#MondayGuest l Benjamin Mester, Author of The Banished Lands

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Benjamin Mester is native of San Diego but can often be found wandering the woods of northern Minnesota.  He fell in love with language at an early age – the eloquence of poetry or the grandeur of an epic story.  Fantasy is his favorite genre, crafting new and magical places of heroism and adventure.  When he isn't writing, he's often taking long walks through nature or wondering about his place in the wide world.

Benjamin is the author of The Banished Lands series.

You can visit him on Goodreads.

About the Book:


A kingdom in danger. A prophecy that will change everything. But will they understand it in time? The old world is gone, and barely even histories remain. But something from that time is returning. The closing lines of a farewell poem, written centuries ago by the last great king of the age to his slain wife, might be more than just a poem:
The world and all its light shall fade,
I'll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world's remade...

Join us in this epic fantasy adventure as three friends plunge into the great mystery of their age, twelve centuries in the making. A mysterious fog blankets the forest just outside the sleepy town of Suriya. A dark plot unfolds as Durian and his friends discover ties between a strange wanderer and the warlike barbarian kingdom far to the north. Are the mysterious things happening in the forest a prelude to invasion? What happens next will propel Durian and his curious friends into the middle of the oldest riddle in the history of their kingdom, a dozen centuries old.


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Amazon


What’s inside the mind of a fantasy author?

The thrilling reality that anything is possible, that your world can be as expansive and alive as the time you're willing to invest.

What is so great about being an author?

People have been telling stories since the dawn of time.  Stories inspire us to be our best selves, to want more for our lives that the mediocrity of day to day living.  When we fall in love with characters wrapped up in epic circumstances, it inspires us to want to make our own lives equally great...to fight for things worth fighting for.  Crafting something that could potentially do that for people really inspires me.  What better thing could you do for someone than to inspire them to want to be better?

When do you hate it?

The middle third of a book is always rough.  It's so much fun starting out when you have a new idea.  But somewhere around the middle, it just becomes work.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

I love to write first thing, cup of coffee in hand.  There's something about the freshness of a new day that silences the discouraging voices saying you'll never finish your book.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I take a deep breath and read the review with as little bias as possible.  If there's anything in there I needed to hear, I try and apply it.  Otherwise, I just give it a thumbs down on Amazon and move on :)

How do you handle positive reviews?

With celebration.  At some point, you have to become really vulnerable to be an author.  Your deep passions and emotions come out all over the page.  When another person connects with that and lets you know it, it's an amazing thing.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

I actually don't usually tell people that unless I know them well.  Since I have a day job, being a gemologist, which is a really interesting field, I usually lead off with that.  It's not that I'm not proud of my work.  It's just, you always seem to get into those awkward conversations where a person you hardly know who probably has never touched your genre says they want to support you and read your book. 

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

Definitely I take a break.  And if I have the time, I'll go on a hike and bring my favorite book of poetry.  That often brings me right back into the flow.

Any writing quirks?

Hmm.  Don't think so.  When I first started writing, I always went to 7-11 and got a slurpee.  Which brings up an interesting point.  I think it's helpful to associate writing with something else you enjoy.  Psychologists call it classical conditioning.  Sorry to go off on a tangent, but there was an experiment done once with a dog, and before each meal they fed the dog, they would ring a bell.  After awhile, every time they rang the bell, the dog would start to salivate.  How in the world does that apply to writing?  Well if you associate something with your writing time – something you enjoy that you only do when you're about to write, like me with my slurpee – it can help kickstart your creative process and get the ideas flowing.  It sounds coo coo I know but it really works.  I remember in those early days, driving home with slurpee in hand, my mind would explode with ideas and I couldn't wait to get home to my keyboard.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

That's their choice.  Since I write a lot of fiction and primarily fantasy, people not taking me seriously is just a way of life. 

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

Absolutely.  Writing can be an amazingly frustrating undertaking.  But when you create something you're proud of, there's nothing else like it.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

Not at all.  My favorite genre is poetry, which is virtually impossible to make a living at.  There have been world famous poets, like John Keats, who had to stop writing poetry full time because there wasn't enough money in it.  I love that I have a day job because then I can write for the pure enjoyment of it. 

What has writing taught you?

That the written word is beautiful and inspiring.  That stories can inspire us in ways like nothing else can.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

I started writing after reading Walden, by Henry David Throeau.  He inspired me to live differently, to march to the beat of a different drummer, as he would say.  I'll leave you with a quote of his that continuously inspires me:

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.



#FridayGuest / Conch Shell Confessions by Dax Marie @conchieconfess

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CONCH SHELL CONFESSIONS by Dax Marie, Memoir, 202 pp., $13.99 (paperback) $3.03 (kindle)


Title: CONCH SHELL CONFESSIONS
Author: Dax Marie
Publisher: Author House
Pages: 202
Genre: Memoir

This is a book about love: hunting it, chasing it, losing it, tripping, and falling into it.
And yes, it’s a book about sex: hunting it, chasing it, losing it, tripping from it, and falling onto…ahem…it.

But more than anything, it’s a book about self-discovery, navigating the learning curve of adulting, and learning the kind of tough lessons that only come when you have to pick yourself off the floor, block a guy’s phone number (for the second time), and clean some curious stains off your dress.
I dove headfirst into love and sex, and for better or worse, they have taught me that sometimes you just need to try the world on for size to really understand what it is you want and learn who you are. So here’s my experience in the world of men.
Amazon Link:
https://amzn.to/2kFHA8v

Watch the Trailer!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLzkXLAncx3-tYU- zILk_UQ?view_as=subscriber
(click on YouTube graphic to watch)

Epigraph
Because lord knows I need one.
    Ladies, this is a book about men (or maybe they could be more accurately defined as boys…little boys). So, if you have ever found yourself with the wrong guy (or guys as I have mistakenly done), I am so sorry. If you have ever had to deal with heartbreak, frustration, or immaturity due to boy-kind, I would like to apologize for their actions, too, because lord knows they never will. Can I do that? Just apologize for the inferior gender like that? Oh well, I’m going to anyway.
    The dating struggle is real, and I feel your pain. Know that you don’t stand alone in your dating of dipshits and DEFINITELY know that I understand (and that it’s okay) if sometimes you’re the dipshit because of the men you choose for yourself. As some cliché somewhere once said, you live and you learn. So let’s start making our way towards finding ourselves and learning about love. Oh, the happy struggles of vagina-hood.
    Some of you men out there might be worried that you’re going to show up in these pages. Some of you will be right––but not to worry my sweet boys, I have changed your names to ones that I find more befitting of you. So if you don’t like it, I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t have been so deserving of such colorful nicknames.









Dax Marie was five or so, when the man that she would otherwise call, “father” gave Dax her issues. What’s the medical terminology for that? Oh, Daddy Issues! For nearly the whole of her life she has tried to deny this grave medical condition and up until about seven years ago, she was doing alright. By no means was she swimming through the world with ease, but she did like aight (that’s hood talk for alright).

It was not until sometime in high school when she discovered her self-diagnosed condition. Sigmund Freud (you may have heard of him, he’s like a coke-head genius) told Dax (in a text book) that she has Penis Envy. Poor thing, she was absolutely flabbergasted!

“Me, Dax Marie? Associated with male genitalia?” she thought to herself.

So, it was then and there, her junior year of high school that she knew what
she was destined for…MEN.

Dax’s latest book is the memoir, Conch Shell Confessions.

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Sunset Beach Book Blast ~ Book Giveaway! @cmdonovan

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SUNSET BEACH by Christine Donovan, Contemporary Romance, 255 pp., $3.99 (kindle)


Title: SUNSET BEACH
Author: Christine Donovan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 328
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Until Sarah Kennedy is 17 she spends her summers at Sunset Beach with a close-knit group of friends. They are young, carefree, and just a tad wild—as teenagers tend to be. They share secrets, love, and a deep connection. But that final summer life as the friends know it begins to unravel. Domestic violence plagues one family, one of their group becomes a criminal. Sarah severs all ties with her friends and disappears.

Fifteen years after the summer that changed Sarah’s life forever, she receives a letter about a reunion. Can she bury her fears, curb her anxiety enough to attend and finally unearth who attacked her and changed the trajectory of her life forever? She also hopes to reconnect with the one man she gave her heart and soul too—Jake Ferroli. She wonders if his life faired any better than hers after his family tragedy and his downfall into drugs and alcohol.

Sarah locks down her demons and rents a cottage for the summer. To her surprise Jake is still single and they slowly reconnect. But so does her attacker. He is good at eluding the police. Somehow he has gone on attacking women for fifteen years without so much as being a suspect. Pictures, letters, and threats against Sarah now come on a daily basis. Jake and Sarah hire a private detective and as they get closer and closer to revealing the identity of the perpetrator, he strikes. Can Jake rescue Sarah before their so-called friend rapes her, or even worse, kills her as he did to his last victim?


When he stepped close to her, he could sense rather than see her retreat. Her eyes darted toward the door then back to him, suddenly full of panic. Why? It tore at his heart to know someone or something traumatized her.
“Why don’t you take a seat and relax.” He reached out to touch her arm and she all but flinched. It appeared ever so quickly, but he noticed it. On an exhale, he let his arm fall, frowned at her behavior, and sat down. She slid into the chair opposite him.
“So, tell me why you’re so jumpy? Is it me, or are you always like this?” God, please don’t let it be me.
She shot him a look of disbelief. “I’m not jumpy.”
Clearing his throat, he said, “If you say so.”
“Have you kept in touch with everyone?”
The desperation he witnessed flash in her eyes nearly broke his heart. “Yeah, I have. You know about Drew and Alyssa. Tom’s a doctor. He works at Mass General and he’s still single. Dylan lives in his mother’s old house. He’s a local cop here. Had a nasty divorce a few years back, but I don’t know all the details. I believe he has one kid, a daughter. Mitch is a detective with the Boston Police Department. He married a fellow police officer and they have two kids. Heather married some guy last year, I haven’t met him. Tracy’s single and I think she’s the only one not coming.”
“I had no idea what became of anyone.” Tears pooled in her eyes. “Except Charlotte.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “You took me by surprise when I saw you pull up today.”
Exhaling, he said, “Likewise. I didn’t expect you to come after fifteen years of silence.” He ran his hands threw his hair and asked, “Why did you come?”
“I don’t know. I thought it was time.”
She had a strange, vacant look on her face, so Jake decided to drop the subject. He would push for more answers later. And he wanted answers. Something had been eating a hole in his heart all these years, and he wanted to know why.







Christine Donovan is giving away five free e-copies of SUNSET BEACH!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight June 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on June 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Christine Donovan is an International Bestselling Author who writes romance that touches the heart, soothes the soul and feeds the mind. She is a PAN Member of RWA and belongs to Novelist, Inc. and Rhode Island Romance Writers.

She lives on the Southeast Coast of Massachusetts with her husband, four sons, four cats and one spoiled golden retriever. As well as writing contemporary romance, she also writes historical and paranormal. All her books have some degree of suspense. In her spare time, she can be found reading, painting or gardening. She loves to tackle DIY projects.

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#FridayGuest / The Dawsons by Lydia and Santina Casablanca #blogtour #VBT @tdawsons

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THE DAWSONS by Lydia & Santina Casablanca, Fantasy Romance, 432 pp., $.99 (kindle)


Title: THE DAWSONS
Author: Lydia and Santina Casablanca
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 432
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Witnessing the horrific demise of everyone he knew and loved has made Derrick Dawson strong, but it has also made him cold and broken. Tormented by his past and fears for the future, Derrick drowns himself in alcohol and drugs to dull the pain he can’t seem to escape. When Rose, the granddaughter of his sworn enemy, suddenly appears in his life, his world turns upside down. The wall he has built to protect his heart is crumbling. Will Derrick ignore what he feels or will he let the wall fall?
Francesco has felt alone and miserable all his life. The loss of his family and the harshness he receives from his constantly intoxicated older brother has left a void inside him that he thought he would never fill. Until a young princess named Rosa stumbles into him and changes his life forever. There’s only one thing that stands in his way—King Antonio has forbidden Rosa to have anything to do with a Dawson.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



INTRODUCTION
There is a world like no other, a world where anything is possible, where no mortal walks—or lives. This world is on a planet called Magika, a place like Earth with the same identities, the same personalities, and the same countries. The only difference is the people on Earth are mortal, and the people on Magika are witches, which makes things very different. All kinds of beings and creatures—any supernatural thing you can think of—live on this bizarre planet. Mortals aren’t allowed to visit Magika; nor do they even know that the planet exists. Though it’s located close to earth, Magika is barely possible to find in space, given that it’s invisible to the mortal eye. If somehow a human were to miraculously figure it out and enter the magical land, the rulers of Magika would make sure he or she never returned. Mortals can never know Magika exists; their knowing would change everything, and drastic measures would have to be taken.
The only way in or out of Magika is through several portals around the world, and they open only once a year at twilight. Witches in books and movies on Earth are nothing like witches in the witch world. On this planet, witches fly without broomsticks and heal quickly. They are given a gift from an angel on the day of their birth, but they also receive a curse by a demon on the same day. The only way to get rid of the curse is to kill the demon who gave it. However, if you do get rid of the curse, you will gain another. Witches senses are heightened. Their eyes and hair can grow any colour. They will never age and can never die, unless they are given the curse of mortality. Child witches usually grow faster than do mortal children. You can never tell how old a witch may be, and it would be better not to guess, if you know what we mean.
And so our story begins one night on the shores of Casa Palace.

Lydia and Santina Casablanca are twin sisters who were born in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. They grew up mostly in New South Wales, moving around all the time and never staying in one place for more than three years. Growing up, Lydia and Santina were left at home a lot with nothing to do while their mother worked to provide for them. The twins had wild imaginations and would often play make believe where they lived in this world where only the supernatural inhabited it. They made up all kinds of characters and story lines, and in doing so they did not realize that they were creating magic.

When Lydia and Santina were 14 years old they noticed they were starting to forget the stories, the characters and the families they had made up and they didn’t want to forget, they wanted to always remember the adventures they went on when they played, pretending they were witches who lived in a magical place. The twins decided to put down all their adventures they had had, all the characters and the families they had made up on paper so they would always remember them.

While writing their book they were suddenly aware that they had a passion for it, and realized they didn’t want their stories to be hidden, to just be shared between themselves. They wanted to share the families they had created, the adventures, the characters with the world. The twins wanted to share their love of writing, their magic and write for a living.

Lydia and Santina worked on their first novel (The Dawsons) for ten years, adding to the story, maturing and professionalizing it, editing it and trying their best to make it as perfect as a manuscript can be before they approached the self-publishing company Xlibris in October 2016. The twins knew that self-publishing a book is not cheap so they saved up for years, working at Gloss Cosmetics, Coles, etc. to earn the money that would help them to publish their first novel.

Lydia and Santina’s book “The Dawsons” was finally self-published with Xlibris Publishing in April 2017. The twins went through a crazy, exhilarating ride making their book a reality, and haven’t regretted taking all the nerve-racking risks in the hopes of being successful. They have been trying to get as many people as possible to know about their book, contacting radio and television stations, bookstores, newspapers and social media in the hopes that their dreams will come true.
The twins are now 24 years old and are living on the Central Coast, New South Wales. Lydia is currently working on the second installment to The Dawsons. She is also working on the first novel by contacting anyone she can to popularize their book. Santina helps Lydia with the marketing of The Dawsons whenever she can.

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#WednesdayGuest l Blog Tour l Getaway l Maureen Brady

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Though Maureen Brady wrote the humor column of her junior high school newspaper, she didn't actually comprehend that she was a writer until after she had moved to New York City in her twenties, where she began taking writing workshops at The New School and then fell headlong into the consciousness raising groups of the early 1970's.

She published her first novel, Give Me Your Good Ear, in 1979, and it was published by The Women's Press in England in 1981. Her novel, Folly, was excerpted in Southern Exposure, received wide critical acclaim, was nominated by Adrienne Rich for an ALA Gay Book Award and was reprinted as a classic by The Feminist Press. She published a collection of short stories, The Question She Put to Herself, in 1987, then turned to writing nonfiction in the '90's, publishing Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Midlife: Meditations for Women. She returned to fiction with the novel, Ginger's Fire, and her most recent novel, Getaway.

Her recent work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Bellevue Literary Review; Just Like A Girl; Cabbage and Bones: Irish American Women's Fiction, Mom, In the Family, and Intersections: An Anthology of Banff Writers. Brady's essays and stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and were finalists for the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize and the Nelsen Algren Short Story contest.

An Adjunct Assistant Professor, she teaches creative writing at New York University and New York Writers Workshop @ the Jewish Community Center, and works as a free-lance editor and tutor, helping writers across the spectrum take their writing to the next stage.

A co-founder of Spinsters Ink, Brady edited such books as The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde and The Woman Who Breathes Fire by Kitty Tsui. She also served as a panelist for The New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program and as a fiction judge for Oregon Literary Arts. She is a founding member of The New York Writers Workshop and has long served as Board President of Money for Women Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

She has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts Writer-in-Residence; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS grant; Holding Our Own; Briarcombe Foundation; and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship to The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland. She was the winner of the Saints and Sinners short story contest for 2015 and is also a Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame winner.

She lives in New York City and Woodstock with her long term partner, Martha, and their joy dog, Bessie.

 Visit Maureen’s website at www.maureenbradyny.com.

About the Book:

After stabbing her abusive husband and leaving him dying on the kitchen floor, Cookie Wagner flees to remote Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For a moment, she seems to have gotten away with murder. But,
consigned to a secretive life with a new name and the need to be on constant alert, she faces all she has not gotten away with. She is helped by the recently widowed Mrs. Biddle, who offers her a place to stay, and the lobster fisherman Butch, who gives her a job and later falls in love with her. Walking the cliffs and beaches, taking in the scruffy windblown plants that survive the buffeting wind by growing at an angle, she begins to heal.

Yet, there is no leaving behind the notion that Warren is dead as the result of her action.
Or is he? And if not, will he one day come to find her?

Sexual harassment and abuse are all over the news these days, often involving celebrites and other well-known figures, but Cookie, the protagonist of Getaway, is no celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman married to a working class guy who drinks too much and resorts to violence. Their story reveals how endemic the phenomenon of abuse is, and the quandary Cookie lands in when she fights back.

Praise for Getaway:

“Sensitive, sensual, and stirring. "Getaway" is a true page-turner, but one with heart and with context. I couldn’t put it down until I got to the end, not just to find out what happened, but also to discover who these intriguing and complex characters would develop into. An extremely satisfying read!”

Danielle Ofri, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review.

Getaway is available at Amazon.
  INTERVIEW

What’s inside the mind of a fiction author?

Hopefully, a lot of brain cells and then the mysterious imagination that thrived as a child and still thrives when nourished.

What is so great about being an author?

The opportunity to express oneself through making up a story that will explore the themes that are compelling to the author. When published, the experience of finding out what others are making of what you have written.

When do you hate it?

I don’t think I ever really hate it, but I do struggle sometimes and feel like it is just too hard, but then I’ve learned how to persist until something good comes to me and uplifts my mood.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

 I try to write before everything else gets started in the mornings. I work as a teacher of fiction and a freelance editor, so I often have to turn my attention to reading the manuscripts of others, so if I can get in a couple of hours on my own work first, that works best for me. Other things compete, too, like planting my garden in Spring and harvesting in summer and fall.

How do you handle negative reviews?

 I try not to take them too seriously, knowing how arbitrary tastes factor into readers’ responses.

How do you handle positive reviews?

I love them, print them out and hope to have a fat file of them!

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

Interest in what I write about and whether my books have been published.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

Depends. Sometimes I take a break but if it’s just the dread of facing the blank page, I might do a writing exercise. Tell myself I am only allowed to write for 20 minutes and set a timer and go for whatever comes up. The 20 minute limit take the pressure off.

Any writing quirks?

I like to lie down in my studio and get into a state that is almost but not quite a nap and see if I can hear my characters talking. Then, if I can keep myself from falling asleep and losing it, I get up and write down the conversation I overheard.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I wouldn’t take them very seriously.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

Definitely not. Any writer who writes what he or she wants to write and finds expression that way is a success on some level. I’ve had success in numbers by publishing a book that has sold over 45000 copies and paid me a decent advance, (Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse), but most people have never heard of it, yet it has been in print since 1993 and I receive many letters from those it has helped. I have also had novels that were successes at time of publication. In more recent years success has seemed harder to come by, yet I consider completion of any work a success.

What has writing taught you?

Writing has taught me that I have a lot of wisdom to offer and a well-developed craft that I can use to express myself. Also, that it is the greatest challenge and growth factor in my life and never really gets easier and as a consequence, never bores me.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

Stick to writing the book you want to write. Enjoy the process, both for how it will stretch you further than you thought possible, and for the privilege of having an endeavor that you can give your all to.

#Monday Guest / Blog Tour / Book Feature & Giveaway! Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon @IAmMichaelOkon

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MONSTERLAND REANIMATED by Michael Okon, YA/Monsters/Thriller, 250 pp., $14.99 (Paperback) $5.99 (Kindle)


Title: MONSTERLAND REANIMATED
Author: Michael Okon
Publisher: WordFire Press
Pages: 250
Genre: YA Fiction/Monsters/Thriller

After Monsterland has imploded, the entire world is thrown into chaos. World leadership is gone, economies have collapsed, and communications are non-existent.  Wyatt must go beyond the boundaries of his small town to reestablish contact with the outside world, and alert the government about a traitor-in-chief.

During his journey he discovers a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park.
When an army of relentless mummies, a life-sucking ooze called The Glob, and a hybrid reanimated Behemoth rise from the depths of Monsterland, who will survive?


A bright moon painted the desert’s surface pewter. Here and there, dark spots soiled the landscape like oil spills. Most of the bodies had been taken before the troops were ordered to leave. They carted away the corpses, bulldozing the zombies into mass graves, until radios chirped with urgent orders deploying the soldiers to the bigger threats that erupted in the main cities like a chain of angry volcanos.
Monsterland was extinguished, its carcass left for the vultures to pick, the exhibits silent as a tomb.
The dead president and his equally dead entourage were whisked away on Air Force One, along with the dark-clad special operatives that came and left like the brisk desert wind that now howled through the empty streets.
A gate screamed in the silence, slamming with a reverberating smash. The uneven gait of someone with a physical challenge filled the void. The scrape and plod of his limp echoed against the wall of mountains framing the theme park. His labored breathing huffed as he made his way down the streets.
A door creaked loudly as it was blown by the wind. He stopped, his distorted figure silhouetted in the pale moonlight, his body turning silver. He looked at the broken glass littering the pavement like diamonds, then up to the still, pre-dawn sky. He considered the sun peeking over the jagged horizon in the east, its golden light painting the dips and hollows of the hills. Soon the coming day would chase the darkness away.
Time was the enemy now. He had to move faster, or it would be too late. He picked up his pace, lurching along the winding road. A keening howl ricocheted through the streets, bouncing off the walls. It sounded like a ... no, he thought, it couldn’t be. The werewolves were all dead. Destroyed by Vincent Konrad when he made their heads explode.
The old man paused, listening for it again, and was not disappointed when the animal whimpered. He gauged it to be inside the defunct vampire exhibit. He moved toward the entrance. The storefronts had been destroyed. A few body parts lay on the pavement, as if people had discarded them in a rush. He heard the scraping of paws on the street and a shiver went down his crooked spine.
He knew the werewolves were dead; he had seen it with his own eyes. A figure detached from the shadows. Igor flattened himself against the wall. He watched it move stealthily down the street, stopping when it scavenged a morsel of rotting flesh. It looked up to stare at Igor, its eyes glowing in the darkness.
A coyote? He waved a hand, dismissing it. It had to be a coyote; it was too small to be a wolf, too big to be a dog. The beast twitched its ears, then resumed its meal.
Igor knew the coyote was not a threat, and he continued his mission. His lame foot hit a can, sending a cacophony of sound like an explosion in the deserted park. The beast dropped the bone it was gnawing on, sniffing the area. Its iridescent eyes searched the streets.
It could be a baby wolf, Igor thought, keeping himself as still as possible. He felt it watching him, even from this distance. It was not a threat, yet.
Igor skittered away, hugging the walls of Monsterland, putting as much distance as he could between them. Not an easy feat, considering his distorted hips. He muttered to himself about carrion and the wind. His eyes darted nervously, scouring the hills, not exactly sure what he was looking for. Adrenaline coursed through his veins. His heart pounded so loudly he was certain that the creature watching him could hear it too.
His feet stumbling to a halt, he bent over, gasping for air, cursing Vincent and those meddlesome teenagers, as well as the rest of the world.
The beast gave another mournful howl that went right through him. Igor glanced at his empty hands, berating himself for not bringing a weapon. He searched his surroundings for anything to protect himself.
Then he saw it, one of the axes they had on almost every corner. All of them had been pulled from their protective cases. One was lying in a pool of coagulating blood, the blade long gone. He picked up the broken axe handle, turning in a semicircle. He was ready for an attacker.
A new, larger outline made his heart quiver with fear. It crouched in a corner, its snout covered with blood. This one was bigger, not a coyote, a wild wolf. Wait, he thought. Weren’t the gray wolves of California all but extinct?
Igor narrowed his eyes. The beast was a light reddish brown and not the silver gray of a wolf’s pelt. A chain hung from its neck, the pendant of a werewolf’s head dangling, emerald eyes flashing. What was it? Was it a mutant coyote? A wolf? Some weird hybrid, he wondered for a minute, his breath harsh in his ears. They watched each other soundlessly.
A hybrid then. He’d heard about them, a rare mixture of wolf and coyote. What did they call them? Coywolves ...? or was it Woyotes? He shrugged indifferently. Perhaps someone’s pet, he decided. Igor’s mirthless laugh came out like a snort.
The coywolf stood still, its ears alert, its head cocked as if it was observing him.
Igor dropped the makeshift weapon, calling out, “Eat the rest of your meal, you dumb beast.”
The animal continued to watch him, its two front paws on the remains of a zombie’s chest.
Igor wiped his forehead, waiting, his eyes coming back to search the village, confirming it was empty, except for the carrion eaters like the coyotes and vultures. He looked up, noting the circling predators waiting for him to move on.
“Interrupted your meal,” he chuckled. Just the local scavengers looking for food. That was all; the shadows revealed nothing else. Satisfied he was alone, he moved on. He had work to do.






Michael Okon is giving away 10 Prize Packs which includes Monsterland t-shirt, ice pack, emory board and signed poster!

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Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

His latest book is the YA Fiction/Monsters/Thriller Monsterland Reanimated.

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