Friday, July 25, 2014

Excerpt + Giveaway - Caller 107

Its time for another excerpt and giveaway. This time from 'Caller 107' by Matthew Cox.

Excerpt -
Chapter 1
Jason ran a thumb over her bottom lip, no doubt removing a smudge of his black lipstick. “Relax, kid. No one’s home. We’ll be long gone before the cops even know what happened.”
Natalie met his gaze, calmed by the image of a gothic prince staring down at her. The look her mother would give her if she showed up with face paint and black lipstick would make just about anything worth it. All she had to do was find the nerve to actually do it. “Cops got me twice at the mall already, if this goes―”
“It won’t.” Jason winked. “Traci babysits for them, knows they’re out of town this week and right where they keep the shit. Dude’s got two pounds. Word is he’s the source for his whole damn brokerage.” Jason laughed. “And they got the money to get the good shit.”
Kevin stepped over and wadded her shirt into a fist, then lifted her on tiptoe. “Look, kid. This is big-girl time. You wanna go home to your mother, do it now before we get started.”
She punched him in the gut.
His lip curled into a grin. “Cute.”
Her boot scraped on glass as she shifted her weight.
“Any part of your leg comes within six inches of my junk, your face and that wall are gonna be good friends. We copacetic?”
Natalie glared. “Yeah… asshole.”
He let go; she stepped back and adjusted her shirt.
“Dude, what’s your problem?” Jason got between them.
Kevin shifted his eyes. “Just a bad feeling. She won’t put out, won’t touch any shit, got trashed on two drinks, and almost coughed herself puking when she tried weed.”
“What the hell is wrong with you? She’s no cop.” Jason laughed. “She’s a kid.”
Natalie stepped up on Kevin. “Why do you think criminals always get caught? Coz they get fuckin’ high and then do stupid shit.”
“Cut her a break, she’s thirteen.” Jason pulled her back.
“Traci knew her way around a dick pretty good at that age,” said Ernesto, the grin of a fond memory on his face.
Corey made a dismissive wave. “Yeah, but that bitch from Jersey, not uptown like this J―”
“Something’s fucked.” The tip of Kevin’s finger hovered at her nose. “She’s just usin’ us to piss off mommy and daddy. She don’t wannabe here, just wants to be seen here.”
A boy leaning on the other wall stepped into the light. “Etan said it was time to―”
“Alright, everyone just shut up.” Kevin spun with enough force to flare his leather trenchcoat. He pointed at her again, then the street. “Since you’re still a child, you get the easy job.”
Natalie bristled. Indignation did little to trap the butterflies in her gut.
“Your skinny ass is goin’ through the window and lettin’ us in.”
“It’s clear,” said Lucas, from the street.
The others moved around front, leaving her and Jason alone in the dark. I’m gonna throw up. She shivered, huddled against the wall as he attacked a street-level window. The taste of freezer-burned meatballs and cheese came back. Natalie cringed each time his boot hit the glass, every crunch felt like it hit her in the stomach. Jason scraped his foot across the bottom to chase away the last of the shards and covered the lower edge with sheets of cardboard from the dumpster.
“You’re up, kid.”

About The book -
When thirteen-year-old Natalie Rausch said she would die to meet DJ Crazy Todd, she did not mean to be literal.

Two years is a long time to be stuck between two people who want nothing more than to destroy each other. A tween crush on the larger-than-life jock from a local radio station is the only trace of a once-happy life ruined by warring parents.

Whenever WROK 107 ran a contest, she would dive for the phone, getting busy signals and dead air every time. She never expected to get through, but at least with her best friend at her side, it used to be fun.

Before her parents ruined that too.

Her last desperate attempt to get their attention, falling in with a dangerous group of older teens, goes as wrong as possible. With no one left to blame for her mess of a life but herself, karma comes full circle and gives her just a few hours to make up for two years worth of mistakes–or be forever lost.

Date of Publication:July 22nd, 2014
Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn (
Goodreads: Link

About Matthew Cox -
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

Social Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Caller 107 by Matthew S. Cox

Caller 107

by Matthew S. Cox

Giveaway ends August 21, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cover Reveal + Excerpt - The Undead: Playing for Keeps

A new cover arrives. Its reveal of the cover of 'The Undead: Playing for Keeps' by Elsie Elmore from Curiosity Quills Press.
When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.

While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.

Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.

Genre: young-adult, paranormal
Date of Publication: September 3rd, 2014
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson(
Goodreads: Link
Chapter One Excerpt -


My stomach drops when I see the dead woman lying on the table. Convinced the dim light is playing tricks on my eyes, I reach over and flip the switch. The overhead fluorescents flicker on and light cascades down onto the body. Dread replaces the doubt. I move closer for a better look. She’s not peaceful like the others. This is bad, really bad. Mom will go ballistic when she sees this.
“Lyla, what are you doing back here?” Ben whispers and gives me a playful shove.
I flinch, almost coming out of my skin. Ben’s always been better at the scaring game we started a long time ago. While I both love and hate our game, I also suck at it.
I turn and squint at him. “Asshole. This room should be off limits.”
“Language,” he chides and clicks his tongue. After glancing at the body, he steps up beside me and snickers. “You’re in so much trouble,” he says, drawing out each word as if it were a paragraph.
“No, I’m not.”
“Where’s Kate?”
“She’s gone, I guess.”
Kate Huntington, the eccentric beautician with tacky green highlights is gone, and only her handiwork remains. Glittery blue eye shadow and sapphire eyeliner cover the dead woman’s lids. Black mascara coats her lashes so thickly that her eye sockets resemble piles of tangled spider legs. She looks like a showgirl, an old, dead showgirl. I don’t even want to acknowledge the dark foundation, the cherry red lipstick, or the words “I quit” scrawled in eyeliner across her forehead.
“Mom and Dad are going to freak when they find out she left this. Mrs. Weller’s visitation is tonight.”
“Wait.” Ben’s interest shifts and he takes a closer look at the still body. “This is Mrs. Weller?”
“Leave her. Nobody will come see her anyway.” His nose wrinkles at the lifeless form. “Everybody hated her.”
“You hated her. I don’t think everyone else did.”
“She was horrible.”
“You’re still holding a grudge? You were in seventh grade when she busted you for taking off during the Chamber of Commerce field trip. Let it go.”
I lean closer to Mrs. Weller’s face. She looks like a sweet old lady, if you ignore what Kate did, but Ben always hated her. Then again, Ben dislikes most of his teachers. They all want him to work harder to meet his potential. Ben has other plans for his potential.
“Whatever. You wouldn’t know. Your nose stays stuck so far up their—”
I elbow him in the ribs. “Grab me a wet washrag. I’ve got to fix this.”
“No. I’m not touching anything in here, her included.”
“I didn’t ask you to touch her. I just asked you to get a washrag. You scared?”
“Disgusted is more like it.”
I huff, walking over to the sink. The room reeks of disinfectant, but it’s better than the embalming room smell that clings to everything like cobwebs.
“Are you worried Dad will mistake your help for interest? You know, this place isn’t the enemy.”
“Easy for you to say. He’s not trying to steal your future.” He crosses his arms. Ben’s senior year has been a struggle about his future. He and Dad both want control.
Grimm Funeral Home is now run by the fifth generation of Grimms. Dad worked here part-time as a teenager and returned after college just as his father before him had and so on and so on.
“What are you doing here anyway?” he asks. “Mom and Dad will be pissed if they catch you back here.”
“I came to ask Mom about spending the night at Cassie’s.”
“But Mom’s not in here.”
“I know. But I couldn’t walk by the door without peeking. And this is what I found.”
The water from the faucet splashes around the big white ceramic basin. Every room down the back hallway has too much white: white walls, white counters, and white cabinets. Everything feels sterile, worse than a doctor’s office.
“You’re really going to touch her?” Ben asks, now standing farther away from the table.
“Yep. I am.” I haven’t thought about it enough to freak myself out, unlike Ben. “It’s just a body without a soul, like a table. No big deal. Well, except for the horrendous makeup.”
“I wouldn’t. Mom and Dad are going to rail on you if you screw this up, which you’re going to do.” He sweeps his dark hair off his forehead while he inches backwards. “You don’t wear makeup. How are you going to know how to put it on?”
“I’ll rely on my artistic ability.” I dab Mrs. Weller’s face with the warm rag. “Besides, I do wear makeup.”
“Lyla, stop.” He points at the table. “Aren’t you supposed to be licensed or vaccinated to do this? What if she was sick or something?”
Is that genuine concern in his voice? “I’ll be fine. Besides, it has to get done. Mom’s got too much going on today and Dad doesn’t know the first thing about makeup.”
“Touching her is a bad idea,” he snaps.

About Elsie Elmore -
Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.

Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW.  The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel.

Social Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

New Novella Review - The Wurms of Blearmouth

Book - The Wurms of Blearmouth
Writer - Steven Erikson
Series - The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach #5 
Published By - Tor Books

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and Tor Books for this opportunity.
So what do you get when you mix an epic fantasy setting with dark humor? You get something like this novel, which can also be perceived as the authors attempt at poking some fun at the newly famous genre of grimdark. This short work is full of interesting characters and witty humorous dialogue accompanied by a crazy and violent sense of humor which will surely entertain anyone who can stomach the ensuing chaos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Book Review - The Reckoning

Book - The Reckoning
Writer - Rennie Airth
Series - John Madden #4 
Published By - Penguin

First things first, I got this book as part of the penguin's 'first to read' program, so thank you Penguin for this opportunity.
The two world wars have always been very fertile ground for many kinds of fictions, but it has become generally difficult to achieve a level of originality and uniqueness in such a overused setting. 'Rennie Airth' really did a fine job of taking a quite different and enjoyable approach to using the setting. The series of John Madden novels are set in and around the two wars where the author combines historical fiction with mystery in a delightful way. Although this is the 4th novel I didn't read the previous three and it did not hamper my enjoyment one bit and that is another plus point for this genre bending journey.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Book Review - Fiefdom

Book - Fiefdom 
Writer - Dan Abnett & Nick Vincent
Published By - Abaddon/Rebellion

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and Abaddon/Rebellion for this opportunity.
It is really a nice feeling when you get much more than you expected from a novel. 'Fiefdom' has been such an enjoyable experience for me. I started to read this expecting mindless fun, but ended up having enjoyed witty humor with some delightful action sequences as well as a nice story with likable characters. The setting of post-apocalyptic Berlin with genetically engineered dog-soldiers fighting alien insects turned out to be much more fun in a very different way than I first thought it would be.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Short Story Review - Harbinger

Short Story - Harbinger
Writer - S P Cawkwell
Series - Warhammer   
Published By - Black Library

Well, I am relatively new reader of 'Warhammer' fiction and this is literally my first read from this author. It was definitely a bit different than what I expected as the narrator of the beginning is a old village healer which I did not expect at all. While the narrative was quite nicely and unique, the story did feel a bit too predictable by the end.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Author Interview - J.B. Skelter & Jack Reher

To start the month lets have double the fun with a double interview feature. Thanks to the two awesome guys, J.B. Skelter & Jack Reher. Also thanks to the wonderful people at Curiosity Quills Press for arranging the interview.

Here goes -
1) First of all welcome to the blog. Please start by telling us a bit about yourselves.

JR: Thanks for having us. I grew up in the great state of Minnesota before heading to Los Angeles for graduate school at the AFI Conservatory. Focusing on screenwriting for several years, with a feature film due out later this year - GRIZZLY - starring Billy Bob Thornton and James Marsden. It's been a long journey as a writer so far.

JBS: I was born in New York City but grew up in Colorado. I attended the University of Iowa but, I am ashamed to admit, barely touched their legendary Writers Workshop. I've done my best, over the years, to make up for that missed opportunity.

2) This is your debut novel as far as I can tell. So how does it feel to be published?

JR: Well, J.B. has a few novels under his belt. Highly acclaimed too. I was adapting one of his books for the screen and during the process, I slipped him a screenplay I had written entitled How Rex and the Count Save His Not-So-Ordinary-Town From a Werewolf on the Scariest Night of the Year... (yes, I was shooting for an outlandish film title) and I said to J.B. 'Hey, this is getting a lot of studio interest, but they think it's based on an intellectual property... any chance you want to help turn it into a series of books?"
And within a week or so, we had a publisher aboard (Curiosity Quills), contracts in place and we were off & running. CQ suggested a new title and I instantly fell in love with it. Catchy and fun. It's an awesome feeling to see something that started as an idea become flesh & blood. A physical property that others can hold and either love or hate.

JBS: Yeah, as Jack mentioned, I've written other books under my real name (which is a closely guarded secret). But in a lot of ways it was a debut novel for me because the genre and intended audience was completely new to me. Also, being able to collaborate with someone was new. As are most writers, I'm pretty independent, but working with Jack was a blast. He's a unique writer with so many fresh ideas. Frankly, I'm a bit jealous of abundance of creativity.

3) How much fun was working together on a collaboration may I ask? And how was it working with the people at 'Curiosity Quills'?

JR: It was a blast. As we were going through it, I even went back to the initial screenplay and added more content for the feature film that turned into added scenes within the novel. J.B. is like my long lost brother. A great collaborator.

JBS: Agreed. As I mentioned, this was the first time I'd done something like this. And I don't think I could have done it with two many people. Jack and I have a very similar vision. I feel very fortunate to have found that creative mate.

4) Got any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

JR: Never forget the ABC's. Always Be Creating. To the blank page. You're only as good as your next project.

JBS: Me, giving advice? A bad idea. But if you insist, I would say to write something that you'd want to read. If you spend too much time trying to figure out the latest trends and what's selling, you'll lose your own creative center.

5) So who would you recommend this book to, may I ask?

JR: Kids to early teens. This is a throwback to the old Amblin types of stories... like Gremlins, Creepshow, classic horror stories that relied on good old fashioned characters & scares versus sparkling vampires and lame love triangles. I liken REX'd to The Monster Squad and John Hughes' The Breakfast Club  crossed with the classic Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books.  Good, clean fun and scary. But not too scary like old Ray Bradbury novels.

JBS: My nine-year-old daughter is very, very excited to read. And I think she'll dig it. But I also think a fourteen or fifteen year old would enjoy it as well. The themes are familiar yet fresh. Come to think about it, there are plenty of adults who will get a guilty pleasure out of reading.

5) Tell us a bit about your protagonist Rex Gerard? What makes him likeable as a character in you guys' opinion?

JR: Rex is just like any kid growing up. A kid trying to fit in and find his way. But in Rex's case, he and his dad just lost their mom in an accident and they've relocated to a new town where he's sort of spinning in a daze, just doing his best to hold onto a memory yet push on. But the universe has bigger plans for Rex. He was supposed to arrive in this particular town. Scholomance plays a huge part in this. It's a reference to what Bram Stoker quoted in Dracula... where the vampires went to be educated.

JBS: I really fell in love with Rex as a protagonist. He's dealing with his own demons, with his own uncertainties. And while most of us won't face the same type of external challenges that Rex faces (at least, I hope not), he's a very relatable kid. It's hard not to see ourselves in him.

6) As far as the blurb suggests the story takes place on Halloween, So is the book set during only one day (that sounds promising, imo) ?

JR: Yes! I think a sense of urgency was important within the first book. It heightens the intense nature and amps up the stakes. Plus, who doesn't love Halloween? The day is important to Rex. It was his mom's favorite too. So, it's sort of a 'birthday' or awakening of sorts for Rex. He will never be the same after this day.

JBS: I loved the concept of the entire book taking place on a single day. But despite its immediacy, we get enough backstory to understand the motivations and fears and hopes of Rex.

7) Will you give the readers some info/hints about the monsters mentioned of the blurb?

JR: Hmmm...I'll spill the beans. It won't take away from the plot. There are references and Easter eggs to Ichabod Crane, Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, and even Reed from the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon makes an appearance. Scholomance is a haven for these creatures. We've set up an outstanding mythology.

JBS: And you'll never look at Dracula in the same way...

8) Will you guys tell us a bit about the things that inspired you to be a writer?

JR: I'd say the 80s influenced me a lot. I'm still in awe by the creative juices of content that were a part of that decade. From seeing Ghostbusters and Poltergeist to E.T. which came out this week, 32 years ago... June 11, 1982! I was 4 years old!!! I remember reading old Ruth Chew books like The Witch at the Window and then later Something Wicked This Way Comes  by Bradbury and being truly inspired. As I got older, I started reading Poe and watching really old Vincent Price films. That inspired me. I wanted to create like the masters did. Those stories were roller-coaster rides. Today's are sort of lacking in the thrills like that. I think the last truly great book series for kids were the Harry Potter books. My high school creative writing teacher, Bruce Wiebe really pushed me as a writer to keep the spark going. I have to give him mad props for that. So pay attention kids, listen to the teachers that push you to be better.

JBS: As a kid, I was obsessed with the Hardy Boys. Read every one of those novels. Loved the dramatic covers. Loved the ridiculous plots. So I started writing my own detective fiction when I was ten or eleven. As I got older, I discovered a writer by the name of Jim Thompson. He wrote some incredibly dark crime fiction. For a long time, I wrote fiction derivative of Thompson. It took me years to find my own voice. I think I've found it, although some may cover their ears.

9) So tell us a bit about the other projects you are working on, if you will?

JR: I'm adapting an incredible novel entitled FACTORY TOWN that hits bookstores in October as a feature film and just signed onto to adapt IDW Comics' THE SHUNNED ONE  as a film as well. It's all about the intellectual properties. That's what film studios want!

I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

10) Tell us a bit about some of books you read and loved in 2014?

I just got through The Helios Conspiracy by Jim DeFelice who wrote American Sniper. I really dug it. I'm working on turning it into a tv series with the author. I have Stephen King's new one on my Nook, all set to delve into next...

JBS: It's funny, because Jack mentioned this book, but I recently re-read Something Wicked This Way Comes. I had forgotten how much I loved that book. Right now, I'm reading a book called The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien. Certainly one of the more surreal/strange books I've read. I need about fifteen or sixteen years to read all the books I want to.

About Rex'd: Welcome to Scholomance -
MONDAYS. Oh, the horror. Going back to school after a nice weekend. Homework. Tests. Gym class. It's even worse for Rex Gerard, the "new kid" at Scholomance High. Making friends, navigating the rough halls, avoiding trouble...

But on this particular Monday, it's also Halloween. Rex's favorite holiday. It was his mom's too before she passed away. And today, Rex will learn exactly how she died and what his purpose is in this life as he unlocks the hair-raising mysteries and lurking monsters of Scholomance.

But is he... is ANYONE... ready?

To be published on 18th August, 2014.

About J.B. Skelter -
J.B. Skelter is an author, high school teacher, and all-around good guy. He has written two other novels under an alternate identity, but his real name remains a closely guarded secret. Skelter lives in a ghost town somewhere in Colorado with his wife, two kids, and pet pig.

His Links - Facebook, Goodreads

About Jack Reher -
Jack Reher is a screenwriter that wrote the film Endangered starring Billy Bob Thornton & James Marsden. He recently adapted Jon Bassoff’s acclaimed novel Corrosion for the screen that Mike Macari (The Ring, The Ring Two) is producing. Currently, he’s adapting IDW Publishing’s upcoming comic book The Shunned One created by Alan Robert for the screen.
His Links - Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

PS: I have finished reading the book, expect the review online closer to the release date.