Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
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Monday, 29 June 2015

Monster Monday #9 - The Goa'uld (Stargate)


Sorry I'm late posting today - I was teaching my sister all the things my new Personal Trainer showed me at the weekend and it took us ages :).
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
The Goa'uld
Goa'uld Symbiote
Today I have chosen an alien race as my monsters. They are called the Goa'uld (go-ah-oold) and they hail from the Stargate universe. They are a highly intelligent, parasitic life
form which use humanoid beings as hosts. Lately (as in the last 5000 years or so) they seem very fond of humans for this purpose.

As my darling sister so rightly pointed out, to spot a Goa'uld you simply need to remember the Steps song "Last Thing on My Mind" ;) :

  • "There was something in your voice" - when a Goa'uld speaks through a human host their voice resonates.
  • "When I looked into your eyes, There was something you weren't telling me" - when a Goa'uld really wants to impress they make the eyes of their host glow.

Hathor
The Goa'uld leaders are called the system lords and they tend to base their personae on ancient earth gods. Some are ancient Egyptian deities and others are Norse or other old religions. When they arrived on earth they transplanted humans to other planets to be slave labour and provide further hosts. They have space ships. but they use Stargates to travel between planets as well, although they did not build the Stargate system, they simply took it over from a race called The Ancients.

When a Goa'uld takes over a host they hijack the nervous system and suppress the personality of the individual they have taken over while having complete access to their memories. They then use a sarcophagus to prolong the life of that individual indefinitely. They appear to only change host when absolutely necessary.

They also convert humans to be Jaffa; their warriors. These humans have no immune system and are reliant on an immature symbiote which lives within a pouch in their torso. The symbiote makes them hardier, but if it is removed they will die unless it is replaced very quickly.

Most Goa'uld are egomaniacs believing completely in their own superiority. Humans and other races are either enemies or tools. The use of sarcophagus technology to prolong their lives also causes increased sociopathic tendencies.

The Goa'uld are great monsters. They are remorseless and completely self-interested. As far as they are concerned humans are cattle. They are technologically superior, but their arrogance always seems to get them into trouble: they never believe they can lose.

Have you seen Stargate (the film or SG-1, Atlantis or Universe)? What do you think of the Goa'uld as baddies? If you could travel through a Stargate to another planet, would you do it?


Monster Mondays #9 Links 

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Monster Mondays #8 - Queen Gedren (Red Sonja)


Welcome to Monster Monday #8 and this week I have chosen a human monster, but one from epic fantasy. I do hope you enjoy my post.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
Queen Gedren

So today, for my monster I bring you Queen Gedren from the classic Red Sonja (1985) as played by Sandahl Bergman with set chewing perfection.

For those who have not seen Red Sonja, it is an epic fantasy where Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) has to find a mythical object, The Talisman, which has been stolen by Gedren, before it becomes too powerful and destroys the world, helped along the way by Arnie at his fantasy best.

This is one of those 80s fantasy movies that you either love or hate - I love them :).

So Gedren is a very powerful queen. She's also a lesbian, so yay for lesbian representation, but boo for making her a complete sociopath bent on world domination. It's the fact that she makes her designs on Sonja clear at the beginning of the film that launches the whole plot. Gedren is a tyrannical leader and she takes what she wants. She tries to take Sonja, but Sonja rejects her and maims her by cutting her face.

The fact that Sonja later described this as showing her disgust could be read as homophobic or you can choose to read it as being disgusted by Gedren trying to force her and having shown up with a band of men to enforce her will. Given that Gedren orders Sonja's family killed and Sonja gang raped in revenge and the whole film is about Gedren being evil, I like to think the second version is what they were going for, rather than 'being a lesbian is disgusting'. Given that Gedren's equivalent character was male in the original comic I'm hoping making the villain female was more about female empowerment than trying to make out lesbians are evil.

The things I love about Gedren that make her a monster are that she's powerful, she's remorseless and she's definitely got a screw loose. Depth, we don't need depth, she's the ultimate bad in a fantasy film from the 80s. She bold, she's beautiful, she's deadly and she's going to destroy the world because she wants to conquer all of it. Her arrogance knows no bounds.

By the end of the film she is completely irrational; when your lead henchman tells you you've gone too far and runs away, it's time to listen. Yet still her pride shines through and I think her final fight with Sonja is incredibly well done. It's as if Gedren really can't believe she is losing - it's beautiful.

I'd love to know Gedren's history. I get the feeling she was born to power, simply because she really can't see reality. It's as if she just doesn't get it. Oh she holds power ruthlessly, using fear and death as her weapons, but the way she just expects people to die because she says so makes me think she's never known anything else. She is not a sit at home queen, she likes to go out and conquer, but I get the feeling she started from a significant power base.

So there we have it, the beautiful and deadly Queen Gedren; not a nice lady and very good at being evil.

Have you seen Red Sonja? What do you think of Gedren? Do you enjoy a good evil queen?


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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Review: What We Do In the Shadows (This is a brilliant film)


Title: What We Do In The Shadows
Rating: 15
Cast:
Jemaine Clement ... Vladislav
Taika Waititi ... Viago
Jonny Brugh ... Deacon (as Jonathan Brugh)
Cori Gonzalez-Macuer ... Nick
Stuart Rutherford ... Stu
Jackie van Beek ... Jackie
Ben Fransham ... Petyr
Summary: A New Zealand documentary team are following the lives of four flat sharing vampires in their day to day lives.  They are not as well adapted to modern society as they think.

There is only one way to describe this film and that is: hilarious.

I loved it. I love the characters and the plot and the general silliness of it, plus it has vampires, so win/win/win/win. This is a film that is cheerfully taking the piss out of the vampire genre without being asinine or insulting to those who love it.

So the characters: we have Viago, who is a dandy and the one who fusses about the flat and everyone's duties; Vladislav, who is Dracula by any other name; Deacon, the young rebel at under 200 years old; Petyr, who lives in a stone sarcophagus and is 8000 years old. They are all brilliant in their own way.

Viago likes everything to be clean and tidy, but is totally incompetent at feeding without making a huge mess. Vladislav used to be the best at everything, but after a run in with his nemesis 'The Beast' has lost his confidence and some of his powers. Deacon thinks becoming a vampire made him incredibly sexy and irresistible. Petyr looks like Nosferatu and never actually says a word. They are all a different vampire stereotype and they are awesomely funny.


The flat meeting about doing the dishes is comedy genius.

Then we have Jackie, Deacon's human servant who does everything for him in return for one day becoming a vampire. She's just wonderfully practical about the whole thing and provides victims by inviting over people who used to be nasty to her in school.

And finally there are Nick and Stu - Nick who is a new vampire and causes no end of problems and Stu, his best friend. Everyone likes Stu better than Nick even though Stu is still human. Nick is supremely annoying, just as he should be and Stu is just brilliant; quiet, talks about IT and software all the time and is generally a geek.

The whole line up is superbly done and I love them all.

The plot is basically following along with their lives, so it's not really exciting, it's just very, very funny and so incredibly well written. They even have a Lost Boys reference so how could I not love it? I laughed a lot, out loud and I want to see it again so I can do so some more.

The only real problem I had with the film is the lack of lead female characters. We have six male leads and only one woman in there and she isn't in it as much as any of the men. It might have been fun to have a female vampire in on the flat share to add a little more diversity among the sexes.

Other than that I can't think of anything I would have changed. If you enjoy vampire films, or even if you don't, this is a truly great comedy. It's silly, it's entertaining and I can't recommend it more. Here is the trailer for your delectation.


Have you seen "What We Do In The Shadows"? What did you think? If not, do you think you might see it now?

Monday, 15 June 2015

Monster Mondays #7 - Evil Machines


Welcome to this week's Monster Monday, I hope it finds you all well. Since I saw Ex Machina recently (and there're 2 hours I'm never getting back) I decided to talk about evil machines for today's entry.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
Evil Machines

I suppose I really have to start with one of the most famous - The Terminator. I remember seeing the original film on TV many, many years ago and I loved it. It helped that I had a huge crush on Michael Biehn :), but I do really love the first film. Then ending that so many films have lambasted or emulated is a classic and it stuck with me from the moment I saw it.

Arnie is perfect for the role of strong, mostly silent, evil machine. He's faintly terrifying throughout the whole thing and it's a great movie. I can't say I have the same opinion of any of the rest of the series, but the first one is definitely my kind of movie.

The Terminator is the epitome of evil android, the machine that looks like a man, talks like a man, walks like a man and thinks nothing of man at all. He's brilliant.

Of course there are other types of machine. The next one that pops into my mind is HAL 9000 from 2001. He is not a monster in the way The Terminator is, he's a monster because he goes completely mad and wants to kill those he is suppose to keep safe. He is the danger within, a machine who has the complete trust of those he cares for and who he betrays when they seem to betray him.

HAL's madness isn't even his own fault. He goes mad because he is given conflicting directives to report all things to his crew honestly and to the best of his ability, but to conceal the true nature of their mission from them. There is just something so eerie about the calm, even voice HAL uses and the actions he takes to kill his crew while using it. Absolutely brilliant piece of cinematography.

Then, last, but not least out of the many I have to choose from, is Maximilian from The Black Hole. Now here we have a very, very nasty robot. He's a real bully, attacking the other robots on
the USS Cygnus just because he can.

He was made as the master robot by Dr Hans Reinhardt and controls the whole ship, including the black robed, faceless "androids" that run all the ship's functions. Maximilian is ruthless and seems to really enjoy scaring people and killing them when he can. His hands become spinning can-opener type devices and he relishes using them. It's the fact that he seems to enjoy being bad that makes him so memorable.

I remember Maximilian scared me silly when I saw the film as a child.

So which are your favourite evil machines? Have you seen those I've talked about? What did you think?


Monster Mondays #7 Links 

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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Guest post: C.D. Gallant-King, Interview - Ten Thousand Days

Today I am pleased to welcome to my blog fellow author and friend from the AtoZChallenge, C.D. Gallant-King for an interview and to talk about his book Ten Thousand Days.


Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born 35 years ago in a small town on an island in the North Atlantic. I think I wrote my first story when I was about 5 years old, and I made my babysitter look up how to spell the word "extraterrestrial" in the dictionary. (Note to younger readers: A dictionary is a book, made of paper, that was full of thousands of words with their proper spelling and defintions). I continued to write through childhood, teenagery and adulthood. It always stuck with me like a chronic disease, even as I dabbled through various careers - acting, theatre design, printing, retail management, civil service, IT order analytics - and the other responsibilties of grown-up-ness, such as marriage, mortgages and monsters (ie, kids). No matter what else is going on in my life, I have to keep writing.


Tell us about your book(s).

I often say I have a Closet full of stories that no one has read, and it's not an exaggeration. I literally have boxes of manuscripts and computer disks with countless books, stories and ideas squirrelled away in the closet under the stairs. I've written 8 novels and dozens of short stories, but Ten Thousand Days is actually the first that I'm officially publishing and putting out there for the world to see. The crazy thing is that instead of going back and dusting off another manuscript, I'm actually well underway writing yet ANOTHER book instead of going back to my cache of merriment and wonder. I'm sure those other books will see the light... someday.


Writing – why?

I write for the same reason that I jog. Not because it makes me feel good, but because if I don't I feel terrible.

I have stories in my head that need to get out. If I don't put them down on paper they rattle around (there's a lot of space up there) for years until I do something with them. I still have ideas for stories from high school that won't go away. To this end I will write anywhere, any time I can. With a full time job and small kids I don't have a lot of free time, so I've recently taken to writing during my commute to and from work on a crowded bus with my laptop balanced precariously on my knees. If I don't, I don't know when else I would write, and not writing is not an option.


What's easier for you, action, or dialogue, or description?

Dialogue, definitely. It probably comes from my theatre background, but I love good, snappy, witty dialogue, especially if it flows quickly and naturally. I actually have to be careful because my books can quickly start reading like scripts with just a bunch of talking heads. Without a stage and a director and actors, you really do need to fill in the action and description parts, too.


What is the hardest part of a book to write, beginning, middle or end?

You know, I almost said the middle, because it's certainly the most tedious. The end is easy and the most fun, I nearly always think of the ending first and then figure out how to get there. The guts of the book is just a chore setting up the awesome climax, so you have to be careful that it doesn't read like a chore, too.

Now that I think about it though, the beginning is actually the hardest part, because the beginning has to be the *best* part. It has to be perfect, or as near as you can make it. It has to catch the reader's attention and imagination. If the beginning sucks, the reader won't even get to the middle and the end, so much like foreplay it really needs the most attention.


Is there any genre you won't write and why?

Absolutely not. If I had the time, I would write every genre at least once just to try it. Currently I'm doing contemporary fantasy, but without hesitation I would try mystery, romance, erotica, horror, westerns, memoirs, a history book, illustrated children's books (though my art skills are pretty abysmal). Hell, I would even write a self-help book, though I would have even more trouble keeping a straight face with that one than I would with erotica.

I would love to try it all just to see if I could do it. Maybe I could somehow shoehorn them all into one... I wonder how many categories Amazon would let me choose for a single book? I may have just set a challenge for myself...


When do you have the most fun writing a book? When you first start? When you are blazing along with the main bulk of the plot? When you are rounding it all up?

It's weird, but often my favourite part of the writing process is the planning. The coming up with the story idea part. It's why I have outlines for no less than 37 books on my harddrive right now (and that is seriously not an exaggeration). The kernel of the plot is the easy, exciting part. Actually putting in the work to write the story is, well, the work. Maybe one of these days I should try working with a co-author who is more dedicated to the craft and nuts and bolts of writing. We'd be unstoppable.


Do you ever cast your characters with actors in your head?

All the time. But I'm not going to tell you who I picture, it's your job to come up with your own.

I don't want to colour your experience with my perceptions. That may sound weird, since basically everything you're readin is a version of my perception. Yes, it's my story when I'm writing it, but when I'm done it becomes yours, the reader's. It's up to you to imagine it any way you want, and I want you to come away with your own opinion. If I really want a character to come across as a "Harrison Ford" type, I'm not going to call him a "Harrison Ford" type. I'll describe him as a grumpy, charming rogue with a heart of gold, and it's up to you decide if he's more a Harrison Ford or a Chris Pratt or even a Bruce Willis. or If you picture a character or setting differently then I intended, or come away with a completely different moral or theme, that's wonderful. It might mean that I did a piss-poor job with the description, but (hopefully) it more likely means that we just have different imaginations based on different memories and experiences.

Besides, the best part of any story is arguing with your friends over "who would play so -and-so in a movie." I wouldn't dare take that away from you.

~*~
About the Book

Ten Thousand Days by C.D. Gallant-King
Released May 6, 2015

They say love hurts and time heals all wounds.

Sometimes the reverse is true.

Isaac was very good at wasting time. Video games, a mindless job, no responsibilities - he had a simple life and few wants. Despite being hopelessly average, unassuming and kind of useless, he had somehow married the most beautiful, wonderful woman in the world.

He had no idea how good he had it - until it was all taken away.

Time does not like being wasted. It is mercurial, inexorable and carries a wicked grudge. And sometimes, just sometimes, it enjoys playing games with people's lives. To be perfectly honest, Time is a bit of a jerk.

Isaac had never learned to appreciate what little time he had, and now he must travel to the ends of the universe and face unspeakable evils in a cat-and-mouse game with Time itself for the slim chance to win back a few fleeting seconds of happiness. The price of failure? Only the end of all existence.

Ten Thousand Days is a fairy tale set in the modern day, a fantastic journey of desperate love and horror with a twisted sense of humour. It's a story of exactly how far a young man will go for love...

~*~
Buy Links


~*~
About the Author

C.D. Gallant-King
Writer, gamer, pro-wrestling aficionado. Dad.

I claim to write stories, but really I just find them in The Closet, dust them off, add a few commas and send them out into the world.

Proudly Canadian, born and raised in Newfoundland, fine-tuned and educated in Toronto and currently residing in Ottawa with a beautiful wife, two wonderful children and various furry four-legged companions.

~*~
Find C.D.Gallant-King Online


Monday, 8 June 2015

Monster Mondays #6: The Lair (Gay Vampires FTW!)


Good morning (or afternoon or evening :)) I hope this Monday finds you all well. Today I am dipping into one of my favourite things for my monster: the vampire genre, and I have a recommendation for you.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
The Lair

Now, let me start off by saying this is not for anyone under 18 and it is not Shakespeare. It is, however, highly entertaining, well, at least I think it is.

This is the kind of show where one of the characters can say:
"A gay vampire sex club after sunrise is the loneliest place on earth."
with a perfectly straight face :).

That's what the Lair is, in case you were wondering, a gay vampire sex club on a place called The Island and this show does not hold back from the sex. It kind of reminds me of Tumblr like that: content, content, content, gay sex, content, content ... :). This show is full of lots of very nice to look at semi-naked (and in some cases naked, although artfully posed) hot men, very often together.

That aside, I do actually watch it for the plot and the characters, no I'm not kidding. I am very sad there are only 3 seasons because they left it on a cliff hanger and I want more of the epic romance between Damian and Thom. However, I am getting ahead of myself, let me introduce you to the protagonists:

Damian Courtenay
Damian Courtenay
This is Damian (Peter Stickles), head vampire and owner of The Lair. He used magic to form his coven of vampires that he refers to as The Family and he's cursed. He has a painting that holds his lifeforce and if it is damaged so is he and if he goes so do all the other vampires.

He was cursed by the vampire who created him and the painter of the painting, Richard DeVere, when he killed Richard out of fear and confusion after he realised what Richard had done to him. He is drawn to Thom because Thom looks exactly like Richard.
Thom Etherton
Thom Etherton and Jonathan
Here we have Thom Etherton (the hero played by David Moretti) and his boyfriend Jonathan. Thom is an investigative reporter for the Island newspaper and he get involved with vampires because he is looking into the John Doe murders occurring locally.

The moment Damian claps eyes on him, Damian is obsessed and Jonathan ends up in the middle of things and is bitten by one of Damian's "family" and used as bait to get to Thom.
Colin
Colin and victim
Finally we have Colin (Dylan Vox) (which I am assured to an American is a sexy name, but made me laugh out loud - the only person who can make Colin sound sexy is Colin Firth ;)), Damian's lieutenant.

Colin uses Damian's distraction with Thom to plot Damian's downfall so he can take over. He, of course, can't kill Damian, so he has to be creative.

Colin is the real baddie of the show.
Now there are plenty of other characters as well like Laura (Beverly Lynne) and Frankie (Brian Nolan) and Sheriff Trout (Colton Ford), but I could be here all day introducing them. They actually come together to make a plot that does hang together. In season 1 it's thinner than in season 2 and 3 and I think they missed a trick with the plot in season 2, but I was actually impressed by the plot of season 3. That's why I really want more because I think the show improved with every season.

There are other monsters too, a werewolf, an evil plant and even a male gorgon (I kid you not), so the show has variety. It manages to centre round a gay, vampire sex club without getting stuck in it.

It's not high budget (I think they made the first season in something like 12 days), in places it's like the lead up to gay porn, there is some terrible acting (and some great acting too) and I just love it to pieces. I've even written fanfic for it: Second Time Around which is an AU from the end of season 1 because I wrote it before I could lay my hands on season 2. All 3 seasons are available on DVD, including all in one boxset it you want (Amazon UK | Amazon US) - I believe it's also on Amazon Instant Video in the US. Go forth and enjoy the gay naked vampires! :)

Have you seen The Lair? What did you think? Would you ever consider watching it?

Monster Mondays #6 Links 

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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Title: Max Max: Fury Road
Rating: 15
Cast:
Tom Hardy ... Max Rockatansky
Charlize Theron ... Imperator Furiosa
Nicholas Hoult ... Nux
Hugh Keays-Byrne ... Immortan Joe
(there are many, many wonderful others, but I'm not going to list them all)
Summary:
When Imperator Furiosa flees the Citadel and Immortan Joe with his wives, seeking the green place in a post apocalyptic wasteland, she accidentally helps free Max, a prisoner of Immortan Joe being used as a universal donor for his War Boy Nux. Running from Immortan Joe and his allies they team up to survive and escape.

So I saw this film on Thursday last week and I really enjoyed it. The characters are awesome, the stunts are amazing and it dragged me right in.

My husband on the other hand was bored out of his skull - and no, he says it has nothing to do with the fact the film should really be called "Furious Furiosa and Mad Max". He felt that the whole film was one long bunch of the same thing and the first time it was spectacular, but two hours of it left him cold.

I on the other hand thought the battles were amazing and all slightly different and that the characters elevated the whole thing to a new level.

I love Furiosa, I love Max, I love the Wives, I love Nux, I even love Immortan Joe, despotic bastard that he is. They all make this a fantastic film. All of them evolve over the film, even the bad guy, and that is a true achievement. These are not static characters there simply to fill a hole, they react, they grow, they change, and in some cases they break.

I have read many articles on how this is a feminist movie and one or two on how, actually it isn't a feminist movie, and many people have talked about this much better than I can, so all I have to say is this: Mad Max Fury Road has the most brilliant female characters.

There is also no denying how spectacular this film is on a visual level. Be warned, there is very little respite from the amazing stunts and effects. The majority of this movie is a road battle with big rigs, cars, tanks, bikes and anything else of a vehicular nature and it's stunning. Guns, fire, knives, men on bendy poles - it has everything.

That being said, however, I would have liked the end to be a little more climactic. Because most of the film is so big, the end felt just a little bit not big enough. I know, I know, I'm being picky, but I almost missed the most important part of the final battle - I suspect because of the 15 rating actually. It wasn't as gory as it could have been. Most of the film worked really well at a 15, but not that one part. On a rewatch I may feel differently, but not at the moment.

This is a first class, character driven, action movie - not a phrase I thought I would ever use ;). I really enjoyed it and it will be on my pre-order list very shortly. However, I have had to promise that I will never make my husband sit through it again.

Have you seen Mad Max: Fury Road? Did you enjoy it? If you haven't seen it are you going to?

Monday, 1 June 2015

Monster Mondays #5 - I Am Dead (humorous zombie short story)


Good morning on this grey Monday, I hope you have all had a good week. Today I offer a short work of fiction for Monster Monday. I wrote this for a competition which I didn't win *pout* ;). It is a humorous zombie short story. I do hope you like it.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
Dawn of the Dead 1978 
I Am Dead
By Natasha Duncan-Drake

I am dead.

No, I'm not kidding and it's a good thing given that my current predicament would be very uncomfortable and probably fatal.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

The zombie apocalypse happened on a Friday afternoon just over two weeks ago. Well it did for London at least and now we're quarantined. I was bitten by my ex on the first day just before I pushed the more-brain-dead-than-usual muppet down the stairs. I died the same night; it's a bastard of an infection.

The thing is, I didn't become one of the shambling wrecks that are wandering around the nation's capital. The only thing I can come up with is that I had really bad ADHD before I became a zombie (I've been taking pills since I was eleven). I still have my faculties and the urge to eat everyone's brains isn't that hard to resist. Well except for Ken, one of my fellow 'survivors', but he's a prick. So far none of the group have cottoned on to the fact I'm not alive, which is a really good thing, because I'm guessing they would attempt to bash my brains in with a cricket bat or, knowing my luck and their ineptitude, a tennis racket. We're holed up in a large sports warehouse waiting for rescue, as per the instructions of Her Majesty's armed forces.

They think I'm some sort of ninja, because I can sneak out and find food without being eaten. Truth is dead things aren't attractive to zombies. I can't honestly say if it's smell or some other clue that gives it away, but, whatever it is, dead things don't have it.

I know it's cliché, but it really is the brains we need. Without them we rot. Trust me, some of the zombies stumbling around are not getting their vitamins, because they stink and bits are dropping off. It doesn't have to be human brains though. I think zombies go after humans, because they are stupid and slow, a bit like them. Since I'm faster, I hunt rats, and okay, there was that one dog. I know, I know, I'm an animal lover too, but needs must. Ken definitely deserves it more than the rats, but I don't think my fellow survivors would understand.

It's rats that got me into this predicament in the first place. I'm hungry, so I wasn't thinking straight and I chased one into a looted shop. I've never had great eyesight and I lost my glasses in the whole dying debacle, so I just didn't see the huge shard of glass sticking out of one of the displays. I think it used to be a mirror and I have spectacularly managed to eviscerate myself all over the going cheap, ex-Christmas stock display.

Zombies don't bleed, thank heavens, or it would be even messier than it is. We leak, we don't gush, and our blood is very thick and not very flowy, so it's disgusting, but not Friday 13th gory. In the last two weeks I have had to get used to being dead, seeing my fellow dead eating people, eating brains myself, scrubbing with disinfectant to make sure nothing grows on me and other nasty things, so all I can summon up when seeing my intestines mingling with fairy lights is a sigh.

Luckily I know how to handle this: duct tape.

Being dead it's a matter of sticking things back together. I have tape all round one leg where I lost a fight with a display case of knives. It was a good thing the duct tape stand was right next to the knife stand in that shop.

If I could feel nauseous I'm pretty sure I would as I bend and try and pick up my own insides. They are slimy!

"You have to be f...frigging kidding me," I sigh as the fairy lights prove they have the uncanny ability to tangle with anything.

Before I would have used much more colourful language, but one of my fellow survivors, Mrs Henderson, is a spritely octogenarian who does not approve of the cruder end of the swearing spectrum. She's also very handy with her walking stick and she has us all trained in a way I would never have believed possible had I not seen it. It's best to stay in practice. Her antics can't actually cause me pain, but it's hard enough playing alive without having to remember to react.

As I try and stuff what seems to be far too much intestine back where it came from I realise that it's not doing my shirt any favours. That and the huge rip right across the front aren't exactly going to help conceal my condition from my companions in the warehouse. Now is no time to be bashful so, with a sigh, I rip it off. I liked that shirt, but then I liked living too and that's gone as well, so my existence sucks and I just have to deal with it.

My only audience is a zombie who is repeatedly walking into a wall at the other end of the shop, so I don't think anyone is going to mind me being semi-naked.

It takes me another minute or so to realise my intestines and the fairy lights are becoming more entangled, not less. Let me tell you, seeing your own intestines glow when you accidentally turn the blasted things on is not great for a person's mental health either. In the end I rip the lights out of the wall and just stuff everything back in.

It's not like everything is suddenly going to start working again anyway.

I'm not sure what I'm hoping for once we're rescued. Maybe a place in a nice little lab where they can figure out what's keeping me compos mentis and feed me brains without me having to chase rats all over the bloody place. I'm under no illusion that the authorities won't spot me the moment they arrive, I'm just hoping they'll see me as the great hope rather than a great threat. You never know, maybe one day I will be heralded as the saviour of zombie kind. Yes, I know, I don't believe it either, but what else am I supposed to cling to while I duct tape my insides back in?

I'd have much preferred ending up a vampire or a werewolf, but no, it was just my luck that zombies turned out to be real rather than something cooler.

Of course, even with my insides back where they are supposed to be (along with the added extras) I have the small problem that I'm half naked. Putting my tape back in my bag, I pull out my disinfectant spray and wipes and clean myself off. Then I look around for anything to wear. It's just my luck that I ran into a junk shop not a clothing boutique. This shop has only two things: t-shirts with the Union Jack on them and Santa outfits.

I sigh again, but by this point I'm well beyond pride.

A patriotic t-shirt fits, but it doesn't hide the taping job overly well, so Santa it has to be too. The jacket hides a multitude of sins including the slime stains on the top of my jeans. No way I am wearing the trousers as well; there are limits.

That done, I spot my rat friend and this time the little bastard doesn't get away.

Rat brains and a little bit of mouthwash improve my mood no end.

It's as I step back out onto the street that I hear the rattle. Putting my hands up is instinctive, I've heard that rattle enough on TV.

"Stand and be recognised," says a very authoritative voice.

"Okay," I reply and turn very slowly.

It could not be more embarrassing; here I am looking at six perfectly turned out commandos and I'm zombie Santa.

"Are you a rescue team?" I ask, doing my very best to look harmless.

These are not a bunch of survivors hoping for the best, these are professionals.

"Because I know where there are a whole bunch of people waiting for you," I add.

I can tell they can tell there's something odd here.

"Yes, I'm dead."

It's probably kind of obvious when you haven't been living with me every day for two weeks. I have looked in the mirror once or twice.

"But I'm not like them."

I nod towards a pack of shuffling zombies.

"And unless you think they're my larder, I have a warehouse full of people I was gathering food for who can tell you."

The officer lifts his gun. Well this sucks.

"Don't you think Her Majesty's Government's scientist might want to know why I'm not brainless?"

His finger twitches near the trigger. Maybe I should have eaten Ken after all, at least it would have been satisfying.


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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Chrys Fey - Witch/Ghost Blog Tour

Today I am very pleased to welcome Chrys Fey to my blog on her Witch/Ghost Blog tour. Chrys and I met through the AtoZchallenge and she's a wonderful author.

Real Witches

By

Chrys Fey

I have a deep love of witches and the supernatural, so I combined both to create my story, Witch of Death. I wanted the excitement that surrounds anything that is supernatural as well as the real aspects of being a witch today. The heroine and main witch in Witch of Death is Detective Liberty Sawyer. She solves murders and has psychic dreams. I’m sure there are witches just like her out there, only they can’t wield orbs of burning energy with their hands.

10 Facts about Real Witches:

1. While there are bad eggs, just as any person can be bad, witches are good, not evil.
2. Witches look like you and me. They don’t have warty faces, hook noses, or green skin.
3. There are soldiers in the U.S. military who are Wiccan.
4. Witches believe in harming none and never doing spells that will negatively impact others.
5. The Wiccan New Year is Samhain (Halloween).
6. Witches don’t dress up in silly or scary costumes on Halloween. Many believe dressing up is an affirmation and wear costumes to represent what they wish to be and accomplish for the New Year.
7. Witches only use wands to direct energy.
8. Not all witches are in a coven. Many are solitary practitioners.
9. Witches cast spells to manifest something they need or desire. This could be for protection, health, luck, courage, or love.
10. Not all witches are Wiccan and not all who follow the Wiccan religion are witches.

Title: Witch of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 45 (short story)
Release Date: May 20th, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.


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Blurb:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:



BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 


Author Links: 
Facebook / Blog / Website / Goodreads 


Thank you all for visiting and hopefully commenting. ;) 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Blood Isle/Calasade Blog Tour - Mark Stone

Today I welcome author Mark Stone to my blog to talk a little about himself and his new book, Blood Isle.
Blood-Isle-Illustrated-Novel-Calasade-Series
Blood Isle: Calasade Series virtual book tour featured by Happy Geek Media
Hello, Dear Reader.

You’ll have to excuse me if what you read comes off as odd. I’ve never before done a guest post.

Mmm, what to write?

That’s always the question for us authors, most anyway, though a lucky few don’t actually think of ideas; they just seem to magically come to us, delivered by some transcendent and invisible hand that reaches down deep inside and pulls out tales worthy of your time.

Perhaps spiritually is a better way of putting this type of writing process, for that’s how writing is to me—a divine experience, a dual existence in which my physical presence presides here on Mother Earth while my essence is alive and well within the borders of Calasade, the Greco-Roman Fantasy world wherein most of my stories take place. That world often seems more real to me than this, which it should when you consider I spend most of my time in that mystical, passionate place dark and gritty and lovely and horrifying and mystifying.

Calasade is everything that life should be. Or perhaps it is everything that life was in the time of Ancient Rome with the paranormal thrown in for good measure. I hope I have developed Calasade in such a way that it becomes as real to you as it is to me, that you are as equally fascinated by its past, present, and potential future.

Something I would like to note before signing off on this rambling: I am an Independent Author. I could have had the publishing contract; in fact, I did, but it soon became apparent to me that I would have to sacrifice my vision if I went the traditional route. That was something I could not do and subsequently got out of my contract.

You see, I refuse to compromise on Calasade, on either its beauty or ugliness. The publishing company wanted me to tame certain aspects and go in a direction that wasn’t true to the people of Calasade. That is not to say publishing companies are evil. Gatekeepers are in fact sorely needed. All one has to do is look over the state of Indie publishing to know gatekeepers losing control over what populates bookshelves also meant the loss of certain standards of quality. There are (sadly) countless examples of amateur attempts consisting of poorly formatted and grossly unedited books, badly penned stories by authors who care only for making money and nothing for their craft, and covers so horrendous, they make you want to scratch out your eyes.

My books are none of those things (something I hope the art included with this post proves). My intent is to offer a product that equals if not surpasses those of the big publishers. More important to me than making a quick buck for minimal effort is pride and I strive above all else to be proud of Calasade.

The art is from Calasade: Blood Isle, an illustrated Fantasy Romance. Blood isle is available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. It is also at Barnes & Noble for Nook and (for most other reading devices) at Smashwords. Blood isle is about a broken man addicted to drink and gambling who gets a final chance of redemption when he is tasked with rescuing a kidnapped slave girl.

Sincerely,

Mark Stone

Blood Isle, Calasade Series
by Mark Stone
Genres: Greco-Roman, Illustrated, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Mythology, Romance
248 Pages
Release date: May 18, 2015
Calasade is a Greco-Roman Fantasy world that was in development for over five years. The world of Calasade has enough in common with Ancient Rome and borrows enough from Greek and Roman mythology that it will seem familiar, but also offers plenty of its own lore so that it is something new and different, the latter especially true when the world of Calasade and its tales are compared to fantasy taking place in worlds based on Medieval Europe.
A love of fantasy tropes intertwined with the unique helped bring Calasade and Blood Isle to fruition. You will find neither the knight in shining armor nor the never-do-good evil sorcerer.
The people of Calasade in Blood Isle are not so different than us in that they belong squarely inside the gray box of existence. As such, each and every one is capable of heroic acts one moment and dark ones the next depending on what's at stake and the means available for acquiring their goals.
Blood Isle is an illustrated novel. While part of a series, it is like all Calasade stories and can be read as a stand-alone. Thank you for taking the time to check out Calasade: Blood Isle.

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Follow the Blood Isle Tour here

May 18th: Happy Geek Media Launch/Unique Excerpt/Illustration
May 19th Wren Michael's Blog Spotlight/Illustration/Playlist
May 20th Flight of the Dragon Character Profile/Illustration/Unique Excerpt
May 21st Ivy Trellis Books Review & Illustration
May 22nd Photography, Poetry & Indie Authors Illustration & Playlist
May 25th DRC Promotions Unique Excerpt & Illustration
May 26th Tasha's Thinkings Guest Post
May 27th The Writer's Journey Author Q&A & Illustration
May 28th Desafio in the City Unique Excerpt & Illustration
May 29th KP's Cafe Review/Playlist/Illustration
May 30th Happy Geek Media Review & the Works

author_mark_stone-blood-isle
Author Mark Stone of Blood Isle
and the Calasade series
Mark Stone splits his time between the United States and Spain with his greatest inspiration, his wife. Having written award-winning Flash Fiction, he is now a novelist writing tales mostly of Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery. He will sometimes get a wild hair and venture into other areas—namely, Weird Western and Historical Fiction. Look for the latter in the near future. Most of his stories are based in Calasade, a fantasy world heavily influenced by Ancient Rome.

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Blood Isle: Calasade Tour hosted by...
Happy-Geek-Media-blood-isle-calasade-Virtual-Book-Tour
Happy Geek Media Blood Isle Virtual Tour