You wanted a Megalodon book, you’ve got it. Even better, it drops right on shark week. I couldn’t have asked for better timing.
Hellions around the world, I present MEGALODON IN PARADISE!
The cover should tell you, this ain’t your typical Meg adventure.
Island life can be deadly.
For Ollie Arias, owning an island in Micronesia is beyond his wildest dreams. Moving his best friends from college to share his dream…priceless. A little urban exploration of the abandoned military lab unearths strange, dark secrets. And awakens a slumbering beast that has gone decades without food. Ollie and his pals have unwittingly unleashed a deadly infection above, and a prehistoric killing machine below. The storm of the century is headed their way. Paradise has never been so close to hell.
So after you’ve watched Michael Phelps race a Great White, click here to order your copy of Megalodon in Paradise and see what a real bad ass shark is capable of. Phelps would have been chum in two seconds with the beastie in this one.
Oh baby, do I love this cover! Severed Press nailed it. This is exactly the kind of cover I had hoped for when this nasty skunk ape novella first came out with Samhain. Word on the grapevine is the book will be available, in ebook and for the first time PRINT, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
As for my other Samhain titles, I’m in talks with an esteemed publisher about getting them all back out in the world. Can’t wait to be able to tell you about it.
So, what do you all think?
At some point while I was watching the premier of THE VOID (meh), my latest Severed Press book, SAVAGE JUNGLE (LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEK), came screaming into this world like a demented squatch baby.
They are called the Orang Pendek, masters of the steamy Sumatran rain forest.
Henrik Kooper watched his father die at the brutal hands of the orange-haired ape men. Having barely survived helping twins Natalie and Austin McQueen discover and destroy the beasts lurking in Loch Ness, it’s now his turn for vengeance. Within the treacherous jungles of Sumatra lies the fabled lost city of Gadang Ur. Its secrets are guarded by a savage band of Orang Pendek who lord over the strange and deadly creatures of the hidden land. Utter madness is the lifeblood of Gadang Ur. Henrik’s journey into darkness will take them to the ragged edge of hell on Earth.
Some places were never meant to be discovered.
As an added bonus, here’s a sample chapter to get you in the mood for some Orang Pendek fury…
Austin handed Natalie a gun. She couldn’t remember what kind it was, but it was heavy and looked deadly. He said to Oscar, “Do we just stay here and mow them down?”
“Heavens no,” Henrik said, calmly slamming a cartridge home in his assault weapon of choice. “We’d never survive. The hope is that our guns frighten them enough to veer them away from our position.”
Natalie shrugged her shoulders. “Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?”
The ground shook as they came crashing closer. Their terrified bellows echoed throughout the jungle. Hearing them, feeling them, but not being able to see where they were coming from was absolutely terrifying.
Oscar said, “Just be ready to run. If we get split up, we meet back here.”
“Easy for you to say,” Austin said, the muscles in his neck bulging like ropes. “I have no freaking clue where here is.”
Henrik coolly added, “Just follow the path the elephants are sure to make. They’re better and faster than bulldozers.”
Natalie’s knees nearly buckled. She wasn’t sure if it was from exhaustion, fear, or the rumbling of the earth, which was making it hard to keep her footing.
Please take a detour. Please take a detour. Nothing to see here. No need to trample the Orang Pendek hunters.
She hadn’t noticed the porters taking their machetes to the brush behind them, clearing a bit of a path for their escape. At least it gave them some room to step back and see which way the elephants were going. Bambang handed his machete over to her.
“No, you keep it,” she said.
He shook his head, refusing to let her give it back to him.
“They’re definitely headed straight for us,” Oscar said, taking a blind shot with the elephant gun. The report was deafening. Henrik fired off a few rounds as well. Then Austin joined in.
“Is it doing anything?”
The look Oscar flashed didn’t ease her fears.
They all stepped back as far as they could go, until their backs were against the endless wall of vegetation. Natalie almost tripped over an exposed root as thick as her calf. Austin reached out and grabbed her by her shirt.
“I’m shitting myself. Is anyone else shitting themselves?” she asked.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re all going to need a change of pants,” her brother said, eyes locked dead ahead.
There came a great crashing of branches and trees, centuries-old oaks snapping like dry toothpicks. The jungle tableau swayed back and forth in anticipation of the runaway freight train of excited pachyderms.
Now, even Natalie joined in their desperate attempt to scare them off with firepower. The gun’s kickback smashed the stock into her ribs. She didn’t feel a thing. Abject fear had made her numb.
When the first elephant broke through, rearing its trunk with an ear-splitting roar, she could only stare with mute horror. Everyone had stopped firing their weapons.
She felt a hand at her collar, someone tugging her backwards.
Natalie couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
A second, third, fourth and so many more elephants came crashing into view, their eyes wild not with terror but unadulterated menace.
Because they weren’t alone.
Riding atop each wild elephant was a small, orange-haired being that looked like a cross between an orangutan and a man.
The Orang Pendek rode the elephant herd right at them, crying out with beastly wails that turned her bowels to water.
This one is for all the Hellions! In a year that will showcase King Kong and another installment of the Planet of the Apes movie, it only seems fitting that this bloody adventure should hit your eyeballs in April. Feast your eyes on this charming fellow…
The original, too long title, was SAVAGE JUNGLE : LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEKS. And now by telling you what it was, you know what’s in store for you. This little diddy picks up right where we left off in LOCH NESS REVENGE. Natalie, Austin and Henrik have spent months recovering in an opulent German spa, but now it’s time to help old Henrik face his own monstrous demons. The trio heads out to the rain forest of Sumatra, hunting down a savage race of Orang Pendeks who rule an ancient, lost city. Oh, and there just may be some dinosaurs lurking about, too.
SAVAGE JUNGLE is a pure adventure story, with enough action to make your blood pressure meds work overtime. It comes out this April through Severed Press in trade paperback and ebook. More details to come!
My latest novella with Severed Press is now available in ebook (and trade paperback in a few days), LOCH NESS REVENGE. This one is especially near and dear to me because Nessie became one of my first monster obsessions thanks to an episode of In Search Of back in the 70s (you can watch the actual episode here). I remember checking out every book I could find in the libraries in the Bronx, wishing I could fly to Scotland and just live by the Loch, searching for proof of Nessie.
Cut to a few decades later, and I’m hunting her down in a book that blends fact with fiction. So, what’s this latest foray into cryptid terror about?
Deep in the murky waters of Loch Ness, the creature known as Nessie has returned. Twins Natalie and Austin McQueen watched in horror as their parents were devoured by the world’s most infamous lake monster. Two decades later, it’s their turn to hunt the legend. But what lurks in the Loch is not what they expected. Nessie is devouring everything in and around the Loch, and it’s not alone. Hell has come to the Scottish Highlands. In a fierce battle between man and monster, the world may never be the same.
And here’s a little something to whet your appetite (or wet your appetite, when you’re talking lake monsters!) Read the preview of chapter one and if you like what you see, you don’t have to go all the way to Scotland to grab a copy.
Even the Scottish whisky can’t stop the nightmare from coming. And believe me, they have some pretty incredible shit here. The locals drink it like water, but I’m not a local.
I may have been here for five years, but they’ll never accept this American interloper. Fine by me. I realize I’m just a transient, albeit one that’s been here for a handful of years. When the time comes, I’ll be happy to leave the Highlands forever. A girl can only take so much sourdough and tartan.
Hmm, but I will miss the scenery. So pretty out here. Well, when it’s not foggy, overcast, or raining. And the Scottish men, nothing to complain about there, though I wish I could understand them a little better. I have a terrible ear for accents and sometimes I can’t believe we speak the same language. I was barely able to understand what went on in the movie Trainspotting. This is a whole new level.
I’m up and sweating and can’t catch my breath.
Is it technically a nightmare when the thing that wakes you up in the dead of night is a memory?
Not that it matters.
Nightmare…memory…either way, I can never get a full night’s sleep.
I slip my legs out from under the covers, grab the glass of tepid water I keep next to my phone charger, and gulp it down. When it comes, I sweat enough to soak through my clothes.
Years ago, my simple solution was to sleep in the nude.
It didn’t work out. Changing sheets is a hell of a lot harder than slipping on a fresh pair of panties, sleep shorts, and a T-shirt.
The spare clothes are neatly folded on the floor by my feet. I stand, stretch, get down to my birthday suit, pat myself down with a towel, and get dressed.
The radio is still on, some late, late night call-in show hosted by someone with such a thick accent, I can barely understand what the hell he’s talking about. Like I said, I’m Scottish tone deaf.
Snapping the radio off, I collapse back into bed.
The good news is, the nightmare never comes twice.
The bad news is, falling back to sleep is never a guarantee. It’s almost four in the morning.
Early to bed, early to rise.
I went to bed at midnight. Not sure that constitutes early.
I close my eyes, the remnant of the nightmare – memory – still playing like an old filmstrip as the heat from the projector bulb rapidly melts it away.
It was 1995. Shania Twain had exploded on the music scene. I couldn’t stop playing her CD. The fact that it pissed off my twin brother Austin was just a bonus. He was all grunge, all the time, back then.
We were camped right where my RV sits now. Me, Austin, Mom, and Dad.
My father had been downsized by the genetics company where he’d worked for almost twenty years. They gave him a goodbye package that left us flush with cash. No tears were shed. He was a scientist toiling away for a corporate entity. He’d felt he’d sold his soul for long enough.
So he took us out of school and we headed for Europe. He’d missed the chance to live his dream and backpack across the continent when he finished college.
“It’ll be much more fun with you guys. I knew I waited for a reason,” he’d said.
Austin and I didn’t care where he took us. We were just glad to be out of school for the rest of the year.
We alternated between camping out when the weather was agreeable and staying in nice hotels, especially when we were in cities like Florence and Berlin and Barcelona.
By the time we made it to Scotland, spring was fading into summer, and Dad wanted to sleep under the stars in the Great Glen, the glacial fissure that tore Scotland a new one 400 million years ago. The words lush and green are all you need to know to describe the Great Glen. Nature done did it right when she painted this scenery.
Smack in the middle of the glen was a series of lochs, one of them being my current home and setting of my nightmare – Loch Ness.
“We can’t go to Scotland without spending some time at Loch Ness,” my father had said. “Maybe we’ll even see the monster!”
We thought that made this place the coolest stop on our trek across Europe.
Kids are stupid.
It was dark. Austin and I were roasting marshmallows over the remains of our fire. Our parents went down to the water’s edge to clean out the pot we used for cooking chili. I was playing Shania Twain on the boom box, but had to keep it low. When Austin tried to hit the Stop button, I whacked him on the back of his hand with the hot end of my marshmallow stick.
“Jeez, that hurts you asshole!” he shrieked, cradling his hand to his chest.
“You’re such a baby. I can’t believe you came out first. Mom saved the best for last.”
He chucked a marshmallow at my head.
“You’re more like my afterbirth.”
I shrugged it off. We’d been saying the same things to each other for so long, we could recite each other’s lines.
That was as close to ‘twin speak’ as we’ve ever come. We look nothing alike, we act nothing alike, and we sure as hell don’t think alike.
It was then we heard the screams.
Two screams, to be exact.
My mother and my father.
We bolted to our feet, spilling the plastic bag of marshmallows into the fire.
There was a tremendous splash of water.
We ran to them, heedless of what we might encounter. Someone was attacking them. A deaf person could hear their struggle, the pain and terror in their cries.
We got to the shore a moment before we lost them forever.
Their heads were visible, floating atop the churning water. Something big and black and shiny, like the body of an anaconda, was wrapped around their necks. It must have given a sudden, powerful squeeze, because their voices were cut sharply.
“We have to help them!” Austin blurted, going so far as to get in the water up to his ankles.
But I held him back.
I watched my parent’s eyeballs puff up and explode from their sockets seconds before they were dragged down into the Loch’s murky depths.
And just like that, they were gone.
I watch them die every single night.
I can’t un-see their eyes, blowing up to cartoonish proportions before popping like balloons filled with mayonnaise and blood.
It’s why I fucking hate looking at people’s eyes. I can barely stand to look at my own in the mirror. I haven’t worn makeup in years just to save myself the horror.
- The clock says 4:15.
I’m not the least bit tired.
Early to rise it is.
Maybe today’s the day.
If it isn’t, oh well. I’ve got nowhere else to go.
Care to see what adult Natalie and Austin have up their sleeve for Nessie? Go to Amazon and pick it up today.
I have a little something special to share with my Hellions. Here is the cover to my second novel with Severed Press, LOCH NESS REVENGE. Ain’t Nessie just beautiful? I love the art department at Severed. The book will be available on November 3rd.
Until then, wear some tartan, drink some whiskey and have a shortbread cookie or two.
And no, they are not inoculations to prevent you from getting the dreaded book worms. BookShots are, in fact, the brainchild of James Patterson, the man who sells more books than there are zombies playing Pokemon Go. They made their debut last month and are literally popping up everywhere.
BookShots are a very clever bit of marketing targeted to today’s dwindling attention spans. They are, in every sense of the word, novellas. You know, not quite a short story, not quite a novel. For authors who think in word counts, novellas tend to settle between the 25-50k word range. Novels, on the other hand, are typically 90k words or more. Novellas have been around forever and a day and night. What’s new with BookShots is the branding and availability.
They’re fast reads that pack a lot of punch in a little package. It’s usually hard to find novellas in print. They’ve become the darling of the ebook world. BookShots, on the other hand, are being published in print with wide, and I mean WIDE, distribution. They’re designed for readers on the go who want to be thrilled or romanced in one or two sittings. According to Publishers Weekly, in the first week of sales, BookShots sold over 30,000 copies. Not too shabby.
The first BookShots were written by James Patterson – CROSS KILL (an Alex Cross thriller) and ZOO 2. These will be followed up with many more by a host of different authors, all geared to get your pulse pounding. I just found out that there’s also a romance line called BookShots Flames. I happened to stumble upon a copy of The McCullagh Inn in Maine by Jen McLaughlin in a supermarket. Jen and I share an agent, so even though it’s a romance (woven within a suspense story), I had to pick it up and I’ll be damned if I didn’t read it in two sittings, just like Patterson promised. And I dug it. I also downloaded Zoo 2 on my Kindle, even though I never read Zoo or watched the TV show. I had to see what all the hubub was about. It was fast paced, campy fun. Those are two sweet spots for me.
I have to admit, I’m actually kind of excited about this. Anything that gets more people reading is a major win as far as I’m concerned. As an author, I prefer writing novellas. And I’m not alone. Most authors I talk to love novellas, both writing and reading them. There’s something about knowing there’s a limit but also having the space to explore characters deeper than you can in a short story or just go for broke and let the rollercoaster run free.
As a horror writer, I hope Patterson casts his gaze in the genre’s direction. Novellas have always been a huge part of horror. Even today there are great horror novellas being published weekly by the likes of Severed Press, Sinister Grin, Deadite and so many more. It would be nice to see them in print at the airport or supermarket or any bookstore you happen to find.Why do you think shows like Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside and other half hour bites of terror were so successful? Because horror is best when it’s short, twisted and terrifying.
BookShots in print are a little wider than a mass market paperback. Kind of like a classic Goosebumps book. They feel so good in your hands. It’s book crack at its best.
I’m keeping a watchful eye on BookShots. Could it be a game changer? We can only hope. The success of BookShots means more readers and more good paying opportunities for writers. Everybody’s happy, unless you’re Captain Beatty. (extra credit if you can name the book!)
And James Patterson, if you’re looking for a thriller writer who can send readers to dizzying heights within the warm confines of BookShots, give my agent a call. You already have her number.
Ever since I decided to become a writer, I’ve dreamed about what it would be like to pursue my passion full time. If I can write 2-3 books a year while juggling a day job, how much could I get done if I had all day to write?
Well, that day has come. After a divorce with the old day job a month ago, I became a full time writer, though without the full time pay. The adjustment of working for 30 years and suddenly not working took some time getting used to. So, what did I do to get through it?
I wrote. Writing has always been my private island, the perfect escape, the place where reality never gets past the bouncer. As the shock wore off, the time I devoted to writing increased. I actually looked at this as a needed break so I can devote proper attention to the slew of projects I had agreed to take on.
Now it’s time to reflect. After a month, what have I accomplished? Well, I have 3 novellas that I was scheduled to write for an as yet unnamed publisher later this summer. Now that I had time, I set my ass down to start the first. Draft #1 was completed in two weeks. It’s now resting in my laptop. You need to give your story and yourself time to breathe before jumping in to the editing process. Or at least I do. Rewrites start in a few days.
At the same time, I started working on my next monster book for Severed Press. I have about 10,000 words to go before I can type THE END on draft #1 of that puppy. I figure that’ll be done around July 7th.
Then my family and I head to house-sit for a friend up in the country where I’ll finally finish the novel I started last fall, WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. There are literally just a couple of chapters to go, then I have to do a ton of rewrites because the story kept changing as it went along. This is a dark one. No monsters. Nothing paranormal. Just people at their strangest and worst on a Pennsylvania farm.
After that, I have a special project I’m going to write and self-publish, followed by the other two novellas I’m still contracted to write this year. And Lord only knows what else I’ll agree to along the way. Let’s just say this chapter in my life will be marked with a boom in my creative output.
I’m also catching up on my TBR pile and getting new books from the library every 3 days. I’ve decided to re-read everything Hemingway for the rest of the summer. Then there’s more time to spend with my family at independent league baseball games, movies and swimming at the pools and beaches nearby. My old day job actually gave me a gift – my first summer off since I graduated high school! I don’t plan to waste it.