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Score

Blood Legends: Undead – Episode Eleven

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There are some places you can’t remember but can’t forget.


“Dance with me.”

“I’m an awful dancer.”

“You’re wrong. Your soul dances with mine every day.”

There are some places you can’t remember but can’t forget. She had a secret; a garden filled with precious blooms and wild roses. Eden. I had never known a love so deep; so pure. She was a gift on earth. Now, she was nothing. Her dreams were invisible dust on lost memories. Scarla was gone.

“Bella donna.” I didn’t recognize my voice as I hunched over the steering wheel of the pickup and struggled to focus on the road. Sun groaned. The sound of her voice startled me as her head lulled on my lap.

I glanced down at her, flinching as the moonlight struck golden hair stained crimson. Our blood mingled. My hands were tacky as I reached to stroke her forehead. Her skin was ice. “Almost there. Stay with me.” 

 Her body lay curled up on the pickup bench seat. She was limp and pitted from the bullets that had hit her. Her lips were tinged blue as her jaw slackened beneath fluttering eyelids.

“Wha – where are we going?”

I barely heard her above the rumbling engine as we careened through city streets. The broken white lines on the road flashed against the headlights like apparitions. Death is unforgiving. I was clawing at its door. Stay or go? Nothing left to breathe for; nothing except the score. It’s strange how we find our greatest strength when looking down the barrel of oblivion.

“We’re going to level the score.”

My body felt raw. I was butchered and bleeding. It hurt to breathe and my mind was a hazy impression of honey-amber eyes and sensuous plump lips. The place I can never remember; the place I’ll never forget. Grief lingered somewhere above me. Or perhaps it was grief that froze my heart and overrode my senses as the pickup skidded around the final corner, but it was hatred that motivated me when I slammed my foot on the brake outside the building.

An eerie quietness shrouded the cabin when I killed the engine. The moments stilled as I peered ahead at nothing. Nothing. I didn’t see the darkness flooding the street nor the towering shadows cast by the buildings. All I saw were fading memories of a life I would never know again.  

Sometimes, the choices we make aren’t ours to decide. Sometimes, the path forces us to unfathomable places. My choice to come here felt as if it was out of my hands. I’d come here for retribution. I’d come to do the unthinkable; to pledge the remainder of my days to darkness, violence and yield to the thirst of blood. I’d come here to be undead. But I couldn’t make that choice for Sun. She had to choose for herself.

I gazed at her as she drifted in and out consciousness. She was pasty. Her breath was shallow and erratic. Like me, she wouldn’t survive her wounds for much longer. My tongue felt thick as I swallowed and tried to rouse her, stroking back a lock of her hair and speaking her name. She groaned softly.

“You’re a survivor, Sun. A ray of light in a world of fear and shadows.” I paused as she opened her eyes to gaze up at me. I forced a smile. “You have to choose now – death or eternal life in death.”

Her lashes clung together as she blinked and stiffened. Her bottom lip slackened before she lifted a hand and reached for my chin, wincing.

“J -Jett?”

I cupped my hand over hers and leaned my chin against her palm, squeezing my eyes shut as my heart shredded along with the blood oozing from my gut. Her skin was clammy and cold. Yet, the gesture was profoundly comforting and among the last I would ever know in my humanity. When I looked back at her, she merged with the tears blinding my eyes.

Her lips quivered as she inhaled sharply.

“I’ll die with you tonight, Jett.” She flinched and coughed. Her eyes dimmed as she looked at me again. “I’ll go where you go.”

I pressed my lips to her forehead. “Whatever happens, don’t let them take your soul.”

The sounds of unearthly screams caught in the still of the night and echoed along the street. My ears pricked and I felt my pulse quicken. I felt a sense of detachment as I climbed from the pickup and scooped Sun in my arms.

Cold.

I felt like a ghost despite the warm air that blew as I carried Sun toward the lobby doors of the building where I’d left my daughter the day before.

Weight. My knees almost buckled beneath the strain. I welcomed the pain. My veins throbbed but I relished the last of the fading warmth beneath my skin. I barely heard the distorted cries and harrowing shrieks carried on the slight breeze as they became closer. Closer.

The shadows came alive as dark figures emerged from the darkness. I balked as I clung to Sun and looked at them. Neon eyes glinted back at me from pallid expressions and milky skin. Scarlet lips curled up to reveal the dull gleam of fangs; hair glossed over shoulders clad in satiny attire as they regarded me. One of them started to move closer.

She regarded me from under a veil of vibrant red hair that cascaded to her waist. She reached out to stroke a talon across Sun’s cheek before flicking her cat-like eyes at me. Full lips broke into a grin.

“Welcome to the Mysticus clan, your daughter awaits you.”     


Also published by P.S. I Love You on Medium


Score is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends: Undead.

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The Proposition

Blood Legends: Undead – Episode Seven

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Fail and we were dead.


The vampire’s image flashed through my mind. Soulless eyes. It wasn’t even a thought. I was too pumped to think. My nerves felt stringy. My chest throbbed. I bounded up the stairs and every muscle strained. Sweat stung my eyes and almost blinded me as I shone the flashlight ahead. The stairwell was cramped, grotty and red. Dull scarlet lamps barely illuminated the landings. Human waste and stale iron snapped against my senses.

My breath was all I heard. Or was it Avila’s? She took the stairs two at a time in front of me. My calves pounded. My ears buzzed. No time to think. Control was just beyond my grasp. We had to get out of here.

Three flights up, one to go. The door below creaked open, the faint sound grated into my heart. The jarred door blew in the sound of laughter. Lunacy. It was familiar. Michal. Avila stopped suddenly. She grasped the piped balustrade and swung around. Wide eyes peered at me through the dark as footsteps flew up the stairs behind us.

“Dad?”

I pushed a palm into her back. “Go!”

For Christ’s sake — go!

The final landing loomed at the top of the stairs. Dark. Red. Hostile. My boots felt like a stampede. I pushed upwards. Avila was just about there. She yelped and tripped forward. I was so close behind her that she caught me in the offshoot. My chin slammed against her back and the machete slipped from my hand as I scrambled to get up.

I vaguely heard her behind me as she shifted to her feet and sprung onto the landing. The darkness was broken by a long hiss and golden eyes that glinted like firestones. Shallow breath. My fingers curled around the machete handle. I steadied my gaze to find him on the landing below me, golden hair like pink floss. Crimson lips appeared askew.

He leaned against the wall. His chin tilted and his lips twisted into a sinister grin. My senses zoned in on him as I crouched on the stairs.

“Going somewhere without saying hello?” His voice was a singsong. He tapped long talons together. “Tsk. Tsk. Would-be warrior humans, when will you ever learn?”

My eyes never left his. The clock was ticking.

His eyes narrowed to slits. His voice throaty.

“You cannot outsmart or outrun a vampire. Give me the vial.”

Shit. They know we’ve got the blood.

I took a sharp breath and grabbed the machete as he lunged up the stairs. He moved like speed. The machete blade slashed at his chest as his talons caught me.

He slipped to his knees, grinning. Blood spilled over the blade as I stood and swung again. He leapt to feet, catching the thrust of the blade with his hand and tearing it from my grasp. The metal clanked on the stairs and a roar tore from his throat as he lunged at me.

Time stalled as I dodged his yellow fangs and talons. Avila’s low shriek clung in my ear as she slipped from behind and jabbed her stake through his heart. His nails dug into my arm as he froze. His jaw dropped and his expression paled before he collapsed.

His body crumbled onto the stairs.

Holy fuck.

I spun around to see Avila panting. More footsteps came from below. No time to think. My arms burned. So did my lungs. I grabbed the machete. We bolted toward the lobby door, bursting across the threshold and sprinting through the vast dim space that separated us from the streets. There was sunlight in the street. Relative safety.

The distance appeared unfathomable. I kept my focus on the big lobby door. Avila ran silently beside me. Adrenaline burned through my system, dulling the pain. Fail and we were dead. Fail and the world would know even more evil.

My lungs silently screamed. Almost there. I reached for the chrome door handle and pulled. I heard a thump from behind. What the hell? Avila screamed beside me. My hand gripped the handle as I yanked on the door and turned to look for Avila. She was gone.

Sunlight flooded across the threshold and spilled into the lobby. I stood fast, jamming my boot against the heavy door as the warmth of the sun radiated over me. My chest heaved as my gaze darted around the lobby.

“Avila!”

“Dad!”

Her voice was followed by hideous laughter. That was when I saw her — trembling and ensnared between the claws of a vampire. My stomach dropped as I met her stare. They stood in the shadows along a wall painted gray that forked to give way to a series of long corridors. I hadn’t seen him coming, and now, she was at his mercy.

The vampire’s dark hair hung over his face and almost concealed eyes that glowed like neon lights as he held her firm. His fangs glistened only inches above her throat. She squirmed beneath his grasp and gritted her teeth.

“Let me go, asshole!”

He laughed, and his laughter was chorused by four other vampires as they emerged from the shadowy corridors to stand beside him. My heart felt like stone when I recognized Marius. It was defeat that gripped me.

I stood firm in the sunlight. I studied them as I struggled to gage the situation. The sun was neither friend nor foe in that moment. I wanted to burn to ashes as I beheld my daughter and took in her pallid expression and wild eyes. She swallowed visibly. Her eyes narrowed as she shook her head.

My little tough nugget.

I knew she meant for me not to yield to the bloodsuckers. Yet, I couldn’t accept what that would mean for her. Hopelessness rimmed as Marius moved toward Avila. He clasped her hand and pulled her to him. His pale features were a striking contrast against his thick black hair as he regarded her before turning toward me, grinning.

“Jett, isn’t it?” His brows raised as he looped an arm around Avila. He glanced down at her. “Such a beautiful daughter. Now, we both possess something that is precious to the other. What to do …”

I stiffened and lifted my chin.

“Let her go, Marius. I have what you want.”

“Step away from the sunlight and give it to me.” He went to stroke a strand of hair from Avila’s face but she turned her head away and looked at me.

“No, dad. Don’t give it to them.”

Marius laughed. His barnacle cronies joined in behind him. I wanted to kill them all.

“Hmm … such fire!” Marius glanced at the others before giving Avila an approving nod. His gaze darkened when he looked back at me. “Quite an admirable trait, but one that will not keep her alive.” He paused and took an exaggerated breath. “Tell you what; I have a proposition for you, Jett. I heard tell that you are an extraordinary hematologist — a skill I am in need of to help build the utopian world I have envisioned. Join us and no one needs to die today. In fact, no one need die ever. I’m offering you and your daughter the gift of eternal life. What do you say?”

I gaped at him as his words spiraled through my mind. It was despair that found victory over my emotions as I looked at Avila. She stood defiant and brave in the face of evil. Her eyes focused on me and my heart shattered as the weight of the situation shadowed me. If I handed the blood over to Marius, he would possess the power to transcend into a vampire with extraordinary abilities. He and his clan would become all powerful; monstrous creatures of the night that would ravage the earth and take every living being with them.

I could feel my veins bulging beneath my skin as Avila’s eyes dampened and she mouthed the word ‘no’. My heart lurched. I shuddered as I strained to provide an answer to a choice I’d never dreamed possible.

Dreams were yesterday’s wishes on charred wings. The survival of humanity now rested on my shoulders and my daughter’s life.

My beautiful little nugget.


Also published by P.S. I Love You on Medium


The Proposition is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends. Episodes set to publish weekly for 12 Weeks. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Blood LegendsUndead Episode Eight – Cry to Me Available in:

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Dead Air

Blood Legends: Undead – Episode Five

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Was I leading her into a death trap?


The print of my palm smudged the slick of grime layering the heavy glass door as I eased it open. Dozens of contorted prints already smeared the surface. Avila’s short breaths pricked the hairs on my neck as I peered into the lobby.

Dead air.

I scanned the dim spacious area. The foyer spread out in a flawless vision as my eyes darted, taking in the oversized couches and mahogany furniture among huge pots of faux greenery and sprawling rugs. On one side of the room, a vivid painting dominated the wall beyond a marbled countertop. On the other, rows of individual workstations lined the internal window-wall. My skin went cold as I spotted the solitary office chair lying overturned near the workstations.

My tongue suddenly felt like sandpaper as I inspected the black leather chair, which was the only evidence of the annihilated city beyond the heavy doors.

How had this building managed to escape the apocalypse?    

It was an unsettling revelation. Other than that, I detected no movement in the lobby, but that didn’t mean shit considering the vast space and dozens of upper floors I couldn’t see from this viewpoint. My gaze trailed to the door leading to the building’s stairwell which loomed unburnished and gray at the foot of the elevator corridor about fifteen meters away. I gripped the machete in one hand and a stake in the other, stealing myself to race to the door.

I glanced at Avila and gestured toward the stairwell. My voice was barely audible when I spoke. “Move fast and don’t make a sound.”

Her grim eyes nodded a reply. My heart lurched. I wanted to take her in my arms and hold her against my chest like I had when she was child. I wanted to make everything alright for her again. But it was a futile wish and wishes were yesterday’s dreams. There were no words enough to take away the reality. She had become a child of devastation.

Our boots hardly touched the floor as we dashed through the lobby, keeping to the shadowed sections of the room before stopping short of the stairwell door. My chest constricted as I glanced down the darkened corridor where metal elevator doors glinted dully in the muted light offered by the grubby windows skirting the lobby. The unscathed appearance of the place heightened the mood of eeriness.

Something doesn’t feel right.

I tried to suppress the thought and the accompanying shudder as I grabbed the door handle before slipping into the gloomy stairwell. The narrow shaft immediately seemed to close in all around me as an inkiness infected my bones. I paused to allow my eyes to adjust to the diminished light while Avila slinked in beside me.

She gagged. “Argh!” She clutched at my elbow. Her was voice low and shaky. “Death is here.”

She was right. The stench was unmistakable. It was distinctive and sickly-sweet and as familiar as the rising sun. I reached for the flashlight stowed in the side pocket of my rucksack, flicking it on to illuminate an endless flight of concrete stairs broken by short landings as far as the light stretched. A frigid draft filled the stark shaft. There were four flights of stairs between us and the lab. Four flights. I prayed that death lingered in the opposite direction as I reached for Avila’s trembling hand.

Her skin was cold against mine. She clutched the stake in her other hand as if it were an extension of herself as she clung close to me through the dark. I gave her a squeeze.

“I’m okay, dad.” 

Her words tore into me as I wondered if bringing her along had been the right decision. Was I leading her into a death trap? Would my choice forever change her destiny?

There was no way for me to know and no time to second guess my decision. The alternative was to leave her alone at the cottage. Now that the hawkers knew where to find us, she would have been a sitting duck. I told myself that she was safer with me as I released her hand, ignoring the tension in every nerve of my body as I eased down the stairs toward the lab.

The building groaned and the shadows seemed to deepen with each step downwards. Like contorting, dark limbs, they writhed and expanded against the shaft of light from my flashlight before disappearing into the blackness we left behind. Avila’s nails sunk into my waist as we crept along walls, her breath jagged in my ear while my senses went in overdrive. I pushed forward, progressing cautiously and with as much speed as I could, stopping when we reached the bottom of the stairwell to shine the light on the heavy metal door of the lab.

An odd sense of relief flashed through me as I skimmed the light around the bottom landing, seeing nothing but the gray slabs of concrete that enclosed the small area. The coast was clear but my fingers still tingled as they clutched the machete handle. I glanced at Avila and motioned toward the door. 

“Come on.”

I moved away from the wall as the sound of Avila’s stake clanked against the floor as it slipped from her hand. My body froze as the sound reverberated along the steel balustrades, echoing up the lengthy shaft in a climatic staccato. 

“Shit!” Avila cringed and scooped up the stake. She looked up.

I followed her gaze, catching sight of the balustrades glinting through the darkness as goosebumps covered my arms. My breath hitched at the faint sound of footsteps from above. Avila’s gasp was followed by a sudden pinging noise at our feet. I looked down at a silver coin rattling against the concrete before coming to an abrupt stop.

Holy fuck.  

Silence. I could barely breathe. Utter dread pulsed through me as I grabbed Avila’s arm and dashed toward the door, gripping the handle at the same time that it opened an inch to reveal Michal’s pasty face peering at me.

His dark eyes appeared spidery and wide beneath his glasses. His voice quivered.  

“Jett?”

“Michal.” I pushed on the door and ushered Avila into the lab, crossing the threshold as the cold draft carried the hideous sound of laughter. Two words clung in my mind.

Dead air.


Also Published by P.S. I Love You via Medium


Dead Air is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends. Episodes set to publish weekly for 12 Weeks. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Blood Legends: Undead Episode Six – Rare Blood Available in:

2019-12-20T21:30:00

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Rare Blood

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Hollow City

Blood Legends: Undead – Episode Four

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What if I couldn’t get to her in time?


“So, what’s your story, huh?” Avila glared at Sun sitting between us on the bench seat as we raced along the highway.

Sun shrugged; her fingers twisted in her lap. “What do you mean? My story isn’t any different from anyone else’s.”

“Ha.” Avila’s lips curled as she indicated the stake leaning against the seat beside Sun. “I’m not buying the innocent act, Sunny. What’s with the blood-soaked stake? Did you kill kindred?”

I glanced at Sun as her jaw squared while she stared straight ahead.

“No.” She gave a rueful laugh. “Turns out, stakes can kill humans too.”

Avila was silent for a moment. I could almost hear the gears in her mind turning over. Her eyes never left Sun.

“What happened? Who’d ya kill?”

Sun shifted slightly before she faced Avila. She frantically rubbed the back of her neck.

“Avila,” I started, shaking my head. “Leave it alone.”

Avila didn’t even look at me. Her eyes were like fire in water as she scrutinized our hitchhiker. It was Sun’s brittle voice I heard next.

“Hawkers. There were three of them. They stumbled upon me in an old church I was squatting in. They’d been drinking rum … and just as nasty as the devil’s drink.” She gave a half laugh and shook her head. “They’d been looking for some ‘pink cookie’, they said. For days, I couldn’t stop them, couldn’t leave, could barely breathe. On the fourth night, the ginger one got sloppy with his rope knot. I waited till the booze knocked them out cold and then I jimmied the rope from my wrists and drove this stake into each of their hearts.”

Avila raised an eyebrow. She nodded briefly before turning her gaze toward the passenger window. Not much was said after that. We’d all been through our version of hell. Sun was right. Her story was no different to anyone else’s.

The two women exchanged a few words every now then, but I tuned out for the most part. My thoughts were trained toward the rural landscape as it began to give way to desolate suburban streets that skirted the outer sections of the city. After hearing the disturbing scene Sun had just described at the hands of hawkers, I was having trouble pushing away visions of those barbarous humans pawing over my woman. Scarla must be beside herself with fear.

Swiney prickass lowlifes. If they so much as touched a hair on her head, I’ll kill them all — one way or another.

I couldn’t help but think of that last moment we shared on the beach together. The way the shade of her eyes deepened like copper inkwells when she looked at me. It haunted me. I’d failed her.

What if I couldn’t get to her in time? What if it all went to shit?

I shuddered as feelings of helplessness and anger coursed through me. The hawkers had said they had a way of testing the blood type. If that were true, I couldn’t produce anything other than the real thing. I had to keep my eye on the endgame. It was all I could do as I kept speeding through the streets, ignoring the stillness of the shopfronts, townhouses and buildings that only months before were part of a thriving city. Now, those dwellings were prey to vultures, crows and vermin that scavenged for human remains.

When the streets narrowed and the maze of suburban districts began to merge with clusters of tall city buildings, I slowed the pickup in search for a discreet place to park. The hidden laboratory was in Norbury’s southern precinct, about a mile and a half away. I didn’t want to risk drawing unwanted attention by driving the truck through the inner-city streets. We would walk the rest of the way.

Scarla’s favorite Italian restaurant caught my eye. We’d spent many an evening together drinking red wine and dining on boscaiola in that cozy joint. She loved it for its unexpected charm and authenticity. She loved it for its candlelit dining and checkered tablecloths. Bella donna. My gut knotted as I peered closer at its gloomy facade.

Below the sloped faded green roof, the windows were covered in a slick of grime, the words “Bella E Buona” now barely visible. I recalled the off-street parking bay around the back of the small building. It was a perfect place to stow the pickup, and quite fitting given we were here for Scarla’s sake.

I veered into the driveway and stopped the truck, the wrenching sound of the park brake shattering the silence in the cabin. I reached for my machete and the rucksack filled with rations and a water canister. I had also brought the hunting knives, a box of matches, a flashlight and a few candles. In the pickup tray, I stored a supply of fuel enough to get us back home. Avila and Sun gathered their belongings and climbed from cabin as I refueled the truck before setting off into the city.

Avila’s boots scuffed the gravel parking bay as she crept around like a predator. She was clad from head to toe in black, her jeans appearing sprayed against her slim legs as she clutched the cleaver in one hand while carrying the swaddled stakes over a shoulder. She moved closer to me, gesturing toward Sun.

“What are we gonna do about her?”

I finished refilling the tank and twisted the cap into place before straightening to peer at Sun. She rummaged through her rucksack before producing a canister and taking a sip. As harsh as it sounded, she couldn’t tag along with us. I could not risk jeopardizing the location of the laboratory.

“She will go her own way.”

Avila gazed at Sun and nodded. I knew what she was thinking, but we had helped the woman reach her destination safely. There was nothing more we could do for her. We had our own problems and time wasn’t on our side.

We parted ways with Sun and set off toward the lab. The hairs on my neck tingled as we hurried through the wasted city streets. It was as if time had frozen, leaving behind a collection of vacant buildings and harrowing steel in the wake of devastation. My breath shallowed as I thought about those who had died at the claws of the undead that hid in city basements and underground tunnels during the daylight hours.

A chill ran through me as we silently pushed forward, keeping our ears to the ground and our eyes trained on every street corner and abandoned car. You never knew what could be lurking in the shadows by day. Those brave enough to linger in the city with the bloodsuckers were just as dangerous as far as I was concerned. They were the ones who sought to strike a deal with the wicked. The ones who vowed to protect them while they slumbered. We called them the Shadow Guardians.

By the time we reached the building where the lab lay beneath ground level, the sun was swallowed behind the towering smoky glass and concrete buildings. The air cooled against the sweat on my brow and was tinged with the sickening stink of decomposing flesh. It wasn’t long before my fingers ached from gripping the machete so hard.

I stalled at the entrance of the building as I cocked my head to gaze toward its mirrored veneer. It was a building I was familiar with, having visited its plush interior levels on many occasions in the course of my career. The laboratory had been created for covert government research purposes. And while I had never worked for the agency, I did periodically have dealings with their ongoing intensive research programs. I was initially led to believe their sole purpose was to find a cure for cancer and other blood diseases. However, it wasn’t long before I became aware of the experiments with biological weapons that went on here. Particularly when presented with an in-depth confidentiality agreement.

I took a deep breath and turned to Avila. “Ready?”

Her eyes darted around the street before she looked at the huge glass doors leading into the lobby. She gulped.

“What if they’re inside?” Her voice wavered as she turned back to me. “What if we wake them?”

I reached out to stroke away a strand of hair from her face. I forced a smile, but it evaporated as soon as it had emerged. It was possible we could be walking into a vampire lair and there was nothing I could say to comfort her.

I steeled myself and took another sharp breath.

“Get the stakes out and keep close to me.”


Also published by P.S. I Love You on Medium

Hollow City is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends. Episodes set to publish weekly for 12 Weeks. Catch up on previous episodes here.


Blood Legends: Episode Five – Dead Air Available in:

2019-12-13T21:30:00

  days

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Dead Air


Never Miss Out on the Blood Legends Episode – Sign Up and I’ll Make Sure You Get Reminded When the Next Instalment Becomes Available. Episodes are Set to Publish weekly for 12 Weeks!

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The Hawkers

Blood Legends: Undead Episode Two

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Dying dreams on broken wings cannot fly.


A thick cloud of dust billowed above the road behind me as I slammed my foot against the accelerator of the pickup. Any other day, I would have taken extreme care to disguise the sound of the engine, much less leave an obvious path of smut leading toward the cottage. But today wasn’t any other day. Today Scarla had vanished without a trace.

Hawkers. It had to be. But how they managed to slip past me to grab Scarla undetected in a matter of minutes was beyond my comprehension. And all without so much as a sound from her to alarm me.

Since when did those lowlife pilferers possess such stealthy tactics?

My thoughts harrowed over the severe truth. Since vermin infected our streets and claimed most of the population.

Anarchy and destruction have a way of bringing out the best and the worst in humanity. Eventually, you cultivate the ability to ignore the suffering when desperation becomes second nature to every surviving human. But ignorance isn’t an option when you’re targeted by the wicked.

My knuckles whitened as I gripped the steering wheel and the tires slid over the rough terrain, just missing one of the dense and twisted tree trunks that fringed the road. I was covered in sweat and a thin layer of grime from searching the grassed hinterlands near the beach for signs of her. My face stung with the moisture that clung to the scratches I knew marked my face, but I barely felt it. It was all I could do to keep it together as I raced back to the cottage to get what I needed before starting back out to look for her.

Damn it! How could I be so foolish? How?

I let loose a barrage of four-letter words, fighting to keep control of what little resolve remained. I should have known better than to yield to Scarla’s desire to escape the confines of the cottage. Dying dreams on broken wings cannot fly. There is no room left in this world for the dreamers. They were poached the moment the virus murdered most of humanity.

Avila was already out front and standing at the foot of the cottage porch stairs when the truck skidded around the final bend to emerge into the clearing. Her aqua eyes narrowed toward me while her usually chiseled features scrunched beneath the thick tawny hair framing her face. As I yanked the parking brake lever and moved to get out of the truck, her olive complexion paled as she rushed closer and pulled on the truck door to face me.

“Dad?” Her gaze drifted beyond me to the empty truck cabin. My breath felt like steel when she looked back at me. “Wha … where’s Scarla?”

Her voice quavered but I could barely look at her. I shook my head fast before climbing out of the truck and pushing past her. I marched toward the cottage, bounding up the few stairs leading to the front door as she raced after me.

“Dad, stop!” She grabbed my arm, sinking her nails into my flesh as I reached the threshold. It was difficult to tame my racing mind when I turned to face her. Even more difficult to form the words I knew I had to say. Her brows dipped over a pinched expression. She clutched onto me. “What happened? Where is she?”

“I don’t know, she vanished.”

Her jaw gaped as I tore my arm from her and walked into the cottage. It was a modest dwelling with timber floors and burnt orange curtains that Scarla thought gave the place a cheerful vibe. I’d never agreed with that notion. I hated those curtains.

But curtains were the last thing on my mind as I stomped through the cluttered space that passed for the sitting area, heading for the room at the end of the short hall that stocked our supplies. The small room was filled with stockpiles of canned and dried foods, loads of water, kerosene, and piles of spare bedding among other things. It was here that I’d kept the few weapons I had managed to salvage before deserting the city.

Admittedly, there wasn’t a whole lot, and none of it would be of any use in the face of a vampire. Humans, on the other hand, could bleed when facing the blunt end of the few rusty hunting knives I’d collected. There was also a small-bladed axe, a cleaver and my prized possession, a machete that I used frequently to cut and gather firewood. I’d heard machetes were particularly useful for cutting limbs in addition to wood. Somehow, I got the feeling I might soon discover how to dismember a hawker or two. It was limbs and blood that I craved right now.

The blades were discreetly stacked on the shelf in the corner behind rows of water bricks, cans of fuel and oil, and dozens of bottles of bleach and candles. I began pulling them out as Avila burst into the room, stopping just short of me. I ignored her glare as her arms outstretched to take the knives as I pried them from the shelf.

“Hawkers?” Her boots squeaked on the timber floor as she swung around to place the weapons on an old coffee table pushed against the shelves.

“I didn’t see them.”

She took the cleaver from me, catching my gaze with solemn eyes.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to find the bastards and cut off their limbs, that’s what I’m going to do.” I swung my gaze from her and reached for the machete, stiffening when I felt her hand on my arm.

“It’s too late, dad. She’s gone. We can’t get her back.”

My entire body felt as if an explosion was shredding every organ. But my heart fought ceaselessly against the onslaught. As much as I loved my 22-year-old daughter, those were the words I didn’t want to hear.

I dropped my chin and sighed, the machete heavy in my hand as I allowed the blade to swing to my side. The inside of my head throbbed against my temple. It was pain that consumed me as Avila’s hard stare begged for my acknowledgment. The moments stood as still as a tomb on a starless night. They were the same moments that forever sealed our fate like an impenetrable vault. When I looked back at her, it was the pain that thickened my voice.

“I won’t let her go, Avila. I’ve already lost too much.” I shook my head. “I looked away from her for only a moment and they snatched her away. I have to get her back.”

Avila’s jaw twisted. She gnawed on her bottom lip before gesturing toward the lone window in the airless room.

“Okay, but there’s nothing we can do right now; it’s almost nightfall.” I was about to protest when she stopped me with a flash of a palm. “Listen dad, we can’t do this alone. You can’t do it alone. They’ll kill you on sight. We need to contact Michal. We need help.”

Michal was our sole connection to what little life remained in the city. We’d been work colleagues at the Norbury Blood Research Center for more than two decades. He was one of the most gifted hematologists I’d ever met and had chosen to stay in the city to search for a cure for the V-Virus, working with a group of vigilante scientists in an underground laboratory.

Our communication with Michal was sparse and not always reliable, considering that the only means of contact rested solely on old CB radio transmitter. We’d agreed to reach out to one another only when it was necessary. Scarla was more than necessary, but what could he do? He was a few hours’ drive away and I had no idea if he could handle a blade.

I swung my gaze toward the window, noting the diminishing light spreading through a gap in the curtains. Honestly, the way I felt, I could not care less about the threat of the kindred if it meant I could find Scarla and bring her home. But I was aware my thoughts weren’t rational at that moment. There was Avila; I had to protect her too.

Reaching out to Michal couldn’t hurt. Perhaps he could stay with Avila while I got this under control. My fingers clenched the machete handle as I glanced back at her, ready to concede when a loud knock thumped against the cottage door. The sound of my name spoken by an unfamiliar and gnarly voice reverberated through the flimsy walls.

What the hell?

Avila’s eyes widened. I motioned for her to stay put as I gripped the machete and raced to the front of the cottage, edging along the wall of the sitting room to steal a glance through the curtains at the yard. My blood drained to my feet as I caught sight of a group of hawkers spreading across the clearing and leaning against the timber porch frame.

There must have been about fifteen of them wearing ragged leather jackets above grimy jeans and carrying an array of long blades and rusted chains between frayed fingerless gloves. The voice called again; the sound of my name grating against my churning gut. I steeled myself, taking the few steps toward the door before flinging it open.

Stained teeth greeted me with a wry grin that split between wiry ginger whiskers. His tall, solid frame filled my vision as he toyed with a switch blade and cocked his chin to the side. Dark eyes bore into me above pockmarked skin.

“Ah, you’re home! How fortunate that we caught you at the witching hour.”

My eyes flashed dangerously.

“What do you want?”

He laughed, a few of his cronies joining in when he leered their way. He turned back at me.

“You’re asking the wrong question, my friend.” He leaned closer, his breath hot and rancid in my face. “I have what you want. The question you should be asking is how bad do you want it.”


The Hawkers is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends. Episodes set to publish weekly for 12 Weeks.


Catch up on the first instalment, Footprints Here


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Also published by P.S. I Love You via Medium


Rosemary A Johns: Vampires & Angels

Award-winning and best selling Author Rosemary A Johns has always been a rebel, a trait I can closely relate to 😉  She writes sexy British anti-heroes, savage vampires, and epic battles. Recently I had the pleasure to chat with Rosemary about her newest release, Vampire Huntress, writing and her incredible theater background.

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

I became a traditionally published short story writer at fourteen and then a playwright, so my first published novel (BLOOD DRAGONS, the first in my REBEL VAMPIRES series), was at aged thirty-four!

I’d taken time out of writing to care for my son who’s an autistic savant: everything he sees he remembers. It’d sparked me to wonder what it’d be like to be a vampire savant and to live for centuries, remembering both wonders and horrors with the clarity of a photograph. Would it be a blessing or a curse?

BLOOD DRAGONS IS AVAILABLE HERE: 

 

2. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I loved bringing the emotion and voice from my theatre background into the novel format. Writing is a thrilling emotional rollercoaster for me; I immerse myself and live it alongside the characters. Publishing my first book was an amazing experience because seeing other people’s connection to that – there’s even a rock song inspired by it! – has been incredible. But it hasn’t changed that rollercoaster.

 

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energizes!! In ‘first draft’ stage I go into a ‘zone’ and I see what’s happening like a film in front of me. This helped a lot when I wrote plays and screenplays. It’s frequently said that my series would make good films, and it’s been awesome to hear the audiobooks. I think they work because of this.

 

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distractions! Usually, phone calls or just something small that jolts me out of that ‘zone’. You have to write each day, and it’s tough if you have to start all over again.

 

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Gorgeous covers for my books! I’m in love with the current covers for REBEL ANGELS!

 

  1. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I love writing blokes. Actually, REBEL VAMPIRES is written from the POV of Light, a male British vampire. His voice had been in my head for about a year before I could write the series. People say he’s my male alter ego!

I think it comes partly from being a playwright, where you need to be able to write and understand the psychology of both genders equally, and partly from the fact that I grew up living in the grounds of an all-boys school where my dad was a teacher!

 

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

 

I think authors often do feel emotions strongly but it’s more about understanding people’s motivations – hate, greed, or love – and then being able to write those, than whether you experience them yourself. Emotion is at the centre of everything I write because that’s what makes you both fall in love with the characters and experience the adventure along with them!

 

  1. What are you working on now?

My new series – REBEL ANGELS! The first in the series VAMPIRE HUNTRESS is out now.

It’s a Buffy meets Lucifer addictive new series.

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Vampires and angels are locked in a deadly war.

Half vampire/half angel, Violet, is dragged into the supernatural world when her sister disappears.

Violet’ll have to rely on a sexy vampire geek, while facing off the harem boy angel threatening her sister.

And there’s only one way she’ll win: by letting out the monster… 

VAMPIRE HUNTRESS FINAL

VAMPIRE HUNTRESS IS AVAILABLE HERE: viewbook.at/VampireHuntress

The second book in the series VAMPIRE PRINCESS: REBEL ANGELS BOOK TWO by Rosemary A Johns is available on pre-order here: viewbook.at/VampirePrincess

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VAMPIRE MAGIC, which is set in the REBEL ANGELS world is one of the novels in THE SHADOW FILES!

Mages and witches battle in an eternal supernatural war…

Thanks for having me on today Kim, it’s been fun!

 The Shadow Files

 

Find Rosemary A Johns on the web:

Amazon ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Bookbub 

Introducing the lovely Paris Brandon

A member of Romance Writers of America and published since 2009, Paris writes contemporary, paranormal, erotic and historical romance, throwing in a little mystery and suspense for good measure. Currently self-published and published with Decadent Publishing, she likes nothing better than a story that contains a little mystery and a lot of romance. Here Paris talks writing, inspiration and her newest series, Cassidy’s Touch in a 10 Q&A.

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

I come from a long line of storytellers and whenever a book didn’t end quite the way I thought it should, I rewrote the ending. Apologies to Margaret Mitchell, but I gave Rhett and Scarlett a happy ending when I was twelve. Years later I fell in love with the genre but I was still rewriting endings and it seemed natural to write a romance. My first book was a 400 page mash up of pirates, secret identities and of course a hero with a secret. It’s gathering dust in my attic.

 

  1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I had to learn to split my focus between writing and promotion and find a way to balance the two so that I was productive enough to keep to a publishing schedule. I learned along the way that it was easier if I had a working synopsis, which usually helps with the first draft. These days, after the first draft, I find it easier to split the book into three acts and outline so I’m sure the goals, motivation and conflict are lining up.

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 Writing tends to energize me. I love the entire process, from the planning to the execution. I’ve even learned to love the editing phase. Go figure.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I will fall down a research rabbit hole on the internet, look up and find that two hours have passed. I’m a research geek.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I know I should probably say a conference or some fancy software that would make my job easier if I’d bother to learn it, but I have to say that it was my house. When we moved the last time I turned a large, sunny bedroom into my office. Best investment, ever.

  1. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Finding the perfect balance between what a fictional character would say and how men actually speak. I’ve attended many workshops on dialogue and the rule was that men never use ten words when three will do. That might be accurate but at some point your hero needs to speak his mind and that will definitely take more than three words.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I think it would be difficult to convey emotion if you didn’t experience it. Think about the scene from “Romancing the Stone” where Kathleen Turner is bawling at the typewriter as she types The End. That scene says it all.

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the next book in the Cassidy’s Touch series. The first, a novella that introduces Cassidy will be available in The Shadow Files, a limited edition boxed set that’s available for pre-order now.

 

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

 

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would tell her to trust her instincts and take more chances.

Thank you so much for having me as your guest today!

Stalk Paris Brandon –

Website: http://parisbrandon.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paris.brandon.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ParisBrandon

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/parisbrandonaut/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3297125.Paris_Brandon

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00N3M7EEM

Cassidy’s Touch is currently available for pre-order through the exclusive box set, The Shadow Files.

Bound by blood to a demon’s curse

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Pre-order links –

Nook: http://bit.ly/2EMWOEo

ibooks: https://apple.co/2FTfaRv

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2oarsgx

About the Book!

Cassidy'sTouch_Brandon(2)

 

Her gift is a double-edged sword. Will it be weapon enough to keep a cursed bootlegger from becoming a demon’s prize?

The least of reality show host Cassidy Spencer’s worries is banishing the ghost of a handsome bootlegger who disappeared after being accused of murdering his best friend’s fiancée. According to an expert, her ghost isn’t a ghost and if she doesn’t use her psychometric ability to find his body before the witch who cursed him does, he could end up enslaved by a demon for eternity.

Chance Coraggio doesn’t remember anything before he could walk through walls and that includes the crazy woman telling him he’s been asleep for nearly a century. The life he should’ve lived has been stolen. All the people he has ever loved are dead—and it turns out the crazy woman isn’t as crazy as he’d hoped.

But waking Chance is only half the battle. Now, both are bound by blood to a demon’s curse. To break free, they must find out who is coming for them and why. Because the only reason for a sleeping curse that has lasted almost a century lies somewhere in a past that Chance can’t remember.

LGBT + Urban Fantasy Meets Heavy Metal – Meet Amir Lane

Amir Lane is a genderfluid supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario. Engineer by trade, they spend most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.

Amir is set to launch Gift of Shadows, the first book in The Barrier Witch Trilogy in August 2018. A big thank you to Amir for taking a moment to Q&A with me and giving us a little peek into their writing life!

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

The first time I actually finished a book was in 10th or 11th grade. I never published it, because it was kind of a mess, but I finished it. I finished the second one the summer before I started university, and it was also a mess but I hung onto the characters for future reference. I have no idea what inspired the first one. I think I just heard a name I liked and built a character around it, then the story. The second one, I had a scene in my head and I wrote the story so that I could have some context for that scene. I’m usually really inspired by, like, how people got to where they are, how they became this way. Origin stories, basically.

  1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

The biggest change is that I can’t really spend time on ideas that I’m not going to follow-through on. I used to pick up an idea, write two chapters, and get bored. Now that I have a schedule to maintain, that I am literally always behind on, I can’t chase every idea. I do a lot of short stories, and I have a lot of unfinished short stories, and that’s not so bad because I usually do short stories, like, if I’m on a bus or something where I don’t necessarily have time to get into a bigger project or when I need a break, which I’m okay with, but I don’t feel like I can do that with books. Which kind of sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. I keep a running ‘concepts’ list in case one of those ideas speaks to me on a deeper level, but in the meantime, I have more than enough to keep me busy.

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I think it’s a bit of both. Planning energizes me, but the actual act of writing is exhausting. It’s work. Work is exhausting. But I feel good after, even though I’m tired. So, I don’t mind it so much. It’s like going to the gym. Totally worth it at the end of the day.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Endings. I hate endings. I always just want to be like, okay here’s all the loose ends, story’s over, let’s move on with our lives. Because the fun part is over. But nooo, people want endings.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Good covers. I don’t necessarily move many copies of my books, because I’d rather be writing than marketing, but I think my covers do a lot of the legwork themselves. It also gives me something nice to look at to remind myself that, yes, I am actually getting something out of all this.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I don’t see why not. Writing emotions is just like writing anything: If you don’t know it, study it. Even for me, I’m a very emotional person, I look up ways to describe emotions and emotional markers all the time. To me, there’s no major difference between looking up what an emotion feels like and what, say, being stabbed feels like. We don’t all have the same skills or the same experiences. That shouldn’t be a barrier.

  1. What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a book called Gift of Shadows, which will be launched in August in The Shadow Files box set. It’s book one in my new Barrier Witch trilogy. The book stars a Lebanese immigrant, Fairuz Arshad, who has the ability to create barriers and works for the Toronto Police’s Special Crimes division. In the first book, she stumbles onto a string of murders where all the victims are supernaturals missing organs, except nobody seems to be willing to admit there’s a serial killer out there. It’s a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see the end product.

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

The first book that made me straight-up bawl was actually the last Anne of Green Gables book, Rilla of Ingleside. I know a lot of people didn’t read it because it’s one of the only ones not about Anne herself so I’m not going to spoil it, but it takes place during WWI. I was reading it during my lunch breaks, and my co-worker got a little concerned that I spent the entire afternoon trying to hide that I was sobbing. It was at least a week before I could think about it without bursting into tears.

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

You know what, I don’t think I would tell myself anything. I was dedicated and persistent and weirdly confident in my writing from day one. If anything, I’d tell myself to just keep doing what I’m doing.

Stalk Amir Lane:

Amazon ~ Facebook ~ Website 

About the Book:

Gift of Shadows is available for pre-order now exclusively through The Shadow Files Box Set!

“If nobody else is going to say it, I will: Our victim has no eyes.”
A murder victim with no eyes is only slightly out of the ordinary for Toronto Special Crimes Detective Fairuz Arshad. When that murder victim turns out to be a phoenix, all her evidence goes up in flames — literally. As more bodies start piling up, and as the Toronto Police refuse to let her investigate, she and her dryad partner take matters into their own hands. But the deeper she digs, the more Fairuz starts to wonder who — and what — she can trust.

BW - Gift of Shadows - Small

Author on a Train

The night was dark and cold. My eyes burned tired while I flicked through my emails and opened one from Joanna Penn. An unlikely opportunity gazed back at me from the screen. A chance to join J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon on an overnight train journey from Chicago to New Orleans, followed by a week in NOLA learning to collaborate and write with other authors.

Hmm. What did I have to lose?

The notion was like a wildcard to someone like me. Especially since I am based in Australia and new to the wonderful world of publishing and writing. Surely I’d be passed up.

I was wrong. And the rest, as they say went down as history!

Eight authors rendezvoused with our hosts in Chicago having never met before, some of us from other countries. What a fabulous manifestation!  I think back now and the week was like an exquisite silky bubble that burst way too soon. The experience was rich with transparent content, unrestricted shared knowledge and a wealth of information. Exploring New Orleans and learning about the city’s history has captured a part of me I’ll always be fond of recalling. And the company – the people involved made for something truly special. I wouldn’t have changed a single glorious moment.

The end result was published back in January with  Dark Shadows: Vampires and Ghosts of New Orleans (An Authors on a Train Short Story Collection), and some lifelong connections I’ll forever treasure. I can’t thank these two guys enough.

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Me with J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon

Did we actually write on a train?

Indeed we did. A piece of flash fiction you’ll find below if you’re interested enough to keep scrolling.

Want to find out more?

The guys are doing it again in 2018. Check it out here!

Dark Shadows

AMAZON

 

Flash fiction on an Amtrak Train:

The Bronze Statue

Carly’s breath appeared like a puff of smoke as it combined with the chilly air.

‘Here it is!’ She grabbed Helen’s arm and dragged her toward the bronze statue.

‘Finally! I’m over walking this cemetery,’ Helen moaned.

‘Stop whining; this statue is famous. Haven’t you always wondered about your death?’

‘No,’ Helen scowled, pulling her arm free.

They stopped in front of a bronze figure, falling silent and crooking their necks as they took in its inscrutable image. The statue loomed tall. Its moss-cloaked arms almost concealed the hard etch of its face as it peered out gravely.

Carly nudged Helen. ‘Go on, look into its eyes. Tell me what you can see,’ she murmured.

Helen rolled her eyes and buried her chin among the shaggy material of her scarf.

‘Then can we get out of here? It’s cold and I want to warm up at the bonfire party. Besides, I really need to pee.’

Carly grinned. Her brown eyes sparkled as she contemplated the statue.

‘Sure. Let’s just see if anything happens. Legend has it, not only will you see your death in this statue’s eyes, but they say there is an evil entity waiting for the right soul to come along to swap places. That poor person will forever be trapped behind those bronze eyes.’

‘You’d believe it snowed in summer if Ryan Willis told you so,’ Helen sniffed.

‘I’m going to ignore that remark. What do you see?’ Carly said behind her.

She rolled her eyes again. Best get this over with. Her thick boots squished into the soggy grass as she stepped closer to the statue. When her eyes met the inky black wells of the figure, she was overcome with a tide of eeriness. She squirmed, screwing her nose as she scrutinized the dark icon.

She shrugged at her friend.

‘Nothing. Your turn,’ she said, stepping aside. ‘And hurry up, something doesn’t feel right; this thing is funky.’

Carly laughed as she took her place in front of the statue.

‘What did you really think will happen? Now who’s letting all that death and soul-trapping talk spook you,’ she teased.

‘Just hurry up already.’

Helen watched as her friend lifted her chin. She pushed out her chest, and pulled back her shoulders as she stood with her legs apart and gripped her hips. She stared unblinking at the giant statue.

Carly’s focus seemed to deepen as her eyes locked into the figure. A deep silence fell over the cemetery, broken only by the flutter of wings as the birds fled from the trees, and the tiny pattering footsteps of the scurrying squirrels. Helen’s heart began to thump. Her eyes darted wildly about the cemetery. She could feel something shifting. Her tongue clung to the roof of her mouth as a lump wedged in her throat. An ominous suspicion twisted and corrupted through her.

Her ears pricked as Carly’s high-pitched scream reverberated around her. She swung around in alarm as she saw her friend convulsing uncontrollably. Carly’s body was shaking violently, yet her feet were rooted into the earth like an entrenched tree trunk. Her eyes remained wide and spellbound against the soulless face of the statue.

Helen rushed over to quell the fit but was unable to stop her quivering nor move her in any way. Horror coiled around her and through her like a venomous serpent, while her cries for help echoed vainly among the gray tombs that littered the desolate graveyard.

Her fingers twitched as she frantically searched her jacket pocket for her phone. She clasped the phone, and paused as she blinked at her friend. Carly’s convulsions had subsided and her eyes were shut as a quietness permeated her.

Helen frowned and ventured toward her friend. She encircled an arm around her.

‘Carly?’

Carly’s eyes flew open and she turned her head toward Helen. Hollow black eyes pierced her.

Helen gasped and reeled back under her friend’s stare. She clutched at her chest.

‘Carly?’ she asked again. ‘Are you okay?’

A wide smile erupted over ruby lips. ‘Oh, I’ve never been better,’ Carly said.

She tossed her golden hair up and began to flounce away.

‘Are you coming? We have that bonfire party to get to, remember!’

Helen’s brows furrowed as she trailed Carly down the cemetery road toward the entrance. She glanced over her shoulder at the statue, unaware of the wild silent pleas from its freshly bronzed brown eyes.

K. Petersen

***

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Inspired by this spooky thing in a Chicago cemetery.

Meet Tricia Barr

By day, Tricia is a full time mom to two beautiful toddler girls and a wife/business partner to a handsome hard-working husband. By night–and nap times–she writes unique and thrilling young adult fantasies inspired by her vivid, somewhat creepy dreams and her own adventures around the world.

The first book in her series, The Bound Ones is set to release in The Shadow Files Boxed Set, currently up for preorder for just 99 cents! Here Tricia talks about writing, publishing and being an author while meeting the demands of family life …

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

I actually wrote my first book my first year of college. It was the original version of the vampire romance I just released, The Vampire Secret, but ultimately it sucked and needed several rewrites to make it the masterpiece it is now. The thing that inspired me honestly was that I missed high school. I pretty much was my main character in high school, and I wanted to indulge in a fantasy of what could have happened if I found out my favourite vampire series was real and I fell in love with the main vampire hero (which is the premise of that book). I’ll let you in on a little secret—my favourite vampire series is The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and my favourite vampire of all time would have to be Lestat 😉

  1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I actually published several books before deciding to publish this one. The first book I published, Ignite, was published through a small press, and I hated the whole experience. I mean, at first, it was a huge ego boost that someone believed in me and my book enough to take a chance on it and give it its chance in the world. But the cover was subpar, the formatting was god-awful, and when they switched distributors and got my name WRONG, that was the last straw. I pulled out of my contract and republished it myself, and it was by far the best decision I’ve made in publishing.

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both. During the process, I always feel antsy and drained, but when I’m done for the day and I see my progress, there is no higher feeling of accomplishment!

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

If you mean something that hinders my writing, I have three: my two beautiful toddler girls, Tatum and Syrena, to whom I devote twelve hours of my day, and my work-a-holic husband, who believes I should spend every second of my free time to working around the house and the yard rather than writing (just so you know, my house is the cleanest house of any other toddler mom I know, and that’s all me lol). So I pretty much only get to write for an hour or so during nap time and after my kids go to sleep. But I love it, and I love my wonderful, chaotic little family.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The Butterfly Promotions Masterclass taught by Bobby Kim!!! I can’t stress it enough! Bobby Kim is the publishing world messiah, and I am a devoted disciple!

  1. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I don’t think I’ve encountered a problem there, actually. I feel just as comfortable writing men as I do women.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

That depends on the genre they want to write in. If it’s non-fiction, then yes! But any kind of fiction has to come from a place of deep emotion, or readers won’t invest their own emotions.

  1. What are you working on now?

The sequel to my vampire romance, The Vampire Unleashed, which releases June 15.

 

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

I don’t think it’s possible to remember that far back lol I’ve read probably a thousand books in my life, and not a clue which was the first.

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

It would be the launch strategy I have now, and also not to waste my precious free time before I had kids on anything other than writing, because you never get that time back lol

Thanks, Tricia! 🙂

Stalk Tricia:

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About the book: IGNITE

Four strangers. Four powerful elements. To survive a ruthless cult, they’ll have to work together… or die alone…

Phoenyx Blake has just woken up in captivity, but she’s not the only one. The mysterious dungeon holds three other teens who were just as surprised to be imprisoned as she was. Phoenyx and the others discover that they were abducted because their souls are eternally bound by the ancient elemental powers of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. And their captors have no plans on letting them live through the next solar storm…

But as they consider their circumstances, Phoenyx discovers that her fiery abilities connect her in a timeless courtship dance with Sebastian, a fellow prisoner and a water elemental. Their souls have fallen in love generation after generation. And she can’t help but feel drawn to him in this lifetime as well…

To discover the truth behind their abilities, Phoenyx and the others must escape the dungeon before the cultists can begin a terrifying ritual sacrifice. If Phoenyx can’t master her powers and face up to a painful secret, then they’ll all pay with both their lives and their souls…

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