Artwork and Cover by Greg Chapman
Artwork and Cover by Greg Chapman
Recently, Stitched Smile Publications put a multiple author anthology titled Unleashed: Monsters Vs Zombies. During the release party for this book, I met a lady who brimmed over with excitement. Having talked with her briefly during that party, I thought it might be time that you, Faithful Readers, get to meet her. Welcome G. Marie Merante to my world (and yours).
AJB: Tell me a little bit about you.
GMM: I’ve lived in the same town all my life. Its very rural and if you blink, you miss the center of town. For the past 20 years, I’ve lived six minutes down the road from the house I grew up in, moving after I got married. I’ve been with my husband for 25 years, have three kids…well, men now-ages 31,19 and 18. And I might as well throw in my two dogs, three cats and my bird—an African Grey.
I work part time in an amazing bookstore, as well as have the day job, and of course the writing, which I’m always thinking about, or working on in between.
To add more about the me … besides writing, I study martial arts.
AJB: You’ve lived in the same town your entire life? I ask that like it is shocking, but I have mostly lived in the same town my entire life as well, only moving out of it for about a year.
GMM: Well … I moved here when I was seven, but since I have zero memory of anything before I was five, its basically all my life..lol
AJB: I shift gears a lot, so let’s talk about working in a bookstore. Do you enjoy it?
GMM: Its pretty amazing. The bookstore is iconic. Its well known in the world of Indie bookstores and it draws incredible authors. In the past I have met Neil Gaiman there, and this past year, Buzz Aldrin, Kate Hudson ( who I almost knocked over) and Lindsey Vonn. The list of authors is immense, so the store has amazing history and a great vibe, almost a Hogwarts feeling when you walk in. And to be around piles and piles of books, there is a weird coziness to it, a very peaceful feeling.
AJB: Oh wow. I would love to work in a small bookstore like that, one where I could get lost in the pages every chance I got.
GMM: Unfortunately, there is not much time to read while working, between helping customers, or shelving. I wish I could just absorb each book just by touching them.
AJB: That would be awesome, but then you would lose the experience of reading and feeling the characters and seeing their lives through their eyes.
GMM: Very true. I do most of my ‘reading’ on audio. Fortunately, my day job allows me to listen all day, so I’m constantly going from one book to another. I have about 260 books in my Audio library.
AJB: 260 audio books? Holy cow. I have to be honest here: I have only listened to two audio books in my entire life and they are both for my books.
GMM: That’s a great way to do final edits on your own work. Reading out loud has never worked for me, so downloading your own pages to an audio file is always my last phase of edits before putting a book to bed and querying.
AJB: Well, I didn’t do the audio for them–I listened to the audio versions that were put out by my publisher and voiced by John Malone. He captured my writing wonderfully.
GMM: Ahh. That’s awesome!! Well … editing tip for you..lol
AJB: I’ll keep that in mind.
GMM: Oh … and THANK GOD for audio books … I would go crazy with my day job.
I go through 3-4 books a week, depending on their length. Harry Potter, thats taking a bit more than a week each.
AJB: I’m curious, who is the nicest celebrity you have met there?
GMM: They’ve all been very nice, but Neil Gaiman was just amazing. Stardust is one of my favorite movies, and I told him that. He shook my hand and said most American’s have never even seen the movie. He signed my book and told me to DREAM. Which I do.
AJB: I have heard Gaiman is a truly nice person, which is something you always hope to hear about celebrities.
GMM: Its completely true. If you ever listen to any of the audio books that he narrates, what he sounds like on the audio is exactly his personality. The nicest guy ever.
AJB: That is awesome to hear.
Let’s shift gears again. You also mentioned you study martial arts.
AJB: How did you come to that?
GMM: My husband was studying when we met, but then we got away from it. About five years ago, we decided to take classes with our two youngest boys who were still in middle school then (both are graduated from High School now.)
We believe in self defense, and I especially believe women should learn to defend themselves.
AJB: I’ve never taken martial arts. It is as much about discipline as it is self defense, right?
GMM: It is. In the school I go to that is instilled in the younger kids more. Respect. Listen to you parents, Do your homework. No testing for your next belt if your teachers don’t sign off agreeing the kids are well behaved and doing their work.
As adults, you should really have that down already … lol.
AJB: Maybe I should get my children into it.
GMM: Absolutely!! Its great for self esteem and its not at all about fighting. If you are at the right school, you are told to avoid confrontation, respect the art.
You learn to defend yourself, but with that comes responsibility. Ok … I sound like Spiderman now.
AJB: Hahahaha … Spiderman is okay in my book. But I hate his outfit from the earlier comics.
GMM: Spiderman has a very special place in my heart.
AJB: He does know how to weave a tangled web.
Let’s switch gears again and talk about writing.
AJB: When did you get an inkling you may want to be a writer?
GMM: High school. English class. The teacher recommended I submit my creative writing projects to a high school literary magazine (Its been so long, I’ve forgotten the name of it). I wrote many short stories and poems. When I was about 23, I wrote my first book, a children’s book, and even typed it up on my typewriter. But it wasn’t until I was taking a college course in my thirties—a creative writing course—that the teacher told me I should be doing nothing else but writing children’s stories.
That was when I decided to write seriously
I wrote my first novel length book after that, then rewrote it about 10 times over 8 years.
I can’t even call it revising, they were total rewrites.
After I finally put that book to bed, did a bit of querying—maybe five queries and all rejections, I started another book. By this time, I had discovered Twitter, which was still pretty new at that point. There were agents and authors on there and I found out about Nanowrimo, so I decided it was the perfect time to start a new book. I wrote 30k of a vampire book before deciding I needed to do too much research to continue (Virgo … perfectionist). So I put that book aside, and started a new one—a dystopian and won Nano, writing 50k words in two weeks (don’t ask..I have zero idea how I pulled it off).
I finished the book in April, revisions and all. By September, I was querying the agents I had met on Twitter. A year later, I signed with the first agent I queried. But we didn’t go out to publishers for another seven months. By that time, dystopians were out. The book did not sell because the market was flooded.
I parted ways with her about a year and half later.
Since then, I’ve written two more books, one which I’ve been working on for four years and I’m querying for now. I also have two fulls out at this time. The other I’m working on revisions again.
I also have about four new books on the burner … no idea which I’m going to write next.
AJB: The life and trials of a writer.
GMM: Yup. And two shorts, one with Stitched Smile Publications, and another that was picked up last April.
AJB: Let’s backtrack a little bit here. Tell me a little about that teacher who encouraged you to write in high school. Was he a cool teacher? Influential? Did you like him?
GMM: He was my favorite teacher, the kind that brings out the creativity in you. The class was small, maybe 20-25 people, so he read and graded the stories right in front of the students. That was when he told me I should be doing nothing else but writing for a living. He told me he has not seen a student writing like mine in many years.
I was stunned. At that point, it had been several years since I wrote anything.
He started me on my journey. Planted the seed. And today, the short I wrote that day is still in the works. I’m revamping it, possibly turning it in a full length novel. (When I was young, 7-10yrs old, when we visited my Nana, I used to go on witch hunts in the woods with my cousins and a boy who was my Nana’s neighbor. The story is based on those hunts.)
AJB: I love teachers like that. I wish there were more of them. Isn’t it interesting how one person can set the course for someone else by having a belief in that person?
GMM: Absolutely. His words still wring in my ears anytime I doubt my self, which is often. He was amazing. He obviously had passion that ebbed over into his students.
AJB: Writers have a habit of losing belief in themselves. Sometimes we need a push and a memory can often serve as that push. I’m glad to hear you had a teacher who can push you now, all these years after his encouragement.
Now, let’s talk about the two short stories you currently have out.
AJB: First let’s discuss the one with SSP. Crystal Blue Waters, am I correct?
GMM: You are correct.
AJB: Tell me about Crystal Blue Waters.
GMM: Violene is a vampire forced out of Miami by the zombie out break, and back to her birthplace, a remote island in the Caribbean, in order to survive, only the tropical waters are not as safe as she thought, and its up to her to save her island.
AJB: Having read this, I thought it was a neat concept I think readers will enjoy. I might be wrong here, but is this your first publication?
GMM: It is.
AJB: Well, let me congratulate you on your first publication and make a toast to many, many more in the future.
GMM: Thank you!! Its very exciting. I have my contract with SSP framed. Its in my bookcase.
AJB: You do? That is awesome. I am happy for you.
Marie, do you have a favorite genre to write in?
GMM: Not particularly, though I tend to write dark. The book I am querying now is a YA historical/magical realism. I am revising a dark YA contemporary romance. I have two zombie books slated. Another one that I think would be classified as Literary fiction. Its what ever comes to me.
AJB: Diversity is a good thing.
Earlier you said you have ideas for other books. Do you find it difficult to focus on one idea or to choose which idea to write on when you have multiple ones in your head?
GMM: Its horrific. When ideas come to me, I get like little snippets of movies that just appear. Then they are stuck in my head. I carry a pile of notebooks with me because I’m constantly jumping from one to the other, constantly writing notes. I’ve had a particularly hard time trying to figure out which new book to work on. I have a few chapters for two of them, plot notes for the others. I’ve decided to wait on those while I revise the YA contemporary romance. That story is most prominent in my mind right now.
AJB: Then I would go with the one that is at the forefront of your thoughts.
GMM: Exactly. I’m adding a secondary story line that is going to parallel the existing story, so its is new writing, not all revising. Which makes it a bit more satisfying.
AJB: Just a couple of more questions and I’ll let you go. You said you have another short story out. Can you tell me about it?
GMM: Sure. Its with Dead Silent Publishing out of the UK, that is also a production company, focused solely on zombies. My short is called All Dressed in White, which takes place about a year after the zombie outbreak. A bride who was scratched and wakes up the morning of her wedding realizes she only has hours to live before she turns. So its a countdown of her preparing for the wedding, because its the last thing she wants to do, and a countdown to her becoming a zombie.
AJB: Oh cool. That is something I think I would like to read.
GMM: Awesome! It has a twist at the end..
AJB: Okay, Marie, I just have one more question for you: where can readers find you?
For story boards: Pinterest
I used to have a website, but took it down to make changes and well … I need to work on it.
AJB: Thank you for your time Marie, it has been nice talking with you.
GMM: Thank you so much!
AJB: You are welcome.
Check out G. Marie Merante in both Monsters Vs Zombies and Zombie Chunks and look for more from her in the future.
Until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.
Stitched Smile Publications is open to submissions for 2017!
We are looking for all facets dark fiction and poetry to add to our collection: horror, crime, noir, graphic novels, dark fantasy, dark sci-fi and more!
Please see “submissions” link on our website
Think you have what it takes to get Stitched? Let us know!
1. 8:10-9pm EST: Author Trevor Kennedy
Author Country on the Planet: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Author Title: Phantasmagoria: Fantasias of Possibility
Author book link: https://goo.gl/PH7fKB
2. 9:10-10pm EST: Author Veronica Smith
Author Country on the Planet: U.S.A.
Author Title: Chalk Outline
Author book link: Coming soon from Stitched Smile Publications
3. 10:10-11pm EST: Author Syvia Sylvia Stein
Author Country on the Planet: U.S.A.
Author Title: Closure
Author book link: https://goo.gl/U60rFM
4. 11:10-12am EST: Author Druscilla Morgan
Author Country on the Planet: Austrilia
Author Title: Blood of the NYX
Author book link: https://goo.gl/FL93pd
5. 12:10-12:50am EST: Music Creative: Victor Vasquez
Music Creative Country on the Planet: U.S.A.
Zombiepalooza Radio LIVE
A couple of weeks ago I got to sit down with one of the editors for Stitched Smile Publications. Her name is Donelle Pardee Whiting. She’s smart and witty and funny. She’s also a superb editor and has just recently gotten back into writing fiction. We sat down, as always, at a computer screen and chatted. I had my coffee and a comfortable seat on the couch. I’m not sure where she was sitting. What I am sure about is she surprised me with some of her answers.
AJ: Donelle, tell me a little bit about you.
DPW: Oh you would start with the question I hate the most. Well, let’s see. I am married with one son and three (soon to be four) grandkids.
I love to read, but I go in cycles. I don’t stick to one genre. I read horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, suspense, mystery. I guess it would have been easier to say everything except straight up romance.
I like to spend time outside. Skiing, camping, hiking, sitting at the beach. Wherever my mood takes me. I absolutely love being out on the Harley with my husband.
And I enjoy traveling. I have been blessed with a mom who likes to take me with her on trips.
AJ: Hold the phone: Harley? I would have never guessed that. Tell me more about how you got into that.
DPW: I didn’t always love Harleys. But I did like motorcycles. In college, I had a few friends who rode. When we were dating, my husband had a Kawasaki, but he always wanted a Harley. So, through his eyes (I let him keep those), I started to see the appeal. They’re growly and tough. And if treated right, they last a long time. There is a long history behind them. Although my husband is more knowledgeable about that than I am.
DPW: While the only truly important thing to me is my husband is the one in the “driver’s seat,” I would definitely choose to have the Harley. A few years back I took a class to get my motorcycle license. Now I have to save my pennies so I can get one of my own.
I love to ride on the back, but unfortunately, I only get to ride when my husband is able. I won’t take his out. That’s his baby. I didn’t even want my name on the registration when he bought it six years ago.
I almost forgot. We had a Suzuki Katana before the Harley. I still prefer the Harley.
AJ: Most folks I know love their Harleys. Let’s step back a minute and talk about your reading preferences. Anything except romance?
DWP: Right. I have nothing against people who like a good romance. I have, in the past, read a few. When I was younger…by several years. And occasionally, in the past, I have read works by Nora Roberts, but I prefer her books under the name J.D. Robb. I have nothing against romance; I just don’t need to be romanced. It’s nice when there is a spontaneous gesture, but I don’t expect it, so to me getting lost in a straight up romance novel is akin to getting lost in what a person feels is missing from their life. I could be wrong, but that is what it feels like to me. Plus, a lot of those books are formulaic and predictable. I don’t even really enjoy romance movies. I will watch some rom-com films, but I have to really like the actors. I prefer movies that are in line with my reading tastes.
I think I just figured out something else. I don’t like meek, subservient, female characters. I am not saying the character has to be Xena, the Warrior Princess. She can have weaknesses or a softness to her, but I don’t like when a female character is portrayed as needing a man to rescue her or to make her feel like her life has meaning. I like that I can count on my husband to be there for me, and to help me. I don’t need for him to, but I like that he is there. Especially, those rare times when there is something I can’t do like fix my car.
AJ: You hit on something very deep here. Getting lost in a straight up romance novel is akin to getting lost in what a person feels is missing from their life. I’ve said something similar to this when referencing erotica and romance and have been blasted for it. Since reading is essentially losing yourself in a book or story, do you find that sometimes people really do read certain types of books to fulfill something missing in their lives?
DWP: Oh boy. I opened the door, so time to step through. I get lost in a good story. And I am perfectly okay with getting lost in a story. But, is it always a matter of it being a case of something missing in real life? It can be, and it can’t be.
Let me explain where I am going.
I love reading fantasy stories. A high school friend introduced me to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and I loved them. It opened a whole new world of reading material for me. Until then I read the typical girl young adult fare. But, those books, and starting to read my mom’s Stephen King books, really grabbed me. I learned I didn’t have to lock myself into one writing style, one genre, or even one author. It wasn’t just the books either. My dad was a huge sci-fi fan. He and I would stay up late and watch The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Tales From the Darkside together. He introduced me to Doctor Who and Star Trek and Star Wars. Getting lost in a good Doctor Who episode doesn’t mean I feel like traveling through time and space is missing from my life. Would it be fun if the Doctor was real and came to sweep me into an adventure? You bet.
But, romance to me is different. It is similar to the soap operas that began airing in the…what, 60s? In my opinion, they target lonely, dissatisfied women. There is nothing wrong with reading them. They are not my style. The problem becomes when they become a substitute for what is really out there waiting. Very much like video games. It becomes all encompassing. There is a difference between losing oneself in a good book for a bit, and getting completely lost and missing what life has to offer.
AJ: Wow. That is deep, Donelle. I get what you mean completely. I have heard a lot of women mention before that they love their romance novels because of the fantasy feel to it. It’s not always bad to fantasize, but to get caught up in that fantasy and not live is another thing all together.
Where do we go after that answer? What is your favorite style to read?
DWP: Now that is tough.
I mentioned I loved The Hobbit and LOTR, and I have read the Game of Thrones books. And while I love Tolkein’s work and like Game of Thrones, they are a bit ploddy – I know, not a word – in spots. I do enjoy a descriptive, easy going style, I guess. Honestly, I never really thought about it much. But thinking about it now, I really do enjoy a more conversational style. As if I were sitting with the author in a coffee shop and he/she is telling me a story. Just me. It draws you in. I do not really enjoy lengthy, preachy styles. I have a hard time with non-fiction because there usually is no lightness to it. Working on Strigoi: The First Family with Michael Freeman was interesting because there was the historical element to it. I love history, and I did not want to lose that. I feel like I am rambling, but you asked. I guess I don’t really have a favorite. The style has to fit the story. Some stories are meant to be told in a light-hearted way, or a conversational way, or a more straight forward manner. What is important to me is it is done well.
AJ: Personally, I love the conversational style. Speaking of Strigoi, tell me about that.
DPW: Strigoi is a re-imagining of the Dracula origin mythos. It is written in a historical fiction style. There is a historical background with fictional elements weaved in, similar to the way Hollywood presents their “based on a true story” films. Some examples would be Titanic, Pearl Harbor, and 47 Ronin (my favorite). We know from history those three events happened. But did they happen exactly that way? Were all those characters really there? Same with Strigoi. We know Vlad Dracula’s lineage, and we know what happened to his family. We also know the Bram Stoker version. So, Michael and I *tweaked* the myth, although he did all the, as I say, heavy lifting.
AJ: You came to be co-author of this book, correct?
AJ: How did that happen?
DPW: There were actually two books I eventually co-authored with Michael. The other is Strychine, a werewolf story. Anyway, after joining Stitched Smile Publications as an editor – shout out to David Youngquist, a freelance editing client, who put me in touch with Jackie Chin of Zombiepalooza Radio fame who put me in touch with SSP’s CEO Lisa Vasquez – Michael’s two books were given to me for editing. Unfortunately, both books required a lot of reworking through no fault of his. I mean, you’ve seen his writing.
It is my understanding Strychnine was slated for a film, but whoever was going to do the film wanted to make too many changes, so Michael pulled it and submitted it to Lisa. Strigoi was submitted for re-release under Stitched. The previous editor, in my opinion, dropped the ball. Michael said he trusted me to be thorough. After some discussion, he decided we should team up, and I should go ahead and do the corrections and whatever rewrites I thought were needed. He put a lot of trust in me. I have to admit; it felt good. I mean, he is extremely talented in both writing and with his film work, and I was the new kid to the party. We agreed to continue a writing partnership. There are three more screenplays he wrote that I will be converting to book form. I enjoy working with him. However, I am not giving up on the editing. That is what got me where I am now. And, I have some other projects, as well.
AJ: So, then you guys pretty much hit it off so well the collaboration works. It is hard to find a good writing partner these days.
How has the editing phase of your job with SSP gone?
DPW: Busy. But also very rewarding. I am enjoying myself immensely. I love what I do, and the people I am getting to know are fantastic. It’s like everything I have done before has led to this. This is what I am meant to do.
AJ: Why do you say that? Why do you say this is what you are meant to do? I always find it intriguing when someone says that.
DPW: Because even in school as a kid, I would help classmates with their papers. Plus, when I was a kid I would write stories using characters from movies or shows I saw. And I have never given up on my dream to be a published author. Put it aside for a bit but never lost it.
AJ: So, then you have always been the helpful type?
DPW: When I can, yes. There are times I have to say no. But, if it is in my capabilities and when I can I will.
AJ: So, let’s turn back to Strigoi and Strychnine. Both books were released at the same time. Why did you and Michael go with a dual release?
DPW: As far as I know it was a publisher decision. To be honest, I never asked.
AJ: Okay, how about a break from the seriousness? Give me one-word answers for the following questions:
Vampire or Werewolf?
AJ: Beer or wine?
AJ: Are you a fan of Darth Vader?
AJ: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
DPW: That’s tough. Near a beach, but not too far from the mountains. I know, more than one word.
AJ: That is okay–I knew that one would be.
AJ: Okay, now let’s get serious again. Are you working on any solo writing endeavors right now?
DPW: Always. I have a book with dragons that has been back burnered since 1995. I like to say the dragons were too young, so they were maturing in their caves in my head. They are awake now. Plus, I have some short stories in need of being written. Thought of one today while out and about. And I have another co-author project with someone else, but her identity is currently a secret until she chooses to come out of the veil and into the light.
In a way, it is still sinking in that I am published as an author and not just as my previous “identity” as a journalist.
AJ: I understand that. I think it should always continue to sink in. That way you keep working hard at it.
DPW: Yep. Finding my rhythm.
AJ: Rythm. That leads us right into my next question. I’m a music guy, so with that said, recently Prince passed away. His manager said this about him: “His music did the talking.” He did some amazing things in the music business. As a writer, what do you wish to accomplish with your writing?
DPW: A very good question. I don’t write for others, so to speak. I write what is in my own head, my own imagination. However, when I share that part of me, I hope people join me for the ride and are able to put aside their own worries and such and just live in that moment, to be a part of my world.
AJ: Have you been reading my notes?
DPW: Ahahaha. Nope. We just think alike.
AJ: Okay, let me throw this at you: I am a reader. I have never read anything by you. Sell me on you, not just you the writer, but Donelle, the person as well.
DPW: I am not afraid to admit I am human, I am not perfect. However, I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and take some chances. I love to have fun and I like to share the fun. And I am more than willing to fly my Geek Flag. And, if I can get one person to join every so often I am a success. Especially if we can share a laugh.
AJ: And you know I like to laugh.
DPW: Very much so. I am even willing to laugh at myself. I prefer not taking life too seriously. More fun that way.
AJ: What, if anything, would you do different with your writing or editing?
DPW: When I edit, I go through more than once. I approach it like a treasure hunt. There are corrections to be made and I want to find where they are. With my writing, I am a firm believer in self-editing. I will go over it with a critical eye before saying it is done. And even then, I know it needs another set of eyes because I miss things because I know what it is supposed to say and I auto-correct in my head.
AJ: Are you sure you are not looking at my notes?
AJ: Okay, one or two more questions and I will let you go. If you could sit down with any living writer and have a conversation with him or her, who would it be and what would you talk about?
DWP: Stephen King. He has overcome challenges in his life. He never gave up. And he doesn’t let his critics beat him down. He marches to his own music. So, I guess that, in addition to finding his rhythm, his routine. Keeping balance in his life and, well, his dogs. One is Molly the Thing of Evil. The other is the angelic one. Can’t recall its name, though.
AJ: I would have said King as well.
DPW: Great minds.
AJ: I’m sorry–you have slipped a notch if we are thinking alike.
DPW: Nope. Means you have been elevated.
AJ: Hahahaha—nicely done.
DPW: Thankee, sai.
AJ: Donelle, Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers out there?
DWP: Never stop reading. Never stop dreaming. And, thanks for joining me on the ride. I’ll see you on the next page.
AJ: The next page is a good place to meet.
As always, until we meet again, my friends, be kind to one another.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize, there is so much going on and I’m here to tell you about it.
First, I’d like to welcome some new staff members:
Brandy Yassa — Editor
Deanna Cooley — Editor
Sylvia Stein — Editor
Mark Deloy –Aquisitions
Jeff Brown — Jack of all Trades (No official title but he’s ours, damnit)
Welcome to all of our new staff and I’m looking forward to working with you, creating new nightmares, and giving hope to new authors!
Now let’s get to releases. My goodness! We are rolling out nothing but gold (OK, so I’m biased). Below you can get a glimpse of our current catalog. We have several parties happening at the end of the month so keep reading for more details about that.
Stalker (available now on Amazon.com)
5.0 out of 5 stars “Lightness at the end of a dark tunnel”
Carl is a good man who was dealt a bad hand. He has a stressful job, and he struggles with his wife, Gloria, a successful woman who likes to play games that she may not know how to handle.
Gloria begs for attention from her male clients. She gives them what they desire, and they bury her in expensive gifts, dinners, and sex. They always used the same hotel. She even used her real name. A drunken one-night stand leads her to a stalker who has killed before, and he watches her on a daily basis from her shadows.
Most of the citizens of their small town have reported what Gloria gets up to while John is at work. He shrugs it off as he walks by them, but inside, his heart is black. She killed him and his spirit.
John is at a loss; he doesn’t want to divorce her, but he doesn’t want to have anything else to do with her. Separate rooms make them more distant. He has his life and friends. Then the stalker steps from the darkness, and John has to deal with a different kind of loss.
Collision Course (available now on Amazon.com!)
5.0 out of 5 stars “Read this Thrill ride and be swept away into action, bloodshed and intesnsity”
Wylderness: A powerful, mysterious corporation with the desire to play God. Gerald: An unpredictable sociopath they thought they could keep chained, but who, by his very nature, is uncontrollable. Gwen: a dishonored cop craving redemption, beholden to the company for her recovery.
Gwen and Gerald are polar opposites. He’s Welsh, built like a Rugby player and wired like a lunatic. His interests? Fast cars, dirty hookers and sharp knives. She’s the all-American golden girl who loves hiking, educational TV and the perfect cup of coffee, but has fallen head-first into a bottle of vodka.
When Gwen’s drinking becomes an addiction, she makes a fatal mistake at work, costing innocent lives as well as her career. At the same time, Gerald has lost the ability and the desire to maintain any façade of obedience to his employer.
Be forewarned, Gerald’s exploits are not for the faint of heart, or stomach; even Gwen’s courage has its limits. If you’re ready for a barely controlled, action and horror-filled apocalyptic joyride, buckle up. You’re on a Collision Course. It’s not going to end well.
Granville (available now on Amazon.com!)
5.0 out of 5 stars “A worthy read filled with absolute horror and revenge on a level rarely read.”
Stanley is a typical high school student trying to find his way through the hierarchy of study and popularity. Nobody wants to spend time with him and even his crush turned him down nine times. He spends most of his time alone in the house, cursing his mother and blaming her for driving his father away. He has a preoccupation with all things horror and his love goes beyond just watching the movies; he wants to be the star of the show.
Making masks started as a hobby that soon becomes a practiced ritual and finally, when he has the right mask and slips it on over his head, he realizes that he is transformed. He is no longer Stanley but Granville, a masked warrior who intends to get payback for all the wrongs done to him and he will hold no punches.
The town is on lock down, the people terrified of this hideous killer, all the while he waits and plans his final masterpiece before taking off.
Strigoi: The First Family (available March 30th)
Not all monsters are made. Some are born. And sometimes, history gets it wrong. A freelance writer is invited to an elderly man’s home to witness his telling of the family history to his sons. The patriarch’s reason for requesting a stranger into his home as he shares his tale is a simple one. He wants the young man to write the true history of Family Dracul, to trace the lineage back to the very first member of a family cursed. But, the old man has another agenda. He wants to warn humanity; what happened in the past was nothing compared to what is to come.
“The vampire legends died soon after [Elizabeth] Bathory’s demise only to reemerge in the early 1970s with book after book and movie after movie. If only those stupid humans knew the truth.”
Strychnine (available March 30th)
What if the Zombie Apocalypse was man made, but not the way we think? It wasn’t some virus that started with patient zero resulting in an accidental outbreak. It is true, it was a bio-weapon that when released failed to accomplish what scientists created it to do, and it had an unintended side effect.
And, what if werewolves really did exist, but they haven’t been our enemy for years until one ruthless man bent on domination is turned?
Strychnine is the story of two brothers torn apart by an experiment forcing them fight against one another. It is also the name of a metal band made up of another set of brothers and their girlfriends.
Life for Thorne, his girlfriend, Blaze; his brother, Seminole; and Seminole’s girlfriend, Spaz, is about to be flipped on end as they find out zombies are real, werewolves have always been real, and certain werewolves are mankind’s saviors and its enemies at the same time. After being bitten by a werewolf fighting for mankind’s survival, Thorne unwittingly creates his own small pack to continue the fight over the worst kind of terrorist, one with large fangs and claws.
“Many years ago the Lycans roamed the earth. When they were discovered by your government, a deal was made.”
Hell’s Guardian Chronicles (available March 23rd)
Zyra Falls, is a latent vampire known as a Stregoni Benefici, who is struggling to survive after. The Red system attacked her again. She has to learn to become a Hunter as well as learning to control her psychic powers. Will Queen Velika take her revenge out on Zyra and the innocent Lugat? Or will Zyra do what she has to save them from her grasp?
Wanna know more? Come visit us on Stitched Smile Publications Facebook. Release Parties, Swag, New Releases, Author Interviews, and more!
As someone who works mostly in horror, I often scoff at least a little when someone mentions romance since it usually brings to mind dusty volumes that use too many words to describe just about every body part, yet there are several love stories I would be delighted to spend a night with. In the cute, sad, gross, but a little funny February 2016 edition of The Brown Bag Stories by A.J. Brown, I found myself thinking of a few of them and how not every love story is necessarily in a romance book. I would recommend any one of the following to anyone who would listen, and I hope that more people come to enjoy them as well.
The first to come to mind is Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love by Mercedes M. Yardley. It is a love story of atomic proportions. Even if you’ve read this book before, I highly recommend reading it again. For me, the first time was a wonderful if chilling read. Reading it a second time was a magical experience and like watching beloved friends or children grow, and it is something I’m very glad I did. It will be republished soon by Crystal Lake Publishing.
If alternate universe steampunk LGBT romance adventures are more your speed, A Sweet and Steamy Series by Nikki Woolfolk fits the bill. Certainly the most romance-esque out of this list, the two out so far are The Winter Triangle and The Men of Summerly. They are beautiful adventures about dynamic, fleshed-out characters from many different backgrounds, like deaf astronomy professors and gay orphaned glassmakers. These charming novellas appeal to all five senses, and the foods featured in each book have corresponding recipes at the ends. And Nikki Woolfolk is a talented chocolatier. More on her website.
This one has an ambiguous ending but one that I find satisfying: “Reflection” by Daniel D. Darkfield. The hints at an unrequited love are subtle, but the fascination between the main character, Antonella, and her portrait subject transfers to the reader before she ever sets up her canvas. Full of more mystery than intrigue, “Reflection” is perfect for someone who wants to get away from the romance hype.
No happy endings for you? Read Michel Robertson‘s “In the Name of Science,” currently available in his collection Zombies, Vampires, Aliens, and Oddities: A Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction. With only the fragments of a romance that maybe never was and another that could never be, it features a horrifying and pretty unique origin story of a creature that’s been used and reused, and it’s one my partner and I still talk about sometimes after first reading it years ago.
No matter what your plans are for the weekend–mine are to take my little sister shopping–you’re sure to find some story with just the right level of romance for you whether it be all romance or no romance or anything in between.
ANNOUNCING SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPENING:
GRAND OPENING OF STITCHED SMILE PUBLICATIONS
JANUARY 3rd, 2016
WHAT THIS EVENT IS: An author spotlight to celebrate the grand opening of Stitched Smile Publications. We have a terrific list of authors who will be talking about their creative works. There will be prizes, games, lots of great conversation. All to help celebrate this grand occasion.
WHERE THE EVENT WILL BE SEEN: Join us on our Facebook page
WHO WILL BE SHOWCASED AND WHEN?
This list for Grand Opening on January 3, 2016 11:00 AM EST times please check your zone for correct time in your area.
I am willing to take this up to 11 pm so there are still spots to take 30 minutes a piece. I need a donation to be given during your time spot, and your sweet self to have fun.
11:00 AM PM Barnes
11:30 AM Kyra Dune
12:00 PM Forbes West
12:30 PM David Youngquist
1:00 PM Derrick LaCombe
1:30 PM Edward P. Cardillo
2:00 PM Jeff Brown
2:30 PM Alex S. Johnson
3:00 PM David Reuben Aslin
3:30 PM Angela Carina Barry
4:00 PM Tony Sarrecchia
4:30 PM Charles Garcia
5:00 PM Thom Erb
5:30 PM Bobby Akart
6:00 PM Charles Phipps
6:30 PM Chris Philbrook
7:00 PM Scott Lefebvre
7:30 PM James Dean
8:00 PM Zeb Carter
8:30 PM Dave Moon
9:00 PM Kenneth Chin
9:30 PM Matthew Davenport
10:00 PM John Prescott
10:30 PM Derrick Whiteskycloud
11:00 PM Sean Hoade
Lisa Vasquez CEO and Founder of Stitched Smile Publications
Jackie Chin Marketing Director for Stitched Smile Publications