Splash into Summer $250 Cash Giveaway!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

splash into summer cash

Splash Into Summer $250 Cash Giveaway June 1st to 20th

An Amazing Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!! Start your summer with a Splash! We're giving away $250 in Paypal Cash. Many thanks to I'm a Reader not a Writer for sponsoring this hop    

Since I am all things mermaids this week, especially with the release of Ink: A Mermaid Romance this week, I thought it would be fun to feature a few of the other Falling in Deep novellas available now on Amazon:



Giveaway Time!




Giveaway Details $250 Paypal Cash Ends 6/20/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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What's your favorite Summer Vacation Spot? Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Friday, May 29, 2015



Ready for summer? I know I am! I am an instructor at a local college in Florida so I spend 9 long months waiting for summer to arrive. Each summer, we take a vacation somewhere new. And I've lived all over the US. But come every May, there is really only one place I want to go on vacation...home! I get terribly homesick come May and find myself dreaming of sitting along the shores of Lake Erie!

Presque Isle, Erie PA
Of course, while I am a PA native, I didn't actually grow up in Erie. I spent the majority of my adult life there and am really fond of the city. As a kid, however, I grew up in a teeny-tiny little town in northwestern Pennsylvania called Tidioute. Tidioute is a rural town located in the Allegheny foothills along the Allegheny River. It's a paradise for people who like to hunt, fish, camp, and live a quiet life.

Overlook, Tidioute PA

New readers might not know that my Harvesting series is actually set in a little town just like Tidioute. I actually cherry-picked some of the elements from my small town as the setting for my fictional Hamletville. What better place to set the zombie apocalypse than in your home town, lol! All joking aside, it's a lovely little place to visit. 

How about you? Where to you love to vacation for summer?



"My Favorite Summer Vacation Spot" Blog Hop is sponsored by Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill!

Visit the 6 Co-Hosts:


Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill Giveaway:



Keep Hopping!

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Sneak Peek: Ink: A Mermaid Romance, Chapter 1

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Ready for a sneak peek? I'm excited to share the first chapter of Ink: A Mermaid Romance with you. The novella is available on Amazon for pre-order. It releases June 2nd! I will raise the price to $2.99 in a bit, so be sure to grab it for 99 cents!



Chapter 1


The first bomb exploded with a flash of white oxygen bubbles. A sharp, piercing sound followed. I felt like my skull would burst. Even though the pain threatened to deafen me, I suppressed my scream. Biting my lip, I tasted blood, and my shimmering blue tail curled. I squinted hard, covering my ears with my hands. My whole body shook, and I knew it wasn’t over yet. Five more bombs dropped into the water. The dolphins near the fishing vessel whistled in agony, and then became silent.
I rocked in the water, the ripple of shockwaves rolling past me. Every muscle in my body tensed. When the pain softened, I opened my eyes to see the bottom of the commercial fishing vessel gliding through the water, the prop on slow. Bobbing on the waves, the dolphins floated immobilized. Below the dolphins, tuna huddled, ripe for the picking.
Of course, they weren’t all dolphins. Several of the dolphins were, in fact, merdolphins. I scanned the water for my cousin Indigo. King Creon had ordered me to bring her back at once. Something was happening at the grotto. There had been a flurry of preparation, but I didn’t know why. It wasn’t as if the king shared his plans with me. Why would he? I was an annoyance to him, a constant reminder of his deceased brother who’d ruled before—and better than—him, a brother whose death had bought Creon the throne.
“Ink?” Seaton called. “Are you all right?”
I glanced over at him. The gruff old merman stiffened his back, his dark purple tail uncurling. Small clouds of blood trailed from his ears.
I nodded. “You?”
“They are using seal bombs,” he said angrily. “Illegally.”
“When did humans ever pay attention to their own laws?” I turned to the others, the small band of scouts who’d come with me. It was times like this that I missed Roald who’d left the ocean for his exile year. He would have had something smart to say to cut the mood. But Roald was not there, and the rest of us were far too serious to make jokes. “Everyone else okay?”
“We’ll be fine,” Achates, a hulking merman with dark hair and a ruby-red tail, assured me. He squeezed his blades and glared angrily at the boat overhead. There was no one we hated more than the fishermen…well, except the oilmen. It was no wonder the mermaids of old hypnotized and drowned humans for fun. Of course, that was before my great-great-grandfather King Tricus outlawed siren song. His daughter, Princess Tigonea, had tried to use siren song against her father in an attempt to usurp power. We mermaids still suffered for her failed regicide.
I scanned the water. The bubbles caused by the blasts faded into halos at the surface. Some of the dolphins and the merdolphins, started to recover. We needed to get to them.
The tuna clustered under the dolphins. Atlantic tuna were easy to find if you knew where to look. If you hunted dolphins, you found tuna. The fishermen began dropping their purse-shaped net. It drifted downward like a dark haze.
“Let’s go,” I called, gripping my blades.
We swam quickly toward the pod, careful to stay far enough below the surface to remain unseen. By sonar, we’d just look like another pod of dolphins. Humans knew nothing about the deep. As long as we were cautious, they’d never see us.
As we drew closer, I noticed that some of the older dolphins had been killed. They floated like plastic bottles on the surface, their white bellies facing the sun. Others kicked and tried to recover from the deafening blast, swimming away in confusion. The dolphins’ blood clouded the water, filling my nostrils. This was nothing short of murder.
“Indigo,” I called, careful not to sound too loudly. Hearing me, several of the merdolphins turned and swam our direction. I could see from their awkward movements that many of them were injured. Indigo, whom I finally spotted among the dolphin pod, had shapeshifted into dolphin form. Preoccupied with one of the mother dolphins, she had not heard me.
“Can you get them home?” I asked Achates, referring to the injured mers, several of whom had started to shift back to their natural mermaid or merman form.
“Yes, My Lady,” he said as he and two of the other scouts led the wounded mers away.
Overhead, the boat motored in a wide circle: halfway done. Soon they would close the net, and we’d be trapped inside. We needed to work fast.
I motioned to Seaton, and then we shot through the water. “Indigo,” I called.
She turned and whistled to me in panic. Once we got close, I could see the problem. The mother dolphin had started to calf and wouldn’t be moved.
“Ill-omened,” Seaton grumbled. “Nothing can be done here, Lady Indigo. You have to go. They are dropping the net.”
Indigo shook her head, and then stared at me, making direct eye contact. Against my better judgment, I knew what had to be done.
“We have to cut the net,” I told Seaton.
“Dangerous work,” the merman said and grinned. “Best get to it.”
“In the meantime, try to convince her,” I told Indigo, and then Seaton and I set off. I grabbed the net, feeling the rough, human-made object in my hands. It didn’t matter how many times drywalkers—mers who could shift into human form, mers like me—told me that humans were kind. All I saw was the death and filth and destruction they wrought. They were little more than barbarian apes. Land brought death. Just ask my mother. Who knew where her corpse lay rotting in the dirt? But that death had not been caused by humans. The Gulf tribe had killed my mother. She’d been a casualty of our war. I barely remembered her anymore, just the shadowy memories of her red hair, her dainty drywalker tribal mark, and the way she sang with a low cadence. How unlike her I was with my massive swirling drywalker tribal covering my back. While our marks were different, we were the same lot in life. Now it was my turn to walk on terra firma. My exile year had arrived. That night I would begin my drywalk. I shuddered at the thought, and then turned back to my task. It didn’t do me any good to think about it now. Moonrise would be here soon enough.
I stabbed my blade into the net and jerked it. The net resisted. I yanked hard and soon the metal began to cut. Below me, the massive tuna huddled together. I could taste their fear in the water. Poor beasts. We fed on them too but not in such a barbarous way. With a little luck, I’d have them out of there as well.
As I jerked my knife, I stared at the boat motoring overhead. Seaton was right. Everything about this fishing practice was illegal. The purse-seine fishing method they were using had been outlawed years ago. Disgusting. At least merpeople honored their laws, even when we didn’t like it.
The torn net wagged with the motion of the waves. As I worked, anger welling up in me. If it hadn’t meant having their refuse in my waters, I could just sink their boat and drown them all. It was, after all, instinctual for me to want their death. While our law forbad using siren song, which was nothing more than tuning of sound resonance, I still felt the ancestral tug in me. I would have loved to purr a sweet song and pull them down into a murky death. I could almost hear the tune in the back of my head, humming from an ancient source. The song of the siren was nearly lost now, its banishment causing it to fade from common use or knowledge. I closed my eyes. With just a few notes, it would all be done.
“Ink?” Seaton called.
I opened my eyes. Careful, Ink. “Good. Almost there.” I glanced back at Indigo. She’d moved the mother dolphin deeper into the water, away from the surface, and had shifted back into mermaid form. Her blueish hair, befitting her name, made a halo around her. She was using merdolphin magic to dazzle the creature, talking in low melodious tones that echoed softly through the water.
Seaton stopped just above me.
“Got it,” I said, then slid my blade upward. The net broke in half, wagging like seaweed in the waves.
Seaton and I swam to Indigo who was guiding the mother dolphin, holding her gently by the flipper. From above, there was a terrible groan, then a screech as the gears on the winch sprang to life. The net wall moved like it was alive, the tentacles of a great sea monster closing in on us.
“We must hurry,” Seaton said.
Moving quickly, we swam through the tear and out of the net, back into the safety of the open ocean.
The gears on the winch lurched. Water pressure pulled the tear, causing the net to rip wide open. The tuna rushed free. I tread for a moment, stopping to watch the sight as Indigo guided the mother dolphin into the dark water below us.
“The pup is coming,” Indigo called from the blackness below.
Above, the bottom of the boat rocked, unsteadied by the broken net. The winch slowly reeled the mesh out of the water. It looked like a dead thing, a man-made monster fished out of the living ocean. As the fishermen moved along the rail of the ship, their images were weirdly distorted against the surface of the water. With all my willpower, I sucked in the death-dealing note that wanted to escape from my lips. The massive swirling tribal mark on my back started to feel prickly and warm. Harnessing myself in, I reminded myself that it was forbidden. I turned and swam into the shadowy deep.

Ready for more?



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The Zombie Papers: The Hollow Men Rebooted, Part 4

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Click Here for Part 1

Click Here for Part 2

Click Here for Part 3




The Walking Dead, a popular graphic novel turned TV show, is one of the fore-runners in the contemporary zombie writing.  In the world of The Walking Dead, a small group of survivors, led by a Sheriff, fight to survive in a post-apocalyptic zombie-populated world.  The zombies, called “walkers” are decaying corpses with insatiable hunger.  The Walking Dead’s zombies eat the flesh of humans and animals alike.  When they are feeding, they are so distracted by their hunger that they often miss the chance for fresh human meat as the heroes make hasty exits.  In fact the “walkers” of The Walking Dead seem to be unmotivated by anything other than hunger.  Many scenes in the television show depict the “walkers” in a kind of suspended animation until a human passes.  The infection that caused the zombie-like condition, however, lies dormant in all of the survivors.  Upon death, even those who initially survived the pandemic will reanimate.  The notion that every living person has living within them the potential to be a “walker” is important.  While not all the survivors in The Walking Dead are “good” people, everyone has the potential to becoming an unthinking, unfeeling, consuming reanimated corpse.


            Other zombie films, such as the 2004 horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead by writer/director Edgar Wright, are more direct in playing up the mindless way with which we make our way through our daily lives.  Protagonist Shaun wakes up the morning of the zombie apocalypse and heads to the local convenience store to grab a drink.  Along the way, he passes obvious signs of mayhem.  He slips in a puddle of blood in the convenience store, complains there is no newspaper for sale, shrugs off a zombie he thinks is pan-handling, and doesn’t notice his neighbor’s dead body on the front steps.  Shaun flops in front of the TV, flipping past news reports of a crisis, and sips his Diet Coke.  Shaun’s obliviousness begs the question: if the zombie apocalypse happened, would we notice?  

          

As Columbus, protagonist of the 2009 blockbuster film we Zombieland ponders “why am I alive when everyone else around me has turned to meat,” we wonder what it is about our world that we find so unfulfilling.  In Zombieland, a virus mutates from mad cow disease to a strain that infects humans.  Columbus survives by keeping to a list of rules.  The first two rules on his list are quite telling.  Rule number one is “cardio.”  Columbus warns us that a lack of connection with your physical self will ultimately lead to your death.  His second rule addresses common sense: double-tap (always shoot a zombie twice).  The two most basic rules in this movie tell us to avoid becoming a “human happy meal,” you need to be connected to the body and the mind, to be healthy and to think.  Yet in Zombieland, the undead rule and the living are on the run. 


So what does it all mean? Check back next time for the final installment of The Zombie Papers.



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Scales by Pauline Creeden: Review & Excerpt

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Synopsis:


Verona is a bottom feeder. She is the one mer in her clan who is considered the ugliest and least intelligent. Growing up with the constant bullying and abuse wasn’t the worst of what her kind had in store for her. At seventeen years old, she must now endure “The Reckoning.”

The scales will measure her worth to her clan. Will she endure thirty days as a land-walker to gather information and knowledge to appease her clan and return a valued member? Will she wait three years, until she is twenty, and find a mer of her kind to accept her and marry her? Or will she suffer exile for the rest of her life?

  



Review:

I was really fortune to receive an ARC of this novella from the author. What I love about Pauline Creeden's writing is her ability to write interesting characters, a complex world, and deliver a social message that doesn't hit the character over the head with it's insistence. When I finished reading Scales, I sat back and considered the title. My initial reaction was Mermaid = Scales = Makes Sense. After reading, I realized the significance of Scales...justice plays a major role in this novella.

We meet Verona when she is facing startling abuse. This sets the reader on edge and immediately makes us wonder why a young girl (mermaid) would be victim to such a crime. We then find out that not only is Verona beaten, she's about to be exiled. She will suffer her wounds, alone, and she might die. Why? Because her society sees her as less-than. Her tendency toward being emotional, being different, has made her an outcast. The scales are not tipping in her favor.

Verona, however, is not without those who feel for her plight. I won't get into the details as to avoid spoilers, but someone feels for Verona's situation and soon comes to help...sort of.

In addition to the story of Scales, we also get a preview of Salt. In Salt, we meet another character for whom the scales don't seem to be tipping in their favor. I really enjoyed the beginning of that novel as well.

Creeden is a gifted author. Her setting off the coast of Chincoteague was well-drawn. Verona was a likable and rateable character. The author pulls at your heart-strings from the first. I want more, Pauline!

Rating: 5 seashell bras! 

Excerpt:


TO KEEP FROM SCREAMING, I bite hard on my lip. The copper mixture of blood and saltwater mingles on my tongue. Mer claws rake against my back. The barnacles on the post to which I’m tied stab me in the chest. Pain sets my body on fire. Everything burns. I squeeze my eyes shut tight and keep my silence.
“Ugly.”
“Repugnant.”
“Unsightly.”
“Ignorant.”
“Bottom Feeder.”
Each word cuts as deep in my flesh as the physical wounds my clan inflicts. It can’t last long. I can endure this. As soon as the sharks catch scent of my blood they will come, and the Mer will scatter.
The world spins around me like a whirlpool. My breaths come quick and shallow, my heart pounds faster in my ears. Each second is an eternity, until I realize fresh wounds are not adding to the burning in my skin.
The elder’s sharp tongue whispers in my ear. “Now you will be measured.”
My wrists fall free of the post as he cuts the ties.
Exile. My Reckoning has begun.

About the Author

Pauline Creeden is an award-winning author, horse trainer, and overall book ninja. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Gold Award for First Place YA Horror Novel.

Connect with the Author Online


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The Zombie Papers: The Hollow Men Rebooted, Part 3

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Click Here for Part 1

Click Here for Part 2



Richard Matheson wrote I am Legend in 1954.  The novel tells the story of Robert Neville.  Neville survives a bacterial pandemic which was the aftermath of a war.  His survival should be a good thing, but he soon discovers he is the last human survivor in a world now infected with vampire/zombie like creatures.  Matheson’s works envisions the zombie apocalypse as a moment where mankind dies but also a moment when a new race is born.  It is a rejection of the old in favor of something new.  Much like other writers at the time, Matheson’s work speaks to the fears about the new instruments of war.  Matheson wanted us to understand that humankind was actively pursuing its death instinct through the marriage of war and science.  Our ability to build and drop bombs that wiped out entire cities fundamentally changed the psyche of western society.  What happens when mankind harnesses the power to destroy the world?  For Matheson, humans could become the stuff of legend.
         


   It is not until 1968, however, that we have the first work that embraces the gothic machine of the zombie as we know it today.  George Romero borrowed the term zombie from Haitian voodoo practice.  George Romero’s use of the word is the first in western pop culture.  George Romero’s Living Dead Series presented a new kind of undead creature. Romero’s zombies were reanimated humans eating the flesh of the living.  And in particular, they craved brains.  Romero’s works, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) are generally cited as firsts in the zombie canon.  So what was it that inspired Romero to create his Living Dead Series



It is not insignificant that the creation of these works coincides with the Vietnam War and the rising tide of mindless materialism.  In the 1960s, the United States was engaged in an unpopular war and at home, there were public calls for peace and a rejection of barbarism.  In the 1978 Dawn of the Dead, the pandemic survivors shelter in a mall to which zombies are mindlessly drawn out of routine.  The setting could not be more symbolic.  The survivors hide in the bastion of consumerism while the unthinking undead are drawn siren-like toward the scene of the crime.  By 1985, when Day of the Dead was filmed, we were living in the material world of the “me” generation.  The United States had become a society basking in yet totally unfulfilled by its consumerist tendencies.  The zombies craved brains.  The government tried to pry the human back out zombies.  Zombies, and society, found reason delicious.  The human spirit struggled to preserve in an age of violence and consumerism.
“Night of the Comet,” a 1984 film, also features a world filled with Romero-esque zombies.  Two California valley girls survive a comet-evoked pandemic, and what is the first thing they do?  Go shopping.  The protagonist, Reggie, pronounces “the stores are open!”  The film then cuts to a shopping montage set to 80’s ballad, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cindi Lauper.  In the back-drop of this story, the “evil government” plots to use the organs of the healthy survivors to prolong their own lives.  Materialism and mistrust of the government, also themes in Romero’s work, run rampant in this cult classic.


While the undead have been lurking about in folklore since the ancient period and made their way into popular literature in the 1950s, recently there has been an explosion of zombie films, TV shows, graphic novels, video games, and literature.  Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has contributed to the zombie trend boasting a “Zombie Preparedness” plan on their website.  While the CDC has used the zombie apocalypse as a means for educating the masses on how to respond in the face of a pandemic, their contribution to the zombie phenomenon gives us a sense of just how pervasive zombies are in modern society.

            Like the vampire, every age has its zombie.  Contemporary zombies consume.  While there is some variation as to why the zombie apocalypse happens, from medical treatments gone array, to pandemic flu strains, to environmental factors, one thing modern zombie writers agree on is the function of the zombie.  Zombies want to eat the living. 

In the next installment of The Zombie Papers, we'll discuss contemporary zombies and what they say about us!
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Chasing the Green Fairy Now Available on Audiobook!

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I'm really excited to share that Chasing the Green Fairy is now available on Audiobook! This is probably the most emotional book I have ever written. Proofing this book was an emotional chose. I do most of my audiobook listening on the way to and from work. There are some really difficult chapters in this novel. I ended up arriving a work red-eyed one morning.

I hope you enjoy the continuation of Lily's tale. After this novel, I took a little break from the series to work on my dark fantasy zombie series, but I anticipate Chasing the Fog will be released early 2016. You can pick up Chasing Christmas Past as a tie-over and I have another such tie-over in the works as well.

Enjoy!


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The Zombie Papers: The Hollow Men Rebooted, Part 2

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


The Zombie Papers, Part 2


Click here for Part 1


Vampires have appeared in folklore and myth since the Sumerian times, but it was not until Lord Byron penned his Fragment of a Novel in 1816 that the vampire became part of the literary tradition.  Byron’s gentlemanly fiend, feasting on virgins has he made his way across Europe, commented on social manners and sexual repression of the day—in addition to its reflect on Byron’s own wanton behaviors.  While the undead have long been present in myth and folktale, it is not until the last century that we’ve seen this monster become a center-piece in works of literature. Starting with Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend written in 1954s, we now have a canon in progress.  Zombies, as we conceive of then in contemporary pop culture, are at the beginning of a new monster canon.  In Our Vampires, Ourselves, Nina Auerbach wrote that “every age embraces the vampire it needs” (145).  This certainly seems true when one reflects on the variations of vampires we’ve seen since 1816:  from eccentric counts to glimmering high school students.  We might suggest, instead, that every age embraces the monster it needs. Contemporary zombies, in their endless pursuit of oral consumption, are a fitting symbol of modern social ills.
Despite the fact that zombie is the monster du jour, this does not mean that the undead are altogether absent from folklore or earlier works of literature.  In fact, the oldest recorded reference to the living dead occurs in the ancient Sumerian poem, “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” In the epic poem, the Goddess Ishtar threatens to:
break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of dead will outnumber the living (12).
The undead’s rightful place is in the “lower depths,” and their presence in the world of the living would be an incursion on the order of the Sumerian world-view.  They would not consume the living, but would eat food and outnumber them.  Their presence amongst the living is a threat to cosmology. The dead’s presence amongst the living raises questions often considered in zombie literature: if the undead are rising, what does that mean for my immortal soul?  What has happened to the after-life?  The dead mixing with the living breaks taboo allowing a cross-over of worlds. Questions about mortality and immortality, a significant theme in “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” are called into question. Such questions are still relevant in the discussion of zombie literature today. 



            Early Slavic and Russian folktale also contains references to the undead.  One of the most common undead characters is Koschie the deathless, an undead—often skeletal—prankster who tempts unwitting maidens and Russian bogatyrs.  In many folktales, Koschie is bound by chains and locked in a closet.  When discovered, he begs to be released. Usually an innocent maiden will set him free only to be abducted. Defeating Koschie the deathless usually involves hacking him to pieces, burning his body, and scattering his ashes.  Encounters with the undead usually spell trouble for the living.  In The Dead Mother, an undead mother returns from the grave to nurse the baby she left behind.  When the undead mother is discovered, however, the child dies.  Another tale, The Fiend, features a young woman charmed by a handsome stranger only to find him feasting on a corpse.  Slavic and Russian traditions have very strict rules regarding burial ritual.  The appearance of the undead is often the result of failure to follow ritual. The undead are cursed spirits and those who encounter them often die as a direct result of witnessing the undead walking.


            Cannibalistic and zombie-like creatures appear in the folk beliefs of many cultures.  Native American folktales include the figure of the windigo (weendigo).  The windigo has a variety of descriptions: from a wolf-like creature that devours humans, preferably immoral ones, to something akin to the contemporary Slender Man.  One of the main qualities of a windigo is cannibalism.  This concept is so prevalent that it has been termed as windigo psychosis, a culture-bound psychopathology attributed North American Native American tribes from which the windigo legend emerges. (citation)  While windigos are often described as flesh eaters, Ojibwa author Basil Johnston explains the motivation of a windigo in different terms:
The Weendigo has no other objective in life but to satisfy this lust and hunger, expending all its energy on this purpose. As long as its lust and hunger are satisfied, nothing else matters--not compassion, sorrow, reason, or judgment. Although the Weendigo is an exaggeration, it exemplifies human nature's tendency to indulge its self-interests, which, once indulged, demand even greater indulgence and ultimately result in the extreme--the erosion of principles and values (224).
What is being described by Johnston is not exactly cannibalism nor is this a fanged creature stalking campers in the woods.  In this case, qualities of the windigo are depicted much like the zombies of today—beings who were once human now consuming endlessly without satisfaction.  But when do these zombie like legends begin to make the jump from the monsters of folklore to the monster of literature? We'll explore this more in the next edition of The Zombie Papers!
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Ink: A Mermaid Romance Available for Pre-Order and $75 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Saturday, May 9, 2015




I'm really happy to announce that Ink: A Mermaid Romance is now available for pre-order! I have listed the novella at a special pre-order/new release price. I'll eventually raise it to 2.99, so you can grab it for 99 cents now if you like.

Living in Florida has definitely had an impact on me. I decided to write Ink set in Miami and Cocoa Beach. I live rather close to Cocoa so it was great to pull this environment into the story. Writing Ink was an adventure. There really isn't a set mermaid mythos, so I had to start from scratch. What gods do they worship? How does their social structure work? And how in the hell do mermaids have sex? I may have dodged figuring out that conundrum with some "on land" escapades.

The Gulf of Mexico also plays a role in my book. I love Pensacola...love, love, love. The Gulf coast is the most beautiful stretch of beach I've even seen. I was absolutely sickened by what happened to those sugar-white beaches during the oil spill and clean-up. That also plays into this story. 


Novella Description


A mermaid princess destined to wed a handsome king… 

It sounds like a fairy tale, but the reality is far murkier. 


Ink, Princess of the Florida Atlantic mers, is slated to wed the ancient enemy of her tribe, the King of the Gulfs. After years of war that led to countless mer deaths, as well as the genocide of aquatic shapeshifters and the freshwater mers of Florida, Ink’s marriage will bring lasting peace. 


Or so it seems. 


Mere hours before she’s supposed to leave the ocean for her customary year as a drywalker, Ink meets Hal, an alligator shifter who warns her that a storm is brewing. There is malicious intent behind Ink’s marriage—and worse, meeting Hal has also caused a storm to rage in Ink’s heart. Nevertheless, loyal to her tribe, Ink will put aside her feelings and journey to Miami to marry the decadent King Manx. 


Ink soon learns that her only hope of surviving the crashing force swelling around her is to tap into a power deep inside—a forbidden power that might destroy them all. 


About the Collection



Ink: A Mermaid Romance is part of a larger collection of mermaid books launching this summer. Love mermaids? Looking for a great beach read? The Falling in Deep Collection, a collection of 15 unique tales of creatures of the deep, is rolling out the first novella in their collection at the end of May.

From mermaids to sirens, Miami to Athens, dark paranormal romance to contemporary stories with steam, the fifteen award-winning and best-selling authors of the Falling in Deep Collection are bringing you mermaid tales like you've never seen before.

Every week beginning May 26th, 2015, we'll be releasing one unique, never-before-published novella! Each novella will feature our favorite creature of the deep: mermaids.

The Falling in Deep Collection (May – September Releases)
Of Ocean and Ash by A. R. Draeger
Deep Breath by J. M. Miller
At the Heart of the Deep by Carrie Wells
The Mermaid’s Den by Ella Malone
The Water is Sweeter by Eli constant
The Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless
An Officer & a Mermaid by Blaire Edens
How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes
Cold Water Bridegroom by B. Brumley
A Beyond the Sea Prequel by Emily Goodwin
Immersed by Katie Hayoz
Siren's Kiss by Margo Bond Collins
To Each His Own by Anna Albergucci


Never miss a release! Join our newsletter for behind the scenes information and release updates: Join the Mermaids!


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Summer Blog Hop Sign-Up: What's your favorite Summer Vacation Spot?

Thursday, May 7, 2015



Is your favorite vacation spot a sunny beach, a bright city, or a secluded cabin? A romantic getaway or maybe a place you loved as a child?  We want to see it and know why it's your favorite!


To join in this fun Summer Hop:

1) Sign up on the Linky list below.

2) On Saturday May 30, put up a post "My Favorite Vacation Spot" and tell everyone about it!

3) Link to the 6 Blog Hop Co-hosts:
Lexa Cain: http://lexacain.blogspot.com/
Melanie Karsak: http://www.melaniekarsak.com/
T.F. Walsh: http://www.tfwalsh.com/blog/
Vanessa Morgan: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com/
Jolie Du Pre: http://www.preciousmonsters.com/
Stuart R. West: http://stuartrwest.blogspot.com/

4) On May 30-31, visit the other blogs and see where their favorite getaways are!

Special Giveaways - Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill!
There will be a giveaway featuring 6 exciting novels on the Co-hosts blogs!



Midway: The Harvesting Series Book 1.5 by bestselling author Melanie Karsak
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end. Join Cricket in this unique zombie apocalypse series. It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead!


Cloaked in Fur by T.F. Walsh
Cloaked in Fur sees rebellious Daciana cast into a life-threatening adventure against her will to uncover who is killing her friends before the predator sets its sights on her.


Drowned Sorrow by Vanessa Morgan
If Jaws kept you away from the ocean, Drowned Sorrow will keep you away from any water. Discover this chilling story of a remote village where water has become a supernatural element that can think, move, and kill.


Benton (Vol. 1) by Jolie Du Pre
There's no place to go, no way to escape the zombies until Jennifer meets a young man who says he can lead her to safety at his family's ranch. The catch is that Jennifer has to trust him with her life - and maybe even her heart.



Zombie Rapture by Stuart R. West
Someone failed to tell the dead they’re not in Heaven. Hunter intends to right that wrong.





Soul Cutter by Lexa Cain
A teenage skeptic goes to Egypt and discovers the supernatural she scorns is all too real. The legendary Soul Cutter is hunting again.


Linky Sign Up:
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The Zombie Papers: The Hollow Men Rebooted, Part 1

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

About The Zombie Papers . . .

"Why would you write about zombies?"

Whenever I tell someone I'm a zombie/horror writer, I get this question. What would make a reasonably sane looking woman want to write about zombies? Married mother of two, respected in her profession, field trip chaperon, and cookie baker, why do you have zombies in your head, lady? Zombies have a lot to say about us. Layla and Cricket are my avatars as I brave the why of the zombie trend. But there is also a philosophical answer to "why zombies?" The Zombie Papers seeks to address that answer...



The Hollow Men Rebooted;

We are The Walking Dead


“Don’t open. Dead inside,” a warning spray-painted on a hospital door in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, neatly summarizes the theme and symbolic significance of the zombie movement in contemporary popular culture.  Zombies no longer hunger for brains.  Zombies no longer amble to the mall.  A comet doesn’t transform us into the undead.  When T.S. Eliot wrote, “this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper” (97-98) he was not talking about a zombie apocalypse, but he was talking about agonizing emptiness and loss.  The zombie trend in popular culture addresses this same symbolic significance. The zombie apocalypse results in catastrophic loss: mankind dies.  The emptiness, deadness, we feel as a result of living in a disconnected, desensitized, othered society causes us to suffer zombie-like famish.  How do zombies feed their insatiable hunger?  They consume—everything—and so do we. Zombies, in the mindless pursuit of oral satisfaction, come to serve as a symbol for deep sense of emptiness and loss felt in contemporary western society.



Zombies amble in mindless pursuit of something or someone to consume.  Today’s iterations of zombies would have Sigmund Freud chewing on his cigar as he choked back an “I told you so.”  Zombies today are a metaphor for every psychological and social ill Freud envisioned: a physical incarnate of the death instinct and with a focus on oral consumption as its pleasure principal, discontent with civilization ending in its destruction, and the all-out reign of the id—if you hope to survive the zombie apocalypse.  Contemporary zombies consume everything: fingers, entrails, limbs, and even the occasional chicken.  They are no longer the connoisseurs of human anatomy the way they were in the 1970s and 80s.  Rarely, and poignantly, do contemporary zombies have a preference for brains. These days, zombies will consume anything.  The zombies’ oral fixation is a post-mortem instinctual pursuit of satisfaction.  As Freud notes, “the purpose of life is simply the programme (sic) of the pleasure principle” (25).  Through oral consumption, zombies seek satisfaction. Few zombies have sex, thank goodness, but Freud notes in his Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis that the “oral instinct becomes auto-erotic” (408).  A zombies’ oral urge, however, is never satisfied.  What does it say about us that in our undead form we still seek to satisfy ourselves through consumption?  As a result of the zombie apocalypse, mankind becomes a mindless eating machine.  Zombies, and their endless drive to consume, are a reflection of the social problems of modern life.  In western cultures, we consume our way through food and goods, our environment, and our interpersonal relationships, all the while being over-exposed to violence.  It’s no wonder we feel “dead inside.”  We don’t need a zombie apocalypse.  We are a zombie apocalypse.  


Stay tuned for the continuation of this series . . . 

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