Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Life After the Undead" by Pembroke Sinclair

Life After the Undead
by Pembroke Sinclair

This book blitz and giveaway for Pembroke Sinclair's Life After the Undead is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

More books by this author: The History of My Wishes (read my blog post), The Weeping Bride (read my blog post), The Appeal of Evil (read my blog post), Dealing with Devils (read my blog post), Good Intentions (read my blog post), and Undead Obsessed (read my blog post).

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.
Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of - the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear - her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.
Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

I will never understand peoples’ fascination with the apocalypse. Why would you waste so much time and energy worrying about something you can’t change? Besides, most of the time, it never comes to fruition, anyway. Remember Y2K? I don’t. I was too young, but I’ve heard stories. What a hullabaloo that was. People were so afraid of computers failing and throwing society back into the Dark Ages, they stockpiled supplies and moved into the wilderness so they could get away from technology. Why would they move to the wilderness? If technology was going to fail, wouldn’t they be just as safe in a city? I guess they were afraid when it did, everyone would go crazy and start killing each other. Either way, it didn’t happen. I wonder how those people felt afterward.
Then there was the whole 2012 scare. This one was supposedly based on an ancient prediction, so you know it was reliable. Are you kidding? Even the Mayans didn’t believe their own ancestors’ "vision". What happened was there had been a tablet that had the Mayan calendar carved into it. The end was broken and faded, so no one knew what it said. Our culture, being the pessimistic lot we are, automatically assumed it was an end-of-the-world warning, but, again, nothing happened on December 21, 2012. Christmas came and went, and I think everyone everywhere, even the skeptics, had a little something more to be thankful for. Life went on as usual, and all those doomsayers faded into obscurity.
The day the world did end was pretty nondescript. By that I mean there was no nuclear explosion or asteroid or monumental natural disaster. There weren’t even any horsemen or plagues to announce the end was coming. The world ended fairly quietly. I couldn’t even give you a date because it happened at different times depending on where you were. It was never predicted, and I’m sure a scenario no one even considered. Who really thinks the dead are going to rise from the grave and destroy the majority of the population?  No one but Hollywood, and we all know those are just movies, but that’s exactly what happened. Those of us who survived were left wide-eyed, mouth agape, trying to figure out what to do next.
There were a few who were able to pull their heads out and organize those left behind. They made sure the populace had food, shelter, and protection. They were saviors, the United States’ heroes. Life wouldn’t have gone on without them, and it was pretty difficult those first few years after the zompocalypse.
Sometimes it’s difficult for me to remember what life was like before the rise of the undead. I was a teenager, though I hesitate to say normal. I wasn’t deformed or anything, but my classmates thought I was strange. I had a fascination with the dark, the macabre, although I wasn’t a Goth or Emo. I read books and magazines about serial killers. I didn’t idolize them or want to be like them - hell no - I was fascinated with how evil and black a human’s soul could get.
I wanted to be a psychologist and work with the criminally insane, maybe figure out why they did what they did. Apparently, when you’re fifteen, your friends think you’re weird if you have desires to help someone other than yourself. While they were worried about becoming popular and getting the right boyfriend, I tried to figure out how to make society better.
Of course, those dreams will never come true. Society doesn’t exist. Everything I once held dear is gone. I lost my parents to the horde, like a lot of kids. Unlike some of the others, mine weren’t taken by surprise or in some freak accident. They were taken because of their own stupidity. Some days I miss them a lot, but others I believe they got what they deserved. I might sound callous and uncaring, but what about them? Why would they abandon their fifteen-year-old daughter? It used to keep me up at night, trying to find the answer to that question, but I’ve given up asking it. No reason wasting time on things that could’ve or should’ve been.
As I stare out the passenger side window of the semi, I’m reminded how bleak the future has become. The truck rolls down a once heavily traveled highway that has been reduced to a cracked trail. Gas stations and towns dotting the landscape have been abandoned and are crumpling into the weeds that are taking them over. There are a few areas that still resemble pre-zombie destruction, and these are the military outposts set up along the road, used for protection and refueling. I use the term "military" loosely because there is no formal military anymore. It’s a rag-tag group of men and women who were lucky enough to get guns. I chuckle to myself. It’s been two years since I was last out in the world, and a lot has changed since then. I still remember the day the zombies attacked. It’s as clear as if it’d happened yesterday.

Praise for the Book
"This is a wonderful book from Pembroke Sinclair. I love the zombie storyline, but it is so much more than that. You have all of these wonderful characters that you sometimes forget that zombies have taken over. If you like zombies, you will definitely love this book. It has romance, murder and mystery. Do not pass this one up!" ~ The Books You Read
"I have followed this author for a bit and I am truly impressed with her work, from her short stories to her novels. Life After the Undead leaves me thoughtful and eagerly awaiting the sequel." ~ Kindle Customer
"Life After the Undead is a well-written story that represents a perfect blend of young adult fiction with a horror twist. Sinclair does an excellent job of fully developing both the plot and all of the characters involved in the main action of the novel, and she walks the fine line between too much blood and gore and just enough eloquently and with style. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good adventure, regardless of their age. It was fun and exhilarating to get lost in the world of the undead as seen through the eyes of a capable and independent protagonist. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the sequel!" ~ Luv2Read324
"I couldn't stop reading, it grabs you from the start and won't let go. This is definitely a book for the zombie aficionado and I give this 5 bloody fangs and am jumping right into the next book." ~ Mindyg123
"Oh my gosh this book was so awesome!! [...] Mrs. Pembroke is such a hella talented author! I've read a few of her other books and she has this amazing way of capturing the moment of things just right that through the whole book it just keeps you sucked in. Life After the Undead was... mind blowing. It had the perfect amount of everything! It felt like I was living the story. [...] All the characters were so perfect for their part. It's really amazing when you can actually bond with pretty much all the characters in a book because you get to know so much about them. I loved this book in every way. You couldn't make this book any more awesome. It exceeds the limit. Lol I would highly recommend this book." ~ Pikachu FearStreetZombie

Guest Post by the Author
Behind the Story: Life After the Undead
I am fascinated with zombies - obsessed, if you will - and I have been since the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead many, many years ago. When I get really stressed out, I often dream of the undead and have to find ways to fight against them. That is where the inspiration for Life After the Undead came from.
The dream occurred several years ago, and while I don’t remember the exact details, I recall that my spouse and I were hiding in a small town while all of the zombies were migrating through. They were heading West so the humidity didn’t cause them to deteriorate faster. I woke up and thought, "Hey, that’s a great idea!" So I fleshed out the story.
It started out as a short story focusing on one small snippet in time. That story was published somewhere (I can’t remember and it’s no longer linked on my blog), and then I decided to expand it into a novel.
The first attempt was an adult novel. I’m fairly certain there were some cuss words in it and a bit more carnage. I decided to send out queries for the story to agents. For the first round, I sent it to 31 agents, all of which rejected it, except one who suggested I turn it into a young adult novel and then resubmit.
So I did. This required me to clean up the language a bit, take out some of the gore (although it still has its fair share), and make my main character a bit more naïve. I believe I also changed it from third person to first person. I sent it back in, feeling pretty good, and then she rejected it. But that didn’t discourage me. I sent it out again as a young adult novel.
For the second round, I queried 28 agents, all of whom rejected it. After that, I sent it to a few indie publishers, and one of them picked it up. I met a book cover designer online who painted (honest to goodness painted!) covers, so I commissioned him to create the cover.
The way the deal worked was that he would send the cover idea, then it was up to the publishing company to put on the title and my byline, which they did. The artist was then free to sell the original painting, which he did. However, I decided that I liked it so much I wanted one for my collection, so I asked him to create me another with my title and byline on it. It wasn’t something he normally did, but he did it for me. The painting proudly hangs in my house.
Life After the Undead is one of my favorite stories. One of the things I like so much about zombies is that they allow me to explore the question of what it means to be human. That’s a theme that runs through a lot of my books. Plus, I just really like zombies.
As the years went by, I wanted to breathe some life back into the story (pun intended), so I decided to republish with another publishing house. This allowed me to go back and make edits, expand the story and take out some things that bothered me, and I got a new cover.
It was a lot of fun to go back and reread the story and make changes. I’m feeling pretty good about the story, and I think it’s closer to my vision of how I originally imagined it. Every time I reread it, I find a new aspect that makes me enjoy the story all over again. I would have imagined that after all this time and changes the story would get old, but it hasn’t. It’s still one of my favorites.

From the Author
Jessica Robinson is an editor by day and a zombie-killer by night (at least in her books). Since the first time she watched Night of the Living Dead, she has been obsessed with zombies and often thinks of ways to survive the uprising. In addition to her nonfiction book, under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, she has written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world. She has also written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films.

Enter the blitz-wide giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy of Life After the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair (US only).


Friday, October 30, 2015

"Shopping for a Billionaire Boxed Set" by Julia Kent

Shopping for a Billionaire Boxed Set
(Shopping for a Billionaire Parts 1-5)
by Julia Kent

The Shopping for a Billionaire Boxed Set from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent is a 600+ page, hilarious romantic comedy with heart, heat, and laughs. Best of all, it's ON SALE for only $0.99 (save $5.00) for a limited time. Don't miss out!

Ever meet a hot billionaire while your hand's in a toilet in the men's room of one of his stores?
No? So it really is just me. Hmm.
When you're a mystery shopper, you get paid to humiliate yourself, all in the name of improving customer service. Romance isn't in my job description.
But the day I met Declan McCormick it was love at first flush.
Until I nearly castrated him with my EpiPen.
How Hot Guy and Toilet Girl became an item involves my crazy mom, a trip to the ER, my homicidal cat, my fake wife, and true love.
Don't look at me like that. I'm just doing my job.
I'm shopping for a billionaire.

I am eating my ninth cinnamon raisin bagel with maple horseradish cream cheese and hazelnut chocolate spread.
Don’t judge me.
It’s my job to eat this.
It’s a Monday morning, 9:13 a.m. on the dot, and the counter person, Mark J., takes exactly seventeen seconds to acknowledge my presence. He then offers to upsell my small mocha latte, which I decline nicely, and within seventy-three seconds my cinnamon raisin bagel with maple horseradish cream cheese and hazelnut chocolate spread is in my hands, toasted and warm.
I pay my $10.22 with a $20 bill and he counts back my change properly, hands me a receipt and points out the survey I can complete for a chance to win a $100 gift card to this chain restaurant.
Survey? Buddy, I’m surveying you right now.
No, I don’t have obsessive-compulsive disorder, though it helps in my line of work. I am not a private detective, and I don’t have an unhealthy stalker thing for Mark J., who loses points for ringing up a customer, touching cash, and not washing his hands before touching the next person’s bagel.
I cringe at mine.
I’m a secret shopper. Mystery shopper. Or as the clerks and managers in the stores where I pretend to be a regular shopper call me: Evil Personified.
That’s Ms. Evil Personified to you, buddy.
It really is my job to sit here on a sunny Monday morning, in my ninth chain store, buying the same exact meal over and over again, sipping each mocha latte and sliding a thermometer in the hot liquid to make certain the temperature is between 170 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
You try doing that without making people think you are that one weird customer, the one who talks to aliens through the metal shake cans, or who brings her teacup chihuahua in to share a grilled cheese and lets the dog lick the plate clean.
I’m just as weird, except I’m getting paid to do it.
My best friend and coworker, Amanda, created a little thermometer that looks just like a coffee stirrer. I slip it in through the lid and in sixty seconds—voila!
One hundred seventy-four degrees. I reach for my phone and pretend to send a text. I’m really opening my shopper’s evaluation app, to type in all the answers to the 128 questions that must be properly answered.
I enter my name (Shannon Jacoby), today’s date, the store location, whether the front trashcan was clean (it was), whether the front mats were clean (they were), the name of the clerk who waited on me (Mark J.), and pretty much every question you could imagine short of my favorite sexual position (none of your business) and the first date of my last period (who cares? It’s not like I could possibly be pregnant. Maybe the cobwebs are in the way…).
Did I mention this is my ninth store of the day? I started at 5:30 a.m. I’m very, very questioned and cinnamoned out. One hundred twenty-eight questions times nine stores equals a big old identity crisis and a mouth that can’t tell the difference between horseradish and mocha. 
This is not my fault. I am in management for a secret shopper company. That means my job is to find people to do what I’m doing. A year ago, when I was a fresh-faced marketing major with my newly minted degree from UMass and $50,000 in student loans at the ripe old age of twenty-three, the job seemed like a dream.  
You know those ads you see online to “Get Paid to Shop!”?
Yep. They’re real. You really can sign on as a mystery shopper with various marketing companies, and once you pass some basic tests, you apply for jobs. What I’m doing right now pays your $10.22 expense, gives you the free breakfast sandwich and latte, and you earn a whopping $8 in payment about a month after submitting your mystery shopper report to our office.
And people are lining up to do this.
Except…sometimes, supervisors can’t find anyone to fill a last-minute no-show. I’m a full-time, salaried employee (which means I get to keep the sandwich, but not the $8 for each of these nine shops this fine, beautiful, bloated morning). 
One of our flakier shoppers, Meghan, texted me at 4:12 a.m. to tell me the purple and green unicorn in her flying sparkly Hummer told her not to eat bagels anymore, and she couldn’t make her nine—NINE!—breakfast shops on religious grounds.
Okay, then. Someone was eating something other than cinnamon raisin bagels last night, and I suspect it involved mushrooms of some sort.
That gave me one hour and eighteen minutes to find a replacement, which meant—yep—here I was. In a rush, I’d jumped out of bed, printed out all of Meghan’s shops, made a driving plan and a map, and steadied myself for the biggest mystery-shopping blitz I’d done since—
Since being dumped by my ex-boyfriend last year. Steven Michael Raleigh decided that finishing his MBA meant he needed a trophy wife who could schmooze with all the hoity-toities on the Back Bay in Boston.
Me? A Mendon girl with only a BA who works as a “glorified fast food snitch” just didn’t cut it, so he cut me loose.
So here I sit in this little coffee shop in West Newton, counting down the minutes until I can break into the men’s room. That’s right – the men’s room. Did I mention I’m a DD cup? So not a covert Men’s Room Ninja. 
My ninth men’s room of the morning. Every part of the store has to be evaluated, including the toilets. You’ve seen one urinal, you’ve seen them all…except that’s not how it works when you’re evaluating a store for a mystery shop.
Nineteen questions about cleanliness and customer service are waiting for my answers. Neatly waiting inside my smartphone’s app.
And if I don’t break in to the men’s room?
The eval will be a “failed job.” I shudder. A failed job is worse than eating nine cinnamon raisin maple horseradish bagels, because when you work in my field, a failed job is like a failed date with a billionaire.
Whatever went wrong, it’s always, always your fault.
Speaking of billionaires, hellllooo Christian Grey. In walks a man wearing a suit that must cost more than my rickety old Saturn sedan. Fine grayish-blue with fibers that look like he snaps his fingers and they conform to his body because he’s that dominant. Trim body with a flat, tapered torso, and oh! His jacket is unbuttoned. The bright white shirt underneath is so bespoke that it fits like a glove.
If I had echolocation I could map out the terrain of ab muscles through sheer force of will. His cut body is meant to be relief mapped the way Braille is meant to be read.
With my fingertips.

Praise for the Books
"Julia Kent never disappoints! This boxed set is completely phenomenal! I absolutely love this hilariously sexy series from Julia Kent." ~ jbebout1295
"What can I say ... this box set had me laughing out loud to the point of tears at some of the things that Declan and Shannon face ... let's see we have Hot Guy ... Toilet Girl ... a cat that seems to be more human than animal and don't get me started on her mother ... I loved this series and while I read them individually you are all lucky to get the first five books together ... take a chance and read this series you will not be disappointed ... trust me on this one!" ~ sambora01
"This is a exceptional box set and worth the cost. Very enjoyable." ~ CK Johnson
"I shed some tears with this series. Pain and a whole boatload of laughs." ~ Book loving hypochondriac
"The characters were fantastic. The storyline was flawless. The grammar was perfect AND the humor was fantastically, laugh out loud, tears streaming down my face, funny! I honestly can't remember a book that had me laughing (in a good way) so much. The scenes with the company vehicles, the vibrator on the floor and the flying vibrator have to be part of THE funniest dialogues ever! (I am still laughing as I write this.) [...] This is an absolute must read and I am so glad I spotted it on Amazon! 99 cents for 5 books ... WHAT?! There is no way anyone could go wrong with that!"~ Annette

About the Author
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every book she writes, but unlike Trevor from Random Acts of Crazy, she has never kissed a chicken.