April 2, 2004 was the earliest date I have recorded for the inception of Blood Family. Also known as Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key, the novel was going to be a Young Adult horror adventure which would by my take on vampires and what vampires might be. And when I’d decided that, I knew I was in for an interesting journey, but had no idea where it would take me…
Fantasy author Ellie Garratt, fresh from her success with her anthology of the macabre, Passing Time, releases Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories! Congrats to Ellie from Written Worlds – this one looks to be another creep-tastic smash!
Science fiction stories of time and space…
The future of humanity must be decided in Next Phase. Winning the Planetary Lottery is not as lucky as it first seems in Schrodinger’s Gamble. An apocalypse and its aftermath threaten to tear one couple apart in Daiker’s Children. In Life As I Know It a reclusive man finds both his heart and home invaded during an alien harvest. In Taking Time a demon seeking shelter on a distant planet finds himself facing a very different kind of demon, after answering a frontier settlement’s plea for help.
Stories range from flash fiction to novelette in length.
Win one of two $25.00 (£15) Amazon gift cards and a character named after you in an upcoming novella…
About The Author
A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead.
Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre was published in March 2013 and contains nine previously published stories. Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories is her second short story collection.
They–the lottery officials–are waiting for me. It turns out the last door on the right isn’t an exit, rather a walkway that leads past the fleet relay station, now buzzing with activity, and on to lottery headquarters–a large room with a metallic desk and four chairs in one corner.
“Hi,” I say as I walk into the room. An elderly man and middle-aged woman I recognise from lottery advertisements are standing behind the desk.
“Charles Schrodinger?” the elderly man asks.
“Excellent,” he says.
I hear an eruption of cheers travelling our way from the flight deck and suspect I’m being ousted from the draw after all. I glance at my ticket and begin examining it for signs of forgery.
“There are a few things we need to go over before the planet is officially yours, Charles. You understand there are matters that need to be addressed?”
I must give the impression of being vacant at that point because the old man repeats himself twice.
“But that would mean I’ve already won,” I mutter.
“Yes. We thought you’d been briefed.” The old man and woman glance at one another.
The female official, who I finally remember is called Janna Brisbane, makes a tutting sound.
“Take a seat, Charles. There are a few things we need to discuss,” Janna says with an exasperated tone to her voice. I stay standing.
Ignoring my failure to sit, she continues. “The thing is safety–your safety. We couldn’t possibly leave you out there to be savaged by the fleet. Have you any idea of the tactics those friendly-faced terraformers would use to part you with your ticket? The deceit they would employ to pass themselves off as you? No. We won’t even start talking about the religious groups. So, the draw is pre-determined in this way.”
“Pre-determined?” I ask.
“You don’t think we leave it to chance, do you? Let a random person or ship win a planet. Considerable research and thought goes into deciding who is the best candidate for the job. Of course there’ve been mistakes; the first planet and the isolationists, but on the whole I believe we got it right.”
I picked up the heavy bundle of survival rations left for me in the exit corridor, took one last look at the door to The Facility through which one kind of future was offered, and then walked out into the yellow-tinged atmosphere of Southern England. The aliens’ offer of a safe living environment and human facsimiles stopped being an option the moment I learnt Jen had not made it to their facility. I had to find her even if it cost my life. She was my world, and a world without her was not one I wanted to live in.
During the days of alien-enforced quarantine–I have no idea how long it lasted because there were no clocks to tell the time or date–I forgot just how acrid Earth’s atmosphere had become. The toxic air outside the facility scratched my lungs like cats clawing sharp talons down my windpipe. My breathing slowed and became more laboured. I could hear myself starting to wheeze. As my eyes burned and watered and my vision deteriorated, I dropped my heavy backpack on the ground and pulled out the gas mask they gave me. A few fumbling seconds later, the clear plastic mask covered my nose and mouth, and cool, clean air refreshed me. Within seconds, my breathing returned to normal though the mask could not remove my memory of devastation’s stink–the sweet scent of burned bodies and a burnt-out civilisation.
I found it hard to believe there was ever a world, a safe world, as I gazed in horror at the toxic wasteland before me. A sea of atomic destruction blinked back. Nothing remained standing or intact except for the ruins of Exeter in the distance. I’d allowed myself to bask in a happy kind of naivety, ignorant of the destructive power our governments and military harboured. Now I faced the consequences. I vowed never to be so naive or stupid again. To find her meant questioning everything.
A tall, lithe woman of a similar age to Ing approached me. Her short-cropped hair was the colour of darkness, and there was a confidence to the way she swaggered up to me. She was the person in charge.
She stopped only a couple of inches from my face, almost breathing down my throat. I prayed she didn’t notice my lack of breath–the undead had no need for air in their lungs.
“You don’t look well, bounty hunter,” she said.
As I stood taller, so that my already imposing six-foot frame loomed over the human female, I knew I’d have to talk her around. “I’ve not been on solid land for a few months. I’ve been running down illegal passage ships and cargo. Illegal cargo.”
Her eyes flashed bright with something. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but the word illegal had excited her.
She held out a hand for me to shake. “The name’s McCaffrey. Formerly of any planet left to colonise.”
I took her hand and shook it, then re-introduced myself. “Victory Dead. Formerly of Earth.”
McCaffrey dismissed everyone but the scare-faced Ing, and they took me into a bar like all the others I’d passed through since travelling the frontier–a cheap and fast assembly metal-frame construction. It contained only the most basic furnishings. There were more patrons than I could count, and they went silent when we entered.
When I reached the bar, a stone-faced human male behind the counter slid a bottle towards me. I wasn’t sure what it contained but accepted it anyway–to refuse would have been rude and invited trouble. “Compliments of Daring,” he said as I placed my supplies on the floor beside me.
“Thanks,” I replied before pretending to sniff the contents of the bottle. As a vampire, I could only smell blood.
The bartender turned his attention to McCaffrey and scar-face. “Evening, Captain. Thought I told you to keep Ing away.”
Ing scowled and stepped forward, his hands balled into fists. McCaffrey placed an arm across his chest.
“You know it’s not Captain anymore. I haven’t been a captain since I crash-landed here three years ago. And Ing won’t be causing you any trouble while I’m here. You have my word.”
The owner grunted something and then moved off to serve another customer.
I wasn’t sure how long a Revelation year lasted, so when McCaffrey spoke of crash-landing three years ago she could have been talking any number of Earth years or months.
“Well it’s about time,” said a voice behind me, interrupting my thoughts.
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Tara Fox Hall is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction short stories, flash, short and novella-length horror stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance.
Her horror stories have appeared in Deadman’s Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Ghastly Door, The Halloween Alliance, Black Petals, SNM Horror Magazine, Microhorror, Dark Eclipse, Cemetery Moon, and various anthologies, including the recently published charity works Fear (Vol. 1) and Shifters. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Tara Fox Hall on vampires: “I’ve loved vampires since I saw Frank Langella in the first “hot vampire” version of Dracula years ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. But I wanted more than the evil monster chasing young virgins; more than the sweet, misunderstood handsome fanged stranger that becomes the perfect mate for the woman who captures his heart after so many lone centuries. I wanted a vampire so well-crafted in detail that I could believe he was real. I wanted something different to happen in the story, other than girl becomes vampire, or vampire becomes dust. I wanted passion, tragedy, romance, suspense, action, and the haunting sweetness of poetry and song floating on a soft night breeze. So I penned my own vampires.”
Tara Fox Hall talks about her latest book: “My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth instalment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire.
“When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you’ve got a powder keg primed to explode.”
Book Title: Promise Me (Promise Me Series #1) – Vampire romance
Format: print and e-book
Date Released: June 2012
My blog tour for Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key has come to an end, but it goes out with a bang! Today I am very happy and honoured to be featured on OwenSage.com – the website of YA author, Roy Huff! Roy has written a spectacular interdimensional tale – Everville.
About the book:
Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between.
With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.
About the author:
Roy Huff is the author of Amazon’s #1 international bestselling epic fantasy novel, Everville: The First Pillar. This is the first installment in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old. He is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience.
Roy Huff’s background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.
Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up about my next Young Adult paranormal urban fantasy, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls. This will be released in a few months, and tells the story of fifteen-year-old British foster kid, Solomon, and the gypsy curse that transforms him into one of the walking dead. There is a cure, but finding it means the most perilous of journeys…
My inspiration for this tale came from not only my years in Ireland, but also from living in England, which is a very mystical place in itself. In researching Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls, I personally contacted Dr Bob Curran, an author of many books on Irish folklore, often interviewed on Coast to Coast AM radio and countless others programs. His gracious and highly detailed input has given this book the authenticity I required, and therefore I have given him a special acknowledgment. Have a look at my interview with him here on Written Worlds!
Solomon Grimm is a pretty average teen. He goes to school. He hangs out with friends. He plays guitar in a band. There’s a lot to look forward to—new friends, playing gigs around the country, and hopefully a special girl to become part of his life.
All that is about to change.
While on Easter vacation in Ireland, Solomon falls foul of a gypsy woman. He is cursed and joins the marbh bheo—the living dead. Never to breathe, or grow, or love, and now able to see every supernatural being once invisible to him, his fate is to wander the fog-shrouded hills of Shanvarra for eternity… never to return home.
Solomon tracks down the woman who cursed him. She makes a deal with him. If he will bring her abducted daughter, Tara Danan, back to her, she will reverse the spell and restore Solomon to his old self. Solomon now has a terrifying task ahead of him. For Tara has been taken to the Underworld, a place reachable only through the forbidden Well of Souls. Along with his new friend, the incurably curious Mungo, Solomon must brave the darkening depths of this hidden world, where the slavering, flesh-eating Savage Dead search endlessly for a way to the surface. If Solomon’s bravery—as well as a whole host of undead powers—holds out, he might just find Tara Danan before becoming trapped in the Underworld forever…
As with Blood Family, I have asked artist David Rabbitte to do the cover art for me. Here is a sketch of the cover, with possible fonts – subject to change. The final artwork has actually been finished; you may just find it on his website!
Solomon Grimm Cover Sketch by David Rabbitte.
Read the first 8 chapers on Wattpad!
The Vampire Queen herself has descended from out of the gray and stormy clouds, alighting upon your roof, waiting to ensnare you in your mesmerizing stare!
She is also known – in another life – as my good friend Jodie Pierce, author of the popular Vampire Queen series of books ( The Vampire Queen, Demise of the Vampire Queen, Condemned by a Vampire, and The Vampire Chronicles) and other tales with bite.
Before her message, a little bit about Jodie …
Jodie Pierce lives with her hubby, John in Cleveland, Ohio along with four beautiful step-children. She has been writing since high school where here English teacher took an interest in her and started mentoring her. Jodie has had a fascination with vampires since they were introduced to her as a child and has had a long history with them. It wasn’t until she started reading the Anne Rice vampire books that she was truly inspired to write about them.
Jodie was an exchange student in Brasil in high school so you can find some of her experiences from there in her stories. Many of her stories have historical or researched facts as she also enjoys research and learning about new places.
She has published five short novels (Eternal Press), a short story in “Midnight Thirst 2“, an anthology (Melange Books), has two self-published books and has several short stories that she still works on. She has a new charity anthology with various authors where all the proceeds go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital due out Halloween 2013. She’s always busy with the next great vampire story as her mind is non-stop and even plagues her dreams.
An important message:
I just wanted to give you an update on what I’m working on.
It’s a collaborative effort with various other authors and myself. Over a year ago I decided I wanted to write a book and donate all proceeds to a charity. I’d seen other authors do it and thought it would be a great idea. The commercial is on TV for St. Jude’s, the ones with the celebrities, always seemed to touch my heart, thus the book idea was born.
All the benefits of “In Vein” will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It’s a vampire anthology, a series of vampire mini-stories by so many great authors. I have already read a couple of the stories and they are turning out great! I’m excited about putting this book together which will be available on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.
I know my own story, though vampire-related, was an emotional one. I wrote about a vampire who helps Cancer patients with his ‘gift’ after living through so much loss in his own life due to the illness. It’s called Spontaneous Remission which is my reference to the ‘gift’ giving of the vampire to the Cancer patients and their transformation.
I’m still inviting people who would like to have their short vampire story told in my story to go to my website (www.vampiricallyrical.blogspot.com) and leave me a comment stating your intent and/or ask questions about the book. Submissions are not due until August 1st, 2013.
The stories don’t have to be written by accomplished authors. If there’s someone out there who just wants to try out their hand at a vampire short story are welcome as well. The book will be released on Halloween, October 31, 2013.
Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key is on Ultimate YA!
The feature starts tomorrow and will continue throughout the month with 1-2 posts each week. Learn all about the story of half-vampire Daniel Dark and his perilous quest to confront his malevolent vampire father.
From the site:
Ultimate YA is an organization that promotes young adult literature (YA lit) and reading. We feature one YA lit author per month. Each feature includes a short bio of the author, as well as fun facts and an interview. If you would like to be featured, please send an email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to our features, we post quotes and memes of the week that relate to books, writing, and/or reading on Tuesdays and Thursdays, respectively. We also post anything else that we find interesting regarding reading and writing.
I am thrilled to announce that my Young Adult urban fantasy novel, Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key is now available on Amazon US and Amazon UK! Thank you to all the fantastic people who have supported me and this work, and those who helped give this book a professional shine – Ali Cross of Novel Ninjutsu, Anne Victory of Victory Editing, David Rabbitte for his amazing cover art, and Tatania Vila for her superb cover fonts.
Look out for Blood Family on Ultimate YA – where it will be featuring on April 1st (no fooling’!).
The book will also be the ‘featured read’ on I Love Vampire Novels great site.
And that’s not all, I will be appearing on many sites and blogs over the coming weeks. Find out about more about Daniel Dark’s perilous journey, and what inspired my take on vampire lore.
I will be giving everyone heads-up when each and every one of these features has gone live.
A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey…
Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus. As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold. Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.
Urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond.
The countdown to all-hell-breaks-loose has begun. Daniel is still an average teen; indolent, rebellious, taking a back seat from life. He has friends, like Pearce, who know him only as the lax-limbed son of the local pastor. Daniel knows something is going on with his father. He will soon find out what is brewing within himself.
“I’m telling you, Pearce. It was weird.”
Daniel lay on his bed with his dented-but-functioning cellular phone sandwiched between his ear and a propped pillow. The TV on the dresser opposite was flickering out a rerun of The Munsters with the sound turned down.
“God,” Pearce reacted, mouth stuffed full of takeaway hamburger. “Walking in on a bunch of priests. I’d freak. But I guess you’re used to that.”
“I’m not. Dad’s never had a preacher party like that before, not in this house. And get this: they’ll be having it here every month from now on.”
“With the creepy old guy?”
“I dunno,” Dan said after a shudder, hand recalling the elder pastor’s grip. “Probably. Shit, I hope not.”
“So what do they talk about?”
“Sermons and shit.”
“Yeah, God stuff…”
“Not just that. I overheard my Dad a few weeks back. He wants to open a new church or something. Or a new branch of the church. I think that’s what they’re organizing. As if I don’t have enough grief. So, Pearcey, you going out later?”
“No, not tonight. It’s too late now. Dad would have my nuts for fuzzy dice. Tomorrow night. You know, just to hang out somewhere. A few cans, a few joints.”
“Cool. You bringing Daelin?”
“I’d sure like to,” Daniel said, and he meant it. He nostrilled out a long sigh. “But…Daelin’s been acting kind of weird lately. I don’t know where I stand with her at the moment.”
“Women. I can’t make sense of them, either, man. But hey, Danno, at least you’ve got one.” Daniel could hear his friend choke down another chunk of hamburger. The burgermeister is what they called him, and not because of his Germanic ancestry. Daniel had always said that Pearce would K.O. his heart before he was twenty-one if didn’t reign in his appetite for greasy foods. “So, what you doing now?”
“Kicking back, watching Munsters.”
“Shit, dude, Munsters again? You live for that old stuff. Even when we were kids you used to think you were that fanged little brat, Eddie.”
“Ya huh! Every Halloween you were Eddie Munster. He was your idol. It’s like you identified with him or something.”
“Whatever. Okay—my battery’s gonna kick. Catch you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, catch you then.”
Continuing the preview, we meet Daniel’s father, Pastor Nathan Dark. Relationship between father and son is strained to say the least. But Daniel has no idea just how intense this conflict will go…
The living room was full of priests.
Okay, ministers, really, pastors – of the Baptist variety like his father. They didn’t wear white collars like their Catholic counterparts, though Daniel knew they were pastors all the same. The conservative dress sense and lame haircuts were dead giveaways.
His father, the only one who wore glasses, threw his son a fake smile.
Yeah, right. That was sincere. He might as well have said ‘there he is – the son who’s a constant embarrassment to me!’
Pastor Nathan Dark stood and began his introductions. “I’m sure some of you know my son. I think you were the last to see him, weren’t you, Bill?”
Pastor ‘Bill’ set down his coffee mug and stood, shaking Daniel’s hand as though cracking a whip. “Of course! He was only about fifteen then. Changed a bit, haven’t you, Danny?”
Daniel forced a weak smile. In other words, I should clean up my act and dress like a minister’s son, right? Jesus Christ.
“We’ll be having our monthly meeting here from now on,” Dad informed him. “So…”
“Yeah, I got it.”
Nathan was never a lover of his son’s dress sense, unruly hair, slouch, or general attitude. Whenever he saw his son coming through the door he was tempted to say ‘you look like something the cat dragged in’, had it not been such a cliché. The boy’s shirts were oversized, dark, and moody. And as for his hair – the chestnut-brown tresses that seemed to form a permanent curtain over his nose had caused Nathan to forget the color of his son’s eyes.
Nathan had to admit to himself that most of the pastors he knew had rebellious sons – and daughters – who tried to be everything their parent wasn’t. Perhaps it was just a natural part of growing up in a clerical family, he mused. Don’t deceive yourself, Nathan, the pastor thought. It’s worse than that. Much worse.
The eldest of the reverends had to be at least seventy. He’d waited until the other men had stood and shaken the boy’s hand before finally doing likewise. Unlike them, he didn’t smile. Instead, he wore a knowing gaze that unnerved Daniel. The snowy-haired pastor looked directly into the teenager’s eyes, unblinking.
“I’ve been a pastor for a lot longer than the rest of these men,” he began. “And I know what’s what…and who’s who.”
Daniel didn’t know what to say. He didn’t like this. His palm was sweating, and not just because the elderly pastor was squeezing it.
Finally the old man released his grip and sat back down, picking up his tablet of lined yellow paper and looking over his meeting notes as though he hadn’t seen Daniel at all.