• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Challenged Accepted…

Yes, that’s right I have been challenged by lovely and talented Liv Rancourt who’s nominated me for One Lovely Blog award. This time around the object of the game is to list seven things about yourself, then nominate other bloggers for the award.  Liv’s list of 7 was her 7 all-time favorite vamp novels (which if you know her, is not a surprise).

Now that it’s my turn, I have to admit that deciding which list of 7 to post was tough.  There are so many to choose from–Urban Fantasy series, All-Time Fav Music, my Fav movies that make you think, you see how long the list can be?  Since October is coming and for some odd reason Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor has been obsessed with firearms, I decided to go with My Top Seven Weapon Choices for the Impending Zombie Apocalypse!

So don your Kevlar, add your war paint, it’s time to get down to business of putting those Zombies in their place (or places as the case may be!)

First up, since I’m a blade woman is the updated version of a katana, the Apokatana found at Zombie Tools. This tactical version of a tried and true blade has a stronger spine than the traditional katana.  With a lethal 28 inches you can be sure to keep those corpse shamblers at arm’s length while taking their heads off!

My second blade of choice would be the Machete.  I don’t care which one you grab, just make it a good one.  This is a great weapon for those who didn’t have the time to study martial arts before the dead rose.  Not only good for carving your way through the moaning hoards of cannibals stumbling towards you, it can also help you slash your way through heavy foliage to help speed your getaway.

Now on to my third weapon of choice.  This one Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor highly recommends and has even offered to pick it up for our anniversary. The Benelli M4.  This gas-operated shotgun is great for us smaller peeps who don’t want to find ourselves sitting on our butts after firing. This way we can keep our feet and take out as many Zombies as possible.

Now, if you have the Apokatana and the Benelli you may find yourself unable to take on any more weapons, but I disagree.  Now my choice for weapon number four is certain dependant on individual preferences but no matter what you choose a small firearm is needed for those tighter situations where you just don’t have time to pull out the big guns.  We’re a Sig Sauer type family, so we’d lean towards the Sig Sauer P226, not just because SEALs tend to like this gun, but come on, it’s dependable no matter the environment.  When the apocalypse hits, there will be more than the environment to worry about!

Choice number five is not only practical but looks totally cool! This is Cold Steel’s Trench Hawk.  It’s a great weapon for tight spaces, plus you can also chop up downed power poles and abandoned houses for firewood!

Up in sixth place are those items you can use that you already own.  Most of us just don’t have the time to stock up on a plethora of firearms, so if the Zombies are knocking, just look around your kitchen.  A butcher knife, a rolling-pin, a solid candlestick, that cast iron skillet, even that hammer you shoved in the junk drawer.  They’ll all work and don’t require years of training to use effectively.  A little messy, but when you’re in the kitchen, messes happen!

And last but not least because no matter the quality of your accessories you must look good while taking out the undead.  Some will prefer the camo look, others leathers, and still others will cross styles. Now if you’re in the hotter climes leather may be out. It can get sticky, but if you haven’t been able to round-up some Kevlar, you really need to make sure your clothing can take a beating, weather the blood and brains they’ll encounter each day, and may even double as weapons.  I’d mention stiletto heels, but everyone knows you can’t run in those things.

I’m sure I’ve missed some, but what would you put up for your list of favorite 7’s?

And because I like to share the love, here are seven bloggers who I’m tagging for the next round of the One Lovely Blog award:

  1. Amber Kallyn
  2. Mona Karel
  3. Rachel Firasek
  4. Michelle Miles
  5. Adriana Ryan
  6. Empi Baryeh
  7. Ciara Knight

Share the love and give them a moment by checking out their blogs!

Today’s SwampGuest…Adriana Ryan!

Welcome back everyone! Nice to see you all here. Today’s guest is the fabulous Adriana Ryan, so stop snickering and singing over there, Muses and focus. Put those damn flowers down, you all are embarrassing me.

Swamp Thing stop handing out those stupid plants! Mischievous, go drag Eerie away from that Venus Flytrap, it’s not his friend. Prankster Duo, release the Piranha Hummingbird and sit!

Adriana traveled all this way, you motley crew, so the least you can do is give her your attention.

*chaos drops to muted rumblings*

Thank you. Now, without further ado I give you Adriana Ryan, the most awesome author of Enlightened Book 1 of The Awakened Series and Her Heart’s Desire.

Pinterest for Spooky Inspiration!

By Adriana Ryan

Unless you’ve been trapped in a wormhole (or are a writer on deadline), you’ve heard of the internet sensation that is Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool for filmmakers, photographers and others in the visual arts, of course, because it lets you advertise your wares. However, it can also be a great visual dose of inspiration for those of us who pen fiction.

The creepy pictures you see in this post are all courtesy of Pinterest. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a board full of spooky pictures? Imagine all the monstrous tales you could create!

I’m currently working on book two of my Awakened series. I can’t go into details because I don’t want to list any spoilers, but I needed to look up female demons for inspiration for one of my scenes. I just scrolled through Pinterest one evening, and within five minutes, I had scads of material to base my scenes on (and also for nightmares to last me through the century).

Another great use for Pinterest? A visual story prompt. Scroll through the front page until you find an eye-catching picture. Then, using a thousand words or less, challenge yourself to create a story worthy of it. What is happening in the picture? To whom? Why?

Now, the only caveat is: Pinterest in addictive! Use at your own risk. 😉

Adriana Ryan writes spunky supernatural fiction in beautiful Charleston, SC. She is currently at work on an urban fantasy series. A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, she enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards.

         You can find her at: http://adrianaryan.com                                                     

On Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAdrianaRyan

On Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/adrianaryansc

On Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/adrianaryansc/

IT’S COMING…SHADOW’S SOUL…ARRIVING JUNE 23rd!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!

The official release day for Shadow’s Soul is JUNE 23rd!  The exciting follow-up to Shadow’s Edge by moi, Jami Gray!

Even though I’m out roughing it with the other Evil 7, without electronic interruptions so my Muse can focus, I had to share the exciting news!

So drop everything and go pick it up!

Okay, fine, put it on your to do list if you don’t have time to wait!

Here, I’ll even give you the links!

Black Opal Books

Amazon

But before I do, remember next week we have another visitor: Adriana Ryan! So make sure you pick up any body parts so she doesn’t trip on her way in!

Just so you have an idea of what you’re getting…here’s a teaser (because yes, I’m cruel that way!)…may it whet your appetite for more!

CHAPTER 1

Blood dripped into her eyes. Raine McCord raised a hand to brush it away, smearing the warm wetness across her face. The world shimmered feverishly around her, sunlight glinting off the snow draped forest. She stumbled over a fallen log. Pain screamed through tattered nerve endings and down her right leg before the overload caused it to go limp. Collapsing to her side, she tried to protect her right shoulder, which was singing its own chorus of agonies. With a groan, she used her left hand to push herself up to her knees.

She knelt, head down, eyes closed, trying to breathe through the never-ending dizziness. She had to keep moving. Struggling to lift her heavy head, she forced her eyes open so she could focus on the ground ahead of her. You’re dead if you don’t move, Raine! her mind screamed. Faint whimpers and the sound of ragged breathing filled her ears as she dug her bloodied hands into the wet, cold dirt. Dead leaves and fallen twigs scraped against her tender palms. The chill from the patches of snow still clinging to the forest floor under the white barked trees barely made a dint in the pain.

Inadvertent sounds fell like whispers on the icy air as she pulled her battered body along the ground. Somewhere a branch cracked, jerking her attention behind her. Only drag marks denoted her path, looking as if they’d been made with scarlet paint. Forcing her attention forward, she blinked. Her vision wavered between gray and bright white. She aimed for the large, dark shape looming just out of reach.

Inch by agonizing inch, she made her way forward. The indistinct shape came into focus. It was the remains of a large tree, large enough to hide behind. Reaching the dubious protection, she managed to crawl behind it before her arms and knees gave out, sending her face first into the cold, wet earth. The winter forest was strangely silent. Each slow movement torture, she pulled her knees to her chest and curled into a ball.

Quiet. She had to be quiet. Stuffing her fist against her bruised lips, she muted the soft pain-filled noises coming from her abused throat. The rattling shivers from earlier had been replaced by a bone deep weariness. She might freeze to death, but she couldn’t find the strength to care. Closing her eyes, she let the swirling darkness and cold drag her under.

***

Her dreams included strangely soothing chants and curiously subdued drumming. It was a new experience. Generally, her nightmares involved cages, mad scientists, and monsters. At least the forest motif remained familiar. Rough edges dug into her spine. Trying not to be obvious, Raine reached behind her and found—tree bark? Slitting her eyes open, she was met with a curtain of dark, matted hair. Hazy light filtered through the strands. She rolled over. Her hair slid away to reveal a lattice work of branches above her with leaves dancing in the soft green light. Something was off. Something beside the fact she was lying at the foot of a freaking huge tree. The towering branches swayed hypnotically. There was no wind. How did leaves dance without wind?

Gingerly she sat up, brushing her hair out of her face and snagged her hand on a twig. Pulling the tangled mass forward, she found crushed sticks and leaves snared in the inky strands. Flowing white sleeves fell back from her arms as she pushed the mess back.

White? Flowing? What the hell? She didn’t own a white, flowing anything. Jeans, leather and steel, that’s what she was comfortable in.

The crackling of dried leaves heralded the arrival of a new player. All thoughts of the weird clothing disappeared as she instinctively moved into a crouch, reaching for her weapons. A streak of panic hit when she found nothing.

All she could do was wait. It didn’t take long before a wolf emerged from the shifting shadows. Its amber gaze was strangely calm as it padded forward then sat, like a dog. Not once did its attention waver. No dog she knew had fur blending from white to gray to black. She slowly eased back until the great oak pressed against her spine, not once breaking eye contact with the waiting animal.

Unsure of where she was, she dropped the mental barrier she held for protection between herself and the everyday world. Her senses flared to life. Thanks to her Fey heritage she could feel the presence of the natural magic in the fauna around her, a steady ebb and flow of life. If she really wanted, she could dig a little deeper and paint that energy with a visible palette of colors. A recently discovered talent which had nothing to do with her bloodlines and everything to do with her time spent as a lab rat.

She reached for her magic, only to have it slip through her psychic fingers like mist. Startled, she tried again while the strange wolf continued to watch her. The result was frustratingly the same. “What the hell?” she muttered.

Feeling behind her she dug her physical fingers into the rough edges of the tree bark. That was definitely real. She eyed the wolf, possible options cascading through her mind. Escape or confront?

As if reading her mind, the wolf gave her a canine grin full of very pointed teeth. The taunt was clear.

She snorted. “Yeah right, Mr. Big Bad Wolf. Do I look like I’m wearing a little red hood?” She was surprised at how hoarse her voice was. Only one thing had ever made her throat this raw. Problem was she couldn’t remember anything requiring that much screaming.

“Red would not be your color, Raine,” a female voice mocked. Raine jerked her head up so fast everything did a slow, stomach-churning spin. Once her vision settled, she was able to refocus on her surroundings. Other than the wolf and the tree behind her, everything else was shrouded in shadows and mists.

“You need to come back.” A woman stepped out of the shadows. Moving to stand beside the wolf, she scratched behind one gray ear. The woman was tall, taller than Raine’s own five-foot-five frame by a good couple of inches. Various shades of blonde were drawn into a simple braid. Deep brown eyes sparkled with some inner amusement. “You can’t stay here.”

“I don’t know where here is.”

The blonde tilted her head in a strange bird-like manner. “Here is where you go to heal, to get away from the rest of the world. Think of it as your own personal garden of Eden.”

Raine couldn’t stop the snort of disbelief or the bitter twist of her mouth. “This is the first time my Eden doesn’t look like hell, so I’m not so sure this is all my doing.”

Impatience passed over the strong-boned face. “Regardless, you need to go back now.”

The snappy tone didn’t sit well with Raine. Rising from her crouch, she hid the shakiness of her legs with a sneer. “How am I supposed to get back?”

This place set her teeth on edge and getting out of here was priority number one.

Frustration tightened the woman’s lips. “Don’t you know how to do this?” Her voice was sharp, impatient. “It’s your spirit you’ve trapped here. You have to make the decision to come back to yourself. If you don’t, you’re going to die.” Her braid slid over her shoulder when she crossed her arms. A flash of comprehension passed over her face. “Ah. Perhaps that’s what you want then?”

Raine found her hands clenching into fists at her sides. Her instincts were screaming that danger was barreling toward her. “If this is my Eden, who the hell are you?”

“Tala Whiteriver, and you, Raine McCord, are dying.” Tala’s voice was melodic, yet there was something in the undertones which sent shivers down Raine’s spine.

The woman turned, her voice floating back to Raine. “Follow then, if you have the courage.”

The last was a challenge. Rising to its feet, the wolf stood, its tongue lolling out in obvious canine laughter. Tala’s figure disappeared into the thick surrounding shadows. The wolf began to follow his mistress into the haze.

Not one to ever back down, Raine stepped away from the sheltering tree. As she moved near the gray shifting shadows, the drums and chanting came back. At the edges of the glade, they became insistent, driving. A few more steps and she was in the mist of dark shadows

Finding the lost Snark and Lucky Seven Challenge

Well, it’s been a busy week here at the Swamp.  Eerie, Mischevious, the Muses and I decided to track down Snarky’s missing snark.  Eerie, Mischevious and I had to swing by the Swamp Shack and drag out the Muses.  They weren’t too thrilled to be put to work, but I really didn’t have the patience to deal with their complaints.  Plus, they were facing off with Quirky’s bartending Muse regarding their running tab.  Before things could get dicey, I convisicated all the sharp edged weapons, and got the mini crowd into the armored Humvee so we could start our search. Chances were good that Snark had probably started out to welcome Dreamer to the neightborhood and got sidetracked.  She can be a little ditzy in the best of times, but we make allowances.  First up was the Filet Your Own Deli (yep, the name changes weekly!) because the Muses decided they needed to “stock up” for the search.  Seriously? You’d think those two had a hollow leg or three stashed somewhere.  I sent Mischevious ahead to the Swamp Thing’s place, because my Muse was speculating how many feathers would be needed for her new pillow and Mischevious was looking a little gray.

Once Eerie and I had rounded up our remaining charges and set off down the trail, we made quick work of the shops Snark could have gotten lost in–Knaves’ End, Everzombie & Flesh, Cave & Coffin, and Vladimir’s Secret.  No such luck.  Finally, after hours of listening to the Muses gritch about the lack of beverage options, we ended up at the Werewolf Moonastary.  We lost the old white haired dude somewhere in the whites, but over in the reds we found Snark.  Oh yes, she was passed out in front of a bottle littered table.  Seems the reds were a bit much for her plebian palate. Eerie and I dragged her to the Humvee, while my Muse took off with one of the hairy monks.  Mischevious found us at Snarky’s, pouring coffee down the slowly reviving Snark.  Give it a few more days, and she should be up to snuff.  If not, I’m sure Snarky Dwark will whip her into shape. Literally.

As I headed home I passed Dreamer’s lovely place.  She was out adding something colorful to her yard.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her it may not make through the next full moon.  Maybe she’ll get lucky and the moat and C. Adile’s cousins will be able to keep her lawn safe.  If not, the Prankster Duo is having a fun time with the Hellhound playing hide-n-seek-the-pieces with Eerie’s Zombie hordes.  We might be able to keep them hidden for a few more days! Just enough to worm our way into Dreamer’s heart.

So this weekend I’m off, leaving Knight in slightly muddy armor in charge of the Duo as Snarky and I crash the Desert Dreams Writer Conference.  Hopefully we’ll make a few new conquests…umm..friends.

And lastly, this week I was challenged by the mighty UF writer Marie Loughin (aka @mmloughin on Twitter), for the Lucky Seven. For those who aren’t familiar, Lucky Seven is a simple little Twitter game that goes like this:

  • go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • go to line 7
  • post on your blog the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are
  • tag 7 other people to do the same

It’s fun, it’s simple, and it can give you a chance to make your fellow writers show off!  So, since I just finished the third and final edits of Shadow’s Soul (out in June 2012), you’re getting a sneak peak of page 77:

Raine laughed, she couldn’t help it. Even Gavin couldn’t stop the twitch of his lips, while Xander lowered her head as if to hide her face. If Tomás thought threatening to sic Mulcahy on them was going to pull them in line, he was bound for disappointment. Mulcahy was the captain of the Wraiths, and if he hadn’t trusted them to do their job, he wouldn’t have sent them down here in the first place.

“Please do, Alpha Chavez,” she said. “Let him know we’ll contact him in the next day or so.” She didn’t need to lower her shields to feel the roil of power coming off the alpha because of her dismissive tone.

And now for the next seven victims!

Liv Rancourt             @LivRancourt

Amber  Kallyn           @AmberKallyn

Joe Alfano                  @Zombie_Joe

Adriana Ryan             @adrianaryansc

Mackenzie Crowne    @MacCrowne

Cynthia Woolf             @CynthiaWoolf

Rachel Firasek             @RachelFirasek

* “Tagged” means that you were called to action or attention via social media avenues such as Twitter or Facebook. So I know I told you about it!

For those following along with my guest posts, this week you’ll find me:

4/22/12            Black Opal’s Some Stories Told should have my post on Pantsing It…Writer Style.

4/24/12            Denise Alicea’s The Pen Muse where you get to follow my first meeting with Raine McCord!

4/25/12            Sarah Merchant’s Work Aday Reads as we go Where The Monsters Live…

–Wicked

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