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Meet The Author…

I thought it might be a fun idea to introduce you to some other authors. Once a week I will pick out an author for you and direct you to their page.

Meet Gregg Savage

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This week, I felt the twang of nostalgia when I read Gregg Savage’s guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. He tells his tale of how he became a writer after telling his (step)daughter Ruby a story every night. My mind was taken back to when I was prompted by my children to write. It is funny how life can take you in directions you never thought were possible 🙂

Click on the link below to read his journey to become an author.

Meet Guest Author, Gregg Savage…

You can find Gregg’s website full of children’s stories here.

Header Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

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Last Minute Decision!

My book is available for FREEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Yes, you’ve read correctly. My second book, Raising A Vampire, is free on Amazon at the moment. Only on 23-24 November 2017 will you be able to get this book for free, so grab it while you can!

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WHO IS FRIEND AND WHO IS FOE?

Raising A Vampire is a romantic and suspenseful story of Kate, who tries to make the best of life for her family and herself whilst hiding a terrible secret.

Ten years after Black October, when a virus plagued the world and turned people into blood-suckers, Kate invites a colleague into her home. When he attacks Kate, Sue, her daughter, comes to the rescue and is exposed for what she really is. Kate accompanies Sue when she is taken prisoner.

The situation quickly spirals downhill when an old flame of Kate turns up and he resumes his quest for Kate’s love while her daughter is being wooed by a sucker.

Once more, Kate is thrown into turmoil and heartache.

Can Kate keep her family and her wits together?

Find out what happens to Kate and her loved ones in the second book of the Suckers Trilogy.

“It’s fast-paced with plenty of surprises and keeps you guessing until the end.”

“Ms. Dahlhaus reinvigorates those old bitey routines with a bit of smart storytelling while managing to make insightful comments on our society.”

“A mother of emotional rollercoasters.”

“I wanted to slap Kate more than once for her quick actions that highly impacted the safety of the entire family.”

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And the winner is…

ME! Plus forty-nine others, of course…

You may remember my post regarding me being shortlisted for Twisted50 Vol.2. Well, today they finally announced the fifty winners whose stories will be entered in the Twisted50 Volume 2 anthology. It was a long wait, but it was worth it :). Check out all the winners here.

My winning story is called ‘Rumour has it…’ and is not for the faint at heart. It’s about a girl who stands trial for gruesome murders committed. You’ll have to buy the book to read the whole story, and, man, are there some twisted stories in there! At the moment they’re voting on the book cover, but I’ll let you know the link to the book as soon as I’ve got it.

Now, I’m off to dance around the house!

#Twisted50

 

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Sisterly Love

Sorry, this isn’t a true story! No drama in the family at the moment. Well, there is, but not sisterly love drama. It’s not my drama, so sorry to disappoint you again, can’t tell. Not to worry, though! I wrote a piece for the writers’ club and it was well received, so I’m going to share it with you. I will put it up in the Short Story section for later reference, but to make it easier for you, I’ll just paste it here. As it plays on the Isle of Skye, I’ve written it in UK English. Let me know what you think if it.

Sisterly Love

(Keywords: Spoon, Make-Up artist, Isle of Skye, Envy)

(987 Words)

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There they stood, all happy and shining. My sister and her groom. The wedding of the century they called it. Probably true. Who else was going to get married here, in the middle of fucking nowhere? The Isle of Fucking Skye; God’s place to torment innocent souls. Right now the rain lashed the town hall as if it wanted to break up the wedding reception inside. The wind was driving it on, howling along with it. It was probably crying with me on this worst day of my life.

My aunt, sitting next to me, had told me to suck it up, to get over my envy. She stopped my hand tapping the dessert spoon on the edge of the table. What did she know? Suck it up. My soulless sister had ruined it all, ruined my life, my happiness. Yet everybody was smiling at her, applauding her words as she gave her speech. I bet she didn’t mention how she stole my love away like the conniving bitch that she was. She flashed her pearly white teeth as the lies continued to pour from her mouth. She had always been the pretty one. From when we were toddlers, everybody had always been drawn to her. ‘She’s so cute,’ they’d say. ‘What a pretty smile you’ve got there,’ they’d croon. No one ever saw me standing there; Plane Jane with sleek, mousy-coloured hair and a face you would forget as soon as you blinked. Not her. Everybody remembered her. Was it her sky-blue eyes? The dimples in her cheeks as she smiled?  She was beautiful, I couldn’t deny it. Still, Mum had organised a make-up artist to make her pretty today. As if she needed a fucking make-up artist for her flawless skin. She could make men drool with her looks after she had been boozing all night and having a mother of a hangover. Whatever it was she had, it stole my love from me and she knew it.

It was two years ago that I met him. He was a cousin of the vicar and had come to Skye to help rebuild the church. How handsome he was and how handy with all the tools. We had flirted and teased for weeks. Then, one night after going to the movies, he had kissed me. Me! I had been in seventh heaven. Mum had noticed my happiness and made me spill the beans. I then had to bring him over for dinner of course. That’s when my sister got her evil claws into him.

From the moment he saw her, he could only pay attention to her. After all we had shared, the fun, the flirting, the kiss, I suddenly was nothing, an empty space. He listened to every word she said, commented on every move she made, came to visit her. They were always giggling and laughing, no doubt at the expense of me. Soon he was taking her to the movies, and kissing her.

My aunt looked annoyed at me as I had begun tapping the spoon on the table again. I ignored her. She should know better. She was an old spinster, older sister of my mother, and should know how it felt when your younger sister was getting married before you did. It just wasn’t done. My sister, like my mother, had ignored the old tradition. She had taken no head to my complaints for getting married so soon. And to him. She fucking ignored me. Period. So much for sisterly love. Love. It was all a bunch of lies. It only caused grief and pain. My sister hurt me, deeply, and yet she didn’t give a shit. She had to marry the only man who had looked my way, the only man who had kissed me. And only because she could. She could get a thousand others to fall in love with her, yet she had to have the one that I wanted. She stole him from me just so she could hurt me.

All of a sudden I heard her say, “…and all because of my dear sister.” The words were dripping with honey, oozing with feigned love. They made my blood curl and sent shivers down my spine. The people ooh-ed and aah-ed at her words and turned towards me. They didn’t know that all she had done was hate me from the moment she was born. Nobody knew she had used every single word, action, and thought to hurt me, to make me feel miserable, worthless, and to be pitied. My rage welled up in me like lava in a volcano. No more!

I turned to her, my eyes blazing a fire from hell. I pulled back my hand and threw the spoon in her direction. It hit the dog that my cousin was playing with in front of the happy couple’s table. It yapped in surprise, which made my cousin jump up and fall backwards. He tried to keep his balance by holding on to the table cloth. The wedding cake began shifting as the cloth moved down the table. My love hastened to keep it in place. In his sudden, forceful dive, he slammed down on the edge of the plate holding the cutting knife. The knife flicked up towards his face. He brushed it away with his arm just in time, making it do a somersault high in the air. Lightning reflected off the sharp edge of the blade before it went on its downward course. As if with a purpose, the knife buried itself deep into my sister’s heartless chest. The room went quiet. My sister looked at her chest, then at me. She dropped to the floor with only a swishing of her silk, white dress. My love let go of the wedding cake. His eyes were on me.

Finally, I had his attention again.

Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus

Header image by Peter Clarkson from Unsplash

Wedding image by Luis Tosta from Unsplash

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GET YOUR FREE COPIES NOW!

Only one day left!

Get your copies now, before the promotion ends. There is a multitude to choose from. They’re free, so why wait?

Click here to get your FREE romance kick!

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Book Review: Shifters Stand

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I read this book as I was intrigued by its blurb. Even though it is the third book of a trilogy, it was easy to follow. The backstory was slowly revealed the further I got into the book, yet from the first page onward, the story is engaging.

Characters are fleshed out, emotions are well described, and tensions are high to get mates back as their lives are at stake. The Shifters must defeat their enemy or all will be lost. Until the very end, you don’t know if this is going to happen or not as the threats are as real as it gets. Whether the Shifters make it or not… well, you’ll have to read the story. Take some time for reading as you will want to know the ending.

Mr. Griffith has produced a great ending to a great, and clean, YA adventure.

Get your copy on Amazon.

 

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Social Media Takeovers: An Unknown Phenomenon

Yesterday, Halloween 2017, I took part in the Dark Fantasy Books takeover and had a ball. ‘What’s a takeover?’ you may ask. That’s exactly the problem; most people don’t know what it is, let alone that they can participate. I’ll try and remedy this situation and hopefully help authors and readers alike. A win-win situation!

What is a Takeover?

According to the Collins English Dictionary, a takeover is the act of taking control of a country, political party, or movement by force. The takeover I’m talking about is less aggressive as it is a virtual party where various people take the reins and host the party for a limited time, usually half an hour. I have only done Facebook takeovers (two in total; I’m still a noob), but you can have them on any type of social media.

There should be guidelines to a takeover and the person organizing it usually lets all participants know what is expected. See it as a real party. First, you introduce yourself in a post. You talk a bit about where you’re from and what you do. Then you promote whatever you’re promoting in a couple of posts, including samples and links to your product. You usually end with a post on how people can contact you for more information.

Sounds like a boring sales talk? Wrong! Laced through this information are quizzes, games, funny anecdotes, unknown insights, and samples! People have to post funny GIFs, answer questions about topics of the takeover, and there are usually jokes. The crazier the questions, the crazier the answers, the more fun to be had!

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Gain for Readers

Takeovers are so lucrative for readers! I was, again, amazed that all participants in the takeover were only authors. Apart from being lots of fun with quizzes and games, there are lots of free books up for grabs. Most authors give away prequels for free and the prizes are usually their books. Next to this, you get to know the author. You get a connection with them and this makes reading their books so much more interesting.

So you get a fab time and free books. What more could you ask for?

Gain for Authors

When you do a book takeover, you usually do it with a group of authors that write in your genre. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded spirits, read samples of their work, and make new friends. It is amazing how small the world becomes in this virtual reality. Best of all, your work gets seen by more people who hopefully will share your work, spread the word about your book, and possibly write a review.

Promotion

I guess the key to a successful takeover is promotion. If you don’t promote the takeover well in advance, nobody will know about it and nobody will show up. You can use all social media available to spread the word. Do it clear and do it loud! The more attendees, the merrier 🙂

If you are a reader and you know an author, participate in a takeovers when they advertise one. Like I said, it’s a win-win situation!

Header image by Luiz Hanfilaque from Unsplash, edited by Jacky Dahlhaus

Party photo by Anthony DELANOIX from Unsplash.

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Just in case you missed the invitation…

Visit Dark Fantasy Books (on Facebook) tomorrow to have some fun with us 🙂

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Vampirism is Not a Simple Life

Being a vampire is hard work and dangerous

First you have to find your blood host, which (relatively speaking) would be found several kilometres between one meal and the next. You have to deal with the danger of being stopped from feeding, the aggressive way. Don’t expect your host to let you feed on them just like that. Although there are nice vampires that may regurgitate their meal to share with your if you have been unlucky that night.

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The toxicity of blood itself is a danger. In the amounts you need, it would cause diarrhoea and kidney failure, not to mention the killing effects of the proteins and iron ingested. Apart from an overdose of some products, blood lacks B vitamins, needed for basic body function, and fat, a major energy source.

But don’t trust my word for it. Read it all in Susan Milius’s article in Science News for Students called ‘Sucking blood isn’t an easy life, even for vampires.’

 

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An Invitation!

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This is an online Facebook Halloween Party invitation. Go to Facebook, look for Dark Fantasy Books and you should be able to find the party on the 31st of October!

Great fun, giveaways, and prizes! Hope to see you there 🙂

 

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Twisted50 Vol.1 & Twisted’s Evil Little Sister

It’s almost Halloween and you may have been invited to a Halloween party. Not sure what to bring the host as a gift? Why not a creepy one?

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Twisted50 is a compilation of 50 contemporary horror stories.

‘A great mix of truly twisted stories to suit all horror tastes, from the psychological frighteners to the stomach-churning gore fests. Each tale brings a modern spin on horror, each author leaves their own unique imprint in your mind. It’s hard to pick a favorite as there are so many great ones to choose from.’

Mark Renshaw

Or, if you’re invited to your sister’s party, why not give Twisted’s Evil Little Sister?

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‘This second anthology from Twisted50 again showcases more wonderful writing from different writers. The range of stories – style, subject matter, and tone – is excellent; there are ‘tales of the unexpected’ moments; moments which pack an emotional punch; horror presented as something personal; there are stomach-churning moments and moments of dread. And so it goes on… In a busy world, these stories provide a quick ‘reading fix’. You’ll find, with the range of stories, there is something exhilarating, dreadful, unexpected and absorbing to tickle your horror fancy.’

M. Thomas

Both books are available here.

 

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Living Like A Vampire

  1. 9Just in case you don’t have anything to read during the Halloween Holidays…

Living Like A Vampire is on sale 28-31 October 2017 and available on Amazon and KOBO.

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Chapter 1

On Friday night, October 15th, 2004, Sue, Charlie and I, three new teachers at Bullsbrook high school, sat in The Celtic Frog, the local bar. We occupied the corner booth that we had made our own since we had arrived in town two months ago. The bar was the only place that appeared to continue as usual since the start of the sucker pandemic a week ago. The bar owners, a couple called Abby and René, still served drinks and the usual patrons hung off the bar or sat in their usual seats.

There were, however, a large number of new customers. They were refugees escaping the city. The first ones arrived six days ago, but their number had steadily grown. In the beginning we didn’t think anything of it, just an unusual time of the year to get vacationers. As the news reports became increasingly scary, more and more arrived and today the biggest wave hit. Their conversations were hushed and anxious. We could hear snippets of horror stories about people being chased, herded, and slaughtered like cattle. We, too, sat huddled in our corner booth, whispering, discussing what to do next.

All of a sudden, we heard a commotion. I had heard a man talk loudly minutes before, but now people shrieked and cried. The three of us raised our heads to find out what was happening and I could see a cluster of people had gathered around one of the newcomers.

“They’re watching a camcorder,” Sue said.

I pushed her to move as I wanted to know what was on the camcorder that would make people cry like that. “Come on,” I said, “get going. I want to see it too.”

She stood up, followed on her heels by me. Charlie got up as well and followed us to the wailing people.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Oh my god,” said Abby. She wiped tears from her face with one hand as she grabbed my shoulder with the other. “You’ll have to see it to believe it.”

She pushed me to the front of the crowd. An old man, I guessed in his sixties with a rather saggy build and a haunted look on his face, was holding a camcorder with its viewing screen out. More people tried to see the recording, but the ones who had already seen it were reluctant to move. They apparently needed to see the footage for a second time to convince themselves that what they had seen wasn’t a figment of their imagination. The old man backed up the recording and restarted it. What I saw scared the hell out of me.

It started off with a younger couple in a happy pose at a restaurant. The camera was then handed, I presumed by a waitress, to the man of the couple.  He continued filming the woman. It must have been her birthday or some other celebration as the man gave her a present and, after a big hug to the man, she began unwrapping it. I couldn’t hear what was being said.

From that one scene of happiness, it turned into one of chaos and slaughter. Suckers stormed into the restaurant, their fangs clearly visible, grabbing customers and waiters alike. The lucky lady who had been unwrapping the present screamed when one of the suckers grabbed her arm and tried to pull her away. She struggled. The camera movement became erratic, as if it was being used to hit the attacker of the woman. I saw the arm of the sucker move in the direction of what I think was the camera man’s neck. The camera then followed the movements of the man’s hand as he fought to get the arm off himself. You could see the sucker laugh, he actually laughed, before pulling the woman he was still holding in front of him. Her eyes were glazed over, she was in shock. The sucker then sank his teeth into her neck, watching the man as he did it. The camera movements became more erratic as the sucker dropped the woman and turned his efforts to the man holding the camera. We couldn’t see what happened next as in the struggle the camera was launched and landed on one of the other tables, in a plate full of pasta. Over the top of spaghetti, I saw the people in the restaurant become the dish of the day.

“Where did you say you found the camera?” someone in the crowd asked.

“Two days ago in Needham, halfway down the road to Portland,” said the old man loudly. “I was looking for food and found it lying there, in the pasta. Nobody but dead bodies there anymore, the suckers had already left.”

“Why didn’t you stay there? How’d you get past the suckers?” someone else asked.

“With a big, fast car,” he replied. “I was lucky to have missed the sucker attack, working in my cellar and my hearing being bad, but my wife didn’t survive.” There were tears in his eyes now. “I’ve come to warn you. I’ve lost my reason to live, but you still have a chance to save yours. I want people to know what’s coming for them. Y’all have to get outta here! They’re coming!” His voice was thick with emotion, his eyes wild, as he frantically looked around at the gathered crowd.

I glanced over my shoulder at Sue, then at Charlie standing beside me. They seemed as shocked as I was. More questions were called out to the old man, but I wasn’t interested in them. I’d heard enough. We returned to our corner booth, too traumatized by the images to speak for a while.

School had been suspended until further notice earlier that day and we didn’t have to worry about teaching. Most people had taken their children out of Bullsbrook during the past week anyway. So far the threat had seemed far away and we all thought it would be dealt with before it spread. These people and these images told a different story. It wasn’t going to be safe here for much longer.

“We have to get away,” I said. “We have a better chance of survival if we get away from the crowd.”

“Are you sure? Wouldn’t it be better if we stayed here?” Sue’s dreadlocks bounced as she spoke. She shifted in her seat.

I scanned the bar’s customers. “You saw the tape.”

So many new faces. So much fear.

“I think,” Sue said, her southern accent thicker than usual, “that we have a better chance if we stand with the people from the town. More manpower.”

My eyes went back to Sue. I let her words sink in and pursed my lips.

“I don’t agree. What do you think Charlie?”

Sue and I both turned to look at Charlie. Being a dwarf didn’t diminish his presence and, being ten years our senior, I gave his vote more weight. The low lighting cast dark shadows on his face, accentuating his dark mood.

“I agree with Kate. Even if all the people in town worked together, we could never stand up to the numbers that the suckers must have gathered by now. Let the army take that fight. We need to get out of here and hide until this is dealt with by the authorities.”

I followed Charlie’s stare and waited for Sue to respond. Finally, she nodded, dreadlocks bouncing again.

“You sure?”

“Yeah, he’s right. Better to hide than to fight.”

“Okay, so where do we go?” Charlie asked.

I put my lips on my thumb as I’d bitten too much skin off next to my nail while I was listening to Charlie. It was bleeding. I shut my eyes to deal with the pain and the image of my parents and sisters flashed by. I still didn’t know their fate. Last night I’d hardly slept, being tormented by nightmares of possibilities, and the resulting tiredness didn’t make me think any clearer. There was nothing I could do for them at the moment, so I tried to concentrate on deciding where to go. Even though Charlie, Sue and I had lived in Bullsbrook for over two months, we still didn’t know the town or the surrounding area well.

“Hey, maybe we can go to the campground!” Sue burst out. Charlie and I raised our eyebrows at her.

How in heaven’s name does she know a campground? She’s not what you call ‘the camping type.’

“I’d asked around about where to find an affordable place for my parents to stay. They want to come and visit me over the Christmas break,” she explained.  “My neighbors told me about it. They said it’s along the river north of town. It has cabins for rent at reasonable prices and a small cabin could easily sleep the three of us.”

My face lit up. “That’s a great idea. They might have a camp store too, with long-lasting food supplies.”

My thoughts drifted to movies with underground fallout bunkers. God only knew how long this sucker pandemic was going to last. When my attention came back to the conversation, I realized both Sue and Charlie didn’t comment on my practicality. They were too excited about the campsite.

“Yeah. Best of all it’s off the main roads,” Charlie said, staring into his own private universe while rubbing the stubble on his chin. Then his eyes snapped back to us. “We better go there as soon as possible. We probably aren’t the only ones who came up with the idea.”

“Are we going right now or tomorrow morning?” Sue asked. She shifted in her seat again.

I hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. A surge of fear gripped me. It was as if a giant hand squeezed my insides, pushing adrenaline into the far corners of my body. This was really happening and it wasn’t a figment of my imagination. The idea of leaving Bullsbrook, my beautiful new hometown, made the whole dreadful situation so much more real. However, Sue’s question was pressing and a decision had to be made.

“I’d sleep better if we left tonight,” I said.

Charlie slammed his hands flat on the table, making Sue and I jump.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go home, pack our stuff and meet at Kate’s. She’s the only one with a car.” He stared us down until we both agreed. “And only pack the essentials!” he added as he leaned toward Sue. I turned my head to see Sue’s reaction.

“What?” she asked innocently, shifting her eyes from Charlie to me, seeking back-up against his insinuation.

“Don’t get carried away, Sue,” I said. “My car may have five doors, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lot of space in the trunk.”

Sue opened her mouth in protest but couldn’t find a good excuse. Charlie chuckled.

The two of them hurried to finish their beers while I left mine untouched since I was going to be the driver. We paid our bill and went on our way.

Living Like A Vampire is available on Amazon and KOBO. Don’t forget it’s on sale 28-31 October! Only $0.99-£0.99!