Monday, August 19, 2013

Hank's Turn ... Anthologies Galore and Vampires In Your Face!

Happy Monday Story Orgiasts! Hank here again, helping your Monday a little less Monday-ish. First and foremost … HOLY CRAP IT'S AUGUST 19!!! Where in the Sam Hill did summer scurry off to? *Ahem* Now that I've finished with that little outburst, I'd like to take this time to let you know that I have a book releasing this week. STAKES & SPURS - VENOM VALLEY BOOK TWO will be available exclusively at Wilde City Press on Wednesday, August 21. This is the publisher re-release and, yes, the MAJOR CLIFFHANGER at the end of the first book, COWBOYS & VAMPIRES - VENOM VALLEY BOOK ONE, is answered within the first chapter. Would I leave you hanging too long? :)

I am working hard on finishing the third book in the series, BLOOD & STONE - VENOM VALLEY BOOK THREE, and it will be available by the end of the year. Stay tuned for more details about that release date and cover reveal. Also, on the Story Orgy front, we will have three (THREE!) anthologies releasing in the next six months for you.

First up, Lee, Havan, Em, and I coerced, err, invited, Angel Martinez and Silvia Violet to join us in an anthology coming soon from Total E-Bound titled Mixed Tape Anthology. Each of our stories took inspiration from a song released in the 1950s which had been suggested by a number of our Story Orgiasts. Look for this collection in October, and just to whet your appetite, here's a lovely cover image. Hot, hot, hot!

And we wouldn't want you to end your year without a little Christmas cheer from your Story Orgy writers. We'll be releasing an anthology of our Christmas Flash stories, so try not to be naughty, or if you just can't help yourself, at least be really, really good at it.

Finally, in the cold months of winter, long about Valentine's Day, we'll be releasing AND THE PROMPT IS… BAD BOYFRIEND. We all took a bad boyfriend type (The Cheater, The Cheapskate, The Mama's Boy, etc.) and wrote a romantic story for you to shake your fists at and, ultimately, give a happy sigh at the end.

Now, without further ado, here's the blurb and an excerpt for Stakes & Spurs - Venom Valley Book Two. Grab the reins, dig in your heels, and hold on tight, it's going to be one hell of a ride!

By Hank Edwards
Available August 21, 2013 from Wilde City Press

Dex Wells, former deputy of the prairie town of Belkin's Pass, wakes to the sound of screaming. He is chained inside a cave, prisoner of the powerful vampire Balthazar. The vampire holds Dex as bait, hoping to lure Dex's lover, Josh Stanton, into the caves and capture him. Balthazar senses something different about Josh, but what that difference is he can't quite tell.

Josh Stanton can raise the dead. It's a power he's always had within him, and something he's considered a curse. Now, however, he's discovered that the risen dead can bite through vampire skin and bones. If he can just learn to control the power and, with it, the dead he's resurrected, he might be able to save his lover, Dex, from Balthazar's caves.

The arrival of two members of the US Army throw Josh's plans into disarray when they take him into custody for a murder he did not commit. Can Josh convince the Army men of the vampire threat? And can he save Dex before Balthazar turns him into a vampire as well?

Taking a few steps down the cellar ladder, Josh looked up at the blacksmith. "Come down with me, let me show you. And bring that candle."

After Josh spent a few difficult minutes standing in the dark, rank root cellar alone, he was relieved to see Donegan's big boots clomp down the rungs of the ladder. The blacksmith had brought the candle, and he handed it over to Josh as his blue eyes darted from one shadowed corner to the other.

They found the bodies in the furthest corner from the ladder, stretched out on the dirt floor, awaiting sundown. Their skin was cold and pale, and their chests did not rise and fall with breath. Josh held his cross to the skin of a woman's hand where it sizzled and wisps of smoke drifted up. When he removed the cross, it left behind a black mark that made Donegan swallow hard.

"It burned her," Donegan whispered. "Like you said." He stared at the bodies laid out before them, and then looked at Josh. "What do we do now?"

"We have to drive a wooden stake into their hearts," Josh said.

"That's murder!" Donegan backed up toward the ladder. "You have truly lost your mind, Josh Stanton. First you shot Agnes, we all know that. And you might have killed Sheriff Haden and Deputy Underwood for all's I know."

"Donegan!" Josh called his name in a sharp voice, and the man stopped his retreat to glare at him. "If I was to put a stake in a living person's heart, what would happen?"

"They'd die!"

"But they'd bleed, too, right?" Josh held the candle out to him. "They'd bleed red blood and die, yes? Watch closely."

He turned back to the bodies and drew a stake from the bag he carried slung over his shoulder. Holding it over the chest of a man whose name he had never learned while the man had been living, Josh took a breath before bringing it down hard. The man's eyes opened, burning red coals of pure hatred. He grabbed at Josh as thick black blood bubbled and poured from his mouth, his lips pulled back from pointed fangs.

Josh scooted back from the mess of blood and filth as the man's arms dropped and his head thumped back to the dirt. His skin flaked away and his body crumbled in on itself as he turned to dust.

"Sweet Jesus," Donegan said.

"We have to kill as many of them as we can while the sun is up," Josh said. "Or they'll continue to create more vampires and we'll lose not just Belkin's Pass, but every town out to each coast."

Donegan took a breath and fixed Josh with a hard gaze. "I don't got a quarrel with you, Josh Stanton. And I never talked about you or your Momma behind your back like them other folks in town. I was all for giving you a chance to make a new life with Agnes when she took you in."

Josh nodded and wiped sweat from his forehead, wondering where Donegan was going with his speech. "I appreciate that, Donegan."

"But hear me clear right now." Donegan held up a thick, dirty finger. "If you are lying to me, I will turn you in to the law as fast as I can. I don't know how you might be trickin' me here with all this, but mark my words good, if it's all a lie, if you drug me into committing sin with deception, I'll take what blame I have comin' to make sure you get justice. We understood?"

A respect for the blacksmith prevented Josh from laughing at the man. Donegan had been through a lot, most folks in town knew he had drank and laid with whores plenty until a few months ago. No one knew why he suddenly changed his ways, and Josh knew now was not the right time to ask.

"I understand," Josh said. "And it's no trick, I swear. Sometimes I wish to God it was."

Donegan nodded. "All right then, let's get this done."

~~ * ~~

Whew, gives me shivers myself reading it again, and I wrote it! Jump on over to Wilde City Press this Wednesday and grab a copy for yourself. The email sent after your order is completed will contain a variety of formats perfect for Kindle, Nook, or iPad. Get it while it's hot and find out if Josh can rescue Dex before Balthazar turns him into a vampire and prepare yourself for the third book releasing later this year, BLOOD & STONE.

Happy Monday!