Posts Tagged ‘dark fantasy’

 Taking on the Dead Series by Annie Walls

The Famished Trilogy

I’m so excited!

Contolling the Dead, Book Two in the Famished Trilogy, is coming soon!

I loved Taking on the Dead and Kansas stole my heart!

Check out the cover art. Doesn’t it just grab you and make you want to rush out and get this.

Hope to have it in my hands soon!

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With the help of her new companions, the path Kansas follows leads to more knowledge of the ever adapting famished.

The team finds help in unlikely places, meeting more survivors, and discovers the possibility of a new beginning.
When the team experiences a devastating loss, Kansas struggles to keep her humanity from fading and distorting like that of the surviving society around her. It begins with knowing who to trust and who to leave behind. First, she must trust herself – she won’t make the same mistakes twice.
As the answers to her questions are revealed, Kansas begins to understand the knowledge comes with a heavy price and great responsibility of controlling the dead.
In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is as emotional as it is horrifyingly gripping.

Check out this cool trailer!



I have to have this! Gimme! Gimme!

Check out Annie’s Blog for more about The Famished Trilogy.

Earlier, I read Taking on the Dead, the first book in this amazing series. I’m going to go ahead and repost my review so you don’t have to leave this page!

I really wanted to hurry and get this read for release day, but I forced myself to take my time. I did not want to miss one tiny bit of it!

Taking on the Dead (The Famished Trilogy, #1)

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I love the grainy image of the cover. It sets the tone for the story and this girl is perfect for the protagonist, Kansas. I am loving her dreadlocks and she knows how to use that machete, as you will see when you read Taking on the Dead!

Let’s get to the book shall we?

So here you are at the carnival, walking hand in hand with your boyfriend, anticipating a night of rides and games, taking in all of the sights, sounds and smells. Suddenly, zombies are everywhere, and you are in for the fight of your life.

That’s what happened to Kansas. She survived that night, but paid a heavy price.

Fast forward to four years later. Kansas City Sunshine Moore, also known as Kansas or Kan for short,  has been surviving, hiding out in her family’s underground bunk all alone. A betrayal by a group of people she offered shelter to forces her to leave her home and search for a new one. She quickly discovers there is much she doesn’t know about the zombies. There are the fresh ones, the Famished, and they are very fast and strong. What else doesn’t she know? She has been secluded for four years and now it looks like that wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

The first time Kansas meets Rudy, they don’t actually meet. With the long reach of his compound bow, he helps clear zombies from her path, but Kan is still wary of strangers and jumps in her car and races away. It’s a good thing Rudy decides to follow her, because the next time they meet he saves her life.

Kan comes to in the back of Rudy’s van. Well actually, it is an armored truck, the kind used to transport money, and it’s perfect for keeping out the pesky zombies. It can also mow them down easily. After a brief scuffle, Rudy convinces her he means no harm. Through conversation, Kan learns about the Famished, the dangerously fast zombies, and how different they are from the others. She learns a lot about what’s been happening while she was isolated in her bunker the first four years. Staying with Rudy, at least for now, is her best bet.

My thoughts and Ramblins

I’m going to warn you, I feel this story is for the older reading audience. There are no graphic sexual scenes but there is some mature content.

I love my zombies and I sure did get plenty of them in Taking on the Dead. I also got one heck of a great story about survival and humanity, and the lack of it. Not everyone that survives is nice, just like before the apocalypse. The characters are diverse and all too human.

Of course, there is some romance in the story. It is subtle, creeping up on you, just like it does to Kansas. It is not the focal point, but it definitely makes the story better. Wouldn’t you want someone to have and to hold when your world is overrun with zombies? I know I wouldn’t mind having someone to care about, otherwise, what’s the point of surviving?

Kansas is strong-willed and independent, but not necessarily a loner. Enter Rudy and her life gets complicated. Who could resist a man like him. Strong and gentle, with a large dose of sexiness and endearing humbleness. They are a good fit.

Here are some of my favorite scenes:

I almost elbow Rudy to wake him until I see how he looks when sleeping…Despite all the fighting, his nose is straight. Small scars from past fights etch his skin. A small, wide one dresses his lower lip. One much longer goes from his lower jaw to underneath the chin, his stubble efficiently covering it up. A chipped tooth adorns his bottom row of teeth.  The scar on his right eyebrow no longer allows hair to grow, splitting the eyebrow in half. He might get another scar on his left eyebrow, the cut is scabbed over now, and it’s wider then the scar on his left side. Very small imperfections, not even noticeable unless you look closely. It doesn’t take away from his handsome face. It enhances his masculinity, as if he needs it. The small flaws have history and give him character. Flaws I want to know about, and could grow quite fond of if I’m not careful.

Jesus. This chivalrous barbarian is beautiful. What am I getting myself into?

And of course some humor

“I’m thinking of naming your truck. I must be out of it.” I prop my head on the pillow against the window.

There’s slight amusement across his features. “What did you have in mind?”

“I don’t know. Something domineering and associated with a big ass.” I motion with my hands.

He surprises me by saying, “Agatha. I had a teacher in the sixth grade, and that was her first name. She liked her power over us weaklings and she had a gigantic ass.” He starts laughing and shaking his head as if to clear the thought.

“Yeah, that fits. Agatha.” I say, trying it out.

“She was scary. I was glad when sixth grade was over.” We both laugh at this. I can’t picture him afraid of anything. It feels good to be laughing about something completely stupid. I can see he needed to laugh too.

The humor is well placed throughout the story, lightening the mood and giving you a break from the stress of survival, just as it would in real life. You know the scenes, where the cop makes a joke in poor taste about a victim?  That is a coping mechanism, and everyone needs one. The humor makes this story believable.

In one part Kansas poses an interesting question about zombies. One I am now curious about as well.

Do the souls get stuck to watch and feel their bodies decompose, all the while having an uncontrolled, insatiable craving? I guess that’s why I like killing them, just in case. No one deserves that fate.

There are some colorful characters you’ll be meeting.  There are the good, the bad, and the ugly. They all play their part, keeping you entertained and engaged.

This is my stopping point. I don’t like to tell much about the story past the one-third point. I like to draw you in and get you interested, much the way Annie Walls did to me.

I loved every second I was in it, and yes, it felt like I was a part of it. Fantastic job Annie!

Just one more thing and then you can go get Taking on the Dead.

About the ending!

I was talking to Mandy over on Goodreads. She is right about the ending! That’s all I’m saying.

  Still loving it and feeling it!!

More good news! There are two more books in this series coming out.

Controlling the Dead, Book Two

Living with the Dead, Book Three

Annie Wallsr

About Annie Walls

Author of dark fantasy and sub-genres of horror. Voracious Reader and Googler. Lover of dark humor. Horror Buff. Zombie Apocalypse Enthusiast. Loyal Cracked follower. Pinterest Addict. Wife of adoring husband. Mother of a five year old Bruce Wayne. Cook. Maid. Kisser of boo-boos. Ultimate Time Waster. Perfect Procrastinator. Lolly Gagger. Trubie. Cake Decorator. Tea Drinker. Sculpey Sculptor. Girl Gamer. Perfectionist in the art of Facebook stalking. And now, God help me, a blogger. Oh yeah, and a twitter, twatter, tweeter. Well yeah, I’m one crafty bitch

You can find Annie here:

You can purchase Taking on the Dead by clicking on the cover image below.

And now for the fun stuff. Announcing the winners!

This has been a great giveaway! I want to thank Michael Hebler for letting me host this. And I want to thank everyone for your comments and helping make this a huge success.  Okay, I’ll get to it!

Winners of Night of the Chupacabra:

Winner of Paperback: Emma Meade

Winner of e-book: John Z

Happy Dance:) I have emailed the winners and forwarded their contact information to the author. He will contact you about your prize.

You can purchase your copy of Night of the Chupacabra by clicking on the image below.

I have a special Limited Edition giveaway for you.

But first I want to tell you about Pay Back!

Pay Back by Evans Light


About the cover

Some people didn’t like the cover art. When you read the story, look at it again. It fits!

This guy, Stephen Hill, is a perfect example of a loser. He has no redeeming qualities and nothing in his noggin. He’s ignorant, lazy and heaps verbal abuse on all of those around him. His pathetic attempts at belittling Joe, his only friend, to make himself look better, made me angry.

We’ve all know someone like Stephen. He’s a mental bully. His mouth spews out put downs like shit through a goose. All because he’s angry. Angry at the world.

Now Joe is not what you expect. He’s intelligent, well actually he’s a genius. So why does he put up with the abusive Stephen? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

The title “Pay Back” gives you a clue. I was “fist pumping”, saying “Oh Yeah!’

The ending took this from a 4 to a 5 star rating!

Now let’s get to know Evans Light. And then I have a giveaway!

Hi Evans. I’ve enjoyed reading your books and am so happy to have you here today.

Thanks so much, Laura! I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with readers. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and its thoughtful reviews, as well as your affiliated website A KNIFE AND A QUILL. I’m excited about this opportunity to be a part of the excellent work you’re producing.

PAY BACK is very much a story about bullying. Where did this story come from? Were you ever bullied?

No, I’m happy to say that I’ve been lucky enough to never have been involved in bullying, either as a victim or a perpetrator. PAY BACK originally had nothing to do with bullying, either, but it took a bit of a detour along the way to becoming the story it is.

Most of the stories I’ve written this year have had one of two main themes: either obsession, or deception. I’m not sure why this is the case, and psychology of it would probably require the involvement of a professional, so I’ll not pretend to understand it here. (Smiling)

PAY BACK initially fell firmly into the “obsession” category as the straightforward story of a young boy (the Joe King, “Nard”, character) struck with a far-fetched idea as a child, who then focused every ounce of his energy over the next few decades to execute that idea, achieving many scientific and technical breakthroughs along the way. Everything he accomplished in life was driven solely by his obsession to execute that single deviant idea from his childhood, for no purpose other than to prove to himself that it could be done. Stephen Hill, who is very much a bully in the final version, was originally drawn as a neutral narrator, simply a friend chronicling the story of his obsessed friend, unsure as to what his friend was working towards and then utterly horrified when the gruesome goal was achieved.

As I prepared to write PAY BACK, I started thinking of different ways to tell the story, and the concept of working through an unsympathetic (and ultimately unreliable) narrator emerged. I thought it would be an interesting challenge and stretch my talents as a writer. But there was an inherent risk in using a first-person voice to give life to such a dislikable character: the reader could confuse the hateful character with the author, and think the writer in reality possesses the same hateful viewpoint as the character telling the story.

I knew I was taking a risk in releasing PAY BACK, that it might be misunderstood and generate negative feelings and backlash from first-time readers – something no new author desires. At the same time, however, I felt that this story was something special – bold, new and exciting; it was a chance I was willing to take. Love it or hate it, PAY BACK is likely to be a story that readers will remember, and it stands as my own personal ‘stake in the ground’, to remind myself and show the world that I will never compromise in executing an artistic vision, popular or not.

Could you tell us about your choice for your cover?

I’m a major fan of Joe Hill. I think his short stories in 20th Century Ghosts are among the best ever written; and though Stephen King has become so prolific I can no longer keep up with his current output, his earlier novels informed me as a young man as to what heights a horror novel could achieve, especially in regards to characterization.

When the first collaboration between Stephen King and Joe Hill, THROTTLE, was released shortly before PAY BACK was finished, I saw the simplicity of its cover design, thought it was beautiful, and decided that creating an homage would not only be an appropriate tip of the hat to my favorite authors, but also might bring my work to the attention of the King/Hill fanbase, who might appreciate my books as well.

Do you have a favorite genre, and if so, which one?

Stories of the “Weird Tales” variety remain my favorite. If a story is startling original, fiendishly clever, winks and smiles while scaring the hell out of you, I’m there. Think Joe R. Lansdale’s TIGHT LITTLE STITCHES ON A DEAD MAN’S BACK, Clive Barker’s HAECKEL’s TALE, or David Wong’s JOHN DIES AT THE END, and you’re standing dead center of my reading pleasure zone.

You’ve written many books. Do you have one that is your favorite and why?

Right now my personal favorite of the stories I’ve written is a toss-up between THE MOLE PEOPLE BENEATH THE CITY, and GERTRUDE (found in THE CORPUS CORRUPTUM, written with my brother and fellow author Adam Light).

I’m proud of MOLE PEOPLE because it came out just the way I wanted it to – the right length, the right flow, the right effect. I think I nailed it, at least for myself.

GERTRUDE, on the other hand, was like unexpectedly birthing a hideous deformity. I didn’t even know it was in me, it just popped out one day. It’s only three pages long, and I love it fiercely.

Is there one character from all of your books that stands out for you?

Gerard Faust, the unfortunate author from WHATEVER POSSESSED YOU. There’s probably a lot of me embedded in that character. I can certainly relate to how he feels after writing for long periods of time, consumed, reading finished product later and wondering where it really came from.

I wanted to explore his character in more depth in that story, but I was already cramming what probably should have been a novel into a short story as it was. Maybe someday.

You’ve been in some unusual situations. Care to share a couple?

I love exploring sensory limits and confronting personal fears, and some people have asked me if CRAWLSPACE was born out of time spent in sensory deprivation tanks. It was not a connection I would have made, because to me the inner space that can be explored in that environment is as limitless as the external universe.

The inspiration for CRAWLSPACE was born out of actual life experiences. For about a week as a young teen, I was forced to work underneath an aging house, spreading plastic sheeting and lime after school. I’d work under there for a couple hours at a time. The situation was pretty much exactly as described in the story.

Anyway, the person who owned the house made no bones about his opinion that his life would have been a lot better without me in it. After several days of working alone in the crawlspace spreading lime, I was in the far corner of the house where the clearance overhead was very low. I tried to get every spot covered to avoid punishment later, but as I tried to get the lime into a particularly snug spot I got stuck between the house and the ground. I panicked, and began to scream; it was the closest thing to being buried alive I’ve ever experienced, and it was terrifying.

 After a few moments the person making me work under the house poked his head into the tiny crawlspace door, some forty feet away, his dark eyes barely visibly in the dim light of the single bulb. As he understood my predicament, a look of evil pleasure crossed over his face. I knew what he was thinking.

I got myself unstuck and out from under the house as fast as I could, thankful that he hadn’t turned off the light and locked the door behind him. I also made the decision that I would never allow that person to get between me and the crawlspace exit ever again.

What’s next? Are you currently writing something?

I’m currently in the final stages of completing my next project, a novella called ARBOREATUM (yes, that’s the correct spelling. ARBOREATUM is horror, the tale of two settler families stranded on the prairie as they attempt the journey west. I think fans of my previous work will find a lot in this one to enjoy as well.

The cover of PAY BACK drove so many people insane that I decided to make the ARBOREATUM cover a tribute as well – this time to Joe Hill’s soon-to-be released short story THUMBPRINT.

ARBOREATUM should be ready for release within the next thirty days.

I’ve heard of writers who find themselves challenged at times when trying to develop new ideas, new concepts for stories. I have the opposite problem: I already have so many story and book outlines developed and waiting to be written that I doubt that even if I sat and wrote every minute of every day for the rest of my life if I’d ever get them all done – and they just keep on coming. So I feel very fortunate in that regard. My primary struggle as a writer is deciding what to work on next.

Five Fun Shorts!

1) favorite movie?

That’s a tough one, but my first instinct is to say DONNIE DARKO.

2) poker face or open book?

100% poker face when first meeting someone. Once you’ve gained my trust, though – it’s a whole different story. There are some people I trust to the ends of the earth.

3) martini, shaken or stirred?

Ale – Pale or IPA? is a more appropriate question for me.

I’d say IPA, usually.

4) favorite villain in books or movies?

Judging from the pictures and horror paraphernalia in my house, most people would guess THE TALL MAN, from the Phantasm movies. They might be right.

5) best way to travel?

a) plane

b) train

c) automobile

d) other? could be anything!

By plane, definitely. No one can call me, text me or otherwise molest my concentration once the wheels leave the ground; and the white noise the engines afford stoke my imagination and get my “flow” flowing. I can produce pages twice as fast on a plane as I can anywhere else.

I just recently read and reviewed two of Evans books, Whatever Possessed You? and Crawl Space. You can read my reviews here. Loved them. They really creeped me out.

A strange encounter leaves Gerard Faust a changed man. Now with sanity slipping away, he finds himself caught in a race against time to uncover what happened that night – before it possesses him completely.

Fooling around on your wife can be hazardous to your health.

Just ask Tom.

He’s a man who has a lot to juggle: a frustrated wife, a secret new girlfriend, and the unpleasant task of trying to keep his deteriorating farmhouse from falling down around him.

Now with his wife out-of-town for the week, Tom is eager to get busy under the covers with his beautiful new lover – but first there’s something he has to finish up…in the CRAWLSPACE.

This thrilling, full-length short story is a hair-raising adventure for cheating husbands, cheated-on wives, and everyone in between.

And I have a giveaway for you!


Lingering lovesick ghosts and wives hellbent on revenge, along with sinister demons, forgotten campgrounds and malintent friends populate this collection of original, compelling, and downright odd short stories, each as complete and satisfying in their conclusion as a small novel.

This unforgettable anthology features five dark tales from the new master of modern horror and fantasy, and is essential reading for fans of horror, thrillers, black comedy and gothic romance alike.

The Mole People Beneath the City – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE!
Whatever Possessed You?
Dark Curtains (with alternate ending)
Bonus Story:

Evans is giving away Stories, Inc on Amazon. It will be valid worldwide – US, UK, India, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and run from Monday, October 22nd through Friday, October 27th.

To get your free copy go here and take a close look at the cover. This special limited edition was created just for this promotion. And, Evans added not one, not two, but four  more stories just for us!

Author contacts



You can find all of Evans books here .

Evans Light

Night of the Chupacabra

The Chupacabra Series – Book One



Author:  Michael Hebler

Style:  Anthology

Theme:  Dark Fantasy / Thriller / Western

Length:  300 pages (print) / 68,000 words

Binding:  Perfect bound & digital (.mobi, .epub, .pdf, .rtf, .lrf, .pdb


I’m thrilled to be able to tell you about this brand new release!

The men huddle around the campire. The glow from the flames refelcts on their faces. A friendly game of poker between the two brothers is interupted by little Jessica, Drake‘s daughter.  Gavin grins, knowing Drake still can’t figure out how she is sneaking out of the wagon.

Fearing Lucy’s wrath, Drake tucks Jessica back in bed and then stops to talk with his wife. That’s when it starts. The animals are an early warning. They jerk loose and tear off into the desert. Then an unholy roar comes from one of the wagons, soon accompanied by screams of terror.

The brothers race to get their guns, but before they can reach the wagon, something too fast to follow leaps from one wagon to the next and the screaming starts again. The chupacabra easily leaps from wagon to wagon, killing in a blood lust. All goes quite.

Then they get their first look at the creature. It’s the size of a man, but there the resemblance ends. It’s covered in brown fur, it’s spiked tail flicks back and forth, it’s red eyes glow, and it’s stench can be smelled from across the fire.

Then it leaps into Drake’s wagan. He dives in after it. The wagon shakes, rocks and bursts into  flames. The creature bursts forth, engulfed in flames, and runs right into Gavin, pinning him to the ground. Gavin is being burned alive.

chupacabra photo: Chupacabra chupacabra.png

Impossibly, the thing is alive and leaps up to run off into the darkness, leaving Gavin mortally wounded. Lucy runs away into the night, driven hysterical by the loss of her daughter.

All this Drake sees as he lies helpless on the ground, horribly burned.

I can’t believe this all takes place at the beginning of the book. From the first sentence, you get to meet the Chupacabra and by the second chapter, he gets up close and personal.

If this story didn’t take place in western days, say it took place now, I still don’t know what could have been done. The thing is just too fast.

Drake did survive the attack. He’s horribly disfigured, his face a fright to gaze upon. He  has traveled from dusty town to dusty town looking for his Lucy. Each time he thinks he’s found her, it’s a false lead.Then he enters Dillmore Valley, A Fine Community. A strange welcome as the town is hidden in a valley, away from view.

He’s not alone. Something has followed him. He doesn’t want it dead. It has it’s uses.

I just can’t resist this kind of tale. I love scary stories of creatures in the night. I have for as long as I can remember.

Michael Hebler is a fine writer. I can feel the heat of the flames, smell the reek of the Chupacabra, and taste the dust of the trail in my mouth.

When Drake rides into Dillmore Valley it reminded me of Clint Eastwood appearing out of the desert and riding into town in the movie High Plains Drifter. Drake has that same aurora around him. No one in their right mind would mess with him, it’s better to avoid his attention.

I can’t tell you a whole lot about the characters as it would reveal too much of the plot. What I can tell you is they are a diverse lot, just like any small town. You have your nosy parkers, the town drunk, the belligerent bully and then you have the ladies. Each character brings a genuineness to the story, keeping you engrossed and curious. I love character driven stories.

Of course, let’s not forget the Chupacabra. He is something else! You don’t just get a little bit of him here and there. He is very busy, rending, ripping and terrorizing throughtout the book.

Okay. I’ll stop here. I could ramble on and on, but then I’d be telling everything. I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Michael Hebler gave me more than I ever expected. I’m thrilled to know he is making this a series. It will be interesting to see where it goes next.

  I loved it and need more!

Check out this great trailer!



Press Release

Newport Beach, CA, XXXX XX, 2012 —On October 17, Fiction writer Michael Hebler, author of the acclaimed crypto-zoological short storyHunt for the Chupacabra” publishes his first novel entitled, “Night of the Chupacabra” about a scarred man – on the inside and out – who searches endlessly for his missing family while the creature that separated them is never far behind.

Synopsis:  There is a creature that lurks in the vast open deserts of the west.  It can only survive on blood and, although it prefers to prey on the weak and young, it will slaughter anyone or anything, once provoked.  It is unnatural, deceptive, and difficult to kill.  Word about the existence of this elusive beast has not spread since anyone who has crossed paths with it did not live long enough to tell of their account.

Night of the Chupacabra” is a profoundly moving story about one man’s determination to reunite with his beloved family while the lethal creature that separated them, the mysterious and ravenous chupacabra, is on his trail.  “Night of the Chupacabra” is not only a gruesome regale of carnage, but also a unique combination of science fiction bloodshed with a more poignant tale of lost love set against a Western backdrop.  The plot is an unflinching look at the impossible choices that are made for love, while knowing the consequences would ultimately lead to a fate worse than death.

Recently made famous by reports of sightings throughout the western United States, “Night of the Chupacabra” is the first novel in a new dark fantasy/thriller anthology that will span from the Old West to modern times, based on the cultural phenomenon, el chupacabra.  “The chupacabra has always fascinated me because nobody can explain exactly what the chupacabra is.  Is it an animal or a monster?  A mutant or an alien?  Where did it come from?  The only agreement there seems to be is that it feeds on blood.  Even the name ‘chupacabra’ translates to ‘goat-sucker’,” states Hebler.  “I love genre fusing but the reason why I decided to begin this soft horror anthology in the Old West was to go back in time far enough to give the chupacabra some roots.”

Author Hebler is already hard at work completing Curse of the Chupacabra, the second novel in the Chupacabra Series, which he would like to publish in 2013, and currently has plans to extend his anthology to five novels, with additional side short stories.

Night of the Chupacabra” will be available in print and eBook formats.  More information can be found at Michael Hebler’s official author page,


Michael Hebler was raised and lived all of his life in beautiful Southern California.  He spent a handful of years as an international film publicist before guiding his career path towards writing.  To date, Hebler’s previous published works include, “The Night After Christmas,” a timeless holiday picture book for believers of all ages, and the free Chupacabra Series short story, “Hunt for the Chupacabra“.  In addition to writing his series of chupacabra thrillers, Hebler also runs a blog, “My Little Obsessions” where he likes to muse about what distractions life has to offer.







You can purchase all of Michael Hebler’s books by clicking on the images below.

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