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May 28, 2012

The Mourning Woods...Cover and Teaser 2

Happy Memorial Day all!

I hope you're having a pleasant holiday weekend.

It's been a busy couple of days for me.  Last week I had my very first book signing.  A few people have been asking how it went.  The honest answer is it was fun and I learned a lot; however, it was also fairly slow.  Sadly, I had to bag my reading as almost everyone who did show up had a small child in tow.  The selections I had picked were fairly tame, but were still well within the PG-13 range.  I don't mind traumatizing my own kids, but I prefer not to horrify others (or get beaten up by their parents :) .

Alas, the art gallery crowd is probably not my audience.  Not a lot of horror lovers there.  Fret not, though, I am already moving ahead with some new plans.  Here's a hint: comic book shops...we'll be talking soon.

OK, so on to other stuff.  As I've mentioned before, I have a new book that's coming out in roughly a month.  It's the third in my "Tome of Bill" horror/comedy vampire series.

To help whet your appetite for the misadventures to come, I shall be posting various teasers from the book between now and launch. Oh and what's that up above...a low-res sneak peak at the cover.  Pretty cool, no?

Now without further ado, I present to you teaser 2 for

THE MOURNING WOODS
The Tome of Bill, Part3




But that's not all, true believers!  I figured I'd mix it up a bit this time. Thus I present to you a choice.  You can either read this selection, or click on the video below to listen to me read it to you.  Yeah, what can I say?  I was bored Saturday night and playing with my cellphone.  If you pick the video option...well I apologize in advance.  :)








I followed Dave in and shut the door behind me. Fortunately, his place was vampire safe during the day. The guy kept his apartment as dark as a cave. It was perfect for both gaming and not bursting aflame. Being that we still had a few hours before the rest of the party arrived, I followed him to the back room where he kept a makeshift lab.

“How’s the research going?”

“Same as usual,” he admitted. “Until I get some corporate backing, I’m stuck using whatever shit I can purloin from hospital storage.”

I laughed. “You’re like Dr. Evil...if he shopped at Wal-Mart.”

“Tell me about it,” he sighed. “I’ve been working on this stuff for the better part of a year. Figured I’d have some breakthroughs by now.”

“Still nothing?”

“Almost. I mean I’ve isolated some bizarre protein strands in your blood, but I’m fucked if I know what they do. Originally I figured it was some sort of virus in your system...”

“Like in Blade?”

“Yeah, but no such luck.”

“Oh well, you tried,” I said, turning back towards his living room. I can’t say I would be too sorry to see this end. I couldn’t help but feel like a lab rat around Dave lately.

“Not so fast! (Damn!) It doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I think it’s time to refocus my efforts.”

“Define refocus.”

“I need to take this back to square one, watch what happens during the vampire turning process.”

That caught my attention, and not in a good way either. Yeah, Dave was definitely starting to get a Dr. Frankenstein vibe to him.

“I really hope you’re not suggesting I bite someone, just so you can watch them go from living to undead. That’d be kind of fucked up.”

He shot me a withering glare. Apparently he had been taking lessons from Ed. “Do I look like I want to go to jail? Let’s be serious here for a second. I want a nice comfy research grant, not to wind up some convict’s bitch.”

“Then how...”

“Did you learn nothing in college? When science wants to test something, we turn to our four legged friends.” With that, he pointed out a little tank sitting off in a corner of the room. Inside were a bunch of white mice.

“You want me to put mice in my mouth?”

Dave chuckled in response. “If I was going to do that, it would be to post the pictures to Facebook. No. While the thought of you chewing on rodents is amusing, I’d prefer to obtain a venom sample so I can test it under controlled conditions.”

“Venom?”

“For lack of a better word, yes. Since I can’t seem to isolate a virus, it stands to reason that there’s something else in a vampire bite that causes the change. It might be saliva, but I’d be willing to bet it has something to do with those nasty canines you’re sporting.”

I rolled my eyes (guess Sally’s starting to rub off on me). “Did you ever think that maybe it’s beyond knowing...supernatural and all that crap? Maybe it’s just magic.”

Now it was Dave’s turn to do the eye-roll. “In the Middle Ages, people thought the sun was magic. Hell, if you showed your cell phone to certain tribes in the Amazon today, they’d either worship you or burn you at the stake. Magic is just a bullshit term for stuff we haven’t figured out yet. I, for one, intend to figure it out.”

“Ok fine, I’ll humor you. So how are we going to do this?”

“The same way they milk snakes.”

“Dude, I know you work long hours and don’t have much time for a social life, but no way are you milking me.”

“Would probably be the most action you’ve gotten in a while,” Dave sniffed. “But let’s not be stupid here.” He grabbed a cup from a shelf. The top was covered in some sort of plastic membrane. “Here, bite this.”

To say I was somewhat less than impressed would be an understatement. “You do realize how batshit insane this is, right? I mean outside of the stupidity of milking me for venom, you’re planning on using it to make vampire mice? Seriously, tell me that’s not a low-budget horror movie in the making.”

“I have it covered,” he insisted. “I have welders’ gloves for any handling that needs to be done. The tank is reinforced Plexiglas, and it’s sitting right next to the window. All I have to do is open the blinds.”

“And if one should escape?”

“I bought three dozen mousetraps and a pound of raw, bloody, chop meat.”

I blinked in surprise at that last one. “Well, ok that is pretty fucking clever.”

“Thank you. Now bite!” he commanded, handing me the glass.

I sighed. Oh well, in for a penny. I extended my fangs then also blackened my eyes...hey might as well make a show of it, and did as asked. About a minute later, Dave said that was probably good enough and took back the glass. I don’t know if it was venom or just my drool, but there was definitely something collected inside of it.

“Just one more thing,” he said, placing it to the side. He began to rummage in a nearby desk.

“Let me guess, more blood samples,” I sighed, starting to roll up my sleeve.

“Not quite.” He turned back to me holding a pair of garden shears. “Take off your shoe.”

“Why?”

“I need a more extensive tissue sample so I can continue testing your regenerative abilities.”

“More extensive?”

“I figure one of your little toes should work. I’d ask for a finger, but I know you do a lot of typing.”

I held up my hands and started backing away. “Whoa there, Hoss!”

“Oh don’t be such a baby. It should grow back before you even leave here today. Didn’t you say that other vampire’s entire hand grew back?”

“Sally.”

“Whatever. It’s not like I’m asking to cut off your dick. It’s just a little toe. Evolution-wise, they’re not even necessary anymore.”

“I don’t care. I’m not letting you prune my digits, no matter much unnecessary they are.”

“Pity. I was planning on dropping a vorpal weapon into the game. Doesn’t Kelvin use a saber?” he asked, referring to my character.

“Not gonna work,” I replied. That lasted all of two seconds before I blurted out, “What kind of plusses are we talking about?” Damn my weakness for treasure!

“Four at the least.”

“I don’t know...”

“Oh and did I mention that the lovely Princess Sheila was considering making you her royal concubine as thanks for saving her from those giants?”

“That’s low, dude.”

“I’m not above bribery. So about that shoe...”

“No. No fucking way. Not going to happen. I don’t care if you throw in the armor of the elder gods too. There is absolutely nothing you can say to convince me.”


***


Ten minutes later there was a knock on Dave’s door. It was the cops. Guess his neighbors got a little freaked out by all the screaming. What a surprise. It’s amazing just how many nerve endings are contained in one little toe.




Sounds like Bill just can't catch a break.  A toe...ouch!  Sadly for him, that's not the worst pain he's in for. Why? Well that would be telling. You'll have to wait and see...

The Mourning Woods: The Tome of Bill, Part 3 is coming soon.

Click here to read Teaser 1

In the meantime, be sure to check out the first two books in the series:

Bill The Vampire:The Tome of Bill, Part1

Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook


Scary Dead Things:The Tome of Bill, Part2

Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook

May 17, 2012

Book Reading and Signing (sorta)

So this weekend is a pretty big one for me.  It's my first ever BOOK SIGNING!!! (wooo!).

There's only one problem...I screwed up.  Due to delays with my printer and abject stupidity on my part, I'm going into the weekend with one major deficiency with regards to a book signing.

Here's a hint as to what I'm missing: BOOKS!

Seriously!  How flipping idiotic is that??  I mean jeez, you'd think I had spent the last week sucking down margaritas like there was no tomorrow.

Well ok, maybe I had one or two, but still...

and they were really good....

Mango flavored even!

Err...ok, I know I know.  Enough with the pathetic excuses.  More importantly, how am I gonna fix this mess?

Simple!  There's no reason for you to suffer for my moronic tendencies.

Thus, my solution is to reward you for my own failings.

Pop on by and say Hi!  I'll be conducting readings from my latest book, BIGFOOT HUNTERS.  Heck, I might even throw you a sneak peak at its upcoming sequel, DEVIL HUNTERS.

When all is said and done, come on over and jot your name down on the nice sheet of paper.  Just for coming on over and making me feel special (or for berating me for not having any books to sell), I will gift you with a complimentary copy of either BIGFOOT HUNTERS or my comedy/horror novel, BILL THE VAMPIRE.  Your choice and also in the format of your preference.

Like Kindle? No problem.  Own a Nook?  That's cool.  Want a Print version?  Now you're talking!  Ask for a Print version and not only will I mail you a FREE copy, but I will make it a free AUTOGRAPHED copy.  Hey, it was supposed to be a book signing after all, wasn't it?  What good is the damn thing if you don't get my John Hancock out of the deal?


Here are the gory details:
When: Sunday May 20
Time: Noon to 2PM (EST)
Where: Hip Thrift and Art Gallery
407 South Ave W
Westfield, NJ 07090-1403
across from NJ Transit rail station
Free parking behind store
(908) 232-8223

Stop by, chat, listen to me figure out how to read a chapter without the naughty words, and get a FREE gift in the process.

Not too shabby for a complete screw-up, is it?

May 9, 2012

Double Book Review: Bible Girl and Atticus for the Undead

Once again I find myself having finished (albeit still editing) a story, and once more, like a dog that hasn’t pooped on the rug in a while, I am rewarding myself for the effort. That reward being a small tradition I began when I started writing: a few books and the time to read them.

If anything, that is my lone regret with regards to writing: it takes away from my reading time. Thus, using it as an incentive for myself makes the whole deal that much sweeter. In other words, it works for me!

Hopefully it works for you too as it gives me a chance to highlight here some of the finer works I’ve treated myself to.



Bible Girl by EC Stilson

I am not normally a listener of Lady Gaga; however, I have to admit that while reading this book one her songs came to mind: Born This Way. If I could think of the perfect theme song for Stilson’s younger self, that would be it.

Bible Girl is the second in a trilogy of memoirs from EC Stilson. The first was the excellent and emotionally wrenching The Golden Sky. However, much like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, this sequel is actually a prequel. It details the final days of Stilson’s high school career and her journey towards both becoming an adult as well as falling in love.

Whereas The Golden Sky has a tragic undertone to it, Bible Girl is a much lighter affair. Most of the drama is centered around teenage angst as well as several members of the support cast (many of whom come across as judgmental assholes if I may be frank), but that’s about as deep as it gets. Regardless, Stilson has a way of making even her lowest moments shine.

That being said, the majority of this book focuses on the humorous and absurd aspects of her life, and the odd circumstances that lead her from being an awkward teen to those first important steps as an adult.

Stilson truly has a gift for writing, being able to take what might otherwise be mundane events from her life and turning them into an engrossing story that keeps one turning page after page.

If I have even a single critique about this book it’s that on occasion one wants to reach through the pages and smack the author’s teenaged self upside the head. However, I’m convinced the same can be said of anyone. Who amongst us wouldn’t want to step into a time machine and beat some sense into our younger self? If such a service was ever offered, I know I’d be the first in line.

Bible Girl is a fun story about growing up as an outsider. It’s funny, quirky, and thought provoking at the same time. It’s every bit as good as her first book, which makes me look forward to the next in the series. 5 Stars.

Click Here to Buy BIBLE GIRL (and read my review) on Amazon



Atticus For The Undead by John Abramowitz

Atticus for the Undead reminded me a lot of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. No, I don’t mean the dopier aspects of the movie. It’s because this is a small, personal tale set amidst a much larger backdrop, most of which we’re only given hints about.

Abramowitz’s story takes place in a world where supernatural beings (known as arcanes) have become known to the world. However, rather than waging war against humanity, they’re just trying to fit in...not entirely unlike the beings from Alien Nation or District 9. Unfortunately, also like the creatures from these works, the arcanes in Atticus for the Undead must contend with racism and being treated like second class citizens.

Who will help them? Why Hunter Gamble, that’s who! Gamble, the main protagonist of the story, is an idealistic young lawyer who’s fighting to do what’s right despite the risks (both personal and professional) to him and those around him.

I am normally not a fan of legal dramas, either written or on TV; however, Abramowitz’s story never gets bogged down in tedious details. There’s enough there to give you the sense that he knows what he’s talking about, without making it feel like you’re reading a legal brief. It’s combined with an interesting take on the various denizens of the supernatural world, of which a few bad seeds ruin it heavily for the rest.

There are a few downsides I need to point out. For starters, some of the dialogue doesn’t feel natural (and no, I don’t mean supernatural either). At times the flow of it feels a bit stilted. More problematic, it almost seems as if a chunk of story is missing in the middle. There’s a romantic subplot that suddenly goes from A straight to Z with no feeling for how it got there. Because of this, when one character suddenly proclaims their love for another, it kind of ends up feeling creepy and desperate instead of romantic. Finally, there’s the ending. I won’t spoil it except to say that I thought it was a good ending. However, it also felt a bit too abrupt. I think it could have been fleshed out a bit more so as to leave a better impact.

That being said, I enjoyed Atticus for the Undead. It has made me rethink my normal distaste for legal entertainment. Should Law & Order ever introduce zombies, I might have to give a look. Atticus for the Undead is a fun peek into one of the many microcosms of life that might occur just on the fringes of an epic story. A solid 4 Star read.

Click Here to Buy ATTICUS FOR THE UNDEAD (and read my review) on Amazon

May 8, 2012

Guest Post by M. Pax: Four Earths to Support the Human Population?

Sometimes coincidences are almost so odd as to be a little spooky. On just about everything I do online, I list myself as a writer and gadget geek. Well sometimes I forget about the geek part a bit...at least here (don't think for a second I'm not walking through life rotting my brain with some gizmo or other). Anyway, I've been feeling bad about that lately and have been racking my brain to try to come up with something to level the playing field again, lest my geek cred be called into question.

Enter M. Pax. She's a fabulous writer who I know through both twitter and Triberr. Sci-fi is her genre of choice. Tell me that's not a match made in heaven. Even better, she was kind enough to accept my invitation to come and guest post on the Poptart Manifesto.

She's here to give us a little primer on Earth and how our sad lack of sufficient resources is one day going to come back and bite us (read: we're screwed!). Will her vision of the future come to pass? Who can say. However, that's not to say you can't read about it right now in her awesome Backworlds series. Thus, without further blathering...

Four Earths are Currently Needed to Support the Human Population

In October2011, humanity reached a population of 7 billion souls. Just a mere twelveyears after hitting 6 billion. It took us 72,000 years to reach the firstbillion.

To maintainthe comfort of living just a tiny fraction of us enjoy, we need four moreEarths. A changing climate puts even more stress on populations and theplanet’s resources. Our sun is about half way through it’s life cycle. When itgoes, so do we.

Therefore, ifwe plan to adapt and survive, we must discover out how to leave this planet andfind other worlds to settle and live upon.

We have yetto figure out how to get past the Moon. Sure, we have the technology — ships,equipment, and so forth — to get to Mars, but we haven’t figured out how tosurvive in space yet. We need gravity otherwise our bones and other systemsdeteriorate. We become weaker. Recently, it was discovered our eyesightsuffers, too.

Plus, ourships aren’t fast enough to reach a planetary system outside of our own in areasonable length of time.

So, ourfirst forays in colonization will probably not be with live people. They’ll becomputer controlled ships with the materials to grow new people on the otherend. People engineered to live on the worlds their ship lands on. People who’venever set foot on Earth.

That was myvision when creating the world setting of the Backworlds series. The Backworlds, and it’s sequel, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, tellstories about humans settling these other worlds.


The Backworlds Afterthe war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds.Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s fatherdecides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family andfriends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond hisown, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere,he vows to make his father regret this day.

Availableas an ebook from: Amazon / AmazonUK / Smashwords / Feedbooks

Free onSmashwords & Feedbooks. Will be free on Amazon in a few weeks.

Sign up forM. Pax’s newsletter to benotified the moment The Backworlds goes FREE on Amazon, and when it becomesavailable from other retailers.

About the author:
M. Pax’sinspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert whereshe shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also comefrom Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a starguide. She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to anobsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website, www.mpaxauthor.com and at Wistful Nebuae. You’ll find linksthere to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

May 2, 2012

The Mourning Woods: Teaser 1

It's that time of the...err...year again! I am pleased to announce that Book 3 in my continuing series of foul-mouthed horror comedies about a geeky vampire named Bill is nearing completion.

To help whet your appetite for the misadventures to come, I shall be posting various teasers from the book between now and launch.

Now without further ado, I present to you teaser 1 for

THE MOURNING WOODS
The Tome of Bill, Part3




 “What do you mean she quit!?” The question came out...well ok, it came out far less harsh than I had intended. I really meant to scream a massive string of obscenities into the phone. However, even I had to admit that yelling, “What the fuck are you talking about you balding, little middle management douche of a shit!?” probably wouldn’t have been particularly diplomatic, considering that I was speaking with my boss.

“I know it’s abrupt,” replied the voice of Jim, my manager at HopScotchGames, “and believe me I’m as upset as any of you. But we’ll just have to handle our own paperwork for a while. Don’t worry; I’ll start interviewing for a replacement next week.”

My roommate and coworker, Ed, hit the mute button. We were seated in his bedroom/office, as we usually were for the weekly conference call. He knew me well enough to know a tirade was coming on, one that it was probably best to spare Jim from, especially if we both wanted to avoid filing for unemployment anytime soon.

Jim’s voice continued to drone, moving on to whatever other topic of importance was next on the agenda. He could have been telling us that he had just won the lottery and was, even now, getting a blowjob from a thousand-dollar hooker, and I wouldn’t have heard a word.

“Calm down,” Ed said preemptively.

“Paperwork!?” I barked, ignoring him. “He thinks I’m worried about paperwork? The only woman I’ve ever loved just walked out of my life and he’s concerned that he has to print his own fucking PowerPoints!”

“Being just a tad melodramatic aren’t we?”

“No! I mean, I know we’ve only been dating for a few months, but...”

“Dating?” Ed interrupted. “You’ve gone out for coffee maybe three...”

“Four!”

“Fine, four times. And didn’t you say it was Dutch each time?”

I glowered at my friend, letting my fangs extend menacingly. He just stared right back, nonplussed. Here I am, a vampire, an immortal terror of the night, and I can’t even get the humans I share an apartment with to tremble in fear. My god, life is just not fair!

“Are you done acting pouty?” Ed asked.

“This is not pouty. It’s supposed to be threatening.”

“You might want to practice that in the mirror some more,” he continued, “Anyway, as I was saying, you’re overreacting just a bit.”

“Like you would know?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. My older sister used to force me to watch Disney movies when we were growing up. Trust me; four non-dates do not a fairytale romance make.”

“There was more to it than that and you know it. Sheila and I...”

“Had boatloads of mind-blowing sex?”

“Well no...”

“Played multiple games of tongue-hockey?”

“Not exactly.”

“Spent every waking moment together?”

“Ok, I get the point!”

“Christ! Did you ever even hold her fucking hand?”

“Well once I brushed up against...”

“Exactly,” he stated. “You pined for her for three years and that’s it! I had a more intimate relationship with my grandmother.”

“Thanks for the visual, dude.”

“Do you guys have any questions?” the voice from the speakerphone asked.

“Huh!?” Ed and I both replied simultaneously. Oh yeah, we had forgotten all about Jim. Hopefully he hadn’t been saying anything important.

Ed quickly unmuted the phone and said, “Nope. I think we’re good.”

“Awesome!” Jim replied. “Then I’ll let you guys get back to work. Keep me updated on your projects.”

“We will,” I answered, having no idea what projects he was talking about. A second later, the call was cut off from his end. Oh well, I could always tease them out of our boss later with a carefully worded email. Besides, Jim was so far from the top of my priority list right then that he just barely even existed.

“Goddammit!” I cried and brought my fist down. The cheap folding table that served as our conference room immediately buckled, sending the phone clattering to the floor. Crap! Sometimes I forget that our furnishings aren’t exactly built to withstand vampire-level abuse.

“I can see that you’re having a moment, Bill,” Ed replied nonchalantly, standing up. “Coffee?”

“Sure. Blood and cream in mine if you don’t mind.”

“No prob. Regular or Baileys?”

“The latter. It’s going to be one of those days.”

He nodded and walked from the room, leaving me alone with my rapidly darkening thoughts.

I tell you, when life decides to kick you in the balls, it sometimes makes it a point to wear cleats. It seems like that’s been my existence for almost a year now, one big haymaker to the nuts after another.



Sounds like Bill's day is starting off badly. Sadly for him, it's about to get a whole lot worse. How? Well that would be telling. You'll have to wait and see...

The Mourning Woods: The Tome of Bill, Part 3 is coming soon.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the first two books in the series:

Bill The Vampire:The Tome of Bill, Part1

Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook


Scary Dead Things:The Tome of Bill, Part2

Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook