A Tourist’s Halloween Guide to Bad Blood

g1510984England has a rich heritage and, especially in London, you’ll find it difficult to spit and not hit something centuries years old – BTW, you might get arrested for that, so do check around before letting rip with the salvia!

London is a busy city where there are too many people and far too many construction sites. Our Tube (Subway) is unnaturally warm, and our roads are naturally congested. But none of this matters in my YA horror novel, Bad Blood. It’s hard to care about temperature and traffic when you’re hip deep in snarling smelly zombies.

Bad Blood is told first person from a vampire’s point of view. Britannia is the very essence of Britain; she has protected it many times in the past, and now finds herself taking on that role again to save survivors of a fast-paced zombie outbreak that hits the UK. The first book happens mainly in London – so let’s take a tour of some Bad Blood hot spots:

The Statue of George IV, Trafalgar Square: erected in 1843, this bronze statue of King George IV astride his faithful steed looks out over the world famous Trafalgar Square. Used as higher ground by Britannia when she is sniffing out un-infected humans to feed on, this statue gives her the space and time she needs to locate her next meal.

The Natural History Museum: A beautiful, elaborately designed building established in 1881; filled with knowledge, dioramas and now zombies. Britannia has an epic struggle on her hands here, and not just with the hungry undead hordes that were given free admission!

Madame Tussauds: Originally set up by wax sculptor Marie Tussauds in 1884, there is more blank-eyed scary looking celebrities here than on any red carpet event. But Bad Blood takes you deeper into the bowels of this tourist attraction, delivering you a fast-paced confrontation in the Chambers of Horrors.

Double Decker Red Buses: The Red Double Decker bus is an iconic symbol of London and is used by the vampires and the human survivors to flee the city and also to indulge the vampire’s competitor natures!

Now you know the stops, why not jump onto the Bad Blood bus and let it take you sight-seeing through the zombie ravaged streets of London; the price of admission? Well, Britannia only asks for your blood…

Evernight Teen   Amazon US     Amazon UK   Barnes & Noble   Nook    Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia 

Doing the zombie shuffle – Zombies in YA literature

img_0443_v2I find zombies scary – there I admit it. I always have done. And I can tell you why; we are just one mad scientist away from zombies becoming real. Zombies worry me, and movies aside, they are certainly not new to literature.

I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at school. It’s only when you get into the nitty gritty of this book you realise it was one of the first ever zombie novels. The creature, albeit more sentient than your average ‘braaaains’ screeching shuffler, is a re-animated corpse. Considered a ‘flawed creation’ by Dr Frankenstein, the creature has to contend with some serious abandonment issues, loneliness (after all zombies are pack creatures) and some rather vengeful thoughts. All in all, the zombie in question doesn’t act much like the zombies we’re use to today.

Moving quickly through the years to Carrie Ryan’s Forrest of Hands & Teeth we find Mary, the protagonist, struggling to free herself from a predictable YA love triangle while avoiding the ‘Unconsercrated’. The name of the zombies in itself echoes the book’s theme of religion; but apart from that, they seem to lumber around the forest being said hands and teeth. The zombies provide only one author objective: they are the threat that seeks to harm the main characters. The only zombie character that comes to ‘life’ is the fast and slightly vengeful, Gabrielle – who seems to retain some of her former personality and is hell-bent on killing Mary for allowing her to die.

Darren Shan’s Zom B uses zombies to unite its characters. One of the themes of this book is racism and yob-like behaviour. Although by its title, it’s a zombie book, the shambling flesh-munching creatures serve as danger and a catalyst for character development. They unite the survivors – regardless of their misguided beliefs.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion did something extraordinary with zombies – he made them the romantic lead. The book is written the first person from R’s point of view. It was a bold move that paid off and put zombies in a different light altogether. After that, Lisa Habel’s Dearly Departed also took zombies firmly into the romance genre.

Now it would seem that zombies are not just evolving but contorting into a new type of ‘monster’. Maybe it would be more accurate to say they are going back to their gothic character-driven roots. Who’s to say that if Dr Frankenstein had given his monster a bride that it would have gone very differently for him, and his loved ones.

As a YA urban fantasy writer, I love zombies, and am, to a degree, guilty myself of simply inserting them into my story as a wall of rotting flesh that relentlessly rolls towards my heroes – I did, though, introduce a new dynamic in my series, Battle of the Undead. It’s vampires VS zombies. So what happens when a vampire becomes infected? A Vambie or a Zompire? Find out now with the first in the series, Bad Blood:

Evernight Teen   Amazon US     Amazon UK   Barnes & Noble   Nook    Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia 

Halloween advice – surviving the zombies!

dsc00127We have a fascination with zombies, in my opinion, they are the most realistic monster lurking in the horror aisles of your local book shop. They are us. They could happen. Vampires, werewolves – well, as Disney put it ‘It’s a small world after all’ so we’d know about them already. In a time when people post what they had for breakfast on FaceBook, these creatures couldn’t hide for long. But zombies …there are more dead bodies crammed into the earth than live ones walking on it.
So how could it happen? Mostly in zombie stories the survivors rarely find out how they ended up nose to nose with re-animated flesh-munching corpses; they’re far too busy trying to stay alive than to discover the undead root of the problem. To me, the most believable way of this happening is a scientifically created disease, perhaps something similar to rabies.

Okay, so it’s happening, the dead are rising. In theory, this wouldn’t be an instant issue; it would probably take 2 or 3 days for the undead crap to hit the fan. In that time you’d see more violent news reports than usual. There would be odd hashtag threads on twitter about attacks and infection. They’d be YouTube videos popping up with alarming regularity featuring police show-downs with crazed, bullet proof psychos. It would be a slow but steady stream of bloody violence.
Now, if hunky British survivalist Bear Grylls has taught us anything, it’s that to survive in a harsh environment, we need to ensure we have three things: food, water and shelter. You need to be fed and rested to be able to keep one step ahead of the zombie hordes so, to survive, your priority would be to find a safe place to hole up, preferably which contains food and water too. We’ve all seen the potential trolley of problems with picking a shopping centre for this – it’s too big, you can’t defend it. So somewhere, perhaps like a small supermarket that’s doors could be barricaded, would work well.
The next question you have to answer is: do you buddy up, or go it alone? There are dangers with either, but I tend to think the buddy system was practicality designed for zombie attacks, so buddy up! Just be cautious and ensure your buddy is someone you can trust. You don’t want to test the theory ‘to survive – you only need to run faster than your friend, than a zombie horde in pursuit!’
So, you have a group of people you can trust; you’re holed up in a defend-able, solid building stuffed with food and drink – now what? Well, to be honest, you wait it out. When comparing a zombie outbreak to a disease of similar ilk, it would all be over after 21 days. After that time, those who were infected will have eaten their whole available food source, they’ll start to starve and, even zombies need food to keep going. After hearing the last animated corpse scratch and moan at your door, you give it another day before emerging. Then with other sensible survivors start to rebuild, and I guess figure out how it all went horribly wrong in the first place.
Just, remember the rules that horror movies have taught us over the years: Don’t open the door for anything/ anyone. Slug anyone who looks like they’re going to panic and rip out through your barricade. Ration the amount of sugary items you consume (Although I actually believe that you can never eat enough chocolate). Always carry a weapon. Check your buddies for infection. And always, always… hang on there’s a new #infection tag infesting Twitter…Right, I’m off down the local supermarket; you can join me if you like, but make sure you get there before I barricade the door!

If you like your zombie uprising with a dash of vampires, then check out Bad Blood today for your Halloween read:

Evernight Teen   Amazon US     Amazon UK   Barnes & Noble   Nook    Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia 

Rule Britannia – examining the main character of Bad Blood

britBad Blood is a vampires VS zombies horror set in England. Told first person from a vampire’s point of view, I knew as the writer; I needed a certain type of character who could tell the story, engage with the reader and survive the zombie hordes as they drag their rotten asses through the burning streets of London.

Britannia is over 4 hundred years old and was born Brianna. Daughter of a wealthy merchant she lived like a princess and was set to marry the love of her life… when Nicholas the vampire saw her. He kidnapped her, made her a vampire against her will, murdered her fiancé then kept her captive for 20 years in a crazy attempt to woe her. When she was finally free, she swore a vendetta on Nicholas and evolved from spoilt little Brianna to the blood-guzzling, ass-kicking, England protecting, Britannia.

Her lost love was a soldier in his majesty’s service so Britannia declared herself a secret protector of the realm, fighting in every war and falling ever deeper in love with the memory of her dead soldier. That love is reinforced on an almost nightly basis with her daydreams. She might be lying in wait on the roof of a West End Theatre to kill Nicholas’ newest vampire, but be imagining herself inside with her fiancé, enjoying a show. The mirror of a violent vampire dreaming she’s a bored housewife is held up throughout the book and is both an endearing and dangerous quality for a character to have.

She’s spent centuries learning to fight, to use her strengths and weakness as assets. Her favourite book is the Art of War, and she prides herself on winning every battle. She’s competitive, stubborn and amazingly loyal – but all that comes with a price. She still needs to drink human blood to survive, and when she does, she considers it the natural order – she certainly isn’t the guilty type. The vampires in Bad Blood have no glamour abilities. They cannot read people’s minds, and they certainly cannot make a bite in the neck painless. Usually when they feed they kill, but now zombies are fighting with them to be top of the food chain, they’re on a more ‘little and often’ diet and have to change their behaviour to survive.

Bad Blood is fast paced, and both humans and vampires get a lot of horrific problems thrown at them – I had to make sure Britannia was equipped to deal with these problems, to cut them up with her trusty scythes, and shoot them right back to where they came from.

So why not order a copy of Bad Blood today and let Britannia take you by the hand and give you a tour of the zombie-ridden streets of London and beyond. Don’t worry about the undead clawing to touch your pretty flesh; she’ll protect you. There’s only one thing that she asks in return…your blood.

Want a Halloween read? Pick up Bad Blood today: Evernight Teen   Amazon US     Amazon UK   Barnes & Noble   Nook    Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia 

Traitors’ Gate book tour dates

The prequel to my Battle of the Undead series will be out soon – my publishers, Evernight Teen have arranged a virtual book tour to celebrate the release.

EvernightTeen - Traitors Gate Nicky Peacock

Tour dates:

2/29 Young Adult & Teen Reads
2/29 Darkest Cravings
3/1 Get Cozy
3/2 The Book Pub
3/3 Seeing Stars
3/4 Fantasy Pages
3/5 All Book Finds
3/6 Nics Book Nook
3/7 Nikki Noffsinger 

Interview with…Nicky Peacock

use1So, why do a self-interview?

Well, Nicky at the risk of appearing schizophrenic I thought perhaps I could use this opportunity to ask myself the questions that don’t tend to get asked in other interviews. And of course, be incredibly honest with my answers. You can’t lie to yourself, well you can, but it’s not healthy!

What advice would you give a new writer?

Honestly, only go into writing if you are passionate about it. I love writing, always have, but if you don’t have the time and energy to properly dedicate to it, it’s best to find another hobby/ career. People who are outside the publishing industry tend to not know the efforts that have to go in to getting published, sure they’ve probably read big time author stories romanced up to the point where it’s three steps away from reality, but they’ve not experienced it themselves. To be fair, until they do, they won’t understand. There are lots of friends and even family in my life that only see the end product of the book in their hand, they don’t see the nights I stayed up editing, the lunch times I worked on my blog, and all the spare hours I could get my hands on to actually write. Only other authors truly appreciate these efforts. So, finding other writers to talk to is paramount to keep your sanity!

What question do you dread in interviews?

How did you come up with the idea for your novel? I hate seeing this question as the answer is always awful sounding. There are so many ideas, characters and plots that go into writing a novel and they all spring from somewhere – some can be very personal. I always try to be honest in interviews, so I find it really hard to spin my answer in such a way that I don’t sound psychotic or condescending!

Your new book Bad Timing continues the Battle of the Undead series with Evernight bad-timingTeen. Was writing a second book harder?

Oddly, no. I have an overall plot for the series in my mind, so it kind of felt cathartic to get the story on paper. I love the character of Britannia and I feel a certain sense of duty to get her to her ending, whether it’s happy or not. The one thing I am worried about with it though, is that you have to read the books in order for them to make sense. I’d hate for a reader to start with Bad Timing as they’d have no idea what is going on!

How do you feel about promoting your own books?

I’ve worked in sales and marketing now for 16 years, so I really enjoy it. As the author, I’m passionate about my work so getting it out to the widest audience possible is as much my responsibility as my publishers. Some days I can’t write a coherent sentence to save my life, so it’s nice to have another job to get on with which is just as productive. I also really appreciate it when readers and bloggers help me to get the word out – makes me feel like I’ve done something right.

Tell us something about yourself that you wouldn’t normally reveal…

I’m highly competitive but incredibly lazy. This makes for an interesting combination. My inner self is pretty much always at war. A big part of me wants nothing more than to turn on Netflix and binge watch with a tub of mint choc chip ice cream. The other part of me wants to win, to push myself to my limits and get to the top with hard work and dedication. The latter tends to win more battles, but it’s an ongoing war!

What do you feel passionately about?

Helping other writers find their way. I have a writers’ group that’s really busy and I’m volunteering to do creative writing workshops for local schools and libraries. Writing can really help to focus you, exorcise demons and if all goes well give you an extra income. I’m currently striving to provide the support for wannabe authors that I didn’t get when I was younger. I also really enjoy inspiring other writers. I have quite a busy mind, so playing muse to others is a great way for me to focus too. If I could get a job as a muse, I’d be there like a shot!

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What was the best story you ever wrote?

I love all my stories, I wouldn’t put them out into the world if I didn’t. But there are three short stories that I put my whole heart into. For Audrey appears in the So Long and Thanks for all the Brains anthology – this story is about a zombie dog protecting his child owner in a zombie uprising. It never fails to make me cry! Bad Baby appears in the Bleeding Ink anthology. It was an idea based in science but marinated in emotion. The Red Fingers appears in Grotesquerie anthology, is probably the most ‘out of the box’ story I’ve written, it’s all from the point of view of a musical talent. The Battle of the Undead series published through Evernight Teen is my first sole author books, so these will always have a special place in my heart.

How do you deal with bad days?

Everyone has them, I try to remember this, but I have developed a trick that makes me feel so much better…the montage. Montages are mostly found in scripts but sometimes in prose; it’s where a character skips through a portion of their lives in short scenes; this leads them to their destiny, usually with uplifting music – think Rocky training to Eye of the Tiger. After a bad day, I sit down, close my eyes and imagine my day as a montage of events (usually to the song Nine to Five by Dolly Parton) Once finished I feel better, that I the protagonist of my own story is heading toward my destiny, one country song montage at a time!

What are you working on at the moment?

Well, it’s the last installment of Battle of the Undead, Bad Karma and also the 2nd installment of my new series, The Twisted and the Brave. I also have another story eating away at my brain, like a toothy worm – but I’ll update you all on this one when I know more.

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Cover Reveal – Traitors’ Gate – Battle of the Undead – Prequel

Due out very soon through Evernight Teen, the prequel to Bad Blood and Bad Timing – Traitors’ Gate. A historical urban fantasy that takes you back to where it all began…

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The Bad Timing Virtual Book Tour

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 Tour Schedule

Jan 6

With Love for Books – Guest Post

3 Partners in Shopping – Spotlight

Harlie’sBooks – Guest Post

Jan 7

Margo Bond Collins – Spotlight

Cover2Cover – Top 10/Fav 5

Jan 8

Reviews by Crystal – Author Interview

Queen of All She Reads – Guest Post

Jan 9

Natural Bri Facebook Page – Spotlight

Bitten, Shifted…the not so Normal – Series Playlist

Jan 10

Liz’s Reading Life – Top 10/Fav 5

Jan 11

A Passion for Romance – YA Author Interview

Jan 12

Reading in Sarah’s Corner – Spotlight
Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’ – Spotlight

Remember to stop by and say hello!

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Bad Timing – Coming Soon!

coming-soon

Not long to wait now! Bad Timing, the second in the Battle of the Undead trilogy will be out Nov 2015 through Evernight Teen. Watch this space for the cover reveal and exact release date.