Emerian Rich and the ‘Dusk’s Warriors’ Take Over

dwbook3d2Fiendish friends, it’s October and it’s time for the Blog Take Over Tour! Today’s offering is from Author and all around Horror Super-Friend, Emerian Rich and her novel, Dusk’s Warriors, the follow up to her smash, Night’s Knights. Once again on display in Dusk’s Warriors is Emz’s keen eye and rich world building. But don’t be lulled into thinking you or her characters are safe… Because the scares are still ready to grab you from the page.

Ok, enough chatter from me. Read away… if you dare:

 

Excerpt from Dusk’s Warriors:

She grasped the iron handle and pushed, not knowing what to expect on the other side. When she stepped in, her bare feet made no sound on the cold stone beneath her. She saw one torch at the far end of the long barren room. A lone figure sat atop a throne at the far end of the hall. She knew the figure’s face well and her heart, despite her heavenly state, fluttered.

“Severina! Ser amada.” Sandro called her his beloved in her native language, Portuguese. He held out his arms to her as if she would run to him.

Pedro’s nails clicked on the stone floor in warning to the man who may try to harm his mistress. Severina let her hand fall to Pedro’s head and gave a loving pat, showing him she appreciated his presence.

“Sandro,” she said.

He looked the same as he had many years ago. Deep brown eyes, wet with blood tears, pleaded with her to embrace him. She approached him, but stopped short, staying a few yards away. Pedro sat between them, looking up at Sandro and leaning against Severina’s legs in protection.

“What’s this? My love doesn’t greet me with a kiss?” He continued to speak in their native tongue.

“Speak to me in English,” she said, her tone firm and in no way emotional.

He laughed, saying in Portuguese, “Why should I? Ours is the most beautiful language in all the world.” Sitting back, grinning, he rested his chin on his thumb and forefinger as if she were telling a joke.

“Yes it is, but your voice poisons it.”

His smile disappeared and he finally spoke in English.

“I didn’t know I had a negative effect to your ears.”

“Why are you here?”

“What do you mean? I am here to see you. I am here to find my love! To hug my little Severina after many years of being parted. To enjoy The Circle of Love with mi amor.”

She smiled, remembering how Sandro use to speak to her. Recalling how his voice used to lull her to sleep on her bed of satin inside the crypt they shared, brought to mind the nights of love they enjoyed.

Boldly stepping off of his throne, Sandro approached her.

Pedro stayed put, ready to strike at his mistress’s first sign of distress.

Mi amor…” Sandro reached forward, putting his hands on her neck.

“Sandro,” she said, her voice breathless. “I remember how your touch used to hypnotize me and how my heart would skip to hear you come near. Our bodies connected in the Circle was my one wish!”

He traced her cheek with his thumb, his touch sending goosebumps down her neck.

“Your voice would call to me and it meant so much to hear you say you loved me.” She ran her hand across his chest.

Sim. It was all true my love. I have waited here for you only. I adore you.” Sandro leaned in and kissed her passionately. His hands searched her soft, wavy hair with a lover’s quickness.

“I can see you do.” She looked into his eyes.

He grinned, his fangs poking into view.

“But I do not.” Severina stepped back from him.

“What?” His expression clouded.

“You took my life from me. You trampled my loved ones at your feet. You fed me religious bullshit and took my self-control from me with your hypnotizing tongue. You came in the guise of my savior, but I knew what you were from the start. Had I stronger will, had I immortal knowledge then, I might have finished you while you slept.” Taking off a necklace in the shape of an Ankh he’d given her years ago, she held it up, shaking her head. “So romantic. It was all so romantic. Yet, after all these years, I can’t get one vision out of my head. Do you know what it is?”

Sandro’s blank stare invited her to go on.

“You, standing over my father’s lifeless body, smiling as if it were some grand joke.” Throwing the necklace at him, she turned to go out of the place, Pedro following behind. “Leave this place, and never return.”

“Severina! Wait! I did it for you!” he called after her.

Pedro growled, standing between them, his lip quivering as he bared his teeth.

“You killed my family for me?” Severina spun on her heel, her control slipping.

“I gave my life for you! You were to die, but I gave you my blood! They would have killed you and look at you now! Still alive, still my strong, beautiful, Severina.”

As soon as she closed the door to the house, she would close his chapter of her life forever. No longer would she be the victim, but the victor.

“Please my love!” He reached out, catching her elbow. “Don’t leave me! I saved you! You owe me!”

Hatred consumed her.

“I owe you?” She turned to him.

Sandro’s face changed. She could see fear in his eyes. Pedro, who had been trying to run interference, backed away.

“Yes! I guess I do owe you!” Severina picked up the ankh necklace and shoved it into his mouth, pushing it in far, so it lodged in his throat. His eyes bulged, his hands grabbed at his neck as if he could pull the object out through his Adams apple. Sandro’s feet moved in a rapid pattern across the floor in no set direction.

In his mind, she could see her impressive embodiment of Dusk. Her auburn hair turned bright red and from the mass of curls sprouted several two-headed flames resembling the shape of snake tongues. Her teeth sprouted razor sharp edges. Flames erupted all around her, but did not harm her or her coverings. No, she seemed to be made of fire.

Still choking, Sandro stumbled backwards, landing on his back. He scooted as quickly and frantically as he could away from her. The building shook and pieces of the ceiling fell to the stone below.

“Thisssss,” she said, her tongue forked and hissing like a serpent. “Domain issss mine now. Go from it and never return.”

 

emz1small Emerian Rich is an artist, horror host, and author of the vampire series, Night’s Knights. She is the hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, HorrorAddicts.net. Under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal, she writes the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and she’s the Editorial Director for the Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

 

dwBAR

Available now at Amazon.com in print and eBook

 

https://www.amazon.com/Dusks-Warriors-Nights-Knights-Vampire/dp/1544628803

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Active Voices-An Interview with Aaron H. Miner

COVER-KINDLE-MARKETINGA look back to the past many times can be a refreshing thing. In the case of indie author, Aaron H. Miner, it’s an educationally entertaining journey as highlighted in his novel, Rosaria of Venice: Book One of the Renaissance of Rosaria Adalberto.  

While the title is a mouthful, it, and the novel itself is well worth the effort as Miner combines the spirit of the Italian Renaissance with the energy of Steampunk…  All coupled along with a generous mixture of strong characterisation for a protagonist who ends up embodying the struggle of both the classic and modern heroine.

But, as is fitting for an author whose work is about the Renaissance, Miner’s wit and insight isn’t limited just to the written word.

As an author, entrepreneur,  film and animation professional and all-around creative, his experiences and achievements hold a lot of wisdom for anybody who wants to find an avenue for their expression. His discussion of his time as a student at Sunnyvale, CA’s Cogswell College is a fascinating hotbed of information for those who are seeking to get into the professional side of creativity. And his personal path to getting published is required listening for anybody who has made the decision to be an author.

But why am I delaying your pleasure? Now, it’s time for you to listen for yourself…

 

 

kickstarter01From the Author’s Website: Aaron M. Miner is a writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur living in Sunnyvale, CA. He is the founder of indie animation company Studio Kenaz LLC and its publishing arm, Gebobooks Publishing.

In 2012, he directed the promotional music video “Falling in Flames” for the comic book and concept album Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl, and is presently finishing his degree in Animation Production Management at Cogswell College. He has written several short stories, but Rosaria of Venice is his first novel.

His full bio and blog can be found on his website at runicfire.net.

The Story Continues

Rosaria’s trials do not end with Rosaria of Venice. In this age of revolutions, both radical new technologies and dark ideologies promise to change the world forever. Ambitious and talented as she is, Rosaria inevitably becomes entrenched in this battle for the soul of an era.

The Renaissance of Rosaria Adalberto  continues in The Sin of Prometheus, to be released in 2015.

 

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Active Voices-THE SHIVA SYNDROME

theshivasysndrome-large-2 (1)Be prepared…. Alan Joshua’s THE SHIVA SYNDROME isn’t a thriller in the typical sense. And that’s a good thing.

 The novel, Joshua’s fiction debut, certainly spares no expense in raising the stakes as the protagonist, former Special Forces operative Beau Walker, and his compatriots deal with the unexplained vanishing of a central Russian territory into a man-made black hole singularity. But frankly, that’s the least their problems as the book untangles the winding web of new horizon technologies such as tailored genetics and nanotechnology while also exploring such concepts as parapsychology and Jungian ideals of motivation.

 Joshua puts the question to his readers: What if we achieve an ability to create in ourselves a superhuman level of power but we don’t understand anything about our own motivations in doing so? Worthy fodder for a SF thriller that’s not afraid of the big questions of writers past.

 THE SHIVA SYNDROME sets its standards high and keeps them there throughout the course of the novel. It has a cinematic quality to the narrative, requiring the reader to balance the advancement of the tension with engaging debates about life, the universe and everything. While making for some tough sledding in the early portion of the book, you’ll see the fruits in the latter half of the novel as the story, and the world, really begin to burn.

Joshua rewards the reader with a return to intelligent speculative fiction writing in the vein of Crighton, Rollins and Cussler. Ambition, in this case, is made of sterner stuff and in the end and you’ll find yourself pondering the ponderables while also dying to find out what’s next. A most promising effort by an author to watch.

Long time fans of the old WRITER’S BLOCK feature will be please to see a return to the interview format of years past with this link up from DarkMedia Online. Smart, sharp and multi-talented, Joshua’s  following take on SF, psychology and Shakespeare will make your delving into his super-normal world a pleasure.

 

But now’s the time to listen for yourself….

Allan-BFrom the Author’s Website: As a native Philadelphian, Alan Joshua has the appropriate fondness for soft pretzels and cheesesteaks. He is married, has two grown children, and lives in the suburbs. He is currently a practicing Clinical Psychologist.
Always curious about  the unknowns of human experience, he is fascinated with creativity and paranormal abilities. This led to his involvement with Psychology and research into Parapsychology. Unsurprisingly, he is a science fiction fan and has been influenced by such writers as Asimov, Bradbury, Crichton, Heinlein, Serling, and the extraordinary genius of Phillip K. Dick.

Website: http://alanjoshua.com/

Hear the entire Active Voices interview @http://sabbx.com/

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Fear of a Wack Planet: Talking with Bret Alexander Sweet

worldSometimes in life, good things DO come to those who wait….

This is the case with the following conversation with author/ educator/ entrepreneur Bret Alexander Sweet. The best conversation in the three year history of the Writer’s Block feature was a July sitdown with Bret that covered topics far and wide, not the least of which is his super imaginative fantasy, sci-fi novel, Among the Veils.

Sadly, that interview was lost to the evils of the digital age as a glitch in the recording 524800_152754964873008_918248003_nerased two hours of passion, insight and good humor. But, in crisis, there can be opportunity as the conversation was so good, we decided to get together again… And potentially, again and again, as Bret has insight and contacts all over the spectrum. Thus, we have our humble offering which currently has been enshrined as Fear of Wack Planet.

Recorded in Sept, this edition gives the final roundup to this year’s summer blockbusters, the battle between Marvel/Disney and Warners Bros./DC in the movie field, the state of Black Cosplayers and why you never start a statement with Stan Lee’s name…

Different, controversial and provocative, Bret makes the grade all over the map. Lucky for me, this is just more of the same excellence I’ve been lucky to hear for several months now.

 Lucky for you, it’s time to listen for yourself….

 

 

 

 

 

basheadshotFrom the Author’s Website:  Bret Alexander Sweet was born in San Francisco, California. He was raised between Oakland and Sacramento, settling in San Francisco in 1997. Bret graduated from Berkeley High School in 1995. He is the son of prominent Bay Area civil rights attorney and social entrepreneur, Clifford Charles Sweet.

Bret combined his passion for music and entrepreneurship at a young age by earning himself an internship at PolyGram Group Distribution’s San Francisco office in the summer of 1995. Three months later he was an artist development rep focusing on the company’s urban division associated with Island Def Jam artists. He left PolyGram shortly after the merger to focus more on his college career at San Francisco State University and open his own label. Throughout his studies, Bret invested his time working in various community development organizations as well as running his own independent record label, House Kemetic Suns. Although House Kemetic Suns never reached platinum status with its artists, Bret had established the first online music distribution channel when he was 19; 6 years before Steve Jobs would bring iTunes to market.

In 2002, Bret began teaching entrepreneurship to youth and young adults from under-developed communities. In 2003, he signed on as Lead Entrepreneurship Instructor at BUILD, a non-profit organization in Menlo Park that uses entrepreneurship as vehicle for college admission for first generation students. In 2004, Bret was awarded Certified Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. In fall of 2007,

Bret retired from teaching to pursue his life long dream of an MBA at the University of San Francisco. In 2008, Bret began certifying new cohorts of future NFTE instructor as a NFTE CETI (Certified Entrepreneurship Teacher Instructor). Bret graduated from the University of San Francisco in May 2009 with his Master’s of Business Administration with a dual emphasis in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. In December 2008, he received the USF School of Management’s Dean Circle Scholarship for exemplary service in his community.

In 2007, Bret founded the Dualism Group which is early stage venture capitalism firm and consulting arm geared toward helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and expand their companies in order to bring jobs to lower income communities. One of his clients is Robert Simpson of Back A Yard Corporation which led to Bret being instrumental in the founding of Coconuts Palo Alto and the expansion of Back A Yard into San Jose. In addition he established his own property management firm called Sweet Rentality which creates tech innovations for the property rental market.

 Bret @: www.paperthrones.com

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Jason Malcolm Stewart is an author, journalist and media professional who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His short fiction has appeared in the Pulp Empire Series, Heroes of Mars, Twisted Tales, Temptation Magazine as well as on the Smoke and Mirrors podcast. His non-fiction Quicklet on a variety of topics can be found at Hyperink.com.

Jason also writes a regular television column and book reviews for darkmediaonline.com, movie reviews for justpressplay.com and about the NFL for rantsports.com. His novel “The Eyes of the Stars” is now available from Double-Dragon Press in ebook and paperback. His non-fiction collection of horror film essays , “Look Back in Horror,” is also available now at Amazon.com.

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The 7/7 challenge begins!

atom-age-vampire1Hello fellow ghouls, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve hopped on this blog forum, but since I’ve been recruited to lend a hand with the 7/7 Goodreads blog challenge by my fellow author, the most excellent Sandy Saidak.

I will not be found wanting!

The full story from Sandy’s blog is as follows:

“C.P. Lesley, a writer and member of Goodreads, recruited me for this blog challenge. I agreed—well, frankly, because it sounded like fun. The rules are simple: post seven lines from p. 7 (or 77) of my work in progress; thank C.P. for inviting me with a link back to her blog; and talk seven other writers into participating by posting seven lines from the appropriate pages of their works in progress, thanking/linking to me, posting the challenge rules, and finding seven other authors to carry on the chain.   Like a chain letter, but more fun!  (And one that might introduce a lot of people to good books they might not otherwise discover.)”

So with humility I submit this segment from page 7 of my under construction prequel to “The Eyes of the Stars,” currently titled “The Omega Silence.”  In the excerpt, my heroine, Shiloh is far from home and thinking about making friends:

“The weather-hardened guard at the post gave her ID documents a deep, lengthy look before turning his eyes to meet Shiloh’s.

Something in his gaze made her shudder as they momentarily locked eyes. There was intensity showing through them. An intensity that let Shiloh know that he’d better mind her P’s and Q’s while out here.

She decided late in the process that she should break the tension with a smile. It wasn’t returned. With an angry wave, the solider sent them on their way

Well that was no good, thought Shiloh with an internal sigh. Five seconds here and already everyone thinks I’m a schemel.”

Much thanks to my fellow authors who are doing this challenge. And like always, remember everyday to tell a scary story or six.

 

JMSnume2

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The Three Faces of Fear/Black Sabbath

Searching for a sound circa 1969

Imagine it if you will, my fellow ghouls. It’s a typically smoggy, nasty August day in the industrial suburb of Aston, Birmingham UK circa 1969. You are one of four local, knock-around guys who have done the typical late-teens thing and formed a band. You’ve gotten some gigs. You’ve got a look. You’ve even developed a thunderous, down-shifted, distortion-heavy type of sound which is loud enough to be heard over the din of the warring skinheads and leather longhairs who frequent your shows.

But the problem is… The name of your band is Earth. EARTH. It makes you sound like a bunch of rejects from a production of Hair. Worst of all, there’s another band with the same damn name! This simply won’t do. You’re sitting around wondering what to about this hideous turn of events. You drink a lot of beer.

Your bass guitar player and lyricist, who has spent the better part of the last year delving into the occult fiction of Dennis Wheatley, looks out the soot smeared windows of your practice hall towards the local movie theater. There he sees the marquee title for Mario Bava’s influential 1963 color triumph, I Tre Volti Della Paura (translated: The Three Faces of Fear) which some AIP censor in his wisdom has decided to call Black Sabbath. Dark gears turn in his mind. Soon you have a song. And a name. And a uniquely strange connection to one of the classics in the history of horror.

Original Italian Promo

The Three Faces of Fear was Bava’s first, full attempt at a Technicolor process film. After his black-and-white masterpieces, Three Faces partners Bava’s eye for detail with a number bizarrely arranged color worlds. Shot by Ubaldo Terzaro, (who would become a Bava family favorite) the film lives up to its billing by giving the viewer three, distinct vignettes dealing with terror.

The Telephone (starring Michele Mercier) is the first offering, a psycho thriller involving not just warring lesbian lovers, but also a jealous husband straight out of the can with revenge on his mind. The last, The Drop of Water (with Jacqueline Pierreux) has a sticky fingered nurse getting the turnabout from one of her dead patients. But it’s the middle section, The Wurdalak, which makes the film a classic as it contains the last, great performance of horror film mainstay Boris Karloff.

Karloff had slid into relative obscurity by the 60’s but Bava’s craft pulls one more great performance from the black-and-white veteran. Playing an Eastern-European, recently-undead vampire, Karloff returns to his family homestead to wreak havoc its terrorized survivors. The aged star pulls of some chilling moments as he systematically takes the lives of those who were closest to him. The final scene between the wandering stranger (played by Mark Damon) and Karloff’s now-undead daughter prefigures the sickening trend towards supernatural romance that now dominates our bookstands. (Excuse me. I think I threw up in my mouth a little.)

Three Faces gives Bava a chance to stretch his story-telling muscles while paying tribute to such Asian masters as Kurasowa. According to legend, Quentin Tarantino in his video store clerk days saw Three Faces and decided that he would use the multi-story format to tell a story of his own one day. But I digress from our original digression…

Our Birmingham lads in later days (cira 2008)

So, did Mario Bava invent Heavy Metal (for better or worse)? Well, as far as anybody has determined, Il Maestro never knew about the influence his little movie had on the music world (and on crazed parents who have been shouting “Turn-that-crap-down!” for forty years). As for our beer-drinking bandmates, no one can recall if they actually saw the movie. C’mon, that was a LOT of lost brain cells ago.

Let’s hope that if the rumored upcoming film bio of a certain nonsense-muttering, reality-show starring, leading singing Prince of Darkness comes to fruition that the director is savvy enough to throw some metal-horns Mario’s way. (Sharon, are you listening?)

(Thanks to Martin Popoff and his excellent musical biography Doom Let Loose for helping to set the historical mood for this review.)

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RETRO Reviews: The Serpent and the Rainbow

In the beginning Ghouls, there was the Zoumbie. The legendary flesh-and-blood inspiration for our modern cinematic motif , creeping through the jungles of Haiti and other Caribbean islands, bringing terror and destruction to those not wise enough to avoid the paths of voodoo. Then in 1932, Hollywood came a’ knocking and our beloved star left his sun kissed isle to star alongside Bela Lugosi in the black-and-white classic White Zombie. And for a while, our hero held sway in the imagination of filmmakers wanting to explore the exotic religious practices of Western and Central Africa. He had regular work in those days, showing up in such forgotten gems as Voodoo Man (1944) and the Plague of the Zombies (1966).

Then came George Romero. And like a lot things in the 60’s, there was a changing of the guard.

White Zombie Restored Edition (2006)

The Zombie (non-magical) became the king of the block and our hero was forced back into semi-obscurity, sitting around the house, downing bottle-after-bottle of Red Stripe, waiting for his next close up. Thankfully for him, Wes Craven came along. And with him, a movie idea from a “real-life” account from Harvard researcher Wade Davis called The Serpent and the Rainbow.

Set in 1980’s Haiti, our hero (played by Bill Pullman) is a biologist/ anthropologist /chemist (the script is never sure which) who comes to the island nation in order to find the ancient powder used by voodoo masters to put their victims into a state of living death. For Pullman’s trouble, he is kicked, beaten, buried alive and has a nail driven through his scrotum. But for his tribulations, he manages to do something thought impossible. Bring the undead back to life a second time.

Released in Feb. 1988, Serpent took advantage of Hollywood’s renewed interest in voodoo during the end of that decade. The previous year had seen modest hits for such voodoo themed movies as the Believers and Angel Heart. Craven, at the height of his powers and popularity, dove into the trend by giving us the most “naturalistic” zombie movie possible.

Shot on location around Hispaniola in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Serpent still stands as a glorious, although slower-paced, exploration of the Haitian “voodoo” culture. Freaky undead doings abound, making for some killer scenes. Zombie hands in pea soup, crazy chicks eating glass, a corpse-bride with a python tongue and the topper of an undead Paul Warfield pulling off his own head to throw it at a freshly risen Bill Pullman (one of my personal favorite horror moments of the 80’s). And while it wasn’t a big hit for Craven, it’s remembered fondly by many fans, despite its over-the-top ending.

So, given the weird real-life zombies we’ve seen in Florida, Maryland and Canada, let’s raise a toast to the old-school cousin of today’s shamblers and his momentary comeback. (That reminds me of a joke: How can you tell you’re being chased by a Caribbean Zombie? Easy! You’ll see his dead-locks! (Insert groan…))

Fini-JMS

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