Author Spotlight: Michael G. Williams

Book Cover from Amazon

Michael G. Williams is a regular at ConCarolinas and, as such, I have had the opportunity to snap up each book of The Withrow Chronicles when it becomes available. Even better, I have talked directly to the author about his own personal challenge for the series. Not only is he following the vampire genre, but for each book within the series he is choosing a different subgenre to keep things fresh. 

Once a reader is in on this particular “secret” the series takes on additional fun, seeing what road Mr. Williams will take us down with Withrow Surrett. In the first book, Perishables, our stay-at-home vampire experiences the Zombie Apocalypse genre and has to decide if saving his Homeowners association is worth the effort. Book two is a Detective Noir entitled “Tooth & Nail” and drags poor Withrow even further out of his safe little world into the hills of Transylvania – county, North Carolina (I laughed really, really long when I realized my adopted state had a Transylvania County). During book two Withrow’s insane cousin Roderick comes into his own. You will rarely meet a more compelling, funny, scary as sh*t character. Actions Roderick takes often has me rereading the Chronicles just to figure out which twisty-turn the boy pulled off. He makes Batman’s Joker look sane and safe.

In Deal with the Devil, the subgenre is Superhero. Mr. Williams doesn’t get all the nuances and tropes of superpower prose like his did with Zombie horror, but he does an admirable job. Since superhero is a favorite genre of mine, my expectations bar is higher. On the other hand, this book’s power comes from changing The Withrow Chronicles from a series of completely independent books with continuing characters to a true series with changes tying together an ongoing, overarching plotline. While each story of the series can be a stand alone, this book is a must-read for series fans. Deal with the Devil refers back to both of the preceding stories so I would recommend reading the first two stories first, though it is not required. While not the best book of the series, Deal with the Devil makes the series.

Book four, Attempted Immortality, is a complete Thriller ride. Still unquestionably a vampire book, the thriller subgenre drives non-stop action from the opening scene to closing. Withrow and Roderick run from one end of a small beach town to the other as it gets blown up and burnt down around their ears. The Thriller subgenre suits Mr. Williams action- and humor-oriented writing style, though he admitted on Facebook some long writing sessions to meet the challenge of keeping momentum going while also forwarding plotline and characterization.

Book five, Nobody Gets Out Alive, is still being written. And he hasn’t said what the genre is yet! According to his plans, this will complete the series.

I admire Mr. Williams for attempting such a complicated task to further his writing skill. In addition, the gentleman is well-spoken at convention panels, friendly when bumped into, and approachable at his table.

Flash: Three to the Chest

Clip Art Gun

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Fuck, fuck, fuck … out of bullets.” Neville cursed as his gun clicked empty. The laboratory cabinet continued to shake as he ducked behind it. His opponents did not have the same ammunition limitations. Fortunately the metal cabinet had been built to handle exploding experiments.

The altercation had turned the laboratory into a war-zone, toppling even the heavy marble tables. One of which Younger was curled behind. “Damn it, Neville. You’re a vampire. Just stand up, take three to the chest and reload.”

Looking at his unarmed human companion wincing as a ricochet chipped the marble beside his face, Neville deadpanned, “Wrong caliber.” He tucked his favorite piece back into the ankle holster. “How about you … can’t you do whatever the fuck it is you do?”

“Thought you wanted some of the coven to still be alive, or at least undead, at the end. Quinn can’t be head vamp without followers.”

“Like you are that powerful,” Neville sneered. “The two fucks over there with their thralls are over four hundred years.” Neville looked around for better cover. He could hear some of the bullets pinging the inside of the cabinet now. They had pierced the front doors.

“If you are sure…” Younger commented.

The cabinet exploded in a rain of chemicals and glass as Neville dashed between several thin metal desks to join Younger under cover. Someone had broken out a shotgun with amour piercing rounds. “Fuck, yeah I’m sure. Just do it!” he screamed.

…. When the smoke cleared, Neville stared at Younger. He tried to remember the last few minutes, but fragments of icy fire and hungry darkness wouldn’t form into coherent thought. It was like someone had obscured his memory after a feeding; something not possible while he was the coven’s enforcer for Quinn.

“Okay, I stand corrected.” He stepped between the rapidly decaying bodies of the ancients they had been fighting, approaching his suddenly scary mortal ally. At least Neville hoped he was an ally. “Fucking powerful. How the Hell…?”

“Don’t ask, don’t tell, and don’t repeat, my friend.” Younger smiled enigmatically.

Sirens could be heard between the rubble resettling and liquid drips. “Riiiight.” Neville shook his head. “Well, Quinn owes you one and so do I.”

“Think you can cover this?” The scourge waved his hand at the wreckage.

Neville pulled his cell phone out of his back pocket, a quick glance at the time indicated it was only four AM. Dawn was still a ways off. “If I can’t, I got people who can.”

“Okay, I’ll be going then. Just remember next time to ask the bad guys to provide the same caliber bullets.”

Laughing Neville agreed, “I’ll do that.”

(words 447 – first published 5/22/2013; republished in new blog format on 6/04/2017)

Flash: Lips

The mesmerizing lips drew back redder than when they approached. Julia compelled her eyes open with difficulty; her last orgasm was still rifting through her body. She barely felt the ropes tying her wrists and ankles that kept her body attached to the chair even when her spine had bent in half from pleasure.

Kade’s tongue flicked out to gather the salty red moisture before it dripped. Julia’s eyes watched the motion and her nipples tightened. As he continued to back up, she tried to focus on those behind him. Every time she looked at him all she wanted to do was beg for more. Oh God, so much more.

He only had a taste. A quick bite. The movement of his finger tracing his lips as he considered her with black alien orbs brought her eyes back to the most wonderful, pleasurable, frightening thing in her world. Her breath was drawn from her. His teeth so perfect.

Breaking contact, Kade’s black eyes became engrossed by the single drop of blood left on his index finger.

Julia heard the scraps and movements of others in the room. She searched inward for terror. The kidnapping, the ride, the punches, and being tied up. She had wanted to scream and scream and could not. She tried to struggle and could not.

Now satisfaction provided calm and languish to her mind and muscles. She could scream now but didn’t want to. Too much effort. The logical part of her mind tried to prod the emotional side to panic with no avail. Eventually it gave up.

Trying to puzzle out the black and the beings inhabiting it would take energy Julia no longer had. She felt so good. The easiest thing to focus on was Kade’s lips.

“My dear little angel,” the lips formed words. “You are a tasty treat like few others.”

The head and body turned denying her view of the lips for a precious few seconds. “I wish I had known,” Kade projected to the four corners as he spun. “I wouldn’t have a called for a joint feast but kept this morsel for myself.”

Kade knelt in front of her and whispered; the sound still carried. “But I did and I will not renounce my invitation to share.”

She watched as the lips approached, hoping. She moaned as they drew back when he stood from paradise lost.

“Harris, Pascal, Eugene. Please, my friends, partake a sip. Remember to leave enough for the others to savor.”

 (words 415 –  originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 1/20/2013 -The original photo was of unknown copyright so did not put on my site – published on old blog 1/20/2013; republished in new blog format on 4/9/2017)

Flash: Flower Power

Woman with Flower Stock Art

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Gods, I cannot believe what a bunch of losers you guys have become.” Donnie waved with the hand not holding his beer, encompassing the group sitting throughout the upscale living room where they had collapsed after an exhausting evening of interspecies political wrangling. The rant went on and on about the old days and how everything had changed since his friends started pairing off with “the girls,” finally ended with, “We’re monsters for crying loud!”

The host adjusted himself on the arm of the cream and maroon striped settee to better watch his wife as she bustled around the kitchen. “Just because I have chosen to hand the reigns to someone does not mean I am tame.” He nodded happily as Ketzal gave him a wave before she opened the refrigerator. With her hidden behind the stainless steel door, Ebon returned his full attention to his guests, smiling with his canines exposed.

“Get real, the ring on your hand is like a ring through your nose,” Donnie sneered. “Dude, you are so pussy whipped I can’t even hear the crack of the leather anymore.”

Ebon moved faster than even the vampire of the group of immortals could observe. One moment Donnie was leaning against the sofa with Maria and Lorenzo, the next the shifter was holding him at arm’s length with Donnie’s legs swinging nearly a foot above the floor. Black hair sprouted along Ebon’s elongated arms, rock-hard muscular arms ending in claws around Donnie’s neck. The back of the dark elf’s head lay gently against an undamaged silk wallcovering.

Everyone stopped moving, and those that could held their breath.

“Do not think my marriage makes me any less dangerous.” Black eyes glowed red in the centers. Ebon stepped closer to the wall, bending the arm without effort while keeping the elf suffocating mid-air. He brought his short snout and full set of glistening teeth closer to the Wild Hunt rider face.

“Dinner is ready in ten…Ebon, my heart, put Donnie down.”

“Dead or alive,” he growled unmoving, staring into the eyes of his trembling prey.

Ketzal’s sweet voice replied. “I don’t really care, but if you kill him, you will need to dispose of the body after dinner.”

“What are we having?”

An exasperated puff came behind him. “What do you think?”

“Something tomatoey,” her husband replied after sniffing the air close to the elf’s neck.

“Creole Boil.”

If anything, Ebon’s toothy grin grew wider. “You live.” He opened his left hand.

Donnie fell to the floor gasping, rubbing his neck.

“And if you have a minute, can you fetch some wine for the meal?” The brunette swung her waist long hair behind her as the shifter stalked closer to her to give her ear a quick bite.

Whispering into it, which did not obscure the communication to anyone in the room because of their heightened senses, he said, “I will need to give it a taste to choose the right match.”

The goddess of flowers and ephemeral things giggled softly a second before turning her lips to his. “I just sampled the dish.”

He kissed her a long moment.

“The Sidewood Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, should do.” He opened the small door between the living room and kitchen for the wine cellar stairs.

The satisfaction of Ketzal’s sigh left no doubt about the happiness of the couple’s relationship, even as it moved into its second decade. “Dinner is ready for seating as soon as someone helps me set the table.”

Tykevius and Carissa glided from where they had been hovering near the ceiling toward the dining area.

“Oh, and Donnie.” Ketzal’s musical tones carried the bass throb of power.

The elf snapped his head toward the Aztec goddess.

Her sweet smile looked even scarier than her husband’s. “I wouldn’t have seconds if I were you.”

(words 636, first published January 15, 2017)

Author Spotlight: Kalayna Price

Kicking It Amazon Book Cover

Book Cover from Amazon

The quiet, sweet dark voice whispers, “Want to fire dance?”

A USA Today Bestselling author, Kalayna Price, has two series: Alex Craft (Grave Witch) and Novels of Haven (Once Bitten), both featuring strong women with powers carrying debilitating prices. Alex Craft sees ghosts (who are great spies, but terrible backup) and Haven has vampires. I loved the Alex Craft books and look forward to reading her Haven series.

At convention panels, Ms. Price needs to be mic’ed – her speaking voice is as soft as her pen is strong. But her witty advice is worth hearing as much as her writing is worth reading, so I will sit in the first row listening to everything.

You can find out more about Ms. Price at her website, including her fire dancing: Kalayna Price.