Friday, March 27, 2015

John from Electricity by Christopher P. Ring

We’re thrilled to be talking to John from Christopher Ring’s Things Far Away, a story in the collection Electricity. It is a pleasure to have John with us today at Pimp That Character!


What would I love the most about you?

I don’t ask for much. I like a simple life. And if I’m with you, I’m really with you. I think that’s the key to life; being present in the now.


What would I hate the most about you?

I’m here one day, I’m gone the next. I’m not exactly the man you call Mr. Reliable. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.


What makes you laugh out loud?

Golfers. Do I have to explain?


What is your greatest fear?

To live a boring life. To be my Dad. My dad was a golfer.


What is the trait you most not like about yourself?

Hell. Who can answer a question like that? It’s like asking a rabbit why it likes carrots, but not grapes. I don’t know if rabbits like grapes or not, but you get the idea. We are who we are. It’s our decisions that we can judge. And I’ve made plenty of bad ones. But good ones, too.


What is your favorite weather?

The kind that doesn’t come at the wrong time.


What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

I had a burger in Ketchum, Idaho. I’m not a burger man, per se, but this was perfection. Caramelized onions, roasted peppers and jack cheese, but just enough of each to flavor the burger. Nothing excessive about it. I’ve been in search of another like it ever since. That and the perfect burrito.


When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be like my dad, until I learned what a bore he was. The old tweed is one of those financial planners. He’s always been so busy planning his future and other people’s future that he couldn’t enjoy a good day in the now if he sat on it.


What is your most treasured possession?

My backpack and whatever I can fit inside it. That’s all you need in this world. Well, that and a little cash. Maybe someday I’ll want to grow some roots, but for now this is all I need.


If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I sure as hell wouldn’t be here talking to you!



About The Book


Electricity


TitleElectricity 
Author: Christopher P. Ring
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: December 5, 2014
Pages: 73
ASIN: B00QOBEIX4
Genre: Literary / New Adult / Short Stories Collection
Format: eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF



Buy The Book:








Book Synopsis:

A teenager wrestles with the meaning of love when his parent’s high-voltage marriage turns deadly.   School boys playing chicken with a commuter train, search for answers about life and death.  An American teacher working in Peru struggles to reconcile the gap between her idealism and the reality of poverty when an act of kindness leads to a frightening episode.  Covert baptisms, duels of love and highway robberies:  the coming-of-age stories in Electricity share a vision of America marked by tainted innocence and misguided idealism.


Book Excerpt:


But Licho remains tall.  Scanning the horizon of the classroom, his hand blocks out an imagined sun.  Micah follows his vision across the walls.  They are tacked with pictures she has torn from history books and language books.  There are pictures of Quechua farmers from the hills re-enacting ancient Inca dances for Inti-Ramin, and next to those, pictures of Gene Kelly and Audrey Hepburn dancing on the Seine in Paris.  On the back wall there are pictures of conquistadors and ancient emperors, Pizarro paired with Atahualpa, Cortez paired with Pachacutec.  And then Licho’s face expresses the consternation of a soldier under attack.
            “Look, Injuns,” Licho calls, pointing over Micah’s head.  “Man the fart.”
            She laughs.  “It’s fort.” 
            “Fort!” he says.  “Man the fort!”
            He leaps off the desk and runs for the far wall.  Then he comes back slowly, touching the ground and smelling his hand, like an Indian tracking an animal.  This, from a man who kills pigs and tars roads.  Nothing seems to phase him.  Yet, she knows she would starve if she had to do these same things to feed herself.
            “I thought you worked nights only?” Micah asks.  “What happened to work tonight?”
            Licho leaps to her desk and scurries across it like a crab.
            “Stop it Licho.  What happened?”
            “No work,” he says, falling backwards into her desk chair.  It groans as he slides backwards.  Suddenly he seems sullen.  “How do you say in Amer-eeca.  Fried?”
            “You got fired!”
            “Now you.”
            Licho springs to his feet and nudges Micah towards the stack of chairs.  “Now you.  Tell what you see.”  He slides the desk closer and jerks his head in an upward motion. 
            “No,” she says, listlessly.
            “Vengas.  I will hold chairs.”
            She feels silly doing this, but thinks she owes it to him.  After all, he has given up the afternoon, reading to one group while she read with another.  And she has seen a world he has not seen, a world he wants to see, and she feels sorry.  Yet, this is what scares her.  She is afraid of what he might expect; with her, he could escape it all.  She climbs on to the desk and feels his hands pushing and holding her waist at the same time.  The stack of chairs is a teetering ladder and for a moment, looking down on him, Licho seems small.
            “What do you see?” he yells out to her excitedly.
            Shhh!  Micah puts a finger to her lips.  The principal is in his office a few rooms down the line from hers.  Micah should be gone already.  With a free hand she grabs at the tiled windowsill.  The moon is streaking down across the courtyard, the dirt pale and white like dried bones.
            “I see the moonlight,” she says.  “And dirt.  And a pencil in the moonlight.”
            “Si, si.  More.  What else?”
            “Nothing.”  The game feels silly.  She is thirty, not twenty-one.  What she has seen in Peru has made it hard to pretend.   If she really wants to look, she already knows what she will see - the things she has not been able to look beyond.  Alcoholics littering the streets with empty bottles of rubbing alcohol, stray dogs, piles of garbage clogging the river, four year old children selling candy, dirty children, poverty.  A city still recovering from an earthquake twenty years earlier.  Decay.  “Nothing,” she retorts.
            “Liar.  Let me look.  I will show.  I can see.”
            From her perch the emptiness of her classroom seems out of tune with the life her students bring.  Licho reaches up for her hand and pulls her down.  His hand goes up the back of her shirt and it pinches her.  She stiffens.
            “That hurt,” she says. 
            “Sorry.”  He puts one hand to his lips, reaches out with the other.  His finger tips are coated in tar, small pebbles dried into them.  “No com off.”
            Micah relaxes.  It is his right to imagine, to hope for something better.  He has dreams, damn it.  They, too, must pinch.  She can still feel where his hand touched her, perhaps as much as he had hoped for, but she gives him a shoulder and helps him up.  He rises against the glow of the window.
            There is silence.
            “Hmm,” he says.  “Oh yes.  I see.”
            Licho talks about getting a job as a handyman in an apartment building in Denver.  He paints dreams of ten hour work days and coming home to sit on a balcony that overlooks the freeway, and sipping Pisco Sour’s.  A movie theater is a block away and there are three markets on the corner.  Nothing changes in his America but the numbers.  There are more jobs, more cars, twice as many food stands, trains and buses going to more places, elections every week.  Micah stands by the door and looks out.
            “Maybe you have apartamento on other side of road.  We sit on balcony and wave to each other after work.  Maybe you com over. We have ceviche or MeecDonald’s.   Yes, I see.”  He looks at Micah in the doorway and squints.  “You see, yes?”
            He climbs down and turns her towards the stack of chairs.  “I show you,” he says.  She can feel his hands against her ribs as he urges her to climb again, but she doesn’t want to.  This is unrealistic.  It is a fantasy she knows not to encourage, yet she does not want to break it.  She grabs the edge of a chair and resists.  With her legs she pushes back against Licho.  She feels the back of her head knock into his teeth. 
            “Puta!” he says, pinning her with his rough hands.  The stack slides up against the window sill.  Down the hill there are people working and walking the streets, but they are miles away at this point.
            “Mentirosa!” he spits.  Liar.  Micah is gated between his arms and the chairs and she can feel his breath on her neck.  Its sweet smell of cola mixes with the dried tar on his shirt.   Twisting her by the arms he wrenches her loose as the chairs topple over in a big crash.  The small room is split in half by the meager courtyard light.  Where they stand by the desk the light is soft and dusty, but the far end by the doorway is darkness.  She winds her way through the fallen desks, stepping on markers and crayons that she had to purchase with her own money.  Holding close to the back wall Micah finds herself crossing out of the light, but away from the doorway.   She remembers the old woman squatting on the corner a few days earlier whom he had scolded, swatted at the woman’s head with a rag he was carrying.  “Puerco,” he’d said.  Pig.  She’d gotten mad at him for that, though at the time it seemed innocent.  A woman should not have to see that, he’d said.
            “Puta,” he calls over softly, leaning into the desk.  The single drawer is open.  In his hand he is waving something, her passport.  For a moment her breath is paralyzed.



About The Author


Christopher Ring 2
   


Christopher P. Ring writes fiction, poetry, children’s stories, travel essays, social commentaries, humor and screen plays.  His writing has appeared in numerous regional magazine and small literary journals such as Caldera and The Broken Bridge Review.  He received his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire and taught High School English for several years in the U.S. and abroad.   He continues to teach the art storytelling to Elementary school students in Southern Maine, where he resides with his wife (a teacher too) and two children.

Much of his fiction draws on the experiences and discoveries of his life as a “rambler”.  Growing up in Long Island, New York, he developed an insatiable thirst to escape the confines of conventional living, spending his twenties and early thirties travelling the globe to off the beaten path places in search of adventure.  He has called many regions of the U.S. his home and has also lived in Ireland, the Andes of Colombia, and Vienna, Austria.  As with the cultures and places he has visited, the settings in his story shape the events and characters profoundly.

You can learn more about Christopher P. Ring and check out other writing of his at www.mortalsandfools.com.

His next book, The Glow, a collection of speculative fiction short stories, will be available in April, 2015.


Connect with Christopher:

Author Website: www.mortalsandfools.com 
Author Blog: www.mortalsandfools.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/untermarmot   Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13084642.Christopher_P_Ring




Electricity



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Derek The Dragon by author Leela Hope

Today Pimp That Character talks with Derek The Dragon and Author Leela Hope.

Q: Can you tell us your story?

A: Derek the Dragon learns about the meaning of happiness in this tale. Come and meet an adventurous dormouse who decides that he can change his purpose in life and through caring about others, he ends up saving his village.


Q: Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

A: I write children’s books with moral lessons.


Q: What would I love the most about you?

A: The way I relay moral lessons in terms of Children’s books.


Q: What would I hate the most about you?

A: I don’t think there is.


Q: Where do you go when you are angry?

A: My happy place


Q: What makes you laugh out loud?

A: Everything


Q: What is in your refrigerator right now?

A: Nuts.


Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: My books


Q: What is the trait you most not like about yourself?

A: It takes me a while to open up to people.


Q: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

A: I guess.


Q: What is your idea of a perfect day?

A: Hanging out at home.


Q: I’m opening up your cabinet. What foods do I see?

A: Vegan food


Q: Are you a loner or do you prefer to surround yourself with friends?

A: I prefer being around people


Q: Who is your best friend?

A: My husband


Q: Do you have children?

A: Two sons and a daughter


Q: What is your favorite weather?

A: Cloudy with no chance of rainfall.


Q: Someone is secretly in love with you. Who is it and how do you feel about that?

A: I would be flattered but someone already owns my heart.


Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be a Writer.


Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: My ring.


Q: Do you like to cook? If so, what is your favorite thing to cook?

A: I like to cook fried rice. There’s a lot of ingredients and I throw vegetables in it.



About The Children's Book Collection:

Derek The Dragon (Book 1)


TitleDerek The Dragon 
Author: Leela Hope
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Pages: 22
ASIN:  B00SSFWFEI
Genre: Childrens Books
Format: eBook (.mobi - Kindle) / PDF

Purchase The Book - Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Books-Illustrated-Picture-collection-ebook/dp/B00SSFWFEI/ref=la_B00ERYI2A0_1_28_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422744409&sr=1-28


Derek The Dragon

Do your kids ever feel sad?

Do they have trouble making friends?

An amazing story for all ages to enjoy, aimed at children 0-5 years of age. Watch as Derek the Dragon learns about the meaning of happiness in this tale. Come and meet an adventurous dormouse who decides that he can change his lot in life and through caring about others he ends up saving his village. The story is told through rhyming verse and vivid illustration. Derek the Dragon contains a great message about caring and friendship for parents to share with their children.  



Derek The Dragon (Book 2)


TitleDerek The Dragon And The Missing Socks 
Author: Leela Hope
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Pages: 22
ASIN: B00SRWHITY
Genre: Childrens Books
Format: eBook (.mobi - Kindle) / PDF

Purchase The Book - Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Book-Missing-Illustrated-collection-ebook/dp/B00SRWHITY/ref=la_B00ERYI2A0_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422744676&sr=1-17

Derek The Dragon And The Missing Socks

Do your kids forget to clean up their rooms?

Have they ever asked you to find things for them?

This story is pure family entertainment. It is great for kids 2-82 but it is aimed at the 0-5 age group. The book covers a very important life skill, cleaning. Derek the dragon does not like to clean, but he learns that he needs to get his house clean if he is ever going to find his lucky socks. Devin the dormouse comes to help his friend and shows him the way to get his house clean. The friends clean the cave and find the lucky socks. The story is brought to life through vivid illustrations and is told in rhyming verse.


     Derek The Dragon (Book 3)   


TitleDerek The Dragon and Princess Dayna 
Author: Leela Hope 
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing 
Publication Date: January 25, 2015 
Pages: 22 
ASIN: B00SRVFCI4 
Genre: Childrens Books 
Format: eBook (.mobi - Kindle) / PDF 


Derek The Dragon and Princess Dayna 

Do you or your kids have trouble with people who are different? 

Do your kids have trouble making friends? 

This is a terrific story aimed at kids 0-5, and yet, it is fun for the whole family to read and enjoy. Derek the Dragon, the dormouse, Devin and Princess Dayna all learn a lot about friendship. The book deals with misunderstandings and stereotypes, but in a way that is very palatable for little children to understand. The villagers are worried about a dragon flying around their village. They send their princess off to deal with the situation. The story is told in rhyming verse and featuring dynamic illustrations. It is a story for the whole family to enjoy.   

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE



About The Author

Leela Hope is a writer with over 22 years of experience in writing endearing children's fiction. Her lively characters have entranced and captivated her audience, and she has taken great joy in writing the three series of books, each beautifully illustrated with love and care. Her stories concentrate on the adventures of floppy eared bunnies and wide-eyed children learning lessons in life, before returning home wiser and eager for sleep. leela hope writes her stories to entertain the very young, but also to educate. Her vision is always of a parent sitting on a child's bed, reciting the stories each night, while the young one drifts off to sleep, lulled into a dream world full of fun and adventure. 

From her very earliest years of childhood, Leela made up stories in her head, telling them to her younger brother and sister. The stories flowed easily from her mind, and it wasn't long before she realized she had a gift for writing. By the age of 14, she had already written a small book of short stories for her own entertainment, and by the age of 22, she had published her first full-fledged children's fiction in several magazines. Leela hope was destined to be an author and she knew exactly what genre of fiction she wanted to dedicate her life too.

Born in San Diego, California, and still residing in the area, Leela studied English Literature at Berkeley, earning a degree in 1989. Her writing covers a span of several genres, but she always returns to her first love, children's fiction. She enjoys scuba diving and visiting wildlife parks, seeking new inspiration for cuddly characters for her stories. leela hope lives in an urban area of San Diego and is presently at work on a new book.


Connect with Leela:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Leela-hope/e/B00ERYI2A0/ref=la_B00ERYI2A0_pg_2?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_82%3AB00ERYI2A0&page=2&ie=UTF8&qid=1422744644

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008346312646

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/leelahopee

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9848538.Leela_hope  




Derek The Dragon Banner


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Navy SEAL Jack Gunn from Terror Never Sleeps by Richard Blomberg

We’re thrilled to be talking to Navy SEAL Jack Gunn from Richard Blomberg’s, Terror Never Sleeps. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Pimp That Character.


Q: Thank you for your interview, Mr. Gunn. Before we get started, I understand that you are still in the Navy SEALs and I want to thank you for your service. Can you tell us your story?

A: Thank you for having me on your show. I grew up on a Montana Indian reservation. My parents died in a car fire when I was 8. I pulled my little brother out of the back seat window, but I couldn’t save our mom. Grandpa Joe and Grandma Bear Nose took us in. They’re both gone too… The Zuya, which is a secret sect of Sioux elders raised Travis and I in the old ways since we are both from Sitting Bull’s blood line. I learned to throw and shoot pretty much anything; knives, spears and hatchets, well, you get the picture. I realize it may seem odd to most of your readers after what America has done to us, but Native Americans are very patriotic. So the Zuya trained me to be a warrior and to defend the United States of America against terrorism.

I joined the Navy straight out of high school. The SEALs were a natural fit for a guy with my skill sets. Since before 911, I’ve been hunting down and killing terrorists. I’m good at what I do. Some say I’m the best, but it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I kill them before they kill you. And believe me, if you saw half the stuff that I saw, you wouldn’t ever leave your house.


Q: Tell us about your most distinguishable feature.

A: I have the names of all my fallen teammates tattooed on the inside of my left arm. I don’t know how distinguishable it is, but their ultimate sacrifice means more to me than anything. I wish you could have known them.


Q: Tell me what I would love most about you?

A: I’m a hard man to like, much less love. I’m pretty rough around the edges, if you know what I mean. I think people love, or at least respect how I stand up to bullies. Ever since my parents died, I’ve been looking out for my little brother, and kicking ass when I needed to. I’m not always proud of what I do or how I do it, but when I see bullies picking on the little people, something inside me snaps and I revert back to my Indian name, Raging Bull Jack Gunn..

Fighting terrorists is no different. You’ve seen what ISIS does, right? And you’re only seeing 1% of what’s really going on. I’ve seen it all and that’s what I fight for; to protect you and make sure you never have to see what I see.


Q: Tell me what I would hate the most about you?

A: Like I said, I’m pretty rough around the edges after spending the greater part of the last fifteen years in the Middle East fighting terrorists. I’m what we call, hard wired, meaning I can’t shut myself on and off like I could in my early years. I can’t go into details, but I’ve watched men and women wearing burkas and turbans do unspeakable things in the name of jihad. So when I see someone dressed like that when I’m back home, the hairs on the back of my neck go up. I say things I wish I didn’t say and sound like a bigot.


Q: Tell me what’s your most treasured possession?

A: My family, no question. Being a SEAL is inherently dangerous, and fun. It’s a rush to do the things we do. But when my job puts my family at risk, it makes me wonder if it’s time to get out and do something else.


Q: Tell me what’s your greatest fear?

A: Like I said, losing my family. I don’t fear death. In fact dying on the field of battle is how I expect to go. I’d rather go that way than withering away in some nursing home. Or like Sitting Bull died when a bunch of drunks drug him out of his bed and shot him in the head.


Q: Tell me what your idea of a perfect day is?

A: It would be a perfect day if we got actionable intelligence on the location of the world’s top terrorist and I dropped in out of nowhere and put two bullets between his eyes. That, or spending the day at home with my family.


Q: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

A: I think Richard did a good job for somebody who’s never been a SEAL, or been shot at, or twisted someone’s neck until it snapped. He might have made me sound better than I am. It’s hard to say when the story is about me, since I know what I’m like on the inside, but I have no idea how I come across to others.


Q: Lastly, if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

A: My motto for life has always been to make the last thing I do, be the greatest thing I did. The greatest thing I ever did was marrying Nina and having our son Barett. I would spend the day with them, my brother’s family and my teammates. My little brother would smudge me with sage smoke and perform a ceremony. We’d tell stories and pass the peace pipe, maybe a shot or two of Jack Daniels too, and prepare the way for me to join the elders. Other than being away from my family so much, I have no regrets. God Bless America. Hooyah.



About The Book:

Title: Terror Never Sleeps
Book 2: Jack Gunn Thriller Series
Author: Richard Blomberg
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
Publication Date: February 15, 2015
Pages: 337
ISBN: 978-1592988952
Genre: Military Thriller / Suspense


Buy The Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Never-Sleeps-Richard-Blomberg/dp/1592988954/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1422645524&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Terror+Never+Sleeps

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/terror-never-sleeps-richard-blomberg/1121130312?ean=9781592988952&itm=1&usri=terror+never+sleeps

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24018697-terror-never-sleeps?ac=1


Book Synopsis:

Naval SEAL Jack Gunn's life turned upside down when terrorists kidnap his family and disappear without a trace. While Jack and his team search frantically for clues in Virginia, half-way around the world, his wife, Nina struggles to survive the terrorist's daily persecutions as his hostage.

Terror Never Sleeps is an action-packed tale of Nina's transformation into a warrior who is fighting for her life, and Jack's relentless pursuit of the terrorists from Mali to Diego Garcia to Pakistan. A Military coup, propaganda, dirty bombs, and the launch of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal with one target - Israel - is all part of the terrorist's master plan, who are hellbent on blowing the world back to the eighth century. The non-stop action keeps the reader constantly off balance with the bizarre and unexpected.


Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Dawley Corners, VA

“I’m scared, Mommy.” Barett sat back up in bed, clutching his dinosaur pillow under one arm and his frayed security blanket under the other.
“Don’t cry, honey. Daddy will be home tomorrow.” Nina brushed her son’s tears aside with her fingers, cupped his tender face in her hands, and gave him a kiss on the forehead. She inhaled the scent of baby shampoo from his tangled wet hair and snuggled him to her chest. Barett’s Mickey Mouse night-light cast a buttery glow across the carpet. A constellation of
fluorescent stars and planets were already glued to the ceiling of his brand-new bedroom and floating like luminous jellyfish in the dark above.
“But what if the bad guys kill Daddy?” Barett chewed on the fringe of his blanket.
“Nobody’s going to kill Daddy,” Nina quickly answered for the umpteenth time as she stroked his black hair. Barett nodded, locked on Nina’s eyes. She closed the bedtime storybook and put it back on the nightstand.
Barett’s lower lip quivered. “What if you die, Mommy? I heard you and Daddy talking.” He started crying again.
Nina gasped. “You don’t need to worry anymore, sweetie. Mommy’s cancer is all gone.” She crossed her hands across her chest and threw them up into the air. “Poof! And Daddy is a brave Sioux, just like you.” She poked Barett in the chest. “If the president of the United States trusts Daddy to protect his country, I don’t think we need to worry.”
Sorrow instantly overwhelmed Nina, sad that Barett’s last thoughts before falling asleep were to fear for his mommy’s and daddy’s lives—even though Nina frequently cried herself to sleep with those same fears. Barett, Nina’s angel throughout her chemotherapy, reached up and brushed her tears away with his baby-soft fingers as he had done so many times before.
If Jack was Nina’s soul mate, Barett was her heart mate. Nina’s first pregnancy ended horribly with a devastating and unexpected miscarrage. Her second ended the same way. So after nine months of living on the jittery edge of sanity, wondering what would go wrong the third time around, Barett was her gift from God who miraculously joined the world on Nina’s twentysixth
birthday. She loved her little bear more than anything. She loved Barett more than Jack.
Trying to stay strong and keep up a good front for Barett while Jack was away, Nina snatched the dreamcatcher hanging from a tack in the wall above Barett’s pillow and fanned his face with its eagle feathers as if she were trying to start a fire.
“Remember, Uncle Travis had a very special medicine man make this to protect you from bad dreams.” She tickled his chest until he giggled.
“He’s funny.”
“Now go to sleep, honey. Daddy will be home tomorrow.” She leaned over and gave him one last kiss.
Nina left his door half open, just how Barett liked, and went downstairs to lock up for the night. Everything in their condominium smelled fresh and new. The paint on the walls, the polish on the floors, and the carpet on the stairs. It was their first home and their first mortgage. Nina smiled, thinking of her husband, Jack, and how he had gone over the top to buy the most
expensive door and window locks.
Being a Navy SEAL and the head of the Counterterrorism Task Force (CTF) made it nearly impossible for Jack Gunn to trust anyone. The only people he trusted were the other SEALs on his Ghost Team and Native Americans, like Nina and him.
“I’m not going to be a prisoner in my own home, Jack. Spend all the money on locks and guns and whatever else you think we need, but take a look around. We’re not living in Afghanistan.” Nina had opened the blind so Jack could look out and see their front yard of new sod, their one-inch elm sapling held vertical by three posts and gardening wire, and the empty lots across the street staked out for new construction. No one else had even moved into their
building yet. They had first pick in the new ocean-view community in Dawley Corners, south of Virginia Beach.
“This is what I’ve always wanted, Jack,” Nina had told him. “I know it’s not Montana, but there’s no place I’d rather be.”
“The perimeter is secure,” she could almost hear Jack saying.
Her smile vanished as she pulled back a corner of the curtain and watched a windowless panel van slowly cruise past their condo. It was the type of hammer-and-nail-laden van construction crews drove through their neighborhood on a daily basis, but not after dark at nine thirty on a Saturday night.
There was something about the van that sent a shiver up her spine as it crawled around the cul-de-sac and came back. She let the sheer curtain fall back into place and watched the headlights. They stopped at the end of Nina’s driveway. With a growl of the engine, smoke puffed from the tail pipe into the chilled air. Now hiding behind the front door, she began to hyperventilate as she fought off the suffocating feeling of panic.
Nina felt guilty for cowering like a scared little girl. She knew if Jack were home, he would have put one of his patented kill looks on his face, stomped out the front door, and challenged the guys in the truck. He did stuff like that all the time. Most of the time, the other guys took off before he got close enough to do any harm; he looked that intimidating. Far from being politically correct, Jack was the man who backed down to nobody. Who feared nobody. Who suspected everybody.
Nina swallowed hard, checked the lock, and glanced up the stairs to make sure Barett was still in bed. Fingers trembling, she fumbled to get her cell phone out of her pocket to call Jack, but dropped it. Pieces of plastic and glass blasted in every direction, like a grenade exploding in the dark, when it hit the porcelain tile.
“Oh my God!” she gasped. That was her only phone. The van still rumbled in the street, not moving. She made out the silhouette of a stocking-capped, bearded man in the passenger seat. Her brain swelled like an expanding water balloon between her ears.
“Think, dammit. Think.” She heard Jack’s words reverberating in her head. It was late Saturday night, her phone was trashed, their home Internet was not scheduled to be activated until Monday, which had not been a big deal because her smartphone functioned as a mobile hot spot for her laptop. All that had changed the instant her phone crashed.
Her feet felt as if they were stuck in cement, nailing her to the floor behind the door.
“The gun. I’ve got to get the gun.”
She looked through the curtain at the van one last time, then stumbled up the stairs, went into their bedroom closet, and turned on the light. The gun safe still had the manufacturer’s stickers on the anodized steel door.
She dialed three numbers stuck in her head. Nothing. She tried again. Nothing. The combination to the safe lay splayed across the entryway floor downstairs in a worthless cell phone microchip.
A noise outside spooked her. Her fingers trembled on the dial.
She tried the lock one last time and prayed. “Hallelujah!” The door opened. She grabbed the loaded shotgun. Jack always said it was the best gun for home protection. Point the scattergun in the general direction of your target and pull the trigger. It would blow a hole in the door the size of a basketball.
Nina had pulled the trigger on a shotgun once before. She blasted tin cans and beer bottles with her brothers back at the reservation garbage dump in Montana when she was a kid. The gun kicked like a mule and knocked her on her butt. It seemed funny at the time.
She flipped the safety off, racked a shell into the chamber, turned off the light, and tiptoed back out of the closet. The gun went first, with Nina’s slippery finger on the trigger. Her eyes dilated to adjust back to the dark.
The condo was too new. Nothing looked familiar. Every shadow, every noise made her jump. The furnace kicked in. The bedroom curtain fluttered over the heat duct. She heard a noise in the hallway. Nina opened the door with the gun barrel.
“Mommy.”
“Barett. Oh my God. I almost . . .” She covered her mouth, overcome by a sudden wave of nausea. Nina swallowed hard to push the bile back down as she propped the gun up against the wall behind the door, out of Barett’s sight. She grabbed Barett, hugged him hard, and carried him back to his room. “Stay in bed, honey. Mommy will be right back.”
Nina snatched the gun with her shaking, sweaty hands and quickly crept back down the carpeted stairs, trying her best to keep quiet.
The front door was still locked. The van was gone. She held the shotgun against her chest and fixed her eyes on the doorknob, dreading movement of any kind. Her heart raced as she waited in the dark.
The wind blew. The furnace kicked off. The doorknob did nothing.
She turned on the entryway light and scraped together all the pieces of her phone.
I can’t call the police. The phone lines are down till Monday. I can’t call or text Jack. He’ll be pissed. It was probably nothing. No need to get all worked up. Just go to bed. Get a new cell phone in the morning before Jack gets home. And put that stupid gun away before you shoot someone.


About The Author:


Dr. Richard Blomberg has practiced anesthesia in the land of 10,000 lakes for twenty years. He grew up in an Iowa farm town, the oldest of ten, before serving as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War. For generations, Richard's family has proudly served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and currently lives in the Twin Cities with is wife and family, where is working on his next Jack Gunn thriller.


To learn more about the author, sign up for his newsletterread his blogor follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



Connect with Richard:

Author Website: http://www.richardblomberg.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRichardBlomberg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rblombergauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142641.Richard_Blomberg



Terror Never Sleeps - Updated





Thursday, March 19, 2015

Samuel from Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

We’re thrilled to be talking to Samuel from Greg Hickey’s novel, Our Dried Voices. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Pimp That Character!


Q: Thank you for your interview, Samuel. Can you tell us your story?

A: I know one story. But it is very long. I am not a Storyteller. I am just another person like the others. Maybe a little different. Penny and me, I think we are different. I live in a place with lots of grass and some trees. There is a building where I sleep. Another where I eat. When it is time to eat, the food comes to us from a hole. A hole in the wall of the building. Sometimes water comes from the sky. But most times the sky is light. Unless something goes wrong. Things have started to go wrong. Doors are locked. Food does not come. There is more sky water. Rain. There were heroes and they fixed some things. But they have gone now. I will try to fix things.


Q: Where do you go when you are angry?

A: I like to go to the fence. It is far from the buildings and the river. It is quiet there. There are not so many others. I can see the mountains all around. And the meadow outside the fence is empty and free.


Q: What makes you laugh out loud?

A: I do not remember laughing very much. Penny has made me laugh. She pretends to talk like the others. But she can talk right. She is not like them. And I am so happy to know that she is different.


Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: I have a piece of metal in my pocket. I think it came from a window in one building where we eat. I found it on the floor there. I use it to open doors that will not open and to fix other things.


Q: What is your greatest fear?

A: There are others that come from the mountains to attack us. They break the food machines. They close the doors. They make the papers I find to share their plans. And now there are no more Heroes. There is me and Penny. How can we stop them?


Q: Do you have children?

A: Is that like Sully and Penny in the story? Small people? There are small people in the colony. I was small once but I grew bigger. You ask if I have a small person. I do not know. I have clothing. I have a bed. I have the metal in my pocket. I do not think I have any people, big or small.


Q: What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

A: When all the meal cakes are all the same size. I do not have to break them up to give to the others. I take my meal cake and eat with Penny in the meadow under a tree.


Q: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

A: What is “die?” Is it like when some of the others drank the bad river water? They fell to the ground and slept with their eyes open and did not wake up. I do not want to sleep and never wake up. If I would never wake then I would never sleep. I would climb trees and swim in the river and go over the fence to the mountains. I would never go to bed again.


About The Book

Our Dried Voices
 

TitleOur Dried Voices 
Author: Greg Hickey
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Pages: 234
ISBN: 978-1940368931
Genre: Dystopian / Science Fiction
Format: Paperback, eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF


Purchase The Book:




In 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity. Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence. With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue his colony.    


Book Excerpt:


I

The sound of the bells echoed across the colony. They sounded five times, and by the end of the fifth peal everyone had stopped what they were doing and started to walk toward the nearest source of the noise. The bells had a tinny, hollow sound to them. To be sure, it was unmistakably the sound of bells, but it lacked that rich, thunderous, rolling swell once heard in passing by an old church at the top of the hour. Instead, it was as though the sound of real bells had been recorded and re-recorded ad infinitum until only bell-like sounds now remained.

The bells called the people to the midday meal. All across the lush meadow, the colonists fell into a kind of reverie. Moments earlier, they had been romping through the meadow or splashing in the river with the joyful abandon of children, while others napped blissfully at the base of a modest hill or fornicated with some momentary lover in the shade of a spreading tree. But now their innocent laughter, their hushed excited voices, their intermittent shrieks of pleasure all ceased for an instant as they moved as one toward the sound of the bells. As soon as the fifth toll had faded in the air, the human noise resumed as though it had never been silenced. The colonists walked eagerly but unhurriedly, small, hairless, brown-skinned people, all barefooted and dressed in simple, cream-colored smocks.

The bell sounds came from the seven meal halls spread throughout the colony—long, tall, rectangular buildings erected from the black, craggy rock characteristic of the mountains of Pearl, now smoothed down and cut into bricks and painted a soothing off-white. Another smaller building abutted one end of each meal hall. Their wan stone fa├žades matched those of the larger halls and there were no discernible entryways in their solid exteriors.

As the colonists entered each meal hall, they lined up along the right-hand wall to wait for their food. The walls were painted a pale sky blue, and on the far wall was a small square hole. One by one, each diner stepped forward in line, a small, red light above the hole flashed, a short clicking and whirring noise sounded and then a round, firm, dark brown cake appeared at the edge of the opening. One by one, each colonist took the proffered meal cake and carried it over to one of the many wooden tables or out into the meadow.

Near the front of the line at one hall, a male colonist turned to face the man behind him.

“Hellohoweryou?” said the first man.

“Goodthankshoweryou?” replied the second man.

“Goodthankshoweryou?”

“Goodthankshoweryou?”

The two men stared blankly at each other for a moment. Then the first man blinked and said “Goodweathertoday.”

The second bobbed his head and grinned. “Betterenyesterday.”

They continued to gaze at each other with vapid expressions until the first man turned around and stepped forward in line. The two men were right. It was Tuesday. It rained on Mondays. And thanks to the colony’s weather modification system, it had rained every Monday, and only on Monday, for hundreds of years.

***

When about half the colonists at this particular meal hall had received their food, an adult woman moved to the front of the line. A young boy, no taller than her waist, stood behind her. The woman stepped up to the wall, the red light above the hole flashed… and nothing happened. There was no clicking, no whirring, and no meal cake emerged from the hole in the milky blue wall. Some people a few places behind the first woman, by now so accustomed to the regular pace of the line, stepped forward in anticipation of her taking the food and continuing on. When the line did not move, they bumped awkwardly into the colonists in front of them, very much surprised that there should be a fleshy, breathing, human body in their path instead of empty space. Those closest to the front of the line fell silent when they saw the woman had not yet received her meal, and then the silence spread evenly and rhythmically down the line, like a row of pillowed dominoes falling to the floor. Yet all the colonists continued to wear the same insipid half-grin on their faces as they waited patiently for the food to be dispensed and the line to creep forward once more.

A long, loud, whining shriek from the young boy waiting with his mother at the front of the line broke through the stillness, and it was this sound, not the actual interruption of the food service, which seemed to have the greatest effect on those in the hall. The boy did not cry. He shed no tears, and the sound which emerged from his mouth was not a breathless and choked sobbing, or even the petulant howl of a child’s tantrum. It was a primal, animal moan that rose from the depths of his unfilled stomach, rushed up his throat with a cold and persistent ferocity and forced its way over his teeth, throwing his head back as it broke from his lips. No one tried to comfort the boy. His mother did not even turn around to look at him. Her weak smile faded, but she continued to stare at the dark hole in the wall, still waiting for her meal to appear. Then a child some dozen places back in the line picked up the boy’s howl, and then a woman farther behind did the same. Soon the entire line was wailing loudly.

Those colonists who had already received their meals hunkered over their cakes and stuffed their last bites into their mouths. One of them stood up, bumping hard into his table. The rest followed. They walked hurriedly to the door, brushing past the onlookers from outside who had gathered to see what all the noise was about. Those still in line stared dazedly at the others around them, at the now half-empty hall, an incipient question forming somewhere deep in their skulls.

A man in the middle of the line broke their unsteady ranks first. He ran, stumbling over tables and chairs bolted to the floor in his maddened dash toward the doorway. The rest of the line scattered in his wake. Out through the door they went, cracking bony limbs on the wooden furniture in their paths, pushing and trampling one another as they all tried to force their way through the doorway at once, like blood cells pumped through a clotted artery.


Those who had already finished their meals stood outside in a loose ring several meters away from the entrance of the food hall, and as the wild runners pushed their way through the door, they began to run as well, picking up the wail of the unfed as they went. They ran in no particular direction, a single mass exodus from the hall, teeming out across the gay green meadows, up and over the soft, undulating hills, and their cries rippled throughout the once-peaceful fields to fill the void left by the cessation of the bells with a sound far more vibrant than those stale chimes which had just called them to their uneaten meal.


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE




About The Author

Greg Hickey
   

Greg Hickey was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1985. After graduating from Pomona College in 2008, he played and coached baseball in Sweden and South Africa. He is now a forensic scientist, endurance athlete and award-winning writer. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

You can visit Greg’s website at www.greghickeywrites.com.  

Connect with Greg:
Author Website: www.greghickeywrites.com 
Author Blog: http://kinesophy.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GHWrites 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/greghickey5 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8421481.Greg_Hickey    



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Lorna Dale from Krystal Lawrence's 'Risen II: The Progeny'





We’re thrilled to be talking to Lorna Dale from Krystal Lawrence’s newest novel, Risen II: The Progeny.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Lorna.  Can you tell us your story?

Well, a long time ago, when I was two years old this really old vampire named Francis
Barclay came to town, which is interesting in itself, because he had been dead for over two-hundred years at the time. Anyway, he accidentally turned me into a vampire. Now I’m seven and my parents don’t even know what I really am.

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

My fangs pop out when I get testy.

What would I love the most about you?

I have quite dazzling blue eyes that glow in the dark.

What would I hate the most about you?

Probably being bitten. I’m still learning how to do that without causing dire consequences.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Oh, definitely. She may have been a little hard on my daddy though.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

One where nobody that I bites ends up dead.

If you could change one physical thing about yourself, what would that be?

Probably the glowing eyes. I don’t know why, but they seem to scare people.

Are you a loner or do you prefer to surround yourself with friends?

I love to be around my friends, but there are just some things a vampire has to do solo——if you know what I mean.

What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

B-Positive.

What is your most treasured possession?

A figurine of a vampire dog named Samantha that my blood-father, Francis gave me.

About the Author:



Krystal Lawrence was born and raised in Southern California, where she was a child actress. In her late teens and early twenties she redirected her creative energy into radio, and hosted a successful talk show in Las Vegas for many years. She is the author of two previous books and numerous short stories. She now lives in Seattle where she is working on her fourth novel, PHONE CALL FROM HELL.

Her latest book is the horror/suspense, Risen II.

 For More Information
About the Book:




Producers take note! Francis Barclay is back and he’s ready for prime time.

Fans of horror/suspense masters Stephen King and Dean Koontz are sure to delight in the return of Francis Barclay, the vengeful and bloodthirsty vampire resurrected from the dead after 200 years, in RISEN, by the “Mistress of Macabre,” Krystal Lawrence. Barclay, cremated at the end of RISEN, has once again returned from the ashes -- and this time he’s not alone!

In Lawrence’s riveting sequel, RISEN II: THE PROGENY, Barclay is working his slow and agonizing way back to Alder Lake, determined to save the child he accidentally sired.

RISEN began the tale of Francis Barclay’s return to Alder Lake to avenge the centuries old murder of his family.  In this spellbinding sequel, Barclay is determined to save his progeny. When last we left Alder Lake, seven year-old Lorna was waiting patiently by the window for her blood-father’s return. Her wait is now over. She has inherited Francis Barclay’s luminous glowing eyes as well as his taste for blood.

Alder Lake is once again plagued by murder. Only this time, the suspect will surprise everyone!

The “Risen” books may remind readers of the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVELS by Charlaine Harris or Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT series, but Lawrence reaches farther back for inspiration in the undead genre. She calls her novels “vampires for grownups,” in the manner of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, the most famous bloodsucker of them all.

The main similarity of the RISEN novels to Harris’ and Meyer’s books lies in their rich potential to be adapted into the kind of theatrical or television films that can’t miss in attracting hordes of dedicated fans.

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