Guest Fiction: Initiation by Joshua Skye

As an appendage to The Angels of Autumn, Joshua Skye wrote another fantastic tale to help solidify the world the book takes place in. If you haven’t picked up The Angels of Autumn yet, stay tuned after the story!

Initiation

Her name was Francis Hayes and she lived across the street from that Kingsley woman, the one with those little deviant twin boys. At eighty-seven years old she liked nothing more than to sit in her wicker porch swing and watch the denizens of Wren go by, noting and commenting on the disgusting regression of the collective character. The worst music known to man was pumped at full volume from unkempt vehicles, the clothes the young’uns wore were an affront to the eyes, and the way they talked to each other and disrespected their elders was just unforgivable. If her own kids hadn’t walked off with her rifles back when Reagan was in office she would have loved to lay one across her lap as she sat on the porch, intimidating all those who noticed her as they sped on by. The thought of it made her chuckle.

With gin in her coffee and a Pall Mall between the fingers of her right hand, she ambled out the front door. The morning had a chill in the air and a wispy mist ebbed and flowed leisurely through the valley. The sounds of the waking township seemed muted, distorted.

Her weary bones creaked, joints popped, as she sat down. She’d made herself an overstuffed cushion from one of her dead husband’s old tee-shirts. She sunk down and snuggled into it. She missed being able to pull her legs up and crossing them before her. Her toes barely touched the weathered old boards of the porch, but it was just enough to rock herself back and forth. There was comfort in it.

The inconsiderate cretin on the souped-up, muffler-deprived Harley Davidson thundered by, he did every weekday morning and every weekday evening. She hated bikers, they were so rude and disrespectful. If there was any of the young’uns she would have liked to actually blast into oblivion, it was him. She couldn’t count the number of mornings he’d yanked her from her precious sleep with the din of his crotch-rocket. She was convinced there wasn’t a jury in the world that would have imprisoned her for ridding the world of such an impertinent twerp. She took a long sip of her enhanced coffee and then another and then a third. It wouldn’t be long before she’d have to struggle to her feet and go make herself another one. She’d have to get herself one of those new, absurdly large mugs she’d seen down at the general store.

As the sun lifted higher in the sky and the wispy fog grew thin, children appeared in shuffling groups as they walked to school. They often disgusted Francis with their garish clothing, stupid haircuts, raunchy language, and hyperactive ways. If she could have slapped them all out of their ignorance, she would have. She imagined herself younger and spry and able to fly off her porch in a few bounces to the sidewalk. There might even be a kind of gratification in assaulting those silly little things, the looks of shock contorting their cherubic faces eliciting laughter from her. Giggling out loud she drew the attention of two teenage boys in the midst of horseplay. They whispered and pointed. She gave them a dismissive gesture as she groaned and got to her feet. It was time for another cup of coffee with an even more generous splash of gin. She hobbled inside.

Her house was relatively quiet and still. The darkness was penetrated by beams of sunlight seeping in from the spaces between the heavy curtains, flurries of dust danced in them. She had an old black and white television set, but she never watched it anymore. There was nothing but trash on these days. She didn’t need to turn on the light in the kitchen. Even though it was almost pitch black she easily moved about it. She knew her home only too well, she’d lived there for over fifty years. She could feel the steam from the coffee on her old fingertips as she poured it. The gin from the fridge cooled it immediately.

She took a long, indulgent gulp as she trundled out of the kitchen. Two figures were standing in the shadows of her living room. Her heart seemed to leap into her throat as she flinched away from them. Her mug slipped out of her hands and shattered on the hardwood floor. Her sudden shock was instantly replaced by anger. “What the hell are you doing in my house? Get out of here right this minute. Do you hear me?”

The teenagers were whispering, pointing.

She pointed right back and then gestured toward the front door. “Get out of here!”

One of the boys was shoved forward by the other. As he moved into a beam of sunlight strange sounds leached out of him, warped and warbling noises like the cries of things underwater. His face wasn’t human, it was a strange glistening smear with vague, child-like features sinking down into a gelatinous visage.

Francis brought her arthritically twisted fingers up to her face. She wanted to scream but nothing would come out. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She didn’t want to. It was nightmarish. It was hellish. She watched in wide-eyed dread as what had once been a teenage boy oozed out of the clothes it wore. A mouth opened, there were rows and rows of jagged teeth. And then it pounced. She fell, hit the floor hard, her head bouncing off of it. She’d blinked out by the time the monster began to violate and eat her.

***

If you enjoyed that, perhaps you’ll also enjoy Joshua’s The Angels of Autumn, It’s a clever thriller peppered with a little gay erotica to spice things up!

TAOA_Cover_V5Kincaid Kingsley returns to the town of his childhood after the death of his twin brother, Xander. Believing the crime to be motivated by hate and prejudice, Kincaid sets out to discover why the police are no longer actively investigating the case and hopefully uncover his brother’s killer in the process.

Things in Wren are not as they seem, however, and the closer that Kincaid gets to an answer, the more danger he encounters. Why are all the townspeople so afraid to share what they know?

As the mystery surrounding Xander’s death unravels, the town becomes increasingly blind to what is actually going on. Can Kincaid discover who killed his brother and save the town from evil?

Interested in picking up a copy?

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, France, Japan,

CreateSpace (print)

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

***

joshy4Joshua Skye was born in Jamestown, New York but predominantly grew up in the Texas Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He is a graduate of K.D. Studio Actor’s Conservatory of the Southwest and has worked on indie/underground films and on stage. He lives in rural Pennsylvania with his partner Ray of sixteen years and their eight year old son, Syrian. His short stories have appeared in anthologies from STARbooks Press, Knightwatch Press, Sirens Call Publications, Rainstorm Press, JMS Books and periodicals such as Blood and Lullabies. He is the author of The Singing Wind, Bareback: A Werewolf’s Tale, The Grigori and the The Angels of Autumn, along with the forthcoming Midnight Rainbows.

New Release: Finding Esta by Shah Wharton

Finding Esta Christmas Giveaway Banner

Finding Esta Christmas Giveaway Banner

Welcome to the

Finding Esta‘ Launch Christmas Giveaway!

Yes – it’s finally here. After three years of writing, re-writing, beta readers, editing, cover designing, book trailers, yet more edits and many agonising hours of formatting, the first instalment of The Supes Series is ready and finally up on Amazon! There are five e-copies (you choice of file: ePub/Mobi or PDF) up for grabs, so please have a go and get Finding Esta FREE for Christmas. It’s $2.99 on Amazon, and will be for sale on Smashwords and Kobo in by February, and in print shortly after that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is the fabulous cover – Like it?

BRIEF Blurb: A young journalist sets off to find Esta, but is unprepared for all she finds, and soon realises it’s a journey from which she may never return. This is a new adult, urban fantasy about one woman’s struggle to retain her identity while everything she knows crumbles around her. Finding Esta is the first of an Urban Fantasy/New Adult Series

Please enjoy the book trailer

Yeah, But What’s The Book About?

An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.

When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnap of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.

Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….

Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searching for logic, feeling deceived by both.

Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?

Author Biography

Shah Wharton
Shah Wharton

Shah began meeting authors and bookworms galore when she began blogging back in 2010. She’s learned a lot about blogging and writing on her adventure, mostly from the awesome advice of her online peer-group.

She uses her imagination to write short stories as well as the poetry, but stumbled into her first novel, but falling in love with the character Luna in a short story she wrote 2010. It became grew into Finding Esta, the beginning of Luna’s journey to self-discovery. Finding Esta is her début novel and the first of The Supes Series.

Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and picture enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her qualifications include BSc(Hons) psychology, counselling, mentoring.

She also has one short story published The Dead Party & two poems published in anthologies.

Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive. She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.


SHAH’S CONTACT FORM


Get Social With Shah

AmazonGoodreadsEmailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestRSSStumbleUponTwitter

Acknowledgements.

Praise to…Derek Murphy at Creative IndieCovers who developed the incredible book cover

& AubrieAnne at Who’s Your Editor? who did the final edit

Shah would also like to add…

Huge thanks to all the beta readers, patient and enduring online friendships,

and to the mass of wonderful writer resources, all of which took me from thinking,

“Could I do that?” to “Hell yeah, I can do this!”

* * *

For more on Shah’s other writing, inc. poetry and short stories,

try Shah’s Scribbles.

* * *

Guest Post: Eddie Rotten

I recently put out a call for guest posts – if you have something to say about writing or the publishing industry, I’d like to hear about it and share it with my readers. Eddie Rotten, a very good friend of mine answered the call and told me about why he writes. Knowing you’d love to read it as well, I’ve decided to share it with you as well! Without further ado…

EDDIE ROTTEN HERE!

I’m going to do a little guest post for the mighty Sirens Call Publications. (Editor’s Note: While I am Co-Owner of Sirens Call Publications, this is my personal blog). I ‘LOVE’ to write. And because of that love, I’ve spent many nights staying up late, just making sure the ideas in my head seep out to the screen so I won’t forget them. I used to do sticky notes, and then all those little yellow and pink bastards would be up all over the place. But I’ve moved on to the responsible/irresponsible thing, and just do it. My wife and kids suffer sometimes. Like when it’s my night to clean the kitchen, but I’m stuck to my seat grinding my teeth on a gory part of my story. I’ve definitely become a better typist throughout this ordeal. My WPM rate is probably through the roof. Not counting my use of the ‘delete’ button. My pinky finger has callouses on it now because of that damn key.

Writing horror has caused my dream patterns to change too. I used to dream only about abduction. Then I dreamed about bloody abduction. Then I dreamed about being abducted to save me from zombies. There are others too, but the more I let you into my mind; the further you’d probably step away. As writers, I think we all have that problem. We are able to imagine things more vividly. We actually follow through with our imagination. Not necessarily with guns or knives killing people literally, but on paper. The reader gets to experience parts of our subconscious without feeling the guilt of actual crime, or good deed. This makes us immortal. We are much more than humans. We are aliens.

My blog at www.eddierotten.com has become an entity. An umbrella that houses many other projects. Everything from story writing, to making friends online, to even doing voice over work for other horror minded people around the world. It has opened more doors and adventures for me than I ever thought possible. For that, I’m thankful for the over active, annoying, persistent, narcissistic, gamble of an imagination that I’ve been given…. For free. People often ask me, as I’m sure they ask you, “Why do you put so much on your plate?” Because it makes me happy. That’s why.

Please visit me at www.eddierotten.com. Listen to my podcast on iTunes under ZOMBIE LIFE PODCAST. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to email me your wildest fantasies so I can write about them in my zombie book: eddierotten101(at)gmail(dot)com.

As the ever growing community of ZOMBIE FIGHT CLUB (ZFC) MEMBERS SAY.

KILL’EM ALL!!

EddieRottenZombieLife2

Legends of Urban Horror: A Friend of a Friend Told Me

Sirens Call Publications has released its latest anthology

Legends of Urban Horror: A Friend of a Friend Told Me

UL_Front_CoverWe’ve all come across them. The warnings told by a friend of a friend – don’t go in there, I wouldn’t if I were you, did you hear about…? Or perhaps your mind leaps to the cryptozoological realm – creatures barely glimpsed, and yet to be identified. Other spheres of existence – they can’t be real… certainly not until you’ve experienced one!

Maybe the real horror lies in the minds and hearts of others just like you. People with a slightly bent perspective that feed on the fear in others. Twisted souls that would take advantage of the weak, or vulnerable. Those who believe they are doing good for a higher power, or to gain power simply for themselves. Petty vengeance that breathes a life of its own once unleashed.

Whatever your poison, the ten stories in Legends of Urban Horror:  A Friend of a Friend Told Me are sure to intrigue, and perhaps bring back fears long forgotten.

Run, don’t look back… or should you?

Contributing Authors include:

Morgan Bauman, Kimberly A. Bettes, Matthew Borgard, Alex Chase, Austin Fikac, K. Trap Jones, Sean Keller, Lisamarie Lamb, Jon Olson, and C.M. Saunders

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Purchase Links:

CreateSpaceSmashwordsAmazon US, and Amazon UK

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If you’re interested in reviewing Legends of Urban Horror: A Friend of a Friend Told Me, please email me at Kalla(at)SirensCallPublications(dot)com and we can set you up with a complimentary digital copy.

Guest Post: Angela Brown

Today I am honoured to feature a blog post by Angela Brown, author of the new release Neverlove. Angela was born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home. AngelaReading and writing have been her lifelong passions. It was around the time she gave birth to her forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that she really took writing seriously. After all, how could she teach her child to follow her dreams if she hadn’t tried herself? As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, she favors the magical, mysterious, the darker side of life…even harbors a secret fright for things that go bump in the night. Neverlove is a special project spawned from a blog-challenge-turned-blog-opera, the Abby and Basil affair. It is the first in the Shadow Jumpers series.

And without further ado, I give you Angela’s

What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting

I expected to one day launch into my writing career.

Only… I had no idea how it would happen.

So I did what any aspiring author would do. I promptly freaked the heck out because it seemed that others had their game together and there I was, floundering like a beached whale after a fickle stutter-step-screeching-halt attempt with a previous project.

Would I self-publish again?

Would I get an agent and find one of my projects at one of the Big 6-soon-to-be-Big 5?

Would acceptance at a smaller press be better for me?

I could have pondered these things until kingdom come, but a good writer bud gave me a gentle nudge. Back into the water I went, a bundle of nervous flubber and blubber. My friend recommended blogging to get my fins out to people, a chance to network with other JoustingAngelawriters, learn a few things. I resisted at first, again, unaware of what to expect. Didn’t think I’d have anything to say or that anyone would bother to stop and read. The last thing I expected was to have over 300 followers a year and a half later (THANK YOU!), an online jousting championship under my belt, a special Partners in ParanormYA gig with a great writer (Hugs, Gwen Gardner!) and Neverlove, the novel I didn’t know I would write…that I now love.Angela Partners

In Neverlove, Abigail and Basil grew up in different homes with one thing in common. Love was not an expected thing. Hoped for, maybe…but not expected. Yet, when life took its twists and turns, they found the unexpected in each other. Their struggle arose in keeping such a rare gem amid the secrets and the duties that took them both on different paths away from each other.

Neverlove, was, truthfully, an unexpected byproduct of my theme for the A to Z blogging challenge in April of 2012. A blog opera that intrigued readers enough to expect more details in the novel that was going to follow, right? What? I hadn’t expected to write a novel. That didn’t change the fact that it was ready to be written. I did the one thing that is a MUST when you’re NOT expecting. I kept an open mind. Because of that, Abigail and Basil’s story now have their story told, well…mostly :).

So when you’re NOT expecting, keep an open mind because a story, opportunity, or more just may catch you unawares. It could be the best thing you didn’t expect 🙂

Have you experienced something interesting when you weren’t expecting it?

Let’s take a sneak peek at Neverlove… Oh and you can check out the book’s trailer on YouTube!

NeverloveFor seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V’Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil’s off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE?

If you’re into YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi, consider giving Neverlove a read – and if you’ve got kids, make sure this book makes it into their hot little hands!

You can find copies at: Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Print

Interested in connecting with Angela, you can follow her on Twitter, catch up with her on her blog, find her on Goodreads, and check out her Amazon Author Page!

Guest Post: Ami Hendrickson

Today I’m joined by Ami Hendrickson, a minion of coffee and craver of chocolate. Ami is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and playwright who you can find on http://www.amihendrickson.com. She is the ghostwriter for several internationally recognized master horse trainers and other notable experts including Clinton Anderson, Dr. James Warson, and Geoff Teall. She is also the editor of the Trainer’s Certification Manual for the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmi enjoys conducting writing workshops, mentoring, and consulting other writers to help them improve their craft. She lives with her husband and daughter, two flatulent dogs, and several tons of horses on a 100+ year-old farm in southwest Michigan. She tweets @MuseInks and blogs at http://MuseInks.com.

I am honoured to have her guest on my blog and found her post to be strangely serendipitous in its timing for me. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did…

No Matter What Life Throws Your Way: Write

“I’m not tough enough for my dreams,” a writer friend recently lamented to me. She’d received one too many rejections and had taken it like a bullet to her heart.

“You can’t give up,” I told her. “Every time you send it out, someone new sees it for the first time. Keep polishing it. Keep refining it. Keep on keeping on.”

She made “I’m going to quit” noises, but I know better. She’s a writer – a damn good one. Every writer knows you can’t just quit writing, no matter what life throws under your front wheels. Might as well decide to quit breathing.

Besides, just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, the Muse will find a way to remind you that you have story to tell. And no one has been chosen to tell it but you.

To date, the most bizarre year of my life was 2005. That January wrapped with “seizure week,” culminating in my husband, Robert, spending twenty-three action-packed hours in the emergency room of UCLA’s Medical Center, hallucinating about being on the bridge of an intergalactic spaceship as aliens attacked the planet, convinced that I was there, somewhere, miscarrying our imaginary baby, oblivious to the fact that we had a daughter, and generally making a determined break from reality.

While such things as no memory and ongoing uncontrollable grand mal seizures may concern mere mortals like wives who are over 2,000 miles away with a two-year old child and on deadline for a book project, they were not enough to warrant hospital admission. So, with a Swiss-cheese brain, questionable motor skills, no family members present, no wallet, no money and no identification (not to mention the whole “space aliens invading” motif ), Robert was discharged and left to his own devices.

Fortunately, when Robert’s brother arrived two hours later, after successfully braving the traffic on the 405, my husband was only found wandering the halls and not on Wilshire Boulevard.

I made emergency arrangements for our daughter, promised my editor that the manuscript would be finished on schedule, booked an immediate flight and arrived in Los Angeles where events blurred into a steady stream of stress.

A few days after my arrival, while trying to catch up on client work before leaving for yet another doctor appointment, I opened my email.

“Congratulations! You have been chosen…”

Two of my screenplays had been selected as finalists in a major screenwriting competition. I felt as if a gust of the Santa Ana winds outside had somehow blown into my soul, opening windows, airing out the place, recharging the atmosphere, blasting me out of survival mode and stirring up a little creative chaos in the process. At that moment it didn’t matter whether my scripts ultimately won or lost. What mattered to me was the reminder that I had the great good fortune of being a writer. Above all else, “you have been chosen” reminded me that I was not a victim.

Writing as an endeavor has a mind of its own, latching on with all the captivating caprice and desperate tenacity of a toddler who doesn’t want to be left alone with anyone, anyone, anyone but you. You do not choose to be a writer. Call it Kismet or karma, a cross to carry or a blessing to share, the need to express yourself through the written word chooses you.

If you are a writer – if you have been chosen to wrestle with words – you are entrusted with the most demanding of gifts. Writing demands discipline. It demands time. It demands candor. Above all, it demands humility. Writing, like childbirth, like marriage, like living, is rarely easy. Rather, it is an undertaking that requires vast amounts of commitment and determination in order to produce anything worthwhile.

The Writing Muse is not selfish. She gives far more than she gets. If her demands are met, she gifts the writer with the ability to create entire dominions, dynasties and deities out of nothing more than concentrated thought.

Writing is my not-so-secret weapon for repelling complacency, despair, and fear – those invaders who would storm my battlements and destroy my defenses if I gave them so much as a toehold.

My writing makes me who I am. Without it, my existence would lose a richness that would render it indistinguishable and far inferior to the life I now enjoy. Every time I engage in transferring the words in my brain onto the page, giving them substance, weight, and ultimately a life of their own, a selective thrill fuels the process.

As 2005 progressed, we discovered that the cause of my husband’s woes was not (as originally diagnosed) a rapidly growing brain tumor, but rather a severe allergic reaction to new seizure control medication. Regaining his memory took the better part of the year, though to this day his vivid recollection of the alien invasion remains crystal clear. My way of coping with the experience? If you’re a writer, you probably know:  I wrote my way through it.

You see, when you’re a writer, it doesn’t matter if you’re tough enough for your dreams. Instead, congratulations are in order. You have been chosen. Let the words flow.

Thank you Ami! If you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Carnage: After the End Volumes 1 and 2

On November 16th, 2012, Sirens Call Publications unleashed upon the literary world two tomes of Hell on Earth! Carnage: After the End – Volumes 1 and 2 each include 10 of the hottest names in literary horror and apocalyptic themes. These are two anthologies you are not going to want to miss!

Carnage: After the End – Volume 1

The Apocalypse has come, leaving in its wake small pockets of survivors battling to stay alive; each carving out a new beginning for mankind.

The ten stories in Carnage: After the End – Volume 1 are the terrifyingly harsh and brutal realities those survivors must face. Each one takes us to a place where humanity’s stragglers are forced to battle with enemies outside of their control; mutant beasts, groups of depraved and desperate people, and the terrifying threat of a dwindling food supply. Their fight for survival gets even more difficult as they search among the tatters of civilization for the will to carry on.

In a world where society has collapsed and terror lurks around every corner, no one can be trusted and nothing can be taken for granted.

Hell has invaded and happy endings are a thing of the past…

Contributing Authors in Volume One include Kimberly A. Bettes, Shane Cashman, Shane R. Collins, Laura Diamond, Rodney James Galley, Michael Griffin, Russell Linton, Adam Millard, Christofer Nigro, and Julianne Snow.

***

Carnage: After the End – Volume 2

Hell has invaded Earth and happy endings are a thing long since forgotten.

The ten stories in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2 tell of the frighteningly horrific and cruel lives the survivors must face. Each one takes us to a place where humanity’s stragglers are forced to battle for their very existence against their own grim reality; creatures from different worlds or times, individuals or groups of miscreants who feed on the fear of the weak, and even the terrifying threat of unknown bacterial organisms. Their will to go on diminishing among the tatters of the civilization they once knew.

In a world where society has collapsed and terror lurks around every corner, no one can be trusted and nothing can be taken for granted.

The Apocalypse has come, leaving in its wake small pockets of survivors battling to stay alive; each carving out a new beginning for mankind…

Contributing Authors in Volume 2 include Angel D. Callido, Charlie Fish, Harper Hull, Magda Knight, Jason Lairamore, Harry Manners, Zachary O’Shea, Wednesday Silverwood, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and L.E. White.

***

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of one or both of the Volumes…

Carnage: After the End – Volume 1 on

CreateSpaceAmazon USAmazon UK and Smashwords.

Carnage: After the End – Volume 2 on

CreateSpaceAmazon USAmazon UK and Smashwords.

If you’re interested in reviewing Carnage: After the End – Volume 1 or 2, please email me at Kalla(at)SirensCallPublications(dot)com and we can set you up with a complimentary digital copy.

Guest Posts Wanted!

Are you an author or involved in the publishing world? Would you like some free exposure? I am currently looking for guest posts for my blog (this blog). The topic does have to be related to publishing, writing, or literature in some way, but I’ll leave the topic completely up to you within that realm.

If you’re interested, please send me an email at Kalla (at) SirensCallPublications (dot) com.

Poppy_BW

Kincaid Kingsley and I: The Man Behind the Character: A Guest Post by Joshua Skye

Today I’m joined by Joshua Skye, a prolific author who likes to blend different genres into the stories that he crafts. His newest release is The Angels of Autumn and it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. Let’s take a quick look at it before we delve into Joshua’s guest post…

Kincaid Kingsley returns to the town of his childhood after the death of his twin brother, Xander. Believing the crime to be motivated by hate and prejudice, Kincaid sets out to discover why the police are no longer actively investigating the case and hopefully uncover his brother’s killer in the process.

Things in Wren are not as they seem, however, and the closer that Kincaid gets to an answer, the more danger he encounters. Why are all the townspeople so afraid to share what they know?

As the mystery surrounding Xander’s death unravels, the town becomes increasingly blind to what is actually going on. Can Kincaid discover who killed his brother and save the town from evil?

Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can find it here:

CreateSpaceSmashwordsAmazon USAmazon UKAmazon DEAmazon FRAmazon IT, and Amazon ES

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Now for Joshua’s Guest Post

Kincaid Kingsley and I: The Man Behind the Character

The main character of my novel, The Angels of Autumn, Kincaid Kingsley might just be a little more “me” than I care to admit. First and foremost, I am a Kingsley. It is my grandmother’s maiden name. The Kingsleys are one of the founding families of the town in which I live, quite prominent really. Of course, we share similar traits, the most striking being that we are both gay

I began to write The Angels of Autumn upon my move back to what might be considered my hometown. It is the reddest part of a blue state, the realization of which was actually quite disturbing. There is no doubt that political frustrations play a large role in the story and are a manifestation of my own experiences here.

Reading the shockingly absurd amount of homophobic bigotry in the local paper, both in the Letters to the Editor and various syndicated articles, was an eye-opener. It was hard to believe such hate is still alive and well… and unapologetically expressed in a liberally dominated commonwealth. We only have one local newspaper and it is the voice of the region. I’ve had heated exchanges with the editor and he seems to think that the propagation and promotion of such prejudices is okay. Unbelievable. I couldn’t help but begin to wonder: Was my move here a mistake? Well, yes it was. One that I will be rectifying.

Be that as it may, fiction is more often than not a reflection of reality. My story involves a good deal more than merely feeling unwelcome in one’s town, but it could certainly be boiled down to such sentiment. There is anger. There is disappointment. There is resentment. I express these feelings very articulately in my novel, in all their flawed glory. I don’t shy away from it at all. In that, The Angels of Autumn is a very personal story, a profoundly individual one… only the evils in it are not just the shadowy sides of people. They really are monsters!

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Joshua Skye was born in Jamestown, New York but predominantly grew up in the Texas Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He is a graduate of K.D. Studio Actor’s Conservatory of the Southwest and has worked on indie/underground films and on stage. He lives in rural Pennsylvania with his partner Ray of sixteen years and their eight year old son, Syrian. His short stories have appeared in anthologies from STARbooks Press, Knightwatch Press, Sirens Call Publications, Rainstorm Press, JMS Books and periodicals such as Blood and Lullabies. He is the author of The Singing Wind, Bareback: A Werewolf’s Tale, along with the forthcoming Midnight Rainbows, and The Grigori.

Interested in connecting with Joshua, find him on his website or Twitter. Don’t forget to come over and like The Angels of Autumn on Facebook!

The Dark Side: A Guest Post by Kate Monroe

In support of her new release, Kate Monroe has been touring around the internet, stopping here and there, sharing the news of The Falcon’s Chase. Lucky for you, Kate has stopped by The Bizarre Kaleidoscope today to share with us a few thoughts on the darker side of romance. To start off, let’s take a quick peek into The Falcon’s Chase…

Captain Reuben Costello is just hours away from facing his execution when the unlikeliest of rescuers storms into his cell. Lady Arianne Dalton needs the assistance of the infamous Black Swan to flee England and all its constraints. He finds himself more than willing to help the fiercely independent Ari in exchange for his freedom.

However, when they come to find their fates inextricably tangled in a plot that threatens the very foundations of British society, they are swept away on a chase that puts not only their lives, but their hearts at risk – and neither of them can defy the wild and stormy ride they find upon the Falcon.

And now for the magnificent Kate to take over for a bit! Here’s The Dark Side

The Falcon’s Chase isn’t your typical romance novel. When I first conceived it, I saw it more as a steampunk adventure with the romance element very much as the subplot. However, Reuben and Ari apparently had their own ideas on that point, and the developing romance rapidly came to the forefront to end up as the dominant theme of the novel. However, even though I acquiesced to their demands, the steampunk adventure I first plotted out is still a key part of the plot – and I was determined not to sacrifice any of the dark themes for the sake of the romance.

After all, life isn’t all sweetness and light, is it? As children we are taught that it is from the Disney stories that are often our first introduction to romance, but soon we all must come to learn that that’s as far from the truth as it’s possible to be. Nobody simply meets their other half, falls in love and then lives happily ever after in blissful ignorance of all of life’s highs and lows. Sure, some people seem to glide through life with fewer hardships than everyone else, but the bad times come to all of us eventually.

To write a romance that glosses over those truths is lazy and won’t pack the full emotional punch that it otherwise could. The ultimate aim for an author is for the reader to truly connect with your characters and feel for them through every twist and turn of their tale, and if their path is too smooth then they won’t be drawn in. The stories that stay with you the longest are those that aren’t afraid to delve into the darkest lows that life has to offer; just look at Wuthering Heights, one of the great abiding love stories throughout the full history of literature. Heathcliff is the very antithesis of the romantic hero, and the story itself is packed full of death, gloom and despair, but despite all that it’s often held up as the ultimate in romantic fiction.

Romantic fiction is a vast-ranging genre, but even when a story is based around a fantasy theme like steampunk, the interactions between the characters have to be realistic; human nature is the one thing that will never change. We have the capacity to love in a way that can tear down all boundaries, but at the same time we can be intensely selfish and cruel, as demonstrated by Heathcliff in the way in which he treats Catherine and everyone else around her. Life is all about striking a balance as we make our way through the trials in our path.

The Falcon’s Chase deliberately doesn’t shy away from confronting the darkness that exists in both everyday life and inside us. The story opens with Reuben on the eve of his execution, and that scene really sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Throughout the grim and life-threatening events that surround Reuben and Ari, they must both come to terms with their strengths and weaknesses, and only by doing so can they hope to find all that they seek upon the Falcon. I hope that over the course of their journey the reader comes to know their characters as well as I’ve done whilst writing them, and if I’ve achieved what I wanted to then including all of the darkness of the era they lived in has helped to do just that.

***

Kate Monroe is a redheaded author and editor who lives in a quiet and inspirational corner of southern England. She has penchants for classic sci-fi, horror and loud guitars, and a fatal weakness for red wine. Her interests in writing range from horror to erotica, taking in historical romance, steampunk and tales of the paranormal on the way; whatever she dreamed about the night before is liable to find its way onto the page in some form or another…

Kate has had short stories published in numerous anthologies including works by Sirens Call Publications, Cruentus Libri Press, Rainstorm Press and Angelic Knight Press. The Falcon’s Chase is her debut full-length novel.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of The Falcon’s Chase, you can find it at any of these fine retailers:

CreateSpaceAmazon USAmazon US PrintAmazon UKAmazon ITAmazon DEAmazon ESAmazon FR, and Smashwords

And now for a longer look into The Falcon’s Chase…

…from Chapter One

London, 1861

Reuben Costello knew that he had tried a hundred times to wrench the unyielding iron bars of his prison cell apart, but he could not resist the urge to try just once more. However hard he tugged, though, they withstood even the inhuman amount of force that his prosthetic arm applied to them, just as they had so many times before.

He delivered a furious kick to the bars that had him inescapably trapped as his dark eyes settled upon the copper plated arm that he wore like a badge of honour. Meticulously bonded to the living flesh it clung to, it was just as responsive and more effective than the arm of muscles and bones that had existed in its place for the first eleven years of his life; but though he had worn it for twenty years now and it had served him well for all of those, the sight of it still filled him with a bitter and resentful disgust.

Even that painful emotion, though, could not distract him for more than a few moments. Far more pressing was the grim awareness that with every second that passed, sunrise drew nearer, and with it would come his execution. Reuben had lived a far from blameless life, always dancing along the thin, blurred line that separated the pursuits of an ordinary merchant and the more interesting activities that he liked to indulge in.

Betrayed to Her Majesty’s Royal Navy after a dalliance with the pirates that roamed the Red Sea proved too irresistible for his mercenary side to ignore, Reuben had been captured and dragged to the infamous Tower of London. It had taken no less than a dozen captains to bring him in. Had he been aboard his ship when they attacked, he had no doubt that they would not have succeeded.

Reuben had not been aboard the Falcon, though. Instead, he had been spending the night with his latest mistress – and when she had brazenly lounged back on the bed with a cigarillo between her perfect red lips and laughed loudly as they dragged him away, he had silently cursed his propensity for choosing his bedmates based on looks alone.

That, it seemed, was not a mistake he would have the chance to ever make again. Though his crime was nowhere as severe as it should be to warrant execution, that was the sentence that had inexplicably been passed. Time was rapidly slipping away from him and much to his disgust, it was becoming clear that there would be no escape from the harsh fate that awaited him.

He sank down to the cold, grimy cobbles that lined his dungeon cell and affixed a menacing scowl to his face for the sole benefit of any gaolers that should happen to parade past his cell with their looks of disdain and taunts about the noose that was so soon to be claiming his neck in the hangman’s embrace. Soon, light footsteps heralded the approach of just such a person.

Reuben snatched upon the only amusement that would be his on this last lonely night of life. He wrapped his fingers around the hateful bars of his cell and knelt down, drawing back his thin lips to expose the gleaming teeth beneath as he deliberately allowed a low, ominous growl to rise up from the pit of his stomach and echo around the confines of the dungeon.

He squinted into the dimly-lit gloom as the footsteps quickened and caught sight of a distinct shape emerging from the putrid darkness. Far shorter than any of the guards he had become accustomed to – he would estimate that the top of their head would not even reach his shoulder – and dressed all in black, the person reached into their pocket and extracted what was undoubtedly, from the jangling sound of metal against metal, a bunch of heavy brass keys.

Reuben’s eyes narrowed as they quickly swept across the newcomer appraisingly. Their head was bowed low, concealed from his gaze by the shadow of the black cap atop it, and a full-length greatcoat enveloped their body and skimmed across their ankles to reveal tight-fitting breeches and laced leather boots.

Everything about the clothing that they wore screamed of masculinity, but an incredulous suspicion was rising inside him that it was no man that stood before him. The slender fingers that were now fumbling with the keys were pale and unblemished, as far removed from the rough and calloused hands of the gaolers as it was possible to be. As they unlocked the door and hastily slammed it shut behind them, the shape of a second person stepped out of the shadows in the corridor.

“I shall stay at the end of the corridor to stand guard, then – just shout if you need me, ma’am.” They were dismissed with a jerk of the head and an irritable wave of the delicate hand that had unlocked the door.

Even if those intriguing words had not made it plain that it was a woman now locked in the cell with him, any remaining doubt he might have had was extinguished when he inhaled sharply and a delicate scent that had wafted in with the newcomer danced around his senses, teasing and tantalising him with its faint notes of jasmine and gardenia. It was a scent that was intrinsically and undeniably feminine in origin.

Reuben swallowed hard, for a woman’s appearance in his cell could mean only one thing. He let loose a soft groan. He had been alone in his cell for over a month now and the company of a woman was perhaps the only thing that might make him able to forget his imminent execution. With a deep, primal hunger raging inside him, he stared at her intently as she slowly pulled away her cap to reveal the face of the woman that had come to offer him the scant comfort she could provide.

“Ah! You are to be this condemned man’s last meal, I presume?” Reuben’s low voice was hoarse, for the instant that she had removed her cap and revealed herself to him, he had been consumed by such a forceful throb of aching desire that he knew he had to have her, prostitute or not. Not even pausing to think upon the surprising and uncharacteristic generosity that his gaolers had shown in sending such a rare beauty to him on the eve of his execution, he roughly backed her up against the stone walls of the cell.

Her soulful eyes widened and her lips parted, but before she could speak Reuben devoted himself to the far from unpalatable task at hand. If this was to be the last woman he would take before his execution then, he thought wryly, it was fitting that she was by far the loveliest he had ever had in his arms, despite her manly attire – attire that he intended to waste no time in stripping away from her shapely form.

He shook his tangled, jet black braids back out of his face, lowered his head and laid forceful, triumphant claim to her wonderfully soft and pliant lips, already dizzy with the strength of his desperate yearning for her. Reuben slipped one hand behind her head to caress the delicate nape of her neck and hold her in place as his fingers wound through the silken curls of hair escaping the tight bun attempting to restrain them, his arousal rapidly spiralling out of control as he pushed himself up against her to mould himself against every feminine contour of her body.

He forced his prosthetic arm between their bodies to reach for the intricate buttons of her greatcoat and tugged them apart with such force that they ripped free of the fabric, but even that was not enough to persuade him to break the kiss. Never before had a mere kiss managed to arouse him with such ferocity. Perhaps it was the adrenalin pounding through his body in anticipation of his death intensifying all that he felt, but Reuben had never craved any woman as much as he did this one.

As his fingers insistently moved between their bodies to seek out the fastenings of her shirt, though, brushing against the agonisingly tempting curve of her high, full breasts as they did so, she twisted her head to the side with a loud and rasping cry. “What in God’s name do you think that you are doing, sir?!”

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? The Falcon’s Chase is published by Pink Pepper Press – a home for Romance and the Erotic! A huge thank you to Kate for stopping by today!