Friday, May 17, 2019

OWS CyCon 2019 #Sci World Building with SE Zbasnik

Welcome to another fantastic stop in our World-building Showcase blog hop! On this stop, were highlighting a story where the world changes or ends as we know it, but you can find a full list of authors and topics on the OWS Cycon website. Let’s dive in!

Find out More About the World of POWER by Science Fiction Writer 
SE Zbasnik During OWS CyCon 2019

Welcome SE Zbasnik!


1.    Before we dive in to the nitty gritty, what is POWER’s story about?

Jaya Foster creates portals from across the globe. It sounds impressive, but in a world where mailmen spit fire and secretaries cover their bodies in granite it’s not. With a yellow jewel embedded in her forehead, Jaya’s stranded on her people’s side of the city. Across the scar are the Blues, a division of completely different powers. For that reason, society cut in half. Most go their whole lives without meeting a different gem, but Jaya’s job keeps her in contact with the others.

When a bizarre murder lands in her lap, Jaya teams up with Riktuo Fujita, a dashing Blue. Terrorist bombings, assassination attempts, and more threatens their every step. Yet, even with every brush with death, Jaya can’t stop flirting with Rikuto nor can he seem to stop brushing his hand against hers. If the murderer doesn’t get to her first, the Council of 100 will.

2.    Did you invent any new slang or terminology during your world-building process?

As I wanted to establish that this is a world that takes place far into the future after a major disaster created rampant superhero powers, I used my own slang to help. Police are called Collars as in the early days they were required to wear collars that regulated their powers, treating them like bulldogs. People refer to the glowing red gaps in the earth’s crust scattered across the world as “scars” without a second thought. Powers themselves have their own official nomenclature while also getting given slang as well to show how humans have had them for a long time.

3.    What kinds of climates do your characters experience? Do they see a lot of change or is it always the same? Has your world always had this kind of climate, or has it changed over time?

It’s only hinted at in the first book, but the world’s been upended. There’s a glowing sea so hot only a handful of people with powers can visit it. The north is stripped clean of nearly all topsoil, rendering the forests destitute and ash regularly falls like snow. About the only truly livable spots left are a utopian meadowland in the middle of the continent that few ever see.

4.    Is there any kind of faith system in your world? Did you draw inspiration from any real cultures, living or dead?

My main character isn’t religious, but there’s a hint to people worshipping a man who united the warring tribes that humanity fractured into after the great cataclysmic event. That’s the predominant religion, but some of the original traces of old faiths still remain even if their way of worshipping has changed.

5.    Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about your world-ending event and how it led to the world of your story? Was it a distant event or does it happen as part of your tale?

My setting is so far removed from what rocked the earth to its core that no one remembers it to the point some honestly believe that humans were always gifted superpowers. Whatever happened obliterated nearly all records, and as humanity picked back up the pieces, it was lost to time. Some people are finally beginning to explore the scars, but they’re so dangerous most researchers wind up suffering from tumors and other cancers.

Your Process:

6.    When you build a world, what is your process like? Do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?

I’m a little of both. I’ll try and do some research before writing, sometimes I just make things up while in the moment and check it later. Others I’ll rely on my own historical studies and swipe a things from that. Human nature is best studied by looking at history, and humans guide society’s direction and the world at large.

7.    How central is the setting of your story to the story itself? Is it more of an interesting backdrop, or is it integral to the events of the story?

It begins as a backdrop, but as the story unfurls it drives home the deep division between not only the city itself but humanity as a whole. Due to whatever caused this new world, humans are dividing themselves down jewel color lines and across the scar itself. It’s also used to show the eternal division between the haves and have nots, as many of the poor must live near the scar regardless of its dangers.

8.    When helping the reader get to know the world you built, what techniques do you use? Do you tend to be upfront about things, or keep the reader in the dark and feed them only bits at a time?

I’m very much a crumb here and there writer. Often, I’ll keep ideas of the world entirely to myself and never show much less explain. Such as the fact humanity has no idea why people have powers. Not once do I mention that to keep the mystery of nature alive.

9.    How much of a role does realism and hard scientific fact play in your world-building? Do you strive for 100% accuracy, or do you leave room for the fantastical and unexplainable in your world?

Well, since this one involves people being able to control rocks with their mind and open portals across the world there’s not much science involved. Though, I do have fun in setting limitations upon the powers. Everyone one has some drawbacks, an outside force that can seriously drain their skill, and something they must consume to power their skill as well. Such as those who create portals use their own body heat, so they must stay warm or risk hypothermia. Or ones that control earth and rocks, if they don’t eat a lot of minerals, their skill will leech the minerals from their bones. That level of detail is both fun and highly important as it gives clear rules to what can and cannot be done by the super powered.

10.  Do you have any specialized training or background from your real lifethat has informed your world-building?

My background is genetics, which is why I try to avoid ‘we gave them an extra chromosome’ excuses as much as possible. If anything, I prefer to fall back on the Frankenstein explanation as much as possible. How did he reanimate a corpse? He’d rather not talk about it thanks, there’s more important plot to get to.

Where can people find you on the web? 

 My OWS CyCon Booth — stop by to take a fun quiz to figure out which Power you’d get.

You can also find me here on social media:
              Author Website -          Dwarves in Space Website
              Facebook -            Twitter  -          Mailing List

For more stops on our End of the World World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great Sci Fi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May Reading List: #Apocalypse, #Horror & #Mystery!

Where has May gone already? I'm sharing a short Reading List this month, 
but with LOTS of great deals!

Apocalyptic - Dystopian - Zombie

Armageddon Book Bonanza! Get a wealth of books for 99 cents, special priced box sets, books in KU/Kindle Unlimited and more! Sale from May 14 to June 4. 
  ** Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter is on sale for 99 cents! See Promo here &  99 cents Book Bonanza.


End of the World OWSCyCon Blog Tour: Begins May 17. See posts here. (See blog post of Sci Fi Author SE Zbasnik here.)


Just for fun! Find some new authors! Pick your favorite cover in the OWSCyCon Horror/Thriller Cover Wars - Begins May 16 (9:30 a.m. Central/10:30 a.m. Eastern), ends May 19! (Voting goes live on Friday, May 17.)

And.... please vote for my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter! 


Summer Snoops Unleashed - Assorted Authors. 
Love dogs? Help support several animal charities. Stories from 14 award-winning authors. Now on Amazon (and a #1 New Release!) Pre-order 99 cents, also on Apple, Nook, Kobo; Releases July 23

Freebies - Horror & Other

Author Robert W. Walker is on a Kindle giveaway bonanza during May! Check all his books and links on his website. 

Here are a few that may interest you and the free dates:


May 12-16  - Party of 8 - Short stories based on Walker's eight series characters.

11-15 Dead On: A Noir Mystery Private Eye Novel
Just when disgraced Atlanta cop-turned-private eye Marcus Rydell prepares to eat his gun, a kid in trouble, a call to duty, and a dirty blonde named Kat Holley stop him cold. They seek to destroy a local legend, a cave-dwelling ex-marine and murderer, a monster whose instincts and military training have allowed him to survive in the wilderness for four years, eluding the Feds as well as Atlanta PD. When the hunters become the hunted, they must duel with this psychotic deviant.

12-16 Vampire Dreams - Archaeology vs. Supernatural (Bloodscreams Book 1.) - Bones of the dead are taken from their graves ... and then the residents begin to disappear.


12-16 Darkness Chasing Light, Tales of Science Fiction, Horror, Suspense & Beyond - Ten stories with incubi to hit men, assorted monsters and more. 

13-17 Killer Instinct, (Instinct Series, Dr. Jessica Moran, ME, FBI Book 1) - Dr. Jessica Moran thought she could face anything. That was before Wisconsin; before she saw one of his victims. 

Other horror titles coming up free include: (See his website link above for all titles)
May 16-20 Floaters
17-21 Flesh Wars 
22-26 Brain Stem
22-26 Front Burners
25-29 Dying Breath26-30 The Serpentine Fire
26-30 Satan’s Edge
27-31 Final Edge

Friday, May 3, 2019

Update: Lizzie Borden Movie Filming at Maplecroft!

Filming for the new movie, Tea With Lizzie Borden, is now underway at Lizzie Borden's former home, Maplecroft. in Fall River, Mass.

This is the Victorian mansion she and her sister, Emma, bought after Lizzie was acquitted of the 1892 murders of their father and stepmother.

Check out the story and more details in Lizzie's hometown newspaper, The Herald News.  (See photos of the filming here.)

Here are the details on the Indiegogo fundraiser to help raise $500 for editing expenses.  The film is expected to be completed in May and will be shown on YouTube sometime this summer.

Monday, April 29, 2019

New Lizzie Borden Movie Coming!

Fundraising is now underway for a unique project that takes a new look at the infamous Lizzie Borden murders!  See the Indiegogo page for details. 

Filming is beginning on  Tea With Lizzie Borden, a short film written and produced by Victor Franco and produced by John Logan of NewView.Media. (Recognize Logan? He's also a magician who appeared on America's Got Talent!) The flim is being directed by longtime horror/thriller director Richard Chandler. 

Want to get involved? 
 ** Check out the rewards and info at the film's Indiegogo Page Here. **

About the Film:
The date is May 25th, 1927 - a week before Lizzie Borden dies at her home in Fall River, Massachusetts. 

Sitting on her porch, Lizzie has a visitor from the Fall River Herald, a young news reporter named William Dwyer (played by actor Jamie Dufault), who had received a letter from "Maplecroft" stating that he is urgently needed for a newsworthy story......

Could this be a deathbed confession, 
or simply an invitation to have tea with Lizzie Borden?

Money raised will be used for post-production costs and submitting the movie to film contests. 

My book,  Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter is also one of the incentives. A chance to get a signed copy and support the film. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

New Walking Dead Inspired Puzzles! #zombies

Like zombies? Like puzzles?

The Petrifying Zombie Puzzle Book by Jason Ward is a new paperback offering released this month from Carlton Books UK. The 224- page book offers 130 different puzzles - logic puzzles, fill-in coloring puzzles,  quizzes, mazes, riddles and more, all based on The Walking Dead.  It also had several fun (and hard!) find-the-difference photo games. (Get it also on Amazon, Amazon.UK)

About the Book:
Each puzzle has either a zombie/walker theme or uses the beloved (and hated) characters from the TV show and graphic novels. With fantastically dark and gruesome artworks throughout the book to illustrate every brainteaser, the Petrifying Zombie Puzzle Book will frighten even the most-hardened zombie fan.

The book is colorful, zombie-packed and a visual treat. It's divided into seven sections based on the various seasons of TWD, so fans will definitely enjoy testing their brains and seeing what they remember - or not! 

 If you enjoy puzzles, this is right up your alley. My only complaint is it didn't contain any traditional puzzles like crosswords, anagrams or word searches. I received this book free from the publisher.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Soul Remains #Horror #Humor Blog Tour

Today I'm featuring a unique book - horror and humor!

Soul Remains, Terribly Darkness, Book 2 (Releases today) by Sam Hooker sounds like a different read, with the dead walking, goblins and more. Plus, I love the fun covers!  (Be sure to check out the first book, Peril in the Old Country.

About the Book:

It’s Dark in the Old Country.

Where do goblins come from? Why do they only turn up in the Old Country, and why do they like swearing so much? In the second book of Terribly Serious Darkness, Sloot Peril—a “hero” who’s staunchly averse to heroics—goes searching for answers. Much to his chagrin, he finds them.

Everything changed after the Fall of Salzstadt, but try telling that to the people of the city, whose capacity for denial is unmatched. They have yet to acknowledge that Vlad the Invader cut a bloody swath through their city, that the dead are walking the streets, or that the Domnitor—long may he reign—has fled to wherever despots go on very long vacations while goblin infestations take care of themselves.

The worst of villains holds all of the power, unspeakable dark forces are on the rise, and everyone wants to kidnap the Domnitor—long may he reign—for their own nefarious ends. If all of that weren’t bad enough, Sloot’s got the fate of his own soul to worry about.

Can his girlfriend help him save the Old Country from annihilation? Is Myrtle really his girlfriend? If all goes well for Sloot—which it never does—he might just sort it all out before the Dark swallows them all up.

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BUY: Amazon -Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks

Excerpt: Life After Afterlife

    There is a common misconception among the living that death is the end of it. Go vigorously onto the business end of a sword, wear the colors of a west-end boulderchuck team into an east-end pub, or simply hang around long enough for your organs to start switching off, and that’s the end of the line.
    On the contrary, there is such a thing as death for the dead. No one is really sure how long it takes, but eventually, each and every ghost withers away and ceases to be.
   “So that’s it then,” said Sloot after an indeterminate amount of time. “I’ll be a ghost until     “Well, not nothing,” said Hans. “Not necessarily.”
   “Something else, then?”
   “Well, there’s considerable debate on the topic. Especially among the philosophers.”
As if things weren’t already bad enough, thought Sloot. He knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time before—
    “Did someone say philosophy?” Arthur appeared in the doorway, his moustaches standing on end.
    Oh, no, thought Sloot. “Please, nobody say any—”
    “Hans was just telling us that no one knows whether ghosts are really gone after we fade away.”
    Arthur’s eyes were wild, like a lion who hadn’t eaten in a week. Geralt must have resembled a porterhouse.
    “Portnoy the Sacrilegious once chained himself to the doors of the cathedral to prove the impossibility of life after death! He was wrong, obviously, but his arguments are sound if applied to life after death after death.”
    “Well said, Arthur,” Sloot blurted. “I think that’s all that anyone can—”
    “Malarky,” said Hans. “You’re saying there’s nothing beyond the Hereafter, based on a theory that there is no Hereafter?”
    “I’ve still got a few more questions—” Sloot began.
    “It’s not that simple!” Arthur was pacing around the room and gesticulating wildly. Myrtle had always refused to indulge him in that while he had her possessed. “It makes sense in light of his Treatise on Bedtime Disobedience—which he wrote when he was eight—but only if you understand the finer points of Mauler’s Unticking Clock. I can solve this in … seventeen moves!”
    “I’m sure you can,” said Sloot, “but I really need to ask Hans about—”
    “I studied Mauler in college,” said Geralt. “The Unticking Clock is a metaphor for the struggle between hunger and apathy. I hardly think it applies—”
    “That’s where you’re wrong!”
    Sloot wandered off. He could never stomach philosophy for this very reason. Even if you didn’t know anything about Nutter’s Hungry Clock or whatever, you could join in the conversation with your angriest voice. Philosophy, as far as Sloot could tell, was the art of determining who could have the loudest opinion while not doing anything useful.

About the Author

Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy. He is an entirely serious person, regardless of what you may have heard. Originally from Texas, he now resides in southern California with his wife, son, and dog.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Broken Dreams Birthday! #Zombies #apocalypse


Author Rissa Blakeley is celebrating her fifth books birthday with a big sale!

From today 4/22 to 4/28, Broken Dreams and Awakened Desires will be .... $0.99.

About the Books:

A secret government program. A contagion that will spread like wildfire. With all the death surrounding them, will Henry and Elaina survive?

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday #Horror #Zombie #Suspense Films

I've been slowing down on blogging, but had to mention a couple movies I just saw:

The Silence - Based on a short story by author Tim Lebbon. On Netflix.

 A family seek refuge in a remote locatin as the world's under attack by sightless bats who hunt by sound. Great suspense, some violence as the family faces creepy cult members. Overall a good film though the ending seemed abrupt and echoed that recent TV vampire series, but I liked it.
Directed by John R. Leonetti (ANNABELLE) and starring, Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, John Corbett, Kate Trotter and Kyle Breitkopf.

Train to Busan

A strange virus turns people into horrible, flesh-eating monsters. The story centers on a young girl and her father who are on the train, desperately fighting for their lives. 

I heard everyone mention this movie and finally got to watch it. Whoa! It's a Korean movie so it uses subtitles, but that didn't matter. Well-acted and a truly touching story line. Gripping story with some really scary, creepy zombies. There are some sad parts, but a great ending. I'm looking forward to the sequel, which I've read is in production.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

#Mystery Column: Talking about Podcasts

My Author Snapshot column is up at Mysterical-e. 

For a change of pace, this time I'm talking with mystery authors including Elaine Viets and Jeri Westerson about podcasts, as well as with producer/editor Lorie Lewis Ham about her Mystery Rat's Maze Podcast at Kings River Life Magazine.

See the Author Snapshot column here.

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 1, 2019

April Anthologies Reading List #horror #zombie


There seems to be an uptick in anthologies and single author collections, at least based on the publication notices I've been seeing. That means plenty of good reading ahead! Here's some I found, plus a few other interesting things I came across. Happy Reading!!

Author Collections: Horror


All That Withers, John Palisano - First collection contains Lovecraftian musings to terrifying explorations of the inhuman condition. 

Fangtastic Tales of Werewolf Savagery, Toneye Eyenot - Embrace the monster within and explore the world of werewolf terrors in over 20 stories plus excerpts.

Monkey Justice and Other Stories, Patricia Abbott - First time print collection of Anthony, Edgar and Macavity-nominated author. Twenty-three stories and previews.


** Something Special! **

Do you love mysteries? (We know you love dogs!) Fourteen mystery authors are donating the pre-order proceeds of their new books to senior dogs. Help us raise $$ for senior dogs by reserving your 14-author box set of mysteries. All pre-order sales go to charity. 

***Reserve your copy today for only 99 cents. See  webpage or   ***

(Mysteries include a werewolf story, a psychic PI and others!)

(Also available on Amazon, soon!)

Author Collections - Mystery:

Fast Crimes, Simon Wood - Short mysteries of planned and foiled heists, murders and more. 86 pages.

The Awareness and Other Deadly Tales, Terrie Farley Moran - Short mystery fiction and stories with a supernatural twist to 1930s noir. 84 pages.



Dark Places, Evil Faces, Collection of horror and dark suspense tales by Clive Barker and others benefiting Rethink Mental Illness. Over 500 pages.

Horror and Abominations: 24 Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos , Mark McLaughlin, Michael Sheehan Jr. - Learn the unholy secrets of such malevolent beings as Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Azalareon, Mother Hydra, the King in Yellow, and Yagdolak. Discover the blasphemous activities of the Tillinghast and Delapore families … wicked Mrs. Veng and her horrendous tenant, Dr. Brandywine … and the unspeakable, mutated son of King Tutankhamun.

Schlock! Horror!, Bret McCormick, etc. - Short stories inspired by 1980s gore-horror movies by 17 authors.


Splatterpunk Forever, Jack Bantry, etc. - Eleven tales of extreme horror from a circus sideshow from hell to a Mexican brothel and more.

Through a Darker Eye: 11 Tales of Terror, Mark Edward Brooks - Tales of terror in a traveling carnival, a lonely salesman battling an alien evil, a damaged detective and more. 

When the Clock Strikes 13, Steve Thompson, Richard Chizmar, etc. - Time is running out. What happens when the clock strikes 13. Thirteen short horror tales.

Year's Best Hardcore Horror. Vol. 4 , Tim Waggoner and others , (Releases April 16) - Hardcore horror with 20 authors presenting their scariest. 

Something Interesting:

Making Space for the Dead: Catacombs, Cemeteries and the Reimagining of Paris, 1780-1830, Erin-Marie Legacey -  History of burials, catacombs, the new burial culture and more in Paris.

Dragons, Oh My!

Dragonscales, The City of Concord Anthology, Vol. 1 - Jean Rabe, Stephen Sullivan and others -  (Releases this month) - If you like dragons... Twelve notable Sci-Fi authors offer stories based on the Dragonscales role playing game.

Horror - Support a Cause:

 If It Bleeds, chapbook #2, Matthew M. Bartlett - Latest in line of Nightscape Press's Charitable Chapbooks. Music and rock spreads like a virus, unleashing unspeakable evil. Signed, limited edition of 100, fully illustrated. One-third of sales of this volume support the Dakin Humane Society. 

Horror - Writing

Horror Writing Prompts, 77 Powerful Ideas to Inspire Your Fiction, Rayne Hall - This is an interesting concept. Just happened on this - a whole series of 25 prompt books for different genres.  Prompts, questions and ideas.


Coloring Heaven Witches Special Coloring Book, 40 Tarot-Inspired Designs



Apocalypse? At Least it's Not the End of the World, Stories from the Zombie Apocalypse, Zachary and Derek Berendsen - Tales of horror, adventure, survival and a little humor with zombies.

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter,  C.A. Verstraete - What really happened when Lizzie Borden supposedly picked up an axe and killed her father and stepmother in August, 1892? What if she had a reason to kill?

The Zee Brothers, Halloween Holocaust, Zombie Exterminators Vol. 3, Grivante - A desperate call from a co-worker leads the brothers out against their better judgment and into an infested neighborhood where they encounter zombies - and something they've never seen before.

Still of Night, Jonathan Maberry, Rachael Lavin - Three short stories and a novella share the stories of Captain Joe Ledger and his top shooters, plus other characters fighting the final battle in Happy Valley. Fourth book in the Dead of Night series.

Some Fr-e-e-bies: (free at time of posting)


Ghostly Writers Anthology 2018 - Haunted tales and spooky poems, from haunted carnival rides to spooky forests and more.

Tales from Dark Places - The Halloween Collection (Indie Collaboration Book 1) - Nine spooky stories from assorted authors.

Vampires, Werewolves & Zombies - Over 900 pages box set. Includes "Seventh Mark" -  WJ May;  "Crush"- Chrissy Peebles;  "Blur" - Kristen Middleton; "Vampire in Denial" - Dale Mayer; "The Zombie Chronicles" - Chrissy Peebles; "Zombie Games" (Origins) - Chrissy Peebles; plus book trailers and more. 

That's it for now! Be sure to come back and check out next month's list!