Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

Title: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault | Author: Candace Robinson | Pub. Date: 2017-5-16 | Pages: 242 | ISBN13: 9781544274652 | Genre: Fantasy Horror | Language: English | Triggers: none | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?

A book that intertwines horror elements and retellings, with humor and darkness.

Book cover for Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Review

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is in the running for the worst book I’ve managed to finish this year. Honestly, it’s probably in first place. I’ve gotten pretty good at just giving up on them when it’s obvious they’re going to suck, hence the qualification of ‘managed to finish’.

The prologue made me roll my eyes.  It was only two pages, but it set the tone for “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” right away. So, obviously it didn’t get off to a great start. However, I’ve read books that managed to turn around and snag my interest, so I pushed on.  And then we get to the character’s best friend who wears an eyepatch ‘cause she thinks it’s cool.

Well, that’s the stupidest bloody thing I’ve read in a while.

Maisie supposedly lives with this fantastic family, and they’re fine with her wearing an eyepatch for no reason? Deliberately doing away with her depth perception and weakening the muscles in her eye on purpose? Because. It’s. Cool?


No. Just…no. It’s not cute to pretend to have a disability, even a minor one. It’s not ‘fun’.  It’s not something you ‘affect’ for fashion. You aren’t “showing support for those who only have one eye”.  Ugh. 

That’s complete and utter tripe and one of the most irritating things I’ve seen in a novel in a really, really long time.

Jesus.  I guess for the first time that I can recall, I’m going to use the words ‘mind blown’ in a review. Because my mind is blown that someone would even think “Heyyyy, let’s have someone affect a disability because it’s ‘cute’ “ and put it in a book.

None of the other characters are worth the paper they’re printed on, either.  It’s like the author went through a “young adult character” checklist just to make sure she had all the bases covered. You’ve got your angsty, hormonal teen from a broken home, your quirky/eccentric best friend, the ‘good guy’ love interest, and the –shocker here- person who isn’t what they appear to be. Yeeepppp, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is definitely daring to be original here, folks!

And, referencing my “Thank you, Captain Obvious” comment from earlier, this book seriously needs some help.  Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is filled the bursting with telling instead of showing and unnecessarily descriptive language like someone’s “middle finger and thumb colliding and making a snapping sound”. Okay, frou-frou language is all well and good for some people, but a finger snap is a finger snap! Some things don’t need dressed up!

The sad thing is that this could have been a good story! There were elements of it that I actually almost liked! Nothing new, mind you, but still stuff that had the possibility to be interesting nonetheless. But… Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is on the same level as Twilight or 50 Shades, folks. You know, where you’re sure a certain audience will talk about how awesome it is, while everyone else is…not?  Okay, that’s harsh. I can acknowledge that’s harsh, but it’s the truth. Sweet baby Cthulhu, it’s the truth.

So, it gets 1 star for sheer guts to write and publish it (more than I could do!), and another for the gorgeous cover (plus because I actually managed to finish it) but that’s pretty much as far as I can push it.

The Last Colossus Review (Sci-Fi Thriller)

Title: The Last Colossus | Author: Michael Hodges | Publisher: Severed Press | Pub. Date: 2017-5-28 | Pages: 186 | ASIN: B072C7MH7T | Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Sharks | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited

The Last Colossus

Rugged adventure guide and “player” Ron Combs leads a group of thrill-seekers to an island off Washington’s coast. But when devastating lava flows destroy their boat and overtake the island, Ron and his clients are forced one-by-one into the sea, where a gigantic prehistoric predator awaits. 

Trapped between the lava-covered island and the huge jaws of an ancient shark, Ron teams up with his client Rachel to devise a way to keep everyone safe…even if it means sacrificing himself in the process, and finally changing his ways. – Goodreads

Book cover for The Last Colossus

The Last Colossus Review

I love books like Michael Hodges’ The Last Colossus It gave me all the cheese, blood, guts, and fiery threats of death a girl could want. But it also gave me a couple of characters that I couldn’t help but like. I was actively rooting for them to have a happy ending halfway through the book.  That always makes it strange for me. I mean, I’m the girl who wants to watch the world (in literature and film at least) burn, so wanting a happy ending is always just weird.

When the Captain of this particular adventure is named Ron, it’s kind of inevitable that in my mind he would morph into a floofy haired Kurt Russell in my mind. And, indeed, some of the feats of quick-thinking and pure balls this man pulls off are definitely worthy of He-Who-Rocked-The-Phallic-Tummy-Tattoo.  Ron Combs is a quick-thinking guy who wants nothing more than to make money and shag a pretty girl or ten, but at his core, he’s a good guy. When his Party Island group finds their plans gone Overboard, he rises to the occasion. He is determined to protect his clients, but if it’s not one Thing, it’s another…  Eventually, it seems like it’ll take a Miracle to see any of them get out of this alive.

Hodges’ is a solid writer. I discovered him when I first read The Puller, and it was the memory of that book that hooked me into reading The Last Colossus. The man just knows how to write battles of man against monster, whether it be tricky tentacly ones, or massive megaladons. He proves it in this book. It’s a group of (mostly) young adults who have to use their wits (or Ron’s at least) to try and survive not one but two We’re Screwed scenarios.  Death by lava, or death by shark?

Now, if it had been a truly bad-movie-worthy book, the megaladon would have been made of lava, or something. Still, nobody is perfect, and even though the author’s imagination didn’t quite stretch to those epic levels, it was a fin-tastically fun (and yes, thrilling) read.

 The Last Colossus was one of those books that you ‘saw’ instead of read.  Each word seemed perfectly chosen, and there are several scenes in there that you won’t want to read before bedtime. (Especially if you have a thing about the ocean. I, for the record, have a thing about the ocean.)

Very happy with this latest read from Michael Hodges. While it’s not exactly a literary masterpiece, it is a pleasing mega-chunk of sci-fi horror cheese.

Fiery, shark-flavored cheesy floof.




Ten Horror Book Recommendations for Self-Professed Wimps

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.I recently talked one of my blogger friends into doing a buddy read with me. ( I have to say, she’s entirely too trusting because she said yes before I even showed her what book I had in mind! ) But even though I’m her ‘Sadistic Teacher’, I’m not truly sadistic, and had picked a book I thought would be the perfect type of read for her self-professed wimpy self. And – luckily! – it was a great book that we both loved!

So, of course, that got me thinking what other books I’d recommend to her, and that turned into a list for everyone when I saw what Broke and Bookish had up for their topic for August 15th.



Ten Horror Book Recommendations for Self-Professed Wimps

These books embrace the cheese. They give you gore, action, adventure, and giggles all mixed together. There might be strong language, maybe even a bit of sexual situations (though not too many as that’s not something I like to see a lot of), but in terms of ‘scare’, these horror books rate low on the scale. They gradually shift from modern horror to more of a classic feel. The stories there are more in the ‘creepy’ realm than gore-spattering arena (or the gore is balanced with giggles). They’re a safe bet for entertainment, and you can tell your friends you’re reading horror now!

The Haunted Forest Tour by Jeff Strand

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Haunted Forest Tour!

Sit back and enjoy a smooth ride in air-conditioned comfort as your heavily armored tram takes you through nature’s most astonishing creation. The forest is packed to capacity with dangerous and terrifying creatures of all shapes, sizes, and hunger levels, and you’ll get to observe these wonders in complete safety.

-This is the book that kicked the idea for this list off. Stupid funny, non-stop action, and characters you love to love or love to hate, you aren’t going to go wrong here. And oh, my god, the quotable lines.-


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The Last Colossus by Michael Hodges

Rugged adventure guide and “player” Ron Combs leads a group of thrill-seekers to an island off Washington’s coast. But when devastating lava flows destroy their boat and overtake the island, Ron and his clients are forced one-by-one into the sea, where a gigantic prehistoric predator awaits.

Trapped between the lava-covered island and the huge jaws of an ancient shark, Ron teams up with his client Rachel to devise a way to keep everyone safe…even if it means sacrificing himself in the process, and finally changing his ways.



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Just Add Water by Hunter Shea


It’s fun! It’s easy! They only cost a measly dollar. Just clip out the ad in your comic book. Then ask Mom to mail it in. A few weeks later, receive a packet of instant Sea Serpent dust. Then:

Just add water . . . and watch them grow!


Just ask David and Patrick. Their “instant pets” are instant duds. They don’t hatch, they don’t grow, they don’t do anything. So they dump them into the sewer where Dad pours toxic chemicals . . .


It’s been years since David and Patrick thought about those Sea Serpents. But now, small animals are disappearing in the neighborhood. Strange slimy creatures are rising from the sewers. And once the screaming starts, David and Patrick realize that their childhood pets really did come to life. With a vengeance. They’re enormous . . . and have a ravenous hunger for human flesh . . .


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Monstrum: Bella Monstrum by Ann Christopher


Few places on earth engender as much primal fear as the mysterious and forbidding Bermuda Triangle. With good reason.

A bizarre plane crash at sea leaves Bria Hunter and her high school classmates trapped in a chilling race for survival.

Will Bria and her friends escape from the evil presence before it’s too late?

In the mood for a nerve-shredding tale of horror on the high seas that keeps you turning pages with the lights on all night? Then grab Monstrum today!


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Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan

When scientists with warped imaginations accidentally unleash an experimental bioweapon that transforms Britain’s animals into sneezing, bloodthirsty zombies with a penchant for pre-dinner sex with their victims, three misfits become the unlikely hope for salvation.

Abattoir worker Terry Borders’ love life is crippled by the stench of death that clings to his skin from his days spent slaughtering cows; teenage vegan Geldof ‘Scabby’ Peters alternates between scratching furiously at his rash and baiting his overbearing New Age mother; and inept journalist Lesley McBrien struggles forlornly in the shadow of her famous war correspondent father and the star journalist at the Glasgow Tribune.

When Britain begins a rapid descent into chaos and ministers cynically attempt to blame al-Qaeda, Lesley stumbles upon proof that the government is behind the outbreak. During her bumbling quest to unveil the truth, she crosses paths with Terry and Geldof, and together they set out to escape a quarantined Britain with the evidence and vital data that could unlock a cure for the virus.

Standing in the way are rampaging hordes of animals, a ruthless security agent and an army ready to shoot anybody with a case of the sniffles on the off-chance the virus has mutated.

Three losers. Overwhelming odds. A single outcome: the world is screwed.


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The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings

Larry Correia. Kevin J. Anderson. D.J. Butler. Orson Scott Card. Mercedes Yardley.

Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.

See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.
Of course, you probably already knew that.
But did you ALSO know that…
every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.

Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.

Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.

I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.

It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.

Luckily, though, you don’t have to guess.

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Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne

A house with a sinister past – and a grisly power – When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is reluctant to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect House, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him – even though it has such a sinister reputation that no one has lived there for almost a century. But it’s not until Michael meets the young widow, Nell West, that the menace within the house wakes . . .



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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But H

Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.



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A Pleasing Terror: The Complete Supernatural Writings by M.R. James

The ghost stories of M. R. James need no introduction. They are widely considered the very best classical supernatural tales ever committed to paper, and a testimony to their quality and universal appeal is the fact that James’s Collected Ghost Storieshas remained in print since its first publication in 1931. James’s ghost stories are a towering achievement, and they continue to dominate the genre more than a century after they first began to appear.

Ash-Tree Press has published collections by many of the writers who followed James and sought to emulate him, and is now proud to have published A Pleasing Terror, which collects all of M. R. James’s writings on the supernatural. In addition to the thirty-three stories from Collected Ghost Stories, this volume includes a further three stories, seven story drafts left amongst his papers, all of his introductions and prefaces to his various collections, and his article ‘Stories I Have Tried to Write’. In addition, there are the texts of twelve medieval ghost stories discovered and published by James, all of his articles about the ghost story, and his writings on J. Sheridan Le Fanu.


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Black Spirits and White: A Book of Ghost Stories by Ralph Adams Cram

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them. This synopsis does the book no justice. It has some very creepy, gore-free stories in it.



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Thanks for checking out our Top Ten Horror Books for Self-Professed Wimps and let us know your favorites!


The Veil (2017) Review and Interview

The Veil Movie CoverWilliam Levy (Resident Evil : The Final Chapter) and William Moseley (Chronicles of Narnia franchise) star in The Veil, a “refreshing fantasy film that eschews digital effects for real vistas”*, out August 11 via Vertical Entertainment.

Set in a war-torn land where tribal factions live in fear of annihilation, The Veil tells the story of a deadly warrior (William Levy) leading a destructive war campaign. When he is betrayed by his own and left for dead, he is healed by a mysterious princess and taken in by a hidden tribe that believes he was chosen to wage a final battle.

Co-starring Serinda Swan (Marvel’s Inhumans), Nick E. Tarabay (Arrow), Billy Blair (Machete Kills) and Romanian Olympic gold medallist Nadia Comaneci.

From director Brent Ryan Green and writer Jeff Goldberg comes ‘’a cult film waiting to happen’’,* The Veil in select theaters and on VOD August 11.




Talking with Brent Ryan Green

Now is The Veil based on a true story?

               Brent Ryan Green:  No it was not.  However we looked at Native American and Aztec cultures for inspiration.   Especially with Native American culture there was a lot to admire, which we tried to put into the film.

Would you call it a revenge film?

                  Brent Ryan Green: Yes but its also a lot more then just that.   It’s about the burden of the father being passed on to the son.  Revenge does play a large role in motivating Warrior.  The group he serves killed his father and demanded he takes his place and fight.

The betrayal is a big part of what shapes our hero though, isn’t it?  What makes him tick? What gives him his motivation to carry on after his own people leave him for dead?

                Brent Ryan Green: For sure, Warrior is betrayed by his closes friends.  He is left with nothing to live for.   Without giving to much of the film away its what he discovers next that gives him the strength to carry on.

What was it about William Levy that made him the right man for the role?

                 Brent Ryan Green: Meeting with William Levy for the first time I knew right away he was perfect for the role.   His energy and passion for the project was undeniable.   We clicked right away and he was fantastic to work with.  The Veil was an extremely difficult, on location, shoot but William brought 100% commitment.  I look forward to working with him again.

Where has the film been released so far?

                  Brent Ryan Green: The Veil is out in Germany, France and Latin America I believe.   It’s now starting to open up in even more country.  So probably out a few more countries by now with many more to follow.

What do you think US audiences get from The Veil?

                 Brent Ryan Green:   An action adventure film with some deeper layers for those who want to take a closer look.  And if not,  a fun ride.

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The Veil Review

The Veil is one of those movies that begs to open the whole ‘what is sci-fi’ debate. Because, essentially, this is a fantasy movie placed on a different planet. The ‘aliens’ look like humans, there are trees everywhere, and the most sophisticated piece of weaponry you come across is a sword. However, even though it’s quote as a fantasy in the information above, on IMDB it’s listed purely as sci-fi adventure. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, because really it’s up to the creators what they define it as. However, it did cause a moment of consternation for me when I realized halfway into the film that I wasn’t going to see any of what i think of as the traditional sci-fi elements involved. In fact, I had a flashback to Stargate SG-1 where Jack comments on no matter where you go in the galaxy, people look like people and trees look like trees.

Still from The Veil 2017
There’s also a little bit of a Game of Thrones look, isn’t there?

For all that I just ragged on it for the sci-fi and fantasy thing, though, The Veil really was a well-shot movie. The cinematography was excellent, and there were many shots that I just genuinely enjoyed looking at. The costuming was interesting in some parts, and a bit weak in others. (The Black Knight very wrongly (It wasn’t their fault at all. I don’t think.) had Monty Python and the Holy Grail flashing through my head.) But the landscape, the views of the planet above, etc, were all well done. Of course, it didn’t hurt that there was some serious eye candy of the male variety frequently on screen, and I love my sweets.

Some viewers may recognized some of the stars, such as William Moseley or William Levy. I did not. So I can’t say how their acting compares to other work that they’ve been in. For me, the only one who I truly thought felt a bit ill-fitting was Serinda Swan. I honestly can’t even put my finger on why, but she was the one who felt the least believable out of the lot.

The plot behind The Veil was a fairly recognizable one. Revenge, from the dark to the light and vice versa, training sequences, the hero, the anti-hero. I’m sure there might be layers to it that I didn’t see, but I’m not the type to think deep thoughts during a movie. The director referenced that it would be a ‘fun ride’ for people like me, and he was mostly right. Mostly because, truth be told, I just wasn’t the appropriate audience for this film.

Still, The Veil did what it set out to do, and for the people the film is aimed at, I think they’ll be a lot more impressed than I was. It was well-shot, well-acted, and pretty to look at. Sometimes even if that’s all you get out of a movie, that can be enough.

Watch the trailer for The Veil below, and make up your mind for yourself. I’m simply not the right person to lay down a judgement on this type of movie.



Interview with Brian Burt, author of the Aquarius Rising Series

Interview with Brian Burt Banner

Author picture of Brian Burt

Brian Burt writes both short and novel-length speculative fiction. He has published more than twenty science fiction and fantasy stories in various magazines and anthologies. His short story “The Last Indian War” won the Writers of the Future Gold Award and was anthologized in Writers of the Future Volume VIII. His debut novel, Aquarius Rising Book 1: In the Tears of God, won EPIC’s 2014 eBook Award for Science Fiction. Aquarius Rising Book 2: Blood Tide won the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for Science Fiction in 2016. Brian works as a cybersecurity engineer and lives with his wife, three sons, a corn snake, and an adopted stray cat in idyllic Southwest Michigan. The cat, in particular, remains unimpressed with his literary efforts unless they come with tuna.  You can sample Brian’s writing at http://www.briantburt.com



Talking with Brian Burt


Sci-Fi & Scary: Outside of your work that was published in Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future 8 , it looks like (according to Goodreads) most of your  published works have all been in your Aquarius Rising series.  Do you have any side projects that you’ve worked on during the process that just haven’t reached publication stage yet, or was this series your sole creative focus?


Brian Burt: Great question! Actually, the vast majority of my fiction-writing career has been spent writing short fiction. I’ve had more than twenty short stories published in various magazines and anthologies over the years. With short fiction, it’s easier to experiment with different styles, different sub-genres, etc., which is a wonderful way to learn the ropes and find your comfort zone as a writer. I’ve tried my hand at everything from traditional sci-fi (like “The Last Indian War,” which as you mentioned, won the Writers of the Future Gold Award) to dark fantasy and horror (like “Phantom Pain,” which earned an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Tenth Annual Collection).

When I finally worked up the nerve to try a full-length novel (gulp! ;-), I wrote the first book in the Aquarius Rising trilogy, In the Tears of God, and committed to my publisher that I’d follow through on the other two books in the trilogy. So, yes, I definitely focused pretty exclusively on that world and that series over the past five years. Now that the trilogy is finished, though, I’ve been returning to short fiction as a change of pace. I recently had a dark fantasy tale, Lianhan Shee, accepted for publication in an upcoming anthology called Otherworld Hearts. I have to confess that short stories are less intimidating than novels; more immediate feedback! But I am considering another “eco-fiction” novel series in the near future.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Please tell us a bit about the Aquarius Rising series as a whole.


Brian Burt: The Aquarius Rising trilogy fits into an emerging sub-category of speculative fiction that some reviewers have labeled “climate fiction” or “eco-fiction.” The trilogy takes place on a future Earth where global warming, and a disastrous attempt to reverse it, radically altered the planet. Human-dolphin hybrids called Aquarians have built thriving reef-cities amid the ruins of drowned coastal towns. Other hybrid species dominate different environments, like the mole-like Talpidians who create intricate underground burrows beneath the arid wastelands. And human scientists known as Redeemers cling to the barren desert realms, dedicating themselves to undoing the ecological damage and restoring the climate at any cost. These different groups inevitably come into conflict as they struggle to protect their own vision of the future, distrustful of their fellow humanoid subspecies and determined to win what some insist is a zero-sum game.


Sci-Fi & Scary: What was the hardest part of writing the first book, In the Tears of God?


Brian Burt: I have to admit, as a short-fiction writer, the thought of tackling a novel initially terrified me. I felt like a novice climber standing at the base of Mount Everest, without a support team or a guide, staring up at a summit shrouded in storm clouds. The hardest part, really, was taking the first steps: compiling notes about characters and a plot outline, figuring out a plan of attack, and developing the discipline to chip away at the novel every day. It’s very different than writing a short story. For me, the key was learning not to dwell on how far away the finish line was, to instead focus on reaching the next milestone – the end of the scene, the end of the chapter, the end of the section.


Sci-Fi & Scary: What kind of (and how much) research did you do for the Aquarius Rising series?


Brian Burt: I probably did far too much research before I had the guts to start! I knew I wanted to depict a fictional world set primarily beneath the ocean waves, a place with which I had limited experience. I’m a landlocked Midwesterner; we have the Great Lakes, which are awesome, but they aren’t comparable to the Pacific. So I read everything I could find on marine biology, oceanography, climate science, bioengineering. I visited family members living in Oregon and had a chance to explore the Pacific Coast, where the novels are set. And thank god for the internet! I threw myself on the mercy of some wonderful marine scientists on various web forums who graciously answered my questions and volunteered to read rough drafts of the first novel.


Sci-Fi & Scary: How much of you is in your protagonists?


Brian Burt: I’m no psychologist, so take this with a grain of salt… but I think every writer extracts “psychic splinters” from their own internal lives and injects those into their characters, both good and evil. We’re all complicated. We all have light and darkness inside us. So, certainly, my protagonists aren’t “me” by any means. But I think they’re derived from bits and pieces of me, intermingled with people I know, people I admire, maybe people I envy or fear a bit. Ocypode, the main character in the Aquarius Rising Trilogy, is someone I think I’d call a friend, and definitely someone I’d strive to emulate.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Obviously, with the premise of an Earth ravaged by global warming, you’re definitely aware of the problems that we’re facing right now. Do you have a pet project you champion to try to help us not make more of a complete mess of things than we already have?


Brian Burt: Great question – I wish I had a great, simple answer. I do worry enormously about humanity’s future on this planet as I read the latest developments in climate science. I’m an enthusiastic member of numerous organizations that I believe are doing their best to help: 350.org, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Greenpeace for example. And I work with local organizations closer to home, like the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and For Love of Water. Connecting with concerned people, both globally and locally, seems like a good place to start. Also, I’m tremendously encouraged by the explosion of passion from other fiction writers who are focusing on this subject in their own published works. Web communities like Eco-Fiction ( http://eco-fiction.com ) provide a platform for both fiction and non-fiction contributions aimed at spreading the word about the dangers of climate change inaction.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Do you think your writing style changed any from book one to book three or did it just become more refined?


Brian Burt: I think, honestly, that I learned quite a bit (the hard way 😉 from writing that first novel. Very few of us hit a home run with our first at-bat, and I made mistakes. Reader and critical feedback helped me understand what I did well, what I didn’t, and how to improve on the next attempt. Still, it was gratifying to win EPIC’s 2014 eBook Award for Science Fiction with Aquarius Rising 1: In the Tears of God. It provided encouragement to continue the hard work of finishing the series. I do think my writing style matured steadily through Books 2 and 3; I’ve had readers and reviewers reinforce that belief. We all improve with practice!


Sci-Fi & Scary: What is your writing routine like?


Brian Burt: This probably violates most expert guidance, but at least when working on the novels, I generally start a writing session by rereading and revising the last few pages I wrote during the previous session. For me, it helps prime the pump and get the creative juices flowing, gets me back into the thread of the story. Then I launch into extending the tale. At that point, I try very hard not to agonize over every word or phrase but to keep moving the story forward, maintaining some “momentum of imagination” without dwelling on how well (or painfully) it’s going. Some days, the words spill out as fast as I can type them; other days, it feels like pulling teeth. But after the good days, I often discover during revision that the Muse hid a lot of blemishes from me; and after the bad days, I find that the prose isn’t as hideously ugly as I feared.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Who are your biggest literary influences?


Brian Burt: I adore Stephen King and gobble everything I can by him. He creates such vivid, believable characters and puts them in incredible situations that become utterly real in the reader’s mind. I also love many of the “Golden Age” science fiction writers like Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, and Bradbury. But my tastes are pretty eclectic. There are so many brilliant writers of SF, fantasy, and horror out there, I feel like I’ll never be able to read a fraction of them… and I learn invaluable lessons from every book I read!


Sci-Fi & Scary: You spent 16 months in Dublin, Ireland. That sounds like a dream! Do you have any experiences from there that influenced your work in any way?


Brian Burt: Absolutely! Working in Dublin was a transformative experience, for sure, one of the best of my life. The people were wonderful! The Irish are great storytellers, as you’ll discover in any pub, and the country inspires that gift in visitors as well. It’s a beautiful, lush, ancient, haunting place, filled with history and mythology and dripping with magic. I credit my time in Ireland with inspiring me to write. I’d thought about it, often, but had never mustered the gumption to actually give it a shot until my tenure in Dublin, when I finally muddled through my first real science fiction story. It was dreadful, honestly; I had so much to learn. But I kept trying. And I got better!


Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your writing support system like?


Brian Burt: My family forms the core of my support system, especially my wife. She’s my first reader, my most trusted editor, and the critic I most want to please. She reads voraciously, volunteers at the local library; if I can satisfy her, I feel like I’m on the right path. I’ve also enjoyed the benefit of feedback from other writers through an online critique group for speculative fiction writers, Critters (http://critters.org ). I’ve been fortunate enough to make some “virtual friends” there through exchange of story reviews and have learned vital lessons from my peers on that site.

Book cover for Aquarius Rising

Aquarius Rising: In the Tears of God by Brian Burt

On an Earth ravaged by global warming, human-dolphin hybrids called Aquarians have built thriving reef colonies among the drowned cities of the coast. Now their world is under siege from an enemy whose invisible weapon leaves no survivors. Only Ocypode the Atavism—half-human and half-Aquarian, marooned in the genetic limbo between species—knows why. Disclosing the reason could be as deadly to Aquarius as the Medusa plague itself. Ocypode and his comrades must face the perils of flight into the open ocean, a friend’s betrayal, a killer storm, a lethal kelp forest haunted by mutant monsters, and a fundamental challenge to their most cherished beliefs if they are to have any hope of saving Aquarius from destruction. They must enlist allies of the most unexpected sort from the most unlikely of places. Even then—when confronted by rogue scientists determined to resurrect the land by slaughtering the sea—it may not be enough.

Winner of the 2014 Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition (EPIC) eBook Award for Science Fiction.

Buy In the Tears of God on Amazon or Barnes & Noble






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Megalops floated in the twilit waters of Juno Reef, in the shadow of the Tombstone Tower, and grieved.  Other Aquarians considered this a sacred place: a memorial to all the victims of the Medusa Massacres who had been entombed in calcite, here and in other reef-cities up and down the coast.  There were only two victims who mattered to Megalops.  The ghosts of his mate and child haunted his every waking moment, flailed madly through his nightmares.  Their final, frantic screams filled his ear channels, rebounding and reverberating inside his skull until his sanity lay in tatters.  Other mourners made the pilgrimage to Tombstone Tower to find peace.  Megalops came here every day to remind himself why he should unleash war.

The high-pitched chatter of approaching Aquarians drew near.  He drifted into the ruins of a submerged building as Mother Ocean smashed against the tower’s windward side above him.  She, too, seemed ready to do battle with those who would threaten Her children.

A pair of biosculptors from neighboring reef-cities swam out of the murk: Auriga of Tillamook and Makaira of Nehalem.  Megalops liked Auriga.  She was beautiful, of course.  She had skin of smooth, unblemished silver; perfectly formed, scalloped fin ridges along her arms and legs; long, delicate flipper-feet.  The webbing between her toes and fingers and at the outer edges of her fin ridges paled to a milky white.  Her colony, like his own, had been savaged by Medusa.  Makaira’s had not been touched, and her sympathy felt as hard and unnatural as the stone-coated corpses of fish that lay half-buried in the surrounding seabed.

Megalops watched the pair glide toward the plaque near the tower’s base and said nothing.  Makaira chittered loudly enough to make eavesdropping unavoidable.

“I know this place is meant to be a tribute to the fallen, but it freezes my blood like the Deep Black.  I don’t see how he can bear to live in this graveyard.  The memories must torment him without mercy!”

“I wonder,” answered Auriga, “if memories are all he has to comfort him.  Many survivors find themselves trapped in the same dark currents.  Each of us fights the demons in his own way, Makaira.”

“And each of us surfaces to breathe when our lungs demand it.  I fear Megalops means to linger in this morbid place and hold his breath until he drowns.  Juno doesn’t need more death, it needs more life.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” said Megalops as he kicked out of the shadows.  Auriga looked chagrined, but Makaira recoiled as if confronted by unquiet spirits.  Perhaps he wasn’t the only one to see such things in these accursed waters.

“But life grows out of death, doesn’t it?  We biosculptors built Aquarius on the bones of drowned Human cities, planted gardens in the wreckage and seeded them with living works of art.  We Join with the Living Reefs to draw inspiration from the memories of long-dead ancestors.  And here, now, we resurrect a murdered colony beneath the world’s most towering monument to genocide.  If I linger here more often than I should, it’s to remember what we sacrificed to save ourselves.”

He swam between the two of them.  Auriga’s jade eyes brimmed with compassion.  Makaira arched away from him, face pinched and anxious, a healthy creature terrified of catching a disease.  Did she fear he would infect her with his madness?  Perhaps he would, at that.  He pointed one webbed finger at the gruesome statuary encircling the base of Tombstone Tower.  A tiny white crab speckled with red, like a blood-spattered skeleton, scuttled from the crook of a frozen elbow and dove into the crevice between two fossilized legs, joints clicking as it moved.   Megalops’s extended arm held steady.  On the inside, his heart tumbled, flotsam on a stormy sea.

“My mate Loreto and daughter Decora are a permanent part of the memorial…near the top, almost to the surface.  Hard to make them out, in that tangle of arms and legs and faces.  When Medusa struck, Loreto’s only thought was to protect her child.  You see how she holds Decora above her, as high as she can reach, trying to lift her child to safety?  Even as the other dying members of her pod clawed at her, clambered up her back, as the nanomechs wove their smothering cocoon of calcite around her flesh, she struggled to push her child above the waves.  Impossible.  She must have known.  And still, she didn’t stop trying.  She never will.”

He turned to his fellow biosculptors.  Auriga’s delicate features crumbled, reflecting his own grief.  Makaira’s expression more closely resembled the faces of the statues: trapped, terrified, wanting only to flee.  “I believe there’s a lesson there, don’t you?”

Auriga drifted closer and squeezed his arm.  “You’re right, Megalops.  We’ll honor your mate’s courage by bringing this reef and this colony back to life.  We won’t ever stop trying, either.”

Makaira nodded tepidly, relieved that his attention had been diverted elsewhere.  Megalops chirped a brittle laugh.  “Hmm.  I see that the lesson depends on the student.  Yours is uplifting, Auriga.”

“And yours?”

He didn’t answer, simply swam away. He could hear Makaira chattering to Auriga and had no desire to listen.  As Tombstone Tower receded in his wake, its upper stories jutting high above the waves like the polished tusk of a beached leviathan, the ghosts of his lost mate and child followed him.  No matter where he drifted through the sprawling Juno reefscape, where new life wriggled its way out of Death’s skeletal embrace, they were never far away.

He appreciated that biosculptors from other reefs came to these cemetery waters, spent their creative energies fighting to revive his home.  It was a noble effort.  But it was not enough.  The rest of Aquarius clung to the belief that the Redeemer scientists from the barren lands above the waves who had unleashed the Medusa Plague had been an aberration, the threat eliminated by incinerating one isolated nest of vipers.  How could they be so naive?  Did the history of dirt-swimmers teach them nothing?

A pair of elfins darted from a stand of elkhorn coral beneath him, diaphanous bodies luminescing pale blue as they dove through a crumbled window into the cavernous blackness of a nearby building.  For a moment, before the spectral light that marked their passage faded, Megalops glimpsed Loreto’s and Decora’s somber, pleading faces.

He would find a way to guarantee the survival of Aquarius, even if the others never understood his actions.  Even if they hated and reviled him.  Let them curse, let them claw and clamber at his back.  He would still hold them up.  He would still lift them to safety.

Someday, they would build a monument to Megalops, commemorating the destruction of their enemies instead of the slaughter of innocents.  Then, finally, his mate and daughter would be at peace.  And so would he.




Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1. Review (Graphic Novel)

Title: Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1 | Author: Katie Cook | Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors | Pub. Date: 2015-3-3 | ISBN13: 9781632290885 | Genre: Children’s Graphic Novel | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Comixology Unlimited

Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1

Gronk is a monster… and not a very good one. 

Gronk tells the tale of a young monster who has turned her back on monsterdom (mostly because no one found her scary) and has become fascinated with humans. 

She moves in with her human friend Dale and her pets Kitty and Harli, a 160 lb. Newfoundland Dale wants to declare as a dependent to the IRS. 

Enjoy the first installment from this popular kids webcomic in a wonderful, full-color collection! – Goodreads

Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1 Review

Gronk: A Monster’s Story caught my attention with the adorable cover. Reading the first page, which was just an information sheet on the characters, I was hooked. It reminded me a bit of Monster’s Inc, with the monster who just wasn’t really good at being a monster.

Gronk: A Monster’s Story is a cute book, with illustrations that are friendly and inviting. Kids can easily read it and see it as what it is on the surface. Adults can just as easily read it and substitute a toddler for Gronk for most of it, and it’s the same story. Just gives truth to the saying that kids are monsters, I guess? Soon Gronk assumes a more Garfield/adult type role, but it’s an almost seamless transition. It maintains a very light-hearted tone from beginning to end, and anyone who is into science fiction and fantasy series will find reasons to grin.

My favorite panels involved Gronk throwing a stuffed kitty and a tub of glitter at Dale and yelling “Expecto Patronum”. There was another adorable one of Gronk, Kitty, and eventually the Newfoundland investigating the imaginative possibilities of the box.

I loved the simple layout of the panels in Gronk: A Monster’s Story. The comic book strip style is infinitely easier to read than some of the chaos of other graphic novels. It made it a pleasure to read in more ways than one. I’ll definitely look into seeing if I can acquire another volume.


This is Horror, Issue 16: Get a Grip of It or Take a Polaroid?

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Horror post on Sci-Fi & Scary

This is Horror, Issue 16 is a sampling of Horror News, including book and movie releases, and more. A little bit of everything to make the horror hound in you feel all fuzzy and warm. Or tingle with anticipation. Whatever works for you.

This is Horror’s Weekly Quote:

“Newsflash, ladies: We can’t read your thoughts. And frankly, I’m not entirely sure I’d want to. The female mind is a scary place to be.”
― Emma ChaseTangled

Horror Movies

Opening This Week (August 11th):

Movie poster for Annabelle Creation

Annabelle: Creation Synopsis: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

Starring: Stephanie SigmanMiranda OttoLulu Wilson

Watch the Annabelle: Creation trailer on Youtube.







Coming Soon



 High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn’t take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.

Starring: Madelaine PetschKathryn PrescottJavier Botet

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Horrorific Trivia

Wanna See My Shorts?

Sometimes you’re really not in the mood to watch a full-length movie. Sometimes you don’t even want to watch something the length of a television show. Shorts fill that role quite nicely. While these aren’t my shorts (I’m not that talented) I invite you to check out some of my favorite shorts on YouTube. There are some truly creepy and…creative shorts on there for the viewing. The title is linked to IMDB for more information on directors, writers and actors.

1. Givertaker: An ambitious teen conducts an ancient ritual to enact petty revenge on those who she believes have wronged her.

Set up to look like a nineties teen book (I was very disappointed to find out it wasn’t) it also has the feel of one, but with much better writing, acting and production value than a Goosebumps episode. It had great atmosphere and the effects were top-notch. The ‘Givertaker’ monster is pretty awesome and puts me in mind of Silent Hill. According to the director they plan a series and I hope they do. It will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

Watch it here


2. Killer Kart: The shopping cart. Four wheels, one basket, and tonight, for the closing crew of a small-town grocery store, a blood-splattered aluminum nightmare.

This short was so much fun. The titular Killer Karts are done pretty well and actually look a bit frightening. At the very least, being eaten by one looks very painful.

Watch it here


3. Teddy Bears are for Lovers: Unfortunately there is no IMDB information for this. The synopsis: A short horror comedy following a 20-something Casanova who becomes haunted by the teddy bears he gave to his ex-girlfriends.

This short was hilarious. Unfortunately in a break-up the poor stuffed animals often bear the brunt of the wrath of the broken up with. It’s time they had their revenge. Please give this one a look, I promise you won’t regret it.

Watch it here


4. Don’t Move: Set on one fateful night, six friends gather for their monthly ‘games night’… and accidentally unleash a demonic force that might tear them – and their friendships – to pieces.

This short had just enough story to be interesting, engaging and tense. I don’t think the tension could be sustained for a full-length movie but it would be great as a little longer segment of an anthology movie. I would definitely watch it if it were. The acting is great and the effects are very well done. The atmosphere is first rate.

Watch it here 


5. Breathe: A young man falls in love with a ghost, who you can only see when you don’t breathe.

A bit darker than the others but with a strangely beautiful story. Again, this would make an excellent segment on an anthology movie. It would be served well by being just a shade longer to provide a more suspenseful atmosphere. Everything moves a bit too quickly so a longer piece would really give it room to make you more engaged in it.

Watch it here 

Disclaimer: We are not associated nor have any interest in the channels or creators listed here.

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Horror Books

Featured New Horror Release

BOok cover for The Grip of It

The Grip of It – Jac Jemc – August 1st, 2017

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house. Jac Jemc’s The Grip of Ittells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. 

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.


Goodreads Horror Giveaways – Covers link to Goodreads.

Book cover for Some Side Effects May Occur Book cover for The Everett Exorcism Book cover for Hunter of the Dead



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Horror Poll

Annabelle or Chucky?

View Results

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Results of  “How do you like your horror?”

67% of you said “I like all types.”

33% of you said “Psychological or Paranormal Horror.”

0% of you said “Gorehound”. — I found that shocking!

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Horror on the Web


Did you miss our last This is Horror? Check it out here.


Earthcore Review (Sci-Fi Horror)

Title: Earthcore | Author: Scott Sigler | Publisher: Empty Set Entertainment | Pub. Date (Audio): 2017-5-31 | Length: 20 hours 15 min | Narrator: Ray Porter | ISBN13: 9781939366979 | Genre: Sci-Fi Horror | Language: English | Rating: 2 out of 5


Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lies the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find, it waits for any company that can drill a world’s record, three-mile-deep mine shaft. EarthCore is the company with the technology, the resources and the guts to go after the mother lode. Young executive Connell Kirkland is the company’s driving force, pushing himself and those around him to uncover the massive treasure.

But at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting …and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out first-hand why this treasure has never been unearthed.

Book cover for Earthcore

Earthcore Review

Earthcore is an interesting, much more foul-mouthed take on Journey to the Center of the Earth. Except, in Sigler’s version, it’s not dinosaurs you come across, but something much more shiny and squishy. Once things get rolling (it takes a while), it’s an action-packed adventure. There’s one flight from danger after another, and several surprises await you.

And that’s about all that I can say that’s nice about it.

One of the things that annoyed me about Earthcore was the sob-story given to the human villain. I see this a lot in books, and I just don’t understand it. Am I supposed to feel sorry for the character because s/he had a bad life growing up? Because I don’t. I had a rough life growing up myself and I didn’t grow up to be a bad person. I grew up still understanding the differences between right and wrong. Making the choice to be a good person. The villain is the villain. They chose to do the wrong things, and, especially when they’re geniuses, they do it with full understanding that what they’re doing is wrong. I don’t care about their life growing up, and telling me about it in some effort to flesh them out only serves to annoy me and detract from the story.

And Scott Sigler does the sob-story for the bad guys not once but twice in this book.  I could almost understand it for the guy, because of the whole ‘redeem during the course of the story’ factor but the true ‘villain’? No. That character is pretty much an evil archetype and trying to redeem them at all was just a waste of page space. Apparently Earthcore started as a much shorter book that was expanded on recently to please the fans. I can’t help but think I probably would have preferred it in it’s shorter form.

Unfortunately, a trend within Earthcore was that few of the characters were likable. If you spend half the book being annoyed by the mere presence of certain characters on the page, it inevitably detracts from your overall enjoyment.  The only character I actually liked in the whole book was the prospector who finds the platinum to begin with. Well, I liked Sanjay as well, but he was a very minor character. Towards the end of the book, the main scientist, Angus, grated on my nerves so badly that simply listening to the book made me want to reach through my phone and smack the crap out of him. The only way I was able to force myself to go on was to tell myself that he had to die a very horrible death very soon, right?

I like most of Sigler’s work that I’ve read/listened to. Infected was a fantastic audio experience that he narrated himself. However, Earthcore just wasn’t something I dug, pardon the pun. In fact, by the end of the book, I truly disliked the book. Ray Porter is the only thing that kept me listening to the audio book at all. The plot had a few definite interesting twists to it, but not enough to save me from wanting to chuck it through the nearest window.

Can’t recommend it, but I know I seem to be in the minority with that opinion, so take my review with a grain of salt.

Interview with Terry Tyler, author of ‘Tipping Point’

Interview with Terry Tyler Tipping Point banner

Author Pic: Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler has published fourteen books on Amazon, ranging from family dramas and a novella about three writers, to a serial killer thriller and her current post apocalyptic series; what they have in common is that they are character driven and based around her interest in all things psychological.  She is an avid reader and book reviewer, loves The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and is a newly converted vegan who is still trying to work out what she can actually eat, apart from hummus and vegetables.  She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Terry reviews books on her blog  http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

and writes for a popular TWD fansite http://twdfansite.com/author/terry-tyler/


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Talking with Terry Tyler, Author of Tipping Point

Sci-Fi & Scary: How much has your writing style changed between the first book you wrote and your newest release?

Terry Tyler: My actual style has scarcely altered; I don’t think I could change it if I tried.  My subject matter and the way in which I approach the process has evolved, but the style itself is the same in the first novel I wrote in 1993 as it is now.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your support system like?

Terry Tyler: Writing is a solitary occupation, and I certainly don’t need any help to get motivated; what I really need is more time and two pairs of hands.  My husband is hugely supportive of everything I do, and my sister (who is also my proofreader) is a great help, too.  As for the bad days, when you’re convinced everything you write is rubbish—well, they’re just something you have to work through!  I don’t talk much about my books while I’m writing them but I have lots of lovely writer, book blogger and regular reader friends who are a great help once they’re published.  I hope I give back in equal measure.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your writing routine? (If you have one.)

Terry Tyler: Open laptop, open document, get on with it.  I give myself deadlines.  Sometimes other commitments mean I can’t meet them, but I like schedules.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Why writing? What made you want to be a writer?

Terry Tyler: I just wrote stuff, from quite an early age, and the natural progression was to move on to novels. I don’t know; it’s like anything creative.  Playing music, painting, writing – you just do it because you feel the need to.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What is the biggest influence in your life when it comes to your writing?

Terry Tyler: I thought a lot about this question and still don’t have much of an answer!  I think it’s a cross between whatever’s going through my head that I want to write about, and my readers, who let me know what they like about my books (and what they don’t).

Sci-Fi & Scary: How did you come up with the premise for Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: I’ve been wanting to write about a virus causing the collapse of civilisation as we know it, for ages.  I love reading books and watching films and TV series on this subject; if I see the words ‘global pandemic’, I’m there!  But I wanted it to be about more than a random disease.  I find theories about targeted depopulation most interesting (though some are ludicrous), so started constructing a plot by which I could combine the two.

Sci-Fi & Scary: I know from reading the Goodreads page on the book that you have a trilogy planned, with Tipping Point being the first book. Did you have everything for the trilogy sketched out before you even wrote book one or did things develop as this story did?

Terry Tyler: I’ve already written the sequel, Lindisfarne, and I’m getting the plot for Book 3 sorted in my head.  Before I began, I decided that the first book would be the build-up and the immediate aftermath of the outbreak, and the second would be about the psychological effects of the disaster, how my characters would change, grow or fall apart—and the reality of living in a lawless society.  As for Book 3, I knew how it would end, but I hadn’t got a clue how I would get there.  Then I decided to include a storyline from the other side, ie, the people who were behind the pandemic.  That was when it all started to come together, as the two converge. If it works out, and people do want to read it, it might carry on to other books.

Sci-Fi & Scary: I know from your website that you play Plague, Inc. (I love that game!) Did it have anything to do with your decision to try to wipe out the world with a virus in Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: Ha ha!  No, the book idea came first; my love for the game is just part of my interest in the subject.  The game is actually mentioned in Tipping Point!  (btw,  isn’t it awesome?  I love starting Nano Virus in somewhere like Korea or Iceland, to make it really hard!)

Sci-Fi & Scary: Social media is obviously a big part of most people’s lives, but what made you decide to make it a key point (pardon the pun) in Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: Part of the plot concerns government intelligence agencies’ analysis of personal information provided online by the population, and, nowdays, much of this comes via social media sites.  Watch the film Snowden!  It’s more a case of the plot requiring it, than me deciding to make it a key point.  The shiny new social media site is all part of the dastardly plan!  Later, my main characters follow the progression of the virus via uploaded videos (and video diaries) on YouTube.  It’s important, when you’re writing about characters born later than, say, 1980, to understand that social media sites are a part of their everyday life, much more so than for people my age.  It’s about plot and character feasibility; my books often feature use of these sites, simply because you can’t write realistic characters without it.  I don’t think ‘ooh, I think I’ll put Facebook in my novel’ ~ in ‘You Wish’, for instance, I had a girl stalking an uninterested lover.  In 2010, she would do this via FB, not by letter or phone.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What research did you have to do to write Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: I’ve been doing it for years, with all the films, TV series and books!  I also read books about people living in dedicated pre-industrial age communities, and found out how diseases spread.  And read truth seeker websites.

Sci-Fi & Scary: How long did it take you to actually write Tipping Point from first words on the paper to final draft?

Terry Tyler: Three months for the first draft, another three for the subsequent ones.  I did six drafts.  I made notes andthought about the plot a lot before I actually started writing it, though.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Any of you in your main characters in Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: I should think so, but it’s not something I think about, or do consciously.  Vicky, the main character, isn’t ‘me’.  She’s much nicer!

Sci-Fi & Scary: Was there any scene that was particularly hard to write? What made it hard?

Terry Tyler:  I find it hard to write any scene in which someone witnesses a murder, or discovers one.  It’s ‘out of my comfort zone’, a bit; until the last two books, I’d mostly just written about relationships.  I got a bit ‘darker’ in The House of York, and then my serial killer drama, The Devil You Know.  It’s taking me a while to feel confident about writing such horrors; I’m getting there, but it’s still difficult.  The psychopaths, on the other hand, I find easy to write.  Should I be worried?!

Sci-Fi & Scary: What about the characters?  Is Tipping Point a plot driven or character driven novel?

Terry Tyler:  My novels are always all about the characters.  I have an endless fascination for human relationships, and the way we react, what motivates us to make the decisions we make.  There’s a fair bit of relationship stuff in Book 2, because people carry on loving and cheating on each other, even when the world’s gone to hell….

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Lilyn, and I hope this has been of interest to your readers!

 Tipping Point Excerpt:

This excerpt takes place around 10 days after the first outbreak of the virus, in a small seaside town  in Norfolk, England.


Bob Newnham no longer stood in his garden having a rant to anyone who would listen; all the curtains in his house were closed.

I hadn’t seen Linda Thomas since Wednesday, either.  Linda, who’d been so worried about getting her roots done in time for her friend’s wedding.

I knocked on her door, but no one answered.  I’m guessing the wedding never happened, either.

The dead wagon took body bags out of number three, next.  That was where the Hanns lived; Brett, Susannah, and their daughter Celia.  I wondered who’d called the number to report the deaths.  Perhaps they rang themselves, when they knew there was no hope.

I went back inside to YouTube.

It had become the only site I looked at, and I did so constantly.

The latest Bat Fever video made me gasp in horror.

A shaky film, only thirty seconds long, had been taken on a phone in a large outbuilding outside a hospital in North London.  One huge room, piled high with bodies wrapped in black polythene or sheets.  I played it over and over, freeze-framing; it appeared that at first the bodies been laid out on the floor in body bags with space around each one, and name tags, but then the space had run out and they’d just been piled in like rolls of carpet, wrapped in bin liners or sheets, one on top of another.  Twenty-five seconds into the film, a voice shouted, “Get out of there.  You!  Out!”  Then the screen jumped all over the place and went black.

The video had over six million views.

Tipping Point Cover


Tipping Point Synopsis

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is due to be published in September 2017, with the final instalment in the middle of 2018. A collection of outtake short stories, Patient Zero, is in progress, and should be available around December 2017.



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Mass Hysteria Review (Gory Horror)

Title: Mass Hysteria | Author: Michael Patrick Hicks | Publisher: High Fever Books | Pub. Date: 2017-8-15 | Pages: 258 | ISBN13: 9781947570009 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Child death | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.

Mass Hysteria

It came from space…

Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.

Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.

As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.

…and it is spreading.

Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria.

To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail.

Book cover for Mass Hysteria

Mass Hysteria Review

Michael Patrick Hicks’ Mass Hysteria is a headlong dive into a disgusting, gore-splattered future that will either delight or dismay readers. Though the book starts out with animal attacks, it transitions fairly swiftly to humans attacking other humans as well. The tone for carnage is set early on, and it ratchets up relentlessly. There’s enough ‘long pig’ feasting in this book to make the mythical rugaru feel right at home.

Mass Hysteria is heavy on language, violence, and sexual situations. It is not a book for horror fans that find their stomachs easily turned. There were scenes that made me cringe (and mentally applaud the author). If you are someone who hates to see a dog (or cat) die in a book, you’d best not go past the front cover. I’m normally one of those people, but given that the book promises animals going crazy, I was prepared for it going in. It’s a straightforward look at a world where the rules humanity have lived by since the dawn of civilization are cast aside. It’s fast paced, action-packed, and bloody. Really, almost everything a horror gore-hound could want.

While it is very competently written for the most part, Mass Hysteria does contain two instances of child death that annoyed me. These deaths are undeniably in place to add to the horror of the situation, and are entirely unnecessary. The author’s writing is strong enough to stand up on its own without relying on these tried and true but nevertheless weak writing props. (Normally I would list the animal deaths a weak prop as well, but it’s a game changer when you know it’s going to happen up front.) However, to his credit, only a few lines are spent on the first child’s death, and it is not witnessed as much as heard. For the second, it happens entirely ‘off screen’. So, they were well done for what they were. (And I have to admit that the second death really did emphasize exactly how much the world had changed.)

Undeniably talented, Michael Patrick Hicks shows evidence of a rather deliciously depraved mind in this book. This is an author that can easily hold his own against some of the biggest names in the business. There is some improvement to be had, but mainly in areas of confidence  rather than technical skill. While he isn’t on my ‘must-read’ list yet, I would have no problems recommending Mass Hysteria to fellow gore-hounds out there.

I have also reviewed Black Site by the same author.