Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Zombie Cowboy Two-Step - Jeanette Raleigh

Since it's Christmas - officially for me, work is over, wine is opened and the Lego is already out! - I wanted to do a special post, or rather post something special.

I've worked with some great authors throughout the year and some great authors have worked with me. Today I'm featuring Jeanette Raleigh who beta read The Running Game for me and from her comments inspired me to put out the short story Safe Haven. Every so often you come across authors on "your wave length" and Jeanette is certainly one of them.

Some of you may have read my Dark Waters series which is effectively zombies vs pirates and you couldn't believe how happy I was to come across Jeanette's work - zombies vs cowboys!

So Merry Christmas everyone here is your last December author Jeanette Raleigh and her book The Zombie Cowboy Two-Step...

The Zombie Cowboy Two-Step (Excerpt) - Jeanette Raleigh

Wyatt stared at his whisky once more before tipping it back. Boy would he be drunk by the time he was done with this story. Maybe even drunk enough to play the fool and hunt the Clayton gang tonight. A man would need a lot of whisky to go playin’ with the walking dead.

“The night was miserable. By the time dark was at its deepest, the fighting had passed us by. The fields were littered with screaming men. The smell, it was like walking past the butcher’s shop but these weren’t no cows. And I shook so hard my teeth rattled, even soaked as I was in sweat. Longest night of my life.”

The saloon took on that eerie quiet feel a place has when something too big for words is happening. Not the smallest whisper crossed between the men. Not the scuffle of a boot nor the clanging of a glass.

“The next morning I watched a shell of the fellow get up. His eyes,” Wyatt stared into the distance before swigging the last of his whisky. “The feller was dead and his eyes were empty, like they was starin’ but not at anything in this world. Well, this feller picked up his rifle and walked down the ridge just like he planned to rejoin the fight.”

“Did he?” Jake hovered at the bar, waiting for the story’s end.

“Nah, he found a corpse and started gnawing on it.”

Missy laughed then, bright and explosive and waved a hand in front of her face to pull in air. “Whooo, Wyatt, you had me going there for a while. Dead man picked up his rifle and went gnawing at the other men like a rat. I thought you were going to tell a real honest war story. That’s some tall tale.”

Nervous laughter broke out as the miners turned away from Wyatt and went back to their drinking.

But Wyatt never finished what he had to say. That boy on the battlefield wore a hole the size of an apple where his heart should have been. No one walked away from a wound like that. And even now, on moonless nights, Wyatt woke in a cold sweat from dreaming about that boy’s eyes and the sounds of slurping when he bent over another dead soldier.

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Well guys - thanks to everyone who has tuned in this year so far, bottles of wine dependent I might try and get one more post in before the new year but in case I don't have a great seasonal holiday if you get one and have a great winter period if you don't.

And remember if you want a spot in the Limelight let me know at especially if you have a story about zombies vs ninjas!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Sparks - R S McCoy

Here's a great Christmas release for you. Sparks by R S McCoy, here's the blurb:

"Everyone in the world has a spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive.”

Myxini School for Children specializes in training young men and women who have powerful sparks. Strikers are taught to manipulate fire. Trackers learn to find animals in the most formidable terrains. Handlers are instructed in communication with large predators. But forty years have passed since the last time they had a Reader – a student with the ability to read minds.

When Lark Davies enrolls at Myxini, he knows there aren’t many like him, but he doesn’t realize just how rare his abilities really are. He thinks nothing of being asked to keep his spark a secret; after all, he can barely control it. Thoughts and emotions flood unbidden into his mind until he can scarcely walk or hold a conversation. But just when he needs it most, his ability fails him.

Larks meets Khea, a small frightened girl who mysteriously insights his protective nature. He has no explanation for the curious strength of their relationship, and it doesn’t help that she is one of the few people in the world whose thoughts can’t be read. As he struggles to get to the root of their unique bond, Lark begins to unravel more power than even his mentor expected, but in the process makes himself a target to political leaders eager to take control.

Sounds pretty good right? Well here's a little teaser for you too:

Wearing only my loose brown pants, I crawled into the most comfortable bed I had ever known and sank into the soft down pillows. I had just started to drift off when I heard a knock at the door. I’m going to kill Avis.

“What do you-“ I started until I realized it wasn’t Avis. It was a stunning blonde with blue eyes. Khea.

“I’m sorry to wake you. I just- I had to see you.” Her arms moved to wrap around my waist and hold me tight as I questioned if I was really sleeping or not.

“Uh, do you want to come in?” We both knew the rules about being in someone else’s room after hours, so I pulled her in and sat down on the edge of the bed, still a little surprised she was there.

In the dim light her hair looked a little darker, but her face was still sweet and there was no denying that the last two years had done her well. Who would have thought such a beautiful young woman would come from that skinny little girl in Lagodon?

“How’d you know I was back?” I asked her, trying to appear less tired or shocked than I was.

“A friend told me.”

“I didn’t think you-“ Cared? It wasn’t the right word, but I was beyond amazed that she was interested in my whereabouts. I hadn’t seen her since that night at the Moonwater and it had changed everything for me since then. But for her, I wasn’t aware that she had been affected in any way.

“Ride with me tomorrow?”

“Uh, yea, of course.” It was a struggle to cover how little I wanted to wait. I would have given anything to have her stay.

A wide smile erupted across her sweet lips as she said, “meet me at the lake at noon.” With a lingering kiss on my cheek, she walked back through the door and disappeared into the dark stone corridor.

What just happened? I hadn’t seen her in person in years, and we were hardly close before that. And now she arrived in my room in the middle of the night and kissed me on the cheek. Was it a kiss like a friend would give another? Or more? I couldn’t make any sense of it, but there was only thing I was sure of. I would be at the lake at noon if it was the last thing I did.

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Read more about R S McCoy

RS McCoy didn’t ever plan on being a writer. With a career teaching high school science, writing is t
he last thing she expected. But life never goes the way you think it will. While battling cancer, she picked up her laptop and let the words flow out. One year later, her first published fantasy novel will be released on Amazon soon and her second novel is in the works. She is a wife, mother of one with another on the way, a scientist, baker, gardener, and life-long science fiction and fantasy addict.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Stolen Christmas - June Winton

I love this time of year. The food, the lights, the food, the presents, the cold winter air, the food, the festive cheer, the food, the drink... did I mention the food? So it's a great pleasure today to bring you a Christmas treat from author June Winton. Here's a sample chapter from The Stolen Christmas... and for me a stolen Christmas probably means one of the dogs has got its teeth in the turkey...

The Stolen Christmas (Excerpt) - June Winton

All was not well in Father Christmas Land. There were only eight weeks to go until Christmas, and so far only a handful of children’s letters had been received. And these had been addressed most strangely, such as “to The Furry Fat Man”, and “to The Self-Employed Gift Giver”. The Council of Elders called a meeting. This council consisted mostly of retired Father Christmases, and the current holder of the title was not very popular with some of the older members due to his “trendy” ideas. Nicholas, who was Father Christmas number 76, could trace his lineage right back to the very first one. But he was not quite fat enough, his beard not long enough, and he preferred his electric snowmobile to a sleigh pulled by reindeer. 
This council meeting was a very sombre affair. All the elders wore their full Santa regalia, and the council chairman even wore his official helmet complete with reindeer antlers on each side.
“You and your new fangled ways!” shouted the oldest ex-Father Christmas. “Look at this tiny pile of letters. Why, the children don’t even believe in us any more!”
“Perhaps we should be on the Internet,” Father Christmas replied.
At this there was the sound of shocked gasps.
“All right, I was joking,” he laughed nervously. There was a stony silence.
Father Christmas reached into his one of his deep pockets and pulled out Christopher’s letter, written neatly on Father Christmas Company headed notepaper.
“Actually, I wanted to read you this.” He cleared his throat. “URGENT. Dear Father Christmas, please help us! My father has stolen Christmas. We need your help to get it back. Love,” (and here he paused for effect) “Christopher CHRISTMAS”.
At first there was a great intake of breath, then suddenly everyone began talking at once.
“I knew it!” shouted Father Christmas no. 73. “Another family is trying to take us over.”
Finally the chairman spoke. 
“This is very serious, everyone. We have been so busy arguing amongst ourselves that we never noticed anything was wrong until it was too late. The only thing we can do is send one of us,” here they all turned and looked at no. 76, “to go to England and find out what is really happening.”
“I agree,” Father Christmas replied, “and that duty must be mine. All I ask for is back-up if required, and for the reindeer and sleigh to be ready in case they are needed at a moment’s notice. Oh, and of course, I’d like to take Polar with me.”
Polar was his large, fluffy, white dog who had a great sense of direction. 
“Agreed!” All the ex Father Christmases stood up and held their ancient chimney brushes in the air. 
The very next day, Father Christmas began his journey across the frozen wastes of Iceland and the North Sea, heading south. The driver was his brother Erik, Santa no. 75, and beside him sat a large white dog wearing a sleigh-bell collar. By the time they had flown over the Scottish mountains and followed the Pennines south it was late afternoon.
“We don’t want to attract too much attention at this time of day,” said Nick. “It’s a good thing I’m not wearing my Christmas clothes. Drop me off in a field by that railway station and I’ll travel by train the rest of the way.”
The sleigh came down to earth in a place near Boxhill in Surrey, from where only half a dozen reports of unidentified flying objects had been made to New Scotland Yard. 
At 6.30 p.m. a train pulled into Waterloo Station, where Father Christmas and Polar got out. There seemed to be hundreds of people rushing back and forth, and in London the sight of an unshaven old man carrying a sack and being followed by a dog barely raised a glance. Once outside the station, Santa paused.
“To the West End, Polar,” he ordered.
Polar sniffed the air carefully and then barked, pulling on his lead. He was a very special dog who had an inbuilt sense of direction. An icy wind began to blow as they headed towards the subway underneath Waterloo Bridge. As they reached the middle of the subway Nicholas stopped and looked in astonishment. Under the pillars supporting the bridge were rows of blankets and cardboard boxes. In the centre space there was quite a large fire burning on a stack of old wooden pallets, and huddled round were a group of people trying to keep warm.
Polar barked in excitement, and several people turned their heads and stared. One man moved towards them.
“Can I help you, old man?” he asked. The question was not unfriendly.
“Well, I was looking for a place to stay tonight,” Santa replied. “Would you mind if we joined you?”
“Welcome to Cardboard City,” the younger man joked. “Don’t cause any trouble and you’ll be welcome here.”
Polar wagged his tail and then pulled Santa towards an old woman sitting in the corner.
“Would your lovely dog like one of my sausages?” she asked.
Polar barked again and shook his sleigh bells, his tail wagging.
Santa laughed. “I think that means yes!” he replied.
“I’ve got some spare blankets if you are staying the night,” the lady continued. “Would you like them?”
“How kind,” he answered. “My name is Nick, may I ask yours?”
“Mary,” she smiled. “Pleased to meet you, Nick.”
Polar barked.
“And this is Polar,” Santa continued. The dog licked Mary’s hand and she laughed.
“Pleased to meet you, too, Polar.”
So Father Christmas and Polar spent their first night sleeping rough in London, but the fire helped to keep them all warm. 

The next day, they got up early and decided to continue on to the West End. This was one of the main shopping areas, and crowds of people loved to visit it at Christmas time. When Mary heard of Santa’s plans, she said:
“You’re a stranger here, aren’t you? Why don’t I come along and show you around - I’ve been living on these streets for 50 years.”
Father Christmas looked shocked.
“Dear me, that’s not good,” he shook his head. “Well, Mary, I’d be delighted to have some company.”
After a hot breakfast, Father Christmas, Mary and Polar set off. At first they explored the big department stores along Oxford Street. Father Christmas could not believe what he saw - no lights to decorate the streets and no glittering Christmas displays in the windows. Instead, each shop displayed a similar message:
“Sorry, no Santa’s grotto this year”; and “Father Christmases need not apply”.
He tutted out loud, and asked Mary if she knew what was wrong.
“I don’t really know,” she answered. “I’ve never seen London like this at Christmas before.”
“No, neither have I,” Father Christmas replied.
“Oh - I thought this was your first visit,” said Mary. “So why are you over here, anyway?”
Santa coughed. “Just sight-seeing, you could say,” he replied. “I’ve always wanted to see Trafalgar Square; I don’t suppose we could go there next?”
Before very long they were standing by Nelson’s Column.
“What’s this!” Father Christmas roared. “The London landmark has gone!”
Mary looked puzzled. “But this is Nelson’s column.”
“I mean the Christmas tree!”
Where the tree once stood was a sign that read, “Confiscated by The Father Christmas Company until further notice”.
Santa looked very worried. “Oh dear! How am I supposed to know where I am without that to guide me?”
He was so shocked that he sat down on the edge of a water fountain. Mary joined him.
“I’ve never cared much for Christmas anyway,” she sniffed. “It’s not my cup of tea.”

“Why not?” Father Christmas asked. “Don’t you have any family?”

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Paths that Lie Ahead part one: Money, Power, and Betrayal - Melvin Luster

Happy December! To kick off the seasonal festivities, I have postponed the present wrapping to bring you an extract from The Paths that Lie Ahead, which you can download for FREE from Amazon now. So with the Christmas spirit in mind why don't you treat yourself to a good read....

The Paths that Lie Ahead part one: Money, Power, and Betrayal (Excerpt) - Melvin Luster

Chapter 4 
Looking out 

The snow is finally gone and the sun is starting to come up! For the last nine months we had to deal with the snow, the extreme cold, and basically no sun. But now Alaska is looking like a totally different place.  

Now, the sun doesn’t go down, matter of fact on June 21 they have a celebration because that’s the longest day of the year. 2’oclock in the morning looks just like it does at 2’oclock in the afternoon.  

Some students were going back home for the summer break; while others decided to stay and find jobs like myself. The main reason I decided to stay was because I didn’t have the money to go home and then get back. So I made plans to stay with Big Perm and one of his girlfriend’s whose name is Denise.  

One day Perm and I rode to the weed spot to buy some weed, but when we got there we were told that they were all out, and that was shocking because they always had it.  

Then we went to the other side of town to holla at the homeboy over there and he was out to, and that was another shock. So we sat in the car for a moment thinking who we can get a sack of weed from.  

“Let’s holla at Money Kell you know he has those connections.” 

So we rode over to his spot and he had nothing, damn!  

“A Big Perm you have time to run me to Burger World so I can get me something to eat”, Money Kell asks? 

“Are you going to get me something?” 

“I got you.” 
I get up and let Money Kell sit in the front seat; not because I had to, I just like riding in the back. When we arrived at Burger World the drive thru line was out the parking lot. So Perm parks and Money Kell turns and asks me, “What you want Dre?” 

“Just get me a double cheeseburger with everything and some fries.” 

They both got out the car and went into Burger World. I just sat there frustrated because I’m having weed withdrawals, and then I looked up and saw David Walker the dorm leader coming out the restaurant, so I shout, “What’s up David!” 

Straining his eyes trying to see who just hollered at him. When he does, he shouts back, “What’s up Andre, what you been up to? Why didn’t you go home for summer break?” 

“I didn’t have the money.” 

“You should’ve let me know I would’ve lent it to you.” 

“Oh, I didn’t know you were the man to see for loans.” 

“Well now you do, so what you up to?”  

“Nothing much; just can’t wait for the school year to start back”, and then we gave one another some dap. 

“Me to, this is my last Semester; I graduate in December.” 

“I know you happy.” 

But as we talked I noticed that his eyes looked a little on the low side; so as he talks I start thinking to myself; either he’s sleepy or he smokes weed. I mean, his eyes weren’t blood shot red, but he could’ve used Visine.  
This is sad, but that’s how damn bad I’m craving some weed, so after debating it momentarily in my head, I finally built up enough nerve to ask him. Now yaw must also understand that this is my dorm leader that I’m getting ready to ask where the weed at.  

“A David you know where I can find some green?” 

I think my question kind of caught him off guard because he paused and looked around and then whispered, “What you mean, weed?” 


“You don’t even know me like that Andre, so why would you come at me like that?” 

“A look I don’t mean no disrespect or anything, I don’t want to get kicked out of school……” 

“Come to the dorm and talk to me, but when you come; come by yourself.” 

Shocked I nodded my head “Yes” and then he walked off.  

At the same time Perm and Money Kell comes out of Burger World with our food. We ride back to Money Kell’s spot; we park so we can eat. We chill there for a minute bumping Tupac’s “All Eyez on me.” 

I nudge Perm and say, “I need you to run me somewhere.” 


“I got one more person I want to check with about some weed.” 

His face lit up because that’s right up his alley. Money Kell gets out the car and says, “If they do let me know so I can get some to.” 
“I got you.” 

I get up in the front seat, we give Money Kell some dap, and then Perm and I rolled out. 

“Where we headed to Dre?” 

“To the dorm.” 

“Who in the world has weed on campus?” 

I hesitate because I didn’t want to tell him, but this is my homie, “I saw David Walker at Burger World and I asked him if he knew where I could get some weed, and he told me to come holla at him at his dorm room, but I have to talk to him by myself he said.” 

“You sure you should do that Dre, because first of all he’s our dorm leader, and secondly he doesn’t look like he would know where some weed would be.” Perms right and now he has me second guessing myself, but something in my heart was saying do it. 

“Just wait for me; and if it’s a trap I’m denying it, and it’s my word against his.”  

We pull up at the dorm; I get out the car and goes to David’s room door. 

I knock on the door, “Come in”, he shouts! I walk in, and then he says, “Have a seat”, so I sat down in the chair by his computer, “What you see going on Andre is a drought.” 

I’m looking confused and say, “What!” 

“When you can’t find weed on the streets it’s known as a drought meaning it’s dried up.” 

O.K. now I’m starting to understand what he’s talking about.  

He takes me over to his closet and says, “You ready”, and I nod my head yes? 

He opens the door, and when he opened it you wouldn’t believe what I seen. It was a grow room; and it had the sweetest and most potent smell of weed that I had ever smelled, I’ve heard about these before, but this was my first time ever seeing and smelling the aroma of one.  

It had eight humongous almost full grown plants in it. These plants stood taller than me, so that should give an idea of how tall these plants were; because I’m 5’7.  

He closed the closet door and we go over to his bed and out from under the bed he pulls out a red and yellow suit case, and when he opened it, it had 17 huge storage bags of weed already broke down and bagged. 

“Each of these bags holds a pound a piece.” He grabs one and takes a long dragging smell, and then passes it to me to smell. It had the same skunk like smell of the weed that I had smoked some time back, we been looking for some, but we haven’t been able to find any since. I’m just going to be honest with yaw I was breathless, I had never seen this much weed before in my life. 

“So, what you looking for”, I’m just standing there speechless; then he says, “Look Andre I wouldn’t have showed you my entire grow room if I didn’t trust you. I’ve been watching you ever since you got up here and you seem to be cool. I want you to leave this between us, even if you don’t agree with what I’m about to ask you, can I trust you?” 

You can trust me homie, but let me ask you a question, you sell weed?”  

“I sell it, but not like you would think. I only mess with a select few. Now let me ask you a question; why do you think I’m talking to you and showing you all of this?” 

I’m lost and puzzled at that question because I really don’t know. Then he replies, “To help me.” 

“To help you!” 

He fires up a blunt, puffs on it several times and then passes it to me and says, “Yeah to help me, because the streets are dry and that’s good for business. I’ve always wanted to make more money than what I was making, but I didn’t know anyone out in the city I would trust enough to do this kind of business with.” He folds his arms and lean back in his desk chair and says, “But I trust you for some reason and plus I know you know people because of how you came at me at Burger World.” 

“I do.”  

“Good here you go.” 

He tosses me one of the 17 storage bags and says, “Its 40 baggies in there, and each baggy is to be sold at $40 apiece, now you do the math?” As I’m thinking he says, “That’s $1600, I want you to bring me back a $1000, and you keep the $600. I promise you, you do me right I’ll always take care of you; do we have a deal”, and then he holds his hand out for me to shake? 

With no hesitation I grab it and shake it and respond, “You have a deal. Oh, by the way, call me Dre.” 

“Ok Dre.” 

“But I have one more question.” 

“What’s up?” 

“How do you keep the weed from smelling out in the hallways?” 

He points up at the four small metal boxes in the corners of his room and says, “Odor destroyers.”  

I stuff the weed in the front of my pants, pull my shirt down over it, and walked out the room. When I get to the car I pull out the weed and showed Perm. I tell him everything David said to me and he was shocked; I didn’t tell him about the grow room because I believe something’s you need to keep to yourself.  

I took Perm in as a partner, and agreed to split my share with him since we did ride around together making sales, and he made it clear that he had my back no matter what.  

So what we would do is separate David’s share off the top and made his money first. In fact, that night we brought him his money within four hours, that’s how dry the streets were.  

We had the right connections on both sides; Money Kell because he knew people and David because he supplied it. In two days we made over $5000, and that’s after we took David his cut.  

Before I knew it we were doing some big business on the streets. If you thought we were doing it big then; Shit that was just the beginning. Trust me it’s going to get bigger and better so just keep on reading especially if you love seeing the underdog on top. 

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