Supernatural Sunday; Demons of THE WATCHTOWER—Scraylings

I love putting a new twist into an old monster, but I also like creating them. Now-a-days it’s hard to come up with something original; all the monsters are pretty well known, so that why I was really excited when the idea for a scrayling came to mind.

In my paranormal novels, scraylings are the grunts of Hell. They’re incredibly tall with a stalky, muscular build. They’re strong as hell and can fly, with each wing almost as long as their body. Muscular arms and legs give strength to sharp talons on their hands and feet, and they can rip the flesh of anything. They are completely obedient to their masters, and will carry out their order even if it means their death.

I got the idea from watching Scooby Doo! Seriously. Just picture this guy more…you know scary.

scoobydoo

Another difficult thing is naming said creature.  Again, most monsters are named and using a variations is always good to put your own personal mark on it, but this name just jumped out on to the paper. I was sure I’d heard it before, but when I Googled the name, I found nothing.

Does this mean I’ve created a new monster? Probably not, but it’s nice to think I did, so look out world, scraylings are on the loose, and you don’t want to run into one of these bad boys in a dark alley.

Paranormal Sunday: The Watchtower Monsters: Zombies

One thing I love about writing paranormal, is envisioning a new take on creatures and trying to make them more my own. With my paranormal series THE WATCHTOWER, I have the traditional paranormal beings, but I’ve tried to give them a new twist.

The first monster I worked with was zombies. Modern zombies have become a horde of starving creatures produced from some unknown virus, roaming the world eagerly searching for humans to feed on. They probably feed on other wildlife, but I haven’t heard it yet. One thing I could never understand about these mindless hordes is how they can find humans. Do they still retain their senses? Or maybe just a one? Why do they need to eat human flesh? Questions I think I’ll leave for another day.

Traditionally, zombies were created by Voodoo priests to be slaves. Some of these poor souls weren’t dead, but alive and yet not aware they were under the control of the priest. When I looked at putting my twist on it, I decided to go back to its traditional roots and again make them compliant slaves. In THE WATCHTOWER, I’ve combined the two. My zombies are created by sacrificing someone, then through dark magic, binding the soul of the deceased to their body. Because the body is dead, it will decompose, but because the soul is still within it, it’s also alive. My zombies feel pain and are aware their bodies are used against their will, and even though I haven’t written a scene with it yet, they can talk as well. Although I would assume they would sound drunk or under the influence of something. Between forced to do things against its will, and feeling the pain of the body dying, I think I’ve made a creatures one could sympathize with.

I want to crawl into a hole and hide forever.

I got an important email from a good friend of mine. She told me she really liked THE WATCHTOWER, thought it was the start of something good, but there were some problems, namely—typos, and there were a lot of them. It was like I was slapped in the face. I’m glad she told me, really I am, but after all the times I went over that damn manuscript, sentence by sentence (yes, I did that. Buggered up on new edits. Long story), it just about killed me to think that stupid little typo’s are still in the damn thing!  I am so embarrassed. I thought about hiring a copyeditor to go over it one more time, but I didn’t have the money.

I’m apologizing and sending out a warning. THE WATCHTOWER has typos. I’m not going to try and pretend they’re not there, but I can’t afford to fix them. This isn’t just a case of opening my Word document and fixing them then uploading a new file. I didn’t format the files, I don’t know how to do it, so I would have to send the revisions to the person who did, and she charges by the hour and probably has other projects on her desk. She doesn’t need a newly published author freaking out. I wouldn’t do that to her.

This bothered me so much that I went to bed last night with it on my mind and woke up this morning the same way. All I could think of was that I’d just added another crap novel to the see of crap novels. I’m thinking, because it’s isn’t as good as I would like it to be, that I’ll put it up for free from now on.  Next novella, I’m hiring a copyeditor, and completely throws off my schedule because I have to save more money now.  

I’ve gotten quite a few ‘Likes’  on both Amazon and Smashwords, but I’m not expecting any really good reviews. Not with typos. I’m also kind of dreading the two reviews I sent requests for as well. Ah well, live and learn, right? Wonder if I should mention this when I do my blog tour?

Friday Writing Update; Important Update on the Watchtower

Wow, can’t believe I haven’t posted on a Friday in a couple of weeks. Between the copyedits on THE WATCHTOWER and the long weekend and back to school, I just go so lost!

Yes, I got the manuscript in on time, and it’s back. Everything looks good. There were a few places that I wanted to edit over (a new opening sentence and some other minor changes), but so far so good, and the best part, I have a new cover!

This one is so much better than the one I had! I love it! Thanks to Calista Taylor for putting it altogether for me, and on short notice too. Between her schedule and mine, we got it done in what…four days? I’ve also asked her to design the other five covers for the series. I can’t wait to see what she has planned!  

With the manuscript in for a second round, I want to give a heads up now about a ‘soft launch’. Anyone reading this blog or following me on Twitter or Facebook, will get a code to purchase The Watchtower for free. It will run for SEVEN DAYS only. Please leave a comment on the book. If you don’t like it, that’s fine too. I know I’m not going to please everyone.

I also have one, possibly two spots left on the Paranormal Pit-Stop Blog Tour. If you’re interested, send me an email. I plan on doing more blog tours with other books, so if you can’t get in on this one, I can/will keep you in mind for the second. Or third. Or forth. You get the point. Plus, if you’re scheduling your own blog tour, let me know. I can schedule you in. I use Monday and Friday posts for writing only, and right now everything past the middle of November is open.  

Anyway, now I’m off to round up some book reviewers.

Friday Writing Update

NOVELLA: The Watchtower (Formerly Terror Tower).

Yes, I’ve changed the title. I was going to call the whole series THE WATCHTOWER, but I didn’t like the working title very much, and as this is the first episode, it doesn’t mean I still can’t refer to the other books as part of the Watchtower Series, right?

Anyway, I’ve finished the revisions on this story. It was a real bugger as I had to change the format from script to novel. The biggest problem—tense. As you might have read in Monday’s blog post, scripts are written in present tense, and I write all my novels in third person. I think I drove my beta nuts with the third chapter. I don’t know what I was thinking; I don’t think I was because she was pointing them out every other line!

So revisions are done and I’ve edited and polished the first two chapters. I’ve even formatted them for eBooks. I downloaded a manual from Smashwords on how to format eBooks so I’ll look over that over the next couple of months.
I plan on working on the second instalment the week after next, but I don’t plan on publishing it until a few months after the first one.

Short Story: Strings

If you haven’t heard, Bewildering Stories took my paranormal short story STRINGS! I am so happy! I had a good feeling they would too, but I didn’t want to jinx it. Anyway, it’s on the roster, but as to when it will appear is unknown. My other short story with them—ECHOES OF DECEPTION, was about five-six months before it went live. Could be the same with this one, I don’t know, but the important part is they accepted it!

Story Excerpt; The Watchtower

He stepped out of the elevator, package tucked uncomfortably under his arm, and into a Goth’s dream. Old grey flagstones covered the floor and walls, with medieval looking wall sconces holding drippy candles mounted to the wall. A wrought-iron barrier blocked the corridor several feet in front of the elevator. Its cemetery-like gateway pad locked closed.

Martin stood there, dumbfounded, and wondered if being here was the right idea. He didn’t need this job that bad, did he? Yet something pushed him on, edged him to give in to his growing curiosity. Besides, there was still the package to deliver.

He walked up to the gate and squinted, trying to get a better view of what lay beyond. There was a huge wooden desk, nothing on it, and two wooden doors embedded in the wall behind. More of the drippy candles lined the walls, but he didn’t see or hear anyone.

“Hello,” he called out, shifting the package around to his other hip. “The eleven o’clock appointment is here.”

Dead silence.

“And I have a package.”

A low and drawn-out creak came from the door on the right as a young blonde woman emerged. Even in this dim light, Martin could tell she wasn’t impressed.

“Sorry,” she said, as the door creaked to a close behind her. “I should have been out here waiting for you, but I hate this hall. Gives me the creeps.”

He recognized her voice immediately as the woman he’d spoken to on the phone the other day. Perfect hair and make-up, fashionable clothing, pink-lace gloves to match her stiletto shoes. She was definitely at odds with her surroundings.

Martin smiled as she unlocked the pad lock with a huge skeleton key. “I know how you feel.” He handed the package to her. “As do some of your delivery guys.”

She gave him a strange look and held the package away from her body.

“You must be Martin Cunningham,” she said, and shoved the package back at him so fast he almost dropped it. “I’m Barb Dole. Jezryall’s personal secretary. I screen all outside applicants who wish to work at Terin Global.”

Martin frowned. “Jezryall? That’s a unique name.”

“She’s a unique person, and you’ll love working for her.” She shot a disgusted look at the package. “You can give that to her yourself. Follow me, please.”

Martin frowned. “How do you know I’ll like working for her, when I don’t even know?

Barb walked up to the wooden door. “We all do. Now hurry up, she probably has a few things she wants you to do already.”

Martin stopped at the front of the desk and tucked the package back under his arm. “Wait a minute. I thought this was just an interview.”

Barb hesitated before opening the door. “Why would you think that?”

“Because you never said anything about me having the job when we spoke on the phone.”

“Yes I did.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“Yes, I did.” Barb turned the huge brass knob on the door. “I said, ‘you’ll do’, and then told you when to show up for your first day on the job.”

Martin thought back to the conversation. “But how do you know I’m even right for the job?” he asked, walking toward the door. “How do you know I even want this job?”

She gave him a wicked smile. “I just know these things.”

Martin shrugged and walked into the main office. The weirdness of the hall décor continued in there. A cathedral ceiling stretched several floors up with heavy wooden doors scattered around the main floor. There were doors positioned higher up, connected to one another by a wrought-iron walkway. More old sconces with drippy candles lined the walls, and a shiver ran up his spine. It looked as though it had been modeled after Frankenstein’s castle, with one exception: a huge picture window sat directly opposite the door he entered, with a plush black leather chair turned to face the window.

“Jezryall, our new Public Liaison officer is here,” Barb said, as she strolled over to an identical desk as the one out in the hall. There was a pile of fashion magazines fanned out, along with a scattering of manicure objects.

Martin slowly walked toward the chair. “Hi, uh, Miss Jezryall, um, is it?” he stuttered. “I think there’s been some sort of misunderstanding. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to take this job. I was under the impression this was only an interview.”

“Were you a member of the debate team at university?” The voice was strong but seductive, with a hint of a Russian accent.

“Captain, actually.”

“This means you were good at it?”

“Well, yes. You don’t get to be the Captain unless you are.”

The chair began to turn. Martin’s heart beat faster. How the chair moved, he couldn’t tell, but he knew it wasn’t from the occupant.

“Good. What I need is someone to run interference for me,” she said, “None of us here are any good with dealing with the public.”

Jezryall was stunning. Long, black hair that hung down to her waist, but it was her eyes that struck him. He couldn’t stop himself from staring into their smokey grey, almond shape. He felt as though he were being drawn toward her. She was saucy, seductive. He could see it in the way she moved as she left the chair; her hair falling about her waist as the low-cut, red dress with black lace hugged her well-endowed body. Oddly enough, she was barefoot.

“I’m sure there are others who–”

“No!” She walked toward him, keeping her focus on him. Martin was paralyzed, but not with fear. The way she looked at him made him feel like he was the only one in the world. “Barbara has informed me that you are the one we are looking for. And I trust her instincts completely.”

“Why? You don’t even know me. How can I be right for this job?”

“How are you wrong for it?”

The question left him speechless. What was he supposed to say? Apart from the fact this place gave him the creeps, Martin couldn’t see any reason not to accept it, except for this underlying feeling…

“How about this,” Jezryall said, taking a few steps closer to him. “You work for me for one week, and after that, if you do not want the job, you will be free to go. Two weeks’ pay included, of course.”

His eyebrows rose. “Two weeks?”

Jezryall nodded. “Consider it compensation for your time.”

Martin took a second look around the room. It was creepy, but nothing he couldn’t get used too. At least for a couple weeks. “I guess we have a deal.”

 

 


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