Toni Lesatz: On Being an Award-Winning Blogger, Author, and Her Love/Hate Relationship with Halloween

There was no way I could do this annual post without including Toni. Not only is she a fellow author and blogger, award winning I might add, she’s also my Internet friend. We all have them; that friend you met online and wished they lived next door.

When I was starting out as an Indie Author, Toni one of the first Bloggers to take a chance on reading my book and leaving me a review. That might not sound like a big deal to some, but for a fledging author, it’s big news! Especially when that blog is My Book Addiction.

My Book Addiction started 4 years ago this week! Happy Blog-iversary, Toni! Tired of food blogging, Toni started a book blog and the rest is history. I think it was the right decision considering how many followers she has and winning, not one but two, awards at UtopYA. Just like with anything an artist creates, her blog is her “baby.”

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Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, author, reader, blogger, gamer, coffee addict, and lover of the culinary arts. Her short stories, Ashes to Ashes and Dead World, published in fall 2014. She is currently writing full-length novels to continue both stories, as well as a YA dark fantasy book.

Toni lives in Michigan with her husband, children, and her dogs – Lucy (Chihuahua) and Harley (GSD). If she’s not writing or curled up with a book, you’ll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.

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After Tomorrow Anthology on Goodreads

Author Questions

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

T. I knew I wanted to be an author when I was about twelve years old. I carried a notebook around with me, always jotting down short stories and writing poetry.

 A. In what genre do you write?

T. Horror, post-apocalyptic, and paranormal

 A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

T. Science Fiction, but I’m too afraid I’ll screw it up. Ha!

 A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

T. My writing process is a mess. 🙂 I’ve tried outlining, and sometimes manage to do it successfully, but I’m more of a just-start-writing kind of girl. I hate writing by hand now, which I wouldn’t have guessed when I first started writing. All of my writing must be done on a computer.

A. Who are your writing inspirations, famous or not?

T. Jonathan Maberry, Melanie Karsak, Claire C. Riley, Colleen Hoover

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

T. Sometimes I don’t do any research. Some stories just pour out effortlessly. I was, however, writing a YA dark fantasy novel that is now gone forever because my computer died and I didn’t back it up. *queue the ugly cry* That book included a great deal of research. More than I’ve ever done for any project. I get a bit weepy whenever I hear about the area my story was set in, or get Facebook notifications from the gallery I handpicked from Google maps. I’d love to write it all over again, but I’m not quite ready to climb that mountain just yet.

A. Oh man, that sucks! I too have lost a good bit of writing due to technology (or maybe it was me) failing. It will make you cry!

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

T. I do not listen to music. I write in absolute silence. While I love music and find it very uplifting, it distracts me when I’m writing.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

T. Spending time with my husband and kids doing just about anything is fun for me. We spend a lot of time at church, and love to spend the day shopping – even if it’s just window shopping.

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

T. The most exciting experience was being published. There’s no feeling more intense than the adrenaline rush mixed with nausea that washes over you in huge waves the night before a release. It may be a tie between that and attending UtopYA in Nashville for the first time and winning two awards for my book review blog.

A. I remember that! You do have an amazing blog so it was well deserved!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

T. I had nothing to do with the covers for either anthology, but my next cover will be created by Lori Parker at Contagious Covers.

A. I love Lori’s covers! She’s the best!

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

T. I love Halloween and hate Halloween. Ha! I love the idea of Halloween, but hate that it’s usually cold and raining here in the Metro Detroit area. It also upsets me that stores sell kids Halloween costumes for $50 each (minimum) for two hours of use, and it’s usually something that’s inappropriate or it’s too cold to wear without a coat over it anyway. But I love baking pumpkin seeds (hate carving pumpkins) and I enjoy handing candy out and checking out the costumes.

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

T. Baking pumpkin seeds happens every year at my house.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

T. The most current movie to scare me was The Conjuring. An older movie that scared me is the first Nightmare on Elm Street.

Books? Wow, there are just too many to start listing them. I love the horror genre, so I spend a lot of time with my nose in horror books.

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

T. Hmm. I don’t know. My daughter’s can’t eat peanuts so, as parents, we have to eat the Reese’s cups and Snickers bars for them. Hehe. I love candy corn, but can only tolerate a handful before nausea sets in.

A. Reese’s rocks! 🙂

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Happy Little Horrors Anthology on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

T. Jonathan Maberry and Isaac Marion

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

T. I don’t understand the question. Ha! There’s no way I can pick just one book. One book that comes to mind is We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt. It has nothing to do with horror or Halloween, but it has stuck with me since reading it in 2014. As an author, I wish I could write something like that.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

T. I would LOVE to see Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming made into a movie. I’d also love to see The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak and Odium by Claire C Riley. Oh, and Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle.

I’ll stop now. So sorry. 🙂

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

T. Sex, for no reason at all. I’m not a fan of adult books, honestly. I love middle grade and YA books. I realize there is sex in YA, but it’s not over-the-top sex just to have sex on a page.

A. I agree! Why does it have to be over the top anyway? *shrugs*

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

T. I used to try to be a trooper, but I have so many books that if I tried to finish every book that didn’t interest me, I wouldn’t only have to leave my TBR list to my children in my will, I’d have to leave it to their children as well. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 😉 Ok, I never say that. I don’t know why that just came out.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

T. I read a lot of different genres. Horror, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, romance. I have to mix it up now and then or it gets stale.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

T. I used to be a book-in-my-hands reader, but now if I have the hard copy it sits on my shelf to look pretty next to all of my other books and I will buy the Kindle version to read.

 Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

T. Star Wars (most of them)

A. Favorite TV show?

T. The Walking Dead

A. Love this show. Even when it rips my heart out, I love this show.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

T. Hummus and garlic paste with fresh, warm pita bread.

A. What’s your favorite dessert?

T. Lemon anything and Crème Brule

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

T. John Mark McMillan, Bethel, Twenty One Pilots

A. What’s your hidden talent?

T. It must be hidden really well. I have no idea. Sleeping for long periods of time? Binge-watching shows on Netflix? Oh, I can paint my nails on both hands without issue!

A. You can paint your nails on both hands without a problem?! Tell me your secret!

A. What is your dream vacation?

T. Anything that doesn’t involve camping! Lol. I’d love to travel to overseas. I’ve never left the states.

 

Contact Information:

Author Name: Toni Lesatz

Blog: My Book Addiction http://mybookaddiction.com 

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/Toni_BookAddict

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8936634.Toni_Lesatz

Book Links:

Happy Little Horror: Freak Show – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23381058-happy-little-horrors

After Tomorrow Anthology – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23718387-after-tomorrow-anthology

 

Rhiannon Frater: Zombies, Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My!

Asking Rhiannon Frater to be a part of this Halloween themed Author feature was a no-brainer. Her book, The Living Dead Boy, has stuck with me from the moment I turned that last page. The world(s) and characters she creatures is evidence of her immense talent. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for so long that it’s hard to surprise me, much less, impress me. When a friend (thanks Elyse) suggested this book I went into it with an open mind, but still not expecting much. I was so wrong! The story was fresh and mature despite the young age of the main character. I became an instant fan. There is much more to her writing credits than zombies. What else does she write? You’ll just have to find out!

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). She was born and raised in Texas where she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. She’s the co-host of the ZCast, a Z Nation Fan Podcast.

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Here are some free books by Rhiannon. Thanks for sharing these with us!
The Tale of the Vampire Bride – http://bit.ly/talevb1
the-tale-of-the-vampire-bride
In Darkness We Must Abide- http://bit.ly/RFindarkness1

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Author Questions

 

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

R. From the moment I understood what a book was. So…toddler age? As soon as I learned to talk I was telling stories. As soon as I learned to write, I was writing stories. I was born to do this.

A. In what genre do you write?

R. I write under the umbrella of speculative fiction. I used to classify myself as more of a horror writer, but the genre, as defined now, leans more toward the slasher/gore type stuff. That isn’t my style. I don’t like writing for shock value. I love writing about people facing horrific situations, and fighting back.
So which genre do my books fit into? I’ve had long discussions with readers, and have discovered that they slot my books it different genres. Urban Fantasy, paranormal fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and even paranormal romance. I honestly think the only series I’ve written that fits paranormal romance is In Darkness We Must Abide, but people interpret the books as they see fit.

So I wave the speculative fiction flag and let readers decide for themselves.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

R. Well, I used to say science fiction, but I’ve now written a few books that fit into that genre. It is my first love, and I have a soft spot for it. I love writing stories with something otherworldly in the mix. I’m not really interested in genres outside of the ones I’ve already explored. I’ve had requests for erotica and romances, but those are just not my thing.

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

R. I dream a story. I write down the details I remember in Workflowy. I let the idea germinate. When the time is right, I flip on the movie screen in my mind, watch the action, and type it out in yWriter. I don’t outline, I don’t plot. Whenever I hit a snag, I ruminate while playing Guild Wars 2. I try to write every day when working on a book because that’s the best way to keep the story flowing. I now keep Pinterest boards for my works in progress, and I noticed that really helps anchor me solidly to the world of my imagination.

Long, long ago, I wrote by hand, and destroyed my wrists and my basal thumb joints. I can barely write by hand anymore, so I’m strictly an ergonomic keyboard girl.

A. Writing can do a number on your wrists! 

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

R. The Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Agatha Christie, and Neil Gaiman.

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

R. It depends on the book. If they take place in the modern world and in Texas, it’s pretty easy to just bang that out on the keyboard. The Pretty When She Dies trilogy and As The World Dies trilogy were a lot easier to craft because they both fit that criteria. The Mesmerized was inspired by my honeymoon in Las Vegas, so I kept images of the strip and a map on my screen while writing. The Vampire Bride Dark Rebirth trilogy was a lot more demanding because it takes place in Eastern Europe during the Regency Era. I did probably a year of research before I even started the first book. My husband often helps me with weaponry and tech. Though my science fiction books are pure speculation of the future, I do try to base it off of stuff in development now.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

R. It really depends on the book. For Pretty When She Dies it was a lot of PJ Harvey, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and music like that. For my recent book, The Lament of the Vampire Bride, it was the Jane Eyre soundtrack. It’s always changing, book to book.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

R. I binge-watch television shows with my hubby, read, play lots of video games, and hang out with loved ones. I was really ill last year and still recovering, so I’ve been a homebody. I do hope to get out more and do some traveling when I’m back to normal. I miss the convention circuit.

A. Conventions are so much fun! I hope you get back to it soon. 

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

R. I was invited to the South Dakota Book Festival, and that was just an amazing experience. I was interviewed on television about my books for the first time, sat on some panels, did my own presentation, and did a mass book signing. For some reason, that weekend made me feel like a “real” writer.

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

R. Claudia McKinney of PhatPuppyArt has done a lot of my covers, including the ones from Permuted Press. My Tor covers are done in-house by their art department. My foreign editions are also done by my publishers’ art departments.

Recently, my husband has been creating covers for my indie books.

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

R. Well, I love Felicia Sullivan. She’s an amazing editor. And Kody Boye always makes my indie books look amazing. He’s an awesome formatter.

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

My newest release (as of October 25th) is Lost in Texas: The Living Dead Boy 2. It’s the sequel to The Living Dead Boy. It’s a zombie book geared at all ages. I would describe it as the Goonies versus the zombies. I wrote the first book for the youngest zombie fans, but adults really love it, too. The books are about Josh, a twelve-year-old zombie fanatic, and his friends. They’re part of the Zombie Hunters Club, and love all things zombie. When the undead invade their school, the kids have to rely on their knowledge of zombies to survive. Though the books are not as gory as my adult zombie series (As The World Dies trilogy, The Last Bastion series), they’re pretty scary. I’m currently working on the third book in the Living Dead Boy trilogy, Journey Across Zombie Texas, to round out the series. After that, I may take a break from zombies, and write a gothic horror novel.

A. I’m so pumped for book 2 for The Living Dead Boy!

the-living-dead-boy

The Living Dead Boy on Amazon

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

R. Halloween is a way of life for me. I love it. I’m Goth so it’s basically Christmas for me. Furthermore, I was married on Halloween so it has additional importance.

A. Married on Halloween!? That’s awesome! 

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

R. My hubby and I usually go to a nice dinner together, and if it’s on the weekend, we hit the local goth club. If it’s a weekday, we usually watch a Halloween themed movie like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

R. Absolutely. I have zero doubts about that.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

R. Yes. More times than I can relate. I lived in two haunted houses. After a while, the paranormal stuff became normal. I remember we had guests over one day and were chatting in our living room. From the kitchen came the sound of every single dish, pan, glass, silverware, etc., falling out of the cabinets. It was deafening. But to my family, it was the same old, same old. We ignored it because we knew if we went into the kitchen nothing would be out of place. Our guests were surprised when we shrugged off the noise. They ignored us when we said it was nothing, and ran to the kitchen. When they saw that not one plate was out of place, they freaked out and fled. And never came back.

We just carried on as usual.

A. That’s freaky! 

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

R. I have too many favorite scary movies to pick from, but the scariest book I read was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I couldn’t sleep with the lights off for a few days after finishing it.

A. I’ve never read the book, but the 1979 movie really freaked me out! 

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

R. I avoid sugar, but I used to love candy corn.

pretty-when-she-dies

Pretty When She Dies on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

R. Anne Rice. Without a doubt.

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

R. Jane Eyre because of Jane Eyre. Jane is just an amazing woman, and one of the first feminist characters I read about. She’s wonderfully complicated and smart. I just adore her.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

R. I regard films as alternative universes to books. In a way, they’re fan fiction films. The one book I really wanted to see as a film is now in production. That’s The Gunslinger by Stephen King.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

R. I have a long list. LOL. I really hate when author’s make a woman angry all the time with a chip on her shoulder to make her appear “strong.” No, that just makes her an asshole. I hate when a plot depends on a misunderstanding that would be resolved in a one minute conversation. I also don’t enjoy books that depend on violence for shock value, or use rape of a woman as a plot device so the male character can get revenge.
A. I agree. I don’t think like senseless, unnecessary violence. 

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

R. Life is too short. I have learned to walk away. As a writer, I’m aware that a book is not for all readers. Each one has its own audience.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

R. The books I read for enjoyment have a supernatural or science fiction element. When I research, I cast a wider net.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

R. Since I wrecked my hands by handwriting my first books in my teens, I use a Kindle. It’s a lot easier to hold. The last time I read a regular book, I was in so much pain I had to buy the Kindle version to finish.

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Pretty When She Kills on Amazon

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

R. Night of the Living Dead, Aliens, Rear Window, That Touch of Mink, Mad Max Fury Road, and so many more.

A. Favorite TV show?

R. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

R. My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.

A. There’s no cooking like mom’s cooking.

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

R. Chocolate gelato served in Italy. Nothing compares.

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

R. Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and PJ Harvey are default.

A. What’s your hidden talent?

R. I’m a damn good shot with a pistol.

A. What is your dream vacation?

R. Venice in October. I can’t wait to go back.

A. Me too! 

pretty-when-she-destroys

Pretty When She Destroys on Amazon

Contact Information:

You can find her online at:

Website: rhiannonfrater.com

Twitter: twitter.com/rhiannonfrater

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rhiannon.frater

Tumblr: http://rhiannonfrater.tumblr.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=340109912&trk=spm_pic

Google+: https://plus.google.com/113336058823746385572/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhiannon-Frater/e/B0027DLFL6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2310121.Rhiannon_Frater

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhiannonfrater/

Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com

 

 

Call For Submissions-What Lurks in the Dark Anthology

What Lurks in the Dark

Halloween Anthology

 

Authors A.G. Porter and E.A. Kelso are compiling a Halloween themed anthology and we want to add your story to our collection!

You’ve heard the stories, read the books, and watched the movies, but we want to know which classic monsters keep you up at night.

Is it vampires, werewolves, zombies, or maybe even ghosts?

Whatever it maybe, we want your take on these classic ghouls. Tell us what monsters lurk in your darkest fears!

But, here’s the deal, it has to have a modern twist or a new spin.

Meaning, it can range from having your monsters set in the modern world or something we’ve never seen before.

Submission Open: February 1, 2016
Submission Close: June 30, 2016

Release Date (Estimation): October 1, 2016

 Payment: $10

Length: Max 15,000 words

*Will accept Horror, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Fantasy, or anything relating to a classic monster theme.
NO EROTICA
PG-13 Rating

 Submission Guidelines:

1. Word document submission
2. Times New Roman
3. Font Size 12
4. Double spaced
5. In subject line: E&A’s Halloween Anthology, Title of your story, Your name
6. Email to: whatlurksinthedarkanthology@gmail.com

*Any manuscripts submitted incorrectly will be rejected
*We reserve the right to refuse any story submitted without explanation

What Lurks in the Dark

Femnista~A Family Affair and Beyond Blood with The Winchesters

In December I was able to contribute an article to the wonderful online magazine Femnista about my favorite TV show Supernatural! I can’t thank Charity Bishop enough for letting me sneak in at the last minute on this issue. There was no way I was going to miss out on the chance to write about the Winchesters!

Before you get in the to wonderful magazine, please take a moment to check out more of Charity’s work. She is also an author who is beyond talented!

http://www.charitysplace.com/

To see the full magazine that is full of articles that are focused on this month’s theme, “A Family Affair”, go here:

http://issuu.com/femnista/docs/nov_dec_femnista_2014/0

Beyond Blood

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For some, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our families. Without a doubt we’d walk through fire for them, take a bullet them, or walk through hell and back. If you’re a Winchester then you’ve probably done all of the above and more than once. That’s because The Winchesters aren’t your average family. They come from a long line of Hunters, people who make it the family business to hunt things (monsters and demons) and save people.

S6

The dynamics of the Winchester family can seem to be all over the place. John, father of Dean and Sam, is more or less a absent parent after his wife, Mary, is killed. He is so consumed with finding the demon (you read that correctly) that killed Mary that at times he leaves his young sons to fend for themselves. While this forms an unbreakable bond between the boys it also creates a strain that same relationship.

S1

Dean sees his father as the man who did what he had to do to find justice for his mother’s killer even if that meant leaving him to take care of Sam from time to time; at least for a while. Sam can’t seem to see past the fact that his dad was gone most of the time. Their relationship is rocky from the start, but regardless of that, Sam loves his father.

S11

S5

Dean, who is several years older, starts looking out for his younger brother Sam (Sammy) at such a young age that it is pretty much ingrained in him. When his mother is killed, it takes place in their home; Dean must take Sam, a baby at the time, outside to safety. From that moment on, Dean feels that he must take Sam under his wing and keep him safe. In any situation that the boys are in Dean is always looking out for his brother. That is why he sacrificed so much, even his own soul for him.

S10

For Sam, he wanted to get out of the monster hunting business and live as normal a life as possible. For a while, he was able to, but he’s a Winchester and a Hunter and happiness just isn’t in their cards. Sam, as goodhearted as he is, is marked from a child to do bad things and be a dark person, but he chooses the light and overcomes his fate. While he is the baby brother he is smart, selfless and brave; Sam works just hard to prove himself as a worthy Hunter as well a human being.

S9

As opposite as Dean and Sam are, there is one thing that both of have in common, it is the love they have for their family. Here’s the thing about the brothers, family is more than blood to them. They’ve adopted family members along the way and those same people have adopted them. From a surrogate father in Bobby Singer, brothers like Kevin and Cas, to a kid sister like Charlie, the brothers give love and love in return. So, yes, Supernatural is about brothers who fighter the forces of evil and happens to look fantastic while doing it, but it is also about brothers who have given their all in every way imaginable.

S13

*I do not own the rights to these photos

Nexus; Where the Paranormal and Sci-Fi Collide

After reading Brian Weimer’s Paranormal/Sci-Fi (yes you read that correctly) novel, Nexus, I was thrilled that he agreed to be interviewed by me. I was fortunate enough to have met Brian at the Alabama Phoenix Festival in Birmingham back in April. There we learned that we shared many of the same interests and even wrote in similar genres.

After the interview keep reading. I have posted my review of Nexus.

Brian Weimer

Brian Weimer

Brian Weimer is an author, and digital artist from Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Southeastern Bible College with a degree in theology. Brian has recently released his first novel, Nexus, a supernatural, sci-fi thriller currently available on Amazon.com. He is a regular writer for The Examiner, covering such topics as entertainment, pop culture, health and nutrition, and a range of other topics. He is currently working on his second novel, The Citadel, a horror story, as well as a follow up to Nexus.

Author Questions  

When did you realize you wanted to be an author? 

I knew I wanted to write a book when I was about 14, and although I’ve written a novel, I’m still not sure I’m an author.

What is your writing process? Such as outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen? 

This depends on the project. I used to write everything down on paper, but now, it’s all done on computer. I normally write a story out in short, script form first, then expand it into full novelization. At least, that’s worked for me so far.

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not? 

Not sure if i have any inspirations, as in writers, but just collecting books and visiting so many bookstores over the years has inspired me.

How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)? 

For Nexus, it took around ten years from initial conception until completion. Research wise, there wasn’t much required, other than knowing some basics about electronics and police work.

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to? 

I do listen to music while writing. For Nexus, I put together a ‘soundtrack’, compiling various electronic music that reminded me of that world, such as the Halo soundtracks, and would listen to that all that time during the writing process. As for artists, I listen to electronic artists such as BT, Chicane and Andy Hunter.

When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun? 

For fun, I’m usually working out, shopping, thrifting, watching Dr Who, being lazy or eating.

What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

The most exciting experience is just people buying my book, reading it, and hearing positive things about it. Nothing can beat that!

Who created your amazing cover art? 

Well, I actually designed the cover. Conceptually, I knew what I wanted years before the novel was released. Thankfully, i know just enough about photoshop and digital design to be dangerous.

Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

Does my mom count?


Reader Questions

What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life? 

Probably Terrance Dicks, who novelized the vast majority of the original Doctor Who stories back in the 70’s and 80’s.

As a reader, what about a book turns you away? 

The main thing that turns me away is having a main character that I can’t relate to, and isn’t interesting.

If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it? 

It depends on the type of investment I have with it. If the book is written by someone I know, I will likely finish it. Thankfully, the only books I’ve lost interest in so far were written by people I’ve never met.

Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

I like to read a lot of different genres. Outside of sci-fi and horror, i enjoy biographies and non-fiction.

Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

To me, nothing can beat actually holding a paperback in hand, smelling the paper, and feeling it. I guess I’m old school, and I’m a book collector.


Random Questions

Favorite movie?

So many, but Tron Legacy is up there.

Favorite TV show?

Classic Dr Who, hands down!

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

Either Mexican food or pizza. Tough choice.

Have a sweet tooth? What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Homemade ice cream, cookie dough, or the best of both worlds … Cookie dough ice cream!

What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one. 

Anberlin, BT, Tangerine Dream, and Skillet … Just to name a few.

What’s your hidden talent? 

I’m pretty good with cutting hair, although that could just be on myself. I’ve been doing it since i was twelve.

What is your dream vacation?

To have 3 months to travel around the country, from east coast to west coast, staying in nice hotels, buying tons of souvenirs, and eating in awesome restaurants. Yep, that about covers it!

~My Review~

Nexus

Nexus

Nexus is an excellent book for new author, Brian Weimer. The story is both supernatural and sci-fi with an original plot, which I truly enjoyed. The characters were well developed, the dialogue was smart and the flow of the story was gripping and smooth.
The three main characters, Josh, Daniel and Nicole, are people from different walks of life who are brought together through fate, tragedy and divine design. Josh is a private investigator that works cases a little outside the norm. Nicole is attacked and nearly killed by a dark entity, the same dark force that Josh is investigating. Daniel is a college student with many supernatural abilities. Together they discover an evil organization is bent on unleashing demonic forces on their city and they must work together to stop them.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural stories with a dash of Sci-Fi. In addition, this book is laced with Christian elements that I found refreshing and could be read by those of the same faith. It a great debut novel!

Contact Information:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nexus-Brian-Weimer/dp/149602091X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404784138&sr=1-1&keywords=nexus+brian+weimer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8289647.Brian_Weimer

Short Stories and Fan-Fiction

Some of you may know that I wrote a short story for an online competition about Alice in Wonderland. It was a horror take on the beloved classic. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but it helped inspire an idea. I want to take that story and expand on it. I’ve read fan-fiction before or different takes on a well known story, yet I’ve never thought about pursuing that for myself. However, I find that I want to challenge myself to do this. It was weird writing this story. Sure, my books are dark, but there is always this element of light. After writing this story, there seemed to be only just a tiny bit of light in it. So, I may have to brighten things up a bit!! 🙂

There isn’t a timeline I’ve set for the completion. The reason being, I am currently working on the third book in The Darkness Trilogy. So, this may have to wait until that is complete. Until then, if you want to read the short story that is available on my DeviantARt page, you can go to this link:

To Die in Wonderland

 

Or you can read it here:

 

The young girl with pretty blonde hair knew that her time was coming to an end and it was coming fast. Although, she suspected that it wouldn’t come in quite this fashion. She was young; full of life and promise, dying had never really crossed her mind. Of course there had been that one fleeting moment of death tickling at the back of her thoughts. It was after she lost her first puppy to the neighbor’s much larger canine. Yet, it was just that, a fleeting moment, a blink of an eye and then it was gone.
Now here she stood, death looming over her in the form of things that weren’t supposed to be real.
“Alice,” her mother would say. “There is no such thing as talking caterpillars or rabbits with pocket watches.”
Her imagination was very vivid for most children. In fact, her parents had often scoffed at her stories when she would tell them that she was being chased through the gardens by a boy with his heart on the outside of his chest.  In her childlike mind, he had been real.
She had seen him lurking in the shadows of the trees while she sat on the ground, dirtying her dress that her mother told her not to dirty, playing with her dolls. At first she didn’t think he was truly there, that he were a mirage created by the shadows. Then as he moved closer to her she could see that he was indeed, a breathing person, much alive yet with the look of death about him.
The boy had a pale face with dark, black eyes and wore a torn and tattered suit. It looked like a suit her father would wear when he and her mother would dine out or go to the opera. His top hat was bent and sat crookedly on a mess of matted black hair.
When he had moved into the light that was when her crisp, blue eyes saw that his heart was on the outside of his body, coloring his white shirt red with the blood that seeped from his heart. As Alice looked closer she could see that it was still beating.
That was only one of many occasions where Alice saw something she wasn’t supposed to see. After a while she learned to keep those things to herself otherwise she figured that she would end up in the local asylum. Despite the fact that she chose not to share her encounters with her parents, she still acknowledged they were occurring.
Looking back, she wished that she’d just ignored them all together. If she had, there was a good chance that her current predicament would have never taken place. She would have never followed the rabbit with sharp fangs, a bent ear and suspicious red stains around its mouth, to that cemetery. Also, she never would have taken a tumble down the hole in the crypt and ended up here.
In retrospect, she would have never met a cat that could disappear when it wanted and that seemed to be more human than feline. He would have never gotten the chance to taunt her about needing to “fill out” the dress she was in before he would even consider helping her. Or the caterpillar that only wanted her blood so he could smoke it.
“Human blood is more potent than any other blood I’ve tried,” he had said, his eyes glazed over and his many hands fumbling with a small cookie he put in his slimy mouth.
“I need my blood,” she had told him, strapped to a table in his house.
Alice had stumbled upon it after ending up in “Wonderland” as the locals called it. At first, she had been bewildered by her surroundings. It wasn’t like her home, where things had rhyme and reason to them. Here, gravity was askew and so were the laws of physics for that matter.
He had found her huddled next to the giant mushroom he claimed to be his dwellings. Alice didn’t even scream when she saw him approach. Her young mind had accepted the fact that she was somewhere that things were weird and terrifying. That still didn’t prepare her for the caterpillar trying to intoxicate himself on her blood.
He had sat her down at a very large table and given her an oversized bowl of mushroom soup. She had to say that he was the nicest caterpillar she had ever met. He was also very pretty. He was a caterpillar, so his many legs naturally made her skin crawl, but his colors were bright and vibrant. He had a bright purple body and bright green and blue spots that ran the length of him.
While Alice was admiring his markings she began to feel rather odd. His face started to swim in her vision and the next thing she knew she was strapped to a table with a needle in her arm.
“I’m just a young girl,” she told him.
“The younger the tastiest, sweet one,” he said, his words hissing on the “S.”
She struggled with her restraints, which only seemed to make them tighter. Her eyes wandered around the room, looking for something or anyone that might help her out of the straps. This room was nothing like the kitchen she was just in. It was dark, damp and smelled horrible.
She looked to the left and saw the caterpillar, busy mixing her blood with other items. Then she looked to the right and felt a bit of vomit work its way up her throat. There was another girl in here, but she was far gone from this world. Her body looked shriveled, her hair dried and her eyes wide open in horror.
“Do you think you’re the only naive girl to follow the rabbit here?” the caterpillar chuckled as if it were the funniest thing ever to be said.
“You can’t do this to me,” she struggled against the ropes again. “Caterpillars don’t smoke blood.”
“Perhaps not where you’re from,” he had laughed. “But here in Wonderland things are far darker than in your world of light.”
Alice knew then that she was in a terrible situation. She would have died a very slow and painful death if it weren’t for the tall boy with his heart outside his body who burst through the door at that very moment. He looked down at her and then up at the caterpillar.
“I knew it!” he exclaimed.
“Mad, really, have you ever heard of knocking?” the caterpillar asked, his voice thick with annoyance.
“Cater, I told you if the blonde girl came down the hole you were to leave her alone,” Mad said taking off his top hat and bobbing the caterpillar on the head. “She has a mission.”
“Oh, I think I do remember that now,” the giant bug said. “Sorry about that, Mad, really I am.”
“You’re forgiven dear old friend,” the boy said, laughing.
He turned around and looked at Alice. Her eyes were wide with confusion and she flinched as he approached her.
“You’re pretty,” he told her. “I think I should like to kiss you one day, but today is not that day. We have things to do!”
Mad untied the knots that had her bound to the table. She was a bit wobbly so he helped her to her feet and she leaned on him as he helped out of the mushroom house.
The sky had turned dark and there were two super moons in the sky, yet there were no stars. She felt so isolated in this place called Wonderland. Mad lead her toward a carriage. When it came into full view Alice considered going back inside.
It was a carriage made of bones. She could see femurs, skulls and phalanges scattered all throughout the contraption. The driver was a fat, squat boy with a perplexed look on his face. Another boy, who looked exactly like the driver, opened the carriage door for them.
At the front of the cart stood four horses, kicking at the blue colored dust on the path. These weren’t normal steeds. Instead of the beautiful, majestic beasts that pulled her family’s carriage, ones that were covered with skin, these weren’t. The muscles, veins, arties and sinews were all visible. One of the monsters looked back at her with its lidless eyes and snapped its large teeth at her.
“Behave yourself, beast,” Mad waved his hand at it and the horse “nayed” in response.
Without her even realizing it, Mad put Alice in the carriage and they were off. She really wanted to fall asleep. Her eyes burned and her lids were heavy, but being in a bone carriage with a clearly deranged boy sitting across from her, she forced herself to stay awake.
“You’re probably wondering why I’ve brought you here,” Mad said, a creepy smile on his otherwise handsome face. “You’re going to kill the Queen of Hearts.”
“I’m what?” Alice wasn’t sure if she had heard him clearly.
“Here, you’re going to need this,” he said and handed her a sword.
He seemed to have pulled it straight from the carriage walls as the handle was made of someone’s leg bone. The blade was a brilliant silver and sharper than the best sword there ever was. Alice held it in her hands, wondering why she was sitting here in this carriage with this strange boy, holding a sword.
“I have to warn you though,” Mad laughed. “The Queen is deadly. See my heart? It was once inside my chest. I tried to defeat her myself, but you see where that got me. Then the White King tried to stop her. There is no more White King. Actually, you’re sitting on his chest bones right now. The Queen of Hearts cut off his head and had his liver for dessert. So, it has to be you.”
“I don’t understand,” Alice felt sick and moved herself over toward the carriage window.
“A quick history lesson then,” Mad crossed his legs so that he looked like he was getting ready to mediate. “The White King was once ruler of all you see. Here it was as things should be. We could roam your world and ours freely, using the magical portal that has always been there, feeding when we needed to.”
“Feeding?” Alice gulped.
“Don’t interrupt, but yes, feeding,” he smiled. “We like the taste of human flesh if you must know, don’t worry, I won’t eat you. You’re going to save us. But anyway, then the Queen of Hearts rebelled against the White King, who was her husband mind you, and takes over the kingdom. Now, we can only feed when she says we can. It’s been terrible these past two thousand years.”
Alice sat there for a moment, wondering at what Mad had told her. She had two choices the way she saw it. She could do as Mad said and kill the Queen of Hearts or she could not kill the Queen of Hearts and fight her way back to her own realm. She would then find a way to close the portal between the worlds so that these hellish creatures could never return and hurt anyone else.
Alice looked at Mad and then suddenly she pointed the sword at his throat. He held up his hands as if he were surrendering, but he was smiling widely at her.
“If you eat humans, why would I help you?” she asked, pressing the blade harder into his skin.
“Because it is written,” he said. “You’re the Savior or whatever.”
“Find another one,” she told him.
“We’ve tried, over and over for two thousand years,” he said. “ Who do you think that girl was in Cater’s room? A failed attempt; a false Savior. I’ve got a good feeling about you though. I mean, I’ve never wanted to kiss one of you before so that has to mean something. You’re my food, not something I would want to mate with, but with you I’d consider it.”
“You’re disgusting,” she hissed.
“Why thank you,” he replied, his smile bigger.
“Stop smiling! Why are you always smiling?” she screamed.
Suddenly the carriage jerked to a stop. Alice lunged forward, the sword plunging into Mad’s neck. Thick, black blood sprayed all over her, covering her from head to foot. More and more gushed out, running down Mad’s chest, as he struggled to breathe.
“Oh no! I’m sorry! I wasn’t…it was just a threat…oh no!” Alice cried, trying to use her hands to stop the blood from pouring out.
It was useless, it gushed and poured and colored her pale skin black. One of the twins yanked opened the carriage door. She looked at him pleadingly. His expression wasn’t what she expected. He looked…well…he looked bored.  Then he actually rolled his beady, black eyes.
“Mad, we’re here,” he said.
Alice looked at him in shock then back at Mad. He had stopped gasping for breath and was smiling at her again. He gripped the blood covered blade with both hands and yanked it free from his neck. Alice watched in awe as the wound on his neck healed over quickly.
“You were faking it?” she gawked at him.
“Of course I was,” he laughed climbing out of the carriage and dragging Alice along with him. “You can’t kill me with a stab to the neck.”
“Then how do I kill the Queen?” Alice wondered.
“Easily,” he said. “You cut out her heart and no, before you get an ideas, you can’t cut mine out because it’s already out. Now come on.”
Alice and Mad were standing in front of a giant hedge maze. At first glance it didn’t look as if there was an entrance, but with a tip of his hat they were suddenly inside, the plump twins and bone carriage were gone.
Mad lead the way down the dark path of the maze. He hummed a tune as they walked for what seemed like hours. As young Alice contemplated her escape, trying not to think of her inevitable demise, she heard something snap behind her. The sound was that of a twig being broken in two by a heavy foot. Yet, when she looked there was no one there.
She turned to face Mad, to ask if he had heard it too, but he was nowhere to be seen. Alice spun back around as the feeling of being watched crept upon her. She looked from side to side. All that she saw as green, green and more green. There was nothing and no one there except her and the walls of the maze.
Then, out of thin air, a being appeared right in front of her. It was tall, hairy and smelled of decay. When Alice looked at it bit more closely she saw it for what it was. A monster made of all things dead. Its body was made of dead animals, all kinds of vermin. Alice felt her stomach turn for more than once that day. She looked for Mad but yet again, he was gone.
Remembering she had a sword she pointed it at the beast. It looked down at her and the blade and then easily knocked it from her hand. Her eyes widened and her chest began rising and falling rapidly. She did the only thing that seemed rational for a young girl to do when faced with an otherworldly monster. She ran.
Alice ran as fast as her slender legs would carry her. The monster gave chase. She could hear its unnaturally made feet of rodent heads hitting the ground, catching up to her fast. A surge of self-preservation passed through her body and her limbs pushed her even harder than she had ever ran before.
Alice, rounded corner after corner, turning left and then right. Her chest was hurting and her lungs were on fire. The muscles in her legs felt like rubber, but she tried not to think about it. If she stopped now then she would surely be eaten by this beast and this was the last place she wanted to die.
As luck would have it, she made a turn that lead her to a dead end. She felt along the surface, feeling for a way to break through, but the shrubbery was too thick to squeeze through. She turned around quickly as the monster came around the corner. It smiled at her, revealing blood stained teeth that looked too large to fit its carcass covered head.
“You stay back!” she yelled at him suddenly. “I’m the chosen one! It is written. I’ll kill the Queen of Hearts and if you kill me then you’ll be condemned to…to…uh…to feed only when you’re told to.”
“I feed when I want, Child,” it hissed at her.
It inched closer to her, the smell of rancid meet greeted her and she nearly passed out from the overwhelming stench. Alice closed her eyes, waiting to be devoured.
“But you’re not my type,” it told her.
“What?” Alice opened her eyes in disbelief.  “You’re not going to eat me?”
“No, of course not,” it said, sitting on it hind legs.
“Then why are you chasing me?” she asked.
“Because you ran,” it told her.
Alice looked at him with the most surprised expression one has given to another. He reached inside his body and pulled out the sword. It was covered in blood and rotted parts of animal flesh. He extended it to her.
“You dropped this,” he said.
“Technically you knocked it out of my hand,” she told him, reaching for the thing nervously.
“Ah, you’re right,” he laughed. “I forget my own strength sometimes. I was trying to shake your hand.”
He reached for her hand gently this time. Trying not to vomit on him she shook his hand.
“Now that we are friends, shall we have tea?” he asked and then waved his hands.
The maze wall peeled back to reveal a large house made from a giant teapot.  A plume of smoke was swirling out of the spout and lights were on in the windows. Alice followed after the beast, not sure if she were any safer with him or alone.
“I’m Mir, by the way,” he said.
“Mir? What a peculiar name,” she expressed.
“And Alice isn’t?” he barked. “Besides, it’s short for Mirror. My parents called me Mirror because of my eyes.”
He looked back at her and she saw that his eyes were in fact just like a mirror. Alice didn’t know if she should be afraid of that fact that his eyes were grossly unnatural or of the fact that he had parents. That meant there were more things like him out there. Since he was being so nice, she decided it was best to stay with him than try to escape just yet.
When the odd pair, a pretty young girl and a decaying monster, entered the house a rather cozy atmosphere greeted them. There was a fire burning in the hearth and company sitting around a large wooden table. Besides the fact that there were platters of worms, eyeballs and what looked like kidneys, it looked like a gathering of friends.
The white rabbit that had lead Alice to Wonderland sat beside the two plump boys she had seen earlier. The invisible cat, who was now visible, sat next them. Then, right in the front sat Mad, sipping on something dark and gooey with his top hat askew. Alice marched over and slapped him square in the face.
“You foul, sniveling maggot!” she screamed at him.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me,” he beamed at her.
“What? Oh never mind! You left me! Why?” she demanded.
“Call it training,” he replied simply. “How did she do, Mir?”
“Well, she can ran really fast,” he commented and took his seat at the other end of the table. “She’s crap with a sword though.”
“We can teach her,” the twins said together.
“Nonsense,” the white rabbit snarled. “You two fat slobs are only good at lifting your fork to those gigantic holes in your rotten faces! I’ll teach her.”
“You limbs are too short, Whisk,” Mad stated. “It only makes sense that I teach her. I’m better than all of you put together.”
That caused uproar from the others. Alice backed up against the wall as a fight broke out. It wasn’t just a few shoves here and there. The creatures in front of her tore at each other. There was biting, clawing, flesh ripping, blood spraying and she was certain she saw someone’s ear land in the pot of tea sitting in the middle of the table. When a splatter of blood landed on Alice’s head, she stomped her foot on the ground and clenched her fists in frustration.
“Shut up!” she bellowed.
The occupants of the table stopped mid fight, turned and looked at her. They had malice in their eyes from the their quarrel, but it seemed to slightly soften as she came forward.
“Is killing the Queen the only way for me to go home?” she asked as quietly as she could because she was afraid if she didn’t, she would scream so loud their eardrums would burst.
“Well, technically…” Whisk began.
“Yes, that’s the only way,” Mad interrupted and let go of one of twins heads he had in a headlock.
“And the only way to stop her is with a sword fight?” she asked.
“It’s the easiest way if you want to cut out her heart,” Mad responded. “And you must challenge her to a fight. Those are the rules. She has to accept any challenge or forfeit the crown.”
“OK, alright then,” she took in a deep breath. “Teach me.”
The group headed outside where there was more room. Mir lit the torches that surrounded his courtyard. Alice joined Mad in the center of the stone floor as the others sat on porcelain chairs that looked like broken teacups. After Mad showed Alice the proper way to hold the sword he began to teach her how to duel.
Over and over he unarmed her, tripped her and pinned her arms behind her back. For hours she failed time and time again. When the sky above then began to brighten, the darkness bleeding away, Alice declared that she needed rest.
“Do you think the Queen will let you rest?” Mad asked, unarming her again.
“I can barely hold up this sword and my eyes are nearly bleeding they’re so dry,” she stated. “If you want to kill this Queen then I need to sleep!”
“Fine!” he snapped and walked away. “Mir, give the puny human a bed!”
Mir showed Alice to a bed that looked as though the sheets needed to be washed. At that moment she didn’t care. She threw herself on the spring mattress and went fast to sleep.
Her dreams were odd and dark. Mad was there, teaching her to fight; yet this time she could hear music playing. Soon, they were dancing to a tune that made her think of the carnival her father and mother took her to on their last summer holiday. They were spinning, waltzing and twirling.
Painted faces with crooked smiles swirled past them. Thick smells of sweets mixed with something putrid tickled her nose.  Then there was something looming in the distance. A figure rushed toward her, black hair and red lips. She felt someone reach inside her chest, clutch her heart and yank it out.
It dangled there, swinging like a pendulum on a clock. Alice awoke, screaming in her sleep. Mad rushed over to her and shook her until her eyes opened.
“It seems as though you’re upset,” he said, staring into her eyes.
“What gave you that idea?” she asked sarcastically.
“You were screaming,” he said plainly.
“Have you ever heard of sarcasm?” she pulled free from his grasp.
“No,” he replied.
He sat there staring at her for a moment. Then her reached up and touched a blonde strand of hair that was in her face. Alice flinched and backed away. He didn’t seem to take that as her not wanting him touching her because he reached for her again, this time running his hands through her hair.
“Where I come from males do not touch females unless they are invited to do so,” she told him.
“Where I come from there are no females,” he told her.
“Excuse me?” she was surprised. “Then how do you…how are you here?”
“We are just here, well some of us like me,” he said, leaning forward, sniffing her neck.
“That is entirely too close, Sir,” she pushed him back.
“You smell,” he told her.
“Well, I’m covered in filth and God only knows what else,” she wrapped her arms around her body.
“That isn’t it,” he told her sniffing her again. “You smell too clean, too human.”
“Well, I’m so sorry,” she rolled her eyes.
“She’ll smell you coming,” he told her. “You need more dirt.”
“Wonderful,” she sighed.
“Indeed, isn’t it,” he said joyfully.
He didn’t wait for Alice to respond, not that she intended to, and grabbed her by the arm to lead her outside. There he covered her once pretty light, blue dress with dirt and grime. As he took a handful of mud that had something grotesque mixed in with it and rubbed her cheeks with it he began to smile. It was a smile that Alice was sure she had never seen from him before.
“You are not like most humans,” he said to her.
“Why? Because I’m not running and screaming from you because you’re about to eat me?” she asked sarcastically.
“Well, there is that,” he said seriously. “Also, you’re stronger than most humans I’ve met. The majority of humans are too busy with their precious lives to stop and look around them.”
“You sound half way normal right now,” Alice pointed out.
“I and the others in Wonderland are creatures of death,” he said. “We hand it out because it is our job and it is in our nature. We’re busy running toward it while you spend money and precious time trying to outwit it. We embrace it while you run from it. It is just a part of nature. There is no stopping it…however, for you, you must.”
“Why?” Alice wondered, feeling in her bones that his words had more meaning.
“It is written:
A human girl of the World of Light;
Will save the monsters of the night.
She’ll carve the heart from the Queen;
She’ll wear the raiment of blood and of spleen.
She will bring order and bring peace;
So all the monsters are free to feast.
Yet, if the human girl shall die;
The end of creatures shall be neigh.
Only the sword of which she yields;
Can dig the graves in the fields.” Mad quoted.
“That’s inspiring,” Alice said, feeling weak in the knees.
“So, you see, you cannot die,” he smiled. “You must free us.”
“Do you understand what you’re asking me to do?” she grabbed his face in her hands. “You want me to free you, to save you so that you can kill and feed upon my kind. Why would I do that? I should kill myself right now. Isn’t that what the prophecy is saying? If I die, you’ll all die.”
“There is more to that riddle,” the invisible cat said appearing beside them, making Alice jump. “It goes like this:
The girl cannot die from her own two hands;
To keep the monsters from her land.
If she tries and she succeeds;
There is nowhere her people can flee.
She’ll unlock the Queen’s red rage;
Her world will be torn like a withered page.
So you see, dear Alice, if you kill yourself, you give passage to your world right into the hands of the Red Queen. Just because she limits our bloodlust doesn’t mean she limits her own. Why do you think she wants to oppress us? She wants to rule Wonderland and Earth. If she gets her hands on you, captures you, she will make you take your own life. She’ll fill your heart with so much pain; you’ll want to rip it out of your chest. She has her ways.”
Mad, for the first time since she had met him, looked pale with fear. She glanced down at his beating heart and saw that he was clinging to it. It dawned on her then that this is what the Queen had done to him. While she wanted to hate him for what he was, she couldn’t help but sympathize with him. How terrible would someone have to feel to rip out their own heart?
“Where is this Queen?” she asked, grabbing her sword and walking toward the door.
Mad let go of his heart and gave her one of his creepy, yet oddly charming smiles.  The two of them left the teapot shaped home and headed deeper into the hedge maze. As the hours passed they said little to one another. It wasn’t until Alice’s stomach started to grumble that they stopped. Mad expressed that she should have eaten at the house, but she politely replied that she would rather die of hunger.
Luckily for Alice Mad knew that her human body couldn’t live on the flesh of her own so he had brought along a piece of bread. He explained that while they did enjoy a more meaty meal, they did dabble in wheat and flour. Alice took the bread gratefully and ate it with boundless joy.
“Have you ever thought of another way?” she asked him as they continued down the path.
“I don’t understand the question,” he stated.
“Another way to live? I mean, who said you had to eat humans to survive?” she wondered.
“Things are just the way they are because that’s the way they are,” he said which made Alice’s head spin.
“But if you could, would you live another way? Would you survive on the flesh of animals? What about fruits and vegetables?” she asked, taking another bite of bread. “Or of wheat? Bread is very filling.”
“I like the taste of human flesh,” Mad said licking his lips at her. “But to answer your question, why would I want to find another way, to save your pesky brothers and sisters? What makes you so special that you should be spared?”
“I could ask the same about your people,” Alice said crossly.
“That’s simple,” Mad laughed. “We are a unique species with a great purpose. We keep the balance of life and death in your realm. Without us you’d overpopulate your planet. We kill you, you nourish us, and the circle keeps spinning. There is a food chain and an order.”
“I think when it comes down to it, you’ll choose a different path. You’ll find another way,” she told him.
She and the boy who looked like a monster finally came to a stopping point. They stood at a wall that appeared to be some sort of black stone. In the center of the black wall was a white rose that was literally dripping with something red. Alice had an idea of what the substance might be, but didn’t want to think about it.
Mad reached up, cupping the blood in his pale hands until it made a tiny pool in his palm. He dipped his finger into it and began drawing an odd looking symbol that Alice didn’t recognize onto the surface of the wall. When he was finished he took Alice’s hand and brought it to his lips. Just when she thought he was going to kiss her fingers, he bit them instead.
“Ouch!” she said as one of his sharp teeth pricked the tip of her index finger.
“Tasty, just like I imagined,” he stated and then put her finger in the center of the rose.
The ground shook slightly beneath them and then the wall slid up. They entered the courtyard of the Queen of Hearts. Instantly, Alice could tell it was different here. The air was thicker and somewhat hotter. Alice was about to comment on how much darker it seemed here when Mad gave her a push.
“Run!” he screamed.
Alice stumbled forward and began to run, trying her best to keep up with Mad. She risked the chance of looking back and regretted it. There were around fifteen or so guards that were chasing after them with weapons in hand.
It wasn’t just her being chased by guards that brought fear to her mind. Alice thought she had become accustomed to the grotesque nature of the creatures in Wonderland. However, she wasn’t prepared for the monsters that were pursuing them. They were all shapes and sizes, but with similar facial features. They were gigantic for starters with matted hair the color of snow. Their eyes were cat like in appearance and a luminescent yellow. The skin that covered their misshapen noses was black as soot with patches of a muddy green color.
The two of them came around a corner and stopped in their tracks. Twenty or more guards were heading straight for them. They turned back around as the other group reached them. Alice brought up her sword and struck one of the guards straight in the heart that was hanging outside of his chest. He fell to the ground with tremendous force.
Alice was about to strike down another one, but Mad stopped her.
“Save your strength,” he said.
Alice looked confused for a moment, but then nodded her head as they held up their hands in surrender.  One guard moved forward and bound their hands behind their back. Alice struggled against the guards, but allowed them to move her forward.
They moved from one courtyard to another. In this area there was more plant life, sort of like the garden her mother had back home, but the flowers here looked dead. Gray vines grew up the walls of the palace and wound their way around the nearby trees, choking their growth.
“And here she is,” a screechy voice echoed around them.
Alice looked up and saw a slender woman walking down the steps of the palace. She had a croquet mallet in her hand, leaning against her shoulder like a member of a dark military. She sneered down at Alice and then glanced at Mad.
“Mad, my darling, have you come to finally die?” she smiled revealing sharp teeth, stained red.
He hair was pitch black; the tips were that of sharp metal claws. They made a tinkling sound as she moved. The Queen had snake like eyes that were as red as her teeth. Her pale skin looked like death.
“You know me, Your Highness,” Mad laughed. “I’m always ready to die.”
“And I’m always ready to appease my subjects,” she said, stopping in front of them and placing the croquet mallet under his chin.
“Leave him alone!” Alice pushed herself in front of Mad.
“I’ll get to you soon enough, sweet Alice,” she told the young girl. “But first, Mad and I have some unfinished business.”
The Queen shoved her to the side and her bands of black hair reached for Mad’s heart.
“Take me!” Alice screamed, jumping in front of Mad again.
“You’re in no position to negotiate, Child,” she hissed.
“I challenge you,” Alice barked. “I challenge you and you must accept.”
“Blasted!” she hissed and her claws retracted. “I see Mad did what he does best and blabbed his mouth about the rules.”
“He did,” she said. “Now untie me and let’s get this over with.”
The Queen waved her hand and the guards removed her bindings. She led Alice to the center of the courtyard and then stood to face her. The croquet mallet that she held in her pale hands suddenly turned into a sword. She brandished it in front of her.
“Shall we begin, sweet girl?” she bowed to Alice.
Gulping, Alice pointed her sword at the Queen. Faster than Alice had time to see the Queen’s blade sliced her arm. Alice cried out in pain and grabbed at the bleeding wound. She brought up her blade just in time to stop the Queen’s sword from slicing through her head. Then just as quickly the Queen brought her sword around and sliced along Alice’s back.
Once more Alice screamed in pain. She fell to her knees just as the Queen stabbed her through the shoulder. Alice’s red blood covered the blade. The Queen brought the sword to her mouth and licked the blade clean as Alice withered in pain.
“You know, dear Alice,” The Queen began. “Your blood tastes of fear. If I were you, I’d give up.”
“Good thing you aren’t me,” Alice said, trying to stand up.
“Let me guess,” The Queen said. “Mad and is little band of misfits told you of the prophecy and how you were going to save their world and yours, right? Well, isn’t that nice. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in the prophecy, but what I don’t believe is it’s about you. How could it be? From your blood I can tell you’re a selfish child. The only reason you’re here is because you followed the White Rabbit out of pure boredom. You were never satisfied with your life and wanted something more. From what I can understand you were well taken care of and had everything you needed…oh, I see…you felt unloved. Well, that is true. You were unloved. Your parents never had any time for you. Your father always worked and your mother never believed your stories. It would be better to just end it all, don’t you think, just end your own suffering?”
Alice felt the weight of the Queen’s words. She knew in her heart that it was all true. Without thinking about it she felt herself reaching for her chest. There was a slight pain that raced across her chest as she dung her fingers into her flesh. Blood ran down her torso as she dung deeper and deeper.
“Don’t listen to her, Alice!” Mad yelled out suddenly. “Remember, you can’t die from your own hand or she’ll break free.”
“That will never happen,” Alice said, the spell the Queen had cast over her broken.
“So brave,” the Queen remarked. “Let’s finish this.”
Alice stood up and they began to fight.  Alice swung her blade over and over and missed each time. The Queen was much luckier. Each of her swings cost Alice another drop of blood another deep gash. At last the Queen unarmed her. Alice watched as her sword went flying into the group of guards.
“Off with her head,” the Queen said in a menacing whisper and then brought up her blade.
At the last possible second Alice reached up and grabbed a handful of the Queen’s sharp black hair. She yanked off one of the silver claws and jammed it into the Queen’s chest. Black blood splattered Alice’s face, but she kept pushing the claw into the Queen’s chest until she felt something snap and splinter. Alice shoved the claw one last time, twisted it and then pulled out the Queen’s heart.
“You lose, Queen of Nothing,” Alice said.
She walked over to fetch her blade. She gave the Queen one last look and then plunged the sword into the black heart in her hands. The Queen without a heart gave one terrifying scream and then died on her courtyard grounds. Alice threw the heart at the dead Queen and slumped to her knees, exhausted.
Mad broke free of the guards and came over to her. He hugged her close to him and then looked at her.
“You served us well, dear Alice,” he told her. “You are not like other humans.”
“You’re wrong, Mad,” she told him. “There are many humans like me. We are weak and frail, but when the lives of others are on the line we will stand up for what is right.”
“What is this on your cheek?” he asked her as a tear escaped from her eyes.
“Only an expression of happiness, dear Mad. Knowing that I saved many others here tonight has given me great joy,” she told him.
“I think that I might kiss you now,” he said.
“I think that I might actually let you,” she responded.
Mad leaned forward, placing his cold, dead lips on hers. He could feel all of the strength that coursed through her body. Inside he struggled with controlling the hunger he felt, the desire to devour her. He knew that being consumed was not her fate for she was far too precious. Instead, he took the sword from her hand and plunged it into her chest. Alice gasped.
“Thank you,” she told him and died in his arms.
“Why did you do that?” one of the guards asked.
“She couldn’t die by her own hands or we would have reign over her world,” he said. “Yet, if she died by the Queen’s sword her world would be cut from ours forever, severing the portal.”
“You’ve killed us all, Mad!” another guard screamed. “We’re going to starve to death!”
“No!” he turned and looked at them. “We will find another way. In honor of the girl with pretty blonde hair, we will find another way.”