Grave Discoveries: Pine Hill Cemetery – A Haunting We Will Go

This week’s offering is a hidden treasure I discovered thanks to David E. Harkin’s book Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks. I was thrilled to learn several of the cemeteries he mentioned were within my day job territory. So this week as I was visiting St. James for blood drives, I wandered out to Pine Hill Cemetery. And by the way…it’s haunted.

Within this fence, you’ll find the Goat Man’s grave, witches and more.

IMG_7034 (1024x768)One does not simply happen upon Pine Hill Cemetery. It is well off the beaten path about five miles outside the St. James city limit. I wandered down a long, winding blacktop road outside of St. James down County Road 3450 (AKA Spook Hollow Road. Not making that up!).

It was a hot day and the lush greenery encroached across the road making it increasingly eerie even in the daylight. I prayed Google Maps was up for the challenge and the cell signal held. At one point there was water over the road from the previous night’s storm. Now, I drive a Ford Fusion. It is not an off-road-adventure-worthy mobile so I was a little concerned I might be getting in over my head but trudged forward.

The large limb over the road was the the second deterrent,  but I managed to skirt around it as well. I was starting to get that little tingle of foreboding in the hollow of my chest that perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe I should turn back.

After all, no one even knew I was OUT on this little side trip.

Ignoring common sense, I trudged forward.

And then the road narrowed and devolved to gravel.

Seriously?

Several long minutes later, I was relieved to finally arrive.

Of course there was no actual signage but Google Maps declared our adventure a success.

Here’s what I found:

IMG_7047 (1024x768)This one was especially creepy to me, like it was clawing itself up out of the ground. Pretty sure that’s a lichen covered “Lamb of God” at the top.

IMG_7051 (1024x768)It is shady cemetery for the most part and there were indeed some pine trees. This grave was just a pile of rocks. Efficient. I like it.

IMG_7046 (1024x768)I found these rock garden graves interesting.

IMG_7045 (768x1024)One thing we have in abundance in Missouri is rocks.

IMG_7037 (768x1024)Another melting Lamb of God on top. They don’t age well.

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Broken and haphazardly placed…just how I like it.

IMG_7039 (1024x768)Can’t get much simpler than this one.

IMG_7040 (1024x768)All Hand of God and no name.

IMG_7041 (1024x768)More shade-tree graves.

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IMG_7050 (768x1024)This one was a new combination for me. The hand pointing Heaven and to the crown according to Grave Addiction symbolizes victory or triumph over death.

IMG_7049 (768x1024)And finally a bird nest. Beginnings and endings right there.

Want to know more about the Goat Man and the witches of Pine Hill? Go get David E. Harkin’s book Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks. It’s full of haunted graveyard goodness. Also…join me right here this Friday, Aug. 1 for an interview with David E. Harkins to learn more about him and his paranormal research.

Sign up to receive post updates in your inbox at the top right of this page so you don’t miss out on future posts from the Grave Discoveries series.

Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

Reap & Repent blurb

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

 

 

 

 

#8Sunday – A Reap & Repent Snippet: A Reaper & His Scythe

In this eight sentence excerpt (creative editing in play) our reaper hero, Deacon, is about face his former friend and fellow reaper turned nemesis. Kylen has been possessed by a demon for the past century. While Deacon’s sure his friend is gone and what he faces now is only the shell, the fact doesn’t make the confrontation any easier. But what needs to be done must be done. Deacon readies himself and brandishes his scythe.

 

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)

It was an impressive weapon and would slice through a human, no problem: the weapon of choice for decapitation. If a supernatural beastie needed to be put down, reapers were the ones who did it. A job perk as it were.

The weapon and the reaper were deadly.

He didn’t know if Kylen still held souls, but he instantly regretted the one he carried himself. If the demon was empty, he’d have a powerful advantage on his side. There was one way to find out.

Deacon summoned an aura of protection around himself and slashed his scythe forward.

 

That’s all until next week, folks. Thanks for visiting.

Click on the link to check out the other participating authors. So many tasty samplings!

 

 

Reap & Repent blurb  

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO  

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

Interview with Australian Author Renay Allen. Read Breath of Sirius – Online Serial Urban Fantasy

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

Welcome, Renay Allen! You’ve just released another instalment of your online serial Breath of Sirius.  Tell us a little bit about your story.

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Ophelia Wynn (or Fia as she prefers) is a woman completely out of her depth. She inherits a bookshoppe from Cecelia Wynn –a great-grandmother she never knew– and on impulse moves halfway across the world to take on the shop’s management. She’s not sure what she was thinking. What does a part-time librarian/ part-time tutor know about running a business?

Unexpectedly Fia makes new friends; those in her adopted town treat her like royalty come home after a long exile. It’s enough to make a girl edgy. What’s more, something is at work in the Bookshoppe. Or rather … someone else. Fia might dream of one-day love, and seek to focus on work, but what she discovers is a perplexing litany of clues and a fight which will test whether she has the strength to take on the other role Cecelia has planned for her.

Breath of Sirius is an online serial in three parts – Empath, Priestess and Maakheru. Right now, we’re onto Part 2 – Priestess.  I post each week with an instalment of approximately 1200 words.

Do you consider Breath of Sirius urban fantasy, paranormal romance or something else? What attracted you to the genre?

I think of Breath of Sirius as urban fantasy romance. The thing I love about urban fantasy is the vague edges. When I ask people to define urban fantasy, I receive answers like, ‘it’s set in a city, and has some magic stuff going on’. Even now I hear the question mark at the end of their sentence. I love that other genres can slip into UF through those blurred borders. The unexpected appears on the page before you know it.

Technically I guess BOS could be called – ‘Small-walled-market-town-somewhere-in-Kent fantasy romance’. Now there’s a sub-genre title. Mmm? Maybe not.

Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels? If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?

Well, that would be telling. The clues are there. You’ll just have to read future instalments.

Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

I’ve really been enjoying writing an online serial. It’s very different to writing a novel. Think micro-novel every week. Online serials come with a unique set of challenges I didn’t think much about when I started. (Aren’t those the famous last words of any DIY project?) For instance, writing Ebenos Moon (a YA novel I’m currently subbing) was fun, but if I didn’t like the direction a character or storyline took, or a decision I made, I made changes during the editing process. There was no rush. No exposure. Not so online fiction. BOS is all about pantsing. I have some vague ideas regarding direction, but I write the week’s draft, and then go over it the night before posting. The process is turbulent, like standing in front of an aircraft engine gearing up! Saying that, the challenges have also been much of the fun. The characters are in control – for better or for worse!

As to whether there will be a second serial? Ideas are flitting about in my peripheral vision like shadows. I guess we’ll see.  I will say all the shadows are shaped like scorpions…

What else are you working on?

There’s a list. There’s always a list.

There’s my YA ‘Ebenos Moon’, which, as I mentioned, is complete and being subbed. This is the first in a trilogy, so please cross all your digits someone likes it. :D Especially as the protagonist DehLia Rossa continues to gab in my ear day and night – mostly at night. As a result, I’m writing the follow up to EM – Brightwood.

And because I can never just have one project on the go, I’m doing my Masters degree and writing first drafts for two other WIPs:

  • Charybdis (working title) – [fantasy]
  • Hope before hope (working title) – [contemporary adult romance]

Fitting multiple WIPs around work and home is part of what I love about writing, however I am seriously considering insomnia as a viable time management tool. ;)

Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?

I love DehLia and Carr (Ebenos Moon), but I’m also really enjoying getting to know Calley (Charybdis) and Kile (Calley’s resident beastie). Calley is nothing like I thought she’d be when the story started kicking around in my head. Her moral pivot-point is more ambiguous than I first imagined.  Were I to hang out with them, I think I’d want to watch Calley draw in the sand. I’m interested in learning more about how her mind works. I’m a bit odd that way.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

Although Breath of Sirius is all about pantsing, I’ve actually become a hybrid over the years. I document character drivers, chapter outlines, and background info. I know where my characters have been, where they’re going and why. The route (how they’ll get where they’re going) is usually vagued up some. Planned, but not screwed down to the blow-by-blow.

100% pansting can be fun. Those three parts I mentioned –Empath, Priestess and Maakheru– was all the planning done for BOS. It keeps things fresh and can be terribly exciting, but whenever I leave my notes unwritten, pull on the pantaloons and slip in behind the wheel without consulting my author GPS, it does leave me with the impression that I may be moonlighting as a crash test dummy.

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?  Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?

The first novel I wrote took one week. Let me say, that work will NEVER see the light of day. I wrote Ebenos Moon in four months. Revisions and editing took longer.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

Get stuck in. Read. Learn. Be resilient. That is all.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect? 

Breath of Sirius Blurb:

Fia Wynn inherits her great grandmother’s estate. Having opened the door to her new life, she doesn’t realise she’s also awakened Lucius Kennerley, a man – if he is a man – who will challenge her to come to terms with her own past, uncover the secret of her magical lineage, and embrace the mysterious source of her power.

Breath of Sirius Excerpt:

Here’s an extract from Instalment 38 – Aftermath (published 16 July 2014). This particular one is written from Lucius Kennerley’s perspective.

Lucius heard the tinkle of the charms at her wrist, but couldn’t tear his eyes from the splatters of dark, dried crimson, which stood out in sharp contrast to the bergere chair’s neutral linen tones, the white cupboards and oak floor boards. He imagined her fright, heard in his mind her cry out; saw again her head hit the table at the base of the stairs. His gaze dragged across to the furniture, to the black stone of the kitchen island. Blood and glass littered the surface.

He might not have been able to kill Thomas before, but Lucius swore silently he would find a way to punish the boy for his crime. He cursed himself for ever giving Sophia that diamond, her father for creating the chain to hold three daughter’s charms and for Sophia’s vain obsessions. At least Christian Thomas would be hurting. For now, he would have to content himself with that small comfort. The rest could be taken care of at a more convenient time when Ophelia was less vulnerable. “Come.” Lucius swung her slight form into his arms once more and stalked the final steps to the first-floor landing, depositing her in the bathroom.

Where can we find you and your books online? 

Read Breath of Sirius at:  renayallen.com/serials

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Renay has always loved a good book. Somewhere along the way reading became writing and an obsession was born. Renay is the author of online Urban fantasy serial Breath of Sirius, and is now trying her hand at YA. She lives in south-east Queensland with her husband and son.

Renay can be found at renayallen.com, on twitter @renayallencom (come chat!) or on fb at Facebook.com/womanvsmuse 

Passion. Writing. Resilience. What more can a girl ask for?

 

Comments for Breath of Sirius.

“more please tomorrow?”

“I like the thickening plot; when’s the next installment? Don’t keep us waiting too long. CONGRATS!”

“Wondered what was coming! Wonderful ending. Very evocative and the imagery was vivid.”

 

 

 

 

 

Grave Discoveries: Old Masonic Cemetery aka St. James Cemetery

 

 

The Old Masonic Cemetery aka St. James Cemetery is located in St. James, Missouri and has a beautiful entrance/exit. This is from the exit side. There are approximately 4,211 interments here. It’s quite massive. The oldest part, near the road and entrance. has some very interesting stones.IMG_7032 (1024x768) There are several stone foundation family plots in St. James Cemetery.  I couldn’t find any reason for this online other than to mark the actual plot boundaries.IMG_7030 (1024x768)

IMG_7008 (1024x768)

IMG_7017 (1024x768)

IMG_6997 (768x1024)It’s difficult to tell here but I think those are angel wings at the top?IMG_7029 (768x1024) A Mason’s grave.IMG_7028 (768x1024) Again, this stone is interesting but I can’t make out the design anymore. Thoughts?IMG_7027 (768x1024)

A nautical theme here with the anchor.IMG_7026 (768x1024) IMG_7025 (768x1024) IMG_7024 (1024x768) A hand pointing to Heaven.IMG_7023 (768x1024) IMG_7022 (768x1024) I guess this was the winner of the coveted Death Cup.IMG_7021 (768x1024) IMG_7019 (768x1024) I love the gnarly old trees here in the oldest part of the cemetery.IMG_7018 (768x1024) Hand pointing to the Crown of Heaven. IMG_7016 (768x1024) IMG_7015 (768x1024) I love the patina on this stone and the floral design of the engraving. IMG_7014 (768x1024) These stones were tucked away on a shady edge of the cemetery, nearly overtaken.IMG_7013 (768x1024) IMG_7012 (768x1024) Nice patina and handshake engravings on these stones.IMG_7011 (768x1024) IMG_6998 (768x1024)Dove engraving.IMG_7010 (768x1024) I’ve found at least one Woodmen of the World stone in every graveyard I’ve visited so far in my travels. IMG_7009 (768x1024)  IMG_7007 (1024x768) IMG_7006 (768x1024) IMG_7005 (1024x768)   IMG_6996 (1024x768) IMG_6995 (768x1024) IMG_6994 (768x1024)Want to know where the bodies are buried? Check out FIND A GRAVE and you can see for yourself.

Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

Reap & Repent blurb

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

 

#8Sunday – A Reap & Repent Snippet: Imps. Why did it have to be imps?

In this eight sentence excerpt (last week’s was nine so this week is seven) Ruth is still plagued by imps–demon minions. Some girls have all the fun.

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)

Ruth somehow managed to doze off. She awoke to a dark house and what sounded like lightning sizzling on her roof. Leaping up from the couch, she ran to the front door and peered out. Black shapes hurled themselves against the protective circle. Each time they made contact with it, they sizzled and bounced off, deflected like black moths on a giant bug zapper. It was difficult to make their shapes out for a clear identification, but they looked like imps.

     Great.

 

That’s all until next week, folks. Thanks for visiting.

Click on the link to check out the other participating authors. So many tasty samplings!

 

 

Reap & Repent blurb  

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO  

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

Author Interview with D.A. Roberts – Missouri Zombies Take the City

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

 

Welcome, DA Roberts! You’ve just released Ragnarok Rising: The Crossing.  Tell us a little bit about your story. 

ragnarok rising

Well, that might take a bit of set-up. Ragnarok Rising: The Crossing is actually the third book of my Ragnarok Rising Saga. My series is a Zombie Apocalypse tale, set in the Mid-west city of Springfield, Mo. Although the farther along you get in the series, the farther they branch out of the area. The saga really focuses on a core group of people who are doing their best not only to survive the apocalypse, but trying to save as many people as they can along the way. It shows the best and worst in us all against the backdrop of the living dead. A reviewer on Amazon once called it a Roller Coaster ride through the Zombie Apocalypse. I think that’s a great way to sum it up. Fast paced and dangerous, you get to follow these men and women through hell and beyond. The concept of Ragnarok is from Viking times. Ragnarok is literally the end of the world. A Viking Armageddon, if you will. With a Norse twist on the genre, the Ragnarok Rising Saga is unique in that it approaches the Zombie Apocalypse in a different way. Grab your ticket and get on the roller coaster, and then buckle up. I think you will enjoy the ride.

Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy, paranormal or something else? What attracted you to the genre?

I consider my series to be Paranormal / Apocalyptic fiction. Although it is a zombie story, there’s more going on there than you normally see in the zombie genre. As the series progresses, you will find more twists to the genre. I like to think of my books as being horror, but they may be something more…or at least different…by the end.

Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels? If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?

Well…there are zombies. I mean a lot of zombies. Initially in book one, I broke them down into five basic categories but as the series progressed there were more. Book three introduced a new type of zombie that I am particularly fond of. I call them Stalkers. Without spoiling too much, they are something new. Not only have the characters never encountered anything like it, but I think the readers will see something new here too. As one of my Beta Readers put it when she called me in the middle of the night, “I loved your first two books, but book three is going to give me nightmares.” I really knew I was onto something when she told me that. I hope you all feel the same way.

Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

The Ragnarok Rising Saga is definitely a series. The Crossing is book three and I plan to have book four finished and released by end of summer. If everything goes as planned, that is. I plan to do six books in the series before I move on to my next project.

What else are you working on?

I have several projects in the works. I’m not sure where to start. I have a Werewolf series in the works as well as a fantasy novel that could become a series of it’s own.  I have other projects that I’m not quite ready to announce. Needless to say, I have a full plate at the moment.

Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?

I think I would like to spend some time with the two main characters, Wylie Grant and Cassie “Spec-4” Wilder. I’d like to have a few drinks and talk about where they feel the story has taken them. I’d also like to see if they are upset with some of the things I’ve put them through. Wylie, in particular, might want to have a few words about just that. I’ve put them through the ringer, more than once. If they were to make a movie out of my series, I think I’d like to see Karl Urban play Wylie. I love Urban. I think he’d bring so much depth to Wylie. As for Spec-4, I think I’d like to see someone like Scarlett Johansson take that role. She has a wonderful depth as an actress and can really be convincing on the action sequences. I’d love to see the ideas my readers have, as well. Heck, come on over to my facebook page or website and tell me your fantasy casting choices. I’d love to hear it.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

I’m a plotter, definitely. I plan out the direction of the story, but I leave enough room that things can change as I write it. Sometimes even I’m surprised how far things have changed from my original plan. I know well in advance where I want the story to go, but sometimes the characters have other plans. Sometimes they write the story and I’m just recording it all in print. To me, that’s half the fun. I have always loved writing and I dreamed of one day being an author. It’s such an amazing feeling to see that dream come true. The first things I usually do is research the elements I need for the story, then I bring up as much information as I can to keep it in tabs to fall back on as I write. I even like to us Google Maps as I write to keep me focused on the actual locations that I am describing. That will work for my horror stories, but I’ll have to take a different approach for my fantasy writing. I’ll have to play that by ear, I suppose.

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?  Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?

I don’t write short books. I average about 500 pages, when it seems the average download on the market is only 200 or less. I think that the story is just getting started at 200 pages. Still, I can do the 500 pages in about six months, if everything goes well. Sometimes less, if the muse really flows. Editing can take anywhere from one to two months, depending on re-writes and fixes. That’s almost daily work on the editing. I like to work directly with my editors, as much as possible, so all the changes, fixes and edits can be done quickly. So, start to finish, I think I can do two books a year. If my writing ever takes me to a place where I no longer need my “day job”, then who knows. If I could be a full-time writer, the sky might be the limit.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

Absolutely. I love to help other writers, any way I can. I’ve never felt that writing was a competition. There’s room on our bookshelves for multiple authors and books. I don’t know anyone who only owns books by one author. I’m more than happy to encourage and help writers become authors. It’s only good for us all to encourage more stories to be told and people to read them.

I think that the best advice I can give an aspiring author is to do your research. Getting the details wrong can kill your story. Know your facts and it will show through in your work. Readers will tear you to pieces if you get it wrong. Do your research, no matter what the topic. The more you know, the more depth you can bring to the story.

I’m always happy to exchange ideas and advice with other writers. Check out my blog. I have posts that deal specifically with author tips. Send me an e-mail or a message on facebook, too. I’ll be more than happy to give you any help that I can. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we help not only the aspiring authors…we help ourselves too. I’ve learned new things simply by researching an answer to a question from another writer.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect?

Excerpt from book three of the series, Ragnarok Rising: The Crossing

Slipping into gear, I started slowly towards the edge of the water. Just as I reached it, I stopped completely. I thought I had seen movement out of the corner of my eye.

“Wilder,” I said, “hand me the binoculars.”

“What did you see?” she asked, handing them over.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “I just caught a glimpse of something moving.”

I took the binoculars and started sweeping the area where I had seen it. It was right near the restrooms, so I focused in and swept slowly from left to right and then back again. I still didn’t see anything, but the knot in my stomach had doubled in size. It was still and quiet, with no sign of movement whatsoever. Not even so much as a squirrel.

Handing the binoculars back to Spec-4, I turned back to the water ahead of me. It looked no more inviting than it had before, but now I was looking for anything at all that might be out of place. Nothing seemed wrong and nothing was moving. With a heavy sigh, I took my foot off the brake and started into the water.

I felt my way in, slowly. Water was coming steadily up the sides of the Humvee and starting to splash up onto the hood. I knew we would be fine so long as I didn’t let off of the gas. The raised air intake on the Humvee would keep us running as long as I didn’t let the engine flood out.

We made it across without incident, and I was glad to see that I had been high on my estimate of the depth. Although we were in over the wheels, it never made it over the doors. It was less than three feet deep across the concrete bridge. As we safely pulled out of the other side, I reached for the radio mic.

“All clear, Chuck,” I said, keying up. “Take it slow and steady. Stick to the right.”

“Copy that,” he said, and began his run.

Less than two minutes later, we parked side by side in the parking area next to the bathrooms. I decided that I wanted a closer look at the bullet holes along the walls, just to see for myself. When I climbed out of my Humvee, Spec-4 followed me and readied her weapon. Becca stayed inside the vehicle, but watched us intently. Southard and Elliott climbed out of their vehicle, weapons in hand.

“What’s next, dad?” asked Elliott.

“I want to take a closer look at the bullet holes on the wall,” I said, pointing. “Something about it just doesn’t seem right.”

The four of us headed around to the side of the building, away from the entrances to the bathrooms. Behind us, I heard the door of a Humvee open and close. I turned around to see Jensen standing beside the vehicles, adjusting his weapon.

“Don’t wander off,” I said.

“I won’t,” he replied. “I just wanted to stretch my legs.”

We headed around the corner and I could see the numerous bullet holes that pockmarked the wall. There was also quite a bit of blood on the wall and the ground beneath it. In the grass, I could see expended brass. Kneeling down, I picked up a piece and examined it. It was 5.56mm NATO. That meant it came from either an AR style weapon or the military. I selected a number of other rounds to check, just to be certain.

“Multiple shooters,” I said, looking at Southard. “Firing squad deployment. Military, I think.”

I was about to say more when I heard the scream. It came from around the corner in front of the buildings. We all spun and sprinted around the corner. Jensen was on the ground right in front of the men’s room entrance, his legs still inside the door. He was lying on his stomach, clawing at the ground trying to drag himself out of the bathroom. Before we could reach him, something dragged him back inside and the screaming began, again.

Read more in the Ragnarok Rising Saga!

Where can we find you and your books online? 

Facebook | Twitter | Linkdin | Amazon  

da roberts bio pic

Author’s Bio:  D.A. Roberts

D.A. Roberts was born in the small town of Lebanon, Missouri. Growing up on the farm gave him plenty of opportunities to cultivate a fertile imagination. Encouraged by his mother, he dreamed of one day becoming a famous writer. An avid reader, D.A. enjoys reading more than watching television.

A diverse career path has given him a unique view of the world. From soldier to factory worker, from bouncer to lab technician, and from Security Officer to Corrections Officer.  Having worn many different hats evolves a very different perspective. He draws on all of these experiences to bring his writing to life on a very human level.

He married Annette in the summer of 1993 and has been happily married, ever since. Three teenage sons keep them both busy. Nathan, Nic and Noah are his pride and joy. They have an English Mastiff named Xander, who is a big part of their lives.

D.A. loves to camp, hunt, fish, hike and Geocache. He also enjoys old-school pen and paper role-playing games. When not writing or on duty as a Corrections Officer, he enjoys spending time with his family. A good cup of coffee, a warm fire and a good book are his guilty pleasures.

Grave Discoveries: Fox Crossing Cemetery

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Fox Crossing Cemetery is a tiny roadside cemetery I sped by, and then turned around to investigate. It was mostly 20th century but there were a few cool stones.

20140617_160941177_iOSI’m not sure what these dual pyramid topped stones are called. There’s probably a name but there are typically several in every cemetery I visit.

20140617_161018578_iOS This one had dual purpose. Husband on one side. Wife on the other.

20140617_161308477_iOSThe patina on the top of this stone almost looked like hearts or kiss imprints. Cool.

20140617_161038745_iOS 20140617_161110920_iOS This one is the first I’ve seen like it. Sort of an open book.

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Everything but the dates was worn from this stone.

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The typical handshake symbol.

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And finally, this one was rather rustic and plain. I liked it.

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Sign up to receive post updates in your inbox at the top right of this page so you don’t miss out on future posts from the Grave Discoveries series.

Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

Reap & Repent blurb

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

#8Sunday – From Reap & Repent: Some Demons Just Can’t Take A Hint

#8Sunday…From Reap & Repent

This eight sentence excerpt (don’t beat me, it’s nine) is Ruth’s first trip to Purgatory alone as she waits her turn in line and her third encounter with a demon-possessed reaper who’s been harassing her. She’d warned him off but some demons just can’t take a hint.

 

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)

“The first time is always the hardest, isn’t it, love? I could make it so much…more for you,” he whispered, his words bringing new prickly bumps to the surface of her skin.

She shrugged him off, trying to ignore him. She really did, but when he persisted, something fierce and unrelenting rose up in her. She reached back and ran her hand across the front of his jeans and over his hard erection. He hissed in surprise. She gripped him hard in her hand and then squeezed, twisting his business with all she had.

He gave out a little choked cough before breaking free and limping off into the crowd. If the salt had surprised him yesterday, this had shocked him even more.

 

That’s all until next week, folks. Thanks for visiting.

Click on the link to check out the other participating authors. So many tasty samplings!

 

 

Reap & Repent blurb  

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO  

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

 

Interview with Zombie Apocalypse Writer Ben S. Reeder

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

You KNOW I love zombies. Know who loves them more?

Ben S. Reeder.

Welcome, Author Ben S. Reeder! You’ve just released Zompoc Survivor: Exodus.  Tell us a little bit about your story.  

zompoc survivior

ZS: Exodus starts off as your basic zombie story. Our hero, Dave Stewart is immediately faced with the challenge of getting himself and his loved ones home as chaos and death spreads throughout Springfield, Missouri. Nothing is ever simple, though, and Dave also finds himself on the wrong end of a mysterious conspiracy.

Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy, paranormal or something else? What attracted you to the genre?

Well, Amazon considers it science fiction, since it technically falls under “post-apocalyptic” but since it involved zombies, I would say it was more paranormal with a touch of horror added in.

Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels? If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?

Of course, there are zombies. In ZS: Exodus, we see three different kinds. Since I hate to limit my options, I have both fast AND slow zombies, along with reasons for why they are the way they are. I also have a completely new kind, what is labeled as Patient Zero. Patient Zero is unlike any zombie you’ve ever seen before, and all the more frightening because of the ways it’s different.

Monsters of the paranormal kind are always fun, but I think the most frightening monsters are the ones inside us. In my book, it isn’t the scary looking, undead monster you have to fear, it’s the one that an otherwise ordinary person lets off the leash when the world goes crazy around them. That is the one that scares me the most.

Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

Zompoc Survivor is a series. I’m working on the second in the series, ZS: Odyssey, which picks up almost the same moment Exodus leaves off.  The Zompoc Survivor series is currently open ended, and it will see Dave focusing first on getting his family to safety, and then, discovering that there’s a bigger fight for him to be a part of. We’ll also discover the truth behind the zombie apocalypse, and who is actually behind it.

 What else are you working on?

I have several projects right now. The one most likely to see print after the Zompoc Survivor series is a gritty superhero story, followed by a portal fantasy story. I have a dystopian novel that is stuck in limbo that might also see the light of day at some point, too.

Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or two would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?

In the Zompoc Survivor world, I’d obviously hang out with Dave over a weekend, because we share so many interests. We’d probably grill bratwursts and steak, and binge watch Dr. Who and a whole lot of sci-fi movies, game and try to outdo each other on the shooting range (Dave’s actually a better shot than I am.)

It’s funny that you ask who would play Dave in a movie made from my books. Someone recently asked me if I had thought of having the book turned into a movie. Personally, I would want it to be a TV series, because you can do so much more in twenty episodes than you can in two to three hours. As to who I would want to play Dave, hands down it would be Eddie McClintock from Warehouse 13. He has that everyman quality to him, but he can also go from light-hearted to dead serious in a heartbeat, and that is an important part of Dave’s character.

 Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

Truth is, I’ve become a plotter, at least mentally.  I may not have an outline written down, but I always have a general idea of how the story is going to end before I write the first word. I usually have the climactic scene in my head and a general structure of how things will get there. I also do a ton of research before I start writing. Locations, people, and because I’m writing zombie fiction, lots and lots of gear all get thoroughly looked up.

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?  Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?

It seems to get shorter every time. My first novel took me four years to write, my second just under one, and Zompoc Survivor was done in just under six months. ZS: Odyssey is looking like it will be ready in four to five months. I don’t think I’d want to do it much faster than that.

As far as editing, I usually give a work three passes for content, and three for line editing. In the Zompoc Survivor, series, I actually have three beta readers. One for general plot, and two for technical read throughs. My general reader also runs it through for spelling and grammar.

After that, it’s usually ready to go. I’ve learned that no matter how many times I go through a story, I’m never going to be completely satisfied with it. I’m always going to want to make changes. But, stories are like kids. At some point, you have to let them go out on their own.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

Read like an addict, write like a lion, edit like a surgeon and never, ever give up.

Reading is how we find our voice, by hearing those voices that resonate with our own and seeing how authors who are better than we are do what they do. Anyone who refuses to read because they don’t want to “contaminate their voice” or be “influenced by anyone else’s style” needs to remember how we learn to talk: by being exposed to other people talking. We learn to write the same way. If you limit your exposure to other writers, you limit yourself as a writer.

Write boldly. Give yourself permission to write BADLY. Give yourself the order to edit LATER. And get outside your comfort zone.

Edit afterward, and become a slave to the story. Operate without anesthesia, and be willing to get rid of stuff you might have liked when you wrote it.

Finally, persist. It only took me twenty years to have my overnight success.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect?

Here is a blurb from Zompoc Survivor: Exodus:

Dave Stewart is a man with a plan for almost everything. But the zombie apocalypse taxes even his skills as he tries to get his family and friends out of Springfield, Missouri. Caught at work, all he has to help him survive is his normal “everyday carry” gear, the contents of his get-home bag and, most importantly, his wits to keep himself alive as chaos and death reign around him. As Dave struggles to reunite with his family and friends and fight his way clear of the city, he will discover that the dead aren’t the only enemies he will have to deal with. Some of the living are just as deadly, and he discovers that a sinister element in the US government may have a plan of its own for the zombie apocalypse, and that it includes the estranged wife and son of his friend and benefactor, Nathan Reid.

As he makes his way to his homestead outside of town, Dave will see the best and worst of humanity, and will be pushed to his limits and beyond.

Can Dave overcome the dangers posed by both the living and the dead, and survive his exodus from Springfield?

Here is a blurb from my upcoming book Zompoc Survivor: Odyssey:

In Zompoc Survivor: Odyssey, Dave must make his way out of the zombie filled hell that Kansas City has become in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. With two Marines and his girlfriend’s daughter at his side, he must overcome a power-mad zealot and face new and more terrifying zombies in his journey out of the city.

Finally an excerpt from the upcoming book:

I was awakened by a whimper in the darkness. Instantly, I came up on my right elbow and listened. Another soft mewl came from behind me, and I rolled to my other side and reached out in the darkness.

“Amy,” I whispered. The whimpering stopped, and I felt Amy’s hand brush mine. As soon as her fingers touched my hand, she grabbed my arm and pulled herself to me.

“I keep seeing him fall,” she whispered to me. “I try to hold onto him, but I can’t and he falls, he always falls.” The sobs came after that, quiet at first but hard enough to wrack her whole body. Finally, she couldn’t keep silent any more, and I felt my chest vibrate as she bawled into my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Amy,” I said to her, over and over again, wishing every time I knew something better to say, but never finding anything else to tell her. Eventually, even that faded, and she fell quiet again, and laid her head on my now damp shoulder. Her breathing became slow and even, and I held her quietly. It was all the comfort I could offer her, and even if my arms went numb and fell off, I’d give her every second of it she wanted. I wished for a thousand things in the indeterminate time that I held her, but it all kept coming back to two things, one I could never give her, and one I could only hope to. I wanted to give her Karl back, but in the end, my prayer was simple: let me be a good dad for her. Yeah, simple. Just not easy.

 

Where can we find you and your books online? 

You can buy Zompoc Survivor: Exodus here.

Facebook |Twitter | My website 

 

Ben ReederI’ve been writing since high school, and reading since I could reach the bookshelf. I was born into a military family, spent four years in the Air Force after high school, and books have always been my friends, my escape and my window to other worlds. When I wasn’t exploring other worlds via words, I was exploring some of the more interesting nooks in the real world. I’ve been a gamer since D&D came in a cardboard box, played in the Society for Creative Anachronism on and off for two decades, and worked in everything from video game arcades to poultry farms to a New Age bookstore (best three years of my life).

My own reading tastes run to urban fantasy and the occasional steampunk story.

I love my readers, and extend my thanks to each of you. Every writer owes their success to their fans.

Grave Discoveries: Ben Franklin’s Grave and Christ Church Burial Ground

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One of the highlights of our NYC/Philadelphia trip this summer was getting to visit the very historic Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.

It’s a Colonial and Revolutionary-era cemetery with more than 1,300 markers and nearly 4,000 burials on two acres! It’s jam-packed with grave goodness.

Of course the highlight is Ben Franklin’s grave, which was actually the least architecturally interesting in the entire cemetery to me. It was just a large slab. The pennies were cool. I didn’t know it but the American tradition of leaving pennies on graves actually began with Ben Franklin’s funeral. Folks came from across the country to ‘pay their respects’. Ironic that Abe Lincoln’s face is on the coin now. Guess these visitors didn’t want to leave hundred dollar bills :D

IMG_6618 (800x600)I think this is an early example of a Woodmen of the World marker. It was first officially founded in 1883 so I’m not sure but it fits the style.

IMG_6646 (600x800)These pedestal and table-style markers are really interesting and unusual. This is the first I’ve seen of these in my travels.

IMG_6630 (800x600)

IMG_6628 (800x600)I like the juxtaposition of the very old history and the modern skyline behind it.

IIMG_6644 (600x800)These marker/planters are ingenious! Way to multi-task!IMG_6645 (600x800)IMG_6648 (600x800)

These pyramid style markers seem Masonic to me but I didn’t find any proof of that. They are, however, very unique and this first one is elaborate.

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IMG_6641 (800x600)Lots of windy little gravel paths meandered through the grounds. You can see they were packed in like sardines.IMG_6651 (800x600) IMG_6653 (800x600)

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IMG_6654 (800x600)I really dig these old cross markers.

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IMG_6656 (800x600)Want to know where who lies here? You can download a cool map here. 

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Well, that’s it for this week. Next week I’ll show you Fox Crossing Cemetery in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Sign up to receive post updates in your inbox at the top right of this page so you don’t miss out on future posts from the Grave Discoveries series.

Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

Reap & Repent blurb

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.