I’m happy to announce the release of another anthology that that has one of my contributions. Look What I Found, from Norgus Press, is now available on Createspace. My short story, “VRZ”, can be found within its pages, along with a bevy of other wild tales of found devices and unique and magical items. My tale deals with virtual reality and the extremes one man will go through to experience the ultimate deadly rush.
Here is the description from the back cover of the book:
We spend our lives going through our paces surrounded by things of magic and mystery, but sometimes choose not to open our eyes to see them. The world around us still has places that are yet to be discovered. There are people that we pass on the street that are not what they seem to be. There are objects with untold powers that are only waiting to be found. We train ourselves to look at the norm.
The stories within this anthology examine those mysteries and the excitement of discovery that awaits those who dare to tread. The members of society that look a little deeper. Those who long to say, “Look What I Found!”
The book should be available on Amazon and at other websites within the next week or so, but please feel free to pick up your copy over at Createspace now!
Just click on the image from the front cover below to be sent on over to the website link.
Sergeant Alex Cray is dealing with a viral outbreak in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. He is wearing his MOPP suit, which is the self-contained, sealed suit we always see in the movies when there is an airborne virus or infection going around. The suit is hot, uncomfortable, but he is not supposed to take it off for fear of contracting whatever virus is out there. He and his fellow soldiers are not sure what is really going on, and if this outbreak has expanded beyond the borders of Tampa, or if it even started there in the first place. Soon, he decides that if he is forced to stay in the suit, life beneath that mask wouldn’t be worth living. But when he slips off that mask, he soon is forced to strip away other masks…the masks that allow him to remain civilized and normal in the regular world, but masks that are harder (or even impossible) to maintain in this new world, where a virus is only the beginning of the troubles he will face. The virus reveals a great many things about the survivors, and what they’re willing to do to stay alive and thrive in a new, barbaric environment. Time slips by and Alex discovers that he wants to remain human, and remain someone who can still look in the mirror at himself, but he will be forced to do ugly things to somehow pull that off.
Again, the virus is only the beginning, and I don’t think it is much of a spoiler to indicate that there is something far more diabolical at work in this story, something alien and yet strangely human. New doors are opened for Alex, and as he slips from one effort at saving those around him to another he finds himself more and more tormented. Tormented by beliefs that the human race is done for and that despite his best efforts, he is slipping away as well, even as he continues to live.
This is a story told in first person, present tense. It is a style used infrequently, and is rather challenging for someone to pull off. Stephen North, in this, his first novel, pulls it off just as he does in his later efforts with relative ease. Not everyone enjoys this style, and I will admit that in some ways it leaves me wanting as a reader. Not because of the quality of the writing, but because of the lack of information granted me as a reader. There are a lot of mysteries not revealed in the pages of this book because we only see the world that Alex sees, and in a world that is as clouded and dim as this one, one man’s vision doesn’t extend too far. The action is in your face and it is very easy to climb into the skin of Alex, as it were, but the character spends a great deal of his time getting knocked out of action and fading to black, only to wake up with everything changed around him, with his efforts to figure out what is going on only partially successful. This is a grand adventure with a few mysterious gaps in the tale that left me curious. I don’t like spoiling things for other readers, so suffice to to say, if you read this book carefully, you will have questions that Alex has that will go unanswered before the end of the tale. The author has indicated that since this was his first work, he wants to revisit it, and may explain some of the parts that were never detailed in a rewrite. If that is the case, I will be one of the first in line to check it out. Despite these few “gaps”, this is a good adventure tale, with an interesting sci fi slant on the traditional apocalyptic thriller. Stephen North writes virtually everything in first person, and is one of those rare people who also uses the present tense with ease…while the rest of us find it an incredibly difficult challenge to pull off.
Beneath the Mask can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Mask-Stephen-North/dp/142592588X/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317092890&sr=1-6
Tim Long, a fellow zombie novelist and all around great guy shot me over some questions a little while back. Some were normal, some were odd, and some…well, just check it out. I chat about my books, about my zombie slaying skills (well, sort of), I ramble a bit, and I chat about a new project I’m involved with that Tim handed the reins over to me on. So I am handling my first editing project. I will provide more details down the road as the book shapes up a bit more and is ready for primetime, but for now, give a looksee at the info on it over on his website: http://timothywlong.com/an-interview-with-patrick-dorazio/.
Thanks Tim for a fun interview. Oh and do Tim a favor and check out what else he has on his blog. He is in the process of releasing a couple of books and has a some others that have been out for a while…all of which I have read, and all of which I can heartily recommend…though a couple of them are pretty odd. But Tim is a pretty odd guy. And that, my friends, is a good thing!
Last year I participated in a Zombie Walk in Fairborn Ohio, near Dayton, with my good friends, Benjamin Rogers and Beth LaFond, who are both authors in their own right. We signed books, hung out with all the great folks who run the event, and had a blast. This year, the event takes place on October 15th, and much like last year, it is being done to support the Fairborn Community Center. There is a Pre Party where my friends and I will be selling and signing our books, which is located at 1076 Kauffman Avenue, and that starts at 5:30pm. They will be doing zombie face painting for $3 for the zombie walk. The walk itself is at 7pm and there will be an Afterlife party at Central Park. Cost to participate is $5 or $4 and a canned food donation, which is all going to a great cause.
If you are interested in participating and want more details, give them a call at 937-878-6061.
Sometime in the deep murky past, I agreed to be a part of a collaboration of authors who would each take a swipe at a couple of chapters of a zombie book. All the authors would write one chapter for the first half of the book and then turn around and write a second chapter for the latter half of the book. Fast forward to today and the book is halfway done (a little bit past that, actually) and my guess is that my second chapter will be coming up in the next few months. I loved creating the first chapter I did, which was probably longer than what I was asked to produce (over 10k words when they wanted half that…ugh!), but I loved that crazy trip all the authors were taking, and I did my best to start pulling some of the characters together. The scary part of doing a chapter now is that so much has happened in the story since my last deep dive into this sucker, so keeping track of it all is going to be tricky. Naturally, as it is a zombie book, people die, so a lot of those characters I worked on before are long gone, and some of the plot twists have been pretty wild as well, so I will have my work cut out for me. But one day, hopefully not too far down the line, this puppy will be all sewn up and will be produced in ebook and paperback versions for everyone to check out. Some of the authors have dropped out for various reasons and others have joined the cause, so it has been an even larger collaboration than expected, and that makes it all the more exciting to be a part of.
An artist that I know and love is the one who has created the cover concept, and I am thrilled with it. Matt Nord, who has been coordinating this project, shows excellent taste by selecting the inimitable Philip R Rogers, who did the artwork for my trilogy as well. So check this gruesome image out. More details, naturally, to come in time. But at this point, I am just getting prepared for when I am called to pick up the pen and write my second chapter for this sucker. All I can promise at this point is that there will be blood. Oh yes, there will. Until then, sink your teeth into this image to get you all riled up for when this puppy goes to print.
For some odd reason, I thought Mr. Jonathan Moon had already reviewed Beyond The Dark and posted it. I think it’s because he did conduct a fun interview with me several months ago, and I guess I must have thought it was all rolled up into one particular segment. But as I get older, my head gets a bit mushy, so forgive me. So this review comes a bit later, but all the sweeter for it, since it is so very complimentary of the story. Like many reviewers, Jon digs the last installment in my trilogy, stating that it is the best of the three, which is always cool to hear for me, because I tend to agree. So without further ado, check out Mr. Moon’s review right here: http://mrmoonblogs.blogspot.com/2011/09/mr-moons-reviews-beyond-dark.html.
Blood Bound Books has brought together two novella length stories and put them together in one nice package. Two stories about the twists and turns of the human mind, both of these tales are horror stories, but don’t expect any supernatural elements or creatures from beyond from these pages. No, the bogeymen that inhabit their pages are straight from the scariest place on earth: the human mind. In other words, both of these tales could take place in our world with no hint of assistance from other worldly forces…and that is what makes both of these stories so wonderfully diabolical.
Scarecrow, which is the shorter of the two stories, tells the account of a band of gypsies that come to town for a few days and set up camp in a farmer’s field in the British countryside. Margaret, a no nonsense farmer’s wife, has no quarrel with the rovers, despite her husband, Bernard, and everyone else’s belief that they are all thieves and scumbags. Unfortunately for the two of them, they find out just what this band of gypsies are capable of when they perceive that they’ve been insulted and abused. The results are a satisfyingly twisted tale of tragic revenge that left me squirming.
The Madness is a bit longer tale, telling the story of Tony, an assistant bank manager caught up in a huge snowstorm in Colorado, who is forced to take refuge with a family when the storm turns into a blizzard. It doesn’t take long for Tony to realize that he might have been better off freezing to death rather than to enter the home of Dan, Sue, and their boy Phillip. Sue and Phillip seem fine, but Dan isn’t too thrilled with Tony for being there, and there is something about him that seems a bit…off. But as the story progresses, it becomes clear that Dan isn’t the only one with problems. The Madness is, in its own way, just as twisty and as devious a tale as Scarecrow, though how it plays out is quite different.
Together, these two stories were a quite satisfying duo of psychological twisters. I am so used to stories that rely upon supernatural, or at the very least unnatural forces to elicit a terrified reaction, that it was refreshing to see something that reminded me of how wicked and demented the human animal can be when it thinks of ways to mess with other human minds.
You can find Scarecrow & The Madness here: http://www.amazon.com/Scarecrow-Madness-Craig-Saunders/dp/0984540873/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315272626&sr=1-1