Friday, December 15, 2017

Interview and Giveaway - The Demon Within by Josh Gagnier




Do you have a specific writing style?

When I write, I attempt to get the audience to ask more questions than I answer.  This drives people through the story; to want to know more.  I don’t fight for word-count.  I find a story is like a puzzle.  Too much minutia can feel like having 1100 puzzle pieces for a 1000 piece puzzle.  If the details made the final cut, they are necessary.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

The title is quite literal.  In the universe of The Demon Within, everyone is born with a Demon and Soul inside.  This also hints to one reason why the series is The Last War

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I was about halfway through before I picked the title.  It took a couple of weeks to figure how I wanted to continue the story.  The final product is nothing like the original idea – and it’s for the best.


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is a lot of grey in the black and white scale of “justice”. 


Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes.  There are many pieces of this story that were taken from my life then put in the fiction blender.  One simple example is: Joe (protagonist) was bullied as a kid.  Once he gains the ability to communicate with his Demon, he is able to overcome the bullies.

My situation changed after Army basic training.  The would-be bullies attempted to continue the status quo; it didn’t turn out in their favor.
I can’t go into others without spoilers.


What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I am working on book 2 in this series.  There is a sneak peak at the end of The Demon Within.  Unfortunately, the title to book 2 is a semi-spoiler to book 1.  It’s going to be like camping though…intense.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Well, The Demon Within  was easy compared to book 2.  I was inventing the rules, creating the universe.  Now, in book 2, I have rules that need to be followed.  It’s not as freeform.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what keeps you engaged.  A lot of writers will say “consider your audience”.  I say, no. 

I’d rather write for myself and have no audience than write for an audience and have no self.

That is totally cliché, I know. 

To put it a different way:

I didn’t know I was writing a dark urban fantasy book.  I honestly had no idea that is a genre.  I wrote what I enjoy.  I added twists and turns that I, as a reader, would follow.
Just for fun questions- feel free to skip if you don’t wish to answer them

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

To be able to master something simply by touching a person who has mastered that thing. 


For example, if my car needs to be fixed, I could shake a master mechanic’s hand and know everything they know about car engines.


The Demon Within
The Last War
Book One
Josh Gagnier

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Date of Publication:  February 2015

ISBN:  9781520103358
ASIN:  B00T69ZCRC

Number of pages:  213
Word Count:    61,401

Paradise or The Abyss, you decide

Book Description:

Joe grew up listening to the voice in his head. It helped him through school, helped him gain wealth in his career.

The final temptation of power was too much. He hadn't considered the cost.

Now he must find a way to defeat The Demon Within.

Little does he know, his every move is being recorded. Every misstep is being judged. As he gets ever closer to winning over his demon, heavenly eyes watch from above. Some root for his success while others hope he'll fail.

While Joe fights his demon on the battlefront, the angel Michael fights for his Soul.

Will Joe win out?

Will Michael be able to save Joe's soul?

Or will the Demon win and thrust Joe into the Abyss.




        Excerpt:

“You must be new to these parts.  Name’s Belath,” says a figure standing over a young man lying against a large trash compactor.  A look toward the sound of the voice reveals what appears to be an older man who, by the looks of him, has had, to put it lightly, a less than spoiled life.  His dark skin is loose with an almost leathery roughness, like a stretched hide left in the sun too long.  Several of his teeth have long escaped the captivity of his smile and those left plot against the warden.  The lines of time can be seen through his mostly grey with spattered black scruff.  His posture is the only thing that doesn’t match his rundown appearance.  He stands straight and proud holding his shoulders square, almost in a protest, refusing to look weak.  He bears the righteous indignation of an innocent man facing the gallows. 
“Just passing through,” replies a shaky voice trying to sound formidable.  A young man, thin, but seemingly fed well enough, slowly stands and dusts himself off.  His posture seems closer to a beaten animal than a grown man.  His boots are scuffed and old, but the heel gives him a few inches in height, which is probably why he wears them.  His knuckles are cracked and healing; more likely from the heat than any type of hard labor.  The dark circles under his eyes and his unkempt appearance hint that he hasn’t slept an entire night in years.  His jacket makes him appear even smaller, as it is a few sizes too big and has small rips that don’t appear to be from wear and tear.  He probably fished it from a dumpster.  His jeans seem to be the least worn of the man.  Though dirty, they're nearly new.  This poor sap doesn’t look like he could fight his way through a paper bag.  The only things that don’t match his overall demeanor are his eyes.  Visibly swimming between pale yellow and bright green, they draw you in and make you trust him. 
“Well, ya may want to make yourself scarce before patrols make their rounds.  They let me stay because I’m the only one within a few hundred miles with a distiller.  I can’t guarantee they won’t haul you off to camp,” Belath warns. “What’s your name son?”
“Don’t want to know you.  I’m not your son and I’m not staying.  Just need a little rest,” replies the young man.  He pulls his hood over his head and turns to walk down the alley toward the main street. 
If he were watching where he was going instead of ignoring the world around him, he would seen the group of four large men, obviously armed, moving quickly toward him.  He would have heard Belath’s warning, and wouldn’t have cost himself such precious time.  Belath reached him just in time to be added as a target.  The young man realized what was happening a moment too late.  A fist hit him square in the side of the head, knocking him to one knee.  Belath runs to his side and helps him to his feet.  The men must have recognized Belath because three of them took a few steps back.  Even the big one, the apparent the leader, took a hesitant step backward.  They must have decided they had the advantage because they began to advance yet again. 
“Gentlemen, do not ring a bell you can’t unring,” says a stern, direct voice.  It came from the young man who, only moments earlier, seemed too weak to speak.  “This is a fight you will not win, regardless of your numbers,” the young man continues.
In response, the leader grabs a bat from one of his men and swings at the young man’s head.  Before anyone can realize what is happening, the young man lunges at the leader.  In one motion, he sidesteps the life ending swing, pulls a long black knife from a sheath under his jacket, and plunges it deep into the leader’s temple with his right hand while grabbing the bat from the ground with his left.  With his next step, he swings the bat at his second target, and finds such purchase the man’s head nearly spins backward.  Next, the young man yanks the blade from the leader’s head and stabs the third man in the side of the neck, almost as a cobra striking its prey.  The young man looks for the last of his adversaries, and sees him running down the alley toward the main streets.  The young man takes a deep breath, lifts the bat, takes aim, and hurls it at his target.  The bat’s aim is precise and the man falls to the ground, screaming in pain.  As the young man calmly walks toward his now-felled enemy, he cleans the blood off of his knife on his pant leg, and puts it away with such dexterity it can’t be known exactly where the sheath is hidden. 
“Today you benefit from being last, sir,” says the young man as he sits on the ground by the last man’s head. “Enough whimpering! You merely broke your ankle on my bat.  I have no desire to take your life,” he says as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it. “You will do something for me.  To that end, I spare you life.” His voice is calm yet direct, “You will tell whomever you work for it was Jekyll who reduced these men to corpses.  You will tell him this and,” he takes a long, slow drag of his cigarette, and continues, “you will tell them this, and you will tell them, they do not wish to meet Hyde.  Do we have a deal?” the last being more statement than question. 
The man, believing he is being played, but not wanting to die, gives an exaggerated nod.  The young man stands and begins walking back to where he had been resting and calls out over his shoulder. 
“Belath, I guess I’ll be staying a while longer,” once again speaking in the same shaky voice he had spoken with earlier. 
                               
Visit the Author:


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A Tradition of Making Music with Emily Mims


A Tradition of Making Music
Emily Mims


Music is an important part of everyone’s Christmas, whether it’s Christmas carols at the church Christmas program, watching a rerun of White Christmas, or the incessant Muzak playing at the malls. 

As a singer and musician, Christmas music is an especially important part of my Christmas. I have been making music for the holidays since I was a teenager playing the organ in a little Baptist church, and music continues to be an important part of my Christmas celebration every year.

I’ve made Christmas music everywhere I’ve been invited. In that small church; at the school where I taught for many years; in the televised choir of a large suburban congregation; in the back of a truck on a Christmas caroling hayride; on a barge floating down the San Antonio River with the Boy Scouts; for church senior groups; and in the dining rooms and halls of nursing homes. 

My opportunities to make Christmas music grew exponentially when I learned to play the dulcimer and ukulele and joined The San Antonio Riverpickers, a mountain music band that features dulcimers and old-time Appalachian tunes. Also, I’m a member of Ukulele Ladies and Gents, which plays all kinds of music, including lots of island songs. With these two groups, I have expanded my holiday repertoire beyond the usual Christmas carols and radio and movie songs. Also, I’ve found myself playing in venues that are an adventure in and of themselves.

Riverpickers does a lot of street festivals around the holidays, most notably Christmas in Comfort and Dickens on Main in Boerne. We mix in a few Christmas numbers, but play mostly mountain tunes, as few carols sound all that good on a dulcimer. Our audience seems to enjoy the old mountain tunes as much as they do the carols. 

Playing for a street festival can get interesting in terms of weather. We’ve played on a stage facing a setting sun (yes blinding), and under chilly cloud cover with rain threatening. We’ve played in the heat; this is Texas after all, and it can still be hot in December. We’ve played in the cold. Really cold. Our record cold-weather performance was an hour-long set in Boerne a few years back. The sun had gone down, it was twenty-nine degrees and the wind was blowing. It was so cold the instruments all had to be retuned, not a problem unless you play a hammered dulcimer with forty-plus strings. (My fingers burned for a solid hour afterward.) Afterward, we promised ourselves we’d never play below forty degrees, but honestly, I don’t think it would stop us. Street festivals are too much fun to pass up.

The ukulele group is the complete opposite. We stay inside where it’s nice and warm (or cool depending on the temps), and play Hawaiian Christmas music, complete with hula dancers and red and green Aloha shirts. And, we sing in Hawaiian. Of course, we do the traditional Christmas songs too. The ukulele group plays at many different places, including churches and libraries, and a lot of nursing homes. Although we play somewhere every month, the holidays tend to be our busy season. So far, we have one performance scheduled right before Thanksgiving and four during December. So far. 

Making all the performances can get hectic in an already jam-packed holiday season. Occasionally my husband and I must skip a party or another event to play and sing, but making music, especially Christmas music, deeply enriches our holidays.  


♪ ♫ ♬ I cannot imagine Christmas without music. ♪ ♫ ♬

P.S. The guitar strap in the photo lights up. How fun is that?


Mistletoe
The Smokey Blues
Book 6
Emily Mims

Genre:  Romance

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Date of Publication:  November 20th 2017

ISBN:  978-1-979474-24-5 – print book  
ISBN: 978-1-944262-99-0 - eBook

Number of pages:  227
Word Count: 65,450

Cover Artist: Boroughs Publishing Group

Tagline: Can the holiday season turn make-believe into real passion, love and romance?

Book Description: 

Aspiring songwriter Caitlyn Murphy is tired of sister’s hand-me-downs. From toys and bicycles to men, it seemed like everything in Caitlyn’s life first belonged to her late sister. Roped into doing Christmas for motherless nieces, and entering into a pretend romance with their dangerously attractive father, Caitlyn soon finds herself falling in love with the girls, and the enigmatic Tanner Dyson. She resists the temptation and Tanner’s insistence that they make their pretend relationship real. She wants her own family, not the one her sister had first.



About the Author:

Author of thirty-four romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons and six grandsons, she and her husband live in central Texas but frequently visit their grandchildren in Tennessee and Georgia. For relaxation, she plays four musical instruments: the piano, the ukulele, the organ and the dulcimer.




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Winter Holiday Extravaganza Happy Place by L.P. Maxa




Happy Place
L.P. Maxa

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Date of Publication:  December 20th 2016

ISBN: 978-1541227-91-0 – print
ISBN: 978-1-944262-56-3 - ebook
ASIN:  B01MT15T5J

Number of pages:  162
Word Count: 50,260

Cover Artist: Boroughs Publishing Group

Tagline:    Secrets, lies, Christmas, and a fake wedding. What could go wrong?

Book Description:

Two years after spending one blissful night with her lifelong crush, Cassie Huntington meets Declan Preston again during the Christmas season, and secrets and lies turn into a fake wedding that just might save their love.

Boroughs     Amazon     BN     Smashwords     Kobo     iTunes





Excerpt:

I couldn’t believe that I was back at the damn airport about to get on another mothereffin’ plane. I landed in this exact terminal not three days ago from London. I’d barely had time to unpack and re-pack before I was on the move again. I knew I owed it to my family to go home for a visit, especially during the holidays. I’d only seen them a handful of times in the two years I’d been living in London. Plus, for the first time in a long time, I was excited to go back to Dallas. It was time to see Cassie.
I knew she hadn’t married Steven because Brice had told me during one of his many trips to London. I hadn’t called her. I wanted to, but I knew that she needed time to get her life in order. I needed her to be ready for me. I needed her to be happy, content, and ready to be in a real relationship. A relationship that was fifty-fifty, where we made choices together. A relationship where we each got to be ourselves, flaws and all.
A relationship full of real love, and as much sex as she could handle.
I was ready. I’d more than sowed my wild oats, all over Europe in fact. Man, that was a fun two years. But I never stopped missing Cassie, never stopped thinking about her, wondering how she was.
I chuckled to myself. I was so amped up about seeing her again that women were starting to look like her. I could have sworn I saw her when I was going through security and now I was seeing her again at my gate. Wait. No. Was that…?
“Cassie?”
The woman whirled around at the sound of my voice, her blonde hair fanning out.
Holy. Shit.
“Declan. Oh my gosh, wow. I, uh, I didn’t know you were back from London.”
“Yeah, I just flew in a couple days ago. Man, you are a sight for sore eyes. Come here.” I pulled her in for a hug; she smelled amazing and her body seemed to melt into mine. “What are you doing in Florida?” I was so happy to see her, I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like my face was going to crack in half.
“Oh, uh, it’s so good to see you, Dec. It’s been a long time. I’ve actually been meaning to call you…”

She was talking into my shirt, her hands on my hips, not making eye contact. But I didn’t care. I’d waited two years to have my hands on her; nothing could ruin this perfect moment.


About the Author:

L.P. lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, three rescue dogs, and one adopted cat. The fish died. She is a full-time writer, and part time business owner. L.P. says she loves to read as much as she loves to write, and reading a good book is her reward after writing one. In her spare time, she fosters puppies for a rescue organization based in Austin.

Website: http://www.lpmaxa.com





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Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Path Through by Janna Olsen Spratt


A Path Through
Janna Olsen Spratt

Genre: Memoirs/Biography

Publisher: Book Venture Publishing LLC

Date of Publication: 08/21/2017

ISBN: 978-1-64069-799-7

Number of pages: 106

Book Description:

In this tribute to the faithfulness of God, the author shows the thread woven through everything from the car accident they walked away from which totaled the car to the last chapter of finding purpose in the pain of being alone. This is a story of overcoming poverty, early marriage, divorce and finding love a second time around. It’s a story of a parent’s tenacity in prayer for a wayward child and of holding on to faith when a seventeen year old grandson dies suddenly at school.

God promised He would take us through the trials.



Excerpt:

Little did I know as I packed my books in February that I would unpack them two months later. And as I prayed for the Lord to lead us to where we should go, I did not know that my husband, Larry, and I would not be going to the same place.
We were planning to move back to the Abbotsford, Langley, area in BC where we had lived some twelve years earlier. It all started with a conversation over lunch with Dwayne and Maureen, our son and our daughter-in-law. We were talking about seniors’ housing being in short supply and that it might be a good idea for us to think about where we would like to live and putting our name into some places.
Our plan was to move back to the coast into an apartment, and from there we could decide which seniors’ housing would be the right place for us to make an application for. We needed to look for an apartment there, so we decided we would drive to Surrey to visit our son, Dustin, and his family, and from there we would search.
Larry would be eighty years old on March 4, and we could celebrate his birthday as well as look for a place at the same time. Our children planned a big party with our family and friends. This was a milestone for Larry because his life had nearly been cut short a few times before this, and making it this far was somewhat of a miracle.
Someone has said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” We were praying about what we should do, and it seemed to us that this was a way to test the waters. We left Castlegar the morning of March
1. Our plan was to travel halfway, stay overnight at Princeton, and finish the trip the next day.
We would be traveling through mountain passes which could have snow on the highway, so we wanted to give ourselves lots of time. Larry was a truck driver with more than three million miles behind him, so he was not too concerned about driving.
Although there was quite a bit of snow in the first pass, we made good time, arriving in Princeton early in the afternoon. The next morning after breakfast, we set out for the final part of our trip. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we felt good about the trip thus far.
There was quite a lot of snow on the Hope-Princeton Highway, but
Larry was not concerned. Our 2008 Toyota seemed to handle the road conditions well. When we passed the Hope turnoff and began the divided freeway with two lanes going each way, we felt we had it made. The worst was over!
We passed a semi and were still in the left lane when suddenly the left front wheel got caught in a deep pothole. Larry struggled desperately to keep the car on the road, but it seemed as if a force stronger than him wrenched the wheel out of his hands, and we were immediately airborne.
I called out, “Lord, help us,” as the car flew off the road into the median which was full of snow.
Everything happened so fast; it seemed as if we were watching a movie, spellbound. We sat there with our seat belts on while the car careened crazily down the embankment, spinning around and doing donuts and other turns. As we spun around, there was a lot of snow going across the windshield. The back end of the car slammed into the snowbank as we fishtailed, and the trunk opened, spilling suitcases and some of the other contents.
As the car was spinning and slamming into banks, the big back window smashed in, as well as the backside windows. The backseat was filled with snow. My glasses flew off and were later found in the snow in the backseat, and my left hearing aid flew out and was later found on the dash.
At one point we started to climb the bank toward the traffic on the eastbound side, but it was a steep incline, and we were kept from going there. For one second I saw it, I thought we might go into it; but instead the car rolled back, turned, and came to rest on its right side on two wheels leaning against a snow-covered bank. Larry had to brace himself with his feet in order not to fall down on me.
In the midst of all this turmoil, we sat there with our seat belts on.
Strangely, we felt protected. The front window did not even have a crack in it, the front side windows were untouched, and the air bags did not deploy.
We were not seriously injured.
I reached for my cell phone, began dialing 911, and then a man was standing there, peering in the front window, asking if we were all right.
We shouted we were okay. Just then two RCMP officers appeared. They were traveling by and saw what happened. One of them had been headed west, and the other one was headed east. Coincidence?
A truck driver had stopped and come to help, as well as some other men. There were at least six men there. When we said we were all right, with us still in the car, they put the car back on four wheels. They opened the doors and helped us out of the car, asking again and again, “Are you sure you are all right?” We assured them we were a little shaken but otherwise all right.
We each had two men, one on each side, holding on to us as we trudged through the deep snow across the median and up the bank to the highway. We waited in the police car until the ambulance came. After the paramedics checked us out and the police took our statements, we were taken to the Fraser Canyon Hospital at Hope, British Columbia, for further examination.

Besides being shaken up, Larry had some cuts on his hands and arms which were quickly bandaged. The cuts were probably from the shattered glass when the back windows smashed. I had a black eye. I must have banged my head on the window frame, although I did not remember just when it happened.

About the Author:

Janna Spratt is the author of a collection of poetry, QUIET REFLECTIONS, and two children’s books; BILLY GOAT AND THE RED NECKERCHIEF and FUN AT NANA’S HOUSE. After she was widowed in 2011, she found a passion for life in writing. This fourth book is her story of faith in God that does not quit in spite of the challenges that come. Her goal is to realize her God given purpose in life and to live it to the best of her ability.




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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bite Me Spider by Nora Penn



Bite Me Spider
Nora Penn

Genre: horror, sci-fi, action and adventure

Date of Publication: 11/8/2017

ISBN: 1973231603
ASIN: B076KK5VF4

Number of pages: 205
Word Count: 66785

Cover Artist: Nora Penn

Tagline: An Eight-Legged Nightmare

Book Description:

What would YOU do to save your family? What lengths would you go through to rescue your loved ones from a truly horrible fate? A fate such as being eaten by a pack of giant spiders? This is the question that “Bite Me Spider” asks.

A bona fide page-turner, “Bite Me Spider” combines an outrageous disaster scenario with intense family drama. James Dresden wants the best for his family, including his daughter, Carol, his wife, Hannah, and their unborn child. When Hannah is diagnosed with cancer, the family opts for a radical new treatment, the bite of the genetically modified Black Hermit Spider. Although Hannah is cured there is a terrible cost: an invasion of giant spiders that threatens every living thing on the planet. To save his family, James must face the scuttling menace head on. He must perform deeds that would put weaker men in the madhouse.

Buckle up, horror fans. “Bite Me Spider” puts YOU, the reader, in the driver’s seat, allowing you to experience the terror, the tension, the madness, the mayhem, and the tiny moments of salvation, that are part and parcel of surviving in a world overrun by spiders.

The question remains. If all hell broke loose, what would you do to save your family? Read “Bite Me Spider” and find out.



Amazon CA      Amazon US      Amazon UK

Excerpt:

Sonja could barely see the road ahead for all the tears in her eyes. She had been driving for half an hour and had been crying for the entire time. It wasn’t a sobbing, heaving cry, like one might expect of a woman who had moments ago been widowed of her husband of fifty years. Rather it was a steady, unceasing flow, as if she were a fountain filled with pure grief. At some point she stopped wiping the tears from her face and simply let them run down her cheeks.
As she drove along 95 South her mind replayed a hit parade of memories of her and Bill. These memories went back to when they had first met, all the way back through their time dating and then getting married, their raising their children, and then their children’s children, and then living in the lighthouse and fighting off the giant spiders for their survival. As the old woman reminisced she was painfully aware of a hollow place in her soul. It was the place in her life that her husband had occupied. It was more than a hole. It was another half of her that had gone missing. No, not gone missing. This half of her had been ripped away. And as sure as up is up and down is down, Sonja knew that she would never be the same now that the love of her life was gone.
The only thing keeping the old woman going at that point was her mission. Her sanity hinged on the fact that she was entrusted with saving Carol’s life. In a strange way she was grateful for the task. If she, Sonja, could play a role in saving the child, she thought to herself, she could shuffle off this mortal coil knowing that she had done one last good deed. It occurred to her then that once she had caught up with James and Carol and informed them about the true nature of the spider’s bite, she could simply drive her car off the road and let herself be reunited with her husband in heaven.
Because her emotions were so chaotic and her thoughts so scattered, and her eyes so misty with tears, Sonja’s driving was extremely erratic. On several occasions she had almost driven off the road and only managed to save herself by swerving back at the very last moment. Compounding the danger was the fact that she was speeding along at 90 miles per hour. Having a highway that was empty of cars (except for the occasional abandoned vehicle) had given her a false sense of safety. What’s more, she figured that James would be driving fast and she deduced that if she was to catch him she would have to drive even faster.
As she drove she remained just aware enough to keep on the lookout for spiders. The eight-legged bastards had a habit of suddenly scuttling out in front of vehicles. Back when the spiders were no larger than squirrels this was more of a nuisance than a real danger, but now that the spiders were as big as bulls they posed a far more serious threat. But as fate would have it, she hadn’t seen any thus far.
The unexplained growth of the spiders since the beginning of the spider apocalypse meant that survivors like Sonja had grown accustomed to looking for the larger specimens, as they posed the most obvious danger. But the fact that is that there were still plenty of smaller spiders creeping about, such as those that had hatched inside of her husband. As if further evidence of the danger of the smaller spiders was needed, a normal-sized Black Hermit Spider was crawling up the back of Sonja’s chair as she drove.
“I’m going to make you proud, Bill,” Sonja said out loud and sniffed. “I know you would want me to help these kids. Just like we would help our own kids.”
The Black Hermit Spider put its finger-like legs over the top of Sonja’s chair. When the creature saw the exposed neck of the female human, its eyes gleamed with a terrible malevolence.
Sonja’s thoughts turned to her children and her grandchildren, especially Dylan, who was her favorite. She hadn’t heard news of him since the spider apocalypse began, but she had a feeling that he was still alive. He was such a hearty soul – a lot like this James fellow – and he would certainly put up a fight. If anyone could survive the spider apocalypse and start building civilization afresh, Dylan was the one.
Sonja snapped out of her reverie just in time to turn the wheel and follow the curve of the highway. The tires squealed but she was oblivious to the danger. Instead of slowing down to a more reasonable pace, she pressed the gas pedal down further. The car was going so fast the frame of the vehicle began to shake.
The Black Hermit Spider, meanwhile, put its legs over the ridge of Sonja’s collar. The creature was about the size of a human hand, and just as heavy. If Sonja had been thinking clearly she would have felt the weight on the back of her shirt. But she was too lost in her thoughts to notice.
“Wherever you are, Dylan. I hope you’re well. I hope you know your grandmother loves you. If you’re up in Heaven, then I hope you’re with your grandfather. And if you’re still here on Earth, I hope I see you again someday.”
The spider’s fangs were hovering over the exposed flesh of the back of Sonja’s neck. As she wrapped up her tearful soliloquy, the spider drove its fangs into her skin. Sonja winced as she felt the needle-like projections burrow into her flesh. There was a sharp sting and then a powerful numbness as the poison was injected into her system.
At first the numbness was uncomfortable, but then it spread out like rays of sunshine freed from behind a passing cloud. Instead of feeling heavy she began to feel light.
“I love you Dylan. And I love you Bill. I hope I’ll see you both again someday in Heaven.”
Sonja closed her eyes. A spasm passed through her body and her spine stiffened, causing her legs to extend and her foot to press the gas pedal to the floor of the car. The vehicle shot forward like a rocket, crossing the highway at a sharp angle and smashing through a partition. On the other side of the partition was a deep ditch waiting to accept the plummeting vehicle. But this isn’t what Sonja saw.
What Sonja saw was a multitude of faces. The faces belonged to everyone she had known in life, going back to when she was a child. They were all smiling at her as if she had just walked into a surprise birthday party being thrown in her honor. Behind the familiar faces was a bright light and inside this bright light was her husband Bill, who looked just as happy to see her as the rest. He held out his arms to her. Sonja was suddenly no longer in the car. She was in her husband’s arms. And in her husband’s arms she would stay.



About the Author:

Nora Penn writes fast-paced horror novels with strong, relatable characters.
Her favorite authors are Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

She released her first novel, Bite Me Spider, in November of 2017.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, who endures her various idiosyncrasies in return for being the first to read her new novels. They welcomed their first child, a daughter, on September 11, 2015.

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