New Story Coming Soon!

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All right, kids, that’s a wrap on the first draft of a new short story that will be out soon.

I cannot tell you much about this work yet, as it’s all very top secret, hush-hush, and on the QT. I can offer a few nuggets of information though:

  • The story is called REVOLVER
  • REVOLVER is a dark, dystopian sci-fi piece set in the near-future.
  • I wrote this story for inclusion in a forthcoming sci-fi anthology, which is expected to release in early 2015. I don’t think I can spill the beans on who all else is included, but rest assured it’s a great group of authors and I couldn’t be happier to be working with them on this project. This will be a top-notch effort from all of us involved, though, and not just on the story side of things. We’ve got a terrific cover artist on the hook, and some fine editorial strong-hands helping each of us shine brightly.

Keep an eye out for the real details soon. Once I can release more information, I will. This is a bit of a hard project for me to keep quiet about because I  really, really, really want to tell you everything about all of this. It’s very exciting, and I’m beyond thrilled with the way things have been shaping up, and with how well REVOLVER turned out.

Next step is editing, and that’s always a doozy. I’ll be working on the next draft in conjunction with moving ahead on editing EMERGENCE, so I’ll certainly be keeping busy and distracted, which should help keep me from revealing more than I should.

By the way, and without giving away too much more about this project, now might be a good time for you to sign up to my newsletter. I won’t spam you, but I will send you updates on new releases. When this anthology comes out, there may even be a few surprises in store for subscribers.

Guest Post: Commercial Fiction with a Literary Bent by Casey Peterson

Today, I’m turning the blog over to Casey Peterson. His debut novel, Just Another Job, is on sale this month at Amazon for 99 cents. With this book, Casey has set out to tell a superhero story with a bit more depth and literary oomph, using not only some marvelous Marvel flair as inspiration, but some decidedly older works as well. Read on for Casey’s piece!

Just Another Job final cover

Life’s script takes Chris Byrne from a passive tech support role to an active world saver.
A simple drudging existence was on tap for Chris before an attempt at bravery places him as a sidekick for newly discovered superheroes.
With government backing, Chris awkwardly attempts to live up to the heroic image while tagging along on Super missions. Although he may look it and proves slightly capable, Chris knows he can’t keep up the part and decides to quit.
But walking away is the most daring performance in front of him. He stands to lose financial security for his family, a best friend that is also playing sidekick, and a new friend in the form of a Super. Then Chris sees the machinations behind it all.


Commercial Fiction with a Literary Bent

Thank you Michael for the opportunity to do this guest post.

I feel my title at the top best describes the genre I set out for with my first epublished book Just Another Job. Because as much fun as a superhero romp is, I never could entrench myself in the soap operas of Captain America and the X-Men for too long. I always needed something deeper for my brain to chew on.

Sure Steve Rogers throws a wicked fastball with that nigh-indestructible shield of his, but he’s also a bit of a cry baby. A man out of time eventually needs to get his head together and find an identity. When written well I can totally dig it. The mask gives him a purpose, without it he struggles. In the 1000 plus comics he’s appeared in, half give this identity crisis justice. The other half; a lot of pity parties that you don’t want to see from the first Avenger.

I wanted my protagonist to deal with a similar struggle, because, like I said earlier, when done well I relate. I also felt that that stoic, chiseled jaw figure rarely second guesses himself even without super soldier serum running through his veins. So I went for a common man, less self-assured than most, thrust into the spandex wearing world. He has little choice as the money a sidekick brings home is much nicer than a tech support provider. As cool as it is to stand next to real superheroes kicking ass, he can’t not help but wonder if there’s a safer option to gain a middle class existence.

But you can’t have a superhero story without some stoic, chiseled jaw figures running and jumping around doing amazing things for truth, justice, and the American way. Like the X-Men, I had to have a team because the dynamics and opportunities to play off each other were what drew me to comics as a kid. First with the classic 90s X-Men cartoon and then simultaneously the Marvel Masterpieces trading card line alongside the original comics. The X-Men I grew up with always had a strong female leading a group or the entire group in their fights against prejudice. My first real superhero had to be female; a mix of Storm’s natural elegance with the intense ferocity of Wolverine. The rest of the supporting cast was made up from the hundreds of other characters I’ve run across in my comic collection.

Of course, that’s only half of what I intended. Beneath the superhero surface, I wanted something more, and as grandiose as it may seem that meant using Shakespeare as inspiration. Like the X-Men, Shakespeare sunk his hooks in me at a young age. I remember getting strange looks in 6th grade as the only student to get a copy of Romeo and Juliet from the Scholastic book orders. I’d heard of this William Shakespeare guy and how great he supposedly was, so I had to give it a try.

The first thing to shock me was there was no happy ending for those star crossed lovers. Or for Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Othello. Yet these tragedies spoke more truthfully to me about the world than any Michael Crichton or John Saul book I ran across. Which isn’t a very fair comparison but those were the only serious reads I had to put up against the Shakespeare juggernaut. After reading most of his plays, and many a few times over, I just don’t think I can pull away from the gravity of his work. All my writing will be influenced directly or indirectly by the true king of language.

For Just Another Job, the themes I wanted to delve into best mirrored the themes so masterfully explored in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Two worlds run into each other in Dream and my book in which the characters can only catch glimpses of. And having just part of the whole picture affects them considerably in their choices. The power of dreams and the unsure nature of sleep felt like the right fit for my narrative as well. When we think of power, we forget how much sleeping and dreaming dominate our lives. Whether you’re catching a quick nap in the afternoon or daydreaming at work, the two patiently wait to take over your consciousness. Of course the most predominant theme of Just Another Job and one of Shakespeare’s many works of genius, was the engrossment of the theater/entertainment in our lives. Even more than any other time in history we seek out the pleasure of entertainment. So much media from so many different platforms fills up our headspace. The presence of superheroes is just that; entertainment. They are a spectacle that grabs our attention immediately, whether good or bad or the many forms in-between. I doubt I came anywhere close to mining the deepest depths of this idea but that’s why there’s always a next book.

It Was All for Nothing comes out this December in which Shakespeare’s influence on me goes even further in shaping my work. It’s a bit of a slow build horror novel about a valedictorian who wishes to balance out all the hard work he put in for high school with a debauched summer that ends in a legend trip.

For October 2014, Just Another Job will be on a $.99 promotion price on Amazon.

About Casey Peterson

I’m a burgeoning writer with just one book under my belt and another one on it’s way for fall 2014. When I’m not dabbling in the written art, I’m teaching the art of the English language to junior high students. Beyond those two time consumers I also wile away the hours with Lego building sessions with my two boys and searching the recesses of Netflix for something usually scary with my wife.

Follow Casey on twitter @CaseyBungie1524

Tales From The TBR Pile

I’m more than halfway through Nick Cutter’s The Deep and expect to have a review posted in a few days. This one doesn’t come out until after the New Year, but I was able to get an early copy through NetGalley. That service is damn addictive, by the way.

My eReader has been filling up with plenty of books, but thanks to the Internet and sites like Goodreads, BookLikes, and KBoards, a few other titles have caught my eye.

So, here’s what’s on the horizon as far as my MUST HAVE NOW titles are concerned:

Black_ebook_coverThe Black
Paul E. Cooley

This one is actually up next in my queue, I think. It’s a recent release, and after seeing all the praise heaped upon it by horror writer and reviewer extraordinaire, Edward Lorne, it definitely seems to hit all the right buttons for me. I have a tremendous soft spot for aquatic horror, so take that setting and tell me it’s like The Thing, and I’m quite happy to take a look.

Under 30,000 feet of water, the exploration rig Leaguer has discovered an oil field larger than Saudi Arabia, with oil so sweet and pure, nations would go to war for the rights to it. But as the team starts drilling exploration well after exploration well in their race to claim the sweet crude, a deep rumbling beneath the ocean floor shakes them all to their core. Something has been living in the oil and it’s about to give birth to the greatest threat humanity has ever seen.

The Black is a techno/horror-thriller that puts the horror and action of movies such as Leviathan and The Thing right into readers’ hands. Ocean exploration will never be the same.


World_Final_1Once Upon A Time At The End Of The World
S. Elliot Brandis

There’s no plot description available yet, but I’ve become acquainted with Elliot a bit at KBoards and became a big fan of his writing voice upon reading his debut, Irradiated. All I really know about it is it’s a post-apocalyptic western, which is enough to have me hooked. Couple that brief elevator pitch with a cover straight out of a Sergio Leone flick, and I’m in. I may even have to get some Ennio Morricone scores to accompany my read-through.

Go check out Elliot’s website and be sure to sign up for his newsletter. He’s offering this opening volley for free to his subscribers. Of course, I’m sure it’ll also be available to purchase online upon release.


Suckers_D3Bsuckers
Z. Rider

Feels like there’s a long wait in store for this one, but Suckers will launch in Feb. 2015. The cover art alone has me really anticipating this release, and I absolutely love the way all those bats come together to form the title logo. Beautiful stuff, and a terrific color scheme that helps drive home the moody horror.

When worn-out musicians Dan Ferry and Ray Ford decide to take a shortcut back to the hotel, they pick the wrong dark alley to go down. Attacked by something neither can identify, they think they’re lucky to get out with their lives. But their lives aren’t all they get out with…

As an infection takes hold of Dan, the cramped tour bus becomes a dangerous place to be trapped. And when the infection spreads across the country…nowhere—and no one—is safe from the Suckers.


Now then – what titles have intrigued you of late? What’s on your most-anticipated list of stories that are coming out soon? Sound off below!

CONVERGENCE is now on BitLit

Convergence-BitLitEarlier this week, I signed up with BitLit to give my print readers the opportunity to obtain the digital copy of Convergence absolutely free.

Although Convergence is enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program, there are a few limitations to it that I’m hoping BitLit will help correct while offering my readers extra flexibility in their eReader options.

Here’s the skinny on Matchbook – if you buy the paperback copy of Convergence at Amazon, and only at Amazon, you can get the Kindle edition for free. But, if you ask your local indie bookstore or Barnes & Noble to order you the print copy, you’re out of luck on taking advantage of Matchbook. Should you ever wish to have the eBook edition, on Kindle or any other platform, like Nook or Kobo, you would have to repurchase it.

Matchbook is an Amazon-exclusive program, and ties your print copy purchase to the Kindle edition eBook. That’s fine for a lot of people, myself included. But there’s plenty of readers out there who would be missing out on this advantage.

Enter BitLit.

I played around with this app last month, and you can read my thoughts on it here. I am a big, big fan of bundling print and digital purchases. Marvel and DC Comics have been doing this for a while, and I applaud them for that. My big wish, particularly as a reader, is to see more publishers follow suit.

With BitLit, you don’t have to be an Amazon customer. You don’t have to be a Kindle user. If you want a digital copy of my book, and you already own the print edition, then, damn it, I want to give you that copy.

So here’s the skinny on BitLit – buy the paperback of Convergence anywhere you want. You can get it at Amazon. Buy it through Barnes & Noble. You can have a bookstore special order it for you. Whatever works. Frankly, I don’t care where you buy it, just so long as you get a copy. Then, you just put your name on the copyright page, scan the cover and your signature with the BitLit app, and within a few minutes you’ll have an e-mail with a DRM-free eBook edition of Convergence that you can read on whatever platform you want. You’ll get an ePub file for Nook or Kobo, a PDF to read it on your computer, or a mobi file for your Kindle, even if you didn’t buy the paperback at Amazon. Check out BitLit’s How It Works page for the step-by-step.

Forget all about that Matchbook exclusivity. It’s still available for anyone who wants it, and always will be. But for all those other readers, BitLit and I have got you covered now.

A Few Updates

So, some quick updates on what’s been happening around here.

You may have noticed a lot of reviews coming in recently. To make finding titles/authors that I’ve reviewed a bit easier, I’ve started compiling this handy list to keep track of all the updates. You’ll be able to access this from anywhere on the site by letting your mouse hover the menu bar where it says, oddly enough, “Reviews.”

To this same end, and because I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, you can also find a list of authors who have guest blogged here, along with some of the larger blog series that I’ve written about. This is all under the “Features” page.

Prep work for the release of CONSUMPTION is just about finalized. It’ll be going to my formatting guru next month, and then out to ARC readers once I get it back (you can still request your free copy for a little while longer yet). I’m looking at an October release, and once ordering info is finalized I’ll make sure you all know about it! You may have seen it over on the main page, but if not, here’s the final cover art:

CONSUMPTION COMPLETE

I’m still in the midst of first-round edits for EMERGENCE, the follow-up to CONVERGENCE. There’s about a hundred pages or so left of that, and then it’ll be off for content edits in about three weeks time. I really need to buckle down and take care of what I need to on my end, but the early-2015 release I’ve been eying should still be feasible.

And speaking of CONVERGENCE, if you’re attending Penned Con 2014, be sure to get one of the thumbdrives being given out by Smashwords. My book will be included, along with lots of other great titles!

Review: Blackout, by Tim Curran

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About Blackout

In the midst of a beautiful summer, in a perfectly American suburban middle-class neighborhood, a faraway evil is lurking, waiting to strike the unsuspecting residents.

First come the flashing lights, then the heavy rains, high winds, and finally a total blackout. But that’s only the beginning…

When the whipping black tentacles fall from the sky and begin snatching people at random, the denizens of Piccamore Way must discover the terrifying truth of what these beings have planned for the human race.


About the Author

Tim Curran lives in Michigan and is the author of the novels Skin Medicine, Hive, Dead Sea, and Skull Moon. Upcoming projects include the novels Resurrection, The Devil Next Door, and Hive 2, as well as The Corpse King, a novella from Cemetery Dance, and Four Rode Out, a collection of four weird-western novellas by Curran, Tim Lebbon, Brian Keene, and Steve Vernon. His short stories have appeared in such magazines as City Slab, Flesh&Blood, Book of Dark Wisdom, and Inhuman, as well as anthologies such as Flesh Feast, Shivers IV, High Seas Cthulhu, and, Vile Things. Find him on the web at:

website: http://www.corpseking.com
blog: http://satansmeatlocker.blogspot.com/


My Thoughts

I became acquainted with Tim Curran’s work last summer after seeking out recommendations from a Goodreads group for some good marine-based horror. I was thinking something along the lines of the movie Leviathan, which attempted to be Alien at the bottom of the sea. When a few readers recommended Dead Sea, I took a chance on it and found myself immediately engrossed.

Directly after finishing Dead Sea, I bought a number of his other works and impatiently waited for my pre-ordered copy of Blackout to release. I also came to a central conclusion, based then on nothing more than that single book, and am none the least bit dissuaded in believing upon finishing this latest: Curran, who hails from the Upper Penninsula, is Michigan’s answer to Maine’s Stephen King. He’s got serious horror chops, sure, and that intimate campfire voice, the kind you really don’t want whispering in your ear long after night has fallen. More importantly, he’s able to draw relatable, recognizable, ordinary people locked in a struggle against the extraordinary. He takes impossible situations and grounds them in characters that could easily be your boss, your friends, or your neighbors.

And Blackout certainly gets to the heart of the extraordinary, by waking up the folks of Piccamore Way to a series of timed, repeating strobe lights and an impenetrable blackness. The stars are hidden, and the night is darker than normal. It shifts as something massive and unseen hovers above. Long shiny, black cables drop from the sky, leaking a sticky goo that traps any who touch it and hauls them back up into the belly of the great beast overhead.

Told in first-person and with short, punchy chapters, Curran wastes no time cutting to the chase and diving right into the horror. Blackout is a rich nod to The Twilight Zone, sufficiently so that the mental movie playing in my head as the story unfolded was in the good and proper black-and-white film-stock.

This novella is a grisly first-contact story, War of the Worlds by way of The Mist, and Curran plays the familiar tropes with fun finesse. The read is easy and briskly paced, with the pages practically turning themselves. It’s the perfect story to indulge in during a dark and stormy summer night, with a beer in hand, the lights turned low, and the doors locked. Maybe keep a flashlight handy, though. Just in case.

buy blackout on amazon

Reblog: Author Wednesday – Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Many, many thanks to Patricia Zick for the wonderful interview as part of her on-going Author Wednesday series!

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:

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Welcome to another installment of Author Wednesday. Michael Patrick Hicks joins me today to talk about his first novel Convergence. This science fiction technothriller features Jonah Everitt as your everyday drug addict, memory thief, and killer. There’s bound to be an edge-of-your-seat story in the telling of his journey! convergence-800-cover-reveal-and-promotional

Hello Michael! Your book sounds exciting and chilling at the same time. Tell us a little bit about yourself as a writer before we delve into the plot of Convergence.When did you first discover your voice as a writer?

Probably in high school. I always dabbled with writing as a hobby, but in my senior year of high school–way back when now–I decided to get a little bit serious about it and took a creative writing course. I wasn’t quite prepared for the worlds it opened up for me, and I completely fell in love with the art. I’ve…

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Kobo Reviews Needed For CONVERGENCE

As some of you may know, Kobo is now taking customer reviews. You may have noticed this, either on this blog, or on Kobo Writing Life, when news broke back in May, or came upon the news in their latest newsletter.

I, for one, think it’s a tremendous decision and I know first-hand as a reader how valuable customer reviews are. They help facilitate purchase decisions and can make or break those on-the-fence customers into clicking the buy button. As an author, I value reviews because it could (hopefully) draw in more new readers.

Kobo didn’t think it was enough to just open the doors to customer reviews, though. Nope, they are sweetening the deal a bit further. Write a review and get 20% off select eBooks! How cool is that?!

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Now, you don’t have to review Convergence, obviously. But, it sure would be appreciated! And I certainly hope you will. I know there’s a good number of Kobo readers out there who have bought and read my book, and if you’re one of them, please consider this offer and know that you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose. In face, you’ll get a lovely little reward out of this! A bit of quid pro quo, eh? I’ve currently got 8 reviews on Amazon, all 5-stars, and I think it’s high-time my Kobo readers start getting in on the act!

All you have to do to review Convergence is follow this link (you’ll be taken to Kobo’s partner site, Evocalize), click the big blue RATE THIS button, and then rate and write a brief review. After that, you’ll get a coupon for 20% off a select eBook that’s valid until October 4.

If you leave a review, drop a line here and let us know!

(And, if you haven’t bought Convergence already, you can do so at the link above.)

Reblog: ‘Convergence’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Thanks for the kind words Jola!

Originally posted on jolasbookshelf:

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An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist

Jonah Everitt is a killer, a DRMR addict, and a memory thief.

After being hired to kill a ranking officer of the Pacific Rim Coalition and download his memories, Everitt finds himself caught in the crosshairs of a terror cell, a rogue military squadron, and a Chinese gangster named Alice Xie. Xie is a profiteer of street drugs, primarily DRMR, a powerful narcotic made from the memories of the dead. With his daughter, Mesa, missing in post-war Los Angeles, Everitt is forced into an uneasy alliance with Alice to find her.

Mesa’s abduction is wrapped up in the secrets of a brutal murder during the war’s early days, a murder that Alice Xie wants revenged. In order to find her, Jonah will have to sift through the memories of dead men that could destroy what little he has left.

In a city where…

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