Guest Author: Morgan Hannah MacDonald

Please help me welcome Morgan Hannah MacDonald today.  Please check out her guest post below.

I’ve been asked where the inspiration for SANDMAN came from. Well, truth is stranger than fiction.   It wasNovember 3, 1998.  I had gone away for the weekend to the mountains with a couple of friends from work.  There had been rumors of snow, so we put the TV on immediately to track the storm.  The minute the news came on, there was a story of a trucker who had walked into the police station, slapped a plastic bag on the counter and stated; I think you’re looking for me.  The bag contained the severed breast of a woman.

 

As the weekend wore on, more information became available.  They stated that the man had frequented a Karaoke bar inSan Clemente. That perked up my ears.  Five years prior, I had dated a guy who ran that Karaoke bar.  I might have met this guy! Chilling.

 

After I got home, there was a message from my best friend.  She asked if I had seen the story on the news and wasn’t that the guy I’d dated? I laughed.  I’d never dated aWayne.  I would have remembered, that was my grandfather’s name.  Then she told me his full name was Wayne Adam Ford, it hit me.  I did date a guy named Adam, but he didn’t look anything like the guy on the news.

 

The Adam I knew was sexy, tall, fit and had a neatly trimmed beard that brought out his gorgeous deep green eyes.  It had been the winter of 1993 and he wore flannel shirts with straight legged 501 jeans.  I love that lumberjack look! *giggle*  The guy on the news was heavier and balding.  Of course, I hadn’t seen him in five years and people do change.  But I still wasn’t convinced.  My friend said that Inside Edition was doing a story on him that night.  

 

So atseven o’clockI sat on my couch and waited.  They started the segment with the exact same clip the news had showed all weekend.  It was a slow motion shot of him entering a court room in an orange jumpsuit.  But this time, when he turned to face the camera, I recognized those eyes.  I burst into tears.  It was him, it was the man I’d dated!  My body trembled, then turned numb as I listened to the frightening tale.  He was discharged from the marines for psychological reasons in the early eighties.  In 1985 he was arrested for the rape and beating of a prostitute, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.  That’s when it occurred to me, he was already on the brink of insanity when I’d known him!

 

In 1994 he’d met a young girl at that same karaoke bar.  They’d married and had a child.  After the birth, he started to unravel.  He’d become possessive, jealous and asked her to do strange things in the bedroom.  She divorced him and took the child to live with her mother. He was refused visitation rights.

 

That was the catalyst that started his murderous rampage.  He started picking up prostitutes and hitch hikers at truck stops along his route.  He raped and tortured the girls before he killed them, then sliced off a breast as a souvenir. 

 

The camera panned to a trailer surrounded by woods alongside a river. The picture would have been beautiful and serene if not for all the cops parading in and out carrying evidence. They announced his freezer was full of body parts. It seems that one of his victims had her legs, arms and head amputated by an ax. Her torso was found bobbing in the water by a fisherman. They were still searching theMaddRiverfor her head. 

 

In a moment of hysteria, I remembered how overly dramatic the guy had been.  If not for the fact that they’d found all that evidence linking him to those grisly crimes, I would have thought he’d confessed just to get attention. Maybe he did.  The authorities didn’t know they had a serial killer. He wasn’t even a blip on their radar. So the only way he could get his fifteen minutes of fame was to turn himself in.  But the joke’s on him, fifteen minutes is all he got.  After all, have you ever heard of Wayne Adam Ford?  It is said that there are approximately 50 serial killers active in theUnited Statesat any given time.  So if in his sick twisted mind he thought he would be another Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy, he was sorely mistaken.   

 

 

The final twist to this already disturbing story is that I met Wayne Adam Ford on my birthdayNovember 3, 1993and he turned himself in onNovember 3 1998.  After this revelation, I didn’t trust my instincts regarding men.  I didn’t go on another date for over ten years. I’m still single to this day. I guess you could say that this has really messed with my mind!

 

Now I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true.  I never had a clue.  The guy I dated was charming, handsome and had lots of friends.  We dated only a short time.  I questioned his relationship with his ex-girlfriend who was cooking him meals and leaving them in his freezer.  He broke up with me because he said I had a suspicious mind.  Funny, but I ran into him some months later and we went out to grab a bite to eat.  That’s when he confessed he had to stop seeing her because he was still in love with her.

 

Now, when you read SANDMAN, you will find bits and pieces of these things in the story.  I borrowed some facts from his case and mixed them up between the suspects so no one would be able to guess the killer’s true identity.

SANDMAN

Excerpt

Morgan Hannah MacDonald

 

     Sean climbed out of the water with his board under his arm. He dragged his hand down his face to brush the salt water away from his eyes. His breathing was labored; he’d gotten in a good workout today. He walked up the beach a good distance before he detected a strange odor. As he neared his destination, the stench invading his nostrils became more pungent.

     I hope there wasn’t another damn sewage spill. 

                   Soon he heard a strange buzzing sound. He stopped, brows furrowed, and concentrated on zeroing in on the exact location of the noise. Failing at this, he shrugged, and then continued up the strand. But with each step his uncertainty grew. The irritating cacophony had increased in volume.

     Within seconds Sean found himself about fifty feet from where he’d left his gear. Before him lay a blanket of black that appeared to be moving. “What the fuck?” He hesitated, waiting for the synapses in his brain to start firing, before taking another step.  

     When he found no logical explanation, he gently rested his board on the sand and made his way closer until he stood directly in front of the sight. His hand cupped his nose. The stench reminded him of hard-boiled eggs gone bad. Very, very bad.

    Okay, strike the moving blanket crack. It was more like a black cloud hovering over his belongings. Flies. He had an inkling that it was not the seaweed they found interesting.  Something dead had washed up on shore and he was less than eager to find out what it was. A seagull? A fish? A seal? Whatever it was, it would not be pretty no matter how long it had been dead.

    Slowly, he reached down to pick up his sweater with one hand, while the other reached for the strap on his backpack. The flies swarmed up for a brief moment, just long enough to reveal their prey, before settling back down into a dark writhing carpet.  

     An unintelligible sound escaped Sean’s lips. He gasped for air while instinctively taking a step back. He’d seen some hairy things in his life, but nothing even close to this. Icy fingers of fear raced up his spine; his heartbeat hammered in his chest. 

          Sean couldn’t look away even if he had wanted to. Some strange fascination took hold of his brain and wouldn’t let go. Systematically, his mind dissected the grisly scene before him.

     Sticking out of the rolling mound of seaweed was a woman’s arm. It was stiff as a mannequin’s, extending skyward as if reaching to him for help. The mottled blue hand wore long red fingernails, two of which had been broken down to the quick. Seaweed was wrapped around her arm like a feather boa. 

     Sean’s gaze then locked onto another object protruding from the sandy grave: a leg that seemed to be severed mid-thigh, but closer inspection revealed that it was really half-buried. It too appeared tangled in the bubbly brown vegetation. 

     The foot, like the hand, wore a shock of bright red polish on its perfectly manicured toes, clashing with the bluish pallor of the flesh. His eyes grew wide at the sight of flies and sand crabs greedily devouring the soft tissue. He choked back bile.

 

     The spell was broken.

Sean stepped backward so fast he tripped over his own feet and landed on his butt. He scrambled up and raced toward the shore. He couldn’t get away fast enough. He reached the water’s edge before collapsing to his hands and knees.  His insides lurched so hard that he thought he would spew his stomach lining. Dry heaves continued long after his stomach had emptied. He collapsed on the sand, exhausted. A wave washed over him, but he hardly noticed.

 

SANDMAN

 

By Morgan Hannah MacDonald

Beware the SANDMAN he’ll put you to sleep. . .forever.

A serial killer on the loose, a woman being stalked, and a homicide detective who must find the connection between the two before she becomes the next victim. 

He collects women. He imprisons them, plays with them, tortures them. Until they bore him. Then he removes a souvenir. They call him the Sandman.

Meagan McInnis is being plagued with late night calls, yet when she answers, no one is there. Then one night she makes a grisly discovery in her own backyard. 

The caller is silent no more.

Homicide Detective, J.J. Thomas, realizes Meagan is the key to finding the Sandman. Now not only must he protect her, but he must find the connection between Meagan and the killer before she becomes his next victim.

WARNING: SANDMAN is a Romantic Thriller that contains adult language, explicit sex and graphic violence.

About the Author: 

Morgan Hannah MacDonald writes Romantic Thrillers-Not for the faint of heart. She has always been interested in writing and serial killers, but it wasn’t until she found she had dated one herself that a true writer was born. She belongs to Romance Writers of America’s San Diego Chapter, as well as the Kiss of Death Chapter. She resides in San Diego, California where she is busy working on her next novel. 

Website: www.morganhannahmacdonald.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MorganHannahMacDonald.Author

 

 

Excerpt: Witchful Thinking by H.P. Mallory

Witchful Thinking

Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned Queen of the Underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.

First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yet magnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’t take jack.

Witchful Thinking: A Jolie Wilkins Novel by H. P. Mallory (Free Excerpt)

Here’s a ‘to buy’ link http://www.randomhouse.com/book/214350/witchful-thinking-by-h-p-mallory — on sale, 2/28/2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Apocalypse Gene

 

DYSTOPIA? NAH, IT’S JUST TUESDAY.

Why do teens love Dystopian fiction? Perhaps, because it’s very familiar to them. How can that be? It’s hard to remember how the world looks a teenager, but here’s a hint: it looks dystopic. Society functions, but in a way that is unfathomable and arbitrary and so to a teenager our society is dystopic. How so? There’s enough food in the world for everyone to eat, but instead of sharing it out at least somewhat fairly, some get to stuff themselves and some starve. If you’re born to privilege everything is handed to you, born to poverty and you have to fight just to stay alive. Some become popular in school (which means so much) due to attributes they did nothing to earn, looks, athleticism, height, intelligence, etc. and all the while adults are telling you that those thing aren’t important. All of these contradictory revelations are a brand new experience. So to a teen a dystopian society is nothing new and at the same time all new.
Despite all that, the world is secondary to the characters. Seeing that no matter what situation you put teenagers in, they’re still teenagers; they have issues of love and loss and insecurity and fear and conflict with their parents and whatever “authority” they have to answer to. Of course, there’s always love, and that great power of that first love. Nothing like it; and it’s fascinating to see the way that no matter the difficulties and strictures of the society, love will not be bound by it and in much speculative fiction it is romantic love that makes all the difference, as well it should.
Watching other teenagers face seemingly insurmountable obstacles and deal with them feels like what teenagers are dealing with every day. Especially now as they watch the prosperous world they believed they would inherit revealed as an illusion. To adults, having their beliefs ripped away is a knee-trembling shock, but to a teenager it’s just Tuesday.

 

 



The Apocalypse Gene
By Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Global pandemic is raging. Olivya Wright-Ono’s once loving home has been converted to a hospice for the dying. Her ability to see auras forces her to witness, with agonizing detail, the vibrant colors of life consumed by malignancy.
The beautiful and troubled, Mikah, is an elite Empath in the ancient Kindred clan, led by the brooding, ever-morphing, monster named Prime. Mikah has learned a terrible truth .

 

. . the plague is linked to Kindred origins. When Olivya sees evidence of disease creeping into her mother’s aura, she has no one to turn to but Mikah. Can he unearth the Kindred secrets and find a cure? Can she trust this boy whose power allows him to manipulate her very emotions?
With her mother’s life, and that of the world, in the balance, Olivya and Mikah embark on a quest to stop the Pandemic, only to discover it is far, far more than a mere disease . . 

 

Website:  http://www.TheApocalypseGene.com
Blog:  http://www.TheApocalypseGene.com/cy-chi
Facebook FanPage:  

About the Authors:
Suki Michelle is a life-long Chicagoan, happily divorced and still good friends with her Ex. She lives and writes with her soul-mate, Carlyle Clark. She has one beautiful daughter, Bree, who is the first reader and critic of The Apocalypse Gene, and without her input, it wouldn’t be nearly as cool! Suki’s other children are of the four-legged type, Dahlia, the German shepherd; Kilala the lazy calico chub-cat; and Koney, the tortoise-shell demon cat from the Seventh Ring.
Carlyle is a burly dude from San Diego. He can look menacing at a glance, but as soon as he opens his mouth, pure intellectual. They are eternally grateful for the day they met at an on-line writer’s workshop. They’ve been together for four years. On the outside. Suki and Carlyle are totally disparate. On the inside, they are the REAL Neo-Twins. You’ll have to read The Apocalypse Gene to find out who the Neo-Twins are, but here’s a hint: They are twisted devils with mirror-melded auras.
As writers, Suki and Carlyle have complementary skill sets. Lyle is plot master and edgy dialoguer. He is a huge fan of Japanese anime, and he draws upon this to choreograph fight scenes. Suki enjoys painting a character’s emotional landscape and writing vivid descriptions. They both have wild imagination.
Suki and Carlyle treasure every opportunity to share their work.
Twitter: @Suki_Michelle
 

EXCERPT:

Chapter One – The Good As Dead:  Olivya has just learned that her mother plans to upgrade their home-based hospice center to euthanasia, a service called “deliverance”.  GAD is short for “Good-As-Dead”. The first “customer” as arrived:

 

Deliverance. Olivya hated that slithery word, that thin euphemism. Why not call it what it was? Murder. Her legs tensed, straining to run through the front door, down the street, east to Lake Michigan, and keep on going, right into the cool deep waters. Instead, she crept to the foyer, careful to stay out of Mama’s line of sight.

The new GAD lay mummy-bound in a pale blue blanket. This one had no intention of hanging out in a tranquilized coma or happily zoned on Hypno-Peace. He just wanted out. She wanted to look into the soul of this death-wisher. Did it take courage to broadcast that invitation to the Reaper? You are cordially invited to escort me to oblivion.

The sickly sweet stench of diseased flesh and stale urine wafted from the GAD. His sweat-soaked orange hair lay like worms on his forehead. Straps held his wrists to the side rails. His lips fluttered with each labored breath. She frowned. He looked just like all the others. Nothing special – shrunken, coma-tranked, and reeking. Was he a coward or a hero? The answer didn’t show in his face, but she could find it in his aura.

A chill breeze rippled, raising gooseflesh on her arms. Maybe the old Reaper was already standing right there, ready to claim his prize. If she allowed herself to fully Sight, would she see Death’s black robes, its bottomless eyes rimmed in bone? She wanted to curse it, spit in its hideous face. Like Papa, this newcomer had set out a welcome mat for Death.

Mama would be furious if she caught her gaping, disobeying orders to stay away. Olivya would have to hurry, but a moment was all she needed.

She closed her eyes, lifted her defenses and willed the Sight to come. Colors, shapes and lights swirled behind her lids. She compressed them into a single point of white-light deep inside her mind, then she opened her eyes.

The GAD’s aura, at first vague and wavy, sharpened into view. Despite the drug-induced coma, misery rose from him in sluggish waves. The dull red of malignancy throbbed against a background of greenish-gray – similar to the other Good-As-Deads, but somehow weightier. Intuition told her to look more closely.

Faint hues darted behind that auric death-shroud, ghosts of the man’s former emotions. A streak of robin’s egg blue, shimmers of peach. An eerie feeling came over her. Something looked familiar about this combination of gentle pastels in this particular pattern.

The face of a smiling man rose in her mind’s eye, one who had always been patient with the friendless psychic girl. Mr. Gragg. Her Seventh Grade English teacher from the old brick and mortar. Could this be him? It looked nothing like him. Mr. Gragg had been thick-muscled and robust, his hair a riot of bright orange ringlets. Yes. That pastel aura was Mr. Gragg’s. She recognized the colors of his unique, unflagging kindness. Why him? Then again, so many in the world had cancer. Why not him?

Olivya caught Mama’s voice in the kitchen. “Any family?”

“Not any more,” the deliveryman said.

 

 

 

***

 

Excerpt – Chapter Two – Mikah:  Mikah, an unitiated member of the Kindred clan, dreads his encounters with the Kindred leader, a demon hybrid who goes by the name of Prime . . .

 

It wasn’t just the thought of Initiation and what it might do to him that made Mikah sick with dread. It was the fact that he’d have to be alone with Prime, close to the monster’s twisted energy and constantly morphing shape, that hideous creature near enough to touch. He hated thinking about that cellar-dwelling thing, yet his presence permeated the Complex. Prime. The Ancient One. Vile. Disgusting.

Sometimes at night, Mikah would gaze out his bay window, dreaming about what it might be like to plunge through the glass and ride the gravity express straight down to eternal nothingness. He’d catch a glimpse of a lurching form among the trees, a darker dark in the shadows, oozing through the expanse of park-like grounds that joined the Complex with the shores of Lake Michigan. He’d spy Prime, the monster, slipping along the beach in random directions, as if lost.

That shape sometimes caught the moonlight, a pale glow darting among the perfectly manicured hedges at the Complex boundaries. Prime. No boogieman. Real. He’d haunted Mikah’s nightmares since he was a little kid. Lately, the changes had accelerated. Prime was growing restless, leaving the Complex more and more often, capering and shrieking about the grounds.

Just a week ago, Mikah caught a rare sight of Prime inside the Complex, slinking past an open door in one of the first floor parlors. He looked thick and clumsy. Then yesterday, Mikah saw the beast again. He’d changed, become taller, oddly flexible, and lighter on his feet. Only Prime’s brown, shapeless robes stayed the same, and the absurdly long black patent leather dress shoes sticking out beneath his hems.

“You should not put your attention on him,” Changarai said.

“My shield is up. How did you know I was thinking of Prime?”

“You wear the same expression you did as a toddler when Prime was near. One doesn’t need psionic ability to recognize fear.”

“Yeah, well. It’s just another thing that separates me from all of you. I fear him. You worship him.”

“You will too,” Changarai said. “Soon.”

No way would Mikah stay alone with that shambling horror while they’re at the Gathering. Then he relaxed. He wouldn’t be alone tonight. He’ll be with Olivya.

Giveaway:

The author is giving away 1 ecopy of the book.  Please use Rafflecopter below to enter. 

 

Continue reading Guest Post and Giveaway: The Apocalypse Gene