Erin Collins – Shadow Walk: The Gathering

Title: Shadow Walk: The Gathering

Author: Erin Collins

ISBN: 9780980073379

Page count: 237

Genre: Thriller

Price: 14.95

Author Bio:

Erin Collins grew up in an atmosphere of love for good books and excellent writing. Inspired by her parents, Erin discovered her own passion for the written word. A native Texan, she and her husband live just east of Dallas, where she was born and raised.

Tell us about your book:

Imagine seeing the Universe through Lucifer s eyes, getting a firsthand glimpse into his thoughts, his ultimate schemes…a plan to create his own son. In a secret genetics lab in the New Mexico desert, evil the world have never known before rises out of the ashes. Ushered like cattle, tormented souls meet an unknown fate, facing experiments too horrible for the human mind to comprehend. Secrets are kept buried–along with the dead. One man who escapes the torture chamber, is haunted by a past he cannot remember. One woman holds the power to usher in the most devastating time in the history of mankind. Can she control it–or will she be the unwitting catalyst for a war, which will shadow all wars?

How long did it take to write the book?

Off and on, it took me over ten years to write. I had a lot to learn about writing, and did so during that time.

What inspired you to write the book?

I just asked a question: What if? What if the Antichrist was part human part alien?

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

The writing process took so long due to life getting in the way. Once I got a computer, the writing process went much faster. Yes, I did a lot of research on Washington DC, Area 51, the rumors of the grays, and other UFO phenomenon. My writing routine wasn’t as it is today. I did not write every day like I do now.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I hope to entertain, provoke thought, and leave them with questions of t heir own.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon.com, Barnes and nobles online, Borders online.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
www.erin-collins.com

Excerpt from book:

Sir, leader of the Recondites, stood in his domain deep underground in Tanas’ belly, below the offices, labs, and living quarters the humans occupied.  The dampness of the rocky interior served his nature well. It was late in the day and his mind cried out for freedom from his body’s earthly confines. Shedding his human shell was painful, but worth it. He inhaled deeply and willed it to begin. His pale, fragile skin cracked; silver and black scales became visible, glistening like obsidian, beneath a thin cloak of blood. Expanding his leathery wings, he stretched them, fanning them to dry off. Round pupils elongated, replacing former pale blue eyes, the green glow of new irises now shining in the darkness.

Mankind, stupid and so primitive they’ll never know until it’s too late, he thought.

Bellowing his frustration with a hair-raising screech, Sir could feel her existence; feel her just beyond his reach. He did not know who she was, but he knew she was a successful hybrid; the female Tanas failed to produce.

His clawed fingers clenched into fists. It would be years before he could really communicate with her.  Wasted years. Without the ability to make contact, he would not be able to locate her. He had to try. He did not want her to come to full maturity without proper guidance-discipline. She would be a force to reckon with by then. She might actually become his equal.

Where was she? How did this happen? Answers would come; at great price of some of the humans. He narrowed his eyes and ordered Dr. Hanson to come see him immediately.

Baltimore, Maryland

Leah played happily while Sesame Street filled the television screen. She was not paying attention to Bert and Ernie playing the numbers game.

Her mother, Maggie, was busy baking.

Attracted by the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies, she toddled into the kitchen.

“Mommy, I want a cookie, please. Mommy, cookie is ‘C’.”

Maggie stared at her daughter. “What did you say, Sweetie?”

“Cookie is C. It’s a letter, Mommy. C is for cookie.”

“Leah, that’s nice. Here’s your cookie. Now go play while I finish this batch, okay?”

“Mommy, is cookie, c-o-o-k-i-e?”

Startled, all Maggie could do is say, “Yes, it is. Where did you learn that?”

“Sesame Street, Mommy,” she laughed.

“Oh, I see. You just learned that, huh?”

“Oh no, Mommy, I seen that the other day. Today is all about numbers. Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco, Seis, Siete, Ocho, Nueve, Diez. That’s Spanish. In English: one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten.”

“Leah, honey, that’s very good. What else have you learned?”

“I know he knows I’m here. He wants me to talk to him in my head, Mommy. I don’t want to. He’s not nice.”

Maggie kneeled down, took Leah by her shoulders, trying her best to remain calm. “Leah. Sweetie, who wants to talk to you in your head?”

“Him. The one who wants to talk to me.”

“Is he a pretend friend?”

“Mommy, I think he is a real pretend, but he’s not my friend. He scares me.”

“Well, then. Just pretend he isn’t there, ok?”

Maggie watched as her daughter returned to her coloring books. Something felt wrong. It was not the first time she’d felt this vague apprehension since Maggie was born but now it squeezed like fingers around her heart. She grabbed the phone and dialed Joshua at the base.

“Honey, I just had an interesting conversation with our daughter.” She told him about it and concluded with, “Honey, I’m worried. What should we do?”

“Mags, I think you need to downplay it. Didn’t you have pretend friends? If you just treat it lightly, she may forget about it. It’s just childish dreams.  Just keep it low.  After all, it’s not the end of the world. Stop being so overprotective, Mags. It’s not good for you or her.”

“Mommy, he told me something,” Leah called.

“Just a second, baby, I’m talking to Daddy.”

“But Mommy…” Leah covered her ears, not wanting to listen anymore. “C is for cookie…” She sang, drowning out his last whisper.

“You are my destiny, child.”

Sir reluctantly reverted to his humanoid persona. He walked to a mirror and looked into it. Dressed in a dark suit, slicked black hair, the blue eyes, he could pass for a Mafia Don. In time he would reveal his true form, but not just yet.  He paced. The more he thought about the girl, the angrier he became. He forced himself to settle behind his desk and wait.

Dr. Hanson arrived out of breath; he always did whenever Sir commanded his presence.

Sir got down to business.

He leaned over his desk. “Hanson, I want answers-now.”

“Sir, I’m not sure what you mean. The one subject is doing well, she…”

“You are clueless, aren’t you, Hansen?  You have no idea?”

“No…no, Sir.”

“There is a successful hybrid in existence, Hanson. I sensed her existence this morning.”

He allowed the news to sink in. Sir could see Hanson’s face pale under his dime store tan. Sir narrowed his eyes.

“She’s around three years of age. That’s usually the age of empathic contact. I cannot make a full connection with her until she comes to maturity. Bottom line is, somebody screwed up.”

“Hanson, I want as many men on this as possible. We have to find her, or heads will roll. You get my meaning?

You do remember how we have dealt with slackers in the past?

“You know the consequences of such flagrant incompetence. The only reason you are not dead right now, Hanson, is that you are the best in the world at genetic research. That is the only thing that saves your ass.”

Hansen felt his blood freeze.  Someone, yet unknown, was about to become the most pitiable creature in hell. “Sir, you know I am always at your command. Just tell me what I must do, and it shall be done, sir.”

“I want to know how she got here.”

“Sir, if I may suggest? I can put a team on this that will ferret out old records.

“I know on my watch, not one subject has ever escaped this lab. It has to be from Dr. Wendellson. He was director before I came on board. It must be from that time era.”

“See to it, then. Oh, and Hanson?”

“Sir?”

“I want Agent Scott brought to me before they purge the fields with him.”

“Yes sir.”

After Hansen left, Sir touched a button on his desk which lifted a small trap door in the top.  A miniature elevator rose, bringing him a cup of chamomile tea.  He began to drink the boiling fluid.  In his mind’s eye, he saw Hansen walk down the hall, whispering a prayer.

Scott Finley writhed and screamed for three days under his captors’ attention. They started by leaving him strung up by his wrists, teasingly close to food and water but not close enough to touch either. On the second day, they soaked his body with a fire hose, his nerves screaming in agony at the icy blasts. Attaching electrodes to his exposed armpits, his stomach, and testicles, they watched, eyes glowing in silent glee as his body arched, screams tearing from his throat. Another blast of the cold water revived him time and again, refreshing his pain.

As another punishment for beating the girl, they released him from his manacles, strapped him to a chair and belted his hands to a butcher block table. With surgical precision, they amputated each finger. Cutting through flesh and bones a layer at a time, ignoring again his screams of agony. After removing each digit, they went back to the first nub, now a bloody stump and began the agonizing process of cauterizing each stub with a white-hot iron poker.

The guards dropped the form into a chair, Scott, unrecognizable as human. Sir strolled around the seat, knowing silence can be its own torture. When his quietness produced a defeated whimper from the form, Sir spoke softly, continuing to circle the chair.

“Tell me-as I have no idea-what did it feel like when that electrical current surged though your body?  Did your teeth break?  Did your muscles cramp?  Did you scream?

“They tell me that you were hung from the ceiling by your wrists for hours; that you haven’t eaten for three days, and haven’t been allowed to drink for that time either.

“I’m told, the human body can survive for a long time without food, but without water, internal organs begin to fail after three days.

“I am really disappointed in you, Scott. How does it feel to have no fingers? Is it painful, still? Do they still burn from the hot irons?

“Tell me. I want to ease your pain.”
What was left of a pitiful excuse for a man refused to look at him.  Sir allowed himself a moment of satisfaction.

He walked around the chair again. He ran a finger through one of the marks on Scott’s body, causing the man to scream as another electrical current, brought on by Sir’s mental powers, shot through him: a little fun before the finale.

With an almost casual contempt, Sir decided to end the misery of the pitiable creature before him. With the precise control any neurosurgeon would envy, Sir invaded the protected vaults of Scott’s mind, and just as casually, exploded it into oblivion.

Scott’s head shot back, as though he had been punched in the face. His eyes bulged, coming out of their sockets. He screamed and grabbed the sides of his head. Pale, thick liquid flowed over his fingerless hands. Blood trickled from his mouth, nose and ears. Then, he went still.

Sir glared at the men who were still in the room. “As you all know, I’m not a cruel man. However, loyalty is tantamount to the success of Project EVE. I recompense loyalty. Patterson Finley’s life will be spared. He had enough loyalty to turn in his own brother.

“Let this one,” he pointed to the dead body, “be a lesson to you; disloyalty carries a heavy penalty.”

Sir dismissed them with a wave of his hand.

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E.J. Stevens – Shadows of Myth and Legend

Title: Shadows of Myth and Legend

Author: E.J. Stevens

ISBN: 9780984247516

Page count: 70

Genre: Poetry, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Price: $11.95

Author Bio:

Dark poet E.J. Stevens is the author of the haunting new release ‘From the Shadows’ and the upcoming release ‘Shadows of Myth and Legend’.

E.J. Stevens is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. E.J. has worked a variety of jobs that demonstrate the human condition including schools, psychiatric hospitals and (*shudder*) shopping malls. She currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Tell us about your book:

A collection of dark faerie tales inspired by folklore, myth and legend told in the haunting lyrical style of dark poet E.J. Stevens. 

How long did it take to write the book?

Six months.

What inspired you to write the book?

My mother moved here from Wales before I was born and brought with her a wealth of Celtic folklore and local mythology.  I was raised on stories of temperamental Sidhe, impish Brownies, and vengeful Selkies longing to return to the sea.  Shadows of Myth and Legend is a return to the magical creatures of my youth with a darker eye to their passions and motivations.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I did a great deal of research into folklore and mythology.  I refreshed my knowledge of Celtic and European folklore while expanding my understanding of Native American myth (such as tales of the Wendigo) and Japanese folklore (such as the legends of the Jiang Shi).  These myths and legends were the inspiration and foundation on which my stories were built.

The writing process itself progressed quickly.  I set aside an hour each day for my writing, however, I have often found that I am caught up in a frenzy of writing when I have focused on a project.  Shadows of Myth and Legend was such a pleasure to work on that it nearly wrote itself.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

My hope is that readers come away from Shadows of Myth and Legend with a deeper empathy for, and understanding of, the creatures contained within its pages.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Shadows of Myth and Legend is currently available at Amazon and will soon be available wherever books are sold.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
I invite readers to visit my blog www.FromTheShadows.info.

Excerpt from book:

Exile

Legs bound with cold iron
So you cannot flee
Wings wrapped in a glamour
For no human eyes to see

Stranded in the mortal realm
No magic to sustain your youth
A terrible price to pay
For seeking out the truth

Exiled from all Sidhe lands
Sent far from kith and kin
Judged by both Seelie courts
Guilty of our greatest sin.

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Lisa C Hinsley – Coombe’s Wood

Title: Coombe’s Wood

Author: Lisa C Hinsley

ISBN: n/a

Page count: n/a on Kindle?

Genre: Thriller and Suspense

Price: currently $0.99

Author Bio:

Lisa C Hinsley was born in Portsmouth in 1971, and grew up in England, Scotland, and the USA. She won a scholarship to The American College in London, where she studied for a BA in Interior Design.

Her novel, Coombe’s Wood was runner-up in YouWriteOn.com’s 2008 Book of the Year Award and a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Lisa’s published short stories and poems include work in Spinetinglers Anthology, Twisted Tongue magazine, UKAuthors Anthologies and Literary Magic. The manuscript of her novel The Crocodile was short-listed in the Undiscovered Authors 2006 competition.

She is an architectural technician, and she lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children, and four cats.

Tell us about your book:

When Izzy Santana and her 13-year-old son Connor move into a flat in the sleepy village of Cedham, they think the terrors of their abused past are behind them. Locals darkly warn her to stay away from nearby Coombe’s Wood, hinting at ludicrous superstitions. But Izzy is so delighted to have found a haven for her son that she takes little notice. Then a disembowelled rabbit turns up on her doorstep, along with a distinctive cigarette butt, and she knows ex-partner George has found her. What Izzy needs to do is protect Connor. She has already started to uncover the ancient secrets of the village, and now she works out the perfect way to get rid of George… for good.

How long did it take to write the book?

Years! I started Coombe’s Wood in 2005. In 2006 I was picked up by an editor who believed in what I was to doing to such an extent that she line-edited the book basically for free. We worked our way through the book a couple of times, and I did the rounds sending the book to agents and publishers. This was interspersed with periods of time when I put the book aside for months at a time, wrote more books, wrote short stories, and actually spent time with my family. After a final few typos were found by my beta readers, and after much debate, I uploaded Coombe’s Wood onto Kindle in October after declaring the novel ‘finished’.

What inspired you to write the book?

Years ago I was driving around on one of the country lanes near where I live. It was dark and raining, and I skidded to a halt when a flash of lightning highlighted the trunk of a tree which had fallen across the lane. My eldest son and I hefted it to the side, and as it fell into a ditch, I swear I heard something in the woods. Probably, my over-active imagination gave me the heebie-jeebies. But that scene stayed with my, and is written almost as it happened into Coombe’s Wood.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I steal time to write in the evenings. I put something fairly heavy, musically, on my MP3 and disappear into my world. I research as I go, Googling as needed. I do have several tomes on mythological beasts, as these can sometimes be hard to find on the net.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Enjoyment, pleasure. The desire to read my next book when I deem it ‘finished’ and upload it onto Kindle.

Where can we go to buy your book?

At the moment only Amazon Kindle store.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
I can be found on Facebook here:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/lisa.hinsley

Excerpt from book:

‘Please start,’ she said, and rattled the key. ‘Please, please.’ She stopped pressing on the gas pedal, and counted slowly to ten. ‘Now. I want to hear you start. Surprise me, roar into life.’ Izzy turned the key. The whirr-whirr sound was weaker. ‘Last time,’ she whispered, hunched over the wheel. She ran a hand along the dashboard. ‘I’ll pay for your oil leak to be fixed. And I’ll put in the super-unleaded for a month. Just start for me.’ She turned the key for the last time. The car whirred again, but didn’t turn over. Her hand fell from the key, and she looked up. George smiled back.

Her mind raced into overdrive. The word, ‘Escape!’ repeating over and over in her mind. She searched about the car for possibilities, anything to help. The passenger door was flush against the trunk of the fallen tree. And with George hovering by her door, the boot was the only exit left. Tentatively, she fingered the lever that opened the boot, and added up in her mind how long it would take her to clamber over the back seat and out. George would take three steps, and be there before she even started pushing the boot open. Izzy collapsed back in her seat, letting the lever go, before she could trigger it by accident.

George leaned over and peered inside. She could see now that he’d lost the last strands of hair from the top of his head, and how, in the past year, he’d grown one side long, and swept the hairs over the top. This flopped at the side, looking ridiculous.

Her hands moved to her stomach. She closed her eyes, and tried to remember a prayer, and managed to drag The Lord’s Prayer out from her school days. ‘Our Father who art in heaven

Click-clunk. George pulled the handle.

Her time felt short. Connor could live with Feathers. Or should she send him all the way to Portugal? Would her parents want the responsibility of raising another child? What about Feathers? But he might not want Connor. What if Social Services sent him to strangers after the police found her strangled corpse? The thought occurred to her that she wouldn’t be consulted. She would be rotting quietly in some grave. Perhaps on the hill, up from Pangbourne, under a tree – an oak. She’d always liked them. They were grounded, yet grand at the same time.

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