Friday, June 23, 2017

Humanity’s Hope Will Be Coming Soon

Last week marked a huge change for my family and I. We moved from Wyoming to Nebraska. It was a good move, and we’re settling in fine, but it took a lot of my time and changed my schedule. The weeks leading up to the move were just as busy.

However, despite that, I have been making some headway in the writing department. I haven’t created anything new (yet), but I’ve republished my middle grade books, The Ifs and The Ifs Return. They are both now available on Amazon.


Book 1 in The Ifs series

Landon and Broden are brothers, and some days they DO NOT get along. They spend most of their days fighting, arguing, and plotting ways to get revenge on each other.

Then, strange things start happening… Noises in their room that are not from the cat. Homework that is mysteriously finished. A broken shoelace that repairs all by itself. Clothes that are put in the hamper on their own.

The brothers want to share their weird experiences, but they don’t know if they can trust each other. But when they find out who’s behind all the strange things around the house, they are called to battle with the most unusual creatures and wildest of beasts.

When the battle turns more dangerous than they imagined, Landon and Broden must face their fears, put their grudges aside, and learn how to work together.


Book 2 in The Ifs series

“Gage escaped.”

These are the worst words Broden could hear from his big brother Landon—just one day after they battled alongside Slade’s Ifs and his army of forest beasts. And Landon has more news…

“Gage has magic.”

As the boys are drawn into another adventure with the Ifs, they find out just how powerful—and dangerous—Gage’s magic can be.

I also received word from the publisher that Humanity’s Hope will be out by the end of July. I don’t have an exact date yet, but I’m expecting one soon.


I’m super excited for Humanity’s Hope to be out. It’s another young adult zombie series, and I’ve been having a lot of fun writing it. The second one is done and with the publisher—no word yet on when anything will happen with that, but that’s ok. The first book is just getting ready to hit the world.

I’ll let you know when the book is available. Until then, I’m going to keep unpacking my house and looking for time to write—actually write. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dr. Bowen #Mystery#1LineWed

Full speed ahead on my upcoming novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River! 

Here's a peek at more of the cover! And the book is in the formatter's hands.



After writing Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, I wondered... how did coming on this horrific scene affect everyone else, including Lizzie's doctor and neighbor? What if Fall River was indeed haunted?

As in my Lizzie Borden book, this story also contains quotes from the real-life Borden trial, many of them sharing Dr. Bowen's own testimony.

And since it's #1LineWed - 1 Line Wednesday:

From The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River:

"Why won't anyone believe me? Why, Phoebe, Why?"

Be sure to check the webpage, too, as I add more details!




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Today in History: Lizzie Borden Not Guilty!

It was this day June 20, 1893 that accused murderess Lizzie Borden was declared not guilty of murdering her father and stepmother. 

Here's the Providence Evening Bulletin story on that date.


Justice? Freedom? Did she get away with murder?



(Arizona Republican, June 21, 1893 ) See more newspaper clippings and read full page)




Here's my fictional take, based on the real-life events from the murders to the trial and beyond: What if she did it... because she had no other choice?


 About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?


Monday, June 19, 2017

#Mystery Writing Update + Contests!

It's Monday, so it's a good time for updates.

Before you groan and take off, have you signed up for my newsletter? See link on top of website.

If you didn't, then you're missing a couple contests!


One - The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River - is done! It's being formatted and the cover will be done soon. Sign up for the newsletter (above link) and get entered to win a copy! I'll need some quick reviews!

Two - I'm offering a cool prize that one of my subscribers may win!  Sign up and you'll see what this super cool bracelet looks like! 

Email me (via website) that you signed up for the newsletter and responded for both!

A cover reveal and more will be coming. Stay tuned!





Monday, June 12, 2017

June Reading List 2: #Mystery #Zombie #Dystopian

More great books  - Great Reads  & Deals! Load up those beach bags!
Be sure to check the top tab for previous lists! Wow, there's some GREAT books here!




Dark Fantasy - Dystopian:
Free - June 12-16

 The Harvesting, Harvesting Series Book 1, Melanie Karsak - It's all fun and games - until someone ends up undead. With her psychic powers, Layla believes she'll survive the apocalypse, until a sinister, evil force rises to finish mankind for good.








Dark Fantasy - Vampire:

Sale! 99 cents - June 13-20
 Blood Renegades, (Rebel Vampires Book 3),  Rosemary A. Johns - Light lives for his vampire family. Now he may die for it.
   Light - rebel, lover anti-hero- has been labeled a traitor and terrorist renegade who'll be burned at the stake in a hidden, paranormal London. Soon in a race against time, will he be able to save his family and true love? Can he judge predator from prey? He must make the ultimate choice - hide in the shadows, or walk into the light. 


New release and series sale! 99 cents - June 14-18
  Last Rites, (Paranormal Detectives Series, Book 5) Lily Luchesi - Power is the deadliest desire. With the Lieutenant of Hell put to rest, Danny and Angelica want to take a well deserved break from hunting. But when bodies start piling up with a connection to Angelica, they must find the perp before more people are killed.

From Book 1: Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn't even human: he's a 200 year old rogue vampire! The department doesn't believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral. Detective Angelica Cross invites him to join a secret FBI branch to help her track down a wayward vamp, but renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny's strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be. (Books 1-4 also on sale!)


Dark Horror - Erotic Folk Tales:

Free, June 17-20 - Ages 18+
 Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges Emmanuelle de Maupassant - Twelve tales, darkly delicious imaginings for the adult connoisseur of bedtime stories, inspired by Eastern European and Russian superstitions and folklore.







Mystery - Paranormal:


** COMING SOON! I have a new novella coming out! See new webpage for details!
THE HAUNTING OF DR. BOWEN, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River, offers another glimpse into the aftermath of the Borden murders - and reveals the secrets of Fall River from the viewpoint of Lizzie's doctor and neighbor!

ZOMBIE:


2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the Borden murders.
 Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete -

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?



NEW! Release!
Suburban Zombie High, Jeremy Flagg  - A chemistry experiment by Boxford High pranksters goes wrong, forcing students to face something worse than SAT's and cafeteria lunches - a virus that turns students into zombies.  (YA)









  The Last,  Zombie Ocean Book 1, John Michael Grist - When the zombie apocalypse hits America, not a soul is left alive. Except Amo. He's a comic book artist. He's a video game world builder. He's just a regular guy living in New York City, with only his wits, creativity and basic decency to guide him. He's alone against 7 billion zombies. Will he survive? (** Free on Instafreebie.)



New! The Zee Brothers: Zombie School Lockdown (Zombie Exterminators Vol. 2), Grivante -  A charter school fears they have an outbreak. Now it's up to the Zee Brothers, who find themselves trapped and weaponless as they try to protect the scared kids from a host of toxic, and hungry, undead. (YA)


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Book Club Reading!

Up for summer reading?

Readers shared their favorites in the Liz's Book Club 2017 edition in the Kenosha News - and Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter is included! (see paragraph 8) Yay!

  • L. Stever recommends “Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter,” a book by local writer (and Kenosha News correspondent) Christine Verstraete.
“Did you ever wonder why Lizzie ‘gave her father 40 whacks and her mother 41’? Lizzie Borden has been elusive for the past so many years we still wonder why she did it. Lizzie never told. This book explains all. If you like zombies along with a little romance, you will enjoy the story. It’s a fun and gory read.” 
 About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:
Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Early June Reading List! #Paranormal #Zombie #Short Fiction

More great books  - Great Reads  & Deals! Load up those beach bags!
Be sure to check the top tab for previous lists!





Dark Fantasy - Paranormal:

New! Pre-order!

 The Spawn of Lilith , Dana Fredsti - In la-la land, it pays not to be human. Vampires, succubae, trolls, elementals, goblins—studios hire anyone and anything that can take direction, be discreet, and not eat the extras. Human stuntwoman and struggling actress Lee Striga is a member of the legendary Katz Stunt Crew. They’re the best – and boast superhuman strength. Now it’s up to Lee to figure out who—or what—is killing the cast and crew on her new job. Especially when she goes from stuntwoman to lead role... and the next target.




Dark Fantasy - Romance - Paranormal:


New! Pre-order!
Delphinium, Or A Necromancer's Home (Larkspur series vol. 2), V. M. Jaskiernia - Fairies, disease and the fairies return. Pierre Salvador and his beloved, Elizabeth Anne, travel to his childhood home for the summer. They intend to spend some time alone together before he becomes the ruling duc (perhaps with her at his side). But Pierre finds himself set to inherit a mistrusting people with an uneasy history, and duties cannot be put off any longer. A fatal illness is spreading, he is being claimed by the fée, and someone has already tried to take his life. Though, with his being a Lord of Death, it will take much more to kill him.


Mystery:

Fire and Ashes, (Death Investigator Angela Richman Book 2), Elaine Viets - A 70-year-old womanizing financier is killed when his mansion goes up in flames, and  residents of the exclusive gated community blame the outsider, the victim's 20-year-old Mexican girlfriend, for the death.  Sifting through the ashes of a vicious crime - and the secrets of the privileged - Angela must use her forensic skills to get to the truth, and prevent an innocent woman from being burned.


 In book 1, Brain Storm, Viets relies on some of her experiences as a stroke survivor, giving her death investigator additional hurdles to climb as she investigates the death of the neurologist who misdiagnosed her condition--and the chief suspect is the surgeon who saved her life.  








Mystery - Paranormal:



** COMING SOON! I have a new novella coming out! See new webpage for details!
THE HAUNTING OF DR. BOWEN, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River, offers another glimpse into the aftermath of the Borden murders - and reveals the secrets of Fall River from the viewpoint of Lizzie's doctor and neighbor!

Short Stories:

Pre-order! The Book of Swords  
The perfect fantasy collection if you love daring swordsman, dark enchantment and warrior women facing danger and death. ** Includes a new George R.R. Martin Song of Fire and Ice story.
 Includes 16 new stories:
“The Best Man Wins” by K. J. Parker - “Her Father’s Sword” by Robin Hobb
“The Hidden Girl” by Ken Liu –“The Sword of Destiny” by Matthew Hughes

“‘I Am a Handsome Man,’ Said Apollo Crow” by Kate Elliott - “The Triumph of Virtue” by Walter Jon Williams
“The Mocking Tower” by Daniel Abraham - “Hrunting” by C. J. Cherryh
“A Long, Cold Trail” by Garth Nix - “When I Was a Highwayman” by Ellen Kushner
“The Smoke of Gold Is Glory” by Scott Lynch - “The Colgrid Conundrum” by Rich Larson
“The King’s Evil” by Elizabeth Bear - “Waterfalling” by Lavie Tidhar
“The Sword Tyraste” by Cecelia Holland - “The Sons of the Dragon” by George R. R. Martin



 New! The Clock, The Cloak and the Needles: Stories of the Enchanted Items from Beneath the Morvan Moon,  Courtney Mroch - A cloak that can transform man to beast, and the stores of other enchanted items are included in this set of magical stories based on the author's fantasy novel.  Includes: The Clockmaker; Le Meneur, Des Loupes; Casting On, Binding Off.

 Wind Through the Fence, Jonathan Maberry - From serial killers and zombies, to magic and dragons, this collection contains stories that run the gamut of genres, sure to thrill Maberry fans and short story lovers alike.
Includes:
1. Pegleg and Paddy Save the World - 2. Plan 7 from Sin City - 
3. Red Dreams - 4. Saint John  - 
5. She's Got a Ticket to Ride - 6. Spellcaster 2.0 - 7. T. Rhymer - Written with Gregory Frost  - 8. The Cobbler of Oz - 9. The Things That Live in Cages - 10. The Vanishing Assassin -11. The Wind through the Fence - 12. Faces



Zombie:


2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the Borden murders.
 Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete -

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?



Zombie: - Young Adult:


 GIRL Z:  My Life as a Teenage Zombie,  C.A. Verstraete - What happens when you're 16 and turning part-zombie from an accidental scratch? Becca faces changes no teen wants to experience when her cousin comes home with a deadly surprise.


NEW Release!
Suburban Zombie High, Jeremy Flagg  - A chemistry experiment by Boxford High pranksters goes wrong, forcing students to face something worse than SAT's and cafeteria lunches - a virus that turns students into zombies.  (YA)


New! The Zee Brothers: Zombie School Lockdown (Zombie Exterminators Vol. 2), Grivante -  A charter school fears they have an outbreak. Now it's up to the Zee Brothers, who find themselves trapped and weaponless as they try to protect the scared kids from a host of toxic, and hungry, undead. (YA)



Monday, June 5, 2017

Today in History: Lizzie Borden Trial 125th Anniversary!

The Lizzie Borden Trial Begins!

This was a momentous month for the infamous Lizzie Borden. It was on this day in 1893 that the "trial of the 19th century" began.


(Leslie's Illustrated cover, June 19, 1893 showing Lizzie Borden listening during her trial.)

On June 5, 1893, crowds packed the circuit court in New Bedford, Massachusetts to not only get a glimpse of the accused axe murderer, Lizzie Borden, but to hear the details of one of the most shocking cases to occur in Fall River, Mass. history. 

The news of the trial, in which the spinster-daughter Lizzie Borden was accused of the vicious murders of her father, Andrew, and stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden on August 4, 1892, spread across the country. The trial was reported on by newspapers here and abroad.

Here's a glimpse of the front page of the June 9, 1893 Friday evening Daily Herald from Texas: (You can read the full copy here in PDF.) * See more newspapers here


The case continues to fascinate today as it seems inconceivable to us, as it did to the jurors of the period, that a Victorian lady from a notable family could, or would, commit such a horrific murder.  Many today insist she literally got away with murder. Some still believe she couldn't have done it. (See more information on the Famous Trials-Lizzie Borden website.)

As a writer, it's a case I always found fascinating. No matter how you view Lizzie, you still have to wonder how and why she (or anyone) could do such a thing. You only have to look at the crime scene photos to understand. Warning: garish photos. The autopsy reports are just as graphic. It was a truly horrific murder and a horrorific story.

 
http://www.cverstraete.com/lizzie-borden-zombie-hunter.html

To me, the photos and reports provided a reason for why she would do such a thing--she had no other choice. I built my novel, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, around the real life events, the trial, and the aftermath of her life. I used actual trial transcripts and information to provide a framework for the story and provide a plausible reason this could have happened. Once you look at the photos and read the reports, you'll see that it makes perfect sense in the horror realm.

 *** Here's an excerpt detailing what brought Lizzie Borden to trial from my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete:

(Get in print - B&N -  or Print & Kindle or Kindle Unlimited)  - See more reviews and information on my website.
Chapter One

Q. You saw his face covered with blood?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?
A. No sir.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom

    August 4, 1892

    Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten oclock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?
    THUMP.
    For a moment, Lizzie forgot her plans to go shopping downtown. THUMP. There it went again. It sounded like her stepmother was rearranging the whole room. She paused at the bottom stair, her concern growing, when she heard another thump and then, the oddest of sounds—a moan. Uh-oh. What was that? Did she hurt herself?
    “Mrs. Borden? Lizzie called. Are you all right?”
    No answer.
    She wondered if her stepmother had taken ill, yet the shuffling, moving, and other unusual noises continued. Lizzie hurried up the stairs and paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.
    Lizzie pushed the door open wider and stared. Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden stood in front of the bureau mirror, clawing at her reflected image. And what a horrid image it was. The sixty-seven-year-old womans hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasnt the worst. Dark red spotsBlood, Lizzies mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides of the older womans dress and sleeves.
   Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Fathers slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?
    She gasped, which got the attention of Mrs. Borden, who jerked her head and growled. Lizzie choked back a cry of alarm. Abbys square, plain face now appeared twisted and ashen gray. Her eyes, once bright with interest, stared from under a milky covering as if she had cataracts. She resembled a female version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Another growl and a moan, and the older woman lunged, arms rigid, her stubby hands held out like claws.
    “Mrs. Borden, Abby! Lizzie yelled and stumbled backward as fast as she could. “Abby, do you hear me?”
    Her stepmother shuffled forward, her steps slow but steady. She showed no emotion or sense of recognition. The only utterances she made were those strange low moans.
    Lizzie moved back even further, trying to keep some distance between her and Mrs. Bordens grasping fingers. Then her foot hit something. Lizzie quickly glanced down at the silver hairbrush that had fallen to the floor. Too late, she realized her error.
    “No! Lizzie cried out at the strange feeling of her stepmothers clammy, cold hand around her wrist. Abby, what happened? Whats wrong with you?”
    Mrs. Borden said nothing and moved in closer. Her mouth opened and closed, revealing bloodstained teeth.
    “No! Stay away! Lizzie yelled. “Stop!
    She didnt. Instead, Mrs. Borden scratched and clawed at her. Lizzie leaned back, barely escaping the snap of the madwomans teeth at her neck.
    “Mrs. BorAbby! No, no! Stop!
    Lizzies slight advantage of a few inches in height offered no protection against her shorter stepmothers almost demonic and inhuman strength. The older woman bit and snapped like a rabid dog. Lizzie struggled to fight her off, and shoved her away, yet Mrs. Borden attacked again and again, her hands grabbing, her teeth seeking the tender flesh covered by Lizzies long, full sleeves.
    The two of them grappled and wrestled, bumping into the bedposts and banging into furniture. Lizzie yelped each time her soft flesh hit something hard. She felt her strength wane as the crazed woman’s gnarled hands clawed at her. Lizzie wondered how much more she could endure.
    Lizzies cries for help came out hoarse and weak. “Em-Emma!” She tried again. “Help! Help me! She knew Emma had come in late last night from her trip out of town. But if Emma already woke and went downstairs, will she even hear me?
    Lizzie reeled back, her panic growing as her spine pressed against the fireplace. She pushed and fought in an attempt to keep this monster away, yet Mrs. Bordens ugly face and snapping teeth edged closer and closer.
    Then Lizzie spotted it: the worn hatchet Father had left behind after hed last brought in the newly chopped wood. No, no! Her mind filled with horror, but when her stepmother came at her again, Lizzie whispered a prayer for forgiveness and grabbed the handle. She lifted the hatchet high overhead and swung as hard as she could. It hit her stepmother’s skull with a sickening thud.
    As impossible as it seemed, Mrs. Borden snarled and continued her attack.
    Lizzie hit her again, and again, and again. The blows raked her stepmother’s face and scraped deep furrows into tender flesh. The metal hatchet head pounded her stepmothers shoulders and arms, the bones giving way with sickening crunches. Mrs. Bordens broken arms dangled, hanging limp and ugly at her sides and yet, dear God, yet she continued her attack.
    With the last bit of her strength, Lizzie raised the hatchet again and brought it down on Mrs. Bordens head. Only then did her stepmother crumple and fall into a pile at Lizzies feet.
    It took a few minutes for Lizzie to comprehend the horrible scene. It didnt seem real, but it was. With a cry, she threw the bloodied hatchet aside. She gagged as the weapon caught in the braided artificial hairpiece hanging from the back of Mrs. Bordens gore-encrusted scalp.
    Retching, Lizzie ran to the other side of the bed, bent over, and vomited into the chamber pot. She crossed the room and leaned against the wall, her shoulders shaking with each heart-rending sob.
    Her hands trembled so hard she could barely hold them still, but she managed to cover her eyes in a feeble attempt to block out the carnage. It didnt stop the horrific images that flashed in her mind, or the many questions. And it certainly did nothing for the soul-crushing guilt that filled her.
    Why? she cried. Why? Dear God, what have I done? What have I done?
--CA Verstraete, girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com