Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cattle Now Available on Audible, Amazon and Itunes

Hi, gang! The audiobook of my horror novel Cattle has officially gone live on Audible, and will be available on Amazon and iTunes in the next few days. I hope you guys purchase a copy (or get it free with a 30 Day trial of Audible) so that the company, Walker's Words, will continue to adapt my novels to audiobook format.

Next up for Walker's Words: The Oldest Living Vampire Tells All!!!

They plan to do all my vampire books next, so be sure to grab a copy of Cattle and show your support.

Use the link below to visit the sales page on Audible.

Not interested in audiobooks? Show your support by visiting the page and tagging the item with a few keywords. Tags help amazon promote my work by putting it in front of readers and listeners when they search for specific terms like "zombies" or "horror".

You can also share this blog post with your Facebook friends. Maybe someone you know enjoys balls-to-the-wall zombie horror fiction or zombie books and horror movies.

Monday, February 23, 2015

For My Fellow Writers... A Sight for Sore Eyes

I spend so much time on my computer there are days I think I am going to go blind. One of my problems is Word. That glaring white background for my text can sometimes be more than a little taxing on the eyes. If you are not a writer, imagine staring into a sunny snowbank for eight to twelve hours and you will understand how a writer's eyes feel after a long day of writing or proofreading. I just kind of stumbled across this and was so happy about it I decided to post it for all my other writer friends.

Here are the instructions, and a neat little pointer, on how to make your writing day a little more pleasant.

Change the background of your Word document to an "old paper" texture, or whatever kind of texture you find most soothing on your tired, screen glare dazzled eyes.

This is the Dazzler. A glaring white box of LED light that comes standard with Word.

Select LAYOUT in your ribbon.

Slide the cursor over and select COLOR.



Now select the texture you downloaded off the internet, which I forgot to tell you about earlier. I typed "paper textures" into Google and picked out several textures I liked and saved into my PICTURES folder.

I selected a texture called "vintage paper"... hit OK.

Now your Word background looks like a piece of old paper, much easier on the eyes.

You can also click Focus View and switch to a simplified version of the UI.
The background of Focus View can be changed too. I prefer textures rather than smooth backgrounds, as it seems easier on the eye.

You can also download a program called f.lux which will dim and warm the colors of your monitor depending on the time of day, which will also help with some of the eye fatigue.


Monday, May 12, 2014

A New Ongoing Serial-- Featuring Gon and Private Eye Dixon Peters!

Just for fun, I thought I might do a mash-up featuring some of my favorite characters, Gon, Dixon Peters, and Doc Wormwood. I don't have a title for this yet. Maybe you can help me come up with one!  

Chapter 1: The Shamus

My name is Dixon Peters -- go ahead, laugh. I’m a private eye, a dick, a gumshoe. Some people call me the supernatural shamus. I’ve even been described as the premier private investigator of the supernatural world. As such, I’ve dealt with my fair share of bogeymen and poltergeists, but if there’s one thing that creeps me out more than anything else in the grimy little corner of the universe I’ve set up shop in, it’s vampires.
For one thing, they’re dead. Cold and dead and slimy, with skin as smooth and hard as marble. Imagine going to some fancy museum and stopping for a moment to admire a Greek statue, and suddenly the eyes in that statue roll over to look at you, and the thing’s face twitches, cheeks plumping up, lips splitting open, revealing a set of very white and very sharp teeth. That’s what it’s like the first time you see a vampire. It’s an affront. It’s the bright candy wrapping of the universe splitting open to reveal a rotten core of squirming maggots.
Their eyes seem to suck up any source of light in the room, glinting at you like lanterns. They move in ways that are inexpressibly inhuman, staying too motionless for too long before blinking forward into a new position, their limbs arranged in ways that are subtly abnormal. Sometimes they forget to breathe, or they talk too loud and make your ears throb in pain, and their laughter… its like fingernails down a chalkboard.
Werewolves I get. Wizards and witches… well, technically I am one. I’ve dealt with enough demons in my day that I don’t even bat an eye. But vampires… ugh! Give me a rampaging Elder God any day of the week.
The vampire I was currently chasing through this dirty alley in the Borough called himself the Marquis. Rumor had it he was the Marquis Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, a French aristocrat famed for his libertine philosophies and a whole lot of pornographic writings. Born in 1740. Died in 1814. Still kicking around in Dunsany, Massachusetts in October of 1934, 120 years later.
How he ended up in Dunsany is anybody’s guess, but I’d been hired by a crazy old bastard named Hiram Wormwood to find him, and that’s exactly what I’d done.
Now I just needed to catch him.
Doc Wormwood (that’s what he asked me to call him) believed de Sade had murdered one of his friends, an old lawman from out west named Bill Starr. I had tracked the bloodsucker down to a nightclub called the Scarlet Letter, only the letter on the sign was a big swirly V instead of an A, like in the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I just intended to have a look at him, ask him a few questions, see what kind of vibe I got from him, but the creepy ess-oh-bee took off as soon as he laid eyes on me, and it was all I could do to keep up with him as he raced through the backstreets and alleys of my adopted hometown, climbing walls and jumping over moving cars like a kid jumps over mud puddles. A normal human being wouldn’t have a chance of keeping up with the creature, but here’s the thing: I ain’t no normal human being.
Now don’t get me wrong. I ain’t no super-man. In every way but one, I am just a below average specimen of the mammalian species currently claiming proprietorship of this ball of mud and water we call planet Earth. I’m ugly, getting a little soft around the middle, getting a little gray in the whiskers (and just recently, in my Adam’s patch, which is one of the more depressing things I’ve had to deal with recently), and I drink and smoke just a little too much to be running after some critter that don’t seem to have to obey the laws of physics. 
But I’m also an Umbra, which is a subspecies of Homo sapiens that is able to give those aforementioned laws of physics a little nudge.
You call it magic.
Well, there’s one other thing that’s unusual about me – or maybe I should say two other things – but it’s not really pertinent to my current situation.
Up ahead, the Marquis de Sade, dressed in a ridiculously outdated red brocade justaucorps and lace jabot, twisted around to look at me and then leapt onto the wall at the end of the alley.
He leapt straight up, just a little more than two stories in height. Rather than bounce off the bare brick wall, as any normal human being would do, the Marquis clung lizard-like to the wall and scurried rapidly upwards, pedaling his feet in a comical manner.
(I don’t know how vampires stick to walls like they do, whether it’s magic or some strange property of their skin, but it looked like his feet couldn’t hang onto the wall with those jackboots on.)
He went up, up and vanished over the ledge of the roof about five stories above. Took him all of six seconds to make the climb.
Damn it!
I had been using my modest Umbra talents to keep pace with him, speeding myself up just a little faster than normal so that I could move as quickly as the vampire -- basically, compressing my lifespan into a much smaller space of time – but I dispersed the magic spell as soon as I lost sight of my quarry. No sense burning up my allotted span if it wasn’t going to get me any closer to him.
I needed to find out which way he was going.
As I couldn’t climb walls like some sticky-footed gecko, I did the next best thing. I Ghosted.
Astral projection. It’s one of the few Umbra tricks I’m actually good at. Well, that and jinxing the magic of other Umbra like me. I could astral project before I even knew what an Umbra was, though back then I thought they were dreams, or that I was crazy and just imagining all of it. Later, after Magus Grimberg took me under his wing and tried to train me, we found out astral projection was the only thing I had any real aptitude for. I couldn’t summon. I couldn’t teleport. I couldn’t read minds or shape-shift or turn invisible. All I could do was fly, but that was good enough for me. It took away some of the sting of discovering that I was in almost every other way a complete failure as an Umbra.
The instant the Marquis vanished from sight, I skidded to a halt and closed my eyes. Muttering a quick incantation under my breath, I shot up out of my body like a rocket.
The world looks very different in the astral plane. In the astral plane, everything scintillates inside its own little corona of energy.  You call them auras. Human beings, in the astral plane, are bright, sparkling, multi-hued beings, while inanimate objects flicker dimly. You can tell a human’s disposition by the color of his aura, too. Yellow is for happy, pink is love, red is for anger, blue despair. I don’t know if the colors are really there, or if that’s just how my untethered soul perceives its surroundings, but it’s not just handy when you’re trying to catch a suspect, it’s a feast for the soul.
Everything has its own unique pattern of wavering energy, like a person’s fingerprints. Buildings, trees, that rat scrounging in the garbage, the wet clothes hanging on the lines strung across the alley… everything glows.
Everything except vampires.
Vampires are like black holes, the theoretical sinkholes in the skin of the universe. Not only do they not emit any light, they seem to draw in the energy of everything around them, sucking it in like animated sponges. They drink the light like they drink human blood.
The encircling buildings fell rapidly around me. I flew up, free of gravity’s shackles, invisible, relishing the sensation of flight, as I have always relished it. Turning slowly in the air, I cast about for the bloodsucker, saw the creature racing quickly in the other direction, a churning shadow. He had jumped to the roof of the adjacent building, was trying to double back.
And then he started climbing down… behind my paralyzed body!
About five minutes too late, I realized the Marquis wasn’t trying to run away from me. He had led me into a trap!
Typical vampire hunting strategy: lead your victim to a secluded area, somewhere you can dispatch them without threat of discovery, feed on them, then dispose of the body. People go missing all the time. It’s vampires.
I fell as quickly as I had risen, dropping into my body like a big rock chucked into a bucket. My knees buckled and I farted. Disoriented, I tried desperately to reconnect with my nerve endings in time to cast a protective spell. I stumbled around like a drunk, bringing my hands up defensively, but the vampire was on me before I could uncross my eyes.
He tackled me hard, drove me into a nearby dumpster. Garbage spilled around us as we slid across the ground.
“Why do you pursue me, Umbra fool?” he hissed, his fingers digging into the muscles of my shoulders.
His cold breath smelled like copper and spoiled meat. His eyes were black pits rimmed in vermillion. De Sade was 74 years old when he died, but he looked 174. Face sagging like unbaked dough. Talcum clumped in the wrinkles of his flesh. He had rouged his cheeks, lined his eyes in black and his lips in red, but it just made him look like a clown. An old, ugly, perverse clown.
“I need… to ask you… some questions,” I gasped, turning my face from that horrid breath.
“Questions?” the vampire cried, and he laughed incredulously. He said something quickly in French, probably some scornful declaration of disbelief, then pressed his face close to mine once more. “You forfeit your life to ask me some questions?”
“Why did you kill Bill Starr?” I spat.
“Bill Starr is dead?” the Marquis said, pushing away from me in surprise. His red-rimmed eyes narrowed. His wormy lips curled back from his fangs. “I would like to believe you are lying, but I can smell that you are not. How did Bill Starr die, and why do you think I killed him?”
“I don’t believe it, my client does,” I said. I wriggled beneath the creature, trying to push myself out from under him with my elbows. A banana peel fell across my face and I batted it away.
“And who is that?” the Marquis asked. He felt me twisting beneath him and grinned. He arched an eyebrow and began to subtly grind his ass against my groin.
“Stop that!” I snarled, and he tittered, chin to his chest, a bony finger pressed to his lips.
“Pardon! You Americans are so repressed! But who hired you to find me? Who believes I killed Bill Starr?” he asked.
“His friend. Hiram Wormwood.”
“Senility,” de Sade said dismissively. “The mortal is almost as old as I!”
“So you deny it?”
“Of course I do. I was quite enchanted by the giant American. So tall and rugged. So… virtuous. I even offered to give him the Strix. I offered him immortality in exchange for a single night of passion, but he refused. I was disappointed, of course, but not enough to harm him. I would never harm him. Not willingly. Not unless he asked me to.”
“Any idea who might have wanted him dead?” I asked.
The Marquis grinned insouciantly. “Perhaps…”
He started to answer.
Before he bent his tongue to the name, the smelly French vampire twisted violently around. He looked to the mouth of the alley and cursed under his breath. “Merde!” An instant later, he vanished. The speed of his departure rippled my clothes, sent the garbage around me flapping in breezy loop-de-loops.
A man in sleek black modern clothes stepped into the alley. He had long, slightly curly auburn hair and a light beard, pale skin and glinting hazel eyes.
Another vampire!
Clambering to my feet, I reached into my pocket and retrieved the gadget the Doc had given me. I hadn’t been able to use it on the Marquis, but I wasn’t giving this bloodsucker a chance to get the drop on me.
“Stop right there!” I shouted, pulling the gizmo from my pocket and aiming it at the thing. I tried to cock it like the Doc had shown me. The mechanism was stubborn, hadn’t been used in a long time. Finally, with a metallic snap, two fins popped out of the sides of the device, armed with little silver darts. “The poison in these darts can, uh, decouple the molecular bonds of the symbiote that resides within you.”
I frowned. I was pretty sure that’s what the Doc had said it would do. Something like that anyway.
The vampire eyed my weapon with great interest. His nostrils flared and then he dismissed it. His glinting green eyes flicked up to mine.
“Be at ease, mortal. I mean you no harm,” the vampire said. His voice was deep and mellifluous, with just the faintest hint of a European accent. “We have a common enemy, you and I, though I do not believe you know who that enemy truly is. Not yet anyway.”
“And you are?” I asked, lowering the Doc’s gizmo.

The creature smiled faintly and bowed at the waist. “I am Gon, the world’s oldest living vampire.”

Let me know what you think about it so far!