New This Week in Post Apocalyptic Fiction

Five Suns Saga Part III by Jim Heskett

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Kellen Richter survived the end of the world and the chaos that ensued. Now, he and a band of fighters will have to pull support from unlikely sources to prevent a familiar enemy from assuming control.

The final battle has begun. The warring factions will stop at nothing to destroy each other to seize control of what’s left of America.

Will Kellen and his friends maintain their freedom and find a way to live out their days in peace, or will the onslaught of power-hungry opportunists destroy everything?

The Blood Will Dry by Kate L. Mary

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Five years after an alien invasion, the earth is unrecognizable. The human race has been decimated and the sun completely blotted out by dark clouds that bring constant rain. All indigenous plant life has been killed off and replaced by vegetation that has proven to be as deadly as it is invasive, and the aliens that have taken over the planet are seemingly invincible.

Living in a crowded building with other survivors, Diana Foster wants nothing more than to forget what she lost the day the aliens arrived. But an incoming platoon brings a familiar face, one that not only opens old wounds, but also forces her to deal with the painful memories she's worked hard to forget. Bryan may not be the same cocky kid he was before the invasion, but his sudden appearance still turns Diana's world upside down in ways she never expected. When he showed up she knew it would mean finally facing her past, but she never thought she’d find a future that was actually worth living.

After years of struggling to find a weakness in the aliens' defenses, Diana stumbles upon a solution just as a new and more deadly threat surfaces. Faced with an attraction she never expected and a battle that most believe can't be won, Diana must work through her painful past as the survivors mount a battle that may determine the fate of mankind. If her plan fails it very well could be the end of humanity, but if works it will mean having a real future, and a chance to allow the blood to dry once and for all.

Winter Smith The Secrets of France by J.S. Strange

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A new world order, a city under control, and a new breed of zombie known as The Martyrs living alongside humans. France isn't safe. It never has been.

After fleeing from London, seventeen-year-old Winter Smith and her surviving friends learn that to survive in Paris means trusting those they don't know. An anti-government, known as The Union, are forming to take on V, a woman who has gained control of the world and has created the dead to establish a new world order.

But surviving in Paris is hard, as those who don't conform to V's new rules are quickly wiped out.

This not-so-typical zombie novel is the second instalment of the Winter Smith series. An action packed young adult horror that will keep you guessing, and wondering what could possibly happen next.

Dusk: A Dark Fantasy Novel by Tim Lebbon

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Kosar the thief senses that Rafe Baburn is no ordinary boy. After witnessing a Red Monk plunder Rafe's village and murder his parents, Kosar knows the boy needs his help. And now, for reasons he cannot fathom, others are seeking the boy's destruction.
Uncertain where to begin Kosar turns to A'Meer, an ex-lover and Shantasi warrior whose people, unbeknownst to him, have sworn to safeguard magic's return to the land of Noreela.

It is Rafe who bears this miracle of magic.

Now Kosar and a band of unexpected allies embark on a battle to protect one special boy. But horrific dark forces are closing in, and if they take magic for themselves dusk will fall forever.

Knight of the Wasteland by Jon Cronshaw

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Finding hope in a hopeless world...

In a world ravaged by dust storms and poisonous rains, Abel has survived feral dogs, raiders, and drug addiction...but he’s done with just surviving — now, he wants to start living.

When Abel stumbles across a boy suffering from the same addiction that almost killed him, he takes the kid under his wing and offers him a new life...a life free from drugs.

But when a brutal drug gang comes after the kid, Abel must risk everything to keep him safe and end The Family’s reign of terror, or die trying.

This Friday I will begin the next short story titled with the letter C, thank you Robert for the suggested title, Covenant. Nice juicy title, now which way do I go.

Help Wanted!

Beta Readers Needed

As I near the end of my current work in progress I want to try something different with this one. In the past I've always relied on an editor alone to get a second set of eyes on my work. This time I'd like to add 4 to 5 beta readers to the process. If you enjoy reading works in the horror / dark fantasy genre and wouldn't mind sharing your reaction to a work by completing a questionnaire at the end I'd like to talk to you. 

The work in progress had been titled A Father's Love and my goal is to win a kindle scout deal with it. I'm currently searching for a title that better reflects the story in a single word. But that's my problem, unless you as a beta reader come up with a better suggestion. 

I've added the first few paragraphs below so you can get a feel for the story.

I'm sorry, there is no compensation aside from a mention in the acknowledgements in the finished book, my eternal gratitude, and the chance to read something no one else has seen yet.

The manuscript will come in at a little over 80,000 words. I have the first 20 chapters ready for beta readers, though I still have to put together the questionnaire. 

If you're interested, drop me a line at  I'll be setting up a closed beta readers group on Facebook where everyone participating can share their thoughts. 

Thank you.

Richard Schiver


At night the world slipped on a different mask, as the shadows grew long and deep. A menacing disguise that transformed even the most innocent objects into terrifying creatures. The stack of boxes sitting drunkenly in the corner had become a crouching beast, a thing of fangs and claws ready to leap out and devour her the moment she looked away. Even her Little Princess table, where she had served tea to her collection of stuffed animals on many an occasion, had become a frightening object, whose long shadow reached out for her with the searching fingers of some nameless thing.

“It’s okay, Puddles,” she whispered to the stuffed bunny tucked under the covers beside her, “it’s just your magination.” She pulled Puddles closer to her side, and as she did, she saw her father with her mind’s eye as he wound up to throw another ball. His face a mask of determination as he focused on the task at hand, fading into the dark recesses of her memory as another emerged.

“It’s the witch,” Marjorie, her best friend from school whispered in her mind, drawing her gaze to the pair of windows that looked out upon a night filled with myriad possibilities. The pale moonlight was broken by the passage of dark clouds across the face of the moon, creating alternating bands of light and dark that served to deepen the already threatening nature of the night.

She was out there, the Witch, if Marjorie was to be believed. Searching for her next victim, looking for the next bad little boy or girl to lure back to her lair. With the blankets pulled nearly up to her eyes, her gaze tracked around the darkened bedroom in an endless search for threats.

She was a good girl, she sought to convince herself as the shadows of the night swirled around her in an endless, primitive dance. She listened to her mommy as best she could, and at this thought, she remembered her dress lying on the floor of her closet. She had been told to hang it up.

But had she?

No. The answer chilled her to the bone.

Come join me in this adventure, it''ll be fun, I promise. Drop me a line

Free Read Friday: Billy, The End

Read the entire story from the start:  BILLY


Instantly they were transported to the black depths of that gloomy forest, Sarah was clinging to his hand as he ran through twisted branches that reached out to snatch at his clothing. Ahead of them, in the distance,  he saw a square of soft yellow light that offered safety from the creatures of the night that crashed through the forest all around them.

His path was lit by a soft glow that seemed to be coming from him and he held up his free hand to look at the splayed fingers, each glowing with a soft luminescence that emanated from his flesh.

“Keep going,” she said from behind him as his feet faltered and he slowed in awe at the light that was coming from his own body.

The sounds of trees being torn asunder came from the forest around them, the frustrated thrashing of those shadowy beasts that could do nothing more than keep time with his flight.

“Hurry,” she said and he looked back to see she had nearly vanished into the shadows. Fear blossomed in his heart and the effervescent glow of his body flickered. As it did the night intruded upon the small circle that around them, ebony claws piercing the illumination, adding to the terror thundering through him.

His steps faltered as the glow diminished and the night, filled to overflowing with those ancient things, pressed in close around them. So close they brushed against the bare skin of his arm and he was overwhelmed by a calming sensation that sought to lull him into a more relaxed frame of mind.

That was how they go into you. Not through terror, or fear, or even the promise of respite from all the bad that was going on in your life. No, they slipped in when you least expected them to, when you were drifting in the featureless void between the light of vigilance and the shadowy realm of your dreams. When you were off guard was the most dangerous time of any night.

But once they got their hooks into you it was all over, unless.

As the night pressed in all around them he looked into his sister’s fading eyes, fear battling the sorrow that was once more welling up from that bottomless void. He felt their touch on that deep primitive level.  They were coming for them and there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it. More claws cleaved the fading light as his terror swelled to overwhelm him.

“I’m sorry,” he said, reaching out for her with one hand. A shadowy appendage caressed his fingers, leaving a chill in it’s wake as she slowly faded into the shadows that now surrounded them. The light of safety was too far away, on the other side of a vast gulf of nothingness that seethed with the creatures of the night.

“It’s okay,” she whispered in his mind, “I will always love you,” the words were so alien coming from her. Words she had never once in his memory spoken, and the realization struck him with the force of a physical blow. He loved her too, as only a younger brother could love an older sister.

The light that had been waning suddenly flared as his love for her infused him with renewed strength and a desire to save her. Those shadowy things were overwhelmed by the pulse of light, several becoming trapped in its glow, their misshapen figures devoured by the light that turned them to ash upon its touch.

She came back to him, gaining more substance, fed by his love for her. Her grip tightened on his hand as he turned and ran through the shadowy depths with her in tow, straight for the small opening that offered them an escape from this place of shadows. Around them the forest crackled as those shadowy things fled in the wake of the light that burned from him.

Reaching the opening he dove through, into he light and the safety if offered. At the last moment her hand slipped from his. He bounced onto her bed once before rolling off the side onto the floor.

“Sara?” he called out as he scrambled to his feet and looked around her empty room, his gaze coming to rest on that poster.

“No,” he screamed as he attacked the poster on the wall. Jamming his hand into the shadows, coming up hard against the unyielding surface of the wall behind it. He had failed and the shadows had gotten what they wanted. Sara was still trapped on the other side, and he couldn’t get to her.

“Sara,” he screamed as his rage was deflated by the helplessness of a six year old. He had been crazy to think he could do anything to change what had happened. Sorrow overwhelmed him as he dropped to her bed and cried into her pillows that still carried her scent.

From outside came the sound of a car door closing and he pushed himself up from the bed, climbing down he crossed to the window and saw his father walking up the short walk to the front door. Turning from the window he crossed her room to the hallway, and took the stairs down to the first floor. His footsteps heavy with sorrow and bitter disappointment.

“Hey sport, let’s go, Sara’s awake, she wants to see you,” his father said and he stopped to state as him, his mouth hanging open.

“Don’t just stand there catching flies with your mouth hanging open, let’s go, Sara’s waiting. I wanted to call but she insisted I bring you to the hospital.”

“Sara’s okay?” Billy said as he slowly approached his father who stood by the front door. From outside came the sound of Mr. Winslow cutting his grass, and the Baker kids still playing.

She was okay? They had made it? But what happened at the end, when he lost her hand?

“She’s not one hundred percent yet, and she’ll have to stay in the hospital, but she woke up this morning.”

Then he remembered the poster still hanging over her bed.

“Hang on a second,” he said before he turned and raced back up the steps. In Sara’s room he crossed to the poster and pulled it from the wall, rolling it up as the sound of thrashing came from the shadows around the base of the tree. Once he was done he raced down the hallway to the attic doorway. In the attic he searched through the old Christmas stuff piled in the corner until he found what he was looking for. A cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper. Sliding the poster into the tube he crossed to the darkest part of the attic and hid the tube behind a pile of old boxes.

As he walked down the steps from the attic he heard a faint clicking coming from where he’d hidden the cardboard tube. It would be safe for her to come home now, and he promised himself that once he got home he would sneak that tube out of the house and bury it somewhere deep in the forest behind their house.


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The Dark Tower Movie: Review

I've been a fan of Stephen Kings work since the mid seventies when I was in the military. Anyone who has served knows military service is comprised of long periods of unrelenting boredom punctuated by brief moments of sheer terror. It's during these down times that most people turn to books as a way to pass the time. I was no different and quickly amassed a library of paperbacks that followed me around the world. You always had a book handy for when it was time to hurry up and wait.

I see you there in the corner nodding your head, you understand what I'm talking about.

As a fan I read each of the  Dark Tower books as they were released, following Roland of Gilead in his travels as he sought out the man in black. So it was with a mix of trepidation and excitement that I watched as The Dark Tower movie came into being. I've seen many of the movies based on his books, and with the exception of The Shining, most were failures. Which I can understand, Stephen King is a writer whose prose tends to draw you into the story, making you feel as if you are a part of the action. A feat that is very difficult to pull off on the screen. There is an intimacy in his work that you either get, or you don't.

So back to my thoughts about the movie.

On my day off I attended the noon showing of The Dark Tower. I'd read the reviews, saw the low ratings on rotten tomatoes, but I had to see for myself. My first clue that things were amiss was when I entered the theater to find only three other people there. About twelve more showed up before the movie started. Of course the time of day could have been a factor, I kept hoping.

To say I'm disappointed in what they did, would be an understatement.

For those who haven't read the dark tower series I believe the movie would be great to see. It's got everything one would want in an action fantasy. The misunderstood child whose dreams are in fact reality. The brooding hero who grudgingly accepts the task of protecting the child. A villain everyone loves to hate, a man who can kill with a word, and doesn't hesitate to do so. And whose only purpose in life is to destroy that which stands in his way, while at the same time taking down the hero. 

The use of the children to attack the tower was reminiscent of The Shining and its sequel Doctor Sleep. Of course that psychic ability Uncle Steve refers to as The Shine, and alternate realities are a common thread that populates much of his work.

But if you've been a King follower for any length of time you will likely be sorely disappointed by the movie. While it's an action packed thrill ride that adheres to the main thread of the series, with impressive special effects, and likable characters, it falls far short of the depth and breadth of the book series. It might have been better to not even link it to the series, instead of saying based on The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, in the opening credits maybe they should have went with inspired by.

But there's enough there I believe, to draw new readers to the series to find out what all the fuss is about.

The previews for IT were astounding. Hopefully it fares much better than The Dark Tower.

Overall I rate the movie a solid 3.5 stars. 

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The Dreadland Chronicles is a post apocalyptic dark fantasy inspired by Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, that seeks to answer the following question.

If Roland Deschain was the last gunslinger, who will be the first?

They are three, bound by a fourth, coming together in a post apocalyptic world to confront a growing evil that threatens to destroy mankind once and for all. But can they overcome their own differences in time to save their world, and the fate of all the others?

Fourteen years have passed since the dead walked, and obscurity means survival in an increasingly dangerous world. For the survivors compound at Bremo Bluff that obscurity is threatened when a group of children are abducted.

Four boys embark on a quest to rescue the children. A journey that will lead them into adulthood, with a brief detour through the Dreadlands, as they come face to face with the harsh reality of a brutal world beyond the barriers that had served to protect them.

In the dead city of Richmond they will face a savage cult who worship a creature of the night. They are not gods, nor are they demons. Born of despair these creatures lived along the shadowy edges of our well lit world. Where misery dwelt hand in hand with anguish.

When the dead walked, and man fled the cities to the east, he left behind an offspring of man’s despair. Once viewed as the nightmare imaginings of a fevered mind, these creatures were now awake in a world where the population that served as their food source has been severely reduced.

Awake, and very, very, hungry.

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