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Friday, July 26, 2013

Monster Menagerie Winner!

And the winner is


On Flick by David_Brett
Congr- Oh, wait. What do you mean he's dead. Heh, not in my continuity....OK, JUST KIDDING! The REAL winner is...

Jessica Fortunato with Brocken Bow. Everybody give a hand or standing ovation for Jess!

So, this wraps up the Blogger Book Fair. Be sure to stop by their page and catch up on some of the great posts you missed. I had a lot of fun this year and got to connect with some great writers. My to read list has, once again, gotten longer. How about yours?

Blogger Book Fair: Character Interview Samuel Freeman

*Sam is standing on the sidewalk outside the Persephone Music Hall at night. The year is 1940, the city Seattle. I arrive with  and Shake his hand.*

So, good of you to talk with us Sam. We have a few questions that our readers are dying to know. 

First, what do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is my painting of Lily, or so she told me. I don’t get it; she’s tall, platinum blonde, and beautiful. The girl in the painting has a dark complexion and black hair and she’s searching across an ocean with faraway eyes. Lily asked that I paint her as she once was, and this is what I painted. Strange...

What is your most treasured possession?

Lily’s heart. Not a lot of material treasures in our apartment, ‘cept for the violin that she says is priceless. I wouldn’t change a thing as long as I can have her.

Your love sounds like one of the great ones. Tell me, what is your greatest fear?

I fear most that the one person whose influence changed my life—in some ways for the better and in other ways…for the worse—has forgotten me.  I wonder every day, and if I got the chance to find out…would knowing hurt more than the question?

Which living person do you most despise?

I despise no one and no thing.  Life is full of enough pain without keeping it wrapped up in hatred. I’d rather focus on the happy things in life, the things that make the bad fade into the background..

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

I guess I’d like to be a music hall, so I could enjoy shows forever and share in the delight of audiences.

What is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

I guess you could say I was still a child when I saw Lily onstage for the first time. Listening to her play…hearing the sweet, mournful tones that she coaxed from that old violin…that was the night I found religion.

Thanks you so  much for your time Sam. For those that wish to know more, be sure to pick up a copy of 

The Lightness of Dust


Samuel Freeman, caretaker of the Persephone Music Hall in 1940 Seattle, dreams of the day his art will move him beyond the life that holds him. Lily Ostendorf, a beautiful foreign violinist, encounters Sam’s work in war-ravaged Europe and crosses the ocean to meet him. One night at the symphony unites Sam and Lily in a love story that resonates through the ages.

From ancient Anatolia—where a gifted young healer fights to marry her true love despite her father’s wishes—to modern-day Northern California—where Professor Jake Morgan struggles to save his marriage from the schemes of an alluring graduate student—the thread woven by Sam and Lily draws lives together and summons an unspeakable fate.

Follow the thread as mortal cares scatter with The Lightness of Dust.

Amazon Book Link:
Smashwords Book Link:
Kobo Book Link:
Goodreads Book Link:

About M.L. Weaver

M.L. Weaver’s best friends as a child were books, as asthma kept him indoors—and in bed—a great deal of the time. His favorite genres were, and are to this day, science fiction, fantasy, and history textbooks.

Matt’s asthma abated but his love for books did not. Writing novels was always one of his goals but he didn’t manage to put pen to paper until the third year of grad school, which, as he now admits, might have been the worst possible time to focus on anything but research!

After graduating from UC Davis with a Ph.D. in chemistry, Matt moved with his wife and son to the Pacific 

Twitter: @ML_Weaver

Blogger Book Fair: Guest Cole Knightly

I'd like to Welcome Cole Knightly to Trip the Eclipse.

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to be here. Today I thought I’d talk about my four favourite creepy covers. I really love book covers because they can sometimes be so amazing that I just HAVE to buy the book. It’s great when that happens. Any way, let’s get on with the covers!

So, my first two covers are actually the same book: It by Stephen King. The first one is an older version that is an illustration of a scene from the book. It’s a scene that to this day scare my poor mother and the reason she totally lost it and grounded me forever when she caught me and a bunch of neighbor boys prying open a manhole cover and taking turns going into the sewer. (We were looking for the Ninja Turtles, okay?!) Just like in the book, its cover plays on that fear of a monster lurking in the sewer trying to lure innocent children into its claws.

Now, this newer cover invokes fear on many different levels. First, clowns are always frightening. PERIOD. And Pennywise in general is pretty disturbing. Since the 90s, Tim Curry’s portrayal of the most unlovable demon clown has become somewhat of an icon for It. And of course, the artist manipulated the face to make it look extra menacing… as if clowns need more of that.

The next book cover is from Scary F***ing Stories. This is a book written by D.F. Noble and contains some pretty weird and creepy stories. What’s great about this cover is the frightening monster peeking its head out from behind the door. It reminds me of the childhood fear so many of us had of monsters in the closet. Also, the creature itself is terrifying. That mouth full of pointy teeth solidifies that. To make it even more scary, the monster appears to be grinning as if the prospect of devouring my soul is not only delicious, but fun too. Yikes!

The last cover is for Ghoul by Brian Keene. It’s a bizarre book and the cover just oozes horror. I mean, there’s a graveyard and everything. Much of the story takes place in a graveyard, above and below it, and this cover captures that. Also, it really has some great atmosphere going on with the mist and the cool blue colour. I like that it implies zombie, but it is actually about a ghoul instead. Nice change.

So yeah, these are some of my favourite horror book covers. There are so many great ones out there, it was hard to decide. Thanks for stopping by and indulging me, everyone!

Creep (A Short Story)
Now Available
After ten months in a mental institution with no end in sight, Jenny Crete tells the story of why she was institutionalized. She had started a new job at Ridley Conner Community College and had begun to notice disturbing and creepy things happening in the school late at night. At first, she thought it was all in her mind. But it ended up being something much more sinister lurking in the shadows.

Portrait of a Ghost
Hopeless. Numb. Abandoned. These are all words Victoria has used to explain how it feels to lose her twin sister Lizzy. After receiving a series of disturbing paintings depicting her sister's suicide, Victoria starts investigating the possibility of murder. To make matters worse, she is being haunted by the ghost of her twin. When she enlists the help of Lizzy’s mysterious boyfriend Evan, Victoria takes her place as a life-model at the local art school to get close to the potential killer. If she doesn't uncover his identity soon, she will become his next victim.

The Temple's Gate Trilogy: Coming Soon...

Cole Knightly writes horror and supernatural thrillers. His debut short story, Portrait of a Ghost, was released in November 2012. Cole has a Masters in Fine Art with a Creative Writing emphasis and teaches adults online and on campus. His Temple's Gate trilogy is expected to be released in 2013.

Learn more at the Cole Knightly website.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Guest Post Wynne Channing

What Kills Me Cover Small I am so excited to be hosting Wynne Channing on the blog today. She's the newspaper journalist-turned novelist who penned the best-selling paranormal adventure, What Kills Me. She's stopped by to share a few words on why horror/paranormal will always be her genre of choice: When I was a little girl, I used to play Michael Jackson’s Thriller and as soon as I heard Vincent Price cackle, I dove under the covers. Then I would play it again. I would also make monsters. I’d twist the heads off of my dolls and jam brooms through the sleeves of my clothing. Then I would look upon my creation like a proud Dr. Frankenstein, realize how scary they were and then run away. Oh, I hated being scared. But I loved being scared. As I got older, I watched every horror movie I could find. I read Stephen King. I wrote stories about monsters, about aliens, about people with terrifying powers, with waking nightmares. In paranormal worlds, anything is possible; the horrors there, are examples, exaggerations of the horrors in real life. What is it that we enjoy about being afraid? We stare into mirrors and say “Bloody Mary.” We sink low in theatre seats and wait for Jason, for Freddy, for that creepy meowing boy from The Grudge to appear on screen. We like the excitement. The thrill of being afraid without the risk. Because as freaky as horror movies are, we know at the end of the day, we can press stop on the DVD or close the book. But we won’t because that wouldn’t be as fun. When I wrote What Kills Me, it’s those same thrills that I wanted to deliver. I wanted to take readers on an adventure. I wanted them to tense up at the suspense and wonder if my heroine would survive the horrors. Go on the ride — all from the safety of your own home.
Buy What Kills Me!
About the top-rated, best-selling book: An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive. How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?
HeadshotAbout Wynne: Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and best-selling young adult novelist. Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”
Connect with Wynne

Monster Menagerie Vote: Who Will Win?

So, we've reached the time to cast your votes. In case you missed any, here are our talented contestants.

1. Seeker Demon by Allie Jean
2. Brocken Bow by Jessica Fortunato
4. The Ogre and His Boy by D.H. Aire
5. Thunderbird by Amanda Taylor
6. Vampire Conception by Shah Wharton
7. The Literary Vampire by Sandra C. Hessels

So, now it's voting time!


Voting will end at Noon CST on Friday and I'll announce the winner at 6:00 PM CST on Friday. Good luck, contestants!

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #7

The literary vampire
by Sandra C. Hessels

‘You've been hearing stories about me.’ He pulled a tattered copy of "The Dark Side of Life" out of his coat pocket. ‘My ignorant prodigy has spoken of me. My illicit children and grandchildren. My children of the night.’ The aged vampire’s eyes sparkled with amusement.
‘You did not think I would miss the opportunity to read such books, did you? I love to read, and vampire books have always been a particular delight,’ he continued. ‘Although these so-called “Confessions of a Dark Mind” are not nearly as entertaining as those that portray the vampire as a purely evil being. I much prefer being seen as an evil being. Ungraspable. Unmistakable. Unknown, really.’
He made a theatrical move with his hand, as though addressing an invisible audience.
‘So you would consider yourself to be evil?’ she asked in a tone of eagerness, much unlike her usual interview style.
‘I would consider myself to do evil, my dear. There is a subtle difference.’
‘I see.’ She nodded her head slowly and made a note in her notebook. ‘And what, exactly, is that difference?’
‘I am a predator, you must understand. I thirst, I hunt, I kill. Why? Because it is in my nature. Because I must. And therefore I cannot feel sorry for the woman in my arms, I cannot learn the history of the man on tonight's menu. I cannot. It would ruin the simple taste of my meal. It would be like forcing a vegetarian to eat rib eye steak. He cannot do it. I do not want to be in that position where I starve because of my compassion. That would be suicidal.’
            And now the vampire remained silent, watching her. The amused expression on his face spoke volumes, but she did not look up quickly enough to see it.
            ‘Were you hoping to speak to me about my book, about your fledgling’s confessions?’ She glanced up briefly. ‘Or would you perhaps care to tell me your side of the story?’
            He smiled and let his fingers slide over the lapels of his coat. ‘Fledgling,’ he mused. ‘I like that. Yes, I think I shall use that term myself.’
            After a pause he added: ‘Quite frankly, as interesting as my side undoubtedly is, I am not here to provide you with another bestseller. Even if my… fledgling… has left out a few details. Not that I blame him. There is so much the poor soul does not know about me.’
            ‘Yes,’ he repeated, ‘I said poor soul. That is the expression, is it not?’
            ‘I was merely wondering if it was just an expression, or perhaps… more?’ she asked hungrily.

‘Language is the only instrument I have to convey my story. That is the fate of all history. Language may not be as infinite as I am, and lacking in subtleties, but this expression will do nicely. Still, that is not why I am here,’ he said, suggestively baring his fangs in a polite smile.

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #6

 Vampire Conception
by Shah Wharton

Aura of gold and silver, floor of soot and fire.

Fulfilled you laugh, while I drip with cruel desire.

Red sticky liquor strokes your hungry throat.

My life stolen for the sake of our zygote.

Dancing and screaming, you weave your evil spell. 

My blood drained—I fight the fires of Hell.

Black eyes of death—their beauty blinding me.

Your Death allows a new Life; an eternal family.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Guest Post N.R. Wick

Welcome N.R. Wick.

Hi all! It’s a pleasure to be here today. I thought it would be fun to talk about my top five favorite fictional demons from books, movies, and I even have one from a video game. Now, it was really difficult to choose only five, but here we go!

First is Randall Flagg from The Stand, which I suppose is both a book and a film. Now, on the surface, he’s pretty much one of the least imposing demons on my list, but what he accomplishes and how is pretty crazy. Flagg is THE bad guy, or “the devil”, everything bad and evil pretty much happens in his name and he even makes appearances in other Stephen King books. I mean, this guy frightens children and crucifies people who disobeys him just to make a point to the rest of his followers. He is the master of manipulation and even turns a woman crazy after impregnating here. Flagg is crazy.

The next demon on my list is the lamia from Drag Me to Hell. This movie is great, but the lamia is twisted and frightening, though sometimes ironically amusing. When a gypsy woman invokes the lamia to torture the sweet, innocent Christine, her life starts to crumble around her. The lamia can posses people and goats, but not just in the Supernatural way… no, in the most terrifying, crawl on all fours and jump scare sort of way. Also with the shudder-inducing drool. The lamia even possesses a man and dances him around in the air like a marionette puppet. Freaky.

Even though the lamia is good, I want to move to Leland Gaunt from the book, Needful Things. While he has similarities to Randall Flagg, he deals on a much smaller and more intimate level. His time is spent in a little shop where he exchanges people’s greatest desire. In exchange, they pay a small amount of money and must play a prank on another person in town. Gaunt clearly knows things he shouldn’t and uses this knowledge to pit people against each other. He, too, is a master manipulator. Eventually, the town goes crazy and trades their souls for weapons in order to keep their greatest desires “safe.” I mean, it’s genius. Gaunt does everything pretty much indirectly, and that’s what’s so disturbing about him and what he does.

Next, we should talk about the demon from Paranormal Activity. I know, we don’t even see it in any physical form! And yet, it’s a great terrorizer. The demon provides a false sense of security by implying that the couple were merely haunted by a ghost rather than being terrorized by a demon. It’s funny, once we realize that the entity is a demon rather than a ghost, it instantly become more frightening. Ghosts can turn out pretty harmless, but a demon? Never. What has a demon haunting ever ended well?

For our final demon, and my favourite, is Alessa from the Silent Hill games (not the movies). I’m obsessed with this game series, so it makes sense that she’d be the top of my list. Now, if anyone is a fan and reading this, there may be some argument on whether or not Alessa is an actual demon. Clearly, I believe we can call her one and not be inaccurate. She was destroyed by the cult people of the town, betrayed by her mother, and between the bad juju that the town of Silent Hill is built on and Alessa’s hate and despair, she creates a horror filled with monsters and disturbing imagery. She is considered the Mother of God for a cult, but their “god” is actually a demon. Between her developed psychic ability and the power of where the town exists, she makes for a fairly terrifying source of evil, even though a lot of it is due to unfortunate circumstance rather than the idea that she was just born and died evil.

So, that’s it for the top five fictional demons according to me. I hope you all enjoyed!

Land of No Angels The Ascension marked a demon apocalypse that decimated the human race and forced survivors into hiding. Sixteen year old Rebecca Ashford and her younger sister, Errol, have spent the last year hidden in their family's tornado bunker. When the sound of a screaming baby wakes them in the middle of the night, they attempt to save the infant and Errol is poisoned by a demon. With only a week until the poison consumes her, Rebecca must trust a mysterious survivor named Fox to help her find a cure. Together, they confront demons and other monsters while Rebecca struggles to learn magic that will help them locate the ingredients needed to save her sister.
Land of No Mortals Seventeen year old Rebecca Ashford and her younger sister Errol have finally found safe refuge at Crown Haven, a witch-led survivor colony. Rebecca should be thrilled by the secure place to live and the human contact after spending a year hiding in their family tornado bunker, but ever since her friend Fox left she's been plagued by guilt strong enough to mess with her newfound witch powers. When demons destroy Crown Haven, Rebecca uses her power to locate the only person who may know how to fight back. Instead, she discovers that Fox is in danger. She and Errol must rescue him and enlist his help in their quest to learn what caused the demon apocalypse and find a way to take back their world. As Rebecca struggles with her feelings for Fox and with controlling her power, she fights to stay alive and defy the demonic oppressors to protect the people she loves.
Land of No Demons Having embraced her role as a High Witch in the post-apocalyptic Midwest, Rebecca uses her magical powers to locate imprisoned or hidden survivors. She and her comrades trek through snow and bitter wind to battle demons in order to rescue the dwindling human population. Even though developing her power has become effortless, her relationship with Fox is more complicated than ever. After a demon informant reveals a plan to summon the creator of all demons, known as The First, Rebecca and the other High Witches must use their powers to heal the dimensional weak points and send him back to his tomb. If they fail, the human race will never recover. Join Rebecca, Fox, and the other survivors of the Ascension as they fight their final battle against evil in the third book of the Dark Ascension series. N.R. Wick writes fiction for young adults and children. She loves everything magical, fantastical, and supernatural, especially if it's dark. N.R. Wick has a Bachelor of Arts in Pictorial Arts from San Jose State University, where she studied Illustration and Digital Media, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She currently teaches college level writing and lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Andrew.
Check out more work from

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #5

by Amanda Taylor

The Wells Fargo Bank on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta was in complete chaos. A dangerous new street gang was holed up in the bank with hostages and in a shootout with Atlanta police due to a botched robbery.

The Chief of Police was on the scene calling the shots. His lead detective who was on the case, Jade Crowe, was among the hostages—taken on her day off when she came to the bank to deposit her paycheck. She was a new arrival from the El Paso PD with one-sixteenth Native American with Navajo and Comanche sharing that piece of her.

The gang-banger had the detective outside with a 9mm to her temple demanding for police to let them go or they kill the detective and at least five other people.

Without warning cumulonimbus clouds began gathering at an alarming rate. Lightning cut the sky and thunder rolled. Everyone looked up in bewilderment. The weather report and the radar showed no signs of thunderstorms for today’s forecast.

Wind began to blow over trashcans and carry them down the street. The rain didn’t hesitate to pour down.

Something caught the police chief’s eye while he tried to shield his eyes from the gumball-sized raindrops. A giant bird flapped its wings and soared in the storm with lightning striking all around it. He rubbed his eyes. “What in the…”

Just as quickly as it appeared it was gone. Booming thunder shook the ground and rattled the windows of the police cruisers and bank.

“The gang leader just went back inside the bank, sir,” reported one of the officers to his right. “He took Jade with him.”

“Great.” The chief grunted.

A column of lightning struck about five hundred feet away. Loud, crackling thunder followed less than a second after the strike.

“There are all kinds of weird things going on out here today, chief,” said the officer. “We’re gonna get fried out here—or shot.”

“Tell me about it. We have to do something fast to help Jade.”

“I don’t know if this storm is going to slow down SWAT. This lightning isn’t helping any,” said the officer. “Who is that? Where did he come from?” The officer pointed at a lone, shadowy figure walking to the war zone in the pouring rain. The figure looked like he had something tucked under his arm.

The chief squinted and shielded his eyes to get a glimpse of the stranger. Funny. A Native American man came strolling their way. He was dressed causally in jeans and a T-shirt with complimentary jewelry. His long black hair was partially pulled up in a ponytail with underlying locks hanging free. With all the storming and lightning, the chief was halfway expecting to see Zeus or Thor coming their way, not some random Indian. “Jim, I don’t have the slightest idea.”

The chief then focused on the approaching stranger. “Hey! Are you lost? This is police business! You are strolling in the middle of a shootout zone!”

The stranger picked up his pace to a jog. His cowboy boots clomped on the pavement and splashed in the puddles that had appeared within the past couple of minutes from the downpour. Strangely, this Indian stranger didn’t seem at all bothered by the rain. He met the chief and the officer, Jim, by the cruiser they were using as a barricade.

“Sorry. My mistake. I’m looking for Jade Crowe. Is she here?” asked the man. “I am a friend of hers.”

“She’s a little busy at the moment. You’ll have to come back later,” the chief replied tilting his head in the vicinity of the bank. “I don’t remember Jade mentioning she had friends from Texas.”

The man grabbed the chief’s hand in a firm handshake. “Jason Rainbird. I’m not from Texas.”

The chief returned the handshake. “Brad Rawlings.” Then the chief explained the situation.

“I can help,” Rainbird said.

Chief Rawlings’ eyebrow shot up. “Unless you are FBI or SWAT, I would suggest you sit this one out or you will get yourself, Jade, or innocent people killed.”

The storm seemed to darken the early afternoon to almost dusk.

“Are the power and phones still on?” asked Rainbird.

“Yeah. SWAT are still on the way, but haven’t been able to get here because of this storm. What does that have to do with…”

Rainbird turned his head and looked at the pole close to the bank feeding the power and phone lines into the building. Seconds later bolts of lightning struck the pole overloading the transformer. The transformer exploded with a loud bang and rained sparks onto the street. Lightning ran up the lines and fried the connections into the building. The hoods and the people inside yelled in surprise indicating to the police that the power had gone out.

“Hold this.” Rainbird thrust something into the Rawlings’ hands, and he took off for the bank.

“Did he just—how could he--” Jim stammered. “What is that?”

“No.” Rawlings replied answering Jim’s crazy notion that Rainbird just used lightning to take out the power. The object in his hands was made out of feathers, and it was almost like a costume or a blanket with a bird’s headpiece. “A ceremonial costume, I guess.” He absolutely had no clue.

“Rainbird’s not much for words is he?” asked Jim.

“Nope.” Rawlings was going to yell at Rainbird, but the door was already closing behind his swift entry. Just then the SWAT team pulled up and began getting out of the trucks.

Gangsters began to fly out of the windows of the banks, shattering the glass upon their exits, chased out by sprays of lightning. They landed in heaps on the rain-soaked street, convulsing like they had just been tazed. Some were unconscious, but some were yelling like they had been struck by lightning. Hoods with afros and dreadlocks had hair standing on end like they had stuck their fingers in light sockets. Police and SWAT cuffed the incapacitated hoods.

The freed hostages streamed out of the building for freedom.

Jade and her mysterious friend Rainbird came out last. Jade was certainly glad to see him, but she was also trying to be tough. Her body language screamed of the “I can take care of myself--I had all under control gig.”

A normal day in Atlanta? Not so much.

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #4

An Ogre and his Boy
By D.H. Aire

In the dank depths of the ancient keep, high atop the cliff with a narrow path leading to its summit, the lowland army threatened. Few defended what should have been open by stealth, but that could change with the help of those drawn by the keep’s sudden call.  
My blood sang as I stood straight and glared at them in the darkness. Their eyes glowed red as they faced me, defiant and angry.
“Be ogre… not easy,” I said in broken words, luckily to even recognize the harsh sounds as my own speech. “Half-starved, forced hurt humans... at his whim, I was. I no way… have… warn of evil here.” The refugees who came up the path in recent years were trapped like flies in a web and the dark creature, which had taken residence here, fed on their fear and pain.
It is diff-icult for me to think in best of times. For long time, too long, I not could. Ogre rarely could, but we dreamed. I dreamed and I know my name. “I am Walsh… ship’s… ship’s steward. I lived… among the stars.”
Their eyes widened.
Knowing who I once had been was my only solace. “One day boy came. He terrified, but slipped me scraps, meat and bones of dog. Thomi good lad. I hid him in my stall, when things… things at worst.”
There were growls.
“Think,” I demanded. “Evil gone now. Yet below, in lowlands, it… threatens. We must defend Keep… as we swore.”
I heard one hulking form breathing hard, preparing to attack me. Bracing myself, I shouted, “This my place. I never left. I… am… Walsh!”
It charged and I smashed my fist in… an uppercut. It reeled backward and crashed into a stone wall and slumped. “Oof.”
“This my place. We humans once and… this place our home!”
“Boy… rule,” rasped a voice out of the darkness.
I laughed. “He my boy… Make good lord.”
“He… not… elfblood.”
“So? Mage who saved me not elfblood.”
That statement drew silence.
“You help?”
Silence for a time.
“I… help.” “Me… too.” “Si.”
I led them to the walls where the boy exhorted the refugees to man the ramparts, to take up bows. “We come, Lord,” I shouted.
They turned, staring.
Seven ogres pledged to stand by old men, women, and children.
I pointed at the fallen stone and we carried them to the ramparts, stone often broader than a human. These stripped bones of the keep that whispered to our souls, claiming us as once the stars had.
A woman cried, “They are coming!”
I glanced over the parapet and saw the standard, bent and retrieved rounded stone that fit nicely in my hand. I tossed it remembering in another life throwing a ball. “Batter up,” I said from one of my oldest dreams. I threw.
The standard bearer cried out as was knocked aside, clutching on the astonished  soldier behind him. They dropped screaming. I grinned. “Strike one.”
“Uh, Walsh…” Thomi said as the men on the path shouted. “Uh, can you , um, strike like that again?”
I grinned, glanced at my long lost brethren and gestured. Frowning they raised the stone. I through another strike and had the errant thought that they would make a hell of a bowling team.
“Ahh!” the toppled soldiers screamed.
It was a long way down.
“Uh, how about this one,” Thomi said, trying to push a rounded bit of column toward me.
I looked to my towering ogre kin and pointed. “That’s my boy.”
They nodded and got back to business.
“LOOK OUT!” a soldier cried, then had no more to say. The soldiers tried to flee, dislodging their fellows from the path.
“Good day,” the pretty ogress said to me as she heaved a good size piece of column.
I smiled.
“Where… where I get one?”
“Hmm, you… little one… like be ogress’s girl?”
She couldn’t have been more than eleven in human years.
“Um, Walsh,” Thomi said.
“Yes… Thomi.”
“Oh, can I?”  
“Uh, never mind.”
I looked back over the parapet. The soldiers were no further threat for now. But I knew they would be back. The little girl was talking too fast for the ogress to follow. She turned to me, “Do they… always… chatter so.”
I blinked. That was a lot of words. “What your name?”
“Sheila.” Her eyes widened.
I grinned. “Sheila… Walsh.”
She blushed.
I heard the nearest humans gag, but not my Thomi or her little girl. They just began  coughing uncontrollably.
I knelt beside Thomi. “You… alright?”
“Fine,” cough, “just fine.”
I glanced at Sheila and she smiled back. We began collecting stone, lots of stone. We had a keep to protect and we were only seven ogres. But that would change. Ogres swore and we remembered.

About the Author
D.H. Aire has walked the ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem and through an escape tunnel of the Crusader fortress that Richard the Lionheart once called home. He’s toured archeological sites from diverse cultures that were hundreds, if not thousands of years old… experiences
that have found expression in his writing of his Highmage’s Plight Series.
Highmage’s Plight, the first book in a sci fi/fantasy series that was serialized in the ezine Separate Worlds and published in novel form by Malachite Quills Publishing’s Chimera Tales imprint last year. Highmage’s Plight’s sequel Human Mage was also serialized and is being published later this summer. A collection of his stories appears in Flights of Fantasy, Vol. 1, featuring the short work of both D.H. Aire and Barry Nove. The opening chapters of his planned Young Adult novel, Dare2Believe, basically its Gulliver’s Travels meets Urban Fantasy, are available on Wattpad, a free site for YA fiction,
To learn more, visit his website,, follow him on twitter at @dare2believe1, or on
Facebook. During the Blogger Book Fair visitors to his website have a chance to win a Highmage’s Plight t-shirt and more.


Blogger Book Fair: Interview Nathan Squiers

*The lights focus on two people sitting on a stage. The audience cheers as a theme to Phantom of the Opera plays. There is a table decorated with a crystal ball, a pair of vampire fangs, and a stake. *

Hi, Nathan. Welcome to Trip the Eclipse.  First of all could you tell us a little about your novels?

*Looks around for a moment, digging on the scene and absently teasing one of his lip rings before smirking over at you* Dig the scene! *sits forward* My novels... my novels... *clucks tongue* Well, I suppose it all funnels from the Crimson Shadow series. I started the first book--though it was never planned to become what it did--about 12 years ago, and while that story was coming into being I began to create a world of supernatural creatures; featuring various species of vampires, a new approach on werewolves/shapeshifters (called "therions"), elves, and other such monsters all set in the here-and-now Earth. A lot of these were modified from pre-existing legends that I'd come across in my research, but I like to think that all the different species--called "mythos"--are unique in some way or another. Nearly nine years ago I started dating Megan J. Parker (a fellow author and my future wife), and we began to combine our efforts in creating and polishing the details of the mythos universe. Since then, everything--novels, short stories, and even comic book, television, and movie scripts we've written--have been set in this universe.

My first series, the Crimson Shadow series focuses on the young tortured vampire, Xander Stryker, and his journey into the world of mythos as a "bounty hunter" (for lack of a better word) while he tries to juggle the chaos of his new life and a growing romance with his childhood friend and powerful witch, Estella Esash.

*Pauses to listen to the music for a moment, smiling* My other series--the "Death Metal" books--centers on an up-and-coming heavy metal band whose lead-singer, Bekka, is possessed by a slew of auras/"demons" that have escaped persecution from the mythos universe equivalent of the afterlife. While these entities mean Bekka no harm--they're just looking for a safe place to stay, you see--the "other side" isn't happy about losing their own, and they begin sending their own over to Earth in an attempt to retrieve them. Fortunately for Bekka, her new "friends" make her very hard to catch and even harder to kill, and her bandmates aren't exactly useless either. With a therion lead-guitarist, a magic-using bassist, a vampire drummer, and an all-too-human-but-angry-as-hell rhythm guitarist, Bekka's far from being on her own.

Congratulations of your future marriage. I always enjoy hearing about two writers who collaborate on projects. so, tell me, have there been any differences in opinion on how you want mythos to work or how you want a story to go?

Many thanks for the congratulations ^_^

As for our collaborations and any conflicts of opinion therein, there haven't really been any, actually. The mythology element of our work is stemmed from mutual research, so if we're delving into the traits/abilities of various vampires from different cultures we tend to combine over choosing one element over the other.

For example, we were researching European vampire lore at one time (a great deal of focus was in Romanian mythology, but we were dabbling across the board) and we came across two different myths that we both felt quite partial to. When all was said and done, we had a series of combined traits that included a "powerhouse" vampire that killed for sheer pleasure, was strong enough to hurl grown men to the tops of the tallest trees to impale them on branches or break through the sides of buildings, being capable of shape-shifting on a near-limitless basis, having two hearts that BOTH needed to be destroyed to successfully kill it, and control of the weather and eclipses/lunar cycles. Rather than arguing over which of these legends sounded more appropriate, we began to look for where the traits overlapped and built a foundation on the similarities--strength, brutality, narcissism, etc--and chose what we felt would make this creature what we needed it to be. Because our mythology is set in the "real" world, taking into account the theories of physics and anatomy and whatnot that we're accustomed to, we tweaked certain elements to not contradict the boundaries that we'd set and, lo and behold, created one of the vampire sub-species: the varcol; a shapeshifting breed of "perfect" life-feeder (able to spontaneously sprout wings or modify either its whole body or certain sections--claws, feet, eyes, etc--to achieve a desired effect--that is incredibly difficult to kill (even by mythos standards) and has heightened speed, reflexes, and strength as well as 4-to-5 times the psychic/telekinetic impact of a standard auric (psychic) vampire.

In many ways all of our creatures have come about in some way or another. In other cases, one of us might turn to the other and say "You know what would be REALLY cool..." and then we move on to figure out how to make an idea work.

When it comes to our stories, however, there are certainly moments when our varying interests make us want to do our own thing, but, on those occasions, that's exactly what we do. Though they're all set in the same universe, Crimson Shadow and Death Metal are my own personal pieces, where the Scarlet Night series as well as some future titles that are in the works are totally Meg's. We DO have the upcoming "Shattered" trilogy, a YA series set in the mythos world, that will be a joint effort, but not all stories that exist in the mythos universe are a combined effort.

That's fascinating. I'm pretty interested in the mythology of creatures in different cultures as well. Vampires are one of my favorites. So how many sub species of vampires have you created? And how many have come into play in your novels so far?

In a lot of ways the vampires in the mythos universe can be viewed as "forked off" from a single source (sort of an evolutionary split). The concept being that, originally, there was one species of vampire--one that could feed on both blood and psychic energy--but, as tribes/packs split and migrated to different areas that forced a strict set of feeding habits (either densely populated civilizations that wouldn't allow for public assault/feeding and forced those vampires to rely solely on feeding off of psychic energy or nearly uninhabited areas that forced the vampires to rely on speed and reflexes to find a blood source. Because these conditions eliminated the need to use one or the other of their inherent abilities, future generations eventually lost the abilities and traits that had become unnecessary.

Those that didn't need their speed, reflexes, or fangs became stronger at siphoning psychic energy and became auric vampires (a species of vampire that has bonded with their aura and is able to use it as an invisible limb that can both manipulate their environment and enter/feed from the mind of prey). Those that didn't need their inherent magic/auric control became less in tune with both while their strength, speed, and fangs became better equipped to track, hunt, and feed off of blood and became known as sangsuigas ('sang-" being the Latin root word for "blood"), otherwise known within the mythos community as "sangs". So already we have two distinct species of vampire, but, within the sangsuiga species, there's three SUBspecies: pure bloods (those born as sangs; having fully-developed & hollow fangs that contain the neurotoxins and, more importantly, the mutagen that allows them to turn humans into vampires when they're bitten), the second generations ("mades") who were turned BY a pure-blood (their fangs are not hollow and the mutagen produced by their bodies isn't potent enough to change their prey properly), and the third-generation ("freaks")--the result of a not-too-bright second generation that DOESN'T destroy the body of their prey after feeding--which are insatiable, incoherent and unintelligible beasts with all the speed and strength of a sang and all the uncontrollable savagery that's recognized in mainstream zombie fiction.

There are also cases of "perfect" vampires: those who are, like the original sources, a hybrid of the two inherent types; able to feed on both blood AND psychic energy and having all the abilities and traits associated with them (Xander Stryker is one such example, but his origins are... unconventional).

On the other side of the spectrum are the varcol, which are basically the result of the original vampires evolving to favor ALL of their strengths and intensifying those abilities ten-fold.

In the books so far I've really only touched down upon the varying levels of sangs and aurics (varcols are, due to their immense strength and power, not exactly interested in being part of the mythos community and tend to do their own thing where/when they please ~ stay tuned to see how that turns out   lol).

So, as you can see, there are TECHNICALLY four direct "species"--sang, auric, perfect, & varcol--but there's so many cases of hybrids and sub-species (not to mention the capacity for inter-species breeding with OTHER mythos types--vamp/therion, vamp/anapriek, vamp/nejin, vamp/wachuke, etc--that there's no true set number of "types".

That sounds like a lot of vampires *laughs* So, are there any famous vampire hunters in your world?

*chuckles and nods* I guess you can say that. There's definitely hunters; both mythos warriors who uphold the laws of their people and hunt rogues who threaten their global safety and, of course, humans who have their various reasons for waging war on the mythos community. The level of their "fame" is disputable, though *shrugs* I mean, any human hunter(s) that try to gain any sort of recognition in their exploits would ascend to the top of the mythos Council's public enemy list fast enough that they wouldn't see their first interview (secrecy is one of the biggest platforms on which their laws are established upon), and a mythos hunter is either acting on behalf of The Council (and is about as famous as any police officer or soldier is to us) OR they're acting out AGAINST Council law, in which case they're INfamous and, like the human hunters, won't last too long.

Xander Stryker, because of his late father's efforts in establishing structure and laws within their community, is something of a "celebrity" in his own rights (imagine if a late and beloved president's son suddenly appeared on the grid after 18 years), but he's not exactly interested in fame. In this case, however, "fame" is a double-sided axe, as there's a great number of mythos rogues across the globe just as interested in slaughtering him as fawning over him.

Fame, it appears, is a jagged mistress in the mythos universe *laughs*

Your world sounds creepy and dangerous. I look forward to delving into it. Thanks for stopping by and talking to us.
Everyone, be sure to pick up Nathan's books.

*Says is a fake Romanian accent* I bid you all goodnight.

*The audience cheers and the lights fade away*

Be sure the check out Nathan’s work on Amazon HERE and on SmashWords HERE. Visit his webpage at to learn more about Nathan. You can follow Nathan on Twitter @LitDark_Emperor.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Guest Michael Brookes

The Nature of Evil by Michael Brookes
Evil as a concept has been with us as a species for as long as we’ve been able to communicate, but what does it mean? In bygone times the definition of evil was provided by religion and was deemed a clear cut concept, a binary choice of good and evil. These days (and even back then) this concept seems too simplistic, it doesn’t reflect what we see in everyday life.
How do we define evil? The most obvious answer is by the moral code of an individual or society, but that again seems too simplistic. We can say that if something is deemed morally wrong then that is evil. It’s wrong to steal, but is that evil? Is evil and absolute or a gradient? In society morality has almost been replaced by laws. Laws define what is permissible. However here we can see some conflict between law and morality that muddies a definition of evil.
A classic example is taking drugs, the state says it’s illegal, many would argue that it is not wrong to take takes drugs and it certainly wouldn’t be considered evil by then. This throws up the issue of subjectivity, what is evil (or wrong) to one person, may not be considered so by another.
To complicate things further is evil an act or a state of being? It can of course be both. A person can commit an evil act, but not necessarily be evil in themselves. A classic example here is the crime of passion, there was no intention to commit evil, it was a spur of the moment act. The act of murder is evil, but the perpetrator is not. Or perhaps, they were evil, but only for that moment.
What is considered evil is subjective, although some acts do have a consensus. If we take these most obvious examples and boil them down they come down to a single concept – selfishness. It is the putting oneself above others that appears to be the central tenet.
It seems a bit too simple doesn’t it?
In every instance of evil you can see how the act of putting yourself above others is where the acts of evil come from. Stealing from others to enrich yourself, violence to satisfy your own cravings, and sexual crimes to establish your power. All of these things stem from your own want and needs and how they matter more than another person’s.
Let’s take an example – murder. People kill each other for various reasons, they want to take something from that person, they feel that the person doesn’t deserve to live (and thus being better than them). Even self defence implies that the killer has a better reason to live than the victim. Now I’m not suggesting that self defence is evil, although the act of killing maybe, which leaves us with the other half of the puzzle – intent.
For something to be evil, it is not just the event, but the intention of the act. The legal system has a concept for this (mens rea), for example murder is only murder if some harm was intended to the victim, otherwise it is manslaughter (the terminology varies depending where in the world you are).
So in simplistic terms we can identify the nature of evil as not only being selfish in action, but also in intent. A question arises that for evil to exist  do both components need to exist. Is the thought of evil an evil act?
I certainly hope not! As a writer I craft stories about evil all the time and I don’t think that makes me evil.
Or does it?


Is it the rebirth of an ancient evil in a new realm? Or something much worse?

A sexy looking avatar grants wishes for people across the web, but nothing is truly free, and for those who accept, what price must be paid?

Sarah Mitchell must discover the truth of this creature and stop it while it can still be stopped, but why is a mysterious lawyer dogging her every step?

Faust 2.0 is the first book in the new Mitchell & Morton series.
Available now on Kindle:
Amazon (UK):
Amazon (US):

About Michael Brookes

Michael Brookes is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and he considers himself fortunate to be able to indulge them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping. Which is good as that is where many good ideas come from.

Other Books by Michael Brookes

The Cult of Me

The first book in ‘The Third Path’ trilogy.

For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by. With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn't even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act.

There he discovers that he's not as unique as he once thought.

Buy now from:

Conversations in the Abyss

The second book in ‘The Third Path’ trilogy.

Stealing Lazarus’s miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.

There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.
Buy now from:

An Odd Quartet – Drabble Enhanced Edition

A quartet of dark short stories (10,000 words total) each with a twist in the tale. The drabble enhanced edition also contains some of my favourite drabbles (100 word stories).
The Yellow Lady
Grave robbing is a dirty business, in more ways than one. When he disturbs the grave from a childhood scary story he discovers it's not always treasure to be found.

This Empty Place
At the heat death of the universe, Death contemplates his existence.

Forced Entry
Terrorists seize an average suburban house. A Special Forces hostage rescue team is sent in and encounter more than they were trained for.

The Reluctant Demon
A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.
Buy now from: