Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: Oranges for Miranda by Annette Bower

 Good morning! Please welcome author Annette Bower to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here today to tell us about her new release, Oranges for Miranda. Annette will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


 




Oranges for Miranda

by Annette Bower


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GENRE: Romance Contemporary Sweet

 

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BLURB:

 

Miranda Porter, a newly retired award-winning businesswoman, leaves home to transition into her new life stage. Always in control, this is her time to have fun without plans and responsibilities. Enter Renato Monteiro, a considerate tour guide with secrets. Miranda isn’t looking for long-term. She wants a purpose in her retirement. Could her purpose in retirement be finding love in this unlikely place? Could her aim be domesticity and caring for and be cared for by a newly found friend? Will a vacation romance end because of miles?

 

Renato Monteiro has decisions to make. Stay in his birth country where his female relatives want him to marry a woman young enough to give him children. Or does he return to his second home, where he has a purpose and has built a life without children? The day Miranda and he bumped heads changed his life and his pursuit. Now he must decide which is most important the family he was born into or the family he chooses.

 

 

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EXCERPT:

 


 


Tucking her oranges into the pocket of her billowy trousers, she toed off her shoes, removed her socks, and padded down the stairs and onto the beach. A rock, eroded and pocked from the wind and seas, was the perfect place to stop. With her toes in the sand and her eyes closed, the scent of salt and the sound of seabirds engulfed her. A wave lapped cold over her feet. Miranda lifted an orange to her cheek.

 

As a shadow blocked the warm sun, her body momentarily chilled. A deep voice whispered close to her ear, “Por favor, Senhora.”

 

Her eyes flew open, and she jumped away from the sound. Her shoes slipped from her hand, and she reached to catch them at the same time the man did. They bumped heads, but his hands were quicker and larger and rescued her shoes seconds before the ocean foam of a retreating wave could swallow them whole.

 

Miranda didn’t know whether to rub her head, reach for her shoes, apologize, or sink into the sand in mortification. “I’m sorry,” she stammered.

 

“I must apologize to you. My head is so much bigger and harder. Are you okay? You aren’t dizzy. Come, let’s sit over here on the rocks.” Long, thick fingers curled around her elbow as she allowed him to guide her.

 

When he let go of her arm, he swiped sand away from the surface of a rock and then motioned her to sit. Her orange. Miranda turned and saw her orange lying in the sand at the base of the rock she had been leaning against. She ran back and scooped it up before the next wave would have taken it out to sea. She tucked it in her pocket along with the other one.

 

Walking back, she surveyed the man who had scared her, bumped her head and then shepherded her to safety. Tall, with a large frame and short-cropped, thick hair graying at the temples. He wore a golf shirt, shorts, and sandals. He appeared to be a visitor, too. But why had he spoken to her at all?

 

“Miranda.” She stretched out her hand.

 

His hands were hard. “Renato.” The lines around his brown eyes were crinkled. “Renato Monteiro.”

 

“Was I in danger?”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Annette believes home is where her stories percolate. And her home is a condo where she watches the urban life below, airplanes arrive and depart at the international airport, and the seasons change on farmland near the horizon. Annette travels extensively but always returns home to Regina, Saskatchewan. Whether at home or away, and even though directions are always a challenge, she wanders the streets, parks, and lanes observing how people live, love, and care for one another. Your way of sitting, holding hands, the way you tilt your head, or a t-shirt you wear may end up in one of her stories.

 

On her first trip to Olhos de Água, a fishing village in Portugal, she stopped at a café where the proprietors were a mother and daughter. Annette sat at the outdoor blue and white tiled table and ordered an espresso and brandy. While the sun warmed her back, she opened her new notebook. The older woman walked by carrying a basket, tipped her head toward Annette’s blank page, and shrugged. When black-laced heeled shoes struck the tile, and the scent of just-picked clementine oranges interrupted Annette’s writing, the woman plunked three oranges at the edge of her page. Annette cherishes this gift from one woman to another. Recently, Annette travels with an accompanying Orange and shares pictures on Social media as her way of honoring those Portugues women. A version of this event appears in her new novel, Oranges for Miranda.

 

During another trip, while searching for an address in Malaga, Spain, she asked a well-dressed man carrying a floral paper-wrapped bouquet if he spoke English? Would he direct her to the address? With impeccable English, he suggested she walk with him. They chatted, and she discovered he was a lawyer in his final days of retiring. Finally, she asked to whom he was giving the flowers. He lifted the cover to reveal a large crucifix. This detail has not appeared in a story yet.

 

In a coffee shop, looking south between glass tower office buildings, she could be anywhere in the world. However, she is home watching people on Eleventh Avenue run for buses, bring tea to a panhandler, and holding mittened hands while bending into the wind.

 

Annette uses experiences she gathered as a nurse, town administrator, elected official, traveller, and member of a large extended family to inform her stories because writing is her joy.

Annette Bower is a Soul Mate Publishing author of five contemporary romance novels. Her novel Fearless Destiny was first runner-up in the 2017 Sweet Contemporary RONE awards and winner of the Raven Award. Her novel Ponytails and Promises was a finalist in the 2020 RONE Awards and is the 2020 winner of the Raven Award. 

 

Webpage: https://annettebower.com/  (Also a sign up for my monthly newsletter)

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnetteBowerauthor/

 

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Oranges-Miranda-Annette-Bower-ebook/dp/B095Z4DF2F

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BowerAnnette

 


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 Thank you, Julie, for hosting my Goddess Fish Virtual Book Tour.

 

 

1.    You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice-who is that person and what item do you have?

When stranded on a small island with one person, I hope a survival expert such as Bear Grylls or Rocky the Park Ranger is with me and a flat of duct tape. According to the YouTube Myth Busters video, we can make anything we need from duct tape, hats, water carry bags, and foot protective coverings etc. This scenario is my life, and I want to be alive when the rescue boat or plane arrives. I have many more books I want to write. Julie, thank you for this prompt to research survival.

 

2.    Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life—and which character in the musical are you?

The musical Yentl is my life choice. I am Ashkenazi, the Jewish girl who dresses and lives like a boy to obtain an education. During her deception, she falls in love but chooses adventure over becoming a wife at that time. After she arrives in America, I imagine she finds love with a man who accepts her as the strong, intelligent, independent woman she has become.

 

 

3.    When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

I am a pantser. I begin with a character and something I want to learn.

I always know the end because I write romance, and the ending is happy. B.U.T. (behold the underlying truth) how the characters arrive there is the most challenging. I enjoy the beginning when the characters get to know each other. The middle is hard because I want them to fall in love and be happy. Of course, there are challenges with past emotional baggage and the expectations of love in their future together.

 

 

4.    If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?

I would want Sandra Annette Bullock to play me. She is the woman with the “girl next door” appeal, but she is so much more than that. Sandra is not mainstream beautiful. Instead, she appears normal and seems to enjoy herself and loves what she does. Sandra adopted children to realize her desire to be a mother. She clarifies that they are her children, not her adopted children. She is precise.

 

 

5.    Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

I am Canadian, and I enjoy reading about Anne of Green Gables, who lived on Prince Edward Island. Therefore, my historical crush is Lucy Maude Montgomery. Lucy wrote stories about an orphan girl who needed love and found it in a spinster and a bachelor. Anne brought love and wonder to their world while they gave her a home, stability that she hadn’t experienced, and love she could not have imagined. L. M. Montgomery continues to bring joy to many readers, both young and old. I want my writing to bring joy to my readers.

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saturday is Horror Day #21 - The Return of the Living Dead, The City of the Dead

 The Return of the Living Dead


Freddy (Thom Matthews) has just begun a new job at a medical supply company, joining the ranks of the gainfully employed. His boss, Burt (Clu Gulager) seems like a good guy, and leaves Freddy in the hands of his co-worker, Frank (James Karen). Frank proceeds to show Freddy the ropes. The company has all sort of odd items, such as skeletons for medical schools, and half dogs, for veterinarian schools, and even fresh cadavers in the walk-in. While swapping strange stories, Frank tells Freddy about the weird cannisters that are stored there, something to do with the army. Of course Freddy wants to see them, who wouldn't? But things go horribly wrong when Frank accidental strikes one of the tanks, releasing some kind of noxious gas.





Freddy's girlfriend Tina (Beverly Randolph) is riding around with some of her friends, trying to figure out what to do. A rather eclectic group, running the gamut from Goth to glam, they're bored, and the driver refuses to go anywhere without receiving gas money. Tina suggests they pick up Freddy from work, which idea is enthusiastically received as he always knows where there's a part. But he won't get off for two hours, so they head to Resurrection Cemetery to hang out, right across the street from the medical supply house.



There, Trash (Linnea Quigley) reveals to Spider (Miguel A. Nunez Jr) her fantasies about death, and her fears of dying surrounded by old men who eat her. This leads to her getting naked on top of a crypt.  In the meantime, Frank and Freddy become freaked out, not just by what they did, but by strange sounds inside the warehouse. Imagine their surprise to find one of the half dogs barking! And the cadavers are trying to break out of the walk-in cooler, just like in the story Frank had told Freedy.

The two men try to handle the situation, but finally give up and call Burt to come back to work. When


he finds out what happened, he is appalled, having warned Frank many times to stay away from those tanks! Be that as it may, they have to deal with what's going on, so Burt calls on his good friend Ernie (Don Calfa), who has the mortuary across the street. They try to pawn off a story about rabid weasels on Ernie, but that doesn't fly, and they are forced to not only tell him but truth, but show him. The only thing he can think to do is to burn the evidence in the crematorium, which of course sends the smoke up into the air, and then the toxic chemicals end up being rained back down and seeping into the ground... reanimating the corpses in the cemetery!


This movie is both a horror film and a comedy, and I have to say I think it's better than most of George Romero's films (except for the original Night of the Living Dead). These zombies are not shambling brainless hulks, they are cleverer than some of the teens, and are smart enough to realize how to get people to send more fresh meat.


Frank and Freddy are hilarious as the duo who start this entire zombie apocalypse, and Clu Gulager does a great job as Burt and ditto for Don Calfa as Ernie. And c'mon, it's Burt and Ernie. You don't think that's a coincidence, right? That reminds me of a Burt and Ernie in the classic film It's a Wonderful Life, which obviously predates Sesame Street, and I believe the Sesame Street writers got the names of their characters from there.

The music is fitting, some kind of punk, I think, and helps drive this film along. The writing is most excellent, and how surprising is that since this is a Dan O'Bannion film!  You remember Dan from Alien, right? The movie ends with the protagonists appealing to the army to help them, as per the phone number on the tanks. But you can only imagine the sort of help the military is willing to give when it comes to covering up a mistake. The ending leaves no doubt there is more to the story.... and there is.



I give this film a solid 4.5 Stars.

Before I go to the next review, I just want to mention that I tried to watch George Romero's Day of the Dead, but I turned it off because it bored me. So I can't really give it a review, since I didn't finish it, but maybe that says enough.

The City of the Dead


When a woman accused of witchcraft is burned at the stake in 1692, she curses the village that condemned her even as she makes a pact with Lucifer.

Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) is a young college coed with a bright future ahead of her. Determined to attain her history degree, she intends to work on her paper as much as she can, even if she has to miss spending time with her boyfriend, Bill (Tom Naylor) in order to do so. Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) suggests Nan go to the very small town he had just lectured about where a witch was burned years ago, and suggests she stay at the Whitewood Inn - just mention his name. Nan bids her boyfriend and her brother Dick (Dennis Lotis) a fond farewell and heads out to Whitewood.


Stopping for directions, she learns just how seldom this eerie road is traveled, and doesn't heed his warning not to go on. She picks up a strange man who is hitchhiking, and is also headed to Whitewood. He has an odd way about him, and a deep, resonant voice. But on her arrival, the man has disappeared! Nan goes to the inn, and the proprietress, Mrs. Newless (Patricia Jessel) insists there is no room at the inn until Nan invokes Professor Driscoll's name, and suddenly there is a room available, so Nan takes it. A young girl named Lottie works at the inn. Lottie is mute, but she seems as though she is trying to tell Nan something but Mrs Newless always finds a way to stop her.


Nan hears things in her room, and when she asks about the strange trap door in the floor, she is told that there is nothing beneath it but dirt. In exploring the town, she goes to the church, but the blind pastor, Reverend Russell, (Norman MacOwan) shoos her away. Borrowing a book about witchcraft from the pastor's granddaughter, Patricia (Betta St. John), Nan finds out the truth, but it's too late.

When Nan fails to return after two weeks, and no one has heard from her, her boyfriend and brother


decide enough is enough and trace her footsteps to Whitewood.  The question is will they make it out alive?

This movie is clearly a product of its times, no doubt about that. Having said that, though I wanted to like this film because... well, Christopher Lee... but things made that hard to do. My first question was why does no one in this town notice the perpetual rolling fog that covers the ground at all times (probably to disguise the fact that they're on a set). But nothing is ever said, as if no one notices. Seriously?

None of this is scary stuff, but in all fairness, perhaps modern moviegoers have come to expect more and have seen this sort of thing a million times. Having said this, what happens comes as no surprise if you look for the signs that are about as bright and easy to see as Rudolf the Reindeer's red nose! Lottie trying to warn Nan, the mysterious book, even the church, where I saw the name Driscoll on the sign outside but scratched through. The eerie innkeeper who bears a close resemblance to.... no spoilers, but I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Some of the acting is better than others. Much as I love Christopher Lee, I can't say this is his best performance, but he has others beat hands down. What's worse than the scenery and the acting, though, is the writing. Just not good. The soundtrack is a strange sort of 50s jazz-like sound which seems at odds with what is going on. Predictable and poorly executed. I'll give this a shaky 2 Stars, and mostly because I love Christopher Lee.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: Dragon(e) Baby Gone by Robert Gainey

 Good morning!  Please welcome author Robert Gainey to Full Moon Dreaming! He is here today to talk about his new release, Dragon(e) Baby Gone.  Robert will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on his tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



 

Dragon(e) Baby Gone

(Reports from the Department of Intangible Assets Book 1)

 

by Robert Gainey


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GENRE: Mystery Fantasy

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

BLURB:

 

Diane Morris is part of the thin line separating a happy, mundane world from all of the horrors of the anomalous. Her federal agency is underfunded, understaffed, and misunderstood, and she’d rather transfer to the boring safety of Logistics than remain a field agent. When a troupe of international thieves make off with a pair of dragon eggs, Diane has no choice but to ally with a demon against the forces looking to leave her city a smoldering crater. Facing down rogue wizards, fiery elementals, and crazed gunmen, it’s a race against time to get the precious cargo back before the dragon wakes up and unleashes hell.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

EXCERPT:

 


 

“I have arrived!” Rubin intoned, loud and solemn as he strode into my office. He was every inch a wizard, so long as those inches were from the neck up. A long white beard met with long white hair, both flowing down over his chest and shoulders. White eyebrows heavy enough to act as speed bumps shaded his gray eyes, and the entire magnificently magical appearance was thrown off by the fact that he wore a tweed jacket, khakis, and loafers. He looked like a homeless man applying for a job in a suit donated by another homeless man.

 

“Rubin, thanks for coming so quickly,” I said, rising and offering a hand. He walked right past me and stood to look out the window.

 

“Why, woman, have you summoned me to your presence? Do you wish to consult with the power of earth and sky? Do I, and I alone, have the knowledge you require?” I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be this close to him. He smelled very strongly of horseradish and cloves. There was a large patch of fresh char on the elbow of his jacket.

 

“I certainly hope so,” I said, sitting back down and glaring at his back. This was why he wasn’t on my Christmas card list. That, and I didn’t know where he actually lived. Maybe he slept in the basement, where his little magical laboratory was housed.

 


INTERVIEW 8

What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?

When my wife and I first started dating, I was working at a hospital in Tallahassee as an ER technician. It’s the typical low man on the totem pole sort of work. Twelve hour days spent cleaning and restocking and all the unpleasant little duties which fall to the bottom of the pile. Well, with thirty minute lunches sometimes it was a little tough to get something decent to eat, especially if you’re like me and forget to pack a lunch ahead of time. My wife, then girlfriend, offered to bring me something so I gratefully accepted. When asked what I’d like, I said something along the lines of, “I’m kind of in the mood for a cheesesteak.” Well, that’s when I found out if I ask my wife for something, there’s no kind of middle ground. She proceeds to arrive with one of those ridiculously sized cheesesteaks from a local sandwich place. The kind that’s meant for three people with both cheese and steak to spare. Damn thing must have weighed five pounds. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, this being the first time anybody had ever brought me lunch like this. What else could I do except sit with her and eat the whole thing as she had a normal-sized sandwich? It wasn’t until years later when it came up again that I told her the terrible effect it had on me for the rest of that shift. By then it was hilarious, and I look back on it as one of those moments that really sealed how I felt about this woman.

How would you spend ten thousand bucks?

Putting aside the responsible thing to do (mortgage, driveway, new truck), ten thousand dollars is enough to buy a secondhand fire engine and get it back to running condition. As long as you don’t turn the lights or sirens on, it’s perfectly legal to cruise around in your own fire engine. Parking’s a hassle though, and it won’t fit through a drive-thru.

Where do you get your best ideas?

I like absurd ideas and nothing’s better for absurdity than real life. I see some odd things through my work, both harrowing and uplifting, and while everything I write is fiction and not meant to represent real events, there are roots in reality in many of the things I put down. Things people have said, either to me or where I could hear them, stories I’ve heard over the years passed down like some ancient oral tradition.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

For me, characters are the first concept to really take shape for any story. The plot can ebb or flow around characters, responding to their actions or forcing their hands, but it always comes down to the characters in the end. A cool concept can fall flat without somebody to relate to.

What does your main character do that makes him/her special.

Diane Morris is special precisely because there’s nothing anomalous about her. She doesn’t have magic powers, doesn’t have some secret curse, and doesn’t have some kind of bloodline to drive her to great deeds. She’s just a strong woman looking to do her job the best she can, hoping to live long enough to retire. What she does have is an unquenchable drive to do the right thing, no matter the personal cost, and to protect the citizens she serves until the bitter end. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Robert Gainey is a born and raised Floridian, despite his best efforts. While enrolled at Florida State University and studying English (a language spoken on a small island near Europe), Robert began volunteering for the campus medical response team, opening up a great new passion in his life. Following graduation, he pursued further training through paramedic and firefighting programs, going on to become a full time professional firefighter in the State of Florida. He currently lives and works in Northeast Florida with his wife and dogs, who make sure he gets walked regularly. Robert writes near-fetched fantasy novels inspired by the madness and courage found in everyday events.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RNGainey

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robertngainey/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.gainey

Blog: https://robertgainey.blogspot.com/

Website: robertgainey.com

 

 

BUY LINKS:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Reports-Department-Intangible-Assets-ebook/dp/B095GNZJCN

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-robert-gainey/1139526445

 

 

https://books.google.com/books/about/Dragon_e_Baby_Gone.html?id=vY17zgEACAAJ

 

 


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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: The Lady Who Knew Too Much by Alyson Chase

 Good morning! Please welcome author Alyson Chase to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here to tell us about her new release, The Lady Who Knew Too Much. Alyson will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more often you comment the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.



 

The Lady Who Knew Too Much

by Alyson Chase

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GENRE:   steamy historical romance

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

BLURB:

 

He’s an ex-boxer. She sips tea at philosophical salons. And when these two opposites meet, their lives will never be the same.

Lady Juliana knows someone is trying to kill her father. The problem is getting anyone to believe her. Her father thinks she’s imagining things. Her brother that she’s seeking attention. And the man her brother hired to bring her back home…well, he thinks nothing much of her at all.

Brogan Duffy has clawed his way up from the streets to become the lead investigator on his very first inquiry case. The fact that it is to retrieve a spoiled aristocrat playing at intrigue is of no consequence. Nor is the fact that she beguiles him like no other woman. He has a job to do, and he won’t let anything stand in his way, not even this illogical attraction.

But Juliana might not be imagining the threat. And when it’s her life that’s on the line, Brogan has to decide to what lengths he’ll go to keep her safe. Because in order to resolve this make-or-break case in his career, Brogan might have to hazard more than his heart. And with some gambles, there’s no going back…

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

EXCERPT:

 


 


 

His driver stretched from his spot underneath a willow tree and lumbered over. “Off to London, sir?”

 

“Yes.” Brogan looked back at Bluff Hall. The sun glinted off the front windows. Ivy climbed up the white walls. All in all, a cheerful picture.

 

A sliver of dread wedged in his gut.

 

He sniffed. It was Lady Juliana’s doing, filling his mind with unfounded suspicions. Yanking open the carriage door, he climbed inside, slamming it behind him.

 

He pounded on the ceiling, eager to be away. He’d done his job, and kept his promise to the lady. He had nothing to feel badly for.

 

He stretched his legs out, kicking the blanket-wrapped bundle underneath the seat opposite.

 

“Ouch!” The bundle shifted.

 

Brogan’s stomach twisted. He bent over and yanked the edge of the blanket toward him.

 

Dark hair spilled across the floor. Juliana pushed a hank off her face and peered up at him, blinking.

 

“Good afternoon,” she said, with the dignity of a princess instead of the stowaway she was. “I don’t suppose I could have a ride back to London?”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Alyson Chase lives in Colorado. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts. (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?)  She also writes humorous, small-town, contemporary romance novels under the name Allyson Charles, and paranormal romances as A. Caprice. 

You can catch up with her at https://www.allysoncharles.com/alyson-chase-1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlysonChaseAuthor/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/1alysonchase

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBDDk6MbGufWiwi9cydVbZg

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alysonchaseauthor/boards/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alyson-chase

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Who-Knew-Too-Much-ebook/dp/B094TH9B8R

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 



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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: An Unholy Alliance #8 (3.1)

 Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts. 

Charlemagne has ended his brief and very strange interaction with the cannibal named Tyrone after receiving an important message about something he's searching for. Find out what's going on in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

An Unholy Alliance #8 (3.1)

In hindsight, I wished I’d just taken the damn car and been done with it, illegal meat in the trunk or not. I’d intended to steal a vehicle the night before anyway, but I’d been so hungry that I’d focused on my desire for blood rather than any need for transportation. Of course I’m perfectly capable of traveling under my own power, and sometimes I have no other option. But I disdain expending energy unnecessarily. To do so would have been a foolish move on my part, one that would have led to a need to feed again sooner rather than later. Which also meant I’d be at risk of embroiling myself in another ridiculous predicament such as the one I’d just extricated myself from. No thank you to that.

Now, I know what the burning question on the tip of most everyone’s tongue is right now—you’re a vampire, you have abilities, why would you even worry about such things.

Why? Because I am here to tell you that what you think you know about vampires… you don’t.  Erase those fanciful visions from your mind of supernatural creatures who stalk the night, wreaking fear and panic among mankind. Forget your image of us as hypnotic villains who suck the lifeblood from hapless victims, incite terror among the general human populace, and yet remain sexy and seductive individuals, with incredibly hypnotic gazes, who manage to accomplish all that with not a hair out of place and yet oozing charisma from every pore.

Balderdash. The sad fact of the matter is that the stories you’ve grown up on are wrong.  Carefully crafted wishful thinking on the part of imaginative writers.  So put away your fond adolescent memories of Dark Shadows and Vampire Diaries and all the rest and listen to what I’m saying. At the end of the day, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is just a novel. What I am living here and now is real life. And has been for many years.

Vampires are not immortal, although we do have longer life spans than most people … because reasons I don’t feel compelled to explain. We can be killed with a wooden stake, that part is true. But then again, most people can be. How many people do you know who could survive being stabbed in the heart? Exactly. Ditto with cutting off the head. And no, I don’t cringe at the touch of silver, or quiver at the feel of holy water being splashed against my unwilling flesh. Be serious, there is nothing the least bit holy about that water. And as for being terrified of crosses, do you see what I have hung around my neck? Enough said.

Furthermore, we are not able to turn ourselves into the creatures of the night. Not wolves or bats or rats or anything else you can think of. Can’t even summon them, though that would be a useful ability to have. Our senses are heightened, true, but I think that has to do with the blood we ingest as much as anything. We can see and hear better, run faster. But that lasts only so long, and when we need to feed, those abilities dwindle in proportion to that need.

So yeah, these are all good reasons why we don’t want people to know the truth about us and how vulnerable we really are. We want them to keep believing the wives’ tales, if they choose to believe in vampires at all. Because then they leave us the hell alone. Most people don’t even believe we exist and that’s a definite plus.

 

As for being Undead, we call ourselves that because in a sense we are, since our lives span more than the average person’s, although technically we haven’t truly died. Take me, for example. I was born during the 1860s but I appear to be no older than my late twenties. Must be in the blood.

Be that as it may, and moving on…

I swiftly wound my way through the woods, keeping an eye out for possible predators I had no time or desire to tangle with. Once I deemed myself sufficiently removed from Tyrone, I paused just long enough to verify on my phone the information I hoped to find. Something was indeed waiting for me, something I’d been expecting. I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be, but I had to take the chance that I’d found what I was looking for, or least some kind of clue that would lead me there. Documentation from the era I was researching was not easy to come by, as not many people found it important to chronicle the lives of slaves, especially before and after the Civil War, and particularly in rural Missouri.

And yet that was what I wanted, what I needed to find. For many reasons. Thank the gods, I’d found a valuable ally in my voyage of discovery. Their name was Casey, and I didn’t know what I’d have done without her knowledgeable assistance.

Casey was the head of a small library in a small town outside of Springfield, Missouri. Less than five thousand people lived in Mason Springs. Definitely small town living at its finest. Casey had once worked at a larger library in another state, but had moved back to their home town in order to care for an ailing mother. She was an ace researcher, someone who could find out anything, given enough time. I had certainly given her a tough assignment, but so far she’d found more clues than I’d been able to unearth on my own.

Still, despite my faith in her, I’d never revealed the reason for my quest, and I’d never told her what I was. Not relevant in any way.

The library was some thirty miles from where I was now. But luck was with me in the form of an old Chrysler.

 to be continued

Now see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb


 

 


Monday, July 19, 2021

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 4 by Yoshiki Nakamura

 

Skip Beat! Vol 4       


Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 2, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Kyoko shines in an exercise at the LME acting school, at the same time helping the president’s granddaughter, Maria, grapple with issues she has with her father. Maria fears her father doesn’t love her and thinks he blames her for her mother’s tragic death. Kyoko helps her to learn to communicate with him, thus earning Lory’s trust, even if he doesn’t always understand her methods. But he realizes his initial assessment of her was correct. She has something… something definitely worth cultivating.

Lory tells Kyoko that, as a minor, she needs her mother’s signature to make her debut with LME. But he isn’t prepared for what he sees in her eyes when he brings up the matter. Is there a way to work around this, for her sake?

Kyoko has a special stone that is very important to her. She keeps it with her at all times and relies on it in times of stress. So when she drops it, she is afraid she’s damaged it, or worse, she’ll never see it again. Ren Tsuruga finds it and returns it to her, but in the process a memory is awakened…

Kyoko and Moko receive an assignment as seat fillers for the first variety show of a popular rock band that LME is very proud of called Bridge Rock. At the last minute, a supervisor asks if they can help out with something else, as a cast member can’t make it. Moko enthusiastically agrees, until she finds out what the part is and leaves that to Kyoko, who suddenly finds herself thrust into a giant chicken suit!

As if this isn’t bad enough, she learns that the band’s first guest is none other than Sho Fuwa! Talk about awkward. But she comes to appreciate the fact that he won’t even know it’s her in this suit. So, what can she do to sabotage him?

After the debacle of the show, while still in costume, Kyoko runs into a distraught Ren. As she instinctively tries to help him, she begins to discover a whole new side of the actor she never knew existed. But can she keep him from taking off her bird head and revealing who she really is?

I loved this volume, as we get to know Kyoko more and more. She is developing, both as an actor and as a person. Of course she isn’t perfect, and her vendetta against Sho is still very much alive. But watching her with Maria is priceless, and of course her interactions with Ren, who is worth far more than that trashy Sho. Now the question is, what does Ren remember, and what is the story here?

The story is both humorous and dramatic. You gotta love Kyoko’s little voodoo dolls, she is so serious about them. And my heart aches for her as she tries to gain Moko’s friendship. This is a young girl, on her own in a big city, taking care of herself the best she can. How can you  not root for her?

Can’t wait for the next book!

 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Saturday is Horror Day #20 - The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007)

 The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007)


As this film opens, a naked restrained woman on a bad writhes in agony. It soon becomes clear she is in the throes of labor. And when she finally delivers, she can't believe what she sees.

On an undisclosed and hidden site thought to be long abandoned, technicians are installing listening devices, but to what end? There's no one out there... or is there?







It's the last day of training for a young group of sassy National Guard trainees. Out in the middle of the desert, they find a deserted research camp. Where is everyone, and what is going on? They receive a distress call that seems to be coming from the hills and decide to investigate. Can this end well for anyone?


This is the sequel to The Hills Have Eyes (2006), which was a remake of the original 1977 West Craven film of the same name. The story is not just a rehash of the first sequel, luckily, and is much better made. Again we see the mutants, who were better explained in the 2006 film. Apparently they're still intent on reproducing to replace their dwindling numbers (guess they aren't concerned with further genetic mutations). 

The National Guard trainees as characters are a diverse and interesting group, and the story is 


sufficiently creepy and cringy to warrant a view. Although I have to wonder why the military, who obviously knows about these people, doesn't just come in and deal with the situation. I mean, why eavesdrop? And the ending is somewhat ambiguous. Do they intend to make more? Your guess is as good as mine.

 On the whole, I'll give this film a good 3.5 Stars. Worth taking a look.