Monthly Archives: December 2015

Chapter reveal: Q Island, by Russell James

Title:  Q ISLAND

Genre: HORROR

Author: RUSSELL JAMES

Websitewww.russellrjames.com

Publisher: SAMHAIN PUBLISHING

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book

Epidemic! An ancient virus surfaces on Long Island, New York turning its victims into black-veined, infectious, psychopathic killers. Chaos and madness rule.  In desperation, the military quarantines the island, trapping Melanie Bailey and her autistic son, Aiden. Somehow, Aiden survives the infection. He could be the key to a cure—if Melanie can somehow get him to the mainland.

A taut, tense, terrifying thriller that teems with intensity, Q Island is an eerily realistic tale. With a chilling plot, compelling characters, and a pulse-quickening storyline, Q Island will leave readers breathless.  Earning nods as one of this year’s best horror novels, Q Island is an extraordinary story exceptionally well-told.

About the Author

 

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, Russell James now spins twisted tales best read during daylight. In addition to two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness, James is the author of seven paranormal thrillers:  Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker and Q Island. His next novel, The Portal, is slated for release in 2016. Visit him at www.russellrjames.com.

CHAPTER ONE   

A convoy of six yellow school buses rumbled downhill and into deserted downtown Port Jefferson. They drove past the piers of moored pleasure boats and into the parking lot of the Port Jefferson Ferry Company.

The big, white ship bobbed against the dock, perhaps the largest victim of the quarantine. The boat’s car deck ran along the waterline, and an enclosed passenger cabin made up the second deck. A booth-sized bridge created a third deck from which to con the vessel. A wide, sloppy, red cross painted on the ship’s side dripped rivulets of dried paint, as if the cross had been bleeding. The ferry’s engines fired up. Gray smoke rolled from its stacks.

The buses stopped side by side. The doors swept open. Men armed with rifles or shotguns stepped off of each bus. They formed a rough skirmish line between the buses and the abandoned town, ready to defend against the infected, or anyone else who tried to stop them.

One man waved an arm signal. The buses emptied. A trail of women and children hustled out the open doors. They bustled and fussed as they popped open strollers, belted in kids and strapped on backpacks. Then they surged up the wide metal ramp and onto the ferry. The half circle of men pulled back to the dock’s edge.

The metal ramp began a slow, clunking climb as two chains cranked it skyward. Inside the gearing, something slipped. The chains unspooled and the corrugated ramp slammed down on the concrete dock. The crash of steel on stone rolled out from the harbor and echoed through the desolate streets. The men whirled to face the town at this potential infected call to arms. Safety catches snapped off.

The ramp began a second sweep upward. At two feet off the dock, the drive motor wailed with a grinding, shearing noise. Something snapped like a rifle shot. The ramp stopped moving.

The ship’s great engines revved. The water at the stern churned in a soup of green and white. Mooring lines slid from the ship’s side, and it inched forward against the incoming current. From openings around the waterline, white bedsheets spray-painted with black letters appeared. Each unfurled and displayed one word, like an old Burma-Shave ad—

Only. Women. And. Children. Aboard.

One of the men on the dock turned to face the ship. His shaved head glistened in the sun. A long moustache drooped down to bracket his chin. The red logo on his black leather jacket read Road Demons. He gripped his rifle with hands sheathed in studded half gloves. He squinted at the ship and scowled.

A woman ran to the stern. She wore a bright-red sweater. A blue streak ran the length of her long, dark hair. She gripped the rear railing with one hand and held a bundled baby to her chest with the other. She released the railing just long enough to wave.

Road Demon smiled and raised a gloved fist in response.

Gunfire erupted from the town. A wave of the infected surged across the parking lot. Several fired wild shots from pistols as they ran. The rest carried weapons that ranged from bats to metal bars.

The men on the dock didn’t dash for the bus, unconcerned about their own safe escape. They dropped to one knee and returned fire. Gaps formed in the front rank of the infected. Replacements filled it. The mob drove forward.

The men got off one more volley. Then the infected surged through and over them. The first rank mauled the defenders, tearing at them with bars and blades and teeth. The rest rushed past to the ferry.

The crowd on the ship let out a collective scream. The ferry’s nose dipped as the passengers ran from the endangered stern.

At the dock, three infected in a flat-out run launched themselves at the retreating ferry. The first fell straight into the water. The second landed with the ramp’s edge across its chest. It scrambled for a handhold on the slick metal surface and then slipped off into the wake from the ship’s spinning propellers. A red patch surfaced in the water and dissolved.

The third one cleared the growing gap with ease. It landed on both feet, arms spread for balance, knees flexed against the impact. It looked up with triumphant blood-red eyes.

Two women rushed the boarder. Before it could rise, one grabbed each arm and swept it back off its feet. It clawed and snapped at the women as they dragged it back, and threw it off the edge of the ramp. It hit the water with a splash and bobbed to the surface.

The women high-fived in victory. Blood seeped from a fresh, curved wound on one woman’s arm, the size and shape of a set of human teeth. She noticed then looked in panic at the other woman. The wounded one shook her head in a slow plea for mercy.

The other woman showed none. She lowered a shoulder and without hesitation body checked the wounded woman into the water. The ferry chugged forward. She surfaced, spit a mouthful of seawater and dog-paddled toward shore. The infected who was bobbing a hundred yards behind her swam to intercept.

The ferry sailed out of the harbor, bound for Connecticut, in search of compassion.

Thirty-two minutes later, a black smudge rose from the horizon when the USS Sailfish torpedoed the ferry. An armed volunteer civilian flotilla ensured there were no survivors.

Categories: Horror, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Excerpt: A Christmas Kindness, by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

A-Christmas-Kindness-digital-coverTitle: A Christmas Kindness

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Find out more on Amazon

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Excerpt:

Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert’s ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water.

///////////////////////////////////////////

CCMalandrinos Author Photo

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author, ghostwriter, and editor. Her children’s books include Little Shepherd (GAP, 2010) and A Christmas Kindness (4RV, 2012 & 2014). She is also a book reviewer and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at:

Website: http://ccmalandrinos.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cheryl-C-Malandrinos-170542359697682/

Categories: Children's, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Excerpt from Donna McDine’s Children’s Picture Book, ‘Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters’

dee

Title: Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters

Genre: children’s

Author: Donna McDine

Websitewww.donnamcdine.com

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Purchase linkwww.donnamcdine.com / Guardian Angel Publishing / Amazon 

About the Book: The anxiety of finding one’s own place and friends in kindergarten without the comfort of having her fraternal twin sister nearby at first overwhelms Dee until she realizes even without her fraternal twin sister, Dee and her classmates for the most part are in the same boat.

Excerpt:

“Dee and Deb, twin sisters, were always together – crib mates to playmates. The first day of kindergarten had arrived. They rode the bus to school, holding hands tightly. Their fingers slipped apart when they walked down the hallway to find their classrooms.”

About the Author: Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. Her latest release Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters joins the four early reader children’s picture books, A Sandy Grave(January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) all with Guardian Angel Publishing. Join McDine as her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI.

donna

Connect with Donna on the Web!

www.donnamcdine.com

www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/DonnaMcDineAuthor

https://twitter.com/dmcdine

Categories: Children's, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Chapter reveal: Casey’s Last Chance, by Joseph B. Atkins

casey'slastchance800pxTitle: Casey’s Last Chance

Genre: Mystery

Author: Joseph B. Atkins

Website:

http://www.laborsouth.blogspot.com

www.sartorisliterary.com

Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group

Purchase on Amazon 

About the Book: Tough, gritty, and atmospheric, Casey’s Last Chance unfolds against the backdrop of a treacherous, race-torn 1960s South that’s ready to explode with civil rights workers challenging an organized resistance itching for combat. The central character, Casey Eubanks, is a small-time North Carolina hustler on the run after an argument with his girlfriend Orella leaves his cousin dead. A crony steers him to a big operator in Memphis, Max Duren, a shadowy former Nazi with a wide financial network. Duren hires Casey to do a hit on labor organizer Ala Gadomska, who is stirring up trouble at one of Duren’s mills. Things go wrong, and Casey’s on the run again, this time from Duren’s goons as well as the cops. Enter Martin Wolfe, a freelance reporter investigating Duren’s operation. He tries to solicit Casey to help him and FBI agent Hardy Beecher bring Duren down. Casey dumps Wolfe, steals his car, and returns home to Orella. A bloody shootout with a Duren goon, however, convinces Casey to join Wolfe and Beecher. It’s Casey’s last chance. The three take off back across the South to execute a plan to destroy Duren. Everything works until the explosive end…but will anyone emerge unscathed?

CHAPTER 1

July 1960 …

The night sky broke just as the Greyhound crossed the Tennessee line. Down came a blinding deluge that forced cars and trucks off to the sides of Highway 72 and under the shelter of the overpasses, but not the Memphis-bound bus that carried Casey Eubanks. He stirred through the troubled sleep that overtook him after the stop in Decatur, and stretched his arm across the newspaper in the seat next to him. He heard none of the rain that beat against the windowpane, only Clyde Point’s voice in his dream.

This is your last chance, Casey Eubanks.

The bus braked to make the left onto Union near downtown. It was a half-hour early.

I’m already way out on a limb talking you up to my boss like I did. He’s telling the Big Guy, the Big Mahah, you’re the right man for the job, but are you man enough to take the job?

Casey woke to the lights leading up to the crest of the hill where Union crosses Front and then descends toward the Mississippi River. People huddled in doorways and under awnings. As the bus pushed through the sheets of rain, he spotted two platinum blondes at the entrance of an open garage. Their lips worked feverishly as they stabbed the air between each desperate drag of their cigarettes.

He could still hear Clyde’s voice.

You get a new life, a new identity, the cops off your back, plenty of cash in your pocket, and maybe, someday, that pool hall you used to tell me was your big dream. And you get to forget the woman who put you in this mess.

Casey had been to Memphis before—when the sidewalks swelled with uniforms, drunk, swaggering GIs forcing the black zoot-suiters spilling off Beale Street to move to the side. He’d come with an AWOL high roller from Fort Bragg who promised to back him in a nightlong set of three-cushion, one-pocket, and straight pool at $200 a match. The high roller disappeared after he lost the second round of one-pocket, and the last thing Casey remembered was getting his head split open with a blackjack. He woke the next morning at the bottom of the levee, the Mississippi River to one side and Cotton Row to the other.

He climbed off the bus, groggy and in a bad mood.

Do it right, and both you and me reap the rewards.

He wanted his hotel room and his bed. Other than a few travelers and a Commercial Appeal hawker, the station was dead. He stopped to buy a paper. CUBAN STREET FIGHTING read one headline. His eyes moved across the page. KENNEDY OUTLINES PHILOSOPHY ON LABOR. He turned to the pages inside—EXOTIC DANCER OPENS AT THE SULTAN CLUB—then flipped from front to back, and back to front again. No news about the killing of Bux Baggett in Jonesboro, North Carolina, the woman who caused it, and the curly-headed fool who did it and who’s on the lam, a hustler and pool shark with a tattoo of Rita Hayworth on each arm.

Your last chance, Casey Eubanks.

Casey stood at the station entrance and checked out the street. The rain had subsided. Streams of neon red and yellow reflected off the pavement. The blondes were walking eastward, their heads side-by-side under a parasol, still gesturing with their cigarettes.

In the glass window to his right, just close enough to catch the corner of his eye, he saw another fake blond, himself, an alien named James Thompson, the burial insurance salesman who’d snatched his body back in Phenix City. He studied his new self, the dyed hair, the oversized gray suit Clyde Point had given him. For a moment he felt as if he were high. High on reefer. Like the time he dropped his favorite cue stick and watched it slither across the pool table. He knew it was no snake, but he never touched that stick again. Never even looked at it.

He thought of the woman who put in the dye, the scowl in the bathroom mirror, the stubby fingers that dug through his hair like grub worms.

“Curly, you gonna look weird as hell as a blond,” she’d told him. “You too dark to be a blond.”

He stepped out into the steam and made his way up Union, past the golden glow of the Peabody Hotel, through the airless night, when it’s a struggle even to breathe, toward what Clyde called a “little, easy-to-miss street named November 6,” where he’d find his hotel.

What he found was an alley lined with trashcans and fire escapes. At the far end of it was a neon sign: Hotel Paris. The alley served the side door exits for every building on it except the hotel itself, four stories of stacked brick, a lean-to with nothing to lean to. It was just wide enough for three windows on each of the three floors above the lobby. As he walked toward the hotel on the oily strip of tar and asphalt, he heard the scramble of claws against the pavement.

Casey jumped the puddle in front of the entrance and opened the door. Inside was a stretch of darkness broken by a lone bulb hanging over the counter at the other end of the lobby. A clerk in a navy blue shirt and dark pinstriped vest scribbled on a notepad. A young guy, early twenties. A cigarette dangled from his lips as he stopped to hum a few notes before jotting something down. Nearby was a black vinyl couch. On the wall behind it hung a photograph of a city boulevard on an overcast day—no people, no cars, only deserted sidewalks and empty cafés. A Swastika hung from the roof of a building. Beneath the photograph, in gold letters, was Champs Elysées, Paris, 1941.

An overhead fan buzzed. By the couch was an unlit stairway. You been a small-timer all your life. Now you get to play in the big leagues. The big leagues. A bus ticket to a cheap flophouse in a back alley.

He approached the counter.

“Name?” the clerk asked, ashes dropping from his cigarette onto his notepad. He blew them off to the side.

“James Thompson.”

The clerk checked his ledger and reached below to grab a chain with a single key. He dangled it in the air. “Welcome to the Hotel Paris,” he said, dropping the key into Casey’s open palm. “Suite 13. Your lucky number. Bathroom’s at your end of the hall.”

 

He flipped the light and climbed the stairway to the third floor. The kid was right. His suite was next to the bathroom.

Categories: Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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