Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths. 
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Carrie Ryan
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover: (March, 2009), ISBN-13: 978-0385736817
Paperback: (February, 2010) ISBN-13: 978-0385736824

Debut novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is a compelling action-packed story filled with the horrors of a world succumbed to zombies and is the first of a series.

Mary’s life within the village surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth is too secluded for her after growing up listening to her mother’s stories of the ocean and what the world was like before the Return. She dreams of leaving the village one day to see the ocean for herself, and after a breach threatens her home, it looks like she’ll get her wish as she and her closest friends take a journey that leads them into an unknown world.

While Mary is torn between the boy she loves and the boy who loves her, she never loses faith in her mother’s stories and strives forward in their journey to see that what her mother said was true.

This book is captivating, compelling, and a fast-paced zombie thriller that will have you turning page after page and sitting on the edge of your seat until finished. Never have I been so pulled into a book, wrought with emotion, and nearly screaming out loud as things went bump in the night in the story and in reality. It pulls you in, holds you within its pages as you make your way through with Mary’s narration and intense internal dialog that has you feeling every emotion, every fear, and hearing every sound—especially those ongoing moans of the Unconsecrated.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a top-notch YA book that carries a lot of praise with it, which can be found on Carrie Ryan’s website:

Kudos to Carrie Ryan for writing such a brilliant piece of work and for coming up with a title that literally jumped off the shelf at me. It was the reason I bought the book!

Read the excerpt here.

The Dead-Tossed Waves continues the series, available now, as is book 3, The Dark and Hollow Places.

Bewitching Book Tours: The Zombie Story by M.M. Shelley

MMShelley_TheZombieStory_HRHi Everyone! I’m M.M. Shelley and I’d like to give a BIG thanks to The Zombie Survival Crew for having me today so that I can share my novella:

The Zombie Story

My story is about Magick and Zombies, a little different take on the Zombie genre and follows the adventures of Orlando as he arrives in a new city.

Ruben Juarez has always been careful; he’s had no choice not to be. Orphaned at a young age it has been just him and Elodie, his younger sister, they avoided the foster system by staying anonymous. It hasn’t been easy and it has made him feel disconnected.

To make money he became involved with underground fighting and he has become quite good at it. He can detect someone’s weak spot just by watching how they carry themselves. Ruben has never boasted about the number of wins he has on his belt or about anything else for that matter. Boxing has always been a way for him to burn off steam, a way to forget about everything and just live in the moment.

He didn’t begin hunting zombies until he learned that he could make money at it. He was approached by a man named Maxwell who made him a generous offer if he would agree to train Orlando Drake.

It was an odd offer, but the money was good so he didn’t question it. Maybe he should have questioned it and just maybe he should have walked away. If he had not felt a deep responsibility to look out for his sister he just might have walked away.

His dream would be to just ride on his motorcycle from town to town, nowhere in particular–just far away from everyone who knows him. Ruben has never been one to run away from his responsibility but if it wasn’t for Elodie he just might decide to up and leave.

Thanks again for hosting this stop on my tour!

About the Book:

The Zombie Story is the first novella in a young adult series.

Unfolding on the streets of Los Angeles is a new breed of monster…

Orlando, fresh from the mid west, arrives at his new high school on his Harley Davidson.

All he wants is to make it through the day, and begin his training as a Zombie Hunter.

But someone has different plans for him.

Currently free for your Kindle


* * * * * * * * * *

Dead Relatives
Book 2

After discovering what was hidden in Mexico and having to sneak back across the border Orlando returns to Los Angeles, but is unable to return to his home.

Instead of hunting Zombies he is now hunted.

Betrayed by those he thought he could trust, Orlando must keep the truth of what he knows to himself.

That is until dead relatives return with dire warnings.


* * * * * * * * * *

About the Author:

M.M. Shelley is a storyteller, word smith and dreamer. She has traveled the world extensively in search of the magic which is often overlooked in every day life. M.M. Shelley is a native of southern California, and a student of mythology from which she gets much inspiration.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Dauntless by Shannon Mayer

Dauntless is the third book of Shannon Mayer‘s Nevermore trilogy, a Zombie-ish Apocalypse novella series.

In this final installment, be prepared for death to come knocking, as the apocalypse and monsters stretch the bonds of love and friendship, demanding a reckoning of those who are willing to do what they must to survive.

When “I Am Legend” meets “Resident Evil,” the Nevermores in this trilogy are similar to the “vampires” in I Am Legend with their feral pack mentality, and the cause of the change in humans is because of a supposed cure-all drug, similar to the toxin in Resident Evil. The Nevermores aren’t quite zombies, in that they aren’t dead, but they will eat anything and everything.

Minor spoilers:

Dauntless picks up after Bound, continuing Mara’s and Sebastian’s story of love and survival even when everything on the planet is stacked against you. It begins in the mad scientist’s compound, follows their escape, and Mara’s struggle to fight for Sebastian and their child, even when he doesn’t want to continue on. Did Donovan’s cure work? For a good amount of time, Sebastian is sick as hell and on the verge of death. Throughout the trilogy, Mara makes some pretty stupid decisions, which someone points out to her, and yet, she somehow manages to make it. How, we’ll never quite know.

Scout, Mara’s loyal Nevermore, returns to help and in the end, gives his life to save his alphas’ lives. He was a very likable character; one that was written well enough to be remembered for a long time.

The trilogy is essentially one book split into three. There is also a short story, first published in Forever Nocturne e-zine, that goes with the trilogy, centered on two other characters. The entire Nevermore trilogy is a quick and easy read, though it could have used a better copy edit. Some of the mistakes were a little distracting, but the average reader likely won’t notice most of them.

Dauntless was definitely the “love will conquer all” happy ending. I won’t, however, tell you where they’re heading or the surprise that waits.

Thank you, Ms. Mayer, for such an entertaining series. I look forward to your Celtic Legacy series next.

You can find Shannon Mayer on her website:

The entire Nevermore trilogy is available at the following links:




Scattered – (Scattered first appeared in Forever Nocturne e-zine under the title No Way Safe)

This review originally posted on Jinxie G‘s book review site.

Bewitching Book Tours: Mama Lona’s Man by Brett O’Neal Davis

MamaLonasManWe had the pleasure of catching up with Brett Davis on his web-wide tour of Mama Lona’s Man a zombie/voodoo thriller, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions we felt our Zombie Survival Crew brigadiers would be interested in.

Mama Lona’s Man
The Straw Man Series, Book One
by Brett O’Neal Davis

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Number of pages: 219
Word Count: 74,000
Cover Artist: Cate Meyers

Book Description:

Mama Lona’s Man combines a Caribbean love story with a zombie thriller. It’s a bit James Bond, a bit “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and a dash of “Night of the Living Dead.

The leading man is an ex-Navy SEAL controlled by a witch doctor. When he meets an American girl caught up in island intrigue, they fall in love even though he’s been dead longer than she’s been alive.

  1. When did you first begin writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?

    • I have been writing my whole life, although I didn’t start trying seriously to write a novel until I was 21 years old. I have always enjoyed reading, mainly novels, so at some point it seemed natural to try to create one of my own. I have nothing against short stories—they are very hard to do well—I just have always tended to think in terms of longer stories, so novel writing was more natural to me. And, this is going to sound bad, but when I was younger I read “Less than Zero” and thought, I could do that. So I tried.

  2. What books and authors have most influenced your life?

    • I have always been most impressed, I think, by authors whose work I find very difficult at first. I am a huge fan of the poet Dylan Thomas, whose imagery can be very dense and hard to tease apart. I am amazed at the career of William T. Vollmann, whose “You Bright and Risen Angels” blew me away, although I still don’t think I quite understand it. I also admire J.R.R. Tolkein. I got through “The Hobbit” easily enough as a kid, but it took me a lot longer to be able to tackle “Lord of the Rings.” I am envious of the ability to create a world that people can inhabit as if it’s real, and someday maybe I’ll achieve something like that. And, although he’s largely forgotten as a writer per se, I’ll add Ian Fleming to this list. My zombie character was greatly inspired by the James Bond series. Not the movies, but the books.

  3. Tell us a little about your main characters. How easy/difficult was it for you to write a 20-year-old college girl and at the same time climb into the head of a dead ex-Navy Seal?

    • Abigail Callisto is a troubled but brilliant young college student whose father works for the government in a very hush-hush intelligence role. Her mother died when she was young and she doesn’t remember much about her. She’s very self-reliant and couples an artistic temperament with a real genius for electronics. Randy Straw, short for Ravinell, is a young SEAL who was killed in the invasion of Grenada in 1983. For reasons that are detailed in the book, he’s brought back to life as the slave of a witch doctor. He’s a young man removed from the effects of time, kind of like a more muscular Peter Pan.

      Each character presented a unique challenge. I have been privileged to know a lot of smart, strong women in my life and I drew upon all of them in creating the character of Abigail. The toughest part was writing about her computer hacking ability. She’s much, much smarter than I am. As for Randy, I did a fair amount of research on Navy SEALS but the hardest part was trying to cast my mind back to the world of 1983, which is the last time he was really connected to the world of the living. He has no idea what a cell phone is and the hottest computer of his day was probably a Commodore 64.

  4. Faced with a world infested with flesh-eating biters, what would be your go-to method of defense and why?

    • I admire Daryl Dixon’s work with the crossbow, so I’m going to have to go with that. It’s quick and quiet and doesn’t attract more biters. Maybe if I really wanted a good workout I would switch to a regular bow, and if I were being truly he-man I would make my own bow from a tree that I chopped down, with maybe zombie gut for string.

  5. In this ever-changing world, it behooves us to be prepared for disaster to happen at any moment. The Zombie Survival Crew members have a “go-bag” filled with items essential for their survival should disaster strike and they must flee to survive. What are the most essential items for your go-bag and why?

    • A bunch of contact lenses and fluid so I could see (I really need to get Lasik done before the apocalypse arrives). A digital camera and a laptop. Once the plague passes, people are going to want a record of what happened and I intend to corner that market. A solar charger, so the laptop and camera won’t die. Some clean underwear. Coffee beans, and some kind of coffee-making device, maybe one of those little French-press things. Because without caffeine, I just wouldn’t care.

  6. How did you come up with the premise for Mama Lona’s Man? And what do you feel makes your book stand out in the zombie and voodoo lit world?

    • I got the general idea for “Mama Lona’s Man” quite a long time ago, when my uncle gave me a cool set of original edition James Bond books that were published in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The books have a different vibe from the movies … they’re almost as much travelogue as adventure, because Bond goes to fun places and Fleming liked to describe them at some length. And, of course, Bond never gets killed. So I started thinking about having a secret agent type who cannot be killed, which led me to make him a zombie, and I wanted the setting to be a Bond-like romp in the Caribbean, and the rest started to fall into place. It took a long time, though. It wasn’t until I focused the book around my lead female character, Abigail Callisto, instead of my zombie hero, Randy Straw, that it fell into place and really became something that could sustain a short series.

      As for what makes it stand out, I think it’s the sort-of return to the classic Haitian zombie model of old. I say “sort of” because I play pretty fast and loose with actual historical Voodoo practice, and I just flat out made up some things to suit my story, which calls for the zombie man to be truly dead but not in an icky way. There are some other sexy zombies out there, but they are in the minority, and I think the way I created mine is unique.

  7. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing for a horror audience?

    • Being scary is the hardest thing for me. Even though there are some pretty horrific scenes in the book, in the main it’s not particularly scary. In general I find movies to be more effective in actually scaring people than books, because if you’re reading a book and get creeped out you can always look at your cat or something to reassure yourself, but you can’t really do that if you’re in a dark theater.

  8. Tell us a little bit about your work with robotics. Are there things we could use come the dawn of the zombie apocalypse?

    • I edit a magazine, published by a trade association, that covers unmanned systems and robotics. I couldn’t put a robot together if you gave me a Lego kit and built half of it in advance, but I like to talk to people who can. And, yes, there are many systems that would come in handy when the end times begin. Any kind of far-seeing sensor that would tell you where the shambling hordes are at any given time would be handy, and there are a lot of those out there. The forward-looking infrared sensors that can detect body heat would probably not be of much use against zombies, but a ground robot with a machine gun on top would be just the thing.

  9. What are you working on now? Can you tell us your latest news?

    • I am plotting out more adventures for Abigail Callisto and Randy Straw, the heroes of “Mama Lona’s Man.” I’m picturing a five-story arc. I already know how it’s going to end, just am not positive yet how I’m going to get there. Also, I spent a big chunk of last summer shooting a (very) low-budget vampire movie with some great actors from the DC area. I’m just beginning the editing on that, which will take a while, but should be a lot of fun. I hope it will show up on a screen near you at some point in 2013. It may be an iPad screen, but that’s still a screen.

  10. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?

    • Yes … please give me feedback on my zombie man and his brainy gal as their adventures progress. I want their adventures to span the globe, so please contact me via my blog and let me know where you’d like them to go. Don’t just read the adventures, help direct them. And, pay attention to the advice you get from the Zombie Survival Crew. You just might need it!

BrettDavisAbout the Author:

Brett O’Neal Davis is a native of Florence, Ala., and attended the same high school as Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley. He studied journalism at the University of North Alabama and the University of Missouri, writing about music whenever possible. He also briefly “fronted” the one-man punk band Screwhead. Despite clearing $1.50 in profit on consignment sales of the band’s lone album at Salt of the Earth Records in Columbia, Mo., he turned to the slightly more stable world of aerospace and defense journalism, working today in the field of unmanned systems and robotics in Washington, D.C.

He is the author of four science fiction and fantasy novels, all published by Baen Books. The first, The Faery Convention, was listed among the best fantasy novels for 1995 by Science Fiction Chronicle, and Two Tiny Claws was named to the 2000 Books for the Teen Age List by the New York Public Library. An occasional panelist at area science fiction conventions, he also has discussed fiction writing at National Press Club events and at literary festivals, including the annual T.S. Stribling celebration at the University of North Alabama. Mama Lona’s Man is his first foray into paranormal romance, but it won’t be the last.

Smashwords | Amazon | Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Bound by Shannon Mayer

Bound is the second book of Shannon Mayer‘s Nevermore trilogy, a Zombie-ish Apocalypse novella series.

A continuation from “Sundered” that will again shock you with life in an apocalypse with twists, thrills, monsters, and, of course, an undeniable love story.

The trilogy is “I Am Legend” meets “Resident Evil.” The Nevermores are similar to the “vampires” in I Am Legend with their feral pack mentality, and the cause is because of a supposed cure-all drug, similar to the toxin inResident Evil. The Nevermores are quite zombies, in that they aren’t dead, but they will eat anything and everything.

Bound continues right where Sundered left off, where Sebastian attacks Mara along the back path behind their house. Directly after, they’re captured by an “army” squadron and taken from their farm. One of the Nevermores consistently outside the fence of their home, whom Mara named Scout, crawls up under the truck without being seen and makes it to the squadron’s compound, to Mara’s pleasant surprise. When the leader discovers she has control over Scout, mainly due to the fact that she stopped Scout from killing him, he decides to have Mara train the Nevermores.

Bound is a quick and easy read. There seemed to be a character name mix up at one point, but I could be mistaken and misjudged the relationship the author was attempting to build. It left me a little confused. Listed as paranormal romance, Bound is full of warmth and the power of love at its best, and heart wrenching at its worst.

We can only hope that in the next book, Dauntless, love truly will conquer all and Mara and Sebastian will get their happy ending.

You can find Shannon Mayer on her website:

The entire Nevermore trilogy is available at the following links:




Scattered – (Scattered first appeared in Forever Nocturne e-zine under the title No Way Safe)

This review originally posted on Jinxie G‘s book review site.

Sundered by Shannon Mayer (Book Review)

Sundered is the first book of Shannon Mayer‘s Nevermore trilogy, a Zombie-ish Apocalypse novella series.

Compared to “I am Legend”, Sundered will take you into the dark realms of an apocalypse, with a new breed of zombie that will have your heart pounding, your palms sweaty and the pages flying. A Novella with true bite.

This is Ms. Mayer’s first release, and it’s a good start. The story is an “I Am Legend” meets “Resident Evil” book, in that the creatures are similar to the “vampires” in I Am Legend without the vampire aspect but having the wolf pack mentality, and the cause is similar to the Resident Evil drug/toxin that kills everyone off. Except in Sundered, people don’t die from getting the Nevermore shot; they become feral predators. Quite the unique little twist—one of many within the book.

Readers can easily identify with Mara, the main character. She’s trying to lose weight and trying to get pregnant…again. After having a miscarriage, her world was devastated and it threw her into a deep depression. But when the Nevermore “miracle” drug becomes available, Mara’s excitement can hardly be contained. Her husband Sebastian isn’t quite so convinced, but when Mara goes in to get the shot, her world shatters once again. She discovers it may have been her saving grace, but as the apocalypse takes hold of the world around them, Mara soon learns that not every story has a happy ending.

The novella could have used another edit, as the timeline is a bit off in one area, but all in all,Sundered is a quick, easy, and entertaining read. Listed as paranormal romance—and no, there is no “zombie” sex, thankfully—Sundered is full of warmth and the power of love at its best, and heart wrenching at its worst, enough to make one cry. Three. Times.

We welcome Shannon Mayer into the world of published authors and look forward to reading more from her.

You can find Shannon Mayer on her website:

The entire Nevermore trilogy is available at the following links:

Sundered – Book 1

Bound – Book 2

Dauntless – Book 3

Scattered – Short story – Scattered first appeared in Forever Nocturne e-zine‘s October 2011 edition under the title No Way Safe.

This review originally posted on Jinxie G‘s book review site.

Bewitching Book Tours: Perseverance by James Lacey

The Zombie Survival Crew is happy to welcome James Lacey, author of Perseverance: A Zombie Tale today. First we’ll start of with a little bit about the book, and then we’ll get some insight from James on the pending zombiepocalypse.

Perseverance: A Zombie Tale
James Lacey

Publisher: 23 House Publishing
Pages: 324


It didn’t happen the way it was supposed to …

I am a teacher. At least, I was before it all happened, before I was forced to survive. I taught social studies at the high school. I was also the coach of the school’s successful debate team. It was a cold Saturday in January when I heard the first rumor of trouble …

You know, pop culture had defined the zombie apocalypse time and time again, all coming from the minds of horror writers, film producers, and video game designers. Who knew that when it really happened, it wouldn’t be anything like they all predicted. Oh sure, the dead reanimated, and they were certainly hungry for living flesh…but what were the mysterious red-eyes, zombies that moved faster than their stumbling counterparts and seemed to not only communicate, but to exert some kind of control over the others.

The Oracle managed to catch up with James on his blog tour and was able to get some valuable insights from someone forecasting about the zombieapocalypse. And you’ll definitely want to check out the video at the bottom of this post.

  1. When did you first begin writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
    • I began writing when I was very young. I remember handwriting little stories while other kids would color. I remember being really excited when we got our first family computer and I could type them out in a text file and print them on our old dot matrix printer. Writing my first full-length novel was just the natural progression of a life-long passion.
  2. What books and authors have most influenced your life?
    • I was a huge fan of classical literature. Still am. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is by far my favorite literary character. As far as the zombie lore goes, I have to give a lot of influential credit to Max Brooks, who I think redefined what the genre means by going so in-depth with the individual character stories and different perspectives in World War Z.
  3. Tell us a little about your main character. How does a social studies teacher develop the necessary skills to survive a zombie apocalypse?
    • When the apocalypse comes, you do what you have to do. He adapts quickly and lives in a somewhat rural area at the beginning of the story. People in areas like that have this ingrained rustic quality that will go a long way in the apocalypse. But most importantly, as much as possible, he thinks before he does anything. You have to keep a level head if you want to survive, even if a zombie is about to bite your face off.
  4. Faced with a world infested with flesh-eating biters, what would be your go-to method of defense and why?
    • Right away I’m grabbing my own leather jacket, like the main character wears, and a good sturdy knife. Wearing a leather jacket in the story wasn’t an accident and is something I thought about hard when outfitting my character. Leather is lightweight, usually somewhat waterproof and very tough to bite through. That’s why dog-training gloves are made of leather. You’ll certainly feel pain and a pinch of something biting you, but it takes a lot to gnaw through it. And, leather is easy to find if you don’t have it already. Most people I know have a leather jacket (and some have leather pants, but I won’t judge). Tell me how many people you know own lightweight Kevlar you could take after they turn?
  5. In this ever-changing world, it behooves us to be prepared for disaster to happen at any moment. The Zombie Survival Crew members have a “go-bag” filled with items essential for their survival should disaster strike and they must flee to survive. What are the most essential items for your go-bag and why?
    • My go bag has the following: a clean pair of socks to alternate with the ones I’ll be wearing when it’s time to go. You can’t flee zombies if you develop a nasty fungus infection on your feet. Flint and tinder and dryer lint to start a fire when it’s safe or necessary (I picked that up in the scouts when I was younger). A good multi-tool or swiss army knife probably doesn’t need an explanation. At least six feet of parachute cord can be used for a multitude of things. And lastly, my pistol, because if I have it I’ll use it, but that doesn’t mean I need it.
  6. How did you come up with the premise for Perseverance? And what do you feel makes your book stand out in the zombie lit world?
    • When I sat down a few years ago to write Perseverance I had no intention of writing a full-length novel. It started as a short-story that I was writing one night when I was bored. Just a few pages about the beginning of the apocalypse from a regular guy’s perspective. And then I gave it to a friend who thought it was really good and asked what would happen next, so I wrote the next part. From there it just kept growing and growing and about eight months later the first draft was done. I think it stands out because of the twists to the lore that are in there, and because you never really know what’s going to happen next. Oh and the ending. Everyone tells me the ending is really good and I’ve been getting demands for a sequel already.
  7. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing for a horror audience?
    • Real horror fans are not scared by what they are reading. They are curious. Think about it like watching a horror movie, you keep watching because you need to know what’s going to happen next. Horror book fans are the same way, just with a different medium; they want to know just how far a character or antagonist will go to push the human condition. I tried to do that in my book. Yeah, the action is there along with the blood, guts and gore, but they’re never the focus in a really good horror story.
  8. Tell us a little bit about your work with disabled adults and children.
    • My other passion when I’m not writing. My “9 to 5” job is working with disabled adults and trying to teach them job skills to use when they graduate high school. Outside of work I’m a Special Olympic coach for track and field events, as well as basketball. My basketball team has won the county competition 3 years in a row and many of my athletes have come back with medals after the Pennsylvania State Special Olympic Competition at Penn State University. And anyone who has ever seen these competitions know that it is no joke, the athletes are incredibly talented. Two years ago our county program named me “Coach of the Year” and it’s one of the biggest honors I’ve ever received. Working with these individuals has been a huge influence on my life, so much so that I’ve made a pledge on my blog to donate a percentage of my personal royalties from Perseverance back to the program.
  9. What are you working on now? Can you tell us your latest news?
    • A few things, actually. If you’ve been to my website you’ve seen the zombie-themed “Call Me, Maybe” parody that I shot with my friends to help promote the book. We’re working on another one now (Zombie-themed Christmas…all I’m going to say), which should be a lot of fun. Also, I’m writing a new short story that features a special needs individual during the zombie apocalypse because I don’t think that’s been done before. And I have some long-term plans to expand the website and the content there, but that’s a little ways done the road.
  10. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
    • Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk to you today. I hope that you check out the website and, if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Perseverance. Oh, and remember to aim for the head.

About the Author:

James Lacey lives in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. When not writing, he works with disabled adults and children as a paraprofessional and Special Olympics coach. James also enjoys hiking, camping and watching football.

Endorsement: “James Lacey takes the classic zombie story that we all know and love, and then twists it off into the new directions and unexplored territory. Perseverance is fresh, exciting, and edge-of-the-seat spell-binding.”

– Samantha Murphy, 13 Nights of Blood: Legends of the Vampire

Website | Twitter | Barnes and Noble | Amazon


Check out the video spoof James did called It’s a Zombie, Baby!

Bewitching Book Tours: Mad World: Sanctuary by Samaire Provost

Mad World Book 2
Samaire Provost

Genre:YA Paranormal
212 pages
Word Count: 59,780

Book Description:

The year is 2017, and the Black Plague infection has swept across most of the United States, leaving death and chaos in its wake. Martial law is the rule rather than the exception, with outbreaks cropping up when they’re least expected. Alyssa and her friends must not only battle outbreaks of the disease, but also find themselves pursued by government agents – men and women determined to track them down at any cost.

Fleeing north to the fabled Sanctuary, Alyssa, Jacob, DeAndre, Caitlyn, Risa and Luke face disturbing ordeals and terrible tragedy as they encounter unbelievable situations in their struggle to reach safety. Using their skills and wits in their fight to survive against ever worsening odds, they weather hardship, betrayal, and the ever-present specter of death as they flee north, all the while vowing to protect one another – and most of all their precious 5-year-old Luke, from a world gone mad.

Sanctuary, the second installment in the Mad World series, is a heart-rending adventure of astonishing revelations, tragic discoveries, agonizing separations and devastating losses that test these friends to their limits. With heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat suspense at every turn, this is a story you will not be able to put down.

Find out what happens next.

About the Author:

Samaire Provost lives in California with her husband and son. Her love of paranormal stories, odd plots, and unique tales as well as the works of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle and Stephen King has deeply influenced her writing.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Kindle | Paperback


We were about 50 feet from the barn when suddenly the lights inside went out.
     “Oh, that is so not good,” I said under my breath.
     Risa stopped completely and stared, trying to see any danger before she got to it. I stopped, too, and we just stood there for the space of a few heartbeats. This night was getting creepier by the hour. After a minute, Risa shrugged and said, “Well, whatever. I can’t just sit here waiting. Let’s go see what scary horrors lie in wait for us in there.”
     At this I burst out laughing, and hung my arm over her shoulders. She had broken the tension, and I felt immensely better. Laughing together we walked toward the now dark barn.
     We got to the barn door and peered in. It was pitch dark, so we switched our flashlights on and tried to illuminate the massive interior.
     “Hmmmm,” I said, trying to see in the darkness beyond the twin beams of light. The barn was too big to see; there was nothing for it, we would have to search the dark expanse cubic yard by cubic yard.
     We split up and began searching and calling every few minutes. I heard a snuffling in the dark reaches, but it was Risa who said, “Awww, hi there little guy.” And then, “Alyssa, come look at this.”
     I trotted over to where Risa was standing at a stall door, shining her flashlight on the interior. Peering over the tall wooden door, I looked inside the stall and saw a mare with what appeared to be her newborn foal. The baby teetered over to its mother on long legs and then ducked its head under and began to nurse.
     “Awww,” I said softly, smiling. We watched the two for a while, marveling at the wonderful sight. It was so adorable. A reminded that life goes on, that the plague hadn’t affected this little family one bit.
     We didn’t hear what had just entered the barn until it was almost upon us. As we watched the mother and baby, the mare’s head shot up and she snorted nervously. At the same time, we heard the low growls, several of them, coming from the direction of the door we’d just come in not five minutes ago.
     “Oh, crud,” Risa said as she turned. The hairs on the back of my neck rose as they did every time I heard those growls when I wasn’t expecting them.
     “Quick, switch off your flashlight,” I whispered. “Maybe it’ll help.” I switched mine off as I said it, and then ducked and ran softly on the hay-covered floor to the far end of the huge barn. Risa followed me, making hardly any sound. We tiptoed along the side of the stalls and tried to make ourselves as small as possible. After we got to the last of the doors, we crouched there in the darkness. I was unwilling to go inside a stall to hide; I didn’t want to be caught in one, with no way out.
     The growling became intermittent, and I thought I could make out at least three different voices. So, at least three zombies now shared this barn with Risa and me, and the mare and her foal. Somehow, I didn’t think the horses had much to worry about.
     In the five-plus years since the epidemic began, scientists had been studying the problem and testing different theories. In the process, they had discovered a few interesting facts about the people infected by the plague. The zombies. First of all, they didn’t seem to be attracted to animals. Lucky for us people, they seemed to only want to taste us. Great, huh?
     Second. They seemed to have very poor vision. Guess that might have had something to do with the way their eyes quickly went milky, as if they had cataracts. Gross. Anyway, they seemed to hunt by smell mostly, and also used their sense of hearing to find their prey. Speaking of prey, we were it. That’s right, our own people, who had been ravished and zombie-fied by this terrible plague, turned back on us and hunted the humans who had yet to be infected.
     Smell. Sounds. These things were on our minds as we huddled there in the dark in the corner of that strange barn. We knew the zombies acted mostly on instinct; they weren’t too smart. But then again, they weren’t too dumb, either. We’d seem zombies duck shots fired at them, and think things through in their seemingly insatiable quest for human flesh. They would attack strategically, looking for any weakness. If we were barricaded in the van, locking the doors on one side, they’d come around to the other side of a car to try the windows there. Luckily, the barn we were in was full of smells other than ourselves. The big pile of horse manure in the corner, for instance.
     We had no choice but to try to find a way out of our predicament, while making as little noise as possible. The three zombies we knew of were growling and shuffling around toward the front of the barn again, while we crouched in the back. I began searching for any back door or window we could use as an escape route, and Risa, seeing what I was doing, began looking with me. We must have been about 8 feet apart, at the back wall of the barn, when the zombie we didn’t know was there jumped down from the loft and onto … me.
     “AHHHHH!!!!!!” I yelled, startled, as I tumbled to the ground. Luckily, the zombie had fallen more than ten feet, so when it landed on me, it rolled off to the side and was momentarily stunned. I quickly scrambled to my feet and unholstered my shotgun, bringing it forward and leveling it at the figure on the ground.
     Risa reacted quickly as well, bringing her the .33 up and training it on the creature. One thing we had learned fast in the last five years was not to hesitate. So I walked up to the figure that was starting to rise, and I fired at its head, the muzzle of my sawed off not a foot away. It quickly dropped to the ground and was still, but the shot, that had been deafening in the closed area, had alerted the other zombies to our presence.
     We both looked up toward the barn door and heard the low growling become even more menacing, if that were at all possible.
     “Oh, to heck with this,” I mumbled, and turning behind me, I shot out the nearest wooden board in the wall of the barn. With Risa covering me, I kicked out a hole large enough so we could get through. I scrambled through the 2-by-3-foot hole I’d made, and Risa emerged after me, with a zombie hot on her heels. The thing actually stuck its head through the hole, and stretched an arm out too, reaching. Big mistake. Huge.
     Quickly holstering my shotgun, I brought my bowie knife up and then down, slashing the thing trying to eat us. The sharp blade sliced cleanly through its neck, and its head rolled free at Risa’s feet, dripping black blood. Hey, what can I say? I liked to keep my blades razor sharp.
     “Oh, gross,” Risa said softly.
     Laughing, I quickly switched back to my shotgun, reloading it in less than 30 seconds. “We need the men here,” I said, pointing my shotgun to the sky. I let off three rounds, at five second intervals. POP!! POP!! POP!! The shots echoed across the farmyard. We heard the growls stop on the other side of the barn wall, and then resume, sounding angrier than ever.
     Looking around, I saw a small water tower on stilts, about three stories tall. We could climb the ladder and, if the zombies came, we’d be able to pick them off one by one. We’d be safe up there. Indicating it with a tilt of my head, I holstered my shotgun and we both trotted over to the ladder.
     “Up you go,” I said, boosting her up. The water tower ladder started about 5 feet off the ground so we had to scramble a bit. The growls had faded away, but I was worried the zombies were going to come around the corner any minute. Boosting the skinny teenager up, I prepared to hoist myself up after her.
     Then I heard the zombies growls, much closer than before. Without stopping to look around at the direction they were coming from, I jumped and grabbed the third rung and hoisted myself up, my foot catching the bottom rung on the first try. There was nothing like being hunted by zombies to hasten your climb up a ladder, I tell ya.
     Risa and I clambered up to the ledge on the bottom of the large, barreled, wooden structure; it was 10-12 feet up. We stood on it, we didn’t want to sit and then have our legs dangling off the end out into possible grab territory. We waited.
     We didn’t have long to wait. It was less than a minute after I started up the ladder that the first zombie shambled into view. It was a female, in an old housecoat that had seen better, non-zombie, days. It walked out into the open, not sure where we were, but definitely smelling us. It was followed by two more zombies, both male, one looked to be an old man and the other a middle aged man. It was almost funny to watch, because the old man zombie appeared to have been a bit crippled by old age before being infected, turned and subsequently infused with zombie strength. So what we were watching was a crooked old zombie that look arthritic, but moving pretty fast and not appearing in pain at all. These three zombies began a zigzag pattern, using their noses to find us.
     They were about twenty feet away when things got really nasty. And by really nasty I mean that a dozen or more young zombies, of varying ages, came to join the adult zombies in their hunt for us humans. Apparently, this had been a pretty large family. It looked like a grandfather, a great grandfather, a mother, and at least a dozen youths ranging in age from around ten all the way up to early twenties. I suspected the father might have been one of the two I’d killed by the barn, but I wasn’t sure. Trying to count these things was useless, plus in the end, we couldn’t know how big the family had been, how many members there were. Heck, we could try to mentally calculate the whole family only to miss the Uncle Bob zombie or the Auntie Tweedie zombie or something. In this situation you just had to assess the threat as best you could and meet the danger head on as it came to you. Deal with the zombies you knew about, and never let down your guard.
     “Shoot, where’s my extra ammo?” Risa said, fumbling in her side bag.
     “I put it in the back pocket, there,” I pointed. I fumbled for my own ammo – we were going to need it. I located the box of cartridges in my side pouch and checked my shotgun. I was ready.
     “Okay, hold my belt,” I said, and after Risa hooked her arm around the wooden structure and grabbed hold of the back of my belt, I leaned over and shot out the ladder. Good. Now they had no way of climbing up to us, I hoped.
     We watched them come, both of us calm, holding our firearms at the ready. We’d been through over five years of this so we were somewhat used to it. This wasn’t even Risa’s first situation of this type. Three other times, we’d been trapped and either holed up or treed like cats and had to pick off zombies one by one to free ourselves. But this was the first time Risa and I had done it alone. I was really counting on her. Glancing sideways I asked, “You okay?”
     Risa looked at me and nodded her head, a look of calm determination on her face. “Absolutely,” she said, then looked down on the advancing horde.
     We later learned that Jacob had heard my three shots and had begun jogging through the trees toward our location. He was almost a mile and a half away, and there was underbrush to deal with, but he made pretty good time. He had slung his shotgun over his shoulder and was trotting steadily, zigzagging through the trees, following the sound of the shots.
     DeAndre had heard the shots, too, but was a bit farther away – over the low hills and south of the water tower. The shots I’d fired sounded faint, but it was closing in on midnight and the night was very quiet and peaceful. The stars were brilliant, and together with the quarter moon, they stood watch as D hiked up through the foothills toward our location.
     Risa and I stood there, waiting for the zombies to wander closer. My shotgun needed to be fired at close range to knock one out for good. I’d shot from several dozen feet away, and you just got a wide spread. The result was a zombie with a pitted, icky, gross, dripping-with-goo face. No, I would need to wait until they had closed within about 6 feet or less. But that was okay, we were up high. I figured we could pick them off one at a time. Unless by some miracle they decided to work together. I’d heard of this happening sometimes. I hoped it didn’t happen tonight.
     “Here comes the first one,” Risa said, taking aim. The zombie shambled up to the water tower and looked up, its eyes all milky and its scalp shredded where it had apparently been bitten when it was a human. It looked like it had once been a teenage girl, maybe 16 or 17. It still wore pedal pushers and a flowery sweater. Growling at us, it stretched its arms upward and jumped, trying to catch the ledge we were on. Risa steadied her .33 and shot off a round: *POP* The bullet caught the zombie right in the temple; it dropped heavily to the ground and was still.
     “Good shot!” I said. And then, “uh, oh,” as three more zombies began jumping for the ledge.
     POP! I knocked another zombie down. It was taller than the first and had actually been able to slap its fingers to the edge of the wood when it jumped. Now it was slumped against one of the wooden stilts that supported the water tower. It would never jump again.
     Risa tried to shoot a third zombie, but it was moving around more erratically and it was harder for her to get a bead on it. It took her four shots, but she finally nailed it in the head, and it fell to the ground.
     The third of the closest zombies just growled and moaned as it looked up at us. I had no pity for the thing. If we were within reach it would not hesitate to attack us. And I did not hesitate. Lowering my shotgun muzzle and sighting down at it, I pulled the trigger and blasted the thing’s face off. It fell backward onto the ground and lay still.
     I looked up to get an idea of what to expect next, and my eyes found the old man zombie approaching. It moved pretty fast – it probably hadn’t moved that fast when it was alive, for several decades. But now, in its crooked, arthritic, sideways shamble-hop, it was fast. And shrewd as well. Looking up at us and staying back a ways, it seemed to study us. Its eyes had not gone completely milky yet, and apparently it could see us. It was kind of creepy in a way, almost as if it was actually sentient.
     “Will you look at that,” I said softly. At the sound of my voice, its gaze focused on me, and it cocked its head.
     “Whoa!” I said, nearly losing my footing in surprise. The old man zombie seemed to notice this, and then it dropped its eyes down to study the area under our feet.
     “I really don’t like the looks of that one,” Risa said. “It’s giving me the creeps.” I nodded. I didn’t like the looks of it either. But my attention was drawn to another wave of zombies trying to get at us. I blew three of them away in quick succession and then leaned back to reload. Risa was getting better with her .33, which was good. That gun was not terribly accurate at greater distances, so you had to wait until you had a clear shot at a zombie no more than ten feet away to have a really good chance of hitting it in the head and stopping it.
     I finished reloading and covered Risa as she also reloaded. Sighting down the muzzle of my shotgun, I picked off two more zombies, then stopped to look up. The grandfather zombie had moved back a bit and was now about a dozen feet away from the base of the water tower. As I watched him, he all of a sudden let out a huge roar that made all the zombies stop all of a sudden. Then it grunted and growled and gestured and OH MY GOD IT WAS COMMUNICATING WITH THE OTHER ZOMBIES.
     “Oh, this is not good,” I said.
     “Oh my God. Oh my ever-loving God, what is happening?” Risa said.
     There were maybe six zombies left, including the old man zombie and, believe it or not, they were in an informal huddle, looking like an amateur football team. Those zombies were concentrating their attention on the old man zombie, and he seemed to somehow be GIVING THEM INSTRUCTIONS.
     “I don’t believe this,” I said. Looking around us, I saw that we were trapped like treed cats. “Listen, Risa. If this situation starts to go south, I want you to make a break for it, okay?”
     “I won’t leave you, Alyssa,” Risa said.
     “I’m not planning on becoming a martyr or anything, but I have a bad feeling about this and I …,” I said.
     “Alyssa, don’t even think that way. We will come out of this alive and we will find Luke,” Risa said.
     Looking around again, I once again pointed my shotgun at the sky and let off three rounds about five seconds apart. I nodded to Risa and reloaded again. Risa nudged my arm, and when I looked up she gestured to the zombies. They were breaking apart slowly and something was happening.
     They seemed to be a bit confused I thought, but then the old man zombie let out another loud roar and then hobble-charged right at us!
     The other zombies followed him, and all of a sudden we had a small mob of half a dozen zombies rushing at our water tower. Risa and I could only watch as they came. Our guns pointed down, we wondered what was going on. This was not a good scenario at all. When dealing with zombies, I had always preferred to be on the side making the active decisions and controlling the game. Now they were calling the shots, executing some bizarre strategy from their zombie playbook.
     We fired as they ran toward us. POP! POP!! POPPOPPOP!!
     Two of the zombies fell to the ground, but four others just kept charging, in fact, they ran right under our ledge.
     A split-second later we felt the water tower shudder and lean slightly before righting itself again. The zombies had hit the stilts holding us up. I couldn’t believe it. They had launched a coordinated attack and were trying to knock the water tower over to get at us.
     “How on earth…?” I said. I didn’t have time to finish my sentence. They were still directly under us, pushing at the stilts in an effort to finish the job.
     We teetered as the zombies below us pushed at the stilts. The water tower swung back and forth several times as we hung on to the wooden planks. Then for a few seconds, it stopped moving to the side and I thought perhaps the zombies had given up. But apparently they had just stepped back to gather their strength for another push, because all of a sudden the movement started again and it was worse than before. We hung on tightly to anything we could grab, but it was no use.
     “Oh! OH!!” Risa said, as the water tower leaned alarmingly to the side.
     “We’re going to have to jump! Come on!” I said, as the thing began to topple over.

Bewitching Blog Tours: I’ve Been Deader by Adam Sifre

I’ve Been Deader
Book One
by Adam Sifre

Genre: Horror/romance

Publisher: Taylor Street Publishing

Cover Artist:Tim Hewtson

Book Description:

Being a zombie is no picnic and it’s one hell of a handicap in the romance department when you fall in love with a ‘breather’:

Aleta is a breather with short blonde hair and brown eyes – two of them! – and the whitest smile Fred has ever seen. Every day at a certain time she sits at her window, and every day he stands in the rubble across the street among a crowd of zombies waiting to break through the fence and eat her.

‘You are beautiful, like an angel’, he thinks, but all he can moan is, “Braaaiiinss.”

Still, as zombies go, Fred’s quite a catch. Underneath all the gangrene and rot, Fred is different. This girl will probably turn out to be yet another dead end, an infatuation, someone whose image he cannot get out of his mind and whose taste he cannot get out of his mouth, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

For breathers, it is always only a matter of time, however beautiful they are and whatever the government is assuring people.

Which makes Fred sad because he has a beautiful 11 year old son called Timmy, and Timmy may still be alive.

Excerpt Chapter I


     Fred’s ruined face stared back at him from a fractured, mold spotted mirror. The remains of breakfast pooled around his feet and a pair of lace panties clung to his shoe, glued there by God knew what.

     Bits of flesh were stuck between his yellow teeth, along with the sodden remains of a hand-wash-only label. There was no denying that he’d seen better days.

     Being a zombie is no picnic.

     Compelled to pause and take stock of himself, he wiped his gore stained hands on a filthy shirt, unsure if he was cleaning the hands or the shirt. His right eye looked like a crushed egg yolk and his left leg was broken in two places. A large splinter of bone poked through the nskin above his thigh, fine dark lines etched across the surface like a bad piece of scrimshaw. The open wound on his neck had started leaking again, but at least the fluid was mostly clear now.

     No use dwelling on negatives. Time to get to work. He turned away from his reflection, and limped out of the men’s room of the Vince Lombardi rest area.

     An overly bright morning sun assaulted him as he stepped outside.

     Fred gave a mental wince, wishing yet again that he could blink.

     Sunlight had no adverse effect on the undead, but he had never been a morning person. Rain or shine, today he had to shamble over to Terminal C of Newark Airport, where eight breathers were making their last stand. Zombies were lone hunters and rarely worked together.

     Every so often, however, a kind of collective broadcast signal went out over the undead grapevine, announcing the newest brain buffet – in a shopping mall, a church, or an airport – with predictable and satisfying results.

     Dozens were already making their way down the New Jersey turnpike. By their mindless, movie-slow pace, he knew they hadn’t fed.

     Zombies weren’t Jesse Owens on the best of days, but they tended to move a lot faster with a little brain in the old furnace.

     If Fred could breathe, he would have sighed. There’d be hundreds of zombies, all ready to fight over eight brains and assorted bits. The breathers would probably take out ten to twenty percent of the attacking hoard before being overwhelmed. That left about ten zombies per breather. With luck, by the time he got there he would still be the brainiac of the pack.

     Having his wits about him gave a zombie an edge in the hunt. The effects of the virus or whatever it was that put the mojo in their mortified flesh varied from corpse to corpse. Most became textbook droolie ghoulies, but some could reason and even remember who they were as breathers. So far Fred hadn’t come across any other thinkers, but he doubted he was the only one.

     By mid-afternoon he found himself enjoying his walk down the turnpike. Most of the fires had burned themselves out and although the air still reeked of burning gasoline, the skies were more or less smoke-free. He might be a walking corpse, but he appreciated a warm spring day like this one. He pulled his lips up in what should have been a grin.

     Death, ruin and destruction improved the New Jersey Turnpike.

     Not that there wasn’t a black lining to be found around Fred’s own little rainbow of a life. Most of the zombies were a few hundred yardsdown the road, but two lesser undead doggedly tagged alongside of him, putting a bit of a damper on things. The virus left them as nothing more than … well, nothing more than zombies. They were about as interesting as slugs and moaned so much that, were Fred alive, he’d be sporting a hell of a migraine.

     All in all, however, the day was turning out quite well. He almost convinced himself being undead wasn’t so bad. Sure, it was bad luck that he was forty-five years old with a rather large potbelly when he had been bitten by that damned clerk. Being cursed to wander the earth in search of brains was bad enough, but why couldn’t it have happened when he was twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter?

     He was imagining wandering the earth in search of fresh brains as a slimmer, sleeker and younger Fred, when the head of the zombie on his left exploded.

About the Author:

Lawyer, Writer, Zombie Man

I have no real interest in anything and therefore write about everything. Think of the funniest person you know. I’m just a little bit funnier. Same goes for humble and good looking. Stick around. We’ll have some fun.

Website | Goodreads

The Zombie Language Slopar

We’ve all seen zombies as they shamble after their prey, moaning and groaning all the while. It is scary enough without this thought … what if those moans and groans are a method of communication. We’ve taken the fast track from scary to downright terrifying. Communication is the first step toward coordination and the idea of zombie’s acting together as one is petrifying. If they can communicate, then we are one step closer to being—lunch!

Today we are delighted to host the Zombified tour, where author Lyra McKen discusses her novel, Zombified, and her take on zombie language.

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‘A Zombie Language’

In my novel the Zombies can actually communicate with others in their hoard. They talk to one another with noises, groans, and slow moving hand signals.

The language of the Zombies is a simple yet effective one. They can alert each other that there is fresh uninfected meat nearby. They can warn each other of impending human gun fire or explosives. The fact that they can’t move away very quickly usually means the warning comes too late.

In the beginning of the novel Cassie is attempting to explain to the man she is eating that there shouldn’t be any hard feelings. To him it sounds like she is moaning in pleasure over devouring his leg. She names him Neil because she doesn’t know his name. I think that she forgets that humans can no longer understand her.

When Rose first turns Cassie cannot understand her either. The art of Slopar comes slowly to the infected, and they eventually will understand it when they are completely transformed.

Through the use of their Zombie language they discover that they work better in slow moving hordes than groups of one or two.

Thanks again for allowing me to post on your blog. I hope everyone who reads Zombified enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

xx Lyra McKen

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About Zombified:

Cassie is a typical teenager. She’s crushing on a boy and trying to make it through high school. It’s a typical day of classes when all hell breaks loose. Forced to run and hide the situation just keeps getting worse. She makes a mistake and soon becomes infected. She meets others like her and together they sent out to find a cure. Is their fate already sealed? Can they find a cure before it’s too late? See what happens through the eyes of the infected when Cassie tells you how Zombies are people too.

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About the Author:

Lyra McKen (aka, Emily Walker) resides in the mountains of North Carolina. She lives on top of a mountain quite literally with her other half of nine years and her fur baby, Rebel. After a couple of jobs ghost writing for other successful authors she embarked on her own journey to write a novel.


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