Goodreads Giveaway for Return to Q Island

My new post apocalyptic novel, Return to Q Island has a giveaway going on Goodreads through October 16th. Two signed paperback copies are up for grabs. What’s it about?

Millions long to break out of quarantine. One man needs to break in.

The paleovirus has swept Long Island, turning residents into psychotic killers. A government quarantine traps Patrick in Connecticut, separated from his mother and pregnant sister on what all now call Q Island. When he loses contact with them, he fears the worst. His only chance to get back is to infiltrate the island as a guide for an illegal safari hunting the infected. But he arrives to find he’s more slave than guide, and the infected are fiercer than ever.

His sister Kim gives birth to Charlotte in the midst Q Island’s living hell, and begins a struggle to survive attacks by the infected and betrayal by family and friends. Kim’s love for her daughter gives her the strength to fight on, but if her brother doesn’t arrive soon, she won’t keep beating the odds.

But there’s something special about Charlotte, and others born under the contagion’s dark cloud. Will children like her prove to be the salvation the islanders pray for, or the last pieces in the puzzle of infected domination?

 

Here’s the link. Enter now!

 

-Russell

Who’s Up for Another Trip to Q Island?

For everyone who enjoyed my post apocalyptic novel Q Island, there’s more where that came from. Return to Q Island is out on Amazon. This is a stand-alone story set in the same world as Q Island.

The manuscript has been on an odyssey. It was originally ready to roll as a follow-up to Q Island, but the publisher went out of business. Other publishers expressed an interest, but only with the rights to Q Island as well. I liked having control of that work and already was preparing for an audio book release. I’d has Scott Carpenter make RTQI a killer cover for an ultimately unsuccessful Kindle Scout run, and the book had been edited. So what better setup for a self-publish experiment? And so now we’re off. We’ll see how it goes.

What’s the story?

Millions long to break out of quarantine. But Patrick needs to break in.

The paleovirus has swept Long Island, turning residents into psychotic killers. A government quarantine traps Patrick in Connecticut, separated from his mother and pregnant sister on what all now call Q Island. When he loses contact with them, he fears the worst. His only chance to get back and help them is to infiltrate the island as a guide for an illegal safari hunting the infected. But he arrives to find he’s more slave than guide, and the infected are fiercer than ever.

His sister Kim gives birth to Charlotte in the midst of post-apocalyptic Long Island, and begins an instant struggle to survive amidst attacks by the infected and betrayal by family and friends. Kim’s love for her daughter gives her the strength to fight on, but if her brother doesn’t arrive soon, she won’t keep beating the odds.

It’s soon clear there’s something special about Charlotte, and others born under the contagion’s dark cloud. But will children like her prove to be the salvation the islanders pray for, or the last pieces in the puzzle of infected domination?

Give it a try in paperback, Kindle, or on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon. Let me know what you think.

Spoiler alert: This one is dark.

 

-Russell

Resurrection on Q Island

In 2015, Samhain Publishing released my post-apocalyptic horror novel Q Island. At the time, editor Don D’Auria, a legend in horror publishing, added a note to the acceptance letter reading “This could be big.” While he had been enthusiastic about my five previous novels, this was the first time he’d been predictive.

The cover proof came in and it matched my design request, except better. Even I wanted to buy the thing, and I knew the ending.

Q Island released with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, being selected as the Editor’s Pick of the month for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and garnering a series of excellent reviews from some trusted, picky review sites. It was advertised at SXSW and other major markets. I thought Don’s crystal ball had been right. This was going to be big.

Then it wasn’t.

For whatever reason, it didn’t hit public consciousness. Maybe it was an issue being from a small press, maybe it was just bad luck. But when I sold the book at horror conventions, I would sell out the first day. People saw the cover, came to check it out, and then frequently cut me off mid-sales pitch to buy it.

When Samhain folded their horror line, I bought the cover art. Rather than farm the book out as backlist to another publisher, I opted to re-release it myself. It couldn’t hurt, plus I could opt into Kindle Unlimited, which my publisher could not. I ran a 99 cent promo and hoped for the best.

Instead I got amazing.

That promotion did what the earlier advertising could not. Q Island has taken off like it should have, the ignition on the engines finally lit. It is finding an audience in sales, as well as on Kindle Unlimited, and the audience is worldwide, moving pages in the UK, Australia, Canada, and India. Wow. Reviews are kicking in on Amazon and Goodreads, and they are excellent.

So to authors, never give up on something you’ve written. Even years later, the audience may find it.

To all the new readers, thank you for giving Q Island a try. All the reviews, social media support, and personal messages are really appreciated.

If you enjoyed your stay on Q Island, there’s more where that came from. Keep an eye out for Return to Q Island later this year. Millions long to leave, but one man stranded in Connecticut must go back to save his mother and pregnant sister. In the year since the first book, Q Island has gotten worse.

Much worse.

You can sample some Q Island here.

Christmas on Q Island

Copy editors are excellent. They have the detail-oriented personality to read through a text, catch every typo, flag every incorrect reference, and erase any continuity errors. Their value cannot be underestimated and no book should EVER be sent out to the world without one.

Copy editors are also on the lookout for the publisher, keeping them from being legally entangled in some mess, especially a copyright issue. Q Island raised that red flag a number of times, all about the same thing.

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The lead character, Melanie Bailey, has an autistic son, Aiden. His autism brings on terrible panic attacks, and Melanie can calm him by singing to him.

When he was still just two years old, before his diagnosis, Melanie and her husband didn’t know what to do to calm this poor, sleepless child who seemed in constant distress. Then a song came on the radio and Aiden just relaxed, relaxed enough to finally go to sleep after an exhausting day. Their prayer was answered. Since then, Melanie used that song to calm Aiden in the most stressful circumstances. The first time he heard it was in December. It was a Christmas carol. So Melanie sometimes sings a Christmas carol year round.

Well, every time she sings the song in the book, the copy editor comments stain the margins like spilled wine, reviewing all the dire consequences possible when this copyright violation comes to light after publication. The good news was that I already had permission to use the song. Because I wrote it. The lyrics for it anyway. They are:

Angels in heaven, look down on the child,

Perfect and lovely, tender and mild.

Shepherds that evening, tending their flocks,

Kneel without pain on nettles and rocks.

The rams and the ewes, surround him in awe.

First to acknowledge our Savior and Lord.

Wise men who travel, came from afar,

Guided by faith and the light of a star.

 

Okay, “awe” and “Lord” is a stretch for a rhyme.

I’m thrilled when someone reads a book I’ve written and says the characters ring true, or the locations are vivid and real. But I was stunned that I might have written something that could pass as real song lyrics.

So if anyone wants to volunteer the melody, I’m willing to bang out a chorus and two more verses. Let’s get it done by December.

 

 

 

A Visit from Hunter Shea

Hunter has been a friend since we both were in the initial crop of Samhain Horror authors to debut in 2011. His latest is Tortures of the Damned and he offered to give us all some insight into this latest terrifying treat. Who am I to refuse?

 

The Real Life Event Behind Tortures of the Damned

by Hunter Shea, Author

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Back in late 2013, I spent a lot of time puzzling over the next book I was contracted to write for Pinnacle. The Montauk Monster was getting final edits before its print run in the summer of 2014. I was dead set on spinning an elaborate Bigfoot tale, one that I was sure had never been told before. Hell, I was ready to go travel and do some of my own squatching just to get a feel for things.
All that changed on a cold night in January.
My family was sitting in our living room, watching TV at around 10:30.
Suddenly, three tremendous explosions rocked the house! My first thoughts were – our furnace exploded, someone set off a bomb, or a plane exploded in the sky. The walls and floor literally shook. My kids were terrified, tears brimming in their eyes. I ran outside to see what had happened.
The frigid night air was as still as the calmest winter night. I waited. Neighbors came out to see what had happened. But there was nothing to see. We didn’t even hear a single siren.
Calls to 911 were answered by operators who were inundated by frightened people all across lower New York. We were told that the blast could be heard for a 50 mile radius. We all went to bed not knowing what the hell had happened. Even the news was silent. How was that even possible? When I say it sounded like a plane exploding, I’m not exaggerating.
The next day, the early news said someone had gotten hold of industrial fireworks and set them off in the Bronx. The lot they showed where they’d been set off looked to have zero damage. We’ve been suspicious ever since. In a few days, it slipped from our collective conscious. No one died, so why dwell on it?

There was one casualty. Bigfoot died that night. The fear my family experienced, the total lack of knowing what had happened was the seed for my latest book, Tortures of the Damned.
That night could have been much worse. Tortures of the Damned explores a world where the unthinkable happens when you least expect it. The damned are not the dead. It’s those left behind who are forced to trek through a hell they never saw coming.

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You can purchase Tortures of the Damned in mass market paperback at more retail stores nationwide, as well as bookstores, both independent and chain.

You can also buy online at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble-

And there’s a giveaway here.