Category Archives: Paranormal

WOW . . . oh, WOW!!! Cover Reveal for UNHINGED, Book 2 The Haunting of Secrets

unhinged2 (2)

Unhinged

The Haunting of Secrets

Book 2 of the Trilogy

Shelley R. Pickens

Genre: YA, mystery, paranormal

Publisher:  Fire and Ice

Imprint of Melange Books

Date of Publication:  March 2015

Word Count: 62,364

Cover Artist:  Caroline Andrus

Book Description:

Being normal isn’t always a good thing, especially if it ends up killing you.

Aimee, the sixteen year old girl who can see your every memory with just one touch, is fresh out of the torture room after risking everything to capture a killer.

Despite her instinct to avoid contact with others, she tries her best to find a new normal at school – perhaps even a boyfriend. But for those who are cursed, happiness and normality aren’t easy to obtain. A bizarre illness is spreading like wildfire through the school causing those around Aimee to lose their sanity before falling into a coma. Slowly, all the people she loves succumb to this strange disease.

Alone and terrified, she must use her curse to find a way to save her family and friends. As she delves deeper and deeper into their memories, she realizes a delusional person from her childhood named David is the bigger threat that could end up destroying her. Despite the danger that surrounds her, she struggles to solve the puzzle before it’s too late to help those she cares for the most.

But as David moves closer to eliminating her, one puzzle still remains. Will she be able to save herself?

Book Trailer for Book One: http://youtu.be/cQvKX0rb-Zg

Book 1 The Haunting of Secrets Available on Amazon  BN   Goodreads

Unhinged Book CoverExcerpt:

Preface

THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

He drew me here to this house in the middle of nowhere to die by his hand. I’ve never liked guns, but they sure do seem to like me. In fact, I’m staring down the barrel of one right now. The clarity of mind you have knowing that death is coming for you any second is astonishing. There are so many things I would have done differently; yet so many memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. Funny hearing myself say that. For me, memories have never been something to cherish; they were always something to fear. I have absorbed so many memories in the short sixteen years of my life that it is hard for me to figure out which ones are real and which ones are borrowed. Needless to say, few of them are good. Knowing what I know of the people in this world, I should welcome death. But I don’t. I have a reason to live now: Logan. He’s the reason I haven’t gone insane; the reason that I came here tonight to willingly give up my life so this insane asshole pointing his gun at me can feed his delusions of grandeur.

He tells me that this is my fate: to die by his hand. That’s the funny thing about fate; people think it’s written in stone. They believe the age-old adage that you must ‘accept’ your fate. But that just isn’t true. It’s simply a way for people to accept the things they can’t change. If something good happens then fate ‘lent you a hand’. If something awful occurs, then fate was ‘cruel’. Yet either way, the fates I believe in aren’t left to chance. I believe you make your own fate; that life is fluid, ever changing and what you make of it is completely up to you. So tonight, if I have to die to save the ones I love then that is what I choose–no one else. But who says I have to go down easy? If I go down, so does he. Tonight, I will look fate straight in the eye and tell her to go to hell.

About the Author:author

Shelley Pickens is a Spanish teacher by day and a novelist by night. She’s been in love with everything paranormal since she can remember. After years of teaching high school students, she decided to take her firsthand knowledge of young adults and apply it to her passion for creative writing and fantasy. When not teaching or writing, Shelley likes to spend time with her husband and two beautiful children in Atlanta, Ga. Her escape from reality is her love of complex thriller and science fiction TV series like Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow. In her spare time she is an avid watcher of little league baseball. THE HAUNTING OF SECRETS is her debut novel.

Website: www.shelleypickens.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shelleypickens

 

 

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Troubled Spirits by Teri Lee – A Creepy Good Read

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5 ebooks copies Troubled Spirits

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REVIEW:

I don’t typically read YA books although I may change that behavior after sinking my chomps into Troubled Spirits by Teri Lee. I enjoy ghost stories and decided to past the YA genre, hoping the writing would not be too juvenile. It wasn’t. Ms. Lee serves up a fun, “spirited” tale for readers of any age. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.)

The story centers around Annie, a young girl forced to change schools and move to a new city after her father dies. She doesn’t really believe in ghosts until she meets Harmony, an amateur paranormal investigator. When they venture to an old abandoned school, a dark entity attaches itself to Annie and soon makes its evil intentions known.

Of course, there’s a sweet romance and sub-plot involving a boy named Drew, and a few guilty feelings that Annie must resolve along the way.

All in all, this was a creepy good ghost story once it picked up the pace. The author offers solid writing, well developed characters and some snappy dialogue, as well as adding a bit of mystery for the reader to unravel.  Which leads me to ask . . . “What’s next, Teri Lee?”

Troubled Spirits

Teri Lee

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date of Publication: August 21, 2014

ISBN: 1612964028

ASIN: B00NJ523TE

Number of pages: 220

Word Count: 64,000

Book Description:

Annie Waters hates birthdays. At least she hates her birthdays. Because every year her mother told the story of her grandmother’s ghostly appearance in the delivery room. But the worst birthday was her sixteenth–the day she killed her dad.

Forced to move to Shady Cove, Maine, Annie is drawn deep into the world of the supernatural by her new friend, Harmony. Now, tormented by an angry spirit, Annie has only nine days to unravel the secrets of the Caldwell School or join the spirit world herself

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/2fr-K7A9Bog

Available at  Amazon    AmazonUK    BN   Smashwords 

Google Play    Kobo

Excerpt:TroubledSpirits  cover - Copy

Annie ran her finger along the edges of the worn brown cover. It was divided into four sections. In the top left corner were lines swirled together. Annie brushed her fingers across the raised lines. “Wind,” she whispered. Then, she slid her fingers over to the next corner, touching the raised flames, and whispered, “Fire.” She continued, moving her hand to the bottom right corner, resting her fingers briefly next symbol. “Earth.” And finally, she moved to the final corner. “Water.”

The pages beneath the cover began to glow and Annie pulled her hand away. When the glow faded, she once again reached for the book. Her hand trembled as she opened it. The handwriting on the yellowed pages was clean and crisp as if it had been penned that very day. She read it out loud. “Book of Spells.”

“Wow,” Drew said. “How did you do that?”

“I don’t know.” Annie looked up at the picture of Melinda. The sadness was gone from her eyes and, for a second, Annie was certain the beautiful witch nodded at her. She looked over at Drew.

“Did you see that?” Drew asked.

Annie nodded and turned the page. To preserve fruit was written at the top, followed by a list: cattail root, rosemary and salt, and then written below it were five lines:

Fruit from the earth

Warmed by the sun,

Fed by the rain

Keep your flesh whole

For the lips of the man

The next page was titled To repel biting insects, followed once again by a list and lines. Annie shivered when she saw the next spell – to punish one’s enemies. She quickly turned to the next page. Suddenly the pages of the book began to flip on their own power. When the pages finally stopped, and she read the words: To banish an evil spirit. She sank into the chair and buried her face in her hands.

Drew dropped down on one knee and rested his hand on the edge of her chair. “What’s the matter, Annie?”

Annie drew a shaky breath and let the events of the past days tumble out. She told him everything. And not just the ghost stuff. She told him about Harmony and Logan, and Mike and Callie, and feeling like a fifth wheel. She watched his face as she spoke, waiting for him to laugh. But he just listened, never taking his eyes off her, and with the exception of the occasional nod of understanding, he didn’t move. She had his undivided attention.

When she finished, she took a shaky breath and wiped away the single tear that trailed down her cheek. “You probably think I’m crazy, don’t you?”

“I think you’ve upset a dangerous spirit.”

Annie breathed a sigh of relief. Drew believed her.

“It’s no accident that Melinda opened the book to this page,” Drew said. “We need to copy this spell down.”

“I didn’t bring anything to write with,” Annie said. Before she’d finished speaking, a piece of parchment, a quill pen and a bottle of ink appeared on the table. Annie jumped out of her chair and backed away from thetable until she reached the wall at the other side of the room. “Where did that come from?” she cried.

Drew took a few steps toward her with his hand held out. “It’s Melinda. She’s just trying to help you.”

Annie looked from Drew to the portrait. “But—but—the paper—the pen–they just appeared—out of nowhere!”

Drew stayed where he was, still reaching out to her. “You don’t have to write the spell down, Annie. Not if you don’t want. We can just leave right now.”

Annie shook her head. “No.” She took a deep breath and stepped forward. “I need to do this.” Her legs shook as she returned to the chair and tentatively reached for the pen. It was smooth and solid. She dipped it into the ink and brought it to the parchment, leaving a trail of black drops on the paper as she silently copied the spell from the book. She didn’t dare read the words aloud.

Annie glanced out the window. The sun was sinking below the tops of the trees. Long shadows reached across the clearing.

Drew followed her gaze, then checked the ink to be sure it was dry. He folded the parchment and tucked it into the pocket of his jeans. “It’s going to be dark soon,” he said and headed toward the door.

As Annie followed him across the room, the leaves that had scattered across the floor earlier suddenly swirled up into a miniature wind funnel and moved past her and out the door, leaving the floor once again clean and neat. At the doorway she turned back to the portrait. “Thank you, Melinda,” she whispered. Then she shut the door and walked with Drew along the stone path.

When they reached the little gate, Drew pushed it open and stepped aside. Even after she passed through, he stood there still holding the gate open, looking down at her. “I’m glad we did this today,” he said.

Annie glanced down at her feet, then back up at him. “Me, too.”

He closed the gate behind them. “I’d like to help you with this ghost business.” He stepped closer to her. “If you’ll let me.”

Annie barely managed to nod. The world spun around her, then faded away as she lost herself in his deep brown eyes. And in that moment, all that mattered to her was Drew. She lifted her face to him as he leaned closer, his eyes locked with hers. But instead of kissing her, he brushed the back of his hand against her face and whispered, “Promise you won’t do anything without me.”

Annie’s skin tingled beneath his fingers. “I promise,” she said.

And then the spell was broken as Drew stepped away. “Well, we better getting going,” he said and started across the field.

author photoAbout the Author:

Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel. Growing up in Maine, Teri spent hours exploring in the woods with her friends dreaming up places like ‘Land of the Lost’, ‘Trouble Hill’, and ‘Paradise’. If she wasn’t in the woods, you’d find her lost in a book. And today not much has changed. She’s still dreaming up imaginary places, getting lost in a book, and sometimes lost in the woods. When she’s not writing you’ll find her saving lives and rescuing splinters in the ER.

Blog:  www.Terileeliving.com

Amazon:  www.amazon.com/author/terilee

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/author.TeriLee

Website: http://www.teri-lee-author.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23116240-troubled-spirits

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeriLee_author

“Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula” A Rollicking Good Read from Jude Pittman & Gail Roughton

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Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula

Sisters of Prophecy – Book 1

Jude Pittman and Gail Roughton

Genre: Paranormal, Time Travel

Publisher:  Books We Love, Ltd.

Date of Publication: September 29, 2014

ISBN:  978-1-77145-310-3

ASIN:  B00O2DTE1M

Number of pages:  164

Word Count:   50,000

Cover Artist:  Michelle Lee

Book Description:

What’s a girl to do? Katherine Shipton has a painting that talks, an ancestor who won’t stay in her own century, and a former boyfriend with a serious ax to grind against her new fiance. She already has a full plate, but when said ancestor sends her tripping back and forth between the 15th and 21st century without benefit of psychedelic drugs, the poor girl begins to doubt her own sanity.

Then her best friend, a high fashion model with more than her own share of psychic energy, and her troubleshooting aunt show up on her doorstep in response to a psychic SOS Katherine swears she didn’t send. Life couldn’t get more complicated.

At least, that’s what she thinks until her oilman fiancé disappears in the Gulf of Mexico and a DEA agent knocks on her door.

Available at Books We Love and Amazon

Review:

It’s hard to define Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula and do it justice. If I describe the novel as Time Travel, fans of Historical or Paranormal might pass it by. And if I add that it’s a Romance, readers who devour Suspense Thrillers could turn up their nose. The truth is, this book has enough diversity to please almost anyone but the purist . . . and I’m not sure they are ever pleased.

I read for escapism. I’m not a genre snob, I’ll read almost anything if it’s written well.  I use the Calgon principle when searching for a new book – something that can take me away from the real life drama bombarding my world each time I turn on the news or log onto Facebook. Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula did all that and more.

It’s a delightful read with twists and turns, quirky characters, a bit of darkness and some snappy dialogue. The authors maneuver between the 16th and 21st centuries with ease, adding authenticity through well researched historical data. While the characters from the two eras have their own stories, their lives are interlocked like the pieces of a puzzle. Putting those pieces together is much of the fun.

I would imagine collaborating with another writer would be difficult but Jude Pittman and Gail Roughton have successfully blended their styles into a rollicking good read . . . the first in a series. The closure at the end of Book 1  is much appreciated, as well as the tantalizing teasers which left me anxiously awaiting Irene’s story in Book 2.

I can easily recommend Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula, and after reading it, I’m sure you will, too.

Excerpt:

Katherine flitted restlessly over Ursula’s body. What was going on in that unconscious brain? Something was. She could feel it, feel a subliminal hum, like voices through phone wires, like electricity through power lines. Not that any such things would exist for four hundred or so years.

“Who are you talking to, Ursula? Sylvia, hurry!”

No answer. Not directly. Only the echo of Mother Shipton’s words.

There’s a crossroad up ahead. Or back in the past. Depends on how you think on it. If she takes one, well, then her fate—and yours—is sealed. If she takes another, her fate—and yours—is changed.

The crossroad! Was this it? The crossroad? Katherine concentrated and power hurled across the years, out of the past and into the future.

“Grandmother! Can you hear me? This is it, isn’t it? The place in time where destiny can change. But what do I do? What can I do?”

“You know what to do. Like calls to like and blood to blood. Show her! Show her where following her heart will lead her, the treasures she’ll reap! And show her what mindless obedience to the king will bring her!”

“But I don’t know any of that!”

“I do, child. And the visions of those two paths will flow from me to thee to her.”

“How the hell do you know? And if you do know, why not just show her yourself?”

“Child! What’s my name? What’s her name? What’s your name?”

“Would you please stop talking in those damn riddles of yours and just tell me what to do?”

“Child! The names! Remember the names!”

“You’re Ursula. Ursula Shipton. She’s Ursula. Ursula Sontheil—oh my God! Shipton! Toby Shipton! You’re her and she’s you and she’s Ursula Sontheil now but she’s got to become Ursula Shipton! Or I’ll—I’ll never—”

“You’ll never be born, child. Ursula Katherine Shipton will never be born. Nor any of the line before you from whence you sprang.”

“I still don’t understand! If she’s you—if you’re her—why can’t you just show her yourself?”

“I do! Through you! At this moment! Because you exist, I exist. Because I exist, you exist. If this moment passes, that chance is lost and I become that woman in the Tower, the one you saw in your dream. The one who’ll never live to be an old woman!”

“Oh, God, my head hurts!”

About the Authors:

Jude Pittman emigrated from Canada to the United States with her mom and brother when she was 14. Her time there included 12 years in Texas where the genus for her first murder mystery, “Shadows Are Deadly” now part of Jude’s “Murder on My Mind” trilogy first took root. In 1992 Jude returned to British Columbia where she met her husband John. The couple moved to Calgary, Alberta where they continue to live. Descended from the Shipton line, Jude has always been fascinated with the historical and legendary stories about her late and often maligned ancestor, Mother Shipton and her gifts of prophecy. The Sisters of Prophecy series is a fictional account of those Shipton sons and daughters who inherited Mother Shipton’s gifts.

Gail Roughton is a native of small town Georgia whose Deep South heritage features prominently in much of her work. She’s worked in a law office for close to forty years, during which time she’s raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She’s kept herself more or less sane by writing novels and tossing the completed manuscripts into her closet. A cross-genre writer, she’s produced works ranging from humor to romance to thriller to horror, sometimes in the same book.  She’s never quite sure herself what to expect when she sits down at the keyboard. Now multi-published by Books We Love, Ltd., her credits include the War-N-Wit, Inc. series, The Color of Seven, Vanished, and Country Justice. Currently, she’s working on Black Turkey Walk, the second in the Country Justice series, as well as the Sisters of Prophecy series, co-written with Jude Pittman.

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Start Your New Year With A Good Book – American Specter by R. Prioleau

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American Specter

Rasheedah Prioleau     

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Date of Publication: Feb, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692226582

ASIN: B00IOWGVZY

Number of pages: 248

Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Roger Raymond

Book Description:cover2

FBI Agent Audra Wheeler has been haunted for the last thirteen years by a paranormal attack that left her sister, Kendra, in a coma. Mentored by FBI Assistant Director Jonathan Cordero to investigate crimes committed by specters, Audra believes she is on the trail of a ‘serial killer’ specter with a MO very similar to her sister’s attacker.

The investigation takes her to a small town of Specter, Georgia; a haven for ghosts who exist among the living.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/i6m6vTxw-Yg

Available at Amazon

Review: 

American Specter is an interesting tale offering a twist to the “ghost story” theme. It’s an eclectic blend of Criminal Minds, Supernatural and Men in Black, and features great characters with a fun supporting cast.

In a nutshell, Audra Wheeler is a special agent trained to hunt “specters” – ghosts who reside among the living. Most are nice and don’t upset their living counterparts but one has developed a rather nasty habit of strangling women. Audra arrives in Specter, Georgia to investigate yet another murder by the ethereal serial killer, only to run into the one man she can’t resist . . . Ethan Cole, now Sheriff of Specter.

The story progresses with the investigation and a few unique elements like the latest victim returning as a specter to help solve her own murder. Since the girl was strangled by an unseen entity, she can’t identify her assailant but she does offer up some other clues.

I have to say, American Specter surprised me by the way it subtly reached out and grabbed my attention . . . and held it. This is a clever, well told story. I didn’t expect such an enjoyable read since I found the Prologue boring, more like the author was reciting facts. If she’d breathed a little more life into those few pages, I could easily rate this with five stars. Telling should never be an option to showing. I only bring this up because someone might not give this book a chance if they judge it on the Prologue.

American Specter is a fun, quirky read for anyone who enjoys crime novels, suspense thrillers, paranormal thrillers and likes their stories sprinkled with romance. You won’t go wrong starting your new year off with a good book . . . like American Specter.

Excerpt:

AUDRA DANCES WITH ETHAN

“So, was it as good as you remembered?”

Yolanda didn’t waste any time getting into the thick of Audra’s personal life once they were seated at the bar in Bishop’s. Audra remembered to turn off her specter shield on the way in. Yolanda had changed into a charming sundress and boots that instantly made her look as if she belonged in the late-night hotspot of Specter.

“No comment,” Audra said as Ashley, the specter waitress, placed a glass of red wine in front of her.

“Long day, Agent Wheeler?” she asked with genuine concern.

“Long summer.”

“I’m so sorry about this ugly business here,” Ashley said. “I hope you’re able to find out who’s responsible.”

“Thanks, Ashley. Me too,” Audra said, and the specter phased out.

Audra shed her usual suit jacket and draped it across her lap before lifting the drink to her lips and taking a sip.

“How is the city?”

“Doing just fine without you,” Yolanda said with a huff. “We don’t need you to call and check-in. So what if my marriage has finally ended in crashing flames and my mother thinks that I’m the worst daughter, like, ever.”

“Finally gave Billy the heave-ho?”

“I gave him the heave. He already had his own hoe.” Yolanda snorted.

“Sorry,” Audra said and perked up as a great song came on. “I have not heard this song in a million years.”

Audra spun around on her barstool as she tried to remember the last time she’d heard it. Her eyes fell to the far corner of the room onto the ancient jukebox that Ethan hovered over. Her breath caught as she remembered lying on the floor of Ethan’s New York apartment, tangled with him in his Egyptian cotton sheets.

“Be careful, your heart’s on your sleeve, Agent Wheeler,” Yolanda commented.

Ethan strode across the floor towards her, the look in his eyes unmistakable, just as a mature specter phased into his path. Audra found the sight somewhat amusing as Ethan couldn’t find a way to politely sidestep her. He finally gave in when dodging her was not an option, and Audra watched as he spun his lighter than air partner around the floor. She watched the way his body moved, enjoying its smooth and nearly fluid gestures.

Before the music stopped, an older gentleman specter tapped Ethan on the shoulder and took over. Audra watched the romantic sparks fly between the ghosts as they lit up the dance floor. Audra eyed Ethan as he walked to the end of the dance floor and motioned for Audra to join him. She took a deep breath and looked at Yolanda.

“Go on. My magic works better when I’m alone anyway,” she said. Audra downed the contents of her wineglass, left her jacket on the stool, and walked over to the current sheriff of Specter. He pulled her into his arms and she felt as if she were floating. Placing her right hand on his left shoulder and her left hand in his right, she rested her head against his chest and allowed herself to get swept up in the moment.

“I found Abigail’s sister,” Ethan said.

Audra looked up. “Where is she?”

Photo on 3-4-13 at 2.17 PMAbout the Author:

Rasheedah Prioleau is a southern African American writer with an eclectic range of writing and ghostwriting credits. After a few years in the corporate world she started over from the bottom as an unpaid intern for a literary manager and never looked back.

“I love to write because there are no limits. All it takes is a finite space of time and I can create a story from infinite possibilities.”

Writers who have influenced her include: Judy Bloom, Jude Deveraux, V.C. Andrews, Octavia Butler, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Joss Whedon, William Nicholson, Shonda Rhimes, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Mike Kelley, and J.J. Abrams… just to name a few.

Website: www.rasheedahprioleau

Twitter: @prioleaura

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rasheedah.prioleau

Get Your Zombie Fix with Ace Antonio Hall’s “The Confessions of Sylva Slasher”

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Confessions of Sylva Slasher

A Zombie Novel

Ace Antonio Hall

Publisher:  Montag Press, April 2013

Genre: YA Horror

Book Description:

THE LOVE OF HER LIFE BECOMES THE DEATH OF THEIR LOVE

Sylva Fleischer is a teenager who works as a necromancer for a living. Wanting to get away from raising the dead for police investigations and demanding grieving families for a while, she goes on a cruise for spring break. Her vacation from the dead is short-lived when passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies. These are not the same simple-minded harmless zombies she raises and can control, so Sylva and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean. Their only escape comes from a guy Sylva thought was dead: Brandon. It just so happens to also be the anniversary of his death, and she’s still hurting from his loss!

Why didn’t he call to say he’s alive? All those tears … for nothing.SylvaCover

Sylva doesn’t normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.

It didn’t take long for her suspicions to hold true when it’s revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. To top that brutal betrayal, the villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.

When The Heart Bleeds, Sometimes Your Friends Are All You’ve Got

Available at Amazon

Praise for Ace Antonio Hall and Confessions of Sylva Slasher

“A treat for Buffy fans—but 100% Ace Antonio Hall’s own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead; run, don’t shamble to get a copy.”

—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the WWW trilogy

“In a vast sea of zombie tales, Hall’s tale is more than a cut above. He brings the entire genre to heel and treats us to one Hell of a ride.”

—Art Holcomb, writer of Professor Xavier & the X-Men vs. The Avengers, Marvel Comics

Excerpt Chapters 1 & 2

PART ONE SILVER KISSES

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.— I Corinthians 15:21

Chapter 1

YEAH, THE WHOLE STINKING PLANET WANTED ME DEAD, and they got their wish. I tried to move but couldn’t. Not with a broken back. Breathing slow, uneven, I stared into the undead woman’s eyes that dripped an ominous glare down onto my helpless body.

Maybe if I hadn’t gotten dreamy eyes for this really cute guy (I mean jerk), the weight of the human race wouldn’t be sitting on my shoulders. I would’ve easily given my life so my best friend, Emily, wouldn’t die. Too late.

The full moon draped around the undead woman’s shadow that climbed up my broken body like ghosts of death. The island soil, thirsty for moisture, welcomed my blood. Terror wrestled me into a stone cold chokehold—I forgot how to scream. The scent of rotten corpses gripped my nostrils. A horde of the walking dead moaned and hovered over me like starved coyotes as the undead woman crept forward on all fours to kill me, again.

Chapter 2

Several hours prior:

I HATED THAT I COULDN’T TELL REALITY FROM MY NIGHTMARES. Maybe, just maybe I spent one too many nights raising the dead. My parents named me Sylva Fleischer, but most people knew me as Sylva Slasher (I’ll get to why later). I made a pretty cool living as a necromancer for The Silver Kisses Aerial Ash Scattering Company. We raised zombies for mourners to say their last goodbyes. A lot of times we did it for police investigations, occasionally for corporate disputes, and then we cremated the deadheads and scattered the remains over Hawaii’s beautiful waters. As a matter-of-fact, some guy from the military base in Honolulu kept leaving messages on my cell phone that he wanted me to raise some dead soldier for a case they were investigating. But I had other plans. Look, I just turned eighteen, so if I wanted to ditch some lame colonel for something way more hella-fun, I would. What? Can’t a girl have priorities?

Twilight peeked over my shoulders as I looked for my friends while aboard the Sea Queen a.k.a. The Ship of a Thousand Corpses—the best freaking zombie-themed cruise in America. Imagine being in one of those magnificent hotels in Las Vegas during spring break; the golden elevators, escalators, walkover bridges, restaurants, and stores, filled with tons of thrill-seeking college kids and adults. You could call the Sea Queen one of the world’s best luxury hotels but on water.

A woman hired me to do a raising on the ship. Emily, and her boyfriend, Beckham, or Flip as he liked to be called (Hawaiian-born and Japanese-descended like Em), were going to help me. After I finally got dressed, I saw Emily’s wacky picture that she posted on Facebook and her bitchy complaint that she and Flip were waiting on me (I’m always fashionably late) in the bar on the Nightwalker Deck. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue where to go. The captain was escorting me up, but some kind of urgent call came in and he dashed out of the elevator speaking radio codes into his walkie-talkie.

One of my all-time fave videos, Sweet Dreams, played on the inside of the elevator doors via a hi-tech projector system. I loved it that I could watch a music video (albeit, one I’ve seen a kazillion times) inside of the elevator. A volume control knob sat beneath the red emergency button. Marilyn Manson crawled out of the rundown fireplace wearing black boots, a dirty tutu, and a torn bodice that showed off his skeletal bare chest. Alright, that’s enough. I turned the sound down so I could briefly gather my thoughts for the raising.

The elevator doors eased open. I stepped out, immediately folding my arms and shivering. I wore a black mid-riff tee shirt, tight leather pants, and some five-and-a-half inch knee-high Gothic boots. I sighed, berating myself for not wearing a warmer top. The ship’s fake fog blanketed the air so I could barely see anything. Already late, I didn’t want to waste any more time so I stopped to ask a person dressed like a zombie nun for directions. She sat on the bench in front of the ship’s THEATRE UNDER THE STARS, rocking back and forth. A broken dog leash dangled in her hand. The closer I got, the more I realized her hunched feeble posture.

“Lady, are you okay?” I asked.

She didn’t answer but kept rocking. Her abrupt movements made her wimple flap around her neck and chin. I glanced up at the speaker mounted on the wall above us, creeped out by the spooky organ music streaming out into the foggy air.

The lady made a gurgling sound.

“Miss, hey? Are you okay?”

Her head lifted slowly. The yellow rays from the moon crept into the shadows under her headdress. I stepped forward slowly, swallowing unease.

A name spilled out of my mouth, slow, whispered. “Malena?

I remembered admiring the blind woman’s seeing eye dog when we embarked the ship. I couldn’t resist petting her wolfdog. Emily and Flip were so occupied looking for their tickets that they didn’t even see Malena and her dog.

She made another gurgling sound. I took a step back, peering into her cloudy-white eyes.

“Um, okay, I get it,” I said. “You were hired by the ship to scare people. Right?”

I swayed a little to the left as the ship went over choppy waters. The blind woman stared past me with a vacant stare, and then her head rolled over to her right shoulder.

“Hey—hey—hey. You’re not okay,” I said, extending my arm, ready to catch her if she fell off of the bench.

Was she having a seizure?

Malena muttered something. Saliva ran down her mouth and dripped down her chalky white face.

“Are you having a allergic reaction?” I glanced to my right, then left. “Maybe I should get the ship’s doctor.”

Her body started to convulse and she dropped the dog’s leash on the deck’s floor. She moaned, curling up into a ball on the bench.

“Okay—okay—okay, I’m going to get help,” I said, taking a quick step toward the stairs. “But, uh, shoot, I don’t want to leave you alone.”

A sign directly above her read nightwalker deck maze; another, near the elevator lifts, pointed to the bathrooms. Someone had to be coming by, any second. Another gurgling noise came from the blind woman. She coughed and blood spurted out of her mouth. I shielded my eyes with the back of my hand and something wet splattered on my forearm.

“Oh, my God, Malena! You’re, you’re hemorrhaging.”

I wiped her blood off my arms, onto the side of my top and pulled out my iPhone to call 911. No reception.

“Somebody, help. Call 911!”

I heard someone giggling and saw shadows approaching me through the fog. Two Asian girls, maybe in their late teens, dressed in shredded jeans and pink tee shirts passed behind me.

I gestured to them. “Can I use either one of your phones to call 911? This lady is totally sick!”

“Nice try,” one of them said, revealing the braces on her teeth. “But you only try to scare us.”

“No, please, really. Are you getting reception out here? I’m not getting reception.”

They laughed and pointed at the bench. “Maybe she pull your leg,” the same girl said.

I turned around and glared at an empty bench.

Where did she go?

The girls giggled and walked toward the bathroom, shaking their heads.

“What a moron,” the other one said.

“Miss? Miss, where are you?” I called out, a little irritated by those stupid girls who didn’t believe me. I looked toward the bridge then back at the girls. “Where did she go?” They ignored me and went into the bathroom. Seriously?

“Maybe I am a moron,” I said, under my breath. There were a few droplets of blood on the bench, but I couldn’t find a trail showing me which way she went. She could’ve only gone but so many places—the elevator lift, the stairs, across the bridge (which she didn’t because I would have seen her), overboard, or into the Nightwalker Deck Maze.

If that old, blind lady thought I was going to play her game and follow her into the maze, she had another thing coming. Whatever. Time to do this raising and then try to have some fun for a change.

I took one step and the thought of Malena sent a chill creeping down the nape of my neck. Where did she go? Aw, Who cares? I shook it off, folded my arms, again, and walked toward a bridge that led to the highest deck on the ship.

Someone screamed. I turned quickly, and blew out a long breath as a wolf man in tattered clothes chased a screaming girl across the bridge and through a door. Music blared from out of the place and I knew that Emily and Flip would be in there. That must be the bar, Lipstick Zombies.

I walked over the bridge, glancing back every few seconds for Malena. The instant I crossed halfway over, I heard the music thumping behind the bar’s door. When I saw the neon sign, I got a little excited. Maybe with a little partying, I thought, I’d feel better and forget about everything that sucked in my life—for a while.

CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL? HERE’S A PREVIEW TO

SKATEBOARD XOMBIES, SEARCH FOR THE CRYSTAL COFFIN:

On a normal school day in Lunyon Canyon, California, teenage necromancer, Sylva Fleischer, bickers with her teacher in class over an unfairly graded paper. But when the principal announces that all teachers should lock their door and not let any students leave class, the entire school is trapped in a world of terrifying zombies that not only bite with their teeth, they bite with their minds.

Since all life on Earth faces extinction at the hands of the perilous undead, a guardian of a secret society of vampire monks saves Sylva, her friend, Half-Pipe and her family, and lead them to an alternate world. And that’s when the real terror begins … on a planet full of every imaginable type of undead creature that ever lived … Including those telekinetic zombies!

Ace_jump_in_tuxedoAbout the Author:

Ace Antonio Hall is an actor, former music producer, and ‘retired’ educator with accolades as a Director of Education for the Sylvan Learning Center and nearly fifteen years experience as an award-winning NYC English teacher. He has a BFA degree with a concentration in screenwriting and has published poetry, short stories and fiction in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and novels.

Inspired by his father, Chris Acemandese Hall, who penned the lyrics to the Miles Davis jazz classic, “So What”, sung by Eddie Jefferson, and his sister, Carol Lynn Brown, who guest starred in the 1970’s film, “Velvet Smooth”, Ace spawned his creativity into developing the beloved but flawed teen character, Sylva Slasher.

6793512_origAce was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and continues to head the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror (ScHoFan) Critique Group as Co-Director of critique groups within the society. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.

On April 14, 2013, Montag Press published his YA zombie novel Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His next release, Skateboard Xombies, is coming out later this year, and he has already begun working on Skateboard Xamurai for the third installment in his Sylva Slasher series.

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YEAR END SALE!!!

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This is it! My year end BLOWOUT SALE!!!  From now until January 1st, you can buy any of my titles for just 99¢!!!!  That’s right . . . less than a buck. Choose from suspense to contemporary fantasy, each with just the right amount of heat. Okay, The Gatekeeper has a LOT of heat but it did rate 4 stars from Romantic Times. Stone Cold Justice was an Amazon Best Seller when released and continues to please readers today . . . so much in fact, that Amazon Crossing chose the title for German translation and released it overseas! You can find them all at my Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Deb-Sanders/e/B0068UNQ48 

So, enjoy my sale. Fill up your Kindles. And stay tuned . . . my NEW Mystery series will release in January. The Daisy Red-Tail Mysteries features a quirky Southern chef solving mysteries and dodging romance on a Native American reservation. Each book will include one of her scrumptious recipes and a healthy serving of sleuthing. Book One – DEAD MEN CAN’T TALK.