Author Archive

Review: The Dark Times

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2015 by David Watson

23797186In the opening of The Dark Times by Dane Hatchell and P.A. Douglas there is an author’s note saying that some people think the apocalypse is a chance to start over and be part of a new utopia. The sad truth is that people don’t always change and a disaster can bring you closer to who you really are and for some that’s a scary thing. This note sold me on the book and it gives you a great idea of what to expect while reading it. People have an idea of how they would change when society collapses, but what they think they will become is not reality.

The main character in The Dark Times is an overweight cop named Rico who is down on his luck and drowning his sorrows in whiskey when the first wave of zombies arrive. Rico handles himself well, he kills some zombies and manages to save people and decides to turn his life around. He leaves his old life behind and hops on his Harley in search of a new beginning. He ends up in a small town in Texas and meets a junkie named Angie. Rico fights the urge to help her but when things go bad, Angie may be the only one that can help him.

Everyone thought that the first wave of zombies was a one time thing caused by a mysterious illness but six months later it starts again and this time its the end. Civilization collapses quickly and Rico and Angie have to work together to survive. Being a heroin addict, Angie is not the most reliable person but Rico has demons of his own and the only way they can both survive the zombies is to put their past lives in the past.

The Dark Times is a very dark book and not just because it’s the zombie apocalypse and the end of civilization as we know it. This book is dark because it takes a look at human nature and asks the question: can a person get past their personal demons in order to survive? Every character in The Dark Times has a dark side and they have to confront that dark side to survive in the zombie apocalypse. The characters are what makes this book good, they are all complex and it was interesting to see how they change during the apocalypse. What really distinguishes this book from other zombie books is the depth to the characters, I found myself rooting for even the bad guys in this story.

There were some things that I didn’t like about this book, for instance there were a few scenes with a group of soldiers that seemed random and took away from the story. There was also an African-American character named Quinn that was so stereotypical it annoyed me. All in all though this is a good book and worth your time, it was interesting how some of the characters didn’t change at all as their world collapses. The Dark Times is a good look at how people change or don’t change when faced with the end of the world. There are a lot of books out there on the zombie apocalypse but few of them have as good  of characters as this one.

Book Review: Time Of Death Book 2: Asylum

Posted in News with tags , , , on January 24, 2015 by David Watson

22711078Time Of Death Book 2: Asylum by Shana Festa continues the story of Emma, Jake and Daphne as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse. Its been two months since the collapse of society and they’ve been through a lot. The three of them are currently living on a house boat with Jake’s brother and sister. As of now they are in the safest place possible, but it can’t last long as their food and water supplies start to dwindle. One thing they have learned is that even a safe place can fall to the undead and they have to always be on guard.

Knowing that they can’t stay on the boat forever, they go on land and head up the coast and find a new place called Asylum. Things seem safe in Asylum but more may be going on then meets the eye. With the U.S. government gone, Asylum has started its own government and presents a new way of life. Emma has to adjust to a new world and her and Jake don’t see eye to eye and the loss of several people they know has put a strain on their relationship. Asylum may be safe but things are far from perfect and is life there really better than dealing with the zombies outside?

Like in book one, Asylum has a good mix of action and humor but it also adds some new characters that I liked. We are introduced to a man names Stryker who is a complete mystery. His story unfolds throughout the book and where he starts off as one-dimensional he shows a lot of depth by the end. I liked how Emma’s attitude changes towards him as you see what causes him to be the way he is.

Another new character I like was Jasper. Jasper is a character that is shown as not being to bright but he shows he is an important part of Asylum even though he doesn’t fit in the social groups in asylum, he still does his job well but doesn’t get the respect he deserves. I loved when he is telling Emma how he is not stupid and Emma is thinking she really likes this man but at the same time she gets upset over how slow he is.  I also liked how we get to see Emma’s nursing skills put to good use.

The best part of this book was watching Emma and Jake’s relationship change. In the first book there was conflict between them but that is heightened in this one. The apocalypse would put a strain on any relationship and this one is no exception as Emma and Jake fight over their tasks in Asylum. Some interesting points about government are brought up in Asylum and where Emma starts to think of it as a bad place, Jake doesn’t necessarily think that and I found myself supporting Jake.

Asylum is a book that takes what happened in Time Of Death Book One: Induction and builds on it. This book does not repeat stuff that happens in the first one, it takes things in a completely different direction. While book one has a lot of non stop action, this book has action but gets deeper into character development. I had my issues with book one and all those issues were solved with book 2. This is a much better book then Induction and Shana shows that she is getting better as an author. The only issue I had with this one is that I wanted a book 3. Luckily for fans of Books 1 and 2, book 3 is coming.

Review: Time Of Death: Induction

Posted in News with tags , , , , on January 22, 2015 by David Watson

23364657Emma lives in Florida and has a pretty average life. She is 37 years old, married to a man named Jake and has a dog named Daphne. Emma is close to completing her nursing degree and has just lost her first patient, or did she? When she gets home from the hospital she is surprised to find out that her patient has come back to life and is trying to eat the hospital’s staff. From there Emma’s life goes from average to tumultuous, not only does she have to deal with the undead coming back to life but there is also a hurricane destroying Florida. As civilization collapses, Emma and her family have to try to survive and hopefully build a new life.

Time Of Death: Induction by Shana Festa is a book that starts with a slow burn and ends with an explosion. In the beginning we see all the characters going about their normal life and then the zombie apocalypse happens and the book becomes non-stop action. I loved how Shana makes us care about the characters before she puts them into danger. Once the hurricane hits and the zombies started to rise, I didn’t want to put the book down.

I liked how with the action moving along like a freight train, Shana  still manages to insert humor into the mix. For instance as Emma and Jake are driving around looking for shelter, Emma takes a sniff and thinks her husband has just passed gas. The smell doesn’t belong to her husband but we get a couple of good laughs before the action starts again. Another scene has Emma traveling with a group of soldiers on a reconnaissance mission and they use a series of hand gestures that Emma doesn’t understand. After a bit the soldiers start to laugh and Emma realizes that the soldiers are messing with her.  In a book about the collapse of society I like how the humor in Time Of Death breaks up the tension. Even when the world is ending I think people would still use humor to lighten the mood, so it was a nice touch.

Time Of Death: Induction is a first novel and it does show. I thought some of the action scenes were confusing and at times the story felt rushed. At one point a human is using a pole to keep zombies away from a boat and the zombies pull him to his death , I thought this was something zombies shouldn’t be able to do. Also there is one point where I almost stopped reading because the title of the chapter gave away what was going to happen next. It’s hard to feel suspense when you know what’s coming.

All this being said  I enjoyed this book. The characters were excellent, you see Emma and Jake have their differences and don’t always work as a team, but you still see that they love each other. One of the best scenes in the book is when you see the couple try to make an escape and  clash over what should happen with the dog Daphne. Daphne may be a dog but she is a good character in this book. If you’re a zombie fiction fan you will love Time Of Death: Induction. The way the apocalypse starts made this book worth it for me. This is the first in a series and its a good first novel.

Book Review: The Chosen: Rise Of The Darkness

Posted in News with tags , , , on January 20, 2015 by David Watson

21209872Alex is a man who is down on his luck, he lost his fiance’ and parents and is now being plagued by horrible visions. In these visions he sees a wasteland of dead bodies and a beast that is not human. Alex struggles to find answers and has been going to paranormal conferences to find them. Over time he meets some investigators and learns of a prophecy that will bring about the end of humanity.

An old god will arise bringing an army of demons and zombies to kill all the humans and start a new world order. Alex finds out he is the chosen one who can stop the coming darkness and save the world as we know it. Not only will Alex have to fight one old god, there is also another spirit who is trying to gain power and Alex has to fight his inner demons as well. He has help from a team of paranormal investigators, but will it be enough to stop the darkness from taking over?

The Chosen: Rise Of The Darkness by C.A. Milson is a story with a lot going on. Alex is the star and my favorite character but he’s only a small part of a big story. I loved the character of Alex because of the transition he goes through. He goes from rock bottom trying to get over the tragedies in his life to being the only one who can save humanity. The interesting part of his character is that he doesn’t want any of this, he doesn’t want the power that is growing within him and he doesn’t want to be responsible for saving the world. He wants his fiance’ back and a simple life. Alex is thrust into a horrible situation and doing what he has to do. I liked him because I think most people can relate to him.

There were some great villains in this story, one is Tanzac who was a fallen angel and the other is Jamison who is an evil spirit who hates everyone. Jamison is the perfect villain, he was a cult leader and spent his life and death influencing people to do bad things. Jamison is the kind of guy in a book that I love to hate. Tanzac the other bad guy is sympathetic and actually shows compassion at points in the book. I love it that this book has a villain that seems to be very complex and another that you just want to see destroyed.

My favorite part of this book was a scene where a man decides to do a mock satanic ritual to get revenge on a couple of people. While he does some evil deeds he awakens something far worse. I liked  how the demon that shows up does good by default.  The characters in this story are great and complex. In addition to the characters there is a theme about new beginnings in this book and good coming from evil along with some religious metaphors. My only problem with Rise Of The Darkness was that I felt it lacked suspense at times but the great characters make up for it. Rise Of The Darkness is the beginning of a trilogy and its a good book about good versus evil.

Zombie Author Profile: Raymond Lee

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2015 by David Watson

What is the plot of your book: Mail Horror Bride?

From the blurb: 

23211442From Russia, With Love…

How do you destroy your enemy? Go for the heart, then take over the brain.
The Z1219 virus, created by Russia’s most skilled scientists, is the deadliest biological weapon in history. Harbored in the human bloodstream, it remains undetected until detonated. Once detonated, the host becomes a walking corpse with only one goal: Eat everyone.
And now it is in America, packaged in the mail order brides the Russians shipped over to destroy us all.
With the disease now running rampant and no cure yet discovered, it is every uninfected person for himself.
Homes are destroyed and the families inside them torn apart. Relationships can help or hurt as those left uninfected discover they are not entirely untouched by the disease.
Follow a group of strangers as they struggle to do anything necessary to survive without losing their humanity in the process. Some will win this challenge. Most will lose.
It’s a new world and the zombies aren’t the only monsters. They’re just the easiest to recognize in a country gone horribly wrong.

What was the inspiration behind the book?

I was sick in bed during the 2013/14 New Year’s marathon of The Walking Dead and happened upon it while flipping through channels. I instantly became addicted to the show and the whole zombie apocalypse scenario. When the season ended and I found myself going through withdrawal, I decided to create my own zombie apocalypse. Like the show, I wanted to focus more on the survivors than just the blood and guts of zombie slaying. Unlike the show, I wanted it known right away how the virus started.
The Russian mail order bride scenario came about because it seemed the easiest way another country could get the virus over here undetected. Thousands of these women enter the country every year. It was easy to see them as the perfect carrier. And to my knowledge, the idea hasn’t been done. I like offering something new.

What was the hardest part of writing Mail Horror Bride?

Web-Blood-Curse1This was actually the easiest book I’ve written. I am used to writing books with only one or two main characters so when you get stuck, you get really good and stuck. Since there were so many different characters I could play with in this one, I never got stuck. Some scenes may have been tricky but they didn’t truly stump me. I was able to have so many different viewpoints, so many characters with different traits, and have them start out at different locations. it was a lot of fun, especially since this genre gives you license to create some really twisted characters. From the very start I wanted to make a series that readers could find themselves asking “Ok, who’s really the monster here?” The only thing I can even think of that was a bit hard was just keeping track of the time frames and where each character was at. They started separate, in different locations, then slowly joined together into one big group. While switching between the little groups forming I had to constantly keep how much time had passed for them in my head, along with what state were they in and what direction were they headed in now. Oh, and hair color. There were a few times I’d forget who was blonde and who was brunette among the younger girls, and had to go back and check.

What draws you to horror writing?
I share a birthday with the master of horror writing, Stephen King, and I think I share a bit of his demented mind as well. I have the craziest, most frightening dreams. Sometimes the things that happen in them cause me to wake up covered in cold sweat and shaking with fear and nausea.
I’ve always been drawn to anything supernatural, which makes horror writing all the more appealing. Even when writing romance novels under my real name, I tend to generally write darker story lines than you find in traditional romance. It just happens that way.

How long would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
moonlitcov3According to every online quiz I’ve taken, I’d be the last one standing. I’ve never shot a gun but I think I’d learn easy. I could slice and dice, which I think is safer in a world filled with monsters attracted to noise anyway. I’m not much of a runner, but neither are the zombies (unless you’re talking Dawn of the Dead zombies, then I’m totally screwed), and I’m pretty low maintenance so living without electricity and all that wouldn’t faze me too much. I’m already very suspicious of people and don’t need a bunch of friends (Quality over quantity!) so I’d be smart about people. My outdoorsman skills and my upbeat attitude would help me live. Upbeat in a zombie apocalypse? Yep, I said that. Put me in a world where I don’t have to work or listen to people gripe about politics and I’m a happy camper. Gotta kill some zombies to live like that? No problem.

If you had to battle a horde of zombies who would be your dream team fighting next to you?
Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Michonne, Glen Rhee, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Blade. The Avengers. And from my own book: Raven Bleu.

What else have you written?
I write paranormal romance and contemporary romance under my real name, Crystal-Rain Love. Mail Horror Bride was my debut under the Raymond Lee pen name. I started with romance as it was the easiest genre to break into. The traditional publishers of that genre have always been great about helping new authors know exactly what to do, and generally taking on more authors. Now that I’ve got a nice backlist going in that genre, and self-publishing has become easier, I finally branched out into the genre I’ve adored since my childhood, which was spent reading Stephen King.
Do you have any other books coming out?
The second book in the One Nation Under Zombies series is planned for March. I plan on getting the third out by year’s end.

http://www.crystalrainlove.blogspot.com/

http://raymondleeauthor.blogspot.com/

 

Book Review: Look Back In Horror: A Personal History Of Horror Film

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2015 by David Watson

23200641Everyone who loves horror probably saw a horror movie at a young age that left an impression and started them on a life long love affair with the genre. Look Back In Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film by J Malcolm Stewart is one writer’s love letter to his favorite genre. Some of the things this book touches on is the films that managed to scare J. Malcolm as he was growing up, top 50 scream queens and the movies of Mario Bava.

Look Back in Horror starts with J. Malcom explaining why he loves horror. He mentions how he has spent many nights watching movies that we were told were bad for us and then goes on to say that he finds horror fans to be the most even-tempered, honest and nicest people to be around. He goes on to say that horror fans prefer to acknowledge and confront the darkness that is in us and then points out that you have to go through the darkness to get to the light. After reading his intro I realized that J. Malcom felt the same way about horror that I did and I was really looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

There is a lot I learned from this book, its like an encyclopedia of knowledge on scream queens. It also gave a good retrospect on the career of Mario Bava. I didn’t know a lot about the work of Bava with the exception of Black Sunday and Black Sabbath which every horror fan should see. I have to say here Black Sunday is a movie that I would love to see remade, many directors have copied it, but I wonder if the mood of the original can be recaptured in an updated movie. This book also brings up movies I never knew about called The Whip And The Body and Planet Of The Vampires. Mario Bava is a director that gets his due in Look Back In Horror.

I love the fact that J. Malcom brings up the movie Equinox. Equinox is a lost gem from 1970, that most horror fans probably haven’t seen. J. Malcom mentions seeing this movie on Creature Feature many years ago and it stuck with him. As he described the movie I realized that I saw it  once on late night tv years ago and I agree it is a classic. The movie deals with a bunch of hippies in the sixties running away from a devil like creature in the woods. This movie is a great example of why horror is a great genre. Its creepy and campy at the same time. I was happy to see it mentioned here as J. Malcom’s gateway to the world of horror.

There are a lot of movies mentioned in this book that some horror fans might not be aware of which shows how big of a horror fan that J. Malcom is. I loved the fact that Vampira gets mentioned in the top 50 scream queens since she doesn’t get the attention she deserves.  Also liked that Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp gets a mention even though I think the movie is one of the worst horror films ever, I liked parts 2 and 3 though. Look Back In Horror is a celebration on what makes horror a fun genre.

 

Book Review: Fearworms by Robert Payne Cabeen

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2015 by David Watson

shapeimage_7Poetry can be beautiful rhythmical combination of words that let you know about how the writer feels. It can also be a rhyming set of words that are meant to scare the pants off of you. Fearworms by  Robert Payne Cabeen is the type of book that will make you laugh and scare you into sleeping with the lights on. Horror poetry is a genre that  can be a lot of fun, who doesn’t want to laugh and be scared at the same time? Fearworms does just that.

Robert Payne Cabeen gives the definition of Fearworms as stanzas of a horror poem that repeat in a person’s mind, leaving a feeling of dread.  This book does that as it inspires you to want to infect others with these disturbingly fun poems. You will find 12 poems in this book that cover such subjects as Krampus the Christmas demon, cannibalistic clowns, mad doctors, zombies, ghosts and a love story that’s out of this world.

My favorite poems in this book was The Promise and Rule 44. Both poems are rather gruesome love poems. While I’m not into love stories, these two really got to me and shows how a great rhyme can bring a story to life. The Promise talks about keeping a promise to a loved one in the zombie apocalypse which is heartbreaking and well told. Rule 44 takes place in space and has a very unusual love story that I have reread several times because it’s hauntingly beautiful. These two poems show that not many words are needed to tell a great story.

While The last two poems I mentioned are more serious, Fearworms also mixes horror and humor quite well. The first poem in the book is called Clowns. Many people are afraid of Clowns and this poem gives you more reason to be afraid. This one is about a man who stumbles into a cannibalistic clown convention and things don’t go to well for him. This isn’t the only story here that deals with cannibals, there is another one called Uptown Ribs that will make you laugh and probably ruin your appetite forever. Another great humorous poem here is Doctor Volmer which tells the tale of a doctor and the creatures that he makes. One thing this poem taught me is that you shouldn’t trust old people in need of help.

Fearworms is a work of art, not only because of the beautiful artwork that’s in it, but also from the poetry. This is a book that really shows the power of words. Robert Payne Cabeen states in his intro that he hopes that people will recite his poems out loud and make them their own. That’s what his poems did for me. They painted a picture in my head and not only did I want to share them with others, I also wanted to try writing poems of my own. Fearworms is the kind of book that you want to read out loud and in front of people so they can feel the same sense of joy and horror that you feel. Storytelling has never been as much fun as it is in this collection.

fearworms.com/Fearworms/Audio_Previews.html

fanboycomics.net

fearworms.com

 

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