Explore The Dark Side of Urban Fantasy – Paranormal Suspense
THE SHADOW BOX.
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Ride the cutting edge of dark fantasy in this unique collection of fast-paced, gritty, suspenseful thrillers. Filled with black magic, vampire trailer trash, werewolves, sorcerers, assassins, clairvoyants, zombie draggers, and old-school gothic horror, a sure bet for fans of paranormal suspense.
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Travis Luedke , Rob Cornell, Sean T. Poindexter, M. Joseph Murphy, Andrew Butcher, Shane KP O'Neill, Simon Okill, Steven Ramirez, Craig Schaefer, Kristopher Norris
Meet the Shadow Box men and their dark and dangerous books.
What darkness lies in the hearts of these men?
Only the Shadow Box can reveal.
DARKER THINGS by Rob Cornell
Release Date: 2011
Fifteen years have passed since Craig Lockman worked for a shadowy agency fighting monsters most think exist only in nightmares. A mysterious teen girl arrives at his door with his fiercest enemy on her tail. Now he must protect the daughter he never knew from the dark world he thought he left behind.
Craig Lockman—no one had called him that in fifteen years.
Not since his days at the Agency. Not since he was trained to kill creatures that were supposed to exist only in nightmares.
Yet the teenage girl on his doorstep not only knows his real name, she claims she's his daughter.
Before Lockman can learn how the girl found him, he's attacked by a black-ops team of assassins. But these aren't ordinary killers—they're heavily armed vampires sent by his most hated enemy.
Forced on the run, Lockman protects his daughter from an onslaught of horrors while searching for who betrayed him and why. The investigation leads him to Detroit, where he unwittingly sets a plan into motion that could trigger a paranormal apocalypse and cost him his soul.
About the AuthorRob Cornell is the author of eight novels and several short stories. He is best known for the urban fantasy series, The Lockman Chronicles, featuring ex-government agent turned paranormal vigilante, Craig Lockman. He has also penned three mystery novels about private-eye and karaoke bar owner, Ridley Brone, as well as a stand-alone thriller, Red Run. Rob's latest release is Saving Sasha Brown, a Ridley Brone mystery. The fifth book in The Lockman Chronicles is due out soon.
The Ten Books That Made Me Want To Become A Writer (In No Particular Order)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
This was the first book that had me thinking, “I want to do that!” I remember getting chills while reading the book, never before realizing that little marks on a page could evoke a physical reaction. I just had to do the same thing to others.
- A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block
My first detective novel. This book taught me a thousand different things about writing all at once and in a blinding flash. I was blown away.
- Misery by Stephen King
Stephen King is one of my greatest influences. This book gave me a glimpse into the writer’s process (while telling a terrifyingly awesome story along the way). Another “I want to do that” kind of book.
- Watchers by Dean Koontz
Suspense and deep characterization melded to perfection.
- Writing the Novel by Lawrence Block
Another fascinating look into the writer’s process. I still refer back to this book for a refresher when it comes to my own writing. I was lucky enough to discover this one very early on in life.
- Storm Front by Jim Butcher
My first exposure to urban fantasy. A mix of fantasy/horror and the detective novel. Two of my favorite genres mixed into one. Love it.
- L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais
A brilliant crime novel that brought a good, but standard detective series to a whole new level of greatness. Anyone writing thrillers will learn a great deal by studying this one.
- The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
My first exposure to Bradbury. The man is a genius. Every story of his bursts with creative energy.
- Dark Thoughts On Writing by Stanley Wiater
A massive collection of bits of advice and quotes from the best practitioners of dark fiction. There are all sorts of gems waiting to be found in this book.
- Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
A collection of essays on writing with as much verve and energy found in his best fiction. And another window into a writer’s process that will leave any writer pumped to tackle their own stories.
It was a trick keeping this to ten. Once I got rolling, I thought of several other books that have molded me as a writer and continue to inspire my work.
Release Date: August 3, 2014
Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to monsters. Supernatural or human, he's faced all kinds. But when he's called upon to investigate a missing child, he may have met his match.
Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to monsters. Supernatural or human, he's faced all kinds. But when he's called upon to investigate a missing child, he may have met his match.
Children are vanishing, not just from the streets, but from their parents' memories. Max's investigation leads him to a gang of neo-Nazi vampires running a child slavery ring. There, he comes face to face with the deadliest enemy he's ever met, their charismatic and powerful leader Boone.
Running low on hope and options to find the missing children, Max turns to his friends for help. But even they aren't enough. Forced to face the darkness of his own past, Max forges an alliance with the least likely ally of all.An enemy whose cruelty was almost his end, and haunts him s till.
About the AuthorThough born in Mesa,Arizona, Sean has spent most of his life in Missouri. After college, Sean went into social and investigative work, primarily with disabled adults and seniors. Sean’s background in sociology, criminology, and philosophy and his experience as an investigator for the State of Missouri, are heavy influences in his writing. While Sean has been writing most of his life, he did not consider doing so professionally until he was inspired by a terrible vampire movie. During the film, Sean amused himself by imagining the vampires being attacked by a dragon. His imagination resulted in his series, The Dragon’s Blood Chronicles, featuring dragons and vampires. Sean enjoys watching and reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thrillers. His hobbies include playing Xbox, fantasy role playing games and collecting firearms. Moth is Book 1 of The Max Hollingsworth Paranormal Mysteries. Sean’s other books include The Shadow of Tiamat and The Will of the Darkest One, both from The Dragon’s Blood Chronicles.
THE SHEPHERD by Travis Luedke
Release Date: September 27, 2013
After saving a mysterious girl from a hit and run, 16 yr. old Mike Evans soon finds his life spiraling out of control. Facing clairvoyant visions of grisly death, Mike struggles to avert disaster and make his way through the chaos.
Skate punks, kleptomaniacs, clairvoyant visions and reincarnation...
THE SHEPHERD is unlike any other Young Adult novel you have ever read.
For me, Mike Evans, a skate punk living in a white-trash trailer park, high school blows.
My dad's an out-of-work drunk. My ex-girlfriend avoids me like the plague. My best friend, Anita, won't keep her hands off me...then there's Moses Lake's champion wrestler. The a-hole is waiting for an excuse to beat my face into the skate park concrete.
Worse, my visions of grisly death are back again, and if I tell anyone what I've seen I might actually cause these terrible events to happen.
I'm in way over my head, and Natasha? The girl I rescued from a hit-and-run? The girl who's stalking me nightly and climbing through my window? There's something seriously wrong with that girl.
Sharp, witty, dark and gritty, The Shepherd is a paranormal thriller for all ages. Get your copy now!
Thursday, September 9th, 5:15 p.m.
Shit happens, life happens, but for some reason it happens to me a lot.
I was kinda hoping life would give me a break – maybe crap on somebody else for a while.
I mean, look at Justin Shelby. I’m sitting here in my car, in the McDonald’s drive through, and what is he doing? He’s climbing up the side of the damn playcenter. Probably faded on prescription pills he stole from his mom. This guy is begging for life to hit him upside the head. But it never does.
And then there’s his buddy, Tommy Schroeder, goading him on.
“Do it man! You’re almost there!”
One of the wrestling elite of Moses Lake High School, Tommy’s mere presence inspired Justin to new heights of idiocy. Justin scaled the side of the outdoor playcenter like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.
Justin skated religiously, a regular at the downtown Moses Lake skatepark across from the Aquatic Center. Like most of us skaters, he was thin, moderately athletic, and had a strong sense of balance from endless hours busting his ass on the concrete. Climbing the playcenter wasn’t any more dangerous than the skate tricks we recorded and posted to YouTube.
He quickly reached the apex, damn spider monkey. He stood exalted atop the dome of the airplane-shaped plastic toy. An elementary kid inside gawked up at him from the Plexiglas window.
“This is classic!” Tommy whipped out his cell phone and started recording.
Looked like a good idea to me, so I did the same. You never know what folly you might catch on video. I mean, this was live action stuff. I could be ten seconds away from a viral Youtube video, Gangnam Style.
Tommy encouraged Justin’s antics with loud catcalls. Justin proclaimed his status as king of the hill, arms held high.
“Yeah bitches, hell yeah!” Justin yelled and hooted at the top of his lungs, pumping his fists in the air.
I narrated to my potential audience of millions, “This is a flagrant violation of the rules.” I panned my cellphone camera over to the placard by the entry gate and zoomed in to catch a clear shot of the playcenter rules. “There it is folks, rule number three: No climbing outside the playcenter. And we can’t forget rule number four: No children over the age of fourteen allowed. For the record, Justin is sixteen.”
Returning to the action, I caught Tommy’s upturned face lit with excitement, and then slid the view up the playcenter to Justin. “There’s the big man, putting on a show for his new best friend.”
It kinda stung in a way I didn’t like to admit, that Justin was doing all this for Tommy. A couple months ago, Justin was my best friend, my idiot. Or so I had thought.
But Tommy was cool. Popular and wealthy, he also happened to be one of the biggest arrogant pricks in my class, and Justin’s ticket into the ‘cool crowd.’
“Always trying to prove something.” I shook my head.
Tommy and I don’t get along so well. It’s a Rachelle thing. One of those life things that happens to me so often.
I should just keep my mouth shut and catch some choice video, but you know what they say, the observer always affects the observed …
“Hey ass munch, get down before you break your neck!”
Justin’s head whipped around to the sound of my voice, causing his body to sway with the sudden movement. As soon as he spotted me parked in the drive-through a nasty smirk bloomed across his face. In a moment of sublime inspiration, Justin dropped his pants with a show of lily-white butt cheeks. He obviously hadn’t seen me recording with my cell phone.
Tommy noticed me too. “How about a double McAss burger Mikey?”
He loves to call me Mikey. He knows I hate it. No one but Tommy calls me Mikey.
The girl delivering my cheeseburger held her hand over her mouth to cover her braces as she giggled and snarfed at the sight of Justin’s naked rump shaking back and forth while he taunted, “It’s a full moon tonight Mikey. Hope you enjoy the view!”
Perfect. Now Justin’s calling me Mikey. God I hate that name.
“It’s Michael, asshole! And thanks for the killer video. Goin’ straight to Facebook.” I held my cell phone out the window for him.
Justin looked back over his shoulder in surprise, attempting to pull up his pants at the same time. The knee-jerk reaction caused him to lose his delicate balance atop the apex of the plastic airplane. He fell onto his right side, and slithered down the side of the playcenter. His hands shot out across the smooth surface, clawing, seeking a grip. There was nothing to grab.
I watched him slide inexorably down the outside of the playcenter, pants and underwear still down around his thighs. He tried rolling into position for a feet-first landing. The maneuver would’ve worked if not for the fence being so close to the playcenter. The bright yellow, powder-coated aluminum fence that had aided his climb to the top now blocked his landing on the way down.
Justin’s momentum came to an abrupt halt as he hit the top of the fence ass first.
I cringed and almost ruined the shot. “That’s gotta hurt.”
Justin’s blood-curdling scream of agony made my skin crawl. He sat there, squealing like a stuck pig. The top section of fence tubing had impaled him where the sun don’t shine. Pegged in the holiest of holies, he had two inches of aluminum post going in through the out door.
“Oh my god this is insane!”
I saved the ninety-three second video clip of Justin on my smart phone and posted it directly to my Facebook timeline. I had a momentary twinge of conscience. I mean, he was still crying, and Tommy was trying to climb the fence to help him. It looked really painful.
“I can always delete it later …”
I was gonna call for help, but Tommy already had his phone out as Justin yelled in his face, “Call 911!”
I only had a few minutes to get to work. As I drove off, I thought about taking that video down. I probably should have. But it only took fifteen minutes for my video clip to find its way to over 200 students at Moses Lake High School, shared over and over to dozens of Facebook profiles. My first ever viral video.
I guess life happens to Justin Shelby too.
About the AuthorTravis Luedke is a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, best known for his violently sexy NIGHTLIFE SERIES. Travis can be found catching a third degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, while arm-wrestling a bottle of red wine. Though often defeated by merlot and shiraz, he never gives up the fight.
As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: T he Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
COUNCIL OF PEACOCKS by M. Joseph Murphy
Release Date: June 2013
A band of misfit, half-demon teenagers join the ruthless, immortal Wisdom, to stop The Council of Peacocks. The Council, a secret society of sorcerers, has plotted for centuries, and now the time has come for Activation – a hostile takeover of Earth.
~ Synopsis ~
There is a dark world, hidden in plain sight, filled with vengeful djinn and shadowy demons. The Council of Peacocks, a secret society of sorcerers, has plotted for centuries. And now the time has come for Activation - a hostile takeover of Earth.
A band of misfit, half-demon teenagers with extraordinary powers join Wisdom, an immortal wizard, to stop The Council. They are trained to stop the Council and their army of reptilians. But there’s something that Wisdom doesn’t know. The Council is no longer working alone. If Wisdom and his students cannot stop The Council, the world as they know it will cease to exist.
This is the first installment of M Joseph Murphy's exciting paranormal thriller series.
Looking at the Yezidi – Inspiration for Council of Peacocks
My book, Council of Peacocks, features a group of secret sorcerers. I wanted them to be complex and realistic. They truly believe their actions are for the benefit of the world. So I wanted to base them on a real organization.
That led to research into Satanists. I read the Satanic Bible briefly but I was more interested in the history behind it. How and why did it start? What were its influences? I uncovered the details on the Yezidi, a minority group native to Northern Iraq and Turkey. They worship Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel (a.k.a. the Black Peacock). For some reason, they have been connected with Satanist. Many call them devil worshipers. In fact, Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, claimed they were one of his inspirations for the Satanic Bible.
I created a shared history between the Council of Peacocks and the Yezidi. During the middle ages, both hid from persecution in underground cities, the types of which are prevalent in that part of the world.
The Yezidis, a sect of Devil worshippers, take a different viewpoint. They believe that God is all-powerful, but also all-forgiving, and so accordingly feel that it is the Devil whom they must please, as he is the one who rules their lives while here on earth. "The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey (1969)
So are they evil? Not from their point of view. Technically, they do worship Lucifer. However, they do not acknowledge the existence of evil the same way their neighbours do. For centuries followers of other religions have attempted to convert them.
Muslims and Christians in the area started a campaign of misinformation that continues today. The Yezidi have suffered over 73 genocides during the last 800+ years (source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-crisis-the-yazidi--a-persecuted-people-driven-to-the-edge-9687850.html). They have zero protection from local government . For me, that’s fascinating. Could our current understanding of Satan be nothing more than religious propaganda?
About the AuthorJoseph Murphy was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. He earned his geekdom at an early age. He read X-Men comics from at the age of 8 and it only went downhill from there.
As a teenager, he wrote short stories and wanted to be the next Stephen King. Instead of horror, however, he kept writing fantasy stories.After surviving high school as a goth with a purple mohawk, he studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor.
When not writing, Joseph works as Lead Accounting instructor at a local college. He lives in Windsor, ON (right across the stream from Detroit, Michigan) with his husband, two cats, and shy-but-friendly ghost.
A DEATH DISPLACED by Andrew Butcher
Release Date: June 14, 2014
When Nicolas Crystan unexpectedly sees the future, he acts fast to save Juliet Maystone from a fatal accident, unintentionally "displacing" her–giving her the power to see ghosts. Together, they must use their newfound abilities to unravel a mystery more connected to Nicolas than he ever imagined ...
A woman fated to die. A vis ion that could s ave her ...
Nicolas Crystan, struggling to cope with his traumatic past, shuffles through life keeping mostly to himself ... until he has a disturbing daydream of a woman's death. At first he tries to forget it, but when real life mimics the daydream, he realises it was no ordinary fantasy--it was a vision of the future. To save a life, he must act fast.
When Juliet Maystone escapes death, defying fate, she becomes 'displaced' in this world.All she wants is to return to her bustling day-to-day routine, successfully running her own business, but as hard as she tries, she can't ignore that things have changed for her. She has to face up to the fact that being 'displaced' comes with an unexpected ability.
On Lansin Island, a quaint place with a dark history of its own, Nicolas and Juliet must learn to use their newfound abilities and work together to unravel a mystery more connected to Nicolas than he could ever have imagined ...
About the AuthorAndrew Butcher lives in England with his family and partner. When he's not writing he loves to watch TV series and read paranormal and fantasy books. Writing is what he wants to do as a career, and it makes him happy to know that other people are enjoying his books.
The genres he writes in are paranormal suspense, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal mystery, and paranormal romance.
Three favorite quotes and why under each quote.
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
― W. Somerset Maugham
This quote makes me laugh every time. I always read the first part, and I’m like, ‘Oh, right? Three rules, yes. What are they then?!’ And then I read the second sentence, and I think, ‘Oh …’ What I really love about this quote, though, is the complete freedom it poses for a writer.
“None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are.”
― Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat
I love this one because I don’t take the first part literally. I think we do change; I’ve always believed in people’s capacity to change. But I also take the second half of the quote to mean that we learn from our mistakes and experiences, and we discover our own truths as we go through life. If we’ve made mistakes and suffered from them, then that suffering will hopefully point us closer to who we really are.
“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.”
― Charlaine Harris
It’s just funny, and true. And I love Charlaine Harris!
― W. Somerset Maugham
― Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat
― Charlaine Harris
Release Date: Dec. 1, 2012
Vlad Dracula: ruler, tyrant, warlord, and champion of the Catholic faith, is seized by Lucifer in his moment of death and becomes a monster, born of Darkness. Vlad is charged with destroying the institution of the Catholic Church, to help turn man against God so that Lucifer may finally return to Heaven and end all of mankind.
As his moment of death looms, Dracula suffers the ultimate betrayal. The champion of the Catholic faith in Eastern Europe realises there is no place in Heaven for him. It is Lucifer who comes to claim him, though he does not want Dracula's soul.
Instead, he bites into Dracula’s neck and then offers his own blood to drink. Dracula suffers his mortal death, but he re- awakens and suffers a startling metamorphosis, becoming a monster born of Darkness. Immortalised with Lucifer's blood coursing through his veins, the two are bound by blood for eternity. Lucifer has groomed him for this day, and lays out the task before him.
Dracula is to destroy the institution of that which he has championed. By bringing down the Catholic Church, he can undo the Crucifixion and turn man against God once more. If he succeeds, then Lucifer will ascend again to Heaven and signal the end for all mankind.
About the AuthorShane KP O'Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a fresh dimension to the Dracula legend, which combines the real historical Vlad Dracula with a new and different version of Dracula the vampire. He has released the series in two arcs, one that follows Dracula the man and the other following Dracula the vampire.
The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee's portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid lover of history, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject. He built a concept and premise where he could accommodate both Dracula the vampire and Dracula the man.
Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He reads a lot of books from a wide variety of authors, hough his main interest lies in the horror genre. His love of books is matched only by his love of the countryside and of course, his family. As an added note, he has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels, he likes to search out locations with an historical interest and will always hunt for the ruins of an old castle before heading to the beach.
Release Date: July 11th 2013
A mysterious woman awakes in an asylum in France, 1925, with amnesia. As her memory is restored she reveals her true vampiric nature and unleashes a bloody nightmare that might destroy all humanity.
Paris 1925. A young woman is nearing her Eternal Vampire state. But she is held captive by the hybrid vampire she created who needs her pure blood to stay alive. She escapes but he follows her scent and massacres all who dare protect his supply of Eternal blood.
She awakens in a tiny room, trapped and defenceless with amnesia. Something buried deep yearns to be set free by the next full moon – her Eternal Birthday. Her true self, Eternal, emerges in brief flashes of awareness to protect her from the horrors of this terrifying prison.
Desperate, she forges an alliance with her true love, a handsome young doctor treating her. But her nemesis is out there somewhere, relishing the hunt for her blood – and nothing will stop him from becoming Eternal.
About the AuthorParanormal author Simon Okill lives in a South Wales coastal town with his wife where he is currently writing about the crazy adventures of Phantom Bigfoot and his tribe of Bigfoot Babes. Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is book one of a YA adventure Phantom Bigfoot Series, followed by Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampettes From Venus and book 3 is Phantom Bigfoot & The Haunted House. Simon has also written two other books, all available on Amazon - Luna Sanguis and Luna Aeturnus, dark Gothic romance set in France 1925. Due out Dec 6th is Murder Most Deadly a serial killer horror set in Cornwall and Wales and with its tongue firmly set in its cheek.
Question for you the author.
Can you tell us about yourself?
- For about 10 years before writing novels I dabbled with screenplays. I always got excited when a well-known actor or actress read my material, but after a dismal time trying to attract an agent I gave up. Then came the workplace accident that left me disabled. With depression ripping me apart I decided to write about my feelings and from that was born the Luna Series.
What do you do when you are not writing? - Walking the beach searching for fossils, or just meandering with my wife mulling over a new novel. Then it’s back to marketing like a crazy monkey.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? Nearly 13 years ago now, but not seriously until 2012 when a publisher accepted my madcap comedy novel about Bigfoot. From that book came my Teen Phantom Bigfoot Series.
Where do you get your ideas? Lucky me has 22 screenplays which will all become novels. My ideas come from TV shows such as Star Trek and SG-1 and my dreams along with my wife’s input too.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? As a youngster it was Alistair MacLean, later Stephen King, Graham Masterton and Anne Rice were a driving influence.
Is there a special ritual or place that you write? I am forced to write in the darn kitchen which as you can imagine is not the best place for peace and quiet.
You've been given the task to host a last minute dinner party. Which authors are on your ultimate dinner invitation list? Alive or Dead. Stephen King, Anne Rice, Philip K Dick, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dean Koontz and Graham Masterton.
TELL ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Steven Ramirez
Release Date: August 26, 2013
When a contagion decimates the town of Tres Marias, recovering alcoholic Dave Pulaski, his wife, Holly, and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive.
Thanks to a beautiful, strong-willed woman named Holly, recovering alcoholic Dave Pulaski is getting his life back. Then a contagion decimates the town of Tres Marias, turning the victims into shrieking flesh-eaters. Now Dave, Holly and a group of armed soldiers and civilians must find a way to survive. But Dave is THIS CLOSE to drinking again. A woman he cheated with is after him—even though she’s no longer human. T he hordes of undead are growing and security forces are outnumbered. Hell has arrived in Tres Marias.
“Tell Me When I’m Dead” is the story of an antihero who must come to terms with all of the mistakes he has ever made. Faced with the most terrifying situation imaginable, he must decide whether to die drunk or stay alive and fight for those he cares about most. And he must learn that strength alone is never enough—you also need Faith.
“Tell Me When I’m Dead”—Character Traits
December 17, 2014
Hey, Steven Ramirez here. I am one of the authors featured in a new horror-fantasy box set called The Shadow Box: Paranormal Suspense and Dark Fantasy Thriller Novels. You can preorder The Shadow Box now using the buy links below for a whopping ninety-nine cents. And remember, that’s ten novels featuring vampires, zombies and other assorted monsters. Not a bad deal, people.
Check out this wonderful collection of dark novels from authors Travis Luedke, Rob Cornell, Andrew Butcher, Sean Poindexter, Shane KP O’Neill, M Joseph Murphy, Simon Okill, Craig Schaefer, Kristopher Norris—and me, Steven Ramirez.
Being a writer, I am sometimes asked in interviews what character traits I think make for a great hero. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t particularly care for heroes. [Switch to a Ricky Gervais voice.] They are boring. Always doing the right thing, like helping little old ladies across the street, or giving all their change to the annoying stew bum in the alley.
No, I prefer antiheros. And here’s why.
In screenwriting, they tell you that you should always make the protagonist likeable. Typically, you establish this at the beginning of your screenplay with a “pet-the-dog” beat. When the movie opens, the main character—no matter what kind of jerk he might be, does something nice. He’ll give a hungry kid his ice cream cone, maybe muttering to himself that he doesn’t really like strawberry anyway. Or he’ll foil a robbery-in-progress. Or, he might actually pet a dog.
In my book, Tell Me When I’m Dead (which you’ll find in the box set), I really didn’t want to go that way. Dave Pulaski is not a despicable person per se, but he’s got some real problems. For one thing, he’s a recovering alcoholic with anger issues. For another, he cheated on his wife. In reading some of the reviews on Amazon, I found that, as a result of my character’s traits, some people didn’t really like Dave at first. But, God bless them, they stuck with the book.
A friend of mine decided to give my book a shot. When he saw the kinds of mistakes Dave was making in the beginning, he became disgusted and stopped reading altogether. I never held it against him, though. Readers react honestly from their gut. If I had it to do over again, I would still write Dave exactly the same way.
Now, I’ll warn any writers out there that if you haven’t created an antihero before, just be careful. They cannot be without any redeeming qualities. If they are, then all you’ve done is create a detestable character that no one wants to follow—and that person should probably be the villain of the story. Dave does have redeeming qualities. It’s just that you have to cut through a lot of dreck to get to them.
About the AuthorSteven Ramirez is the author of Books One and Two of THE DEAD SERIES, “Tell Me When I’m Dead” and “Dead Is All You Get.” He has also published a number of short stories, as well as a children’s book, and he wrote the screenplay for the horror-thriller film ‘Killers.’ To hear about new releases, visit stevenramirez.com. Steven lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters.
THE LONG WAY DOWN by Craig Schaefer
Release Date: 2014
The death of a porn star leads sorcerer Daniel Faust down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and madness. For the first time, black magic and bullets might not be enough to save him from the brink of damnation.
Nobody knows the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas like Daniel Faust, a sorcerer for hire and ex-gangster who uses black magic and bullets to solve his clients' problems. When an old man comes seeking vengeance for his murdered granddaughter, what looks like a simple job quickly spirals out of control.
Soon Daniel stands in the crossfire between a murderous porn director; a corrupt cop with a quick trigger finger; and his own former employer, a racket boss who isn't entirely human. T hen there's Caitlin: brilliant, beautiful, and the lethal right hand of a demon prince.
A man named Faust should know what happens when you rub shoulders with demons. Still Daniel can't resist being drawn to Caitlin's flame as they race to unlock the secret of the Etruscan Box, a relic that people all over town are dying -- and killing -- to get their hands on. As the bodies drop and the double-crosses pile up, Daniel will need every shred of his wits, courage and sheer ruthlessness just to survive.
Daniel Faust knew he was standing with one foot over the brink of hell. He's about to find out just how far he can fall.
About the AuthorBy the time he was four years old, Craig Schaefer knew he wanted to be a writer. He also wanted to be an astronaut, a private eye, and a fire truck, so nobody paid much attention. Other passions came and went with age, but the love of writing remained. He cut his teeth on the crime thrillers of Elmore Leonard and Richard Stark, which may explain a thing or two about the person he is today.
Exploring other genres he soon latched onto horror and weird fiction, falling hard for the worlds of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft. The books of the Daniel Faust series are written in honor of all the writers who shaped him, blending gangsters, guns and black magic in a manner not unlike, he hopes, chocolate and peanut butter.
Research for the Faust novels has led Craig down some curious alleys -- sometimes literally -- and to conversations with interesting and occasionally frightening people. His reference bookshelf, stocked with tomes covering the spectrum from criminology to demonology, has been variously described as "disturbing," "a bit eccentric," and "the reason I'm not dating that guy anymore."
While he considers Las Vegas his second home and visits every chance he gets, Craig presently lives in Joliet, Illinois, the home of the Blues Brothers. He dwells in what was once a turn of the century convent, though he has never seen the alleged (and obligatory) ghostly nuns. The pipes do rattle in the night, though, and if you're standing in just the right spot, they sound like the pitter-patter of children's feet rushing by on the floor just above you.
When he's not behind the keyboard, he can be found visiting Chicago's historic museums, haunting libraries for inspiration, and spending too much time gaming while he should be writing. He also dabbles in sleight of hand, though unlike Daniel Faust, he's not very good at it.
Ten Pieces of Advice I Would Tell my Teenaged Self
1. If you can get past chapter ten, you can finish the book. Stop half-assing your manuscripts and learn to go the distance. Discipline is the number-one habit, tool and ally of a working writer.
2. Stop throwing out your writing. You’ll want all that stuff someday.
3. On that note, boy, are you gonna wish you’d bagged up those old comic books and kept them pristine.
4. Kiss the girl. Kiss the guy, too. Why not?
5. As a teenager, you have a metabolism that allows you to eat cows – entire, actual cows – without gaining a single pound. Enjoy it. You’re going to miss it when it’s gone.
6. Pay more attention in math class. It’ll be more useful than you think.
7. In retrospect, you won’t believe how dorky you look in those clothes. It’s okay, though, everyone else does too.
8. Heartbreak will be the keenest pain you ever feel, but love is always worth the risk. Always.
9. Those guys at Apple might just be onto something. Maybe you should buy some stock. Just saying.
10. Relax. The future is AWESOME.
Release Date: July 27, 2013
When Vincent Black, a gun for hire, is told vampires are all too real, he thinks it’s a joke. But soon he learns that he is not the most dangerous brand of hunter out there...
~ Synopsis ~
About the Author
Kristopher Norris was raised in a military family and now has a daughter of his own. They live outside Omaha, Ne.
Why Book Covers are So Important
We’ve all heard the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, right?
Who has ever listened to it? EVERYONE judges a book by its cover. Without a good cover no one would ever pick up our books. They are the eye catching pop that draws attention to our work. Often a good cover can and should set the mood of the story before the reader even cracks the binding. A decent book with a great cover will out sell a great book with a crap cover nearly always.
But maybe I’m biased.
I was an artist before I ever thought of writing for a living. I even got my degree in graphic design. But I do know, love at first sight is based off sight. It’s not just book covers that have proven this to be true. Think back to when people used to buy CDs and, if you are old enough like me LPs. Do you remember the cover art that went into those? EPIC and sadly lost art form for music. Think on the covers for Pink Floyd Darkside of the Mood, it was simple and elegant. Or Michael Jackson’s Dangerous so much was going on you didn’t know where to look but you want to! There are a handful of modern band that have worked hard to keep in art of music covers alive and I have to tip my hat to them.