Monday, September 24, 2018

Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf by Nancy Gray




Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf by Nancy Gray, Mid-Grade Horror, 112 pp.





Title: BIG BAD WOLF

Author: Nancy Gray

Publisher: Independent

Pages: 112

Genre: Middle Grade Horror




Jane is ecstatic when she gets the role of Red Riding Hood in her
school play, but she didn’t realize that they’d be using the stuffed
wolf prop as the Big Bad Wolf. That tattered old prop has always scared
her and, lately, she has been having strange dreams about it that make
it seem like it’s something more.




Jane will have to get help to save herself from the hungry spirit
that has haunted her people and her nightmares before it consumes her,
or worse, escapes the prison of the last creature it took to sate its
horrible appetite.

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Chapter
1 - Casting



            “I can’t believe it!  I got the part!” Jane hopped up and down as
she looked over the casting sheet one last time to make sure.



            Her best friend, Sophie, laughed, “I
knew you would.”



            “I didn’t think so.  I did awful at the audition.  I tripped over my own feet.”



            “Mrs. Rose knew you were nervous
because you wanted it more than everyone else.
You deserve it.”



            Jane sighed. “Are you sure that you
have to go on that trip?  I want you to
be here to at least see the play.”



            Sophie shrugged. “I know.  But, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my
cousin.  Besides, I like spending time on
the farm.”



            “I’ll get my mom to tape the
show.  We can watch it when you get
back.”



            Sophie smiled. “That’s good.  Then at least I’ll get to see it later.  It should be pretty scary.  Well, I’d better go and you’d better
too.  You don’t want to make a bad
impression being late on the first day.
Good luck, Red Riding Hood.”



            Jane practically skipped to the
stage and lined up with the other students that were chosen for parts.  She glanced down the row and frowned.  Patrick was grinning at her with his squinty
green eyes and freckled face.



            She snapped, “What are you so smug
about, Patsy?”



            He chuckled. “Well, Janey Jane, Let
me guess, you were so excited you didn’t read the rest of the cast sheet,
right?”



            Jane looked away, embarrassed.
“Well, I didn’t want to be late.”



            He laughed harder. “I’m going to be
playing the wolf, Red.”



            She ran a hand down her face and
murmered. “I knew it was too good to be true…”



            Mrs. Rose walked up to the stage and
handed out the scripts to the row of excited students.  Everyone sat down and began to page through
their individual copies.  Patrick glanced
at Jane with an infuriating grin, but she simply rolled her eyes at him one
last time and then moved back to avoid looking in his direction again. 



            Mrs. Rose walked in front of them
and said, “First of all, congratulations on all of your parts.  Since this is a Halloween play, I chose the
rolls based on who could portray their parts in a suitably ominous way.  Remember, these are fractured fairy tales, so
nothing is supposed to end well.  And,
the common element in all of them will be the big, bad wolf.”



            Patrick stood up and gave a quick
bow.



            Jane thought, “Show off…



            Mrs. Rose continued, “The main theme
is Little Red Riding Hood, but as you can see, there will be elements from
other stories incorporated.  While she’s
going to grandma’s house, she’ll run into Snow White being chased by the
woodsman, and themes from other stories as well, as she continues to get lost
further and further in the woods.”



            A kid with round glasses and unruly
hair spoke up. “Can I play with different colors of lighting depending on the
fairy tale?  And can I use strobe
effects?”



            “Well, probably no strobe
effects.  We wouldn’t want anyone in the
audience to have a seizure.  Still, I
think different colors according to the story would be excellent.  Everyone, this is Kyle.  He just joined the club as our lead
technician.” 



A few people clapped, but Jane clapped a little
more than the others. “Thank goodness,
someone finally volunteered to be techie, instead of all the backstage work
being done by someone who didn’t get a part.
The lighting might actually be good this year.
 



Kyle was in a few of her classes, but she never
really talked to him.  He didn’t seem the
type to be interested in the Drama Club.
He was always playing with his laptop or some kind of electronic
device. 



            Patrick whispered in her direction,
“I think someone’s in love.”



            Jane whispered back, “Bite me,
Patsy.”



            Patrick said, “Maybe I will…AWOOOO!”



            Mrs. Rose tapped her foot
impatiently. “Save it for the rehearsal, Patrick.”



            They both muttered an apology and
quickly looked at the ground.



            “As you know, we don’t have a good
budget this year, so I want all of you to look for old costumes and props that
we can reuse.  The basement under the
stage is a good place to start, as well as the various trunks backstage.  I believe, if we can get it working, the stuffed
wolf would make a great prop too.  There
should even be a speaker inside of it from our last play.  Kyle, see if you can reconnect it.”



            “Okay.  It should be pretty easy.”



            “Jane, you go with Kyle and show him
the ropes.”



            She nodded. “Yes, Mrs. Rose.”





















Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her middle grade series Spine Chillers. She also published her YA fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.




Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South
Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video
games, anime, manga, and horror.


Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf.


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Freezing Point After the Shift Series Book 1 by Grace Hamilton


Freezing
Point
After
the Shift Series Book 1
by
Grace Hamilton


Genre:
SciFi, Post-Apocalypse

In the dawn of a new
Ice Age, families everywhere are taking to the road to escape the
frigid landscape—but you can’t outrun the cold.
No one could have
predicted the terrifying impact of human interference in the Arctic.
Shifts in the Earth’s crust have led to catastrophe and now the
North Pole is located in the mid-Atlantic, making much of the eastern
United States an unlivable polar hellscape.
Nathan Tolley is a
talented mechanic who has watched his business dry up due to gas
shortages following the drastic tectonic shifts. His wife, Cyndi, has
diligently prepped food and supplies, but it’s not enough to get
them through a never-ending winter. With an asthmatic young son and a
new baby on the way, they’ll have to find a safe place they can
call home or risk freezing to death in this harsh new world.
When an old friend of
Nathan’s tells him that Detroit has become a paradise, with
greenhouses full of food and plenty of solar energy for everyone, it
sounds like the perfect place to escape. But with dangerous
conditions and roving gangs, getting there seems like an impossible
dream. It also seems like their only choice.







Excerpt:

Chapter one

“What’s that?” Freeson asked, pointing beyond the wrecker’s windshield.
Nathan squinted through the swirling snowflakes peppering the glass, but the wipers were struggling to give meaningful vision beyond the red expanse of his Dodge’s hood. He thought they were on the spruce-lined Ridge Road running between Lake George and Glens Falls but he couldn’t be sure. The cone of light thrown out by its headlights only illuminated the blizzard itself, making it look like a messed up TV channel.
Without any real visibility, the 1981 Dodge Power Wagon W300 4x4—with driver’s cab, a four-person custom-sized crew cab behind that, a wrecker boom, and a spectacle lift—grumbled deep in its engine as Nathan slowed the truck. To stop the tires fully, Nathan had to go down through the gears rather than by the application of the discs. There was a slight lateral slide before the tires bit into the fresh snow. The ice beneath was treacherous enough already without the added application of fresh flakes.
Who knowshow thick the ice is over the blacktop, Nathan thought.
With the truck stopped, he tried to follow Freeson’s finger out into the whirlpooling night.
For a few seconds, all he could see was the blizzard, the air filled with fat white flakes, which danced across his vision like God’s dandruff. Nathan was about to ask Freeson what the hell he was playing at when he caught it. He saw taillights flicker on and the shadow of a figure move towards the truck’s headlights.
Sundown for late April in Glens Falls, New York State, should have been around 7:50 p.m. The Dodge’s dashboard clock said the time was 5:30 p.m. and it was already full dark out on Algonquin Ridge.
The world had changed so much in the last eight years since the stars had changed position in the sky and the North Atlantic had started to freeze over. The pole star was no longer the pole star. It was thirty degrees out of whack. Couple that with the earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis wrecking countries around the Pacific Rim, and the world had certainly been transformed from the one Nathan had been born into twenty-eight years before. And this year, spring hadn’t come at all. Winter had spread her white skirts out in early December and had left them there. It was nearly May now, and there was still no sign of her fixing to pick them up again.
A face loomed up in the headlights, red with the cold, hair salted with snow, the flakes building up on the shoulders of the figure’s parka. It was Art Simmons.
Nathan zipped his own puffy North Face Nuptse winter jacket up to his chin, opened his door, and jumped down into the powder. The snow came up to his knees and he could feel the hard ice below the chunky soles of his black Columbia Bugaboots.
Even through the thermal vest, t-shirt, and two layers of New York Jets sweatshirts, the cold bit hard into Nathan. Without the meager, volcanic-ash-diluted sun in the sky, the early evening was already steel-cold and the blizzard wind made it near murderous. He rolled his hips and galumphed through the snow towards Art.
“Nathan! Is that you?”
Art had, until recently, been a Glens Falls sheriff. He’d been a warm-hearted gregarious man whose company Nathan enjoyed a lot. But since being laid off when the local police department had shut down, he’d become sullen and distant. Seeing Art so animatednowoffered the most emotion Nathan had seen coming from the chubby ex-cop since before Christmas.
“What’s the trouble, Art?”
Art’s words tumbled in a breathless rush. Sharp and short, it was clear that the cutting air had begun constricting his throat. “Skidded. Run off the road. I couldn’t even seethe road… I’m in the ditch… Been here an hour...”
Runoff the road?”
Art nodded. “Glens Falls has been overrun, Nate. Scavengers tracked me. If I wasn’t trying so hard to outrun ’em, I wouldn’t be here now. Hadn’t driven so fast, when I lost them through Selling’s Bridge…”
Nathan had heard the rumors of small packs of raiders using snowmobiles to hold up residents in their cars, stealing supplies and invading homes. But he hadn’t seen evidence of them himself. He’d only been told by neighbors and friends they were operating in other parts of New York State, fifty miles further south than Albany, but not until now had he gotten any notion they might be as far up in the state as Glens Falls. But now that they were here, the lack of an operational police department in town might just make them bolder and more likely to try their luck with what they could get away with.
“Where did they go?” he asked.
Art shook his head. “Guess they lost me in the blizzard when I came off the road. Maybe gone off to track some other poor bastard. They won’t be far.”
Freeson joined them in front of the truck, banging his arms around his own parka to put feeling into his fingers. His limp didn’t help him wade through the snow and his grizzled face was grim, but Nathan knew the determination in Freeson’s bones wouldn’t allow his physical deficiencies to stop him doing the job Nathan paid him for. The cold might freeze and ache him, but the fire in Freeson’s belly would counter the subzero conditions for sure.
Freeson hadn’t been right since the accident, maybe. Quiet at times, and quick to anger at others, but he was always one hundred percent reliable.
Together, they walked the ten yards down through the snow to the roadside ditch beneath the snow-heavy trees.
An hour in the blizzard had made Art’s truck almost impossible to recognize. Nathan only knew it was a white 2005 Silverado 1500 because he’d worked on it a dozen times in the past ten years. The last time had been to replace a failed water pump that had fritzed the cooling system. Nathan smiled wryly. No one needed their cooling system fixed now—not since the Earth’s poles had shifted. Since that unexplained catastrophe, the Big Winter’s new Arctic Circle had been smothering Florida and the eastern seaboard, all the way up to Pennsylvania and beyond. It had frozen the Atlantic clear from the U.S. to North Africa.
The world was a very different place from the one Nate had been born into twenty-eight years ago.
Art told them he’d been turning the taillights on and off every ten minutes to signal to anyone who might be passing, trying to preserve battery life at the same time. He said Nathan’s wrecker had been the first vehicle to show up since his slow-motion slide into the ditch.
Nathan scratched his head through his hood and looked up the incline of Algonquin Ridge. The Silverado was trapped between two spruces on the edge of the ditch. The tail had kicked up as the front end had dropped, leaving the back wheels floating in space—or, would have done that if the snow hadn’t already drifted beneath them and begun to pack in.
There was no leeway in the tree growth to get the wrecker onto the downslope of the road, either, though the easiest way out of this would have been to pull the Silverado down the thirty-degree incline. Instead, they were going to have to pull Art’s truck up the slope and fight gravity all the way.
Nathan opened his mouth to tell Freeson to get back in the wrecker and start her up, but Art placed a hand on his shoulder and pointed into the trees. “Look.”
Through the forest, three sets of Ski-Doo headlights were moving along two hundred yards up beyond the treeline. The blatter of two-stroke engines was dampened by the snow, but still unmistakable. This part of the ridge was well out of town and had once been a popular tourist trail. There were wide avenues between the spruce where summer people rode chunky-tired trail bikes, and winter people, Ski-Doos. They had room to maneuver.
“They’re back,” said Art.
Better get this show on the road.
In theory, it should have been a simple operation. Nate turned the wrecker around and reversed it towards the ditch while Freeson and Art cleared as much snow as they could. As they worked, Freeson bitched about the way the town was dying and how you couldn’t get much of anything from the last store in town, and that the hospital was going to be shutting down and you couldn’t get fuel oil, and… and… and…
 Nathan knew Freeson was just working his jaw to keep his mind off the cold, but the litany of unhappy changes on his lips, when run together like that, did nothing to spread warmth through the three men. In the past, Freeson would have been telling a stream of off-color jokes that would make Nathan groan at best and look for a stone to render his employee unconscious at worst. But since the Arctic Circle had shifted, leaving a trail of dying towns and cities in its wake, the resulting changes had been the only topic of Freeson’s conversation. That was when he wasn’t weeping because of the loss of his wife.
Nathan and Freeson latched the boom hook from the wrecker to the rear of the Silverado with a tow strap while Art got into his cab and started the engine. The blizzard maintained a steady build-up of snow on anyone who stood still for more than ten seconds, wind whipping at their faces like slaps from an angry girlfriend.
Through the trees, the scavengers’ Ski-Doos circled like sharks. Not getting any nearer as yet, perhaps waiting for the right time to take advantage. They could have just dived down on the trio and trapped the truck where it was, but Nathan figured they were trying to raise the tension and get them more scared—scared enough to abandon the trucks without a fight, maybe.










Grace
Hamilton is the prepper pen-name for a bad-ass, survivalist
momma-bear of four kids, and wife to a wonderful husband. After being
stuck in a mountain cabin for six days following a flash flood, she
decided she never wanted to feel so powerless or have to send her
kids to bed hungry again. Now she lives the prepper lifestyle and
knows that if SHTF or TEOTWAWKI happens, she'll be ready to help
protect and provide for her family.



Combine
this survivalist mentality with a vivid imagination (as well as a
slightly unhealthy day dreaming habit) and you get a prepper fiction
author. Grace spends her days thinking about the worst possible
survival situations that a person could be thrown into, then throwing
her characters into these nightmares while trying to figure out "What
SHOULD you do in this situation?"

It's
her wish that through her characters, you will get to experience what
life will be like and essentially learn from their mistakes and
experiences, so that you too can survive!






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He Was by Thomas William Lowrie


He
Was
by
Thomas William Lowrie

Genre:
Historical Suspense

Ever
had one of those days, how about one of those weeks? If you haven't,
you are missing out. I spent years priding myself in the fact that I
was always with it, I always had my wits about me, until that day. My
life changed and not just a little. I became someone else, someone
who was far stronger than I am, someone who I could only hope to be.
Ray Lafayette was a man who was neither rich nor famous yet I lived
every day to see what he would do next. The fear I experienced in
that time only made the happiness that much more exiting. I have
heard the statement "Don't judge a man until you walk a mile in
his shoes." I walked many miles in his and can say with pride
that he and all others from his time were the greatest, all colors,
all nationalities, young and old, men and women alike. It may sound
great to know the future but there is a dark side to it, an almost
unbearable side. Your eyes will be opened to things your mind may not
handle.This event has changed me. I no longer wish for things, I live
for them.






Author,
Thomas William Lowrie has lived outside of Las Vegas most of his
life, but his best memories are of the days fishing in South Texas.
Summer vacations were the best. That is also where he found his
best friend and wife, Tina. He could not have done any of this
without her. Of course, Ray pecking at his brain for years had
something to do with it too.




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Collared by the Badman by Hayley Faiman

Title: Collared by the Badman
Series: Russian Bratva Series 
Author: Hayley Faiman
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Cover Design: Cassy Roop @ Pink Ink Designs






Sergei Orlov has lived a life of dark corruption. Denying himself any bit of normalcy and happiness as a way to protect his family—of blood or Bratva.


He’s seen as a savior to his men, living in darkness behind closed doors.

Raisa was a girl sold into a life of sexual servitude. Memories of her life before—forgotten. She aspires to be cherished by a man who will forever keep her as his own, never to be sold, abused, or traded again.

A favor asked, turns into something else, something unquestionably beautiful. Sergei cannot deny that Raisa stirs something inside of him. Something that he has never felt before.

One fractured savior. One shattered soul. When the two collide, their lives take on new meaning.










I was born and raised in California. My husband and I met when I was just 16. We were married a few years later, moving to Oregon while he was in the US Coast Guard. 
Texas is now where we call home, where our boots rest, and where we're raising our two little boys and a chocolate lab named Optimus Prime.


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