Friday, July 12, 2013

Review of Dead Girl & Mini Interview with Stavros + Giveaway

Written by Stavros | Illustrated by Charles Hearn
Genre:  Horror/Thriller
Publisher: Crazy Duck Press (CDP)
Date of Publication: August 2011
ISBN: 9780982812198

Number of pages: 266
"…Death was a dream of sleep where the eternally dying dream the sleep of death.  The undeniable evidence in the stillness of her being, the stark paleness of her complexion, and the lack of blood pooling from her cuts after climbing through the window whispered dark truths in her ears.  Rigor Mortis.  There was nothing familiar to Jamie about her skin.  Time and time again, she found herself asking what had happened, only to arrive at the hard won conclusion that she, Jamie Lund, wasn’t alive anymore.  Somehow in the foolhardy night, she’d been a dumb girl.  She’d gotten herself killed…

From the mind of Stavros, the critically acclaimed author of Blood Junky, comes a new twisted tale of horror and adventure.  An average girl, living in the city is murdered.  Nothing new, right?  It happens every day.  Just another statistic.  That is…until she woke up dead.

Trapped within her own decaying shell, the dead girl struggles to piece together the awful events of her untimely death and hunt down the man responsible.  Armed only with a kiss from an ancient Egyptian God, a pockmarked memory, her ex-boyfriend, and a murder of crows Jamie Lund comes face to face with something more terrifying and real than mere death…she suffers the agony of being undead!

With twelve black & white illustrations and a full colored cover from tattoo artist, Charles Hearn, this sardonic tale comes alive like no other zombie story, popping from the page with stunning, unnatural brilliance.  Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge will keep the reader on the edge of their seat suspended in this unique supernatural thriller.

Mini Interview

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or line from DEAD GIRL? If so, please share.
A: That is a great question.  I’d have to say, “Death was a dream of sleep where the eternally dying dream the sleep of death.”  Shortly after releasing DG, one of the readers made a post on Facebook quoting this line.  So, I made a poster with it and the rose-covered skeleton illustration from the cover.

Q: Convince readers to buy DEAD GIRL in 25 words or less.
A: A paranormal murder mystery where the victim must discover her killer before she decays, all the while being followed by a murder of crows.

Q: Reading your bio (below) made my head spin. You’ve been busy! Plays, books, music, poetry… What are three of your favorite accomplishments as a writer, editor, musician?
A:  Well, as a writer that’s easy.  My three favorite accomplishments are my 3 fiction novels, Blood Junky, Love in Vein, and Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge.  Just the fact that I’ve written and published them is a testament of faith and will.  As an editor, I’d have to break it up into two editing categories –Film Editing and Literary Editing.  So for film editing, I’m really proud of the work accomplished in the award-winning documentary film, Committing Poetry in Times of War.  The editing style allowed the multi-layered aspects of the story to come through, plus I got to edit some amazing poetry from some amazing poets!  For literary editing, I’d single out Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition.  I really love what Bertena and I accomplished with that title.  It is comprehensive and entertaining, crossing the vampire genre with its real-world counterpart, which makes it unique.  Recently, I edited a series of English-written medical articles from a Russian nurse and they were published.  Just the sheer amount of language and technical obstacles that were overcome to see it through to where they were accepted by the press is a wonderful feeling.  As a musician, I do like the composition work I did on Committing Poetry in Times of War, but most of my favorite accomplishments have never been heard, and most likely wont be. They all involve that moment where you connect with another person, another soul, in creative expression and create something that you both like and feel good about.  Though, I have some recordings from some of those experiences, they aren’t there yet, as song writing and song recording are two different things.  You can write a song for free, but recording it properly…well, that’s entirely different.

Q: What’s one of your biggest fears?
A: I am currently living within my biggest fear, and learning to accept and deal with it.  I know that may peak some curiosity, but I’d rather not get all into right now.

Q: Name three things you can’t live without.
A: Oxygen, Water, & Food
(Very funny, Stavros. :-))

*Thanks for having me here today!

Dead Girl is not your typical zombie story. You won't find any flesh or brain munching in it, which is fine and dandy with me. 

What you will find is a walking, talking, thinking, feeling dead girl zombie who is searching for her killer. You'll also find a kind, compassionate ex-boyfriend who loves the dead girl and is still attracted to her even though she looks and smells a little funky. 

There were a couple of situations between the dead girl and the ex-boyfriend that made me cringe and say, "Ewwww! Please don't." But that's all I'll say about that. The author's writing is descriptive with quite a bit of exposition, sometimes to the point of annoyance, BUT it's solid, pretty and lyrical at times.

The ending is bittersweet. When I finished the story, I sat there thinking, "Crap, now I'm sad."

Overall, if an atypical zombie story with a romantic edge and a bittersweet ending sounds interesting to you, you might want to read Dead Girl.

Praise for Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge…
“A Bittersweet punch with a suspenseful plot and somber romance, showing us the vulnerable perspective of death from the other side.  Definitely, not to be missed!” -Tara Lindsey Hall; Writer/Editor

“I couldn’t put it down. I loved it.  You are a great writer.  Can’t wait to read the next one.” -Bethany Tanner-Evanko, a Facebook Post
“Just wanted you to know…I was about to wrap Dead Girl in festive Christmas paper but decided to read the first I'm on page 88 and I'm keeping the book...and I'm not going to bed anytime soon.” -Sabrina Buckman, a Facebook Post on Dec 21, 2011

“WOW!  Holy shit…Thank you for this.  Thank you for bringing forth a story that more than restores my faith in a type that has gnawed at my entrails for over a decade.  It was different, it was refreshing, it was a damn awesome break from the “same old, same old” crap this genre is filled with.  It’s so hard to find an original zombie tale any more.  And even harder to find someone who can make an old story their own in some personal way.  But this?  Definitely not the same old crap.”
-C. Dulaney, author of the Roads Less Traveled series
“OMZG! (Oh My Zombie Goodness)  I absolutely Loved this book. Dead Girl is not the conventional zombie book, but a great one!  It’s a book of mystery and revenge with Egyptian influence felt within the pages. Plus the actual attention to detail of rigor mortis and decomposition of the body is spot on and a great additive to the book.  I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good revenge tale.  Plus I couldn't put the book down!”

-Sunshine Rose, Chicago, ILL. April 2013

Jamie didn’t hear the splash when her body hit the water. She didn’t feel the cold grip of swirling liquid engulf her or lift her back up to the surface minutes later. She never noticed a murder of crows perched on the railings of the dilapidated concrete bridge.  Or the way moonlight reflected off their coal black wings, shimmered in the rippling river and her wet hair. Jamie didn’t see, feel, or hear much of anything anymore. Because at twenty-two… Jamie Lund was dead.
The water carried her like a baby and birthed her to the grassy bank on the other side of the bridge.  A branch grabbed the black mini-skirt that she had worn that night and held it against the tug. A thousand ebon eyes watched her body drift and moor like a boat. A
cold wind bent the tall grass on the river’s edge and filled the night with wings.  Against the churning bubble and the damp lights of the city in the distance, a cacophony of beaks erupted. Caws like locusts fell from the sky.
As if struck by a hammer to the chest, breath fueled Jamie’s lungs. An awakening gasp burst through icy, cold lips and teeth that were filled with muddy leaves and liquid. Jamie’s back arched and her head rose from the water with a jolt. Her eyes were milky white and distant.  She sucked in a gulp of air with the grate of a straw searching for that last drop of soda under the ice; raspy like thorns – broken
as the wind in the hollow of a tree.  Her arms pushed up and drove her hands deep into riverbank mud. The chips and cracks in her red- polished nails were covered with dirt. Crows swarmed above her as
a single mood. She coughed the river from her throat and pulled her
shaking body from the frigid wet.
Ebon eyes glared at the wretched girl from the sky, from the trees, and their concrete perch on the dilapidated bridge as she
struggled with stiff limbs to drag her sore and aching body through the tall weeds to the road. Jamie sat at the edge of the busted tarmac and looked around as her vision slowly tuned into her surroundings. The moon smiled down on her, a faint yellow, illuminating a patch of earth that she had never been to before. Nothing was familiar.  Everything felt wrong. Fog peeled back from her memory like Russian nesting dolls, opening into themselves, getting smaller and smaller with the same effect, revealing nothing. She didn’t know how or why she was here. Worry blossomed inside her chest like a fruit basket.
She tried to call out. To simply speak, to utter a sound, to work her feeble voice, but her throat burned hot nails all the way down her windpipe.  A tiny squeak parted from her icy blue lips and she placed
a hand to her throat. It was fraught with pain. She struggled.  She worked her jaw to loosen her voice box, wind the organ up to play, but a flash of memory slammed into the back of her skull. It shook her shoulders awake, repeating on a loop. Scorching Jamie’s cerebral cortex, her eyelids fluttered.
She was looking at herself in a freestanding mirror - getting dressed. A column of jet-black hair fell past bare shoulders, framing her pretty face. She had a lithe, curvy shape, sensual lips, and thin fingers that pulled the zipper of her skirt up the side of her hip. She turned the cute little black number around so that the fastener was in the back. She straightened her black lace bra, smiled, and then did her make up.  She was going out...
But, where?
Suddenly, Jamie felt wet and shivered. Fear crept past her damp clothes and crawled under her skin as she lifted herself onto the road. Every muscle rebelled. Her knees argued at the thought of bending. The joints in her fingers and elbows ached, popping with movement. Her back felt as if someone had surgically implanted a slab of concrete, and a blinding pain ran from her neck down her spine. Her shoes were missing, toes numb, the sides of her feet scrapped along the busted edge of the tarmac as she rose crooked and wobbly onto two weak legs. It was a horrible dream, unspooling limbs for the audience of
the blackbirds. Nothing was clear, nothing was familiar. A dull ringing

filled Jamie’s ears and she felt cold. Bitter and deep, that sprang from her center.  Jamie Lund felt the cold that no one ever feels but which we’re all made to visit. Somewhere vaguely in the coils of her mind the little lost dead girl was reminded that it was July. Its not supposed to be this cold out! Slowly, Jamie wrapped her arms across her chest and lumbered toward the distant lights of the city.

About the Author- Stavros:
Notorious Poet.  Fool.  Born in Washington DC.  Stavros was a writer and editor for The Independent Underground Magazine.  Raised in Southern Maryland, he fled the Chesapeake Bay to the wilds of the New Mexican desert.  He is a single father of two, whose poetic works have been published in several online and print publications, including Central Avenue, The Sword That Cuts Through Stone, Poets Against The War, Conceptions Southwest, The Mynd, Imagine: Creative Arts Journal, and Bartleby, where he won a specialty award for his poem, Blackbird.
In 1999, he won an Official Selection into the Writer’s on the Edge Festival for his play, The Redline.  In 2001, he created the Poetry Television Project for public cable access in Albuquerque, NM.  All eight volumes of Ptv’s ground-breaking show were broadcast to over 100,000 viewers on a network of regional PAC channels throughout the Southwest and Baltimore.  He helped to launch Unpublished Magazine, sponsored the monthly poetry series, The Word CafĂ©, in the Duke city, and produced a political compilation, Poetic Democracy.  In 2007, he released the award-winning documentary film, Committing Poetry in Times of War.
In 2010, he launched the production management company, Organic Ghetto, and released its first imprint, Crazy Duck Press, with his first novel, Blood Junky. Blood Junky received exceptional praise and review, even being called "one of the best vampire novels ever written," by Living Dead Media.  The following year he helped to launch BioGamer Girl, undertook a bigger East coast tour where he began selling his original photographic art, and released two new novels through Crazy Duck Press.  Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge features a stunning full-color cover and twelve black and white illustrations from tattoo artist, Charles Hearn.   Blood Junky’s sequel, Love in Vein, cemented the One Blood series with its continuation of the story, garnering such review as to claim that the book and the series is "comparable with, and at times surpasses, the 'Vampire Chronicles' by Anne Rice."
In 2012, Stavros joined forces with the Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed, to co-create the nonfiction annual anthology, Vampire News, and officially became a Fangsmith with the creation of Organic Ghetto's second imprint, Kaos Kustom Fangs.  He rounded out the year by writing and editing screenplays for the One Blood Transmedia Project, recording Dead Girl as an audio book, and undertaking his biggest national marketing campaign, The Book & Fang Tour.
In 2013, he and the Vampire Professor released the second volume of Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition and is currently working on writing and growing his imprints.   Stavros is also a musician who has scored commercials, film shorts, documentaries, and television programs.

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