Z Children: The Surge OUT NOW ¢.99 RELEASE SPECIAL

Z Children 2: The Surge

OUT NOW

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This past week, I & B. V. Barr released the second book in our disturbing Z Children Series. According to ARC readers, Z Children: The Surge is as disturbing as the first book, maybe more so. Yes, I think a few readers needed a nightlight again afterwards. So much for #adulting. It’s still on special for ¢.99, but it’ll soon go up to the regular price of $3.99! 1-click now!

Purchase links:                    http://bit.ly/ZC2USA

http://bit.ly/ZC2UK

Add it to your GRs’ shelf:  http://bit.ly/ZC2goodreads

 ******

Blurb

The forecast for tomorrow?
Bloody!

Z Children 2: The Surge is action-packed from start to finish. Focusing on JW & Virginia’s group, the story captures the true ugliness and sacrifice that goes along with survival.

Buckle up as a rescue mission is brimming with spine-tingling terror. An armored truck becomes the new Alamo. And there’s a wedding which is anything but ‘a happily ever after’.

JW’s group has made camp in a hotel overlooking a Dallas hospital where someone is trapped. Bonnie and Ranger, the now inseparable duo, have faith that JW can, not only stay alive, but also save this person from an otherwise certain death. JW, however, isn’t so sure. He’s faced enemies before, but nothing as unsettling as the innocent death masks these Z children wear.

The ex-special forces drifter used to believe he’d seen the worst the world had to offer.
He was wrong.

 

Excerpt 1

Focusing on the terminal building instead of the lonely plane and tents, I saw them. They were near the concourse of the tarmac. They seemed to be…

I had to swallow, wet my suddenly dry throat, but I could not because there was no moisture left in my mouth; just the desert, just the discomfort. They seemed to be playing some kind of game. The Nikons were good, but not powerful enough to make out the details of their movements.

There was a lot of them—running, opening and closing their mouths as if they were shouting. I saw it then, the pale orb that bounced about on the ground, rolling quickly from beast to beast, routinely being punted in the opposite direction. Each kick seemed deliberate, not just for sport, but also with the aim of hitting another of the Z kids. Each time it struck one of the monsters, it seemed to leave a splash of fluid behind.

A soccer ball. That had to be what it was. The dark coloring I was seeing against the pale expanse was the telltale decoration of your average, everyday soccer ball.

Soccer meant to hurt, the ball meant to slam into shoulders and faces.

But still a game.

Still a damn game. Still something a human child would be doing.

Looking out the driver’s side window, my gaze went to the clouds in the sky; they were slowly rolling by like pale honey across an uneven countertop. They were so normal, like the child’s play, so unobtrusively reminiscent of what it would be like to have a calm day with everything operating as it should. They were unassuming, wispy things that made me hate the world as it was now so much more than I had just seconds before staring at their movement against the pale blue.

I set the binoculars on the dash of the truck, looked around, and rolled down the window. I needed to see closer. I needed more detail.

 Carefully, I lifted the .06 from the floorboards and rested it on the half-down glass. The old gun was now sporting a very powerful variable scope, one of those that I never could have afforded before the world went to shit. Couldn’t afford it now—except through the generosity of Jesse. I spun the scope’s dial up to its maximum 24 power and looked through the eyeglass. I had bore-sighted it with a laser while I was in the shop, but until I pulled the trigger, I wouldn’t know exactly where the round would land. I only knew that the end game of its journey would be damn close to the bullseye.

I had to take a few moments to get it sharply focused, but soon my prey became realized in crystal clarity. They were still playing their monstrous amalgam of dodge ball and soccer. There were adults wandering closer to the game now, and when one ventured too near the sport, a Z kid seemed to take great delight in knocking them to the ground and trampling across their bodies.

There were so many things I wanted to know watching the scene. Where did they get the ball? Could things get anymore fucked up? I tried to focus on the actual ball, but it was going by so fast now—a blur of black and white becoming gray—like the tiny orb in a pinball machine.

That’s what it was.

It was zombie pinball.

I started to imagine the dinging as the ball was launched to and fro. Ding. Ding. Ding. Waiting for one of them to miss or waiting for the ball to disappear into some unseen hole and then magically reappear.

So messed up.

I blinked, prepared to give up on following the ball’s movement.

Then it rolled to a stop.

I stared at it, blinked again, and took a mental breath that did nothing to steady me.

 

*Can you guess what the ‘ball’ is? Not some black and white orb pumped up with air (unless the original owner of the ‘ball’ was decidedly empty-headed)… Got the mental picture now? Yes? Can we say that maybe my dad and I are totally twisted? Yes. Yes, I think we can.*

To further solidify how very fucked-up in the head we are, let’s go on to the second excerpt:

******

Excerpt 2

Refocusing my gaze and my weapon, I saw, in morbid clarity, what I was facing. And it was a nightmare. A Cirque du Freak that overshadowed any horror I’d yet seen. It was an apparition straight out of a filmmaker’s most bizarre and unsettling dream. The most disturbing film come to life to haunt the living.

 Not just a Z kid, but a Siamese twin Z.

They were conjoined at the hip and, in unison, both heads turned and snarled at me; the sounds the twins made were identical, a chorus of hunger and predatory excitement. One head let out a gut-wrenching cry that rocked me to my core and the second focused on me with murder in its eyes. Then it leaped, leaving the two by four window barrier in an arc that was amazingly graceful and coordinated despite its four legs. Its mouths opened and closed. Opened. Closed. The teeth were stained crimson and black. The eyes were pale, catching flashes of light that turned them glossy white as it sailed towards me in a death flight.

This time I was ready, and I did not miss.

The gun barked three times, the open slide working flawlessly as it fed one round after another into the chamber. The right head of the creature exploded in an obsidian spray of fluid and gray matter. The second and third rounds burrowed into the conjoined Z’s chest, leaving small, but no-less damning wounds.

Unceremoniously, the creature fell to the ground. The uninjured head, like a fish out of water, gasped and clung to life with ferocity.

 

Yeah… not just zombie children, but conjoined twins. You can thank us for the nightmares later. Better find your nightlight before you begin reading.

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Happy reading, creepy darlings.

Xx

Eli

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**Release Day**Claire C. Riley’s Newest Installment in her Bestselling ODIUM SERIES

ODIUM 0.5 – NINA’S STORY

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Odium 0.5 – NINA’S STORY
by Claire C Riley
Series: The Dead Saga prequel
Publication: December 7th 2015
Category: Adult
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies

**BLURB**

Nina wasn’t always a bitch. But surviving an apocalypse has made her that way.

It’s the end of the world, and the dead have risen. Devastation reins and destruction lives. Mankind is holding on by bloody and desperate fingers. Death comes when you least expect it; in the quiet of the night or in the harsh light of day. It sneaks in and takes everyone and everything you ever loved, until you’re left with nothing at all. And the person standing in the aftermath is forever changed.

Even after finding a protective haven amongst the chaos, Nina learns that the worst monster is mankind itself. Hope is gone. A heart is broken and humanity is slipping away.

But for Nina, catastrophe has made her stronger. If she wants to keep breathing, she has to be.
After all, being hard is the only way to survive.

 

**EXCERPT**

One year later.

The klaxon blares to life, making me jump. A shiver darts up and down my spine and I sit up and peer into the blackness surrounding me. The whispered voices of my sleeping companions tell me that everyone is feeling the same fear.

Deaders.

Goddamned deaders, they’re here, knocking at our door again.

“It’s okay, sweetie. Just cuddle into Mama and close your eyes.”

I listen to the mother to the left of me talking to her little boy. I can’t remember what he looks like or what his name is, though we have been living in the same bare bricked room for over a week now. The mother, again I have no clue what her name is, is on her own. Somewhere along the line they lost the father and husband. Somewhere along the line. The little boy is whimpering and she starts to hum to drown out the noise of the loud gunfire outside.

With every shot fired, I flinch. I flinch like I’m the one being shot. Like each bullet is driving its way into my body, tearing through my muscles and fat, bone and sinew, and killing me. Because yes, I want to die. I’m just too chickenshit to let it actually happen. Self-preservation is an annoying trait to have, and yet, as humans, we all seem to have it instilled in us. We hate what this world has become…that it now belongs to the undead. Because after a year, there has still been no sign of the tide turning, of mankind taking back what was stolen from it—life. No, there will be no coming back from it, and even if there is, things will never ever be the same again. Yet we can’t stop fighting the good fight. We can’t stop trying. And we can’t stop breathing.

None of this is a new revelation to me, and it also isn’t an old one. It just is. I don’t want to be in this world, a world where deaders rule. Where we lose loved ones to death only for them to come back to life and try to eat us alive. I don’t want to live this life of poverty and homelessness, and yes, I’m well aware that I sound like a spoiled rich bitch, but whatever.

I grip my blanket and pull it around myself—an attempt to block out all of the depressing thoughts that are currently rampaging through my aching, tired body, no doubt. But of course it’s impossible. You can’t block out what I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing. You can’t block out this life because it insists upon being heard, being known, and being felt.

Death insists on being lived.

© Copyright Claire C. Riley 2015

**GRAB YOUR COPY OF ODIUM 0.5 NOW**

Us link: http://amzn.to/1ln0xLI
Uk link: http://amzn.to/1Iz0tCA

READ THE SERIES!

Haven’t read the series? Grab your copies from Amazon NOW!

~About the Author~

claire c riley

Claire C. Riley is a USA Today Bestselling author and #1 Bestselling British Horror writer.Her work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic, and kills them without mercy.

Claire lives in the UK with her husband, three daughters, and one scruffy dog. She is a lover of epic romances, eater of cake and hater of sprouts!

Claire’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans Zombie Crawl 2 Blog Party!! Z Children: The Rising (ZC2) COVER REVEAL

Happy Thursday, zombie lovers, and welcome to another day of the BoD Zombie Crawl 2 Blog Party!

zombie crawl photo 2

There are still some great posts coming up, with some amazing prizes to be won, so make sure you keep checking back to each blog and entering the different giveaways. – See more at: https://www.facebook.com/events/974966652562897/

So excited to be a part of #bodzcrawl 2, 2015!

I’ve been sitting on this cover for months as my coauthor B.V. Barr and I worked hard on the sequel to this past summer’s full-length entrance into the Z Children world, Z Children: Awakening (excerpt below! First appearance of the Z Children world in Let’s Scare Cancer to Death, MayDecember Publications). Z Children: The Rising is finally drafted! *Happy Dance* But we still have a long road ahead of us with edits and rewriting. Fingers crossed, look for Z Children 2 at the end of November!

I hope you enjoy the teasers and excerpts!

*Make sure to go to the bottom of the post and find out how to enter the giveaway for an eBook copy of Let’s Scare Cancer to Death, Fading Hope, Z Children: Awakening & Dead Trees 1.

**Cover Reveal**

(Back text subject to change)

FINAL FRONT COVER Z CHILDREN 2 darkened

 Blurb

(unofficial, subject to change)

The Z-Children have risen… and they’re hungry.

As a foghorn sounds loudly in the distance, attracting the hungry foaming mouths of the Z-Children to the Corpus Christi marina, Juan’s group stares across the water at the Fields’s boat. Susan and her family set sail for the safety of the wild blue ocean and she can only pray that she’s making the right decision in leaving everyone and everything behind her. Miles away, JW stares through his scope getting ready for the smash-and-grab of a lifetime and also wonders if he’s made the right choice.

Z-Children have swarmed the country faster than anyone could have predicted. What were once quaint family towns are now zombie-infested hellholes. The country is on its knees.

Groups of survivors will divide and face separate horrors. Those with little hope will finally reconnect with loved ones, just to be ripped apart once again. And new characters with tragic stories and the hunger to survive will enter the picture.

In Z Children: The Rising, the red war continues to rage between Z-Children and mankind.

“The second installment of the Z-Children series is even better than the first. More action, more terror, more tears, and more death.”

Claire C. Riley

Bestselling British Horror writer

And USA Today bestseller

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Z Children: The Rising (excerpt, unedited & subject to change)

FINAL ZC2 POSTER 3 with effects

JW

I had done it again—listened to a noob and we’d ended up stuck.

***

The doctor had convinced me that the safest way out of the hospital was through the construction area. Sure, it was safe with not a Z kid in sight, but safety had ended at the cafeteria. And that was about as safe as razor blades in a birthday piñata. I should have asked more questions before taking Chris’s word.

The fucking cafeteria was crawling with the monsters—short and tall.

Z adults were ambling about. One was knocking its head into the wall repeatedly as if trying to lodge something from memory. Maybe its living name or maybe some image that wouldn’t die along with its humanity. There was a cluster of Z kids on the serving counter. Two were straddling a tall woman—not a woman, a Z adult now—with rich brown skin and curly hair that was coated in a layer of, what looked like, whipped cream.

The monster kids were everywhere really, outnumbering the adults by a mile. They’d gathered here, apparently, for the junk food. Surprise, surprise. Kids will be kids, even when they’re certifiably undead—like those creepy ass triplets outside the ice cream shop when I’d first seen Virginia. Just perched on the trunk of that car, enjoying scoops of quickly-melting chocolate in the sunshine.

Watching the Zs in the cafeteria—munching on candy bars, ding-dongs and moon pies—would have almost been comical except for the fact that these junk-food-loving monsters also craved human flesh and blood.

***

A mere two yards from the door that was protecting us from the chaos within the cafeteria, was a Z boy who was studying something on the floor intently. Following his (no, its…I had to keep reminding myself that they weren’t boys or girls or kids. They were ‘its’. Monsters. Creatures. Zombies. Undead.) gaze toward the pale industrial tile, I saw something miniscule and black rushing across the smooth surface. A bug of some type.

The Z kid followed the insect, eventually falling to all-fours and moving like the animal it was. The bug’s trajectory took it further away from our position. I wondered how long the monster would chase the insect, how long it would be distracted.

I didn’t have to wonder for long.

Seconds later the Z pounced, slamming his fingers around the tiny bug’s body and screeching in triumph. Bringing his domed hands to his eyes, he peered into a small gap between his digits to admire his prize.

Then, in a lightning-fast motion, he slammed his hands against his mouth. When he brought them down again, they were no longer shaped into a small cage. And the insect was gone.

Now, I’d eaten worse—in the field, when wildlife gets into your food, you suck it up and swallow it down (roaches in brazil come to mind)—but watching the boy play hunter and eat his catch made bile rise inside my mouth. It was just a bug, just a damn bug, but I wanted to shoot the Z over it.

Maybe it was because watching the monster chase the bug was too lifelike. It was something I’d seen children do—so fascinated by ants on the sidewalk. I didn’t like it. If these Z kids were dead creatures, horrible and blood-thirsty, then they should not be allowed innocent actions and awareness.

It was just fucking wrong.

Add Z Children: The Rising to your Goodreads shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26185344-z-children

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Z Children: Awakening

(excerpt, available now on Amazon)

It didn’t open! What the hell? I pushed harder and looked down to see if the door was locked. My eyes were greeted by a little red sign over the release lever. HOLD FOR 15 SECONDS UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS. Crap. That’s less than ideal. They’re going to hear that sucker a mile away and make a beeline for my ass. Holding my breath, I pushed and held the release in place.

The emergency alarm blared to life and a split-second later, the door clicked and swung open. Without hesitation, I bolted across the threshold and ran. My legs pumped back and forth, my sensible shoes slapping the pavement in a rushed rhythm.

A gunshot sounded to my left and I turned quickly, almost falling over my own feet and face-planting on the asphalt. John Croxton, one of the deputy sheriffs, was firing warning shots over a crowd of people moving toward him. Coming to a halt, I opened my mouth to yell, to warn him that the mob couldn’t be reasoned with. I saw the children in the crowd, they moved faster than the adults, moved toward John… closer, closer. John fired again. I couldn’t look away. Morbid fascination- a brutal car crash on the freeway.

The children were upon him now. I watched as his body disappeared beneath the swarm of ringlets and bloody, cherub cheeks. I listened as he fired a last desperate shot into the air. And then his gun was silenced, replaced by his screams… an infinitely more disturbing sound than a gun shot.

Something told me to move, something primitive, something ancient. My inner self prodded me to run- like a hot poker on my backside. I snapped into action. The emergency alarm was still screeching and the infected children were beginning to look my way. My feet started pounding against the pavement again. I counted the footfalls, trying to ignore the snarling and spitting in the distance behind me.

I was almost at my house. So close. Only one more street to cross.

Everything around me was in ruin. People were screaming; a man was beating a child with a garbage can; an elderly woman was lying on the ground, an old wooden cane her only defense against an attacker with blonde pigtails. Percy, the local handyman, was fending off a preteen with a hammer. But he couldn’t defend himself from all sides. I gasped as a boy bounded on all fours towards Percy from behind. I was close enough to hear the squelching, flesh-ripping sound as the man lost a chunk of his calf. I flinched as Percy fell forward, the hammer useless against such calculated viciousness.

It was too much. I couldn’t handle this. How could I survive on my own? When so many were dying… so much fear?

I pushed harder, sprinting as fast as I could, fully focused on getting to my house. Getting to a phone. Because I realized that I didn’t have to be alone. It was a stupid, stupid time to realize that I needed Chris. But I did. I needed Chris. Not just because the world had gone to shit, but because if the world went to shit, I’d want to be with Chris until the end. It was just that simple.

Right foot down. Left foot down. Right foot down. Left foot down.

I could do this; I could make it home, pack a bag, and take the Jag to Dallas. I’d get Chris. We’d be safe together. And I’d wear that damn engagement ring with pride.

All I could think about was Chris now. I should have been paying attention to my surroundings.

Crossing the last street, I didn’t look left or right.

Just a little further and I’d be home.

The car seemed to come out of nowhere- they always do when you aren’t paying attention.

*****************

Add it to your Goodreads’ shelf: http://bit.ly/ZChildren_Goodreads

1-click on Amazon.com! Amazon.com:http://bit.ly/ZOMBIE_KIDS_ATTACK
1-click on Amazon.co.uk! Amazon.co.uk: http://bit.ly/Zombie_Kids_Attack_The_UK

Fantastic sky presages apocalypse

Thank you for reading! I hope that you enjoy the rest of the blog crawl & look for Z Children: The Rising this winter!

FINAL ZC2 POSTER 2 with effects

Please remember to visit all of the stops and ‘share’ ‘like’ and ‘enter’ all of the giveaways! There are some great participants this year and I hope that you meet some new authors and blogs.

Your #bodzcrawl 2 host on this lovely Thursday, Eli ❤

Eli ConstantEli Constant

Eli attended USC-L, Columbia College, Texas A&M, & George Mason University. She studied everything from Mariculture to Differential Equations. Settling on Biology, Eli participated in research fellowships in Texas and at NIH, worked a few random jobs, and finally settled into a Virginia lab where she focused on mastering diagnosis procedures and implementations of histology and pathology.

Choosing to be a dedicated homemaker after the birth of her first child, Eli rediscovered her passion for writing—a passion once alive and kindled during her time at Charleston School for the Arts in SC as a child.

Now, nearly four years later, she’s never regretted the decision; not only are her kids the most amazing creatures, but writing fulfills her soul in a way science never did.

Her style is eclectic and she frequently produces true mash-ups of style and genre. Her characters are real—light and dark and everything in between—and her storylines, although sometimes convoluted, often hide deeper core meaning that makes her readers truly think.

***

Eli is the author of Dead Trees, Dead Trees 2, Mastic, The Water is Sweeter, Sleeping in the Forest of Shadows, DRAG.N & Z Children: Awakening. She is a contributing author to Let’s Scare Cancer to Death, State of Horror: New Jersey, State of Horror: Illinois, & Fading Hope. Her books are available in eBook, paperback, & audio formats.

Stalk Eli on social media:

Twitter @Author_EliC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorEliCon…
Books on Amazon: http://bit.ly/Author_EliConstant_Amaz…
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show…
Wordpress: https://authoreliconstant.wordpress.com/

B.V. Barr

author pic dad

Ben has been teaching Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) since 1981 when he joined the USAF as a “Survival Instructor”. In that Thirty plus year period he has taught all aspects of SERE, trained at both domestic and international schools, written SERE doctrine and instruction, researched and developed cutting edge techniques for dealing with both psychological and physical challenges and injuries, tested equipment and wrote evaluations on results. He is a Master Instructor.

The groups and individuals whom Ben has instructed and/or developed programs for include people from various military branches, government agencies, and civilians from all different backgrounds. Members of the Rangers, Green Berets, Pararescue, Combat Control, Navy SEALs, Air Force Crew Members and MARSOC are just some who Ben has taught. Outside the military he has taught people from the DEA, Local Law Enforcement, Department of Natural Resources, the FBI and other Federal Agencies. Equally adept at teaching civilian groups, Ben has instructed various lessons and developed programs for groups such as the Girls Scouts of America, South Carolina public schools, Covenant Heights and others.

Unlike many Instructors in the “survival training” world, Ben brings to the table both experience from training as well as experience from some of the toughest streets and locations in the world. Ben has won Instructor of the Year three times, nominated for twelve outstanding Airman awards, awarded numerous decorations and developed some of the most complex and sophisticated training courses in the world. Based on this, Ben has created courses in Travel Safety, Hostage Survival, Field Survival and now exclusive to the Universal Survival Innovations World, “Street Smarts” and “Get of the X”, both of which have their bases in real training for highly specialized people.

Ben just isn’t another Instructor. In many cases He wrote the book.

Z Children: Awakening was his first foray into fictional publishing.

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Zombie Crawl 2 – Blog Party October 22 – 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don’t miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 – Thursday Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host) Jo Michaels Blog (author) Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 23 – Friday Claire C. Riley (author) 2 Girls & A Book (blog) Emily Shore (author)

OCTOBER 24 – Saturday Kathy Dinisi (author) Us Girls & A Book (blog) The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)

OCTOBER 25 – Sunday Casey L. Bond (author) THE KATY blog (blog)

OCTOBER 26 – Monday Saul Tanpepper (author) Warren Fielding (author) The Leighgendarium (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Tuesday Kody Boye (author) Rhiannon Frater (author) ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Wednesday Allen Gamboa (author) Armand Rosamilia (author) Ethan @ One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (blog)

OCTOBER 29 – Thursday Kate L. Mary (author) aftershockzombieseries (author) Eli Constant (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Friday Aria Michaels (author) Brian Parker (author) Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)

OCTOBER 31 – Saturday Cindy Carroll (author) M. R. Pritchard (author) Toni L.H. Boughton (author) Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!

#BODZCRAWL 2 GIVEAWAY

bodz crawl giveaway

VISIT THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY PAGE (RAFFLECOPTER WILL OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW. THANKS AGAIN!)

zombie crawl photo 2

$0.99 RELEASE WEEK SALE! Sleeping in the Forest of Shadows | The Witching Hour Collection

Sleeping in the Forest of Shadows (SHADOW FOREST BOOK ONE)

Eli Constant

The third release in The Witching Hour Collection!

shadow forest 1 cover

 ABOUT THE BOOK:

She has to abandon the world of light to truly live…

When Tilda Brennen’s family dies in a fire, she is left wheelchair-bound and suffering from survivor’s guilt. It was her fault. She’d left the candles burning that night. But there is a deeper, darker truth to the accident.

“He” has slept for years, dormant and untouched by the human world. Then she arrives at the little house beyond the woods and he awakens. He has waited so long for another chance. This time, he will not fail.

Going to the voice that summons her may heal Tilda’s body, but it will also cause her to lose everything she’s come to love. And once she enters the forest of shadows, returning to human life might prove impossible.

Sleep here in the forest of shadows. Live inside the land of your dreams.

 ******

Read the entire first chapter below!

******

Chapter One

Through the Glass

It calls to me. It is calling to me now.

The thing that has no face—that thing that is nothing, but is somehow everything—is hiding outside my window, far off across the field, past the fence, cloaked by the forest’s dark shadows. Once, some time ago, before my mother was forced to leave this home, it called to her. I don’t know how I know this, but I do. Now, I am here and I’m like her in so many ways. The same crow-dark hair atop my head, the same olive green eyes with rings of silver that are often obscured by my thick-framed glasses, and the same aristocratic upturn at the end of my nose—a physical trait that is infinitely unattractive in my opinion.

It thinks I am her. So, it calls to me.

But my mother was vibrantly alive and healthy and adventurous when she was my age.

I am not vibrant or healthy or adventurous.

I am crippled, wheelchair-bound. If I’m honest with myself, the voice that I hear in my head could be nothing more than the imaginings of a girl who has lost so much, a girl who has a great and terrible desire to be wanted. But something inside of me says the thing is real. So very, very real.

At nearly eighteen, I should be starting my senior year with all of my friends…with my best friend Charlie. Especially her. There’s so much that we’d planned to do together Senior year and now I’ve ruined that along with the laundry list of other things my touch has spoiled. I just could not bring myself to face that life with all its walking, talking, chatting students. The kids who thought life was about parties and books. Because I know the truth now. Life is not fun and games. It’s not about tomorrow. It’s a tragedy in which you inexplicably live when everyone else—all those who are better and kinder people than you are—die.

Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t survived, that I’d died along with my mother and father and little brother Toby. But I did not die. I’m very much alive and breathing. And self-pity is an ugly, ugly thing that keeps life at bay. That’s something I have to keep telling myself. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, Tilda. Other people have it worse off, Tilda.

I only listen to myself sometimes.

I only believe myself sometimes.

My life is loneliness, like I am still outside our home hoping the firemen will carry my family out and that they will be unscathed. But when they do carry them out, they are burned, blackened, unrecognizable, and they are dead. My eleven-year-old baby brother. I still see him in my nightmares—how his pajamas, several inches too short in the legs, are burned through in places to reveal flaking, charred skin.

Looking through the glass, which is bubbled and wavy so that the world outside is always a distortion of reality, I can hear my Aunt Jen yelling my name. Her voice is loud and threatens to ruin my connection with whatever lies beyond the wall of great pines and thick foliage. Real or not, the ever-strengthening threads that connect me with it are something I can cleave too, a tether of security as I stand on the precipice, my childhood behind me and the great chasm of adulthood yawning in front of me. Life isn’t always beautiful. No, sometimes it is a gnarly, thorn-bearing fruit that cuts the throat as you swallow. Reality is bitter and bloody.

A singular tear, wet and salty, escapes my right eye and crawls down my face. The slowness of its movement is nearly unbearable. I wipe it away with the corner of my shirt and stare at the woods, one part of my brain cataloging the details of the landscape as the rest of my mind wanders away to other things.

The bright shades of the emerald forest have just started changing, their tips becoming ochre and crimson. I do not look forward to the dull browns that will come after the fleeting and vivid shades of fall. Even though autumn has always been my favorite season, when I can hide my tall frame and thick hips beneath the folds of fuzzy sweaters and patterned scarves, I do not relish in it now. Besides, I am always sitting these days—my hips out of sight and away from scrutinizing peers with slim hips and perfect skin.

In my old life, the changing of seasons would bring Thanksgiving and Dad’s turkey; it would bring Christmas and decorating the tree. Toby would place the star atop the fir. That was always his job.

Truly, fall and winter hold little magic for me now.

Magic. As if there is such a thing. Magic can’t be real in a world where families senselessly die.

“Matilda Elisabeth!” Jen yells my given name, even though I hate it with a passion, and that hatred is what destroys the veil and disconnects the faceless thing from my mind. As its calling fades, I feel the hum of discomfort returning to my body. The siren call from the forest often makes me forget how much I hurt inside. The aching pain that swells so large at times that I think my chest will burst. “Tilda, seriously, come on! Your appointment is in twenty minutes!”

“Coming.” I don’t bother yelling back at her. The house is not gigantic; my voice carries easily down the hallway. I think Jen just likes raising her voice, hearing the octaves change as she gets louder. My responses aren’t always so calm; often, I scream back at her until we are both mad and brash things filling the house with discord.

It takes me time to move from the bay window seat to the wheelchair. I’m still getting the hang of it. Aunt Jen has picked me up off the floor more than once. I’m lucky the house is one story, that the doorways are wide—which is unusual in such an old farmhouse.

Despite everything, I love it here with Jen and I can’t imagine what would have happened to my mother’s family home if my grandparents had sold it rather than willing it to Jen. It was in poor shape and my aunt has put her life’s savings into restoring it the way it once was when she was a child—bright white siding, hanging flower pots screaming with irreverent color, hunter green storm shutters and even the rooster-shaped weather vane atop the roof. The only thing Jen hasn’t repaired is the fencing along the edge of the woods.

Several of the fence posts are crooked in the ground and the paint is peeling, but it is still white enough to be stark against the darkness of the thickly grouped trees in the forest. Sometimes, leaving something undone is a promise for tomorrow. It’s a stupid thing to think.

Finally, I am in the wheelchair, but I find that I do not want to move.

I hate to leave this room and reenter the world outside, because Jen has made my room so wonderful. It is my own little sanctuary.

The walls are a soft gray and the curtains are an ethereal, gauzy white embroidered with delicate ivory flowers. The chandelier above my bed is original to the house, but it has been restored so that the pale yellow flower sconces are sunny and re-glazed. Everything has been picked out with so much care—the paisley pillows, the pastel throw blanket, the faux fur rug that is so soft. I’ve felt the material a hundred times with my fingers, imagining how it would feel under my feet, imagining how my toes would sink into the luxurious fibers. It makes me sad that I cannot stand on it each morning after waking.

My room is the best room in the house really, the largest. Jen doesn’t want the room for herself; maybe she just feels sorry for me after everything.

When they were children, Jen and my mom shared the room—up until my mom was shipped off to boarding school at sixteen. My mother never explained why she was forced to go and Jen was allowed to stay. Maybe the room just reminds Jen too much of mom. Maybe it reminds her that her sister is dead. I find it comforting, because I can feel mom here. But I can also understand. I see the grief and pain in Jen’s eyes sometimes when she looks at me—how her expression goes blank because of how much I resemble mom. She’s called me Heather once or twice and she rarely comes into the room while I am here, like I am the ghost of my mother and seeing me in the room is too much to handle.

“Seriously, Tilda, come on!” Jen’s voice is louder and more insistent.

“It’s not like this is easy,” I mumble under my breath, trying to call up some angry, but I can’t really be angry, not with Jen. She didn’t have to give me a place to live, assume the burden of caring for a crippled niece, but she did. And she chooses to care for me every day. I half expect her to wake up one morning and have changed her mind.

As I begin to move toward the door, I feel a pressure in my stomach. A hook in my navel linked to a line that is desperately trying to yank me backwards—to the window, to the thing that is calling to me. I am connected once again. The call is getting louder. I’ve only been here a few months and each day the summons becomes more compelling.

My hands are already hurting from gripping the wheels of my chair and I’ve barely moved at all—just a few yards out of my room and down the hall towards Jen’s little art studio next to the kitchen. I know I need to get stronger, that recovery will be a long road. If I can recover. The doctors say there’s only a fifty-fifty chance that I’ll walk again. The beam that fell on my back was so heavy. I remember the sound my body made when it crashed into me and how it felt—that unsettling crunch as my body caved inward, the way the lower half of my body went numb after the initial sharp, excruciating pain.

My aunt is standing, still wearing her paint-covered apron and working on a large piece, the largest yet. It nearly blocks the longest wall. It’s a line of three robed figures and the only colors she is using are purple, blue, and white, but somehow she’s created such depth that the figures seem to walk off the canvas and come towards me. It touches me for some reason. I want to be one of them, a robed girl hiding me from the world.

But they are walking.

And I am not.

“Do you like it?” Jen says over her shoulder, not looking at me. “It’s almost finished.” She turns around, hands on hips, a satisfied smile on her face.

“Yeah. It’s nice I guess.” It’s such an understatement. I love the painting, but it’s so hard to be positive about things these days. “Why were you yelling at me if you’re not even ready?” I huff, rubbing the palms of my hands roughly to drive away the soreness.

“Because I can give you a rolling head start, take off my apron, put on my shoes, grab my purse and still beat you out to the car with time to spare.”

“I’m not that slow.” I grumble, not amused—but my aunt certainly is; her face is stretched in a self-satisfied grin.

“Don’t mumble.” Jen turns away from me and applies a streak of bright white next to a stretch of deep blue.

“I grumbled. There’s a difference.”

“Oh really?” She turns to me, cleaning her brush with a stained cotton cloth.

“If I mumble, it can be for any reason. Grumbling means that I’m mumbling because I’m unhappy, displeased, despondent or generally grumpy.”

“If you say so. Grumbling or mumbling or anything in between. How about we toss the ‘tude and get to your appointment.” Jen unties her apron, takes it off, and lets it fall to the floor. “How’s your bag before we go?”

Frowning, I feel the collection sack strapped to my leg. It’s still very flat. “It’s fine.” I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to the catheter and waste collection set up, but it’s a fact of my life now. One of the many joys of paraplegia. Cringing, I place my still-throbbing hands on the wheels again and I make my way to the kitchen door—it whines like a dying cat when you open it, because Jen forgets to oil it, no matter how many times I remind her. I’d do it myself, but the spray is in a bottom shelf in the pantry—one of the only rooms in the house with a doorway too narrow for my chair.

We always enter and exit out the back, because that’s where the ramp is. Jen has taken to parking on the lawn by the ramp instead of the front drive. It makes it easier for me, but I always feel bad when I see where the grass is dying.

Things seem to die around me, especially things that I love.

And I love grass, as stupid as that sounds. I love the feel of it on my bare feet; I love stretching out on it beneath a warm sun, and I love the way it smells when it is fresh-cut. So, inevitably, all the beautiful emerald blades are turning brown. Because things that I love die. This is a fact that haunts me.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eli lives in Virginia with her husband, three kids, and rescue dog. She attended USC-L, Columbia College, Texas A&M, & George Mason University.

Settling on Biology, Eli participated in several research fellowships (in Texas and at NIH in MD), worked a few random jobs, and finally settled into a Sterling, Virginia lab where she focused on mastering practical histology and pathology procedures and applications.

Choosing to be a dedicated homemaker after the birth of her first biological child, Eli rediscovered her passion for writing. She’s never regretted the decision; not only are her kids the most amazing creatures, but writing fulfills her soul in a way science never did.

 Eli is the author of:

The Dead Trees Series (dystopian horror)

The Z Children Series (post-apocalyptic)

Mastic (supernatural suspense)

The Water is Sweeter (dark fantasy romance)

DRAG.N (dystopian thriller)

and more…

 

Contact Links:

Twitter: @Author_EliC

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorEliConstant

Books on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1leEDEo

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/6901568.Eli_Constant

WordPress: https://authoreliconstant.wordpress.com/

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Beneath Blood and Bone | The latest offering from Claire C Riley & Madeline Sheehan!

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Beneath Blood & Bone

~Thicker than Blood Series~

It is the end of the world…

They call him Eagle. Like the grand and beautiful animal that symbolizes freedom. And during these dark times, when humanity is full of nothing but suffering, a man with such a powerful name should be a beacon of hope.

He is anything but.

Her name is Autumn. Though she hasn’t said this name, or much of anything else, in the four years since the fall of civilization. A shell of her former self, and living wild in a cave at the bottom of a ravine, Autumn is accustomed to being alone. She prefers it actually, especially when her only other options for company are either trying to kill her, or worse, lock her up inside their walls.

Captured by Eagle’s people Autumn is suddenly thrust back into the land of the living, though she would hardly call it living. The community of Purgatory is full of sinners, the most evil of which seem to have set their sights on her.

In an act born of anger and defiance, Eagle becomes Autumn’s unexpected savior forcing these two solitary people into one another’s broken worlds. Neither knows quite what to make of the other, but one thing is certain.
To survive Purgatory, they will need to learn how to rely on each other; a feat that could quite possibly teach them how to live again.

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MY REVIEW!

Another hit from Claire C Riley & Madeline Sheehan! This is their third book together and they’re still melding amazingly well–to the point that it has become impossibly difficult to pinpoint Riley’s styling from Sheehan’s within the storyline and characters (Trust me, I tried to find where the different personalities shone through. Riley is a long-time favorite of mine and I’ve read everything she’s ever written. Once in a while, I did read a line in BB&B that slapped me with “Yeah, de Another hit from Claire C Riley & Madeline Sheehan! This is their third book together and they’re still melding amazingly well–to the point that it has become impossibly difficult to pinpoint Riley’s styling from Sheehan’s within the storyline and characters (Trust me, I tried to find where the different personalities shone through. Riley is a long-time favorite of mine and I’ve read everything she’s ever written. Once in a while, I did read a line in BB&B that slapped me with “Yeah, definitely Riley”).

BB&B follows a secondary character from Thicker than Blood (which was a poignant story of the true love between friends at the end of everything). Eagle was a bit of a (insert really derogatory name here) in TtB and BB&B does wonders to redeem him (if not make readers totally forget the terrible things he did in TtB). Autumn is broken yet strong–she’s inspiring in a way. And her affect on Eagle is a core part of the overall story.

Like others have said–Riley and Sheehan succeeded where many fail; they’ve created a second book in a series that is nearly better than the first. Another thing I love about the TtB series is that it’s not a series in the traditional sense. They’re separate stories intertwined to create something with true staying power.

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If you haven’t read Thicker than Blood, get on it!

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HOW TO BE A MERMAID | AUTHOR ERIN HAYES | RELEASES TODAY!

YET ANOTHER MARVELOUS, FIN-TASTIC RELEASE

IN

THE

FALLING IN DEEP COLLECTION!

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From Author Erin Hayes comes “How to Be a Mermaid”

(Read all the way to the bottom of the blog for a chance to win a copy!)

All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid. 

So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.

Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.

Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.

Meet Erin:

author erin  hayes

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.

She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Stalker Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erinhayesbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erinhayes5399

Instagram: https://instagram.com/erinhayes5399/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5335865.Erin_Hayes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Erin-Hayes/e/B009W8D29W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=139…

Women near sea in bikini and white skirt

Short Excerpt:

“What is this?” a rough, intense voice demanded.

I swam out of unconsciousness, an uncomfortable experience that revealed my entire body aching, my head most of all. It was so dark, and a strange feeling had overtaken my body. Like I was floating. I tried touching a hand to my head, only to find that I couldn’t.

What the-?

My hands were tied behind my back with what felt like…kelp?

The realization hit me and I thrashed about trying to free myself, and I finally opened my eyes.

I paused for a moment, unable to grasp exactly where I was.

I was…underwater?

Air bubbles popped out of my mouth in a flurry when a scream escaped my throat. A thousand thoughts filled my head, none of them making sense except for the overwhelming dread that I was somehow underwater with my hands tied behind my back. From what I could tell, there was no way I could get air to breathe. I’d lost a lot of air when I screamed.

Oh my god, I was going to drown.

My mermaid necklace was thrust in front of my vision, momentarily disorienting me.

“What is this? I demand you to tell me now!”

“What?” I asked out loud. A sharp pain zigzagged across my head from where I’d hit it on the rock. I was trapped underwater and this man wanted to know…what exactly? What my necklace was?

The necklace came even closer to my face, so much that I’d have to go cross-eyed in order to focus on it.

“Where did you get this? What is it?” the man demanded.

“It’s my…” I was unsure and still terrified of my situation. “It’s my necklace.”

Beauty model girl splashing water with her hair

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Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010IB0LFO

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*And please keep an eye out for more of our releases!*

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GIVEAWAY!

Head over to my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/authorEliConstant

Like, share, & comment ‘done’ on the HOW TO BE A MERMAID Giveaway post! It’s that easy!

Details: 1 winner will be chosen at random on 7/7/2015 @ 11 PM EST. Winner will be provided with an Amazon gift code good for one time use for HOW TO BE A MERMAID. Good luck!

Ella Malone | The Mermaid’s Den | NEW FALLING IN DEEP RELEASE!

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Ella Malone

The Mermaid’s Den

About the Author:

An avid believer of the saying “YES”, Ella Malone works to make the most of life in every way. She is a lover of all wonderful things: cherry blossoms, red lipstick, city skylines, snow covered country sides, the finest chocolate, a man’s hands, a woman’s back, vodka, and high heels. She has worked in public relations, advertising, and restaurants and recently decided to make her way doing what she loves, capturing the passionate moments of life on a page.

Ella Malone is the author of “The Mermaid’s Den” and the “Hot in the City Series” releasing in 2015.

Connect with the author online:

Blog: http://www.ellamalone.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellamalonewriter

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ellamalone/

Newsletter: https://www.pinterest.com/ellamalonewrite/

Blurb:
Laura and Tom Flynn married after she fell for him hook, line, and sinker — literally. Finding Laura in his fishing net had been a shock for Tom, but one he came to embrace as they quickly fell in love. For fifteen years, they have lived and worked by the sea, and Laura hasn’t thought once of what she left behind when she chose to marry Tom. She doesn’t regret giving up her mermaid form. It wasn’t a sacrifice. It was a good decision, and one she had to make to survive.

Now, with Tom missing at sea, Laura faces a decision she swore she’d never consider. In order to search for Tom and his crew, she must become a mermaid again and face the demons of the deep that she eagerly dodged when trading in her tail. Or she can stay on land and continue her life, but without Tom?

Does she enjoy her future alone, without the man she loves, or face her fears and her past in the ocean? Either way, nothing will be the same for her again.

Excerpt:

I stood ankle deep in the tidal pools of Southern Point Beach, the spot where Tom proposed.

The waves lapped at my legs, cold against the humid air. The rain slapped the water and bounced back, stinging my face and arms. I felt awake, alive.

As I walked deeper into the dark water, looking at the horizon, the ocean and sky merged into a blue-black mat, calling me, daring me to find where they met.  I continued deeper, feeling the sea embrace me, rolling around my waist before I dove to meet it.

Stretching my arms in front of me, I leaned into the next wave. Its white crest engulfed me. Moving further from the shore, deeper into my one-time home, I kicked hard to propel myself against the incoming tide.

Fighting with the sea, against the sea really, had once been second nature. Now I challenged my human instincts to turn to the surface, to fill my lungs with air, to return to the beach. I dove beneath the crashing waves, unable to feel the rain anymore. Instead, the ocean sent forth sharp tendrils of numbing sea water to greet me and welcome me home.

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Carrie Wells ~AT THE HEART OF THE DEEP~ A Falling in Deep Release!

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BLURB

Oceanographer Luke McAllister races to figure out why the ocean depth is changing off Florida’s Treasure Coast. But before he and his crew discover what’s transforming the deep, he stumbles upon an even greater mystery. Leagues below the waves, he swear he sees…a mermaid?
Anya isn’t allowed to get close to humans. But when a golden-haired researcher gets too close to her island, she can’t afford to stay away.

Together, this unlikely pair will seek to discover what’s causing shifts in ocean floor. While their new alliance is forbidden, Anya will risk everything to save her beloved ocean. The only problem is, she’s not sure what’s really luring her in, her love of the sea or the tempest Luke has stirred in her heart. Either way, Anya knows that the dangers facing the sea are nothing compared to what will happen to her when her father learns she’s broken the merfolks’ most sacred law.

Can Anya and Luke discover what lurks at the heart of the deep before it’s too late?

SNEAK PEEK:

I caught sight of his cut, thought a moment, and swam away. He floated there, treading water and wondering what would happen next. At that point, his face conveyed the pain in his side. I watched an intense sting replace what I knew of the original burning sensation of a coral abrasion, and the open wound spilled into the ocean at a steady pace.

Conceivably, I had underestimated the severity of the cut. Maybe the coral cut deeper than I thought. The blood clouded the water surrounding him, and now the problem remained of how to take the injured man across the reef without doing further damage. We still needed to cross at least two miles and climb a rocky beach. Or did we?

Before he had time to contemplate any other option, I approached him from below. I swam up to him slowly, and he did nothing. He didn’t dive to meet me or attempt to swim away. He hung vertically in the water, waiting.

He must have felt me before he could clearly see me. The water shifted as I neared, my physicality changing the flow of the ocean around me. He knew I was there, but he didn’t dive below. Was he afraid? Too hurt to move? Instead, he stayed still, moving as little as possible, allowing my approach, and keeping the blood loss at a minimum.

I moved below him and then up, along his body, until my head emerged from the inky blue water and he stared into my eyes. He let out a fast gasp and quickly sank below the surface.

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*Available on all Amazon regional platforms and more*

Carrie L. Wells

~At the Heart of the Deep~

About the Author:

~Carrie L. Wells crosses genres, writing everything from newspaper editorials and textbooks to paranormal romance novellas. Her first fiction publication, The Heart of the Deep, will release in June 2015, followed by Playing with Magic in October 2015. A New England native, she spent her childhood on the beach and inland, fishing and dancing, before moving to Florida. And while she doesn’t tan, nothing keeps her from a walk on the beach.

~Carrie earned her Master’s degree in English with a minor in Psychology from Hardin-Simmons University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida. With a love of chocolate, books, and her family, Carrie braves the world and chaos only children can bring. She currently lives in Florida with her fire-medic hubby and three children. She is an English instructor at Eastern Florida State College.

Connect with the author online:

Blog: http://www.carrielwells.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carriewellswrites

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/clwellswrites/

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Z Children: Awakening OUT NOW! Get your 1-click on!

Front cover

LINKS:

Add it to your Goodreads’ shelf: http://bit.ly/ZChildren_Goodreads

1-click on Amazon.com! Amazon.com:http://bit.ly/ZOMBIE_KIDS_ATTACK
1-click on Amazon.co.uk! Amazon.co.uk: http://bit.ly/Zombie_Kids_Attack_The_UK

Blurb

Our kids are no longer our future… They’re our demise.

Humanity’s advancements in medicine, meant to eliminate disease and extend life, have led to a macabre reality of childhood vaccinations gone terribly wrong.

Kids have transformed, changed into ravenous beasts that are nightmarishly quick, disproportionally strong, and void of empathy.

No amount of planning or preparation could have saved the human race against this unexpected attack, centralized in the heart of every human home, and the U.S. is quickly thrown into a chaos of Z Children. By the end of the first day, the entire world is jolted into a veritable hell on earth.

Yet, there are survivors- individuals who, by luck, skill, or circumstance, lived through the initial wave of destruction. These ‘lucky’ ones will join together, bonded in their quest for survival. They will try to maintain their humanity in a world where children have graduated from bubble baths to blood baths.

And they will try to find an answer to the only question that matters: What will tomorrow bring?

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What people are saying so far!

This book was awesome but unsettling. The thought of children as fearsome zombies and having to kill them is chilling. The story takes place from the point of view of a number of characters (Bonnie being my favourite) at the start of the apocalypse/outbreak and how it changed the lives of these characters. It was brutal, sad, heartbreaking with touch’s of humour as well.

I’ve read a good few zombie apocalypse books and this is up there with the best of them. I’m pretty sure there will be a part two, as the ending was pretty much a OMG What’s gonna happen moment. If you love Zombies, The Apocalypse and Horror you’ll love this. Highly recommended!”

-San, Goodreads’ user

Eli Constant has done it again, and this time she teamed up with author B.V. Barr to co-write this instant hit.

This awesome woman never fails to surprise me, taking one of my favourite horror genres and twisting it into something even more brutal and chilling than I thought possible.

Children. Z-Children to be more precise. What could be more horrifying than watching your own children turn into flesh eating monsters? Not much, and neither author held back on the gore and guts in this gut-wrenching horror story. (see what I did there? wink!)

The story takes on an interesting layout, of several stories that cross paths at the beginning of the outbreak? Apocalypse? End of mankind? So many ways to describe these scenes… The stories show different angles, and different versions of events from several characters that I very quickly grew to like and dislike, but regardless, the end was always inevitable for them.

The Z-children came.

The Z-children fed.

And the only way to stop these once beautiful little darlings is to kill them.

It’s both equal parts disturbing as it is awesome!”

Claire C Riley, Author of the Odium & Limerence Series

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SNEAK PEAK!

It didn’t open! What the hell? I pushed harder and looked down to see if the door was locked. My eyes were greeted by a little red sign over the release lever. HOLD FOR 15 SECONDS UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS. Crap. That’s less than ideal. They’re going to hear that sucker a mile away and make a beeline for my ass. Holding my breath, I pushed and held the release in place.

The emergency alarm blared to life and a split-second later, the door clicked and swung open. Without hesitation, I bolted across the threshold and ran. My legs pumped back and forth, my sensible shoes slapping the pavement in a rushed rhythm.

A gunshot sounded to my left and I turned quickly, almost falling over my own feet and face-planting on the asphalt. John Croxton, one of the deputy sheriffs, was firing warning shots over a crowd of people moving toward him. Coming to a halt, I opened my mouth to yell, to warn him that the mob couldn’t be reasoned with. I saw the children in the crowd, they moved faster than the adults, moved toward John… closer, closer. John fired again. I couldn’t look away. Morbid fascination- a brutal car crash on the freeway.

The children were upon him now. I watched as his body disappeared beneath the swarm of ringlets and bloody, cherub cheeks. I listened as he fired a last desperate shot into the air. And then his gun was silenced, replaced by his screams… an infinitely more disturbing sound than a gun shot.

Something told me to move, something primitive, something ancient. My inner self prodded me to run- like a hot poker on my backside. I snapped into action. The emergency alarm was still screeching and the infected children were beginning to look my way. My feet started pounding against the pavement again. I counted the footfalls, trying to ignore the snarling and spitting in the distance behind me.

I was almost at my house. So close. Only one more street to cross.

Everything around me was in ruin. People were screaming; a man was beating a child with a garbage can; an elderly woman was lying on the ground, an old wooden cane her only defense against an attacker with blonde pigtails. Percy, the local handyman, was fending off a preteen with a hammer. But he couldn’t defend himself from all sides. I gasped as a boy bounded on all fours towards Percy from behind. I was close enough to hear the squelching, flesh-ripping sound as the man lost a chunk of his calf. I flinched as Percy fell forward, the hammer useless against such calculated viciousness.

It was too much. I couldn’t handle this. How could I survive on my own? When so many were dying… so much fear?

I pushed harder, sprinting as fast as I could, fully focused on getting to my house. Getting to a phone. Because I realized that I didn’t have to be alone. It was a stupid, stupid time to realize that I needed Chris. But I did. I needed Chris. Not just because the world had gone to shit, but because if the world went to shit, I’d want to be with Chris until the end. It was just that simple.

Right foot down. Left foot down. Right foot down. Left foot down.

I could do this; I could make it home, pack a bag, and take the Jag to Dallas. I’d get Chris. We’d be safe together. And I’d wear that damn engagement ring with pride.

All I could think about was Chris now. I should have been paying attention to my surroundings.

Crossing the last street, I didn’t look left or right.

Just a little further and I’d be home.

The car seemed to come out of nowhere- they always do when you aren’t paying attention.

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Guest Post: John Palisano #SummerofZombie

More #SummerofZombie goodness!

Dying Days

WHERE YOU COME FROM

Settings in Zombie fiction

 

By John Palisano

When the zombie craze first started back up again several years back, it seemed the market quickly got overwhelmed with novels and stories that basically transposed George A. Romero’s Living Dead mythos into the author’s hometown. I read countless tales that seemed to be ripped from the cloth of the author’s life––names slightly changed––that basically cast the author as the hero in a tale against the living dead invading his or her hometown. Once, at a convention, I even made a joke about it during a panel. “Maybe I should write a zombie story in Los Angeles.”

Famous last words.

The question got me thinking. Is it important where a story takes place?

Absolutely it does. Especially in the world of zombie fiction. The setting as a character reveals so much, and brings with it a unique set…

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