Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 - T. W. Piperbrook Teaser


So you're a zombie story lover, but don't know where to turn to find a really good one? Well, check out the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 going on throughout the month of June. On this stop of the tour, I'm promoting T. W. Piperbrook's Contamination 5: Survival. To give you a taste of what the book is about, here are two sample chapters.

Enjoy!



SAMPLE CHAPTERS FROM
CONTAMINATION 5: SURVIVAL
By T.W. Piperbrook

PART ONE – HUNTED

1

“Over here!”

The men were coming. Through the haze, Noah could hear the rumble of motors and the cry of voices. He struggled to open his eyes, but they were swollen shut. His face burned with pain.

After a few attempts, he cracked his eyelids. The rays of the midday sun pierced his retinas, and he squinted to reduce the glare. The fact that he was alive was either a miracle or a curse; at the moment, he couldn’t decide which. He wiggled his fingers and toes. As far as he could tell, nothing was broken.

But that didn’t make him feel any better.

He lifted his head, biting back a fresh swell of pain. He was lying in the forest, about fifty feet from the road. Around him was a legion of pines. Just minutes ago, he’d been thrashing through the underbrush, hoping to find respite in the depths of the forest. After expending his last bit of energy, he’d dropped to the ground behind one of the large, sap-covered trunks.

Now he lay exhausted, listening to his pursuers approach.

He patted his pockets, hoping to find something he’d missed, but his ripped khaki shorts were empty. His only hope was to summon enough strength to continue.

If he didn’t move, he’d die.

He thought of his family in Portland and clenched his teeth. For the past few days, the image of Mom, Dad, and Ricky had been the only thing keeping him going. Now he found himself wondering if he’d ever see them again.

Don’t give up now.

Noah forced himself to his knees, ignoring his aching muscles, and crawled through the thickets. Keep low, and keep moving. He needed to put distance between himself and the road. If the men couldn’t find him, perhaps they’d grow bored and stop looking so closely; maybe they’d even give up.

The forest floor crackled under the weight of men’s footsteps. The men had stopped talking, but their breathing echoed through the trees behind him. In a matter of minutes, Noah had become their target, their prey. Seconds after seeing him, they’d forced his truck off the road and into a tree.
If only he’d taken another road…

For the past few days, he’d been practicing the art of avoidance, doing his best to steer clear of the infected and the survivors. After a few close calls with trigger-happy lunatics, he’d been hesitant to trust anyone. At the same time, he’d known the solitude couldn’t last forever. Sooner or later he’d be forced to fight or flee. As much as he hated to admit it, his current situation was long overdue.

He should’ve stayed at the salvage yard in Arizona.

Leaving his former companions behind had been one of the hardest things he’d had to do, and the guilt had eaten at him for days. He could only pray that Sam, Delta, Dan, and Quinn were safe.

But he needed to find his family. Whether they were alive or dead, he needed to find them. He needed to know.

He scrambled ahead through the forest, listening to the snap of underbrush behind him, using his pursuers’ movements as cover. When they moved, he moved. When they stopped, he stopped. He darted from tree to tree, using the thick trunks for cover as if he were in the real-life version of a video game.

His vision was still bleary from losing his glasses. His prescription was weak, but he’d been wearing them regularly for driving, and his eyes struggled to adjust.

Beads of sweat dotted his forehead. Over the course of the day, the sun had grown progressively hotter, and as he ran, it enveloped him like a warm blanket. Aside from his tattered shorts, Noah was wearing only a polo shirt and shoes. He should’ve been comfortable, but instead, he was red and overheated.

One of the men coughed.

Noah ducked behind a tree. After a few seconds, he peered behind him. On the road, a few hundred feet away, he could see his pickup truck. All four tires had been flattened; the hood was smoking. One of the men was standing guard next to it.

His pursuers weren’t letting him get away. If he doubled back, he’d be trapped. His only hope was to head deeper into the woods.

Hide or move.

Noah clambered forward. Given that the men had rifles, he was hopelessly outmatched. There was no way he could face them.

One glimpse of him and they’d shoot.

He continued on. After several more minutes of running, he realized the men had stopped. He listened closely as their low, muffled voices seeped through the forest. What were they talking about? What were they planning?

Noah assessed his situation. The forest in front of him was thick with foliage, but there was a clearing in the distance.

If he could get to it, perhaps he’d find help.

The area he was in wasn’t exactly brimming with people, but civilization had to exist somewhere. He stared at the distant patch of light, gauging how many steps it would take him to get there.

Twenty? Twenty-five? How far could he go before he was shot down?

Staying where he was would mean certain death. He’d rather die on his feet than be mowed down on his knees.

Behind him, the forest fell into silence.

He flexed his hands and prepared himself to run.

This is it, Noah. This is your last chance at escape.

Gritting his teeth, he broke from the trees and ran.

2

Caddy Stevens had been fleeing all her life. The fact that she was doing it now wasn’t a big surprise.

As she weaved through the streets of Chester, the town she’d called home for most of her life, she realized that not much had changed. The buildings were still old and decrepit, the air still smelled like a landfill, and the streets were filled with garbage.

The only difference was the hordes of infected trying to kill her.

Sure, things had been cleaner a few days ago, but not by much. The railing on the library steps was still loose, the abandoned steel mill was still run-down, and the gas stations still sported outdated pumps and inflated prices.

Yep—the only obvious difference was the people. Now, instead of talking behind backs and whispering in circles, they were coming at her head-on, mouths open and nails extended.

At least they were forthright for a change.

Caddy bounded through the alleyway between Thomas and Stanley Streets, vaulting over a fallen garbage can, praying to God she wouldn’t trip and fall. The creature behind her was one of the fastest she’d seen. Even though she’d gotten a head start, the thing was right on her tail, its rancid breath reeking in the mid-afternoon air.

The thing used to be Tommy Prentiss, the star of the high school track team.

If there was one thing Caddy had learned, it was that the infection didn’t discriminate.

Caddy was in decent shape herself. Although she wasn’t a sports fanatic, she’d kept active after graduating high school, jogging several miles each night after work. She’d mostly shied away from the drinking and partying that many of her friends engaged in, preferring the quiet company of a book to a Sunday-morning hangover.

Up until a few days ago, she’d been a waitress at the town diner, hoping to save enough money to attend community college next fall. Those plans had gone out the window when her boss had tried to take a bite out of her.

In any case, Caddy was grateful she’d been spared the infection. For whatever reason, she was alive, and so was her mother. Her main goal now was to bring back the food she’d ransacked from the A&P.

Having cleared the alleyway, Caddy sprinted out into the street. Her breath came in short gasps; her lungs burned. She hoped she’d have enough stamina to outrun her pursuer.

Caddy would’ve preferred stealth to speed, but Tommy had given her no choice. He’d surprised her in the back aisle of the A&P, teeth bared, and she’d barely gotten out alive.

And she wasn’t in the clear yet.

She flew down the block past a cluster of brick buildings, worried that more of the infected would pick up the chase. From what she’d seen, most of the creatures had remained in the area, picking through the remnants of the survivors like pigeons hunting for scraps. If others joined the pursuit, she wasn’t convinced she could outrun them.

She was having enough trouble with Tommy alone.

Earlier, she’d been in her mother’s car, but after the infected had surrounded her, Caddy had crashed it into a pole. Now she was alone and on foot. The gun holstered at her side was empty. All she had left was a knife and the bag of groceries she was carrying. She needed more weapons, but now wasn’t the time to search for them.

She clutched the canvas bag to her chest, doing her best to keep hold of it. If she dropped the food and water, the entire trip would’ve been for nothing. And then what would become of her mother?

Caddy shuddered at the scenario. She couldn’t think about that. Not now.

Get home first. Worry later, she told herself.

At the end of the block, the row of buildings ended, giving way to a desolate two-lane road. Caddy’s house was minutes away, but in order to get there, she’d have to run in the open. The fact that Tommy was chasing her made things difficult.

She’d have to throw him off. She couldn’t lead him home.

As if on cue, the footsteps behind her grew louder.

Tommy was gaining ground.

She stared at the last building on the road. It was one she recognized. Town Line Diner. In spite of the chaos below, the neon letters remained optimistically intact. It was as if her former workplace were preparing for a stream of customers, oblivious to the fact that the world had ended.

If she wanted to ward off Tommy Prentiss, going into the diner might be her best shot. At least she knew the layout. Maybe she could throw him off; perhaps she could even trap him inside.

There was no way she could outrun him. Not much longer, anyway.

Caddy veered from the sidewalk and ran up the steps of the diner. She yanked at the door, relieved to find it open. If it’d been locked, she would’ve been screwed. She slipped through the entrance just as Tommy bashed into the other side of the glass. His mouth hung open, exposing a row of bloodstained teeth. Several of them had been chipped or broken; his tongue flailed in his mouth.

And to think I kissed him once. Gross.

Caddy pulled the door closed, ignoring the pounding of Tommy’s hands. She slipped the lock into place. Her chest heaved as she scanned the restaurant behind her.

It’d been four days since she’d fled the diner. In the meantime, the bodies had started to decompose, though she still recognized some of the patrons she’d served.

And somewhere inside was the body of her boss—the woman she’d killed three days earlier. Caddy swallowed and did her best to dispel the thought.

Bang!

She spun to find Tommy crashing against the glass, his face contorted with rage. She didn’t have much time. Caddy started along the counter, her shoes sliding on the linoleum. Behind it was the entrance to the back room as well as an exit.

She’d only gone two steps when the front door caved.

Tommy had gotten inside.



CONTAMINATION 5: SURVIVAL IS AVAILABLE NOW AT THE LINKS BELOW!







T.W. Piperbrook was born and raised in Connecticut, where he can still be found dreaming up stories or getting lost in local parks and reservoirs. In addition to writing, the author has also spent time as a full-time touring musician, touring across the US, Canada, and Europe.

He now lives with his wife, a son, and the spirit of his Boston Terrier.
To find out about the next release, sign up for the author’s mailing list : http://eepurl.com/qy_SH

* * * * *

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie


AND so you don't miss any of the posts in June, here's the complete list, updated daily:




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

They're coming...

The zombies are coming...


Get in on the fun! The tour stops here tomorrow.

Check out all the stops along the way, here:

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/06/01/summer-of-zombie-blog-tour-2014-post-links/

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Writing and Responsibility

Recently I've been wrestling with the ideas of "being responsible" and "being an author",. There are some people who feel that being an author is not a very responsible profession.

After giving it some thought, I've come up with the following observation: I do NOT feel these two things are mutually exclusive from one another.

In other words, choosing to be an author does not make you irresponsible. And being a responsible person in life doesn't mean you can't be an author.

In fact, I'm going to give you some advice. You need to tell yourself that being an author IS a responsible thing to do.

How can being an author be responsible you ask?

1. You're responsible for your God-given talent. I don't know whether you believe in a higher power or not, but I happen to. And if you have that desire to write, chances are it's what you were born to do. Your brain seems to be wired up that way. So why wouldn't you do what you were born to do? Why squash that talent? Why "put it under a barrel"? Treat your gifts responsibly and allow them to shine.

2. You're responsible for your future readers. You have a story to tell. You have a message for the world. You've been through some hell and back, or you've witnessed others go through it. Or maybe you just want to shed some light on aspects of our society. What you have to say may help others who are going through situations you're writing about. Yes, even my middle-grade fantasy story about monsters and underground worlds, while seemingly without benefit to anyone, may have some nugget that might make some middle-grade reader cope with his/her day-to-day life a little easier. Even if it's only to offer an escape from things for a while. To laugh a bit. To wonder. To dream. You can be responsible for the hopes and dreams of others. That's a powerful thing.

3. You're responsible for your future self. You don't want to be one of those people who goes around saying "I shoulda...", "I coulda...", or "I wish I had...." in their later stages in life. You owe it to yourself to take that chance NOW. And if you are in your later stages in life, it's still not too late to take that responsibility. You are responsible for your own life. Treat that life well. Follow your dreams.

4. You're responsible for being a role model. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you're planning on having kids someday. Maybe you don't have kids or plan to have any, but  you touch the lives of children, or even other adults. You are most likely a role model to SOMEONE. So teach them this valuable lesson: it's OK to follow your dreams. Because, when it comes right down to it, isn't that the whole point of life? To follow your dreams? Isn't that what we want for our loved ones? For them to be happy? Show them through example that it's OK. Be a responsible role model.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Throw away the idea that being an author is an irresponsible idea. Convince yourself of the contrary, that it IS a responsible thing to do. As long as you do this, and obviously not ignore the other responsibilities in your life, you'll give yourself the power you need to pursue your dream.

Now go out and dream responsibly!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Zombies, and Author Interviews, and Blog Hopping

Hi all

So I have some exciting things coming up real soon on my blog. No, unfortunately, no publishing news. But I'm going to be trying some new things around here.

First, I'll be hosting one of the authors from the 2014 Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, organized by horror author Armand Rosamilia. Check out the details and the authors involved here if you're interested:

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/05/31/summer-of-zombie-blog-tour-2014-amazon-author-links/

I'll have more information on which author I'll be featuring later in the month.

Second, I'm hoping to start posting interviews with authors on my blog. I have one in particular that I'm hoping to line up real soon, so stay tuned for that.

Finally, it looks like I'll be doing a bit of blog hopping of my own too. Another author friend of mine would like me to do an interview on her blog, so stay tuned for more information on that as well.

That's all for now. Thanks for following along!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Something Old, Something New

No, this blog post is NOT about weddings. I'm writing this to tell you all that I'm updating some of the old content on my blog, plus letting you know about some new content.

First, THE OLD:

If you notice, there's a tab where I've listed all my publications so far. If you go into that tab, you can now follow links for a few of them to see some of my stories that are still available online. Go check them out if you've never read any of them.

Now, THE NEW:

I've added two new tabs for the two novels I'm currently working on. One is a middle-grade fantasy novel called Oliver and the Underlings, and the other is a middle-grade mystery novel called The Vanilla Wafer Chronicles: The Case of the Missing Pin. Go check out the tabs to see some short blurbs on each one. Those are basically the pitches I will use when I send these books out to agents. Oliver and the Underlings is complete enough that I've been sending it out to agents, while The Vanilla Wafer Chronicles is in its (hopefully) final stages of editing. 

Enjoy the old and new content!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

Oh, hi there. C'mon in. Let me dust off some of the cobwebs and swat that bloodthirsty spider from your chair so you can sit comfortably.

Yes, I've been extremely busy lately. Sorry I haven't had time to chat.

What's that? Yes, I AM still writing. See? My computer over there isn't ENTIRELY covered with dust. I've been submitting my middle-grade fantasy novel, Oliver and the Underlings, to agents, and I'm currently working on doing the (hopefully) final edits on my middle-grade mystery novel, The Vanilla Wafer Chronicles: The Case of the Missing Pin. I'll be working on some separate pages related to those on my blog soon. I also wrote a couple short stories and am trying to get those published too.

No, I haven't gotten much reading done this year. Plus, I still have a bunch of books I've acquired at Book Expo America last year and the year before that I haven't gotten to yet. I still need to read those and write reviews. I will get to them. I feel I owe that to those authors for the privilege of receiving those books. Even if the reviews are very late. That's one reason why I didn't attend BEA this year. That and, well, I couldn't afford the expense. Next year though...

Sorry, I can't offer you anything to eat. Something's been rummaging through the fridge again. And the cupboards.

Yes, everyone is fine at home. And the new day job (well, not so new anymore, I've had it a year) is going well too. In fact, now might not be a bad time to seriously dive into my writing again.

Wait, don't go in there. That's not the bathroom, that's the closet. No telling where you might end up if you go in there.

You don't look so good. It looks like you've seen a ghost. No, not a ghost? OK, well, if you're in that much of a hurry, take care then, and feel free to drop in again anytime. I'll be here, typing away.

When you get back, I hope to have lots more to share with you.