Monday, October 31, 2011

Coffin Hop! and Trick or Treat for e-books

Come check out the awesome horror writers who are giving away AMAZING PRIZES this week at the COFFIN HOP! The prize for Bat Country is...
A signed copy of Dark Corners, Bloody Window Clings, and an Edgar Allen Poe Memory Box

Just leave a COMMENT with your EMAIL ADDRESS and your FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE to enter. Good luck! Also, don't miss the other awesome blogs in this hop or the second giveaway listed at the bottom of this post.

You're never too old for trick-or-treating! Roam the virtual neighborhood in another fantastic event, TRICK OR TREAT FOR EBOOKSs. You never know what amazing books you might find. For your trick-or-treat stop here, pick up DARK CORNERS for FREE just this week on Smashwords with the coupon code YB28R!

Dark Corners Book Tour Big Giveaway!

For those of you who have been following my book tour with the awesome and amazing company , Promotional Book Tours, you know about the big prize pack at the end. Those of you who haven't been following you still have time to enter. Just leave a comment with your email address to enter to win,
A signed copy of Dark Corners,
A signed copy of Secrets (released November 22nd)
$20 gift card to Amazon
$20 gift card to Barnes and Noble
This contest is only open in the US and Canada. 
Good luck!!

Ghosties and Ghoulies or Allergies Run Amok?

Last week I was on a fall themed vacation. We went to see covered bridges, apple orchards, a large fall festival, and a reindeer ranch. On the way home we stopped in Illinois to tour an old house. There was nothing upsetting about the house. It was a dreary, cold day outside, but the house looked nice and inviting, as if beckoning us to take a closer look.
The tour started and the moment I stepped foot in the house I became hot, stifling so. The tour guide complained about how cold she was and kept her coat on the entire tour as did the other guests. A moment later if felt like my lungs were closing then waves of nausea washed over me, I was certain I would either faint or pass out. By the time we made it upstairs, the pressure in my head behind my right eye made me want to cover my eye so it wouldn’t come out.
As the tour dragged on and on I only got worse. I eyed my escape with the good eye hoping it would be soon, but the tour guide kept blathering on and on unaware of the torture I was going through. Finally, she released us from the house, and I contemplated skipping the second part of the tour to go back to the car, but as soon as the cold air outside hit my face and lungs, everything evaporated. I was no longer hot, dizzy, or nauseous. The pounding head ache and irrational thoughts of escape drifted away as well. Within seconds, I was perfectly fine again.
Allergies? Maybe. Ghost? You never can tell.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Halloween is so close I can taste it...literally, I have candy wrappers all around me. So Halloween better hurry up before I become diabetic.
I can't wait to watch Halloween (78), dress up, and pass out...Halloween candy (there is no passing out for me, I have to work the next day. *shakes fist at growing old).

Now the question is, what to be for Halloween?

I could be inspired by the Strangers and go for something like this,

Or I could go with something more children friendly,

Or perhaps embraced my aging self,

Or channel my inner Saw,

Or I could scary everyone's pants off,

Which would you choose?

Friday, October 21, 2011


Good morning! I have a wonderful guest today, the hilarious Myndi Shafer. Check out her blog here 

Popsicles. I love 'em. For so many reasons. So sit your butt down while I wax poetic about the virtues of the rainbow colored family of frozen treats.

  #1: They're dangerous. You don't think so? Listen to this: They're cold. So cold, that if you eat them too quickly, you run the risk of freezing your brain plumb off. PLUMB OFF, people. I swear I've had this nearly happen to me multiple times, and while in the moment it's terrifying, after it's over...whew! What a rush. The danger factor is definitely a perk, especially or those of us who wish we were into extreme sports, but aren't. I never feel quite as dangerous as I do when there's a popsicle in my hand.

#2: Adding to the danger factor is this little fact: They melt. You have to eat them quickly (running the risk of destroying brain matter), and if you don't, they melt. All over your hands, your clothes. Leaving you sticky and stained. You walk a fine line while eating popsicles. Too fast, dead brain. Too slow, permanently stained garments. Sure, your hands will wash, but facts are facts: Red Cherry and Blueberry flavored popsicles stain forever. Some people think that souls are the only thing that are eternal. I say souls, and popsicle stains.

#3: Danger isn't the only thing that makes popsicles so attractive.They're sweet, but not in a heavy, ice-creamy way. Don't get me wrong. I love ice-cream. I do. But sometimes you just don't want a creamy,
sugary concoction resting in your gut. Sometimes you want an artificially flavored, high-fructose corn-syrup sweetened watery-frozen concoction instead. *raises hand and jumps up and down a little* I do! I do!

#4: The thing that sets popsicles aside from the standard ice-cream cone is this: The jokes. The popsicle takes the cake for this fact alone. Because the popsicle is a giver. It doesn't simply satisfy our child-like pallets, or our need to live dangerously. No, the popsicle wants to invest in our minds by asking us questions. Questions we have to wait to get the answers to until our tasty treat is gone. Questions that not only make us think, but make us laugh. Oh, dearest reader. This is the sign of a true friend.

Take a couple of these gems, straight from the sticks that I collected today (there is a small chance this post was brought on by a four-month old fetus demanding popsicles, and the sticks might be the evidence) as examples:

Why did the baseball fan give the house a pair of sneakers?
Because he wanted to see a home run. *ba-dum-bum*

What do you call a pony that surfs?
A seahorse. *giggle, snort*

What did Mr. and Mrs. Steak name their son?
Chuck. *snicker*

And so, my friendlies, let us all revel in the wonder that is the popsicle. I wish you all happy weekends with dye-stained tongues, non-frozen brains, and new jokes to share with your friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rules to Survive a Horror Movie

If you wake up one morning in a secluded cabin (haunted hotel/house, the only living person for miles, camping near Crystal Lake, Haddonfield around Halloween, to discover you didn’t really wake up you are still in a dream, a town with lots of corn and no parents, to a creepy phone call wanting to know your favorite scary movie, etc.), you may be in horror movie.
Rule #1- Don’t panic. Well, maybe panic a little because there are scary things after you, but pull yourself together quick before you become an extra.  

It is important to keep your head about you, in more ways than one, and figure out what type of horror movie you are in.
-Is this a zombie movie? Have people been sick and dropping like flies? Are you the only person for miles? Are undead people trying to bite you?
-Is this a slasher film? Are all of your friends slightly more slutty and want to camp? Are you or they having nightmares? This one is important… do you have a babysitting job?
-Is this a vampire movie? Do you have a really hot neighbor that mostly comes out at night? If you answered yes to that why are you still reading this? Go talk to him. *waggles eyebrows* Unless that neighbor is about 17 and smells like teen spirit and angst, in that case you aren’t in a scary movie. Stop fretting you have a vegetarian vamp.
After you figure out what you are up against, you must start preparing. Rule #2- Always be prepared. Find a weapon. Even if you don’t see the psycho, carry it around with you and for goodness sakes do not sit it down somewhere!?! Always expect someone is around every corner, sneaking up behind you, hiding just out of sight.  
*important note* When you see said psychopath do not drop, throw, or do anything else that is stupid with your weapon.
Okay, so now you are armed and paranoid the next step is NOT escaping. That’s right, make no escape efforts. Do not be fooled by the friend who is pulling on your arm telling you to come this way. Freddy, Jason, and Michael have been doing this for a lot longer than you, and they know you are going to go outside. Rule 3- Stay mobile and stay hidden.   The best defense is a good offense. Running away is not an offense. You hide quietly (Rule 4- Absolutely no crying!) with your weapon that you haven’t dropped or thrown away, and you wait for an opportunity to either attack or move somewhere the killer isn’t.  Rule 5- Be aware of your surroundings. While you are hiding, if you don’t see the monster, it’s probably behind you, next to you, or waiting for you to do something dumb.  Rule 6- Don’t be dumb. Really this can be applied to all aspects of life (this goes double for the driver in front of me on my way to work this morning!)
Congratulations you have survived 2/3 of the movie, but now you are at the part where survival is going to get tricky. The movie is winding down there are only a couple people left, and you know at least one of the people the audience thought would survive is going to bite the dust. You might think this is the part where you hunker down and continue to hide, but no.  Rule 7- Be heroic. You haven’t been heroic so far and that’s good. The early heroes don’t live until the end. However, the people at the end of the movie who step up to fight the bad guy do, normally (70/30, really). What happens is one person decides to be a hero, and inspires the other to do the same then the killer ganks the other person and the original hero is left with the glory. Rule 8- Never assume the killer is dead. It doesn’t matter how dead you think it is, it will come back for one more scare. Evil always defies the odds so be ready for it (see rule 2).
Those are the rules to survive a horror movie, now just hope there isn’t a sequel.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guardian Trilogy

I have a fun surprise today. Brand new covers for the Guardian Trilogy.
Book 1: Secrets
Release date- November 22, 2011

While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn't know and sometimes what you don't know can kill you.

Book 2- Choices
Release Date- February 2012

Book 3- Consequences
Release Date- May 2012

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why we carve Jack-o'-lanterns

There is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables throughout
 Ireland and Britain, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin.
Turnips were carved into lanterns in Ireland as a way of remembering
the souls in purgatory. They were left on the doorsteps on All’s Hallows Eve along with a
treat of some sort to ward off evil spirits.
They became known as Jack-o’-lanterns based on the legend of an Irishman
 named Stingy Jack. Apparently, Jack tricked the devil (the manner in which he tricked him varies,
 sometimes Jack has the devil hanging from an apple tree in others he is a thief)
and made a bargain with him that he would never take his soul. 
As time moved on ol’ Jack died, as all living things do, but he was too sinful to go to Heaven.
The devil however upheld his end of the deal and didn’t claim Jack either.
So Jack was left to wander the earth.
Jack had no where to go and no light to guide him. The devil gave him an ember from hell
 that would burn eternally and Jack placed it in a hallowed out turnip
and endless wonders the earth looking for a place to rest.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Reading: Big Dragons Don't Cry

 Good morning! The wonderful C.M. Barrett has stopped by today to share an excerpt from her book, Big Dragons Don't Cry. Enjoy!

Morale in the country of Oasis has never been worse. The Earthers, a tree-hugging sect, beg forgiveness for their crimes against twigs and weeds. The Godlies preach penitence and suffering and inspire their followers into submission by threatening them with an afterlife spent being chased by a fire-breathing dragon.

All Oasans fear the dragon in the swamp at the country's edge, and they don't know that he fears them. Druid, a water dragon who puts out fires, steams up when he learns that a cunning opportunist intends to exploit dragonphobia and have the dragon killed so that he can level the swamp for suburban housing.

Tara, a kitten with charisma, is trying to bring humans back into balance. She needs to enlist Serazina, a young human woman who hides her ability to read emotions in order to avoid imprisonment in the Ward for the Chronically Crazy. Serazina's troubles grow when Phileas, Guardian of Oasis, chooses her to be the mother of the heir he so badly needs. Before he can consider fatherhood, he needs to stem the mysterious rumors that he's soft on dragons.

Somehow these four must overcome communication difficulties, mutual mistrust, and delusions of human superiority to save the country. Otherwise, even though Druid doesn't breathe fire, Oasis will be toast.

From the Book:

Orion stood on a ridge overlooking the city. As he swayed, exhausted and hungry, the threads of its winding, dirty streets seemed to tighten around his neck in a noose that limited both breath and freedom.

His sister, Sekhmet, nuzzled him with her black nose. “Lost in thought?”

“Wishing you’d waited a year or so to haul me away from the good life.”

“We thought we’d better get on the road before you wore out your equipment, Mr. Tomcat Stud.”

Orion’s other sister, Bast, trotted toward them, her white fur gleaming in starlight. “We’ve come to the right place. The pull is strong.”

“Praise the Many-Taloned One,” Sekhmet said. “My paws are killing me.”

The lights of the city flickered in eye-burning imitation of the starry sky. “It’s not going to be easy,” Orion said. “The smell alone makes me gag. It’s not just the physical stench, but also the foul odor of self-righteousness and fear. And some of the fear is mine. I’ve never failed before.”

Sekhmet raised her ears. “It’s hard to fail when you mount a willing cat. I’m glad you realize you’re facing a far bigger challenge. It gives me hope that you’ve become something more than a swaggering young tom. She of the Rough Tongue is molding you into the cat you were always meant to be.”

“I don’t know about Her rough tongue, but I’ve never doubted yours.”

Bast growled softly. “Enough. Orion, you have to guide us now.”

Panic bristled his fur. “I don’t know; I can’t feel anything.”

Bast scraped her claws against a stone. “Then ask to feel. Have you forgotten you were chosen for more than shining fur and golden eyes?”

“And equipment,” Sekhmet said.

He turned his back on them and washed himself briskly to hide his shame. How could he forget the first lesson all kittens learned? When you got lost, She would always nudge you home.

Orion closed his eyes, and the rasp of Her tongue shivered through him, massaging away the tension that had tightened his limbs, clearing away the resistance and fear that had hidden his path, and even temporarily blurring the memory of well-fed, sleek females.

One final moment of doubt kept him in place. “Are humans worth our sacrifice?”

“Not yet, they aren’t,” Bast said, “but we’re weaving a dream.”

Orion loped down the hill, praying that the gathering strands wouldn’t knot into a noose.

Amazon URL for Dance with Clouds  $2.99
Amazon URL for Big Dragons Don't Cry: $.99
Author Web Site:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Movies Teach Us About Genetically Engineered Fish

My coworker told me this morning about a new genetically engineered salmon that was just approved for American consumption. My immediate response at just hearing the words "genetically engineered salmon" was “Sounds like we’re asking for a Resident Evil type situation.”
Coworker shook his head and continued to inform me about these fish. I don’t hold it against him he is not the pop-culture junky I am, and perhaps, Resident Evil shouldn’t be brought up in a serious conversation about genetically engineered fish—who am I kidding, of course Resident Evil should be brought up. Have movies taught us nothing!?! 

This is what they say about these Frankenfish:
-          It is not materially different than regular salmon. (that’s what they always say and the next scene…zombies.)
-          They have a ravenous appetite. (You know what else has a ravenous appetite… yep zombies)
-          They are born sterile (How many movies have the theme nature always find a way…mmm the ones that usually end with zombies)
-          They continue to grow their entire life span (Giant zombies)
-          They could alter the balance of our whole ecosystem if accidentally introduced into the wild. (Really?!?! Zombies)
Let me play this out for you.
Joe Friday is enjoying his tasty salmon lunch. Heads back to the office feeling full and satisfied. WHAM! Hit by a truck.  Genetically engineered DNA kicks into over drive, bringing one very dead Joe Friday back to life.
Truck driver gets out of the truck, “Oh no, oh no, someone call an ambulance.” Truck driver runs over to Joe Friday to help him out even though he is a mangled mess.
Lady on the sidewalk stops to call 911, being an upstanding citizen. Truck driver hasn’t seen movies and doesn’t know about Frankenfish, leans over Joe Friday. Joe Friday’s milky eyes pop open and he takes a chunk from truck driver’s neck because he smelled so delicious and Joe Friday is ravenous. Lady on the sidewalk screams drawing attention to herself. Victim number 2.
Thus the start of 99.9% of zombie movies, give or take a few details.   

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Inside Writer Studio: Arshad Ahsanuddin

Please help me welcome Arshad Ahsanuddin to Bat Country. He is a wonderful independent author and was kind enough to stop by for an interview.

What genre do you write in?
I write gay paranormal romance/urban fantasy.  Alternately, you could say I write speculative fiction with gay characters. 

Tell us about your book.
The basic premise is simple:  What if vampires and vampire slayers were killing each other in the shadows of the world for millennia, and then were exposed on national television.  How would the world change?  Would peace between us be possible, or war inevitable?
The major subplot is a gay love story, in which the main character, afraid of love, must let go of his fears in order to find the person he’s meant to be with.  Emphasis on the love, however, I don’t write explicit sex.

What is your process? (do you plan, outline, let the characters guide you, research before or during, etc)

I use a variation on what has been called the snowflake method (, which is essentially a cycle of outline, write, and re-outline.  The structure of the loose outline prevents the story from wandering too far off point, but the freedom to revise the outline allows for plot twists that develop during the writing process to be incorporated into continuity.

Do you listen to music while you write? What is your favorite song for emotional scenes?
I listen to a custom playlist that selects random songs from the Backstreet Boys and Shinedown.  Yes, I realize that is borderline psychotic.  It’s just what I like.

What have you published and what are you currently working on?
I have published three full-length novels and one novella in the current series, Pact Arcanum.  I am currently working on a second novella, and a fourth full-length novel.

What is your favorite book?
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

What is your favorite TV show?
Babylon 5

Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
I think I like Nick best, the main character, for his romantic hang-ups and loneliness in a crowd.

PROUST Questions:

What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What is your favorite curse word?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Well, I’ve tried medicine, photography and writing, but I would love to be a musician.
 What profession would you not like to do?
 If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Come in.”

Author Bio:
Arshad Ahsanuddin is Canadian-born, but lived in the United States for most of his life. He is currently a practicing hematopathologist, a physician who specializes in using biopsies and laboratory data to diagnose diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Yeah, a blood doctor writing about vampires. The irony is not lost on him.  It certainly amuses his colleagues.

Social Media: Author page:

Book links:    
Smashwords edition (multiple formats):

Book Blurb:
Los Angeles, 2040. The terrorist Medusa and her followers threaten to destroy the metropolis with a nuclear bomb. One individual, the vampire Nicholas Jameson, comes forward to oppose them. As Nick takes on the terrorists, the fragile peace between the races hangs perilously in the balance as the supernatural peoples are exposed.  Can Nick lead the four races into peaceful coexistence, or will the final war destroy them all?
With millennia-old magic, emerging romance, and ever-shifting allegiances, this inventive new series unveils a scintillating, homoerotic world of Nightwalkers, Daywalkers, Sentinels, and Humans, who battle for world dominance in the not-too-distant future.

Thank you, Arshad, for stopping by!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Music Monday

Writing and music goes hand in hand for me. I listen to music while I am writing (sometimes), while I am getting into my character's mindset so I can write, and while I am creating a character. I like to think of who my character's favorite band or singer is and what that says or demonstrates in their personality. With Dark Corners I didn't listen to a lot of music while I was writing, mostly just Phantom of the Opera to put me in the mood, but I do know what sort of music my cast of characters would gravitate towards.

Ella Reynolds is a classic rock sort of girl. Her favorite band is the Rolling Stones. The dramatic power ballads appeals to her all or nothing attitude and fast, unrelenting songs allow her to escape reality for a short while.

Detective Gabriel Troy's favorite singer is Frank Sinatra.The crooner appeals to his secret hopelessly romantic side. The smooth, dulcet also relaxes him from his highly stressful job.

Daniel Reynolds gravitated towards college rock--like Dave Matthews, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay. It was good back ground music for him while he worked on the computer or the house. He could listen and loose himself in the music and the monotony of the tasks. The music represented his mostly happy and content outlook on life that never challenged him to dig below the surface.

Susan's favorite genre of music is pop. She liked anything with an up tempo that made her body want to movie. Music was pure escapism for her and allowed her to dance out any tension she was feeling.

Grant favors classic and piano music. He liked the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere it inspired and reminds him of his childhood.

Those are my characters choices. What music defines you or your characters.
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Scare Dee Doo kit by Irene Alexeeva