Monday, September 24, 2018

Rebecca's Quest by Blair Drake



Rebecca's Quest
Finding Magic
Book Eight
Blair Drake

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Magic Quest Books

ASIN: B07DYBNSHY

Number of pages: 193
Word Count: 67,550

Cover Artist: Jennifer Zemanek/Seedlings LLC

Tagline: What would you do to find your magic?

Book Description:

Rebecca is in a nightmare. Can magic save her and those she loves?

10 quests. If one fails, all fail. And one will never return. ... Now it's Rebecca's turn.

On the eve of Rebecca Martin's eighteenth birthday, fate throws her into a mysterious and thrilling adventure. Bounced around like a pinball in a machine, where time is fluid and death does not exist, Rebecca must survive to discover her magical destiny to save her entire family and the boy she loves.



Excerpt:

Transforming himself into Simon the cat so that he could manipulate Rebecca often exhausted his patience. Through icy blue eyes, from his position on the cold stone floor, James Simon Russell watched his granddaughter hurry down the corridor toward Professor Kell’s classroom until she was safely inside and on time. She would have been late had he not intervened.
Keeping her on the right path these past four years had been more difficult than he’d expected. So many ways a young girl could go wrong when she was away from home, as he well knew. He’d had very little sleep last night, curled up in the corner by the door just outside her room, ensuring she did not escape for any reason.
For his granddaughter, and only for her, Gray Cliffs Academy resembled a nineteenth century boarding school more than a twenty-first century one.
Using his magic, he had cloaked this world. Her experience at Gray Cliffs was different from the other students from the very first day. Nothing incongruent that actually happened here caused Rebecca to question her own experiences. She believed her Gray Cliffs experience was the same as all the others.
He’d also totally isolated her with no connection to the outside world at all. She wasn’t here to mess around online with her friends or call to chat or watch hours of television or anything else. None of that nonsense. None at all.
The purpose of Gray Cliffs was similar to all boarding schools everywhere: to prepare the students for adult life. With one important difference. Not all of the students were aware that Mortal and Magic coexisted here, as they did everywhere in the world.
Mortals were, of course, were unaware of Magic at Gray Cliffs, but the opposite was not true. Magic always knew Mortal well, and Magic students were forbidden from exposing mere mortals to any Magic activities. Penalties for violating the Laws of Magic were severe, and the Counsel of Elders rarely needed to invoke them.
Magic students entered Gray Cliffs unaware of their Magic orientation. Most students learned their true natures during their four years at the school. A few were particularly stubborn though, and refused to see themselves as they were. Those students would not graduate from Gray Cliffs’ Magic stream. They were condemned to a Mortal life.
Russell was desperate to avoid that fate for his granddaughter. Magic was strong within her. He would not allow her to throw her destiny away.
He’d conjured a daunting environment only Rebecca experienced. He’d placed the school on an isolated mountain peak surrounded by deep ravines, instead of the lovely island where Gray Cliffs was actually located. Using such Magic, he’d kept his granddaughter a virtual prisoner, under his constant surveillance since she’d arrived at Gray Cliffs. It hadn’t been easy.
Early on, she seemed to be making friends and fitting in too well. He’d handled the problem swiftly and permanently. At this point, she was miserable and afraid of her own shadow, desperate to escape. Which was exactly what he wanted.
She needed no distractions. She hadn’t been brought there to make friends. She was there to learn what she needed to know and then to leave. Nothing more and nothing less. She went nowhere and did nothing unless he allowed it.
He had made mistakes with Rebecca’s mother and her aunt all those years ago. He knew that now. He’d relied on Headmaster Auster. Auster had failed. He wouldn’t be allowed another chance to screw up with another member of his family.
Russell could not lose this time. There was too much at stake. If Rebecca chose Magic, Russell’s family could be saved. If she chose Mortal, everyone he loved would be doomed for all eternity.
He was satisfied that Rebecca’s last days at Gray Cliffs were unfolding according to the rules the elders had established before she was born.
He shook his head. His lip curled. Rebecca should have discovered her Magic long before now, of course. She should have realized and embraced her Magic powers before the rooftop. She was born with Magic DNA, like all of his family. As her life had developed, no matter how many Magic opportunities and experiences she’d encountered, she’d never allowed herself to make the leap away from the mortal reality her parents had instilled in her. Russell blamed Olivia and Jake Martin for the entire catastrophe. The blame was well placed.
He glanced around to be sure none of the students were watching him before he transported to the roof for one last check on conditions before her final test began. Once there, he transformed to a normal man. He needed to stretch.
Russell ran through his plans for Rebecca’s test once more. She would face a series of bewildering challenges: Situations and events that defied logic or reason would be presented to her in fluid time without warning or explanation. Each challenge was based on her prior experiences remixed by the magic he used to change them.
Rebecca would feel like a ball in a pin-ball machine, bouncing from one strange experience to the next, until she recognized the origin of a particular memory.
She must understand the memory, recognize the Magic applied to it, adapt to the situation, and survive each challenge in succession. Or she could simply complete the test successfully at any time by applying her own vast Magic powers.
If she learned to control her Magic, she could use it to return to Gray Cliffs, safer and wiser. If she didn’t pass the test? Russell shook off that possibility. Failure was not an option. If she failed, she’d be as good as dead.
She simply had to graduate and turn eighteen, whether she knew it or not.
Then and only then, would Rebecca be allowed to make the choice upon which her family’s survival depended. Would she choose to live as Magic or Mortal? She could not be both.
One day, Rebecca could take the seat that had rightfully belonged to her mother on the Council of Elders. His daughter, Olivia had thrown their family’s future away. His granddaughter, Rebecca had the power to redeem them all.
Elders had decreed the terms of Rebecca’s quest, and Russell had given his word. The First Law of Magic still had to be honored: Rebecca must exercise her own free will to make her choice.
Satisfied that preparations were in order, Russell became Simon the cat once again. He transported back to wait patiently in the corridor near Professor Kell’s classroom. When the class ended, Rebecca would answer the headmaster’s summons.
When she entered Auster’s office, she’d begin the most important test of her life.
She was as prepared as she would ever be for the challenge.

All Russell could do now was trust the Laws of Magic.

About the Author:

Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.

When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.

In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.

She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.







The Meadows by London Clarke - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular



The Meadows
Legacy of Darkness
Book One
London Clarke

Genre: Gothic suspense; supernatural thriller




Publisher: Carfax Abbey Publishing

Date of Publication: October 2018

ISBN: 9781386765233


Cover Artist: Stephen Lee Designs

Tagline: Bed, breakfast, and blood.

Book Description:

A decades-old murder. A strange, blood-thirsty cult. And a house full of spirits.

It was supposed to be a new beginning, a fresh start in the Shenandoah Valley, where Scarlett’s memories weren’t riddled with drug addiction and rehab. But after purchasing an abandoned house with a checkered past in the hopes of transforming it into a luxury bed and breakfast, strange things start to happen. Disturbing voices and noises interrupt her new life. Strangers appear to her, bearing cryptic warnings. A tunnel is discovered underneath the house—one historically used for a local cult’s rituals. After several of Scarlett’s guests are hospitalized after visiting the underground, she finds herself targeted by violent spirits.

Driven to the edge of despair, Scarlett vows to fight back—but she has no idea what she’s really battling. And her nightmare is just beginning…

The Meadows is a gripping supernatural thriller in which the monsters may be vampires, demons, or flesh and blood. It is a nightmare that will make you believe it could easily happen to you.


Excerpt Chapter One

October 2019
Asphodel House, The Meadows

I affixed the camera onto my laptop and held the computer at arm’s length until I could see myself.
There I was. In all my post-rehab glory.
I hadn’t colored my hair since I’d first come out of Orange Star Center six months ago. The blonde highlights had faded, tipping the ends to about halfway up my brown tresses. It looked a little trendy. A little.
Mainly, I looked tired. I hadn’t slept much since the move. Different time zones did all kinds of weird things to me. It was only an hour’s difference between Nashville and here, but it was enough to throw me off.
I smeared on some tinted lip balm and finger-combed my hair, pushing it up into a bun. Straight, heavy bangs hung to the bridge of my nose and over my eyebrows, covering the line knitting together my forehead and my eyebrows. I hated that line. It hadn’t been there seven months ago when I was still feeling no pain most of the time.
I clicked record and settled into the chair, making sure I was square in the shot of the camera.
“Hello, world.” The first words sounded like pennies at the bottom of an empty piggy bank. Hollow, tinny, awkward. That was a dumb way to begin. But I was live, so couldn’t stop now. I cleared my throat, forced a smile. “Scarlett, here. I know it’s been ages since we’ve talked…” I shifted my eyes, trying to remember when I’d last film a video blog. “A year, maybe? And just for a change, I’m not coming to you from the Country Music Capital of the World. Nashville and I have parted ways for a time, and I’m broadcasting from my new home in Virginia. You’re catching me on my second day here.”

I hadn’t planned this first live broadcast out very well. How much should I say? Mentally, I scrambled to come up with the rest of my spiel. Little thumbs-up and heart signs were already flashing across the screen.
My fans were watching.
Glancing behind me, I motioned to the room. “So… this is my new home. Currently under renovation, but it will soon be open for business. Yes, it’s a huge departure from songwriting, but don’t worry … I’ll still be doing plenty of that.” I lifted the laptop and held it so that it flashed onto the grand piano in the corner of what had once been the front parlor—now, my living room. Then I repositioned it on the table. “My newest adventure is this wonderful old antebellum mansion I’m restoring. Within a few weeks, it’ll be open for guests as a bed and breakfast. I’ll keep you up to date and let you know when you can book a room. I hope to meet a few you in person right here in Virginia. I promise there will be all sorts of grand entertainment. Music, food, maybe a few costumes—it’ll be Halloween, after all—all taking place ri’cheer.” I played up a Nashville accent as I gestured over my shoulder. “In the meantime, I thought I’d play a crowd favorite on this magnificent instrument I’ve just purchased.”
Again, I shifted the laptop so that the baby grand was in view, and then I padded across the newly polished marble floor and settled in front of the keyboard. My fingers found the keys—like old friends—and the sounds of a perfectly tuned piano reverberated against the ceiling.
I turned back to the camera. “This room has great acoustics.” Then I launched into one of my biggest hits, “People Like You.”
Songwriting was my comfort zone. Well-known stars made my songs into hits; occasionally I performed in a club. But this was the easiest place for me to play and sing to an audience—from the safety of my living room, on camera.
I’d just started to sing the opening to the song when something flashed in my peripheral vision.
I stopped, stared at the entryway to the living room. Had someone just walked by? I listened. Nothing. Glancing up at the screen again, the little thumbs and hearts still floated over the screen. Then a laughing emoji. Several laughing emojis.
Clearing my throat, I started to play the introduction to the song again. “Sorry, folks. I thought someone was … at the door.” I smiled at the camera. “Guess I’m not used to my new home yet.”
I closed my eyes and launched into the melancholy melody of the song. This time I sang it all the way through.
Allowing the ending chord to linger, ripple through me, the bass note vibrating my fingers on the keys, I opened my eyes again.
“Thanks for joining me tonight, guys. I’ll be back in a few days with another update on my newest venture. In the meantime, love the one you’re with, remember that you’ve got a friend, and peace, love, and understanding to all.” It was a corny catch-phrase built on three classic songs, and I still cringed sometimes when I said it, but it had worked for me. Some of the fans told me they really liked it.
I shut off the recording and then hit the arrow in the window to play back the live recording.
This was a good way to see what I needed to change for next time—namely, the lighting. Geez, the house looked so dark. I swiveled my head left and then right. Was it actually that dark in here? Three lamps spilled light into the corners, and from where I was sitting the room looked pretty well illuminated. But on the video, it seemed like dark clouds muddied their spotlight effect. Weird.
And I didn’t look too bad on camera. A little tired, maybe, with some dark pits under my eyes, but I’d just have to put on a more makeup next time.
I reached the part of the video where I’d stopped playing. My expression changed dramatically. My whole face drooped, suspended, as my gaze was drawn to something in the foyer.
My recovery had been pretty good. Playing through the song a second time with my eyes closed had kept me focused on the moment and the emotion in the music.
But there was something in the background—something materializing behind me as I crooned away. It began as a darkening of the screen—as though the lights faded out and the darkness of the scene swelled to fill the space.
I leaned closer to the screen and squinted. Were those eyes? A face?
It looked like a woman, leaning over my shoulder as I played and sang. Her features obscured by a great shadow, the whites of her eyes drawing closer to the screen, she peered into the camera.
Gasping, I shot up from the piano stool so quickly it toppled. Then I turned in a 360-degree circle, scanning the walls and corners of the room for the figure in the video. A joke. It had to be. My mind rushed with the possibilities. It was close to Halloween, so maybe the social media site had placed some kind of special effect on videos. Maybe I just didn’t know about it.
My heart drummed, pounding against the inside of my chest until my sternum hurt. I cut my eyes back and forth. No one was in the room with me. I was alone.



About the Author:


Obsessed with vampires and haunted houses from a young age, London grew up reading gothic tales featuring romantic and tragic heroes. Wuthering Heights and Dracula are her favorite novels, and although now happily married, she readily confesses that she is a recovering runaway, who once moved to England in search of a man who was the perfect amalgamation of Dracula, Hamlet, Heathcliff, and Mr. Rochester. London holds a B.A. in Music and M.F.A in Creative Writing. She’s had an eclectic array of jobs including receptionist, legal secretary, literary assistant, high school English teacher, and freelance editor.

London lives in a Washington, DC suburb with her husband and three greyhounds. She’s happiest when she’s writing novels, reading books, or binge watching her favorite programs like The Vampire Diaries or Being Human.







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Friday, September 21, 2018

New Release The Witches of White Willow by Angela Addams



Even destiny can't get in the way 
of what is meant to be.


The Witches of White Willow
A Witch Hospital Romance
Angela Addams

Hazel Knight is a Promised One—a witch born with unique magic abilities. As a result, her future is laid out for her. She is to join the Circle and spend the rest of her life meditating, chanting and devoting her healing magic to bolster her fellow witches. It’s a commitment Hazel is proud to make, and she’s just one internship away from fulfilling her destiny.

But just because Hazel’s committed to her destiny doesn’t mean she can't have some fun before she takes the final step. For the past year, she’s enjoyed many clandestine nights with a man who has given her a lifetime of memories to take with her. A mysterious lover whose name she’s never asked, whose face she’s never fully seen.

Yet when her internship begins, she has no trouble recognizing Healer Duke Hart, the exquisitely sexy witch whom her mother has handpicked to serve as her mentor.

Hazel only meant to have a little fun before she devoted herself to a life of servitude, but Duke is bound and determined to prove that nothing, not even destiny, is written in stone.


#PNR #romance #medical #WitchesofWhiteWillow #WitchHospitalRomance #AngelaAddams

Stalk by Victoria Danann - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular


Stalk

Victoria Danann



Genre: paranormal romance



Publisher: 7th House, Imprint of Andromeda LLC

Date of Publication:  October 21, 2018

Number of pages: 388
Word Count: 82,000

Cover Artist: Victoria Danann

Tagline: Every breath you take.

Book Description: 

The first coming of chaos. Twelve thousand years ago, members of a more advanced race crossed into our dimension when the barriers temporarily collapsed.

Trapped in our world, the aliens, who were also shifters, built structures that eventually caused the great flood and the sinking of Atlantis.

Some of the alien DNA survived in progeny that carried an untraceable shifter gene, dormant until awakened by mating with a full blooded werewolf.



Excerpt: 
Shortly after the incident, the event came to be known as May Day simply because it occurred on the first of May. The term would be forever after altered to represent the pandemonium that followed the dimension overlap that left so many stranded. It worked because it was a good choice because of disassociating the incident with high emotion.
Some from other places were left here. Some that belonged here had disappeared and, even though every city had a centralized location where loved ones could post photos and leave flowers or burning votives, everybody knew somebody who had lost someone. And the world had been turned on end in the blink of an eye.
The conventional wisdom about withholding news panic-inducing news from the public was bypassed. Cover up was impossible in this case and overnight, everyone knew that we experience reality alongside many others, invisible to us. Everyone also learned conclusively that other species exist in those realities.
One of the species that had been stranded in this dimension were canine shifters, werewolves as they were sometimes called in fantasy. Being disinclined to panic, the werewolves, each individually, used their cunning to quickly assess their circumstances and determine what was required to survive. Utilizing their innate talent for strategy, and seduction, they were able to identify missing humans who were a reasonably close match to anthropoid bodies, were without families and were, basically, antisocial. Being shrewd as well as cunning, they made matches with candidates with financial assets.
New lives could be built in a new world without money, but money could go a long way toward building walls of privacy and providing the one thing they needed most, after company, of course. That thing was territory. Freedom.
The government made it almost too easy by publishing an open database of the missing and requested that corrections be made if someone listed was present and accounted for. Each shifter made his choice then notified the government that they were not missing. They were sorry for the misunderstanding, but had been sailing in the Caribbean or fishing in the Gulf or on an archeological expedition in the Amazon.
By the time the dust of the catastrophe began to settle, seven shifters had found each other through a curious intersection of tech and primeval instinct. Each of the seven, while dealing with his own personal disorientation and sense of loss, quickly identified the Pacific Northwest as the most suitable habitat on the North American continent. Millions of acres of national parks and wildlife reserves was attractive. That, and the cooler temperatures, made the locale almost ideal as shifter temperatures run a full three degrees warmer than humans.
It took only a few weeks to come across each other. Shifters in wolf form can cover great distances. In so doing they came across the scent of others who were similar to themselves if not identical, but definitely distinctive from wild wolves. And each felt immeasurable relief to find others. For social animals, abject solitude would be a sentence to hell.
That was one of the reasons why Ken Sahabe was admitted to the pack without hesitation even though he was not a canine, but a spotted hyena. The pack decided Ken’s social and hunting needs were close enough and admitted him.

The hard wiring of pack behavior hadn’t changed for millennia. However, the language used to describe certain facts of pack life was altered for modern times so that it seemed more politic. For example, rather than saying the alpha decided, which was true, the thought would be expressed as ‘the pack decided’. In Ken’s case, though the actual wolves didn’t have a real vote, they accepted him like one of their own species.

About the Author:


Eight times #1 Amazon Paranormal Romance Bestseller

OVER ONE MILLION BOOKS SOLD

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Victoria Danann, has won the prestigious Reviewers’ Choice Award for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES the past four years in a row! Click follow to get notifications of new releases.

Knights of Black Swan – BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

A Summoner’s Tale – BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (2013)

Moonlight – BEST VAMPIRE/SHIFTER NOVEL (2013)

Solomon’s Sieve – BEST VAMPIRE NOVEL (2014)

Falcon – BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (2016)

In addition to the brave and beautiful vampire hunting knights, Victoria writes other paranormal romances that often touch on scifi/fantasy along with contemporary bikers for those who love it when the bad boys are soooooo good.

Victoria co-hosts the popular ROMANCE BETWEEN THE PAGES podcast which can be found on itunes or at www.romancecast.com. She and co-host, Riley J. Ford, interview the biggest names in romance every week. Ever wonder about the personalities behind your favorite books? Some of them just might surprise you with their interests, wit, lifestyles, and sense of humor.






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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Them! (1956) Guest Blog By Thomas S. Flowers


Them! (1956)
Guest Blog By Thomas S. Flowers

The most foreboding title among the horror and science fiction lexicon, besides perhaps IT or They (which is just a cheap knockoff of the more impressive film we're about to discuss), is the 1954 masterpiece known as Them! Among the many different creature features, be it swamp critters or critters from space or super mutant hybrids, bugs freak me out the most. As defined by the omnipotent Wikipedia, "Entomophobia (also known as insectophobia) is a specific phobia characterized by an excessive or unrealistic fear of one or more classes of insect and classified as a phobia by the DSM-5. More specific cases included apiphobia (fear of bees) and myrmecophobia (fear of ants)." Now, that being said...I think my "fear" can be measured by mass. The smaller the insect, the less I get "freaked out." Hence, small little pests like flies and mosquitoes are simply put...pests, easily swatted or shooed away. But on the other spectrum, the bigger they get, the more I'm opted to run away screaming. If someone were to make a monster movie with the intention of provoking the mass amount of fear from yours truly, Them! would be the quintessential experience of terror.

But it cannot be done in a silly way. If you want a serious reaction, the movie will need to have a serious undertone. Them! is a perfect example of this. As a fan of most dubbed "classics," basically timeless pieces of cinematic history, be it 1930s or 40s or 50s or 60s or even those in the Silent Era, I took double pleasure in the fact that this now 63-year-old movie can still capture that tension, that wonderful feeling of dread so fantastically. Them!, not too sound too fan-girlish, is utterly amazing. By modern standards, Them! easily tops what producers consider to be blockbusters in not just storytelling and characterization, but also special effects. It makes me curious what original audiences thought when they first sat in their parked fin-tailed red and chrome Chrysler's at the local drive-in, WITHOUT having been desensitized by years of modern computer-generated graphics.

Alas, those day's are gone forever.

All we can do now is cherish the time we had.

Sad.

Well...

For those who have not had the pleasure, here is a quick synopsis of Them! from IMDb:

"The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization."

Boom. You don't really need anything more than that, do you? Needless to say, IMDb isn't wrong. In a nut shell, those are the stakes. A mutated strain of ants are multiplying in the New Mexico desert and could very well threaten civilization. And not just any mutated ant species, but a mutation of the Cataglyphis genus, better known as Desert Ants. These sand dwellers are among the most aggressive of ant. The perfect bugs to supersize for a horror/science fiction movie, right?

One of the fun aspects of Them! is how the movie starts off and is treated more or less throughout the entirety as a "detective" story. The movie opens with a patrol car doing their normal patrol and pickup a little girl, no more than six years old, strolling through the desert alone dressed in a nightgown and cradling a broken doll. They try talking to her but she is catatonic, speechless, staring blankly out at the brown sand. That feeling of dread we talked about begins to weave slowly into the movie and as the policemen investigate a nearby trailer, finding it mostly destroyed, pulled apart from the outside (they deduce) the tension builds even further.

The next scene certainly adds to not only the mystery but also the horror when police sergeant Ben Peterson's (played by the very awesome James Whitmore) partner "disappears" off screen investigating a strange sound. He get's off a couple of shots and then screams, that kind of scream that sends chills down your spine. The sound the officer investigates permeates throughout the entire movie. A familiar nature melody for anyone living in suburbia or out in the country. The sound of cicada or crickets singing in trees or in tall grass. Come summer, that sound is still quite pleasant to me, despite this film's attempt to ruin it. Though, there is a lingering feeling of "what's really making that sound? Are they, Them! watching me?"

And I love how, despite the excellent movie art on the  poster, knowing there will be giant ants in this movie, the story stalls the BIG reveal, forgive the pun, until the absolute right moment. And that moment, much how the newly brought on character, FBI agent, Robert Graham (played by man's man James Arness), to its frustrating conclusion through the "comic relief" of sorts Professor Harold Medford (played by Santa himself Edmund Gwenn) and his "if a boy can do it a girl can do it too" daughter Dr. Patrica Medford (Joan Weldon). The Dr. Medord's are not really that comedic, the old man is sort of how we might think brilliant old men are, a tad absent minded to every day tasks, but a genius in their preferred fields of study. And the female Dr. Medford, despite her strong grace of femininity, wasn't overpowering or preachy. She was meek but smart and willing to go places most men wouldn't dare go. In a decade before feminism really took off in America, it's hard to place the purpose of her character. Regardless, I was and am very pleased with her performance, second to her father perhaps, how she was not the ditsy romance how most other movies place actresses. Harold may have been love struck, but everyone else called her Pat, a genderless name, and I prefer it that way.

The reveal was perfect, as I said. A sandstorm kicks up and everyone's goggled and stumbling around for clues. Somehow Pat get's separated from the group. That chilling buzzing, ringing, clicking cicada sound starts again, getting louder and louder, and everyone is looking around wondering what that noice is and where it's coming from. Above Pat on a dune, emerges a large black head with giant orb eyes long furry antenna and large sharp looking mandibles. She screams, alerting the others who begin opening fire, destroying the ant's antenna (to the suggestion of Dr. Medford). The ant is killed and while the others are staring at this impossible horror, Dr. Medford makes a statement, the inspiration and message of the entire movie, I think. He says, "We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophecy come true - 'And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation, and the beasts shall reign over the earth.'" He says something very similar towards the end of the movie, stating, "When Man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world. What we'll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict."

The Atomic Age...

Full of sparking large logos and flashy gadgets and a new generation of fast food and drive-in theaters and modern jazz and rock-in-roll, but this was also an era of uncertainty. Hiroshima and Nagasaki awakened something in humanity. Something more than just awes and dread. Something darker and more pious than religion. The Atomic Age was this new fear of the bomb. Uncertainty over world powers, the growth of the Cold War, and a horizon in modern science to which many did not understand. Not knowing is the greatest fear of all, at least according to H.P. Lovecraft. The Atomic Age also gave birth to this very feature we find ourselves enjoying (hopefully), the birth of unnatural monsters such as Godzilla and Them! Better known as Creature Features.

Them! acts as a cautionary tale. Be warned, what will await us on the other side of the door. Will science bring upon us destruction and darkness? Will man's ignorance? Them! isn't about the dangers of real giant bugs, it’s about consequences. That in everything we do or strive to bring about, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, as Newton had once said. Its a message every new generation hears, right? Cautionary warnings from the old folks rocking on the porch, talking about how things used to be.

The rest of Them! takes on that similar detective story we were introduced to in the beginning. They hunt down the hive and destroy the giant ants with poison, only to discover a few queens had escaped prior. Now the once localized investigation turns into a global event. Hush hush, of course, to avoid widespread panic, the team with the added benefit of the military and select government officials quickly work to destroy Them! But the movie doesn't end like some monster movies with the creatures being destroyed...there is a feeling of uncertainty, astute given the era, and we are left wondering if perhaps there are more giant mutated ants out in the desert thanks to atomic weaponry. And as Dr. Wedford said, "nobody can predict."



The Last Hellfighter
Thomas S. Flowers

Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror

Publisher: Darker Worlds Publishing





Date of Publication: Aug 10, 2018


ISBN: 1724369202
ASIN: B07FFND86J

Number of pages: 277 (Kindle)
410 (paperback)

Word Count: 78K

Cover Artist: Michael Bray

Tagline: They thought vampires were fantasy. They were wrong.

Book Description:

In the year 2044, reporters from the Public Relations Ministry gather at the home of Benjamin Harker, the last surviving member of the Harlem Hellfighters. At the age of 144, he is the oldest recorded man alive. Hidden among them, Clyde Bruner is looking for a different kind of story. Across the United States, despite the Great Walls and patrol drones built to keep America secure, something has found its way in. And now towns are vanishing during the night. Entire populations, gone. Only to return after the sun sets, changed, unholy, and lethal. And whatever this evil is, its spreading west.

According to a bedtime story Bruner’s grandfather told him when he was a boy, Benjamin Harker has seen this before. He’s faced this scourge. Fought this evil. Survived them. Killed them. From the trenches of the Great War to the jungles of Vietnam to the sands of Iraq, Harker will search his past to save our future.

But as each city light extinguishes across the country, is there no time left to stop what’s coming?



About the Author:


Who doesn't love a good story? Thomas's favorite books include All Quiet on the Western Front, Salem's Lot, and Hell House.

In his own writings, he aspires to create fantastic worlds with memorable characters and haunted places. His stories range from Shakespearean gore, classic monster tales, and even stories that hurt him the most to write about, haunted soldiers and PTSD. Residing in the swamps of Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter, Thomas's debut novel, Reinheit, was eventually published with Shadow Work Publishing, along with Lanmò, The Hobbsburg Horror, FEAST, Beautiful Ugly, and Planet of the Dead.

His veteran focused paranormal thriller series, The Subdue Series, filled with werewolves, Frankenstein-inspired monsters, cults, alter-dimensional insects, witches, and the undead are published with Limitless Publishing.

In 2008, Thomas was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army where he served three tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2014, Thomas graduated from University of Houston-Clear Lake with a Bachelors in History. He is the senior editor at Machine Mean, a site that reviews horribly awesome and vintage horror movies and books from guest contributors who obsess over a wide range of strange yet oddly related topics.






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