Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Thirteenth Lord - Chapter 2

The Thirteenth Lord

M.T. Murphy
Copyright 2015


Chapter 2 - Ruprecht


“Crazy looking sideburns?” Joseph knew he was hesitating way more than he should. “No. Doesn’t ring a bell, mister. Sorry.”

The customer, who said his name was Ruprecht, smiled and shrugged. “It was worth a shot.”

Joseph held his breath. The man Ruprecht was looking for was unforgettable. The red-eyed freak left a hundred dollar bill as a tip with the explicit instruction not to mention him to anyone. Ever.
Ruprecht seemed like an honest guy. A nice guy. He was fortyish, with sandy brown hair that was stylishly arranged, but almost due for a trim. Not dashingly handsome, but not homely either. His distinguishing feature was a British accent, which instantly made him stand out like James Bond in the downtown El Paso restaurant.

“Help me out, here, Joseph. I rarely smoke cigars, but I’m in a victorious mood this eve. What’s good?”

Joseph pointed to the Davidoff Aniversario specials on the cigar menu. “If you only smoke one cigar, I’d go with this one. It’s our most expensive cigar, but it’s worth it.”

Ruprecht leaned forward, handing the menu over. “Would you steer me wrong, my son?”

Joseph laughed. “I guarantee it will be the best cigar you smoke all year.”

Ruprecht nodded. “All right then. I trust you. Bring me one.”

He retrieved the cigar from the humidor in the back and helped Ruprecht trim the end and light it.

The man let out a coughing laugh. “That is good. How much do I owe you?”

“Twenty seven after tax.”

Ruprecht placed the twenty seven dollars on the table.

Joseph gathered up the cash. “Thank you, sir.”

“Wait a moment.” Ruprecht placed a hundred dollar bill on the table and took a slow drag off the cigar. “I have a question for you, my son.”

Joseph’s eyes locked onto the bill. “I’m listening.”

“Do you remember,” Ruprecht placed another hundred on the table, “the man with ridiculous sideburns,” and another, “red eyes that almost seem to glow,” and another, “and jagged, pointy teeth?” A fifth hundred joined the stack. “Please, take your time if you need to.” The man rested his hand on top of the money.

Joseph let out the breath he’d been holding. He placed his fingertips on the edge of the stack of bills. “Maybe I was mistaken when I said I hadn’t seen him.”

Ruprecht smiled and removed his hand.

Joseph snatched up the cash and stuffed it into his pocket. “Look, I didn’t want to say anything, but that guy was crazy. He smoked half a box of Rembrandts Irish cigarillos and drank us out of Irish whiskey and Scotch. When I told him we were out, I swear it looked like his eyes were glowing red and his teeth got a little longer. I think he would have killed me if we’d been out back in the alley or something.”

Ruprecht nodded. “Was there a woman with him? Concentrate. She will have made it difficult for you remember her.”

“I don’t think so.” Joseph gasped as the memory popped back into his head. “Wait a minute. Yeah. There was a woman. Gorgeous one. Pale, with black hair. Jesus. How did I forget her?”

“It’s all right. She has that effect on people.”

“But how did she do that?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“But—”

“Joseph!” Ruprecht snapped. His own eyes flashed with golden light, but returned to normal an instant later. He calmed himself and spoke again. “Joseph, I need you to concentrate.” 

“Who the hell are they?” Joseph asked, his voice growing weak.

Ruprecht leaned forward and Joseph also moved in closer. “The less you know, the better, but unless I catch up to them soon, people will die.”

“Shit.”

“Where are they going?”

“I don’t know. They didn’t say.”

“She bit you, I see.”

“What?”

Ruprecht grasped his forearm, stroking two barely visible marks with his thumb. “I doubt you remember yet, but I see the mark. It heals remarkably fast when they let you live. She left an image in your mind for me.”

Joseph closed his eyes and his world shook like he was on a ship in the middle of a storm. A memory of a house in the desert came to him. It was a house he had never been to or seen.  He opened his eyes and found Ruprecht with his eyes closed, resting his face on the two marks on his arm. He snatched his arm away. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you need to leave.” 

Ruprecht smiled. “My apologies, Joseph. You have done a good thing, my son. Your sacrifice will be well worth it.”

Joseph stood up straight. “Sacrifice?”

Ruprecht waved his hand as if to brush away the word. “Forget I said that.”

Joseph’s eyes glazed over for a moment, then he replied. “Okay.”

“Good. Joseph, I feel like you and I have become old chums in the time we have spent together, tonight. Can I ask you a personal question?”

“I guess.”

“What do you fear the most?”

Joseph opened his mouth, but no words came forth. His eyes met Ruprecht’s and his will to speak disappeared. The two fiery discs stole his will. A presence violated his mind, turning over memories and pilfering every thought he held sacred. He wanted to scream, but his body was paralyzed. Instead, his mind screamed for him: “I don’t want to be alone.”

Then it was over. He blinked and looked around. The restaurant crowd laughed and ate. If anything out of the ordinary had happened, they hadn’t seen it. Ruprecht finished his cigar and placed the cash for his untouched drinks on the table.

Joseph felt like he had been talking to Ruprecht for quite some time, but he couldn’t recall a single word.

“Um…how was everything?”

“Excellent,” Ruprecht replied with a smile. “Take care of yourself, Joseph.”

“You too. See you next time.” Deep inside, a voice was screaming in Joseph’s head. He was not sorry to see the man go.

Ruprecht crushed out the cigar and left.

Joseph refilled the drinks for one table full of guests, then recited the evening’s specials for a newly seated group.

Ruprecht stood in the darkness next to a dumpster behind the restaurant. He reached his arms out to the side, forming a lazy “T” shape. “You deserve better than this, Joseph. I’d have rather you lived, but I can’t have any loose ends.” His form became transparent as he rose a few inches off the ground.
A black seam split down the air behind him. The seam widened, becoming a circular door. Dark, scaly tendrils reached through, dancing like smoke in the darkness.

Ruprecht pointed into the air around the restaurant.  Floating holes opened at the entrance and at each window.  For a moment, there was only silence. Then, a faint sound started. It was like the trickle of a small stream. The sound grew louder. Tentacles burst out of each opening, crashing through doors and windows.

Ruprecht ignored the screaming and confusion. His prize would come soon enough.  In seconds, his patience was rewarded as the fear and horror of the dead and dying washed over him. He feasted on it as the nightmarish tentacles ripped and broke the flesh of those trapped inside.

In less than a minute, no living soul was left in the restaurant. A fire broke out in the kitchen. Soon it would spread and destroy most of the evidence before anyone realized something was wrong.   

“That is enough,” Ruprecht said.

The dark gates narrowed. Tentacles quickly slithered back into their dark hell, dragging pieces of their grisly meal with them. Once the portals had closed, Ruprecht drifted back to the ground and became solid again.

He frowned at the blackish-red stains on the street outside the burning building. His pets had been sloppy.

Ruprecht was quite pleased to have received two very valuable things: one delicious meal of terror and a destination.

“Lucifera, I cannot wait to see you again,” he said to the empty alley. “And I must leave this dreadful town. It simply reeks of werewolf.”

The vampire lord known as Ruprecht the Horror strolled away to the west on the newfound trail of his targets. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Thirteenth Lord - Chapter 1

In the past month, I have received many emails, comments, and messages asking about book 3 of my Villainous series.  I am both surprised and touched that so many of you actually care about what happens next for my anti-heroic vampire/werewolf duo and their dysfunctional family. I am still eyeballs deep in editing, but you all deserve better. Therefore, I present to you the entire first chapter of The Thirteenth Lord.  Thank you all for your continued interest and patience.

The Thirteenth Lord
M.T. Murphy
Copyright - 2015

CHAPTER ONE – What’s in the box?

Manny and Carl stood at the dead man’s feet.

“He looks like hobo Elvis,” Manny said.

The sun was directly overhead, keeping their shadows from touching the corpse. Hobo Elvis’s hair stopped just short of his shoulders, but his sideburns threatened to take over his jaw. He wore only jeans and boots, with a dress shirt tucked into the side pocket of his jeans.

“Don’t you think he looks like Elvis? Maybe if the King fell on hard times right after the ’68 comeback special. You remember that?” Manny lit a cigarette, not really interested in Carl’s reply.

“I wasn’t even born in that decade, gramps.”

“Of course you weren’t. Rub it in.” Manny knelt down to get a better look at Hobo Elvis. “That was a damn fine shot. Right in the heart.”

“I’ve been practicing.” Carl stroked his chest-length beard while twirling his 9mm pistol old west shooting show style. Then he dropped the gun into the dry Mexico sand.

“Keep practicing,” Manny said. He kicked the body just to be sure. “What the hell was he pulling?”

Carl shrugged. “Looks like one of those old timey wooden coffins you see in the movies.”

Manny walked around the corpse and tapped on the top of the coffin. “It’s wood but it feels like there’s iron underneath.” He picked up the thick chain Hobo Elvis had been pulling and gave it a tug. “Jesus. That thing weighs a ton. Give me a hand.”

Carl took hold of the chain. They both planted their feet in the sand and pulled. After much straining and profanity, the coffin had moved less than a foot.

Manny slammed the chain onto the coffin. “You saw what I saw, right? Elvis was dragging this thing like it was nothing.”

“Yeah,” Carl replied. “He just kept walking like he was in a trance or something. I told him to stop unless he wanted a bullet in the chest. Bastard winked at me. So, I shot him.” He tried to pull open the lid, but it would not budge. “It’s locked up tight. Seems like it’s sealed from the inside. How did they manage that?”

“Look,” Manny pointed into the distance. A four foot wide trench stretched across the desert and into the horizon behind the corpse.

“Elvis must have been on a whole cocktail of drugs or serious steroids.”

“Don’t matter now. ‘Roids didn’t stop the bullet. That box must have valuable cargo to be wrapped up so tight. Let’s pull the truck around and hook it up. We’ll drag it to town and open it there.”

They headed toward their truck.

“What do you think is in there?” Carl asked.

“Lucy,” a raspy voice replied.

Manny grabbed Carl’s arm. “What did you say?”

Carl held his pistol up. “I didn’t say that.”

They looked down at the corpse. The eyes were still closed, but his chest rose and fell with shallow breaths.

“Lucy’s in the box,” he whispered.

Manny slapped Carl on the back of the head. Then he let out a relieved sigh. “That scared the crap out of me. Shoot him again.”

Carl nodded and took careful aim, firing off two more shots into the stranger’s chest.

The man groaned and clutched his chest. “Cut that out, you arse,” he growled.

“Keep shooting till he’s dead,” Manny said.

Carl held up his empty gun. “I’m out. Practice takes bullets, man. We never see nobody out here. How was I to know I’d need more than three?”

“Fine,” Manny said, taking out the foot-long bowie knife that had earned him the nickname of “Manny the Blade.”  “If I get blood on my boots, you’re buying me a new pair.”

Manny knelt down by the writhing stranger. Either the damage to his organs would kill him or he would bleed out in less than a minute. Manny waited, but the man kept breathing. With a resigned sigh, he stepped around and knelt down behind the man’s head, thrusting the knife toward his throat.

A hand shot up and engulfed the blade, stopping it an inch from its target.

Manny was no novice to fighting and killing, but the speed of the man’s movement startled him. He tried to pull the knife away, but the stranger tightened his grip, digging the blade deep into his own palm until it scraped bone.   

The shaggy-haired man stopped groaning and clutching his gunshot wounds. He sat up and turned to face Manny. “I tried to be nice,” the man snarled with more than a hint of an Irish brogue.
Manny punched him in the face as hard as he could.

The man recoiled with the blow, then spoke as though he hadn’t even felt it. “I let ZZ Top over there shoot me once. That was a freebee. Then, he shot me two more Goddamn times. I still might have let you live. I would have let you drag the coffin for a bit if you were going the right direction and then taken it from you later. But you,” he pointed a sharp nailed finger at Manny, “were going to slit my throat.” He shook his head in disgust. “That’s sloppy and unprofessional.”

Manny let go of the knife and sprinted for the old pickup truck. Carl joined in, racing for the passenger side.

Manny grabbed the door handle. At that instant, the knife flew, end-over-end, impaling Manny’s hand into the rusty metal body of the truck. He screamed and pulled on the handle but the blade wouldn’t move.

Carl tried to run but the shaggy-haired man moved faster than a human being should have been able to move and blocked his path.

“That’s a lovely beard you’ve got there,” the stranger said, “but it ain’t going to save you.”
Carl pulled his own knife and held it up in front of the stranger’s face. “Back off” he said.

“No,” the stranger replied.

Carl stabbed the man, pushing the knife’s blade into the side of his chest just below his heart.
The stranger did not flinch. Ignoring the knife, he reached out and grabbed Carl’s head with both hands and twisted it, breaking his neck with a sickening pop.

Manny fought back nausea and pulled on the knife with all his might. He heard Carl’s body hit the sand. Then he heard the stranger’s footsteps drawing closer.

The blade broke free from the truck. Manny groaned as it cut his flesh upon removal. He spun to face the stranger.

The man calmly pulled Carl’s knife out of the side of his chest and dropped it.

Manny brandished his knife again, pointing it at the stranger’s eye. “What the hell are you?” he asked.

The stranger raised a hand and pointed his index finger to the sky. An already jagged fingernail grew into an inch-long talon.

The stranger’s lips pulled back into a smile, displaying massive canine fangs. He peered at Manny with eyes of glowing crimson. “What am I? Nothing special,” he replied. “Just a werewolf.”

“Well, you are crazy, I’ll give you that,” Manny said.

The stranger chuckled.

Manny slashed at the stranger’s throat.

The shaggy-haired man waved his finger toward Manny at the same time. The talon on his finger ripped through Manny’s throat, cutting short his swing.

Manny fell to his knees as his life drained down his chest. As darkness overtook his vision, he watched the shaggy-haired man lick the blood from his nail, pick up the heavy chain, and resume his trek to the east.

Manny died, silently cursing himself for not tripping Carl and escaping in the truck when he had the chance.  

* * * * *
Moments before sundown, the shaggy-haired man arrived at his destination with the coffin in tow. A palatial mansion sat atop a plateau in the middle of Mexico’s Chihuahua Desert. A fifteen foot tall electrified fence separated the mansion grounds from the rest of the desert.

He sat down next to the coffin and gently patted the lid.

“Here we are, Lucy. One compound in the middle of fucking nowhere, just as you requested. It would be nice to know why the hell we’re doing this.”

The coffin was as silent as it had been during the rest of the fifty mile journey from El Infierno. She would awaken soon. He longed for the moment almost as much as he dreaded it.

The waxing gibbous moon taunted him, making its presence known in the eastern sky long before true sunset.

His attackers had helped stave off the craving. The urge to hunt and kill was less intense, but that wouldn’t last. When the moon was high that night, he knew the beast would want worthy prey. It had little interest in weaklings.

That was the problem. The vampire in the box was one of the most feared on the planet. The beast wanted very much to fight and kill her.  What a glorious battle it would be. The beast did not care that this vampire had kept it from going insane over the centuries like most other packless werewolves. 

“No,” he said aloud. “There is no ‘me and the beast.’ I am the beast. And I am in control.” He said it in a forceful tone as if to convince someone, but the only ears around were his own.

The sun fell lower against the horizon. Night was about to arrive.

“Lucy,” he said. “It’s getting worse. I can’t control meself during a half moon. What will happen when she’s full?”

Only a sliver of the fiery sun remained visible. The man ran his fingers through dark, shaggy hair and kept his eyes closed. He did not want to see the end of the light that kept his shining tormentor in check.

The sun disappeared and his brief respite of lucidity slipped away.

The coffin opened with a soft click. An alabaster hand grasped the edge from the inside. A pale form poured out of the box and rose next to the trembling werewolf. She wore her black hair pulled up so it cascaded around her face much as it had in her human life in ancient Rome. The dress was pure modern day Hollywood: a tight, black, sleeveless affair with a slit that began at the middle of her left thigh. Her form was too athletic to be mistaken for Hollywood starlet, but she was far too beautiful to care.

Lucifera Romana, the nineteen century old master vampire of Los Angeles, arrived in the waning twilight the same way she arrived anywhere else: like she was the queen of all she surveyed.

Her beauty stirred up memories in the werewolf. For two and a half centuries they existed as the most feared pair of monsters on the planet, due as much to their own power as their forbidden pairing of werewolf and vampire. Two months earlier, a rival stole most of her power. She prevailed, but her newfound weakness revealed the flaw in their pairing. Their happiness had been based on her lust for his blood and vampire ability to suppress the natural deterioration of his mind from man to beast. She could no longer heal his mind.

From over her shoulder, her companion glimpsed the shining moon. Memories washed away, leaving him consumed by the desire to hunt and kill. The prey no longer mattered. The vampiress before him was as good a choice as any.

“Did you say something, wolf?” she asked.

Her melodious voice strengthened his resolve just enough to keep the beast caged.

“No,” he growled. Then, he pointed toward the mansion. “Let’s go. We’re here to kill vampires, ain’t we?”

She smiled and reached out for his face. He turned away. In the corner of his eye, he saw her smile fade.

“If any oppose us, we kill them, but we are not here for ordinary vampires,” she said. “We are here for a vampire lord.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spiders Are Jerks

There are two things you need to know.  First, I built a pirate ship in the backyard. The why is not important.  Consider it a promise kept.

The second:  I am deathly afraid of spiders. As in, screaming like Bruce Campbell in the windmill in Army of Darkness level phobia.

The sky is clear and it’s a breezy eighty degrees, so tonight seemed like a good night to sit out on the old pirate ship, drink cheap rum, and look at the stars. I started on the rum ahead of time and headed out to the ship when it was nice and dark.

The stars were nice and bright. Crickets chirped. A bat buzzed by overhead, which was pretty cool.

I strolled up the gangplank of the ship and paused. Something wasn’t right. Flicking on the flashlight, I saw the first one and my blood ran cold.

A little gray bastard lounged in a beautiful spiral web of death, right across the entrance to the ship. I tried to swipe away the edge of the web so it would blow away, but he had secured it well and it didn’t budge.

The tiny beast smelled my fear and laughed at me.

“Fine,” I said, moving around to the other side of the ship. “I’ll hop up over here and head up to the poop deck.”

“Heh, heh. Poop deck,” the spider said.

“It’s the second level where the steering wheel is you jerk,” I said.

He kept laughing and pointed to the spot where I was about to climb up on the ship.

I shined the light up to see the spider’s partner six inches from my face in an even bigger web.
“Bastards,” I cried, stepping back. 

The spiders nodded knowingly at each other and began ignoring me.

My hand found the hardened wooden fighting escrima I’d tucked into my belt. Not sure why I brought it. I took lessons in stick fighting years ago and it just seems right to carry a weapon when you enter a pirate ship.  The rum may have played a role.

No. That’s not it. Somehow I knew the spiders would be waiting.

Two swings of the stick is all it would take. Then I could enjoy my cheap rum and cranberry concoction in peace.

I shined the light to aim my strike.  That’s when I saw them:  A menagerie of mosquitoes and gnats trapped in the web and waiting to be devoured. 

Something else occurred to me. I had not been bitten by a mosquito during my rum-laden spider confrontation. Not once. The little monsters were actually doing something productive.

I shined the light back to spider #2.  He covered his eight condescending eyes and gave me the finger. The effort this required was not lost on me as spiders do not actually have fingers.

“Fine,” I said, then downed my drink. I stood outside the ship in the sea of green and watched the stars for a while. 

I raised my empty glass to the spiders. “Tonight I let you live, but tomorrow you die.”

The spider spit a fly leg at me. “You’re lucky you’re too big to digest.”

“Your mother was a hamster,” spider #1 said.

“Don’t you quote Monty Python at me,” I replied.

They were still reciting the French castle scene from Holy Grail as I made it into the house.
I sat down on the couch and switched from cheap rum to expensive Scotch.


Spiders aren’t jerks.  They are assholes.  But, sometimes they serve a purpose.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ramblings on the Batman

Just finished watching The Dark Knight again.  Still haven't watched Dark Knight Rises because I don't need to. This movie is perfect. The Joker is perfect.

But ... our kids can't watch this movie until they are a lot older and that makes me sad. It is just too dark. Too scary. Too ... adult.

As a kid, I grew up watching Batman and Robin on the Superfriends and reruns of Adam West's Batman. They, too, were perfect at the time.

1989 brought Beetlejuice as the Batman everyone deserved. And it was perfect. Our kiddos have seen that one and the sequels -- even the god awful ones -- and loved them all.

I haven't watched Man of Steel. I am one of the three people on the planet who isn't frothing at the mouth for Batman v Superman.

You know what movie I'm looking forward to?  Ant-Man. You want to know why?  Because the kids saw the trailer before Avengers 2 and decided they want to see it.

It's a comic book movie that doesn't alienate the kids comic books used to be made for.  Thanks, Marvel.

Maybe one day there will be a new Superman or Batman movie our kids can enjoy. By then, they will probably be taking their kids to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book 3 is on its way!

*****EDIT -- No longer looking for beta readers.  Thanks to all who provided feedback! I will let you know when the book is ready. *****



For those of you who remember my dastardly duo of Lucifera and Mickey, I have some news.  The third book in my Villainous series, The Thirteenth Lord, is nearing completion!  The first draft is done and getting eyeballed by a select group of masochists kind enough to volunteer their services as beta readers.

For that matter, if you ... yes, YOU ... would like to beta read book 3 and help me iron out the story line kinks, comment on this post or send me an email at authormikemurphy (at) gmail (dot) com. 

If you haven't read the first two books but still want to beta read for book 3, I will provide digital copies of all three because I am such a nice guy.

That's not true.  It's really because being an unpaid beta reader is not as glamorous as it sounds and I greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to do that.  

Book 3 will mark the end of this trilogy, but not the end for the Villainous universe or the characters who inhabit it.  Well ... those who survive Book 3 at least.

Thank you to everyone who has read my books, long-neglected blog, twitter, and facebook ramblings!

More to come.

Mike




Saturday, July 27, 2013

Prelude

It was the night of the first full moon since their bond had been severed and something was wrong.
No.  Not wrong.
Different.

They fought, but that wasn't unusual. Their bond was based upon their mutual inability to properly kill each other, which is actually far healthier than most relationships.

Before most of her power was stolen, she was stronger and faster than he was. One ancient relic, a brainwashed priest, and a devious rival later and she was left no more powerful than a newly turned vampire.

But, she was far from helpless. The werewolf was stronger and faster, so she had to use weapons and cunning, but the result was the same--their fights still ended in a stalemate.  Often a bloody, painful stalemate.

As was often the case with them, the fighting was quickly replaced with carnal pursuits. On this particular evening, it was Lucifera's resolve that broke first, and she sank her fangs into Mickey's neck to greedily sap up his powerful werewolf blood.

She immediately convulsed and spat it out on the ground.

He looked down where she sat. He wanted to ask her what happened, but a growl came out instead. He tried to reach out to help her, but his fingers lengthened into claws. He wanted to feel horrified at what was happening, but he didn't.

Somehow it felt right.

"Wolf?"

Her word still had some meaning to him. The beast cocked its head to the side. The vampiress seemed familiar to him, but even that was fading.

She picked up her sword and stood slowly.

The monster eyed her curved blade with amusement. It laughed, but an even deeper growl sounded.

"Mickey?" Her voice held little hope that it would even know the word.

She was right.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Post at The Vampire Review: Scoundrels Are Cool


Han shot first.

With that statement, I reveal myself as the nerd that I am. So be it. I am a geek who prefers to see a character with a dark side.

Scoundrels are cool.

Real people aren’t all sunshine and roses, even though they may pretend to be. Everyone has both good and bad in them. Make-believe people should be the same way.

Take vampires for example.
(Read the rest at The Vampire Review!) 

Big thanks to Tami Jackson of The Vampire Review for having me over to her blog!  Check out Tami's debut title "Ravena & The Resurrected."




Friday, September 16, 2011

New novel: Lesser - Now available!

Now available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords in all eReader formats for $2.99!

Reviewers: Email me for an ARC if you are interested:  authormikemurphy(at)gmail(dot)com


Robyn has found the tomb of the most powerful vampire in the world. Now, different forces in the underworld either want to steal her secret or make sure it dies with her.

Two things stand in their way:

The vampiress Lucifera and her werewolf companion.

Whoever survives will find that the lesser of two evils is not always the right choice.
Coming in September 2011


And, what is on the tip of Lucifera's sword you ask?







Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Release: Here Be Monsters - An anthology of Monster Tales

For the past three months, I have been quietly working with several other authors and two artists to bring you all something special. Here it is.






Here Be Monsters
Eight tales of vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies, and other horrors:

M.T. Murphy - Blackmail & Spider Bag
S.M. Reine - Something Wrong
India Drummond - The Reaver
Anabel Portillo - Lux
Jeremy C. Shipp - Figs
Samantha Anderson - Deals and Demons
Sara Reinke - Periphery People


The book also includes several paintings by Dark Fantasy Artist Alissa Rindels and an original sketch by Spanish Artist Jose Manuel Portillo Barientos.

You will find horror stories, sci fi, urban fantasy, straight-up fantasy, and even a taste of bizarro fiction. They all have one thing in common: monsters.

What would you expect to pay for this monumental tome filled with literary masterpiece short stories?

$19.95?

$9.95?

$2.99?

How about $0? That’s right. This anthology is free on Smashwords. You can download the electronic file of your choice to read on your computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, or Sony eReader. If Smashwords doesn't work for you, contact me at my email address below and I will be happy to email you a copy in the format of your choice.

Those of you who have read my debut novel, Lucifera’s Pet, will see some familiar faces in my stories Blackmail and Spider Bag. You will also be introduced to a new character who will play a bigger role in my new novel, Lesser, which is launching next week!  If you would like an advance review copy for your blog or in return for an honest review on Smashwords/Amazon/Barnes&Noble, email me at authormikemurphy (at)gmail.com. I will begin sending those this weekend.







I’m not the only author launching a book this month.

S.M. Reine launched the sequel to her debut teen werewolf novel today: All Hallows Moon.



Also Bizarro fiction pioneer and Bram Stoker Award nominee Jeremy C. Shipp has published a monstrous anthology of his own: Aberrations.



Go forth, read, and review!
~M

Monday, June 20, 2011

Final cover art: Lesser

Take a look at the final cover art for my second Bad Moon novel, Lesser.



Alissa Rindels is the amazing artist who produced this painting of the vampire Lucifera. Alissa also painted the cover and interior art for Lucifera's Pet. Check out more of her fantastic artwork at her website.

Lesser is scheduled for release in September 2011. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Title and Cover Art - Bad Moon Book 2

After what has felt like a smurfing eternity, I am finishing up the draft for my follow up novel to Lucifera's Pet. Without further ado, here is the title:

LESSER - Bad Moon Book 2

The title, Lesser, has many meanings in the story. The most obvious is the old saying, "the lesser of two evils." While this comes into play, it has far greater significance. That's all I'm saying. Anything more would be spoiler territory.

I have also decided upon a title for the series: Bad Moon. Within the story, "bad moon" is a vampire slang term for a werewolf hunt--usually one in which the werewolf has virtually no hope of of surviving.

Now for the good part: the initial cover sketch.

I have once again had the great pleasure of working with Alissa Rindels on the cover art. She provided me with her initial sketch for the front cover this afternoon:


As you can see, at some point in the story, Lucifera has a pretty rough day. The back cover will continue the scene. If you want to see who or what is at the tip of her sword, keep on watching this blog.

Alissa will have an art booth at the 20th Annual Iowa Renaissance Festival and Gathering o' Celts this month, May 28-29-30, at Middle Amana Park (Medici Grove) - Amana Colonies, IA . If you are able to stop by, you might be able to see her working on this painting. Be sure to visit her website and check out her prints for sale. You can even purchase a hand embellished print, which is the next best thing to owning an original work.

I'd love to hear  your thoughts on the cover draft. Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Lucifera's Pet Cover Design

I am really digging the new eBook cover design for Lucifera's Pet by Robin Ludwig Design.


Big thanks to Alissa Rindels for the beautiful original painting Bellona Sleeps and to Robin Ludwig Design for turning it into a kickass cover!

I decided a revamp was in order to make it a little easier to see in the online bookstores. Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Giveaway! - Win a Kindle copy of Blood Faerie by India Drummond and a signed print copy of Lucifera's Pet by M.T. Murphy


Read on for a chance to win a Kindle copy of India Drummond's new release, Blood Faerie and a signed print copy of Lucifera's Pet by M.T. Murphy.

Yes. I just referred to myself in third person. I love doing that. 

I mean M.T. Murphy loves referring to himself in third person because he is a great big weirdo. That's better.

To celebrate the launch of her latest urban fantasy novel, Blood Faerie, author India Drummond will give away five Kindle copies of her book on its release day, June 1, 2011.

Blood Faerie is the first in India Drummond’s new series, Caledonia Fae.



The blurb:

Unjustly sentenced to death, Eilidh ran—away from faerie lands, to the streets of Perth, Scotland. Just when she has grown accustomed to exile, local police discover a mutilated body outside the abandoned church where she lives. Recognising the murder as the work of one of her own kind, Eilidh must choose: flee, or learn to tap into the forbidden magic that cost her everything.

To enter to win a Kindle copy of the new book, all you have to do is sign up for her email newsletter. The email list is only used to announce book releases and important events, and emails are sent out infrequently. (It’s free, and it’s easy to unsubscribe after the contest date if you find it’s not for you.) Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bTDfP

Five winners’ names will be announced on the India Drummond newsletter on June 1st, along with instructions for how winners can claim their free Kindle books. Only subscribers are eligible to win.

No Kindle? No problem! Anyone with a PC, Mac, or smart-device (iPhone, Blackberry, Android phone, etc) can read a Kindle book. Download free reading software here:

Want to quadruple your chances of winning? Simply tweet about the contest with a link to any participating blog post and include @IndiaDrummond in your tweet. Or, share the link on Facebook. (But be sure to add @India Drummond to tag her on the link so she will see it! – You can add her to your friend list here: http://www.facebook.com/india.drummond) And finally, add another entry to the list by posting about the contest on your blog.-- Tweet and share the link as much as you like, but only one additional entry per method, per person.

Win a signed copy of Lucifera's Pet!


For Werewolf Kibble blog readers, I am also holding a contest for a free signed copy of my novel Lucifera's Pet. To enter, post a comment below and sign up for India's email newsletter. For every ten people who enter my contest, I'll add another signed copy of Lucifera's Pet to the prize pool.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Zoe Winters: "...my demons are anatomically correct."

If I learned one thing from Rocky and Bullwinkle, it's that knowledge is power. Today, I am asking Paranormal Romance author Zoe Winters several seemingly random questions so that I may steal some of her power.

You're scoffing.

Don't scoff.

I can crack roasted pistachio nuts with my mind. Imagine what I'll be able to do after this interview.






MTM: What the hell is the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance anyway? Sometimes I wonder if a cover with cleavage + leather pants + tattoos (urban fantasy) is the only thing that separates the two genres. Then I slap myself and go watch Faith-heavy episodes of Buffy. There's a question in there somewhere.

Zoe: LOL. Faith was pretty hot. I always really liked Faith. I thought she was misunderstood. I bet... like a typical guy, you like those scenes where Faith and Buffy fight. Right? Because when they're rolling around in the mud like that... there is always that slim chance...

But... on topic... Urban Fantasy might have a romantic subplot, but it's not a primary focus on the story like it is in paranormal romance. The romance thread also doesn't have to have a happily ever after. And the heroine can be a real slut. Not always, but dude, these women seem to have a revolving door. Urban fantasy also tends to be told in first person more than paranormal romance is. (Or that's my observation, it could also just be the luck of the draw in the books I read.)

MTM: I have two rules in how I spend my time reading and/or watching movies/television: Absolutely no Lifetime movies and no rosy sappy romance stories. I like that in your books the storyline does not play second fiddle to the romance. Just how important is the plot in paranormal romance?

Zoe: You mean you don't curl up with popcorn with a woman-in-peril or a Hallmark Presents movie? My entire image of you has now changed. :P  I think plot is really important in PNR because the fascination isn't just boy meets girl, but the backdrop against which it all plays out and all the drama.

MTM: A werewolf, a succubus, and a vampire walk into a bar. Whose ego is the biggest? Who has the best hair? Who is most likely to eat the bartender?

Zoe: Unless this is a trick question, that's super easy. Vamp has all the ego, succubus has the best hair, and werewolf eats the bartender. I know I could have been creative and gone a different way, but it is what it is.

MTM: In your newest book, Save My Soul, demons take center stage. I remember in Kevin Smith's Dogma, angels and demons are revealed to be hung like Ken dolls in a shocking and heartwarming scene. Are your demons anatomically correct?

Zoe: LOL! Well, they don't stare dreamily into each other's eyes all day, so yes... my demons are anatomically correct, as are my angels (yet to be introduced but coming soon.)

MTM: My pet Schnauzer complains about sex scenes in novels, yet he reads all the juicy parts in books when I'm not looking. I think he forgets that Kindle defaults to the last page read. Plus, my phone ends up with dog hair all over it each morning. Should I confront him on this?

Zoe: The risk with confronting him is that you'll embarrass and stress him out, and he'll start peeing in your shoes. Probably you should ignore it and hope for the best.

MTM: What current projects are you working on?

Zoe: About to start writing rough draft for book three in the Pretverse. I'll be introducing a panther therian, an agoraphobic witch, angels, and the heaven dimension. I also might explain some stuff about guardians and what they are.

MTM: Word association time! Please respond with the first thing that comes to mind.

MTM: Vampire  
Zoe: Yes, please

MTM: Shiny
Zoe: bright

MTM: Romance
Zoe: chocolate

MTM: Mustache
Zoe: ewww

MTM: Captain Mal Reynolds:
Zoe: I am a leaf in the wind (I know, that's not who says that line, but you said first thing that came to mind.)

MTM: Thanks for another great interview, Zoe! My Schnauzer grudgingly thanks you, too.






Zoe Winters writes quirky and sometimes dark paranormal romance. She lives with her husband and two cats, and her favorite colors are rainbow and clear. For more information visit http://www.zoewinters.org or her blog at: http://zoewinters.wordpress.com

Save My Soul is available in Print, Ebook, and Audio, go here for more info: 

http://zoewinters.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/save-my-soul-now-available-in-ebook/

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Save My Soul by Zoe Winters


From the Amazon.com product description:

"All he’s asking for is her soul.


After buying the antebellum home she’s fantasized about since childhood, Anna Worthington discovers Luc, a dangerously seductive incubus who has been trapped in the house by a fifty-year-old curse. To rid herself of her problem house guest she’ll call on a priest, gypsies, ghost hunters, and the coven of witches from lust bunny hell. All she has to do is resist him long enough to break the spell so they can go their separate ways. If she doesn’t, she could die. And that would be the best case scenario."
 
I had planned to read the first chapter and then finish another book in my to-read pile, but Save My Soul would not go down without a fight. It started as a haunted house mystery, morphed into a steamy paranormal romance, and finished strong with an ending that wrapped up all the plot threads in a nice, neat, sexy bow of snarky and surprising fun.


The plot is engaging. The sex scenes are hot and full of tension. The prose is tight and laugh-out-loud funny in places.

My only regret is that I tore through this book in barely two days and now have to wait for the next book in the Preternaturals series.
 
Physics. What a pain.
 
Forget the stars on this one. Remember that scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Buffy and Spike have crazy sex so hard that they destroy a fucking building? Yeah you do. That was a great scene. I give Save My Soul five of those.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Public Display - Flash Fiction Dare

Through an odd twist of events on Twitter, I found myself on the receiving end of a dare to write a scene containing an inappropriate bit of intamacy in a public place. This is my somewhat tardy entry for said dare.

Read this and let me know what you think. Then, be sure to visit the other guilty parties and their naughty short stories:

Anabel
http://nemone7.livejournal.com/

Monica
http://tinyurl.com/3cosltt



Public Display

Bruscetta’s was not an exclusive restaurant; it was an impossible restaurant. There was no sign outside, no number in a phone book, and a minimum one-year waiting list. Only twelve tables filled the dining area.


Lucky patrons met with the chef, Alberto, when they entered. He would speak with them for a moment and then bring them the best meal they had ever eaten with no guidance or menu whatsoever.

It was like magic.

On this particular evening twelve enchanted couples feasted on dishes of exotic duck, eggplant, steak, pasta, and seafood that had been swimming only hours earlier. They drank white and Merlot wines that were older than they were. They savored the food and tried to forget about the sobering bill to come.

It was a typical evening at an atypical restaurant.

That changed during the main course with the opening of the front door.

A woman stepped into the dim candlelight of the room. She was pale with long, black hair that flowed down her shoulders. Her simple yet elegant black dress draped just above her knees. She was beautiful with an air of fierceness that showed through her emerald eyes even in the darkness.

Her escort closed the door behind her and glanced around the room with the kind of steely indifference with which a wolf surveys a flock of sheep. Where she was beautiful and elusive, he was wild and aggressive. From his shaggy sideburns to his old leather jacket, he did not seem like the type to accompany the woman, especially to a place like Bruscetta’s.

Alberto greeted the pair with his melodic accent that had somehow remained unaffected by many years away from his homeland. He immediately placed a thirteenth table against the wall.

The two sat and stared at each other, oblivious to the rest of the room.

Given the usual difficulty in obtaining a table, there were a few murmurs of discontent among the other patrons at their arrival, but they kept their dissatisfaction as quiet as possible.

After a few moments, Alberto returned and placed a rack of lamb in front of the man and a single glass of blood-red wine in front of the woman.

The conversation among the other couples changed from delight over the food to open speculation about the newcomers. They weren’t famous. They didn’t seem to be foreign dignitaries or local politicians. It was finally decided that they must simply have been friends of the chef.

While reaching this consensus, the others continued to observe the couple. The pair spoke low and stared directly into each other’s eyes, smiling and laughing occasionally. The man ate the rack of lamb, quite savagely, never offering any to the woman.

She didn’t seem to mind his poor manners. In fact, at one point, she reached across the table and touched his hand while he ate. With her eyes closed, she giggled and licked her lips slowly. He chewed purposefully, savoring every taste of the succulent meat and watching her reaction. She closed her mouth and pouted, then touched her chest when he swallowed, urging him to take another bite.

She gulped a bit of the wine, spilling a little on her cheek. The man wiped it away with his fingers and she grabbed his hand and licked the wine from his skin while staring into his eyes.

A few of the other couples looked away.

She pulled his finger into her mouth and a drop of crimson ran down the man’s hand. Blood?

The woman’s surly companion groaned as if in reply to the unspoken question on everyone’s mind.

Yes, blood.

The couples who looked away before, now looked on without hesitation.

The man reached under the table and grasped the woman’s chair. She released his hand with a purr and he effortlessly dragged her chair around until she sat right next to him.

He put his arm around her and leaned closer. She looked away and took a sip of wine. He smiled at her avoidance and touched her knee. Fingers slid up her alabaster skin and under her silk dress. A hint of smile crossed her lips as he leaned closer, brushing his oddly sharp teeth against the nape of her neck.

She turned back to him and shifted her body to face his. She crossed her legs and then brushed the calf of her dangling left leg gently over his groin.

The man growled audibly.

Then, they kissed. It was no quick peck of affection. It was the long, slow, lingering kiss of two lovers who knew what they wanted and were prepared to take it if necessary, regardless of the audience.

When they stopped, the man placed a wad of hundred dollar bills on the table and stood, still staring at the woman, feasting on her with his gaze. She smiled, relishing in the power she seemed to have over him.

She stood as well and rubbed her shapely backside against the prominent bulge on full display in the front of his trousers, drawing another growl from him.

They quietly left, leaving a room full of gaping jaws. A husband growled playfully at the wife. A girlfriend crossed her legs and brushed against the boyfriend.

Alberto returned and asked if anyone was ready for dessert.

Instead, twelve different couples all requested their checks as they suddenly had far better places to be.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

India Drummond: Eight inappropriate questions with the Ordinary Angels scribe


Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing India Drummond. Her debut novel, Ordinary Angels, is now available in eBook form everywhere.


Poor India. She agreed to answer my questions. Little did she know how little I know. I took this opportunity to ask her highly inappropriate questions about the angels in her story. Let the awkwardness commence.



India: I said I’d answer anything, and I meant it! Bring it.

MT: Your book brings angels down to Earth and puts them in the dirt with the rest of us. Do angels get tired of being thought of as chubby little winged babies flying around in cloth diapers or do they, in a freaky way, get off on it?

India: Understanding what angels are is a big part of the story. Zoe, the main character, has all the preconceived ideas, and Alexander, the main angel dude, has to tell her to forget everything she’s been taught, myths and Bible stories. I intentionally made angels unlike any human mythology. They’re part angel, part demon, part dragon… they are their own creatures and what humans know about them are all wrong. I love this because it let me write my own rules.

MT: How do angels feel about vampires? Do they watch reruns of Buffy or do they agonize over whether they are "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob"?

India: Alexander would probably like television! He’s fascinated with all things human. In my books though, there are no undead. There are ghosts, but these are human souls who got lost when they should have transitioned back to where they came from. The Higher Angels frown on human souls not being where they’re meant to be, and sometimes round them up. Scary thought, especially considering some of those spirits are Zoe’s friends.

MT: Will you be revisiting the Ordinary Angels world, or is this a stand alone novel?

India: The next novel in the series (which I think will be a trilogy) is called Familiar Demons, and it’s on the books for a 2012 release. It’s outlined and has a few chapters written, so it’s well on its way. This won’t be my next release though! I plan to release fantasy books in a couple of other worlds before I get to this sequel. I’m mean that way.

MT: Do angels poop? Wait. Don't answer that. That's a terrible question. Do they have sex?

India: Oh, do they ever have sex. Smouldering, saucy, and delicious. And something quite… unusual happens when they, ahem, reach their peak. This is definitely not a book for kids. Strong language and supernatural sizzle. It’s not classed as erotica, because the language used isn’t graphic. But the scenes themselves are quite spicy!

MT: Do angels have sideburns or other facial hair? I picture the archangels as having Sam Elliott paintbrush mustaches, even the female angels. Is this accurate or wishful thinking on my part?

India: They can change their appearance, so yes, they could have sideburns if they wanted to. Their basic physical structure stays the same, but they can wear their hair long or short, and change superficial things quite easily. That said, it is most definitely wishful thinking on your part!

MT: What is your next project after Ordinary Angels?

India: On June 1st I’ll be releasing Blood Faerie, an urban fantasy set in Perth, Scotland. It’s already back from the editor, so it’s just waiting for the proofreading and formatting stages! Later this year I plan to release Haywire Witch, the first in a series I’m calling “The Charms of Gerda Graves.” 2011 is a very busy year for me!

MT: Fuck it. I have to know. Do angels poop?

India: I never address it directly in the book, but I suppose I can give you the scoop. Eww, I wish I hadn’t said scoop.

At one point Zoe asks Alexander if he eats. He replies that he can, but he doesn’t have to. His friend and lawyer, a fallen angel named Thomas, runs a bar in realm outside the human world. So, we know for sure they drink too. I would say it’s safe to assume that the answer to the poop question is the same as the food question: they could if they wanted to, but I doubt they’d have to. Eating, like sex, is purely recreation for them (since they reproduce with each other differently than humans do—you’ll have to read Familiar Demons to find out more about celestial procreation), so it’s safe to say pooping would be, erm, purely recreational?

You win. Weirdest interview question ever. But I said I’d answer, and I’m a chick of my word.

MT: That you are! Thanks for playing along and best of luck.

India: Thanks so much for having me here today. It was great fun!



Highly offensive image of India as a werewolf angel. Note halo.

Author Bio:


India Drummond knew from age nine that writing would be her passion. Since then she's discovered many more, but none quite so fulfilling as creating a world, a character, or a moment and watching them evolve into something complex and compelling. She has lived in three countries and four American states, is a dual British and American citizen, and currently lives at the base of the Scottish Highlands in a village so small its main attraction is a red phone box. In other words: paradise.


The supernatural and paranormal have always fascinated India. In addition to being an avid sci-fi and fantasy reader, she also enjoys mysteries, thrillers, and romance. This probably explains why her novels have elements of adventure, ghosts (or elves, fairies, angels, aliens, and whatever else she can dream up), and spicy love stories.


Author website and blog: http://www.indiadrummond.com/


Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/india.drummond.author


Twitter: http://twitter.com/IndiaDrummond


To arrange an interview or contact the author, please email: author@indiadrummond.com