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…

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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:

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Halloween – Embracing Fear

7BLKIxiN0G0When I was a little girl, I relished gory movies, horror books and ghost stories. Something in me would just come alive – I couldn’t explain it, although it hasn’t been till now that I wanted to.

So what makes us like to be frightened? Why are horror movies and books so popular? I believe it’s down to safe scares; after all a book can’t hurt you (unless someone clocks you with one!) and horror movies show us bloody scenes that, thankfully, most of us will never experience in our real lives. This is taken further by supernatural horrors – the more fantastical the threat, the less likely it is actually to happen. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, mutant ninja turtles (come on, they had weapons, they’re scary!) the odds of any of these creatures being real are slim to none. Serial killers, on the other hand, are very real – personally, I find movies and books like The Silence of the Lambs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 100 Corpses, Exquisite Corpse – so much scarier. In fact in a study back in 1998, it was found the ‘seven deadliest movies’ were: The Shining, Scream, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, and Poltergeist. 5 out of 7 had serial killers/ mass murderers in!

Part of the appeal of horror is that you also get the relief when it’s over – it’s the sense of ‘I made it’ which can spur you on to put yourself through such blood-curdling ordeals in the first place. When you first start dating someone new a horror movie is a popular venue choice as it also creates a bond with the person you’re with; a kind of shared semi-traumatic event which links you together.

From a biological perspective, the fight or flight response will kick in if you feel fear, but if your brain decides that there’s no physical danger then all you’re left with is an adrenaline rush – no wonder pop up Halloween attractions do so much business!

Also, I think that the era you’re in affects the notion of scariest. Here we are in the 21st century and hasn’t everything been done? Aren’t we just re-hashing and re-developing old movies and book ideas that have gone before? From the list of the 7 deadliest movies 3 of them have already been re-made, 2 have countless sequels and all of them have been spoofed in some way. When you think back to when The Exorcist came out, they were carting out faint-hearted movie-goers from the theatre straight to hospital – could you see that happening nowadays?

Part of my research for my YA urban fantasy, Bad Blood, was on people’s reactions to fear, and something bad and unexpected happening. In a world where zombies are being hacked apart by vampires, I at least wanted part of my book to be based in fact; to have human reactions in a very in-human situation. If you feel like have a safe yet horrifying adventure with a group of human survivors, led by a couple of bickering vampires all hip deep in a zombie apocalypse, then pick up a copy of Bad Blood today and feel free to drop and tell me how you would react if put in this situation; let’s survive it together.

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Author interview swap with Kirstin Smith

Kristin Smith pic(1)Tell us about your publishing journey

In March of 2016, my debut novel CATALYST was picked up by Clean Teen Publishing. It will release in November, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m currently working on the sequel with plans to release it Spring 2017. Obviously, my publishing journey hasn’t been all rainbows and roses, because publishing, in general, is tough. It’s a road riddled with rejection but lined with perseverance. I’ll spare you all those boring details!

What do you love about being an author?

Gah, I love it all! I love “going to work” in my pajamas. I love connecting with other authors, who are total rock stars, by the way! I love being able to tell the stories that are swimming around in my head. And I LOVE seeing my work in print. There’s nothing better!

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Hmm, I’d have to say Trey from CATALYST. He’s a bit of a bad boy, and I totally have a crush on him! We’d eat mashed potatoes because Trey loves them. :)

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Emma Stone as Sienna, Brant Daugherty as Trey, and Alex Pettyfor as Zane. Sounds like a stellar cast, right?

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?Catalyst Cover

Sexy leads, definitely! Especially if they look like Damon from Vampire Diaries. Love him! :)

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I would love to visit the Roaring Twenties. It would be so cool to experience the Art Deco period for myself. Plus, I love the style back then—the flapper dresses, cute hats, and hairdos.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

“Don’t date that boy in high school. He’ll only break your heart.”

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A wizard, of course! It would be great to have my own wand and cast spells on those who don’t do what I say. Mwahahahaha!

Where do you write best?

Either on my bed or at my desk. Usually, the bed wins out. It’s just too comfy!

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I recently finished THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater and really liked it! It was the first book I’ve read of hers, but I’d heard so much about her writing that I had to see for myself. I wasn’t disappointed! She knows how to pull you so far into a world that you’re practically able to taste the saltiness of the air and feel the sea spray on your face. She’s a masterful storyteller!

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Adult contemporary romance. I’m a sucker for romance in my books, and I really do enjoy writing the kissing scenes. I’ve written a couple romances so far but haven’t tried to publish them yet. Maybe someday…

Where can fans find you online?

Please do visit me at any of the links below! :)

Blog

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

 

Author interview swap with Kendra L Saunders

13754143_10154305819116411_1492845484166471802_nTell us about your publishing journey…
It’s been a long one! I started in 2011 by self publishing my dark magic realism novel Inanimate Objects. From there I was contracted to write a book for a small press, and soon after I wrote two more books: Dating an Alien Pop Star, and The Unlove Spell. In 2015 I signed a contract for the Alien Pop Star series, and by the end of 2016 I should have three new releases in one year. It takes a long time to happen, but once the ball starts rolling, it usually moves quickly. Engaged to an Alien Pop Star (second book in the Alien Pop Star series) will be out this November, and The Unlove Spell will be out in December.
What do you love about being an author?
Escaping to amazing worlds where things end up making sense. Making people laugh. Hearing from strangers that something I wrote had an emotional impact on them. Spending time with aliens (in books!) Traveling for my “job”… hey, come on, it’s research!
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Oh man. Probably I’d choose Henry DeTamble from the Time Traveler’s Wife, and I’d want to have something delicious and easy to eat so we could just talk about music and time travel the whole time!
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
That’s a tough choice! I’m usually very inspired by musicians and models rather than actors. I think if I had to choose actual actors, though, Daisy Ridley would be a fun Daisy (and her name is perfect!) and Christian Bale would be great for Griffin’s dad, though they’d need to age him up a bit. Not sure about actors for Griffin and Dev.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
Sexy leads, always! I’m such a chicken about horror, and vampires scare me way too much when they’re monsters.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?Ebook- Date an Alien
I would probably waste my use of a time machine on something stupid, like going to see Muse live at Glastonbury in 2004. But if I could go to any time period for a few days, safely, I would absolutely go to the 1920s in Paris. The romanticism of that time and place is so widespread that Woody Allen made that movie, Midnight in Paris, about it. I would love to wear some flapper styles and just soak in the crazy time of change. But then I’d want to come right back to modern times, where women have rights, we have modern medicine, and the internet!
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
Don’t try to make mean people happy. Don’t take so many other people’s pain onto yourself. Don’t hate your body so much. Don’t starve yourself, and cut back on the coffee!
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Oooh, that’s another tough one. I’d probably want to be something that had a long life, but I couldn’t be a vampire, because I’m too easily grossed out. So probably a fairy or something, because they get to be fun colors and wear sparkly things, or nothing at all, if they want!
Where do you write best?
My favorite place to write is a comfortable, slightly noisy coffee shop of some type. I can’t help it! I know it’s such an author stereotype, but I really love it. I actually work for the country’s biggest coffee shop chain now– think green aprons!– and I still love writing at coffee shops. My second favorite spot is the comfort of my own bed, at about midnight, to about 3am. I’m a night owl by nature, and I love writing at night when it’s quiet and dark.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
I’ve been reading the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m in the third book now, and have really loved the characters, the descriptions, the dynamics of “found families”, and the unique take on magic and legend. I definitely liked the first book best so far, but I’m enjoying the whole series quite a lot!
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
Because I write books with comedic, romantic, and fantastical elements, I’m not sure what would be left! I love good comedy, I love magic, and I love handsome boys, so I think I’d have to find a way back to one of those genres no matter what!
Thank you so much for having me, Nicky!
Where can fans find you online?
Twitter @kendrybird
Instagram @kendralsaunders
Facebook, under my name, Kendra L. Saunders
I also have a website http://www.kendralsaunders.com/ that has loads of helpful tips, articles and links for writers, as well as some fun free short stories.
I blog about well-being + fashion & interviews designers from Project Runway at http://kendrybird.blogspot.com/

Interview with Medeia Sharif

my headshotTell us about your publishing journey…

It took me a long time to break in. I queried for thirteen years, for several manuscripts, until I found the agent who sold my first book. After that agent and I parted ways, I’ve had subsequent books and short stories published through small presses.

What do you love about being an author?

I love creating stories. I can’t imagine not writing. Then to have people tell me that they enjoy my work is uplifting.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

I’m a fan of Erica Jong’s Isadora books, so I’d have dinner with Isadora Wing. I’d go with Thai, since that’s my favorite restaurant food.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

I have no idea. I don’t watch many TV shows or movies, so I’m out of touch with today’s celebrities.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Since I lean towards horror, I’d say blood hungry monsters.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I’d love to visit the 1960’s and 1970’s (although I was born in the latter part of the ’70s). I find the societal changes during those decades fascinating. I also like the music, fashion, and entertainment of that time.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

To get involved. I did many things alone and in a bubble when I would’ve learned things faster by working with and receiving support from like-minded people.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I’ve always been fascinated by vampires since an early age, so I would choose that creature. From shows to movies to books, they’ve always captured my imagination.

Where do you write best?

My home office space. Sometimes I write somewhere else in my home or at a public spot, but that space is where I write the most.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The last book I read was Kelly Hashway’s Out of the Ashes. It’s book 2 in a paranormal YA series. It has mystery, romance, and so many other wonderful elements.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I’d love to try writing one of those sweeping speculative fiction series that run into 3 or more installments, either paranormal or sci-fi. I’ve had ideas for them, but never planned them out.

Where can fans find you online?

I have a website, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads page.

evernight covers

Interview with Marcus Damanda

at the deskTell us about your publishing journey…

I have a box of rejection letters that I could use to wallpaper the Taj Mahal. I have been taught humility by several hundred agents and publishers that have psychologically flogged me for decades, all while wearing black hoods and going bare chested. In 1989, I got my first agent—and promptly refused a publication contract with Doubleday because they insisted I re-write the second half of the book. I figured I’d have another offer within weeks. My next offer came in 2007. A painful lesson, but I have learned it well.

What do you love about being an author?

The fancy cars, my house in the Catskills, my pet leopard—oh, wait. I have none of those things. I love starting with an idea and slowly watching it fill in. I write almost nothing in sequence, so for me, it really is like watching the picture in a jigsaw puzzle emerge from scattered pieces.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Hannibal Lecter. No, wait. I withdraw that comment, too. Serious answer: Father Karras from The Exorcist. We’d have Italian with a nice red and talk about what it felt like to confront the Devil. Now, if you’re asking me about a DATE with a character, definitely Clarice Starling from The Silence of The Lambs. Hm—noticing a pattern here.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?salvationstate1l__68237.1452817734.432.648

If THE SALVATION STATE was made into a movie, give me Willow Shields as Rebecca, the preacher’s daughter on the run, and Asa Butterfield as Daniel, the atheist outcast.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

15% sexy leads, 85% bloodsucking monsters. That about sums up my vampires in THE FOREVER SHOW and TEETH. Bottom line, if they’re not scary, they’re not vampires.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I’d set my time machine for “repeat” and stay in 1985 forever. Everybody have fun tonight, Everybody Wang Chung tonight. Seriously, the 80s were so freakin’ happy for me. I mean, like, totally.

Definitely not going back anywhere in time that does not have indoor plumbing, cable TV, and a 7-11 on the corner.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

That’s tough for me, because I was given so much good advice that I totally ignored. Having said that, I do wish someone had advised me to do as I was told as a young writer—that it’s not the world’s responsibility to make you rich and famous, that your dream is no one else’s responsibility to realize for you.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

This is where I expect a lot of people would expect me to say “vampire.” They really are a lot of fun to write about. But if I could be a supernatural creature—say, one with immortality, good looks, superhuman reflexes, et cetera—make me a Tolkien elf every day. I’d be able to sing better, my hair would be awesome, I’d be able to drink without impairment to my permanent health, and I’d be one of the good guys—a wins-all-around type of situation.

51Yx2B16qTL._OU01_AC_UL320_SR214,320_Where do you write best?

The only place I write is at the modest little table-desk at the man cave by the sliding glass door with Shazam the cat on his perch to my left. Having said that, my favorite environment to write in is one with a good wrath-of-God thunderstorm flooding my downhill neighbors’ basement—I’m sorry, was that aloud?—or else the quiet of early morning before the sun comes up.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The last series I finished was the Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman, and the last individual book I finished was Time Runs Away with Her by Christine Potter. Very different types of books—pure dystopia on the one hand and paranormal teen romance on the other—but both completely blew my mind.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I typically write horror and—these days—dystopian science fiction. One day I plan to go back to my roots and go full-on swords-and-sorcery again, like I did when I wrote for no one but myself and my pre-teen friends.

Where can fans find you online?

https://www.facebook.com/MarcusDamandaAuthor

https://twitter.com/MarcusDamanda

www.marcusdamanda.com

Buy links:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marcus+damanda

www.evernightteen.com

http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_hp_tseft?advsearchKeywords=marcus+damanda&filterby=field-keywords&x=0&y=0

 

 

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 

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.

Book Review: Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake

17452685Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

About the Author:

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. Her debut NA title Campus Crush is now available. She also write YA and MG paranormal under the name Kelly Hashway. Drake is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. For more information about Ashelyn, visit her website at ashelyndrake.wordpress.com.

My Review:

Well, this is the second book about a Phoenix that I’ve read and I must admit that they are a fertile and interesting paranormal aspect. This is YA and definitely ticks all the boxes. I loved the extras added top this lore (I won’t go into them for fear of spoiling the book) and the whole thing was simply a pleasure to read.

From a writer’s perspective, it was written first person from both the girl and the boy’s POV, which usually I hate, but it really worked here and I actually found that it was more interesting this way. My only grips is that it had the whole ‘imprinted’ thing, which I always feel is a bit lazy, as it instantly makes a couple with a strong bond, rather than the reader going on this journey with the characters.

The front cover is beautiful, although the girl doesn’t overly look like Cara, she described as blond with red streaks? This is starting to become a pet peeve with me, when front cover artists don’t read the descriptions of the main characters. It’s a shame, just a change of hairstyle and this would be an amazing cover.

Overall, I’d give Into the Fire 5 out of 5 stars – nothing’s perfect, but this is nearest damn at – for both teen and adult readers.

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