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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The North by Sean Cummings - Not Your Mother’s YA Zombie Novel +giveaway

Not Your Mother’s YA Zombie Novel

Post-apocalyptic fiction is nothing new; it’s been around for decades.

Back in the day when I had hair and Iron Maiden was my musical everything, Stephen King's THE STAND scared the hell out of me – it still does. It is and will always remain the GOLD standard when it comes to post apocalyptic fiction as far as I’m concerned. I've read it numerous times since 1982 and it's the one book more than any other that inspired me to write THE NORTH.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a ton of other post-apocalypse books. Titles like WAR DAY by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka (which I'm sure is the template for Max Brooks' brilliant World War Z though I can't prove it) Nature's End by the aforementioned pair of authors and finally Swan Song by Robert R, McCammon were fantastic, amazing reads.

And of course I love zombies. Like, a lot.

In THE NORTH, I wanted to see what would happen if it was just teenagers alone against the world. Of note is the fact that in my book, it’s six months after the end of the world and the reasons for the zombie outbreak are moot. Survival is the rule of the day and hand-to-hand combat has become the new normal.

So what sets THE NORTH apart is there really aren’t any adults at all – until much later in the book. It’s also a very military book – my characters are all in the army reserves, what we call the “militia” here in Canada. It’s a simple premise – break out of the city, fight to stay alive and recognize that your average run of the mill walking cadaver isn’t the only enemy. Most of the book takes place inside the bellies of Arks One and Two – a pair of infantry fighting vehicles.

This is a dark book. It goes to some very difficult places because the old world is dead and the new one is a far more dangerous place than anyone could have possibly imagined. The central figure is David Simmons – he has skin in the game in that he is motivated to protect his eight-year-old kid sister, Jo. He has sworn to himself that he will save her life and keep her innocence intact – whatever the cost. As the story progresses, Jo becomes transformed despite all of David’s best efforts and the cost comes in the way of choices that David makes – all of which are stark, brutal and often arbitrary.

I’d like to think this book contrasts a lot of other YA zombie books that are on the shelves because of the military nature and the fact that my protagonist David must keep the team together and fighting all the while keeping himself from falling apart.

There are strong secondary characters. There is internal conflict. There are tactical blunders that cost people’s lives and a shock ending that you simply won’t see coming.

Oh ... and it's in Canada. Because as nice as Canada is, we aren't immune to the zombie apocalypse! ;)

I hope you enjoy the book. It’s the first in a planned trilogy. Expect book two – INSURGENCY next fall.

The North
by Sean Cummings 
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
September 29, 2014
 by Bloor Street Books
Breakout from the armoury. Escape the city. Live. 
Sixteen-year-old David Simmons is on a mission to save his eight-year-old sister. In a smoldering world infested with walking cadavers, the survivors of Simmons infantry reserve unit are going hatches down in a pair of armoured personnel carriers and everyone knows that it’s only a matter of time until their fuel runs dry.

There’s a weak short wave radio signal from a place called Sanctuary Base and it’s supposed to be zombie-free. But there’s more than a thousand miles to cover, a biting, unforgiving cold, armed survivalists, legions of the living dead and someone called SUNRAY.

They’re outgunned, outnumbered and out of time.

This tense thriller for teens offers a terrifying and brutal vision of survival in a post-apocalyptic world where the bonds of friendship and family are the only things left that are worth fighting for.

About the Author:
Sean Cummings is a fantasy author with a penchant for writing quirky, humorous and dark novels featuring characters that are larger than life. His debut was the gritty urban fantasy SHADE FRIGHT published in 2010. He followed up later in the year with the sequel FUNERAL PALLOR. His urban fantasy/superhero thriller UNSEEN WORLD was published in 2011.

2012 saw the publication of Sean’s first urban fantasy for young adults. POLTERGEEKS is a rollicking story about teen witch Julie Richards, her dorky boyfriend and race against time to save her mother’s life. The first sequel, STUDENT BODIES hit bookstores in September 2013.

Sean's newest book is THE NORTH. A post-apocalyptic zombie thriller for teens.


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Coming Soon: Mist Unveiled (Elemental Desire, Book 1) by Nancy Corrigan + giveaway

Mist Unveiled (Elemental Desire, Book 1)
by Nancy Corrigan
Cat has one love in her life—science. Facts rule her, not passion. At least it doesn’t until an unknown deadly virus claims her sister’s life. Cat’s quest for answers takes her to Greenland and drops her into the arms of the one man who sways her devotion from logic to passion. Rune stirs her lusts, ignites her desires and fuels her carnal cravings, but he isn’t simply a lover, nor is he human. He’s a weapon, one that has the potential to save or destroy her.

Rune, a child of the mist, awakens into a world hovering on the verge of destruction. Rising temperatures have released his enemies from their frozen prison without his knowledge. He searches for them but finds Cat, a human with the power to save him and the world. He hungers for her—blood, body and soul. Every moment of shared passion convinces him of the truth—she’s his greatest treasure, one he’ll die to keep.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave.


She’d noticed he only answered the questions she posed, nothing more. She supposed many people would be annoyed with him for it. Part of her was too. The rest of her appreciated the silence he offered. She had to admit, though, she was interested.

“What did you do in Iceland?”

He mapped her face before focusing on her eyes. “Security.”

She chuckled at the one word answer. Yesterday, she would’ve been content with it because really, did she need more than that? Despite her attraction to him, Rune was a stranger who would pass through her life. In a few days, she’d leave Greenland and him behind. Her curiosity demanded more, however. A few details would be nice to add to her memory of him.

“As a guard?”

He gave her a single nod.

“Of what?”

He skimmed his finger down her throat, but thankfully dropped his hand before she combusted from the simple touch. “Important people and their possessions.”

“And what do you do here in Upernavik?”

He took her hand and rubbed his thumb over her palm, heating her chilled skin. “The same, but you are my sole responsibility now.” His gaze locked to hers. “And you are the most valuable person I’ve ever been responsible for.”

About the Author:
Youtube trailer
Nancy Corrigan believes in unending love and epic tales with a paranormal flare. She enjoys transcending the boundaries of reality to take her readers on an erotic, emotional and romantic journey.

She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. When she’s not weaving sizzling fantasies, she works as a chemist in a pharmaceutical lab.

One winner will win a $10 gift card (Amazon or Ellora’s Cave)

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cover Reveal: Dark Heir (Jane Yellowrock #9) by Faith Hunter

Dark Heir: A Jane Yellowrock Novel
by Faith Hunter
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Roc (April 7, 2015)

Shapeshifting skinwalker Jane Yellowrock is the best in the business when it comes to slaying vampires. But her latest fanged foe may be above her pay grade…

For centuries, the extremely powerful and ruthless vampire witches of the European Council have wandered the Earth, controlling governments, fostering war, creating political conflict, and often leaving absolute destruction in their wake. One of the strongest of them is set to create some havoc in the city of New Orleans, and it’s definitely personal.

Jane is tasked with tracking him down. With the help of a tech wiz and an ex-Army ranger, her partners in Yellowrock Securities, she’ll have to put everything on the line, and hope it’s enough. Things are about to get real hard in the Big Easy.

Be sure to pick up your copy of Broken Soul next week so you will be ready for Dark Heir next April!

Broken Soul (Jane Yellowrock #8) 
by Faith Hunter
October 7, 2014
amazon link

Jane Yellowrock is a vampire killer for hire—but other creatures of the night still need to watch their backs....

When the Master of the city of New Orleans asks Jane to improve security for a future visit from a delegation of European vampires, she names an exorbitant price—and Leo is willing to pay. That’s because the European vamps want Leo’s territory, and he knows that he needs Jane to prevent a total bloodbath. Leo, however, doesn’t mention how this new job will change Jane’s life or the danger it will bring her and her team.

Jane has more to worry about than some greedy vampires. There’s a vicious creature stalking the streets of New Orleans, and its agenda seems to be ripping Leo and her to pieces. Now Jane just has to figure out how to kill something she can’t even see….

Book Review: America’s Most Haunted: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places by Eric Olsen and Theresa Argie

America’s Most Haunted: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places
by Eric Olsen and Theresa Argie
Publisher: Berkley
September 30, 2014.
Throughout the United States, there are places haunted by souls both malevolent and benign. Places where paranormal activity runs rampant. Places where we can glimpse the other side…

In America’s Most Haunted, “Haunted Housewife” investigator Theresa Argie and journalist Eric Olsen team up to take you on a first-person tour of some of America’s most active paranormal hotspots.

Experience the crawl through the death tunnel where visitors have reported sightings of an inhuman creature that creeps along the walls and ceilings. Walk the decks of the Queen Mary with the hundreds of souls that met their ends in watery graves. And get to know the spirits that wait in jails, mansions, lunatic asylums, and even a stately old hotel.

Combining spine-tingling stories, documented evidence, and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal investigation—including the stars of TV’s “Ghost Hunters,” “Ghost Adventures,” and more—America’s Most Haunted gives you a terrifying chance to tour our nation’s most famous haunted places.

Are you brave enough to take a look?

As someone who writes nonfiction ghost books and investigates the paranormal, both for fun, Paranormal World Seekers, and even for my books, when I had the chance to review this book, I agreed and settled in to enjoy it, which I did.

Mr. Olsen and Ms. Argie take readers through a spooky tour of what they consider the most haunted spots in the United States. Ms. Argie has teamed with fellow Haunted Housewife Cathi Weber (both are part of a three member team based along the shores of Lake Erie in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland that has done “Paranormal Challenges” on TV) for investigations in some of these places. Like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, and many of the others. Some, she has done with Mr. Olsen, like at the infamous Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the same hotel where Stephen King had written his terrifying novel, The Shining. Included also, are various interviews with people who work or live at these places, along with investigations led by Zach Baggins of Ghost Adventurers and SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, too.

Both authors draw you into these their adventures with the supernatural and whether an investigator of the paranormal or of the armchair variety, or even a skeptic, this book out just in time for Halloween and the cooler nights of autumn, will bring chills skittering up your spine and have you making sure all the lights are on in your house or apartment before you continue to read on.

I give America’s Most Haunted: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places 5 ghostly sheep!

Pamela Kinney

About the Authors:

Theresa Argie (the original Haunted Housewife)
Was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a wife, a mother, and ghost hunter who's focus is on the historical side of hauntings. She teamed up with para-historian Cathi "The Ghost Lady" Weber to form the dynamic "Haunted Housewives" duo. The Haunted Housewives have been featured extensively on radio and TV, including appearances on The Travel Channel, A&E, Biography, Syfy and NBC networks. Theresa's book, America's Most Haunted, was a collaboration with journalist and epic blogger Eric Olsen. Their work together as America's Most Haunted - the brand - includes a popular radio program, website, and a huge social media following.

Eric Olsen
Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen has an enviable track record of quality, leadership, influence, and success.

In 2002, Olsen founded online magazine, the multiple award‐winning "sinister cabal of superior bloggers," which he led to great heights and sold to Technorati in 2008.

Olsen then conceived and supervised the creation of a vibrant original content organization for in 2009 and 2010 before co-founding The Morton Report in 2011.

He has now flung himself into the paranormal world, is founder of the America's Most Haunted brand and co-author of the AMH book (Berkley/Penguin Sept, 2014).

Over a 30‐year media career, the proud father of four and husband of legendary blogger Dawn Olsen, has written influentially on a vast array of topics for periodicals, books, TV, radio, and the Internet.

Olsen is the principal author of Networking In the Music Industry (Rockpress, 1993), The Encyclopedia of Record Producers (Billboard Books, 1999), and co-author of America's Most Haunted (Berkley/Penguin, 2014).

Olsen founded and operated Olsen Entertainment, one of the leading DJ companies in hyper‐competitive Southern California in the '80s, established the "Cool Tunes" radio and TV brand in the '90s. Olsen was named a Trendsetter on the AlwaysOn/Technorati Open Media 100 power list in 2005, and has been a featured speaker at numerous industry events including BlogWorld and the Future of Music Coalition Summit.

Book Review: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving, William L. Hedges (Introduction)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories
by Washington Irving, William L. Hedges (Introduction)
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 1999
by Penguin Classics (first published 1819)
Originally entitled, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, this collection of essays, sketches, and tales established Washington's reputation as America's foremost professional author. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle are classics of American fiction and display Irving's ability to depict American landscapes and culture. This volume also contains a number of gently ironic pieces about life in England that reflect the author's interest in the traditions of the Old World and his longings for his home in the New.

I read both stories, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” as a child and later, my son and I would read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” every October until he became a teenager. It had been years since I had returned and it felt like I never left, as I came back to the familiar supernatural world of the Hudson Valley and its denizens. 

The other stories were wonderful and I can see why Washington Irving was America’s first professional writer to make his living by his pen. I enjoyed the other stories, especially “The Spectre Bridegroom.” That was another supernatural tale I remembered from my past. But it was "Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" that made me hunker down to read what I called comfort food of the fantastical. Rip Van Winkle, his wife, his dog, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, Katrina Van Tassel and of course, last but never least, the Headless Horseman fill my imagination as I read. I could visualize the Hudson Valley and its haunts. I bet that Edgar Allan Poe read these very same stories, giving him fuel for his own imaginative tales.

It's autumn and Halloween soon will be here. Need some good ghostly tales to while away safe and sound inside your home? Sure, go ahead and buy the latest Stephan King horror novel, but take time to check out Washington Irving first. I promise you, his Headless Horseman just may haunt your nightmares afterwards. And you will return year after year as I have. After all, we all need comfort food of the fantastical.
5 sheep

Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
Wikipedia page
Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He began his literary career at the age of nineteen by writing newspaper articles under the pseudonym, "Jonathan Oldstyle."

In 1809, he published, The History of New York, under his most well known public persona, Diedrich Knickerbocker.

Irving is best known for his short stories, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" both of which appear in his book, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. which he published in 1819.

Irving's historical works include a five volume biography of George Washington (for whom he was named after) as well as biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving felt a strong connection to Spain and was appointed by President John Tyler to serve as the first Spanish speaking U.S. minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846.