to know why one person’s post my garner hundreds of ‘likes’ and another only a handful—I unfortunately lack the savvy knack so many other authors possess. Yet there is a silver lining to the world of social media, and that is the vast number of authors and readers. The writing and reading communities are amazing across all platforms and all of my writer friends are ones I’m made through social media. Most I’ve learned about the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing have come from these talented people sharing their own experiences and knowledge, and in turn, I like to pay it forward. 

I thought that when Tiktok arrived I would draw the line and I said I would never join, but low and behold there I am and I have to say this is so far my favourite way of connecting with other writers and readers. Getting to know the myriad of authors across all genres has not only helped me grow as a writer but taught me so much about the importance of championing each other and celebrating the successes of my talented writer friends. As an author I also appreciate the importance of highlighting those books which I enjoy and sharing the love on social media and in turn, it’s so thrilling when you find readers giving your own work a shout out! So as daunting as it can all be once you find your feet, there is an endless and enjoyable source of knowledge and connections within the world of social media.



OTHER WORKS BY LIZ BUTCHER: 

Camille’s father just inherited the family manor from his estranged uncle, forcing her to leave her friends and city life just before her senior year of high school for the small town of Woodville, England. After seeing a strange old woman lurking on the estate grounds, she embarks on a mission to uncover the history of her new home.

What she finds is wilder than she could have imagined—the murder of her ancestor, Caleb LeRoux, on the same day his six-year-old daughter vanished without a trace. And an unforeseen connection to Camille herself, as the only female LeRoux born to the family in over two hundred years. With the help of her new school friends, Camille delves into the secrets of the manor, uncovering an all-encompassing truth that will change the entire course of her life—past, present, and future.



The last thing Jonah Sands expected on his thirtieth birthday was to have his life thrust into the hands of a dangerous, red-haired woman—or to be the only person in the world to survive an encounter with her.


As the death toll skyrockets, Jonah and his two best friends, the siblings Tristan and Ava Carter, find themselves at the epicentre of inexplicable phenomena—a stranded ferry transforms into a barge headed for the Underworld; young girls levitate to whisper ancient riddles; technology across the globe is controlled by some unseen hand. And it all seems to lead back to the woman with red hair. When a stranger finds them in the midst of a thunderstorm and offers his otherworldly assistance, Jonah finally unravels the truth about who he really is. And what it means for the rest of humanity.



PRAISE FOR LIZ BUTCHER 

“What really sticks out from the very first chapter is just how fast the author takes  readers into the action and mystery of this story.” Anthony Avina, Top Book Reviewer  Book Sirens 

“Readers will love the larger-than-life characters, mayhem, and magic. I heartily recommend this book and urge you all to grab yourselves a copy if this is your type of story. Or even if it’s not!” Reads and Reels 

“This is one impressive debut from an obviously gifted artist who knows how to blend human drama with metaphysical fantasy and mythology to create a splendidly unique novel with visceral force. Very highly recommended.” Grady Harp, Top Shelf Magazine



Liz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. Liz was previously the former Executive Assistant at the Horror Tree, which is a mainstream resource for authors and has published a number of short stories in anthologies including her own collection, After Dark, in 2018. Fates Fury was her debut novel and LeRoux Manor, her stunning new novel set for release, September,  2020.  
More information can be found about Liz at her website:  

Publication Date:  May 18, 2018 Links:  Amazon   |  Goodreads W hen TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses...




Publication Date: May 18, 2018
Links: Amazon Goodreads

When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.

That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.

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What I've Learned about My Creativity This Year
by shane wilson


It’s really been a year, hasn’t it? We’ve all spent significant time thinking about how we never saw it coming—how we could never dream of a world that would almost simultaneously shut down or how the economy would never hit pause or how we would never keep kids home from school or how we wouldn’t all start working in sweatpants from out sofas. But these things happened, and what a trip it’s been. I won’t rehash all of the specifics. You were there. For once, we’ve had a near universal experience.

This past year has taught me two important things about my own creativity.

1. I need space to work.

Here, “space” should be read as an abstract concept more akin to “time” probably. In those first weeks, when we were all locked up inside and I wasn’t busy with the hectic day-to-day of driving to work and driving to the gym and running around and doing everything we all have to do every week, I was incredibly productive. I think I poured myself into my creative work to keep myself from thinking about the world. I finished an album. I revised a novel. I would finish up my job for the day, and I would plunge head-first into the projects I had been putting off because, well, what else did I have to do?

2. I need a change of scenery to rejuvenate creative energy.

As valuable as those early days of shut-down were to finishing projects, once those projects were completed, I was left looking for something new. But, as I’m sure we all can attest to, there is not much inspiration to be found in looking at the same four walls for months at a time. This is when I started to miss travel and human connection. Just this weekend, after receiving both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I disappeared into a cabin in the mountains with my girlfriend (who was also completely vaccinated). We were safe, but we were someplace else. We played music and talked about songs and stories. It was the recharge that I absolutely needed. Now, I’m ready to work again—even after such a short time away.

What have you learned from the last year about yourself and your creative process?

About the Author



Shane Wilson is a storyteller. No matter the medium, the emphasis of his work is on the magical act of the story, and how the stories we tell immortalize us and give voice to the abstractions of human experience. His first two contemporary fantasy novels as well as a stage play, set in his World of Muses universe, are currently available.

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in South Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

Shane plays guitar and writes songs with his two-man-band, Sequoia Rising. He writes songs as he writes stories--with an emphasis on the magic of human experience. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey (Wild Turkey 101) and a re-run of The Office.

Shane's novels are A Year Since the Rain (Snow Leopard Publishing, 2016) and The Smoke in His Eyes (GenZ Publishing, 2018). Shane's short story, "The Boy Who Kissed the Rain" was the 2017 Rilla Askew Short Fiction Prize winner and was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. An adaptation of that story for the stage was selected for the Independence Theater Reading Series in Fayetteville, NC. More information about Shane can be found at: Shane Wilson Author

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website 



Coming Soon: New Music from Shane Wilson


Of All the Things I’ve Ever Said, I Mean This the Most is the new album from Shane Wilson’s music side project, Sequoia Rising. Recorded almost entirely during quarantine during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in a small room in Shane’s apartment, the album is an artifact of a particular brand of isolation and self-reflection.

On Of All the Things, lyrical storytelling takes the lead. The album’s ten tracks tell stories of young love gone sideways and the ways our lives can be haunted by our pasts.

Available Now on all Streaming Platforms!!

Publication Date:  January 14, 2019 Links:  Amazon   |  Goodreads T hose who bear marks on their skin are doomed to a life of slavery. Lexi...




Publication Date: January 14, 2019
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Those who bear marks on their skin are doomed to a life of slavery. Lexil has seven.

Sold into servitude, Lexil must deal with brutal punishments, back-breaking labor, and the loss of every freedom. When a young child she has befriended faces a horrible fate, Lexil must intervene to protect her, no matter what the risk.

With the help of a boy named Finn, the trio flee into the Wastelands. There, they must evade those who hunt them while trying to survive a barren landscape. Lexil must face challenges she's never imagined existed, all while learning what it means to truly be reborn.

The Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new release. Buy REBORN now to find out if being branded a reborn is a myth, a curse... or a destiny.

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How Dark Can YA Get?
by Jenna Greene

                The idea that teens can’t handle deep and dark themes in literature is a pretty obsolete notion. It isn’t just the Internet that has exposed adolescents to the trials and tribulations of the world. Children live; therefore, they are exposed to poverty, abuse, strife, inequity, and prejudice. They might not experience it all themselves, but they can see it. They know about it. The eyes and ears of the young are far keener than anyone might expect.

                So why would we put it in literature as well? Why would we write about slavery, intolerance, or racism instead of more cheerful topics? Won’t this just remind the readers of the injustices in the world and how there is so much darkness surrounding them?

                Yes. But it’s also a way to show characters experiencing unfortunate events … and surviving. Even thriving. YA books can show protagonists enduring and overcoming. Not only that, but having an impact on the world they live in, changing it for the better. What could be a more positive, uplifting thought than that? Isn’t that why the original fairy tales were created? To show horrific circumstances and people overcoming them. Facing adversity and overcoming the odds.

                That’s really the power of all literature. Sure, not every book will tackle issues at extreme depth and emotion, but every story has a conflict of some sort. A struggle. And even those that don’t end happily, still end. That is a resolution, of sort, which the reader must sort through internally. And, whether they know it or not, that emotional turmoil will stay with them and, to a degree, help them as they continue with their life.

                And who needs these tools better than children?

                I can’t think of anyone.

                Sure, the images have to be presented in an age-appropriate manner. Some action must take place ‘off-stage’ or be inferred to, rather than seen. But the base conflicts can be present. And, yes, adolescents can handle it. 



About the Author


Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult Fantasy series, Imagine! She is a middle school teacher, dragonboat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder).

Website | Twitter

Publication date: February 11th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads T he first season of Sole Survivor has aired, a traumatized December Foss...


Publication date: February 11th 2021


The first season of Sole Survivor has aired, a traumatized December Foss is trying desperately to escape her fifteen minutes of fame, and everyone thinks the drop bears are dead. Everyone that is except The Ark: a radical group of eco-terrorists with an axe to grind, and Joseph Steinberg, who still has plenty of them in reserve.

When the Ark release the drop bears from captivity, all hell breaks loose and December must face them again. This time, though, they’re on her turf. This time, it’s personal!

Book 23 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.




Before I begin here, I want to make sure I thank Valerie at Cats Luv Coffee for giving me the chance to share a blog post on her site. Of course, if you don’t know anything about me, you might be wondering why she’s gone and done that. The simple answer is she’s awesome, and she’s helping me promote my new book, Sole Survivor 2: Drop Bears on the Loose.

We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but if I sum it up by telling you it’s a killer koala creature feature (again, more on that in a second), it’ll help this post make a whole bunch of sense. Basically, I’m going to share some of my favourite creature features here with you today.

In coming up with this list, there were a few rules I had to set myself. I didn’t want to feature the 
same creatures more than once. Seeing as I love crocodile movies, that would rule out a whole bunch of films about everyone’s favourite man-eating reptiles from the Mesozoic. I also didn’t want to worry about the laws of physics or reality and limit myself to real creatures you might encounter. The ‘koalas’ in the Sole Survivor books are actually drop bears, and even then, they’re twisted away from what the general public might see as a drop bear here in Australia. You can find out about the ‘real’ ones here.

The other thing I tried to keep in mind was that I had to have seen it recently enough to actually remember it. I remember loving movies like Congo and The Ghost and the Darkness when I was a kid, but I really can’t remember them well enough to talk about them although I should probably revisit them soon. Oh, and finally, they needed to be horror, whether loosely or firmly. So, as brilliant as I think Life of Pi is, I couldn’t include it.

Without further waffling, let’s have a look at what we’ve got here.

Night of the Lepus:

Some people talk about movies like Friday the 13 th and Nightmare on Elm Street being the ones they were exposed to at far too young an age. For me, it was this one. Flicking through channels, I saw giant bunny rabbits storming a ranch, and I immediately knew what I wanted to watch. Next minute, there were flashes of blood and close-ups of gore-laden rodent teeth everywhere. Years later, I saw gifs of these same scenes on the internet and, when I investigated, I knew I had to revisit. Funnily enough, this is a movie that still holds up today. Its environmental themes and focus on human relationships goes really well with the incredibly fun scenes of mayhem it includes. I won’t run through the plot for you, but when a little girl is given a pet rabbit that’s been injected with a birth-control serum, it escapes and all hell breaks loose. The rabbits grow to massive sizes and eat everything in their path, including the residents of the local community. As I said, it’s a tonne of fun and it’s surprisingly touching. 

Razorback:

The only real way to describe this one is as an Australian cult classic. Even as I type, I’ve just discovered it will be screened in a local cinema next Friday night! Here in Australia, giant boars are a pretty well-known part of the folklore. We all know they’re vicious and they can properly gut you, but on reflection, this movie may have a lot to do with that. Just like the more recent Boar, it features a giant pig that’s terrorising the local community. The plot is a little too crazy to explain in detail, so I’ll put it simply: Mad Max-style human villains, a giant baby-eating razorback boar, a father hell-bent on revenge and as much carnage as you care to partake in, this one’s loads of fun. I first became aware of it when I was at University, and now that I know it’s going to be at the cinema next week, I’m going to try to convince the wife that we need to see it again!

Rogue:

It’s not easy to pick a crocodile (or alligator) movie as a favourite. I love the genre, and when you consider the creatures don’t even need to be exaggerated to create real scares, they make brilliant horror movies. So, although I enjoyed Crawl, I could easily have slotted Black Water or another older Aussie creature-feature Dark Age in here, but Rogue is the one I’ve gone for. It uses the familiar trope of the US journalist coming to Australia to taste the local colour, but for this guy, the boat ride through Kakadu doesn’t end well. Halfway through the ride, a giant crocodile tips the tour-boat and leaves our cast of characters stranded on an island in the middle of a tidal flat. Needless to say, there’s blood, there’s carnage, there’s suspense, and there’s an American to save the day. Sort of. Mostly, though, there’s a humongous crocodile that generates real tension and will have you on the edge of your seat. Recommended.

Primal:

I didn’t mention this before, but I needed a Nicolas Cage movie in here. And, you know what, this one’s more of an action movie, but that doesn’t matter, it’s still loads of B-Grade fun. Cage, playing big-game hunter Frank Walsh, has captured a rare white jaguar in the Brazilian rainforest, and he’s trying to get it back to the States where he can sell it to a zoo. To do that, he boards a container ship with the creature. Unfortunately, US Marshals are also on the ship, and they’ve got cargo of their own, a highly trained assassin. Naturally, the jaguar is let loose (as is every other dangerous creature on the ship) and chaos ensues. It’s a pretty straight-forward romp, and it’s not in danger of being remembered as a classic, but is loads of fun and the jaguar causes more than its share of bloodshed.

Arachnophobia: 

I revisited this one recently with the family, and it’s easily the most well-known film on this list. Objectively, it’s the best film on this list too. As you’re probably aware, it’s tonnes of fun. When extremely venomous Venezuelan spiders find themselves let loose in a small Californian town, they immediately set to work killing the locals. There’s a whole bunch of context to the plot, but the long and short of it is that Jeff Daniels’ character Dr. Ross Jennings suspects spiders are to blame, and once they have their proof, he needs to stop them. John Goodman is brilliant as the pest control guy in this one, and the whole thing is incredibly entertaining. 

So there you have it: five animal-inspired creature features that are great fun. And that brings me to my new book, Sole Survivor 2: Drop Bears on the Loose.

If you’re like me and you love a good old-fashioned bit of creature carnage, you’ll probably dig the killer koalas in this one. Mutated and bloodthirsty, they’re let loose on the mainland, and as always, the result is chaos. It’s loaded with huge kills, tonnes of action and loads of fun.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, my newest Australian creature feature, Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose comes out on February 11. The sequel to Sole Survivor (go figure), it features an army of killer koalas and a desperate fight to survive their onslaught. They’re both part of Unnerving’s Rewind or Die line.

You can pick them up from the links below.
Sole Survivor
Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose


I’m also down to my last five paperbacks. If you’d like me to sign one and put it in the post, they’re only $15 US plus postage. DM me on Twitter or email me through my website to make it happen.

Zachary Ashford earned his writing chops as a journalist covering heavy metal bands for street press magazines and as a copywriter for a rock n roll radio station. Since those days, he’s done plenty, including operating as a freelance copywriter and editor. Nowadays, he writes fiction and teaches English and Literature in a high school.

You can find some of his nonfiction writing at Nerdbastards and Ozzy Man Reviews (under the name Chuck Steinway).

His fiction has featured in:
Dark Moon Digest 32/33
Kyanite Press Halloween Edition


Thanks so much for being a guest today, Zachary!

Be sure to check out his Sole Survivor and Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose.  You can read my review of Sole Survivor here!


An uninhabited island… Several hundred hidden cameras… Ten contestants who think they’re stranded… One man employed to thin their numbers…

One predatory species determined to feed…

For the contestants of television’s latest prime-time reality show, the plane crash is a mere inconvenience on their way to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, there’s no rescue coming. Instead, the producers have other ideas, like watching them find the island’s killer creatures for themselves…

Like watching them die.

Tune in and discover who will be the Sole Survivor!

Book 6 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.

Publication date: September 1st 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads C amille’s father just inherited the family manor from his estranged un...


Publication date: September 1st 2020


Camille’s father just inherited the family manor from his estranged uncle, forcing her to leave her friends and city life just before her senior year of high school for the small town of Woodville, England. After seeing a strange old woman lurking on the estate grounds, she embarks on a mission to uncover the history of her new home. 

What she finds is wilder than she could have imagined—the murder of her ancestor, Caleb LeRoux, on the same day his six-year-old daughter vanished without a trace. And an unforeseen connection to Camille herself, as the only female LeRoux born to the family in over two hundred years. With the help of her new school friends, Camille delves into the secrets of the manor, uncovering an all-encompassing truth that will change the entire course of her life—past, present, and future.

Read now




Why Horror?
By Liz Butcher

Horror is one of those genres that people seem to either or love or hate—and as
someone who’s enjoyed all things horror since I was a little girl (strange, I know) I’d never really questioned why I love the scare so much. When you think about it, fear sounds like a strange thing to enjoy! Yet, the way I see it, there is an escapism in reading horror novels and watching scary movies. It provides us with a controlled environment to experience that fear with the knowledge that we can turn it off or put it down at the end and walk away. Sure, the masked figure stalking us through the streets or the dead girl crawling out of the television are terrifying, but we know that we’re safe and out of harms way no matter how caught up we get in the story. So why do we do this to ourselves? Because the real world can be scary—and I don’t think we’ve seen any better example of that than this recent year. With so much ugly hatred and violence, sickness and uncertainty, to say the past twelve months or so have been horrific is an understatement. Even if you live in a country that hasn’t been as directly impacted by these events as others, there’s no escaping the ripples.
We all feel it. See it. Fear it. And so in fictional horror, we find an outlet to allow us to process those emotions with the knowledge that we’ll be okay once it’s over. Even if we need to go to sleep with the light on, we know that there isn’t really a boogeyman under the bed or an entity lurking in the shadows… Or is there?



OTHER WORKS BY LIZ BUTCHER: 



The last thing Jonah Sands expected on his thirtieth birthday was to have his life thrust into the hands of a dangerous, red-haired woman—or to be the only person in the world to survive an encounter with her.


As the death toll skyrockets, Jonah and his two best friends, the siblings Tristan and Ava Carter, find themselves at the epicentre of inexplicable phenomena—a stranded ferry transforms into a barge headed for the Underworld; young girls levitate to whisper ancient riddles; technology across the globe is controlled by some unseen hand. And it all seems to lead back to the woman with red hair. When a stranger finds them in the midst of a thunderstorm and offers his otherworldly assistance, Jonah finally unravels the truth about who he really is. And what it means for the rest of humanity.

PRAISE FOR LIZ BUTCHER 

“What really sticks out from the very first chapter is just how fast the author takes  readers into the action and mystery of this story.” Anthony Avina, Top Book Reviewer  Book Sirens 

“Readers will love the larger-than-life characters, mayhem, and magic. I heartily recommend this book and urge you all to grab yourselves a copy if this is your type of story. Or even if it’s not!” Reads and Reels 

“This is one impressive debut from an obviously gifted artist who knows how to blend human drama with metaphysical fantasy and mythology to create a splendidly unique novel with visceral force. Very highly recommended.” Grady Harp, Top 100 Book  Reviewer Amazon 


Liz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. Liz was previously the former Executive Assistant at the Horror Tree, which is a mainstream resource for authors and has published a number of short stories in anthologies including her own collection, After Dark, in 2018. Fates Fury was her debut novel and LeRoux Manor, her stunning new novel set for release, September,  2020.  
More information can be found about Liz at her website:  





In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide ...


In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past. There Lyman must adjust to a new life among idealists, under the fatherly eye of the group’s founder, David Grosvenor. When he isn’t ducking work or the questions of the eccentric residents, Lyman occupies himself by courting Grosvenor’s daughter Minerva.

But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.



Fairy tales are not what they seem. Gisela knows about sacrifice all too well. She abandoned her education, friends, and fairy tales to ...

Fairy tales are not what they seem.

Gisela knows about sacrifice all too well.

She abandoned her education, friends, and fairy tales to support her family and care for her sister.

 But when she jilts a wealthy suitor, Gisela is chosen for another type of sacrifice.

 As an Offering to the Goddess Bergot, Gisela and seven others are sent on a deadly quest for a mythical crown. To return home, Gisela must overcome obstacles which darkly resemble the fairy tales she once believed.

Weaving through a tapestry of friendship, romance, violence, and magic—Gisela becomes the target of an ancient evil force, while an ominous detail from the past haunts her at every turn.

To what lengths will Gisela go to save the ones she loves?

 Sometimes sacrifices must be made.