Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Release: The Hunters by Heidi Angell


Hi all,
 
Today I have Heidi Angell on my blog sharing information about her new novel, The Hunters, as well as an interview and an excerpt. I was also lucky enough to have read an advance copy of this novel, so I will also share a review of it with you. So, here we go...
 
The Hunters
 
Are you sick and tired of Twilight? Glad that the media circus is now over? Do you believe that vampires should be killed and not kissed? Then The Hunters is the book for you!

 


 

What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear; changing the groups lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves Hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the Hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?

Buy The Hunters:

Amazon Kindle $4.99

Smashwords $4.99

 


 

Author’s Bio

 
Heidi Angell is a mom, wife and is an active volunteer in Cub Scouts and her community. She has been passionate about writing since she "published" her first book in her first grade class! The Hunters is her latest publication, but she has written thousands of short stories, plays, books and poems. Her first published e-book is Creative Exercises to Inspire and she has published a children's picture book Royal Prince Vince.

Heidi also has a blog, An Angell's Life, where she gives advice to writers.

She creates book reviews on Youtube at Heidi Angell Youtube  guest posts book reviews at http://books4linda.blogspot.com/  and is the vice president of Soul Star Multimedia, a publishing house run by authors, for authors. To learn more, visit her website Angell's Life.

For more information, feel free to e-mail at Hangell531@gmail.com or call 803-643-7073,

If you want to connect with Heidi check her out at any of these many locations:

 
Facebook page at Heidi Angell-Author,

Twitter @HeidiAngell,

Google+ account at Heidi Angell.


Find samples of her writing on Figment.com


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Pinterest   

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Q & A with Heidi Angell:

 

What was your path towards publication like?

Um.... Hectic, to be honest! A couple of years ago the company I was working for gave me an opportunity to work from home. Two weeks before Christmas this company let me go. The day after New Year's I got a contract from an agent. My husband and I sat down and talked about it and decided that I should continue working from home, but work for myself. While I was waiting for my agent to get me a contract, I started blogging, doing on-line articles and pretty much anything I could do to make a couple extra bucks. Then I decided to self-publish my first two books to get some practice marketing, to test the waters, and to make a little extra money. I’ve gotten in with other like-minded authors and we have put together this indie publishing house. The Hunters is the second book to be published under this house and we are already lining up the next several books.


How do you balance your life as an author with your duties as a business person, employee, parent and/or spouse?

 
Balance.... I was never good at it when I was a kid in gym, and metaphorically it is even harder than literally! I am a total workaholic, which really doesn't help matters, especially now that I absolutely love what I do! I try to maintain a very strict schedule for work, which includes scheduled "down time" so that I don't get burnt out. All my "business" stuff I try to get done early in the day so that when the kids get home I can do my homework (Code for write) while they do theirs. With us all in the same room, they are free to ask for help with their work. I have also had to make a rule in my house that if you are feeling neglected by me, then come and tell me! We will make time.


What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?

I honestly can't remember where I got this, but it was probably from one of the MANY authors I follow on twitter. The advice was to write for you and no one else. It is so easy to lose your authentic voice when you start chasing "what is hot" in an effort to make the biggest sales. That is not why I write. Yeah, I wanna make a living; but the old adage: "You can't please all of the people all of the time." really strikes me. So many professionals tell me to stick to one genre, that I need to have different pen names if I want to write different books. I know a lot of authors do it, but then I look at Orson Scott Card and realize that I don't have to fit into "the industry's" pigeonhole. I write for me and if I am lucky someone else will appreciate what I do, if not then at least I know it is authentic and real.

 
Where and/or when were you born?

Lewsitown, MT a long time ago

What schools did you attend? What was your course of study?
University of South Carolina - BA in Communication

When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. When my first grade class "published" a book, I was hooked! The elegance and art of creating images with words is the most amazing experience in the world. Though I have dabbled with other career choices, my one true love is the written word. Everything else is just to pay the bills!

Please list your published material, with dates?
'Creative Exercises to Inspire' - 2011
'Royal Prince Vince' - 2011/2012
The Hunters , January 10th, 2013

Are your books available, and from where?
‘Creative Exercises to Inspire’ and ‘Royal Prince Vince’ are available at Barnes & Noble - Nook
‘Royal Prince Vince’ is available at Create Space – paperback - and at Amazon - paperback and Kindle
Coming soon: Other distribution locations such as drive-thru fiction, Smashwords, and others.

Please tell about the most memorable moment(s) in your career.
The day the proof of ‘Royal Prince Vince’ arrived will always be the most memorable moment in my career. I was so excited to see it! I sat down to read it with my boys and my mom. When my mom saw the dedication page, she burst into tears! My boys absolutely loved the story and wanted to read it over and over again! There was work to be done, and a part of me was embarrassed that the pictures didn't come out better, but my mom didn't care. She wanted me to sign THAT one for her. It’s on her book shelf today. My boys each got signed copies of the final product, but every now and again, I see them reading the proof and my heart explodes. It must have been a special day for them too!

What genre do you most often write? What other genres have you written?
I am an eclectic writer. I’ve published a children's book and a nonfiction book. The Hunters is an urban fantasy/ horror, I have a psychic thriller series, am working on a zombie/apocalyptic-type story, have outlined a YA novel based on my experiences being stalked in high school, and have a children's series that I am looking for an illustrator for! Always busy!

Who are the authors who most influenced your writing career?
I'd have to say that Orson Scott Card has most influenced my career. He is such an eclectic writer, and does it all under one pen name. He is the reason I don’t use different pen names for my different genres.

Who are the authors you read most often?
Well, this is tough. I am as eclectic a reader as I am a writer! Orson Scott Card, obviously, I've read everything he has written! I enjoy Steven King, Michael Crichton, and Rick Riordon. My newest favorite writer is Dawn Tevy (‘Angels & Warriors: The Awakening’).

What advice would you give to all up-and-coming writers?
1. Believe in yourself. You may be lucky and have people who believe in you, but if you don't, believe in yourself and your work - no one else will love it as much as you, no matter what they say!

2. Develop a thick skin. Not everyone will love your work. You need to be able to take the criticism and keep going. You need to look at the criticism objectively without letting it dictate what your work becomes. (Without one, you can't achieve the other. The two will create balance.)

For example: I recently got a contract for my psychic thriller series from a reputable indie house, with a list of ten items I needed to change. At first I ranted, raved and cried. I believed in my work, but I'm still working on my tough skin. After a couple of days, I was able to sit down and evaluate the request. I realized that eight of the ten things were correct and the changes would make the book better. But on the last two, I couldn't see my way around it. The first was that my main character's name had to change. The publisher said "Clear Angel, well that isn't really even a name. Is it?" Well, he has a point, but then some celeb named their daughter Apple. My character's name is symbolic, and as unique as she is. Now, I could've said, well Claire is close to Clear, would that work?" But I believed that this was an important part of the story and could not be changed. He also wanted a happy ending. Problem is that life doesn't always have happy endings. This is the first in a series and it ends the way it does to further the plot of the whole series. No happy ending there. Now the publisher is probably right - for the traditional thriller audience, my ending is kinda crappy. As far as sales go, he’s justified in his suggestions, but I know my story, and these changes wouldn't work. I sat down and wrote a nice thank you, noting (in detail) how I could change the eight things on his list, and why I couldn't change the last two, thanked him for his recommended improvements and hoped we could do business. I never heard back from him. But I have every intention of giving him a big thank you in my book, because those eight other issues will make it better. (I won’t mention that he passed on the story.)

Please tell about your other community activities.
I am very active in community work. I have two boys in the Scout program. Through the Scouts I do a lot of volunteering with organizations such as Salvation Army, Red Cross, Secret Santa, Community clean ups, and park clean ups. I am also active in my neighborhood youth programs (which inspired my book ‘Creative Exercises to Inspire’). I also participate in writing/ author oriented on-line communities such as NaNoWriMo, Linked In's Books and Writers group, a Pay it Forward author group, and I’m often working with other writers to cross-promote, offer writing tips, editing, and feedback. Also my business partner Dawn Tevy, and I have opened an indie publishing house, Soul Star Multimedia, where we help other authors fulfill their dreams of being published!

What is the name of your current project?
‘The Hunters’

What is the genre?
Urban fantasy/ horror

Is this work a stand-alone or part of a series?
Series

Do you have any project(s) planned for the future?
Yes

Please provide some details of the project(s).
Well, I have committed to my apocalyptic story for NaNoWriMo in November. In early 2013, I’ll publish my psychic thriller series. With the publishing house and my own ideas, I have enough projects to keep me busy for the next 10 to 15 years… and I get new ideas every day!

Are you involved in publishing in any other capacity?
Editor, Reviewer, Publisher, Publicist, Coach, and Cheerleader! Or perhaps, better said, an advocate for new authors providing moral support and sharing their work. I am also the Vice President of Soul Star Multimedia, an indie author house run by authors, for authors.

 

An Excerpt from The Hunters

 A full moon was hidden by clouds racing by like chariots across the sky, draping the field below in an army of shadows in motion. Ricky ran his hands through his high and tight black hair and eyed the full moon balefully; resenting the tricks the shadows were playing on his mind. He felt the skin on his neck prickle, as if he were being watched. Scrunching down in the bed of his rusty truck, he surreptitiously looked over his shoulder. Of coursed there was nothing there. Chris had him jumping at the change of the breeze. To steady his nerves, Ricky pulled out a nic stick and lit it.

            Bianca glowered at him. Ricky couldn’t help but admire her black leather jacket plastered to her full figure, and how it perfectly hugged her curves. Too bad she was so high maintenance.

            “Ugh. Why do I always have to get stuck with you?” Bianca eyed the cigarette disgustedly. “You know Chris would go ballistic if he knew you were doing that,” she hissed, waving the smoke out of her face.

            “Chill the fuck out. I know he thinks he knows it all, but he doesn’t know shit more than us. Maybe they have super sonic noses, but then again, maybe they have super sonic hearing too. Your bitching is a bigger tell than this sweet baby. Shit, if they can smell this, then they can probably hear you breathing.”

            “Fuck you!” Bianca growled then sat absolutely still, her eyes wide and every muscle taught as a bow. Ricky was pretty sure she was holding her breath in fear of what he had just said. He sucked hard, enjoying the burn of the cigarette smoke and then exhaled languidly. It really was the simple pleasures in life.

He glanced past her out the window and saw Chris sitting with Terah on the hood of the car parked next to them. Terah wasn’t as much to look at, but she was certainly easier to be with. Rick had wished they would have all been together. But Chris had thought that two separate vehicles would give them a greater chance of pursuing more vampires. Despite his shit talk, Ricky knew he really did rely on Chris’s weird knowledge and experience. To think that a geeky freak, the type of person he had harassed in high school, would be keeping him alive. The world was a crazy place.

 

            Chris was only able to vaguely hear the exchange between Bianca and Ricky, but he groaned inwardly. They really just did not get it. Part of him was ready to call it quits for the night, grateful they were all still alive. This team was clearly not as ready as he had hoped. The other part was incredibly disappointed. Once again, he was just watching. What he wanted was to be hunting and killing, not waiting to be killed.

            He glanced over at Terah. At least she was taking this seriously. Her attention was locked on the far end of the field, and she barely moved. Her mouth was set in a firm strong line. He would definitely have to take her along the next chance they had to try for a hunting trip. She took this seriously. Chris sighed. It was sad that the two youngest on the team were more serious than the so-called adults.

            Chris broke from his reverie and froze.

 

            Ricky was bored. They had been sitting out here most of the night. It was cool for October, one of those rare crazy breaks in the usually temperate weather of South Carolina. Ricky couldn’t help but resent that Bianca has the foresight to bring a jacket, whereas he was just wearing a t-shirt and jeans. The cold made him feel tired, and Bianca’s paranoia was getting to him. He flicked his cigarette away and leaned his head back on the toolbox, glancing toward Chris.

            The kid was stiff like a pointer hound catching a scent, and this grabbed Ricky’s attention. Excitement flooded him, waking him right up.

            “What is it?” Ricky hissed.

            Chris did not make a sound, merely cupped his hand to his ear. He was telling them to listen.

 

 

            Terah froze, intently trying to hear whatever had made Chris so wary. Her eyes went wide with the effort. After a moment she looked at Chris blankly. “I don’t hear anything,” she murmured.

            “Exactly,” Chris whispered back. Suddenly it dawned on her that the clearing only moments ago had sounded quiet, but had been full of the subtle sounds of the night; crickets, owls and other critters scurrying about. Now it was as silent as a tomb. Chris gestured to the others and slowly crawled off the hood of the car. Terah scrambled to join him, desperate to not be left alone. She stumbled on the uneven ground and fell. Moments later Bianca was beside her, offering a hand.

            “Thanks Bianca,” she mouthed silently.

            Bianca nodded and they all crouched down next to Chris in the shadows of the car. Another few agonizing moments were spent with all four straining to see or hear anything in the darkness.  Gradually the sounds of the night returned. Chris cocked his head.

            “False alarm?” Ricky whispered.

            “I don’t think so,” Chris shook his head.

            They all sat quietly waiting for Chris. Terah could feel herself shutting down. What was wrong with her! She wanted this. Revenge. But the dark, the interminable waiting was filling her with terror. It was too much like that night she had been attacked. She could practically feel a vamp behind her, even though she knew it could not be so. Silent tears seeped from her eyes, gliding down her cheeks. The sense of impending doom would not lift.

            “Please, let’s get out of here,” she begged. “I have a really bad feeling!” She was trembling uncontrollably. Chris held up a hand to silence her, and listened intently. Bianca patted her hand reassuringly then crept forward to Chris’s side.

 

 

            Bianca could see Terah falling apart right before her eyes. She was a little surprised, because the girl was always so confident about her abilities. Then it dawned on Bianca. That blustering confidence had been a façade. This had to be too real for her, too much like what she had experienced before. Patting Terah’s hand, Bianca slipped forward to Chris’s side.

She leaned in close to his ear and breathed, “We should go. She’s cracking up. We’re too vulnerable.”

            “Too late,” Chris admonished, pointed across the clearing.

            Bianca couldn’t understand what he was saying. As she peered through shadow on shadow, she could see nothing.

The moon peaked out for a brief moment revealing what Chris was indicating. To their left, only about halfway across the field something big was moving. Bianca felt herself filling with terror, but a cold center of her being squashed the terror down. She analyzed the thing, trying to comprehend what she was seeing. It moved in a jerky pattern, stumbling, crashing, then moving again. At one point it was almost as if a part of the shadow had tried to separate itself from the rest, then re-merged. Suddenly a scream of agony and fear echoed across the field. That sound clarified for Bianca what her brain could not interpret. A woman was out in the field being attacked by vampires.

She was half-crawling, dragging a wounded leg, and the vampires were playing with her. Darting in and out, each nip a new wound, weakening and slowing their already defenseless prey. A cold fury built in Bianca’s chest as she watched this cruelty. The woman collapsed in the middle of the field and the vampires lunged at her. The mass ceased moving, but the sound of the girl’s moans, the tearing of clothing, the growling and hissing of the vamps fighting over the girl like dogs with a bone, all echoed in the silent field.

 

“Now!” Chris hissed, “While they’re distracted on their feeding.” He bolted low across the field. The others followed him, everyone except for Terah. She was completely frozen in fear. She tried to move, but her whole body was completely locked down. Trying to call out for them not to leave her behind, she found her voice was gone.

With that shriek from the woman in the field, Terah had been mentally thrown back into her own horrible attack. As the others left her behind, the feelings of panic grew. She remembered that horrible vampire following her as she walked home from work. She hadn’t known what he was at the time. She had simply thought he was some creepy guy. When she had tried to outrun him, she had found out that he was so much worse than just some creepy guy. With inhuman speed he had tackled her. Her self-defense training had made no difference. She couldn’t break his vice-like grip. When he had sunk his fangs into her neck, she had experienced the ultimate fear. She had known that she was going to die.

In blind panic, she had fought back, and to this moment she had believed that she had somehow won out. She had beaten him. But here in the dark, with monsters just like him only 1,000 feet away, she realized that she had not escaped. He had let her go. His laughter as she had fled came back to her now. Without knowing how she knew, she sensed that he was here in this field waiting for her. He knew that she was here too.  That knowledge left her rooted to the spot. Wanting desperately to be with the group, she tried again to move, but her muscles refused to respond.

If only she could get to the others, she might have a chance. Then a smell struck her. She knew that he was there, behind her. Tears coursed silently down her cheeks and she longed to simply close her eyes and have him vanish, like she had as a child with the monsters under the bed. If she didn’t look, then he couldn’t be real. But she knew. She knew it would not work this time.  Cautiously she glanced over her shoulder, and looked into the eyes of her worst nightmare.

 

Chris was halfway across the field when he felt a strange sensation, a tingling in his spine; as if someone had just tap danced across his grave. He paused and an instant later was driven into new action. From behind them a gurgling wail ripped through the night. Without even looking, he knew what had happened. Terah had been attacked. In front of him he saw more creatures rise from the end of the field where the others were feeding. In that split second he knew.

“Ambush!” he yelled, immediately veering to his left, moving in a zig-zag pattern. He could hear the other two following behind. More screams erupted from their fallen comrade and he was blinded with rage.

“Scatter!” He shouted the order and immediately turned back the way they had come. If he was going to die tonight, he was going to kill at least one of these bastards! As the moon peeked out again, the scene before him became grotesquely animated. Terah’s body was pinned on the truck, her entire chest ripped wide open. He knew she was dead, but his body refused to stop this course of action. His mind exploded with wrathful vengeance as he watched the creature rip Terah’s heart out of her chest.

The creature held the heart up, savoring the blood as it poured into the awaiting mouth and splashed over its face. Chris could see in his peripheral that two of them were already halfway across the field, closing off any escape if he continued on his present course, but he didn’t care. He pulled a gun from his left pocket and a cross-hilted dagger from his right. As he dove at the creature devouring Terah, he shot blindly at the ones coming at him. His blade embedded to the hilt in the monster’s back and he prayed that Bianca and Ricky were getting the fuck out of here. Maybe his distraction would save their lives. The monster arched back trying to reach behind and dislodge Chris and the knife. Black blood oozed from its wound. It was obviously an older vampire. It struggled to turn, but clearly the knife had hit the spine. Surprised that the other two weren’t upon him yet, Chris aimed the revolver into the creature’s face and pulled the trigger.

At that same moment two other shots rang out in the clearing. Chris pulled his dagger free and leaped away from the body as it burst into flames. He turned, preparing for the attack that should have already been upon him. Looking out in the field he saw Ricky stand up about center point and fire at the vampire that was headed straight toward Chris.

“Run!” Ricky screamed. Chris had barely managed to turn when the vampire sacked him from behind. The knife in his hand went skittering across the ground. He was pinned on his stomach and a hand clamped down on his own hand holding the gun, preventing him from bringing it up and firing. He struggled fruitlessly, trying to squirm free.

“Hello Chris, so good to see you again,” a familiar voice murmured next to his ear. Chris realized it was his high school art teacher, Mrs. Frost.

 “Wish I… could say… the same.” Chris groaned, trying to push her away and turn his face from her putrid breath.

“Come, come Chris, you always were a difficult student.”

“Gifted was the term you used back then.”

“You know you want me,” she laughed evilly, leaning in for a bite.

Chris could feel blind panic rising, but tried to remain calm. “Of course,” he grunted, slamming his head back into the side of hers. She pulled back in surprise, but it was not enough for him to squirm free. He used the extra space to slam her harder in the face. Bone cracked and she yelped, sitting almost straight up, releasing his arm to wipe away the blood pouring from her nose. Chris couldn’t squiggle free, but managed to turn his body halfway around. “I want you dead!” Chris growled as he pulled the gun up. Mrs. Frost’s eyes went wide in shock. Pulling the trigger he waited for her face to explode, but the gun had jammed. Shit! She began to smile and Chris realized that as a vampire she looked ten years younger. In a frenzy for some defense, he snatched the crucifix from his neck and jammed it into Mrs. Frost’s throat. Blood began pouring forth and she gaped in shock. She began trying to physically force the blood back into her throat, simply widening the wound. Still Chris could not pull free.

Suddenly her skull was obliterated before his eyes.

Bianca stood there holding a small-caliber gun. Chris quickly shoved the body away and Bianca pulled him to his feet, shrieking when the body suddenly burst into flames. Chris looked around the field for Ricky. He was running like a bat out of hell in the opposite direction with two vamps on his tail.

 “Bianca the car!” Chris yelled, tossing the keys and running after Ricky, hoping to get there in time. His legs were pumping as hard as they could, but he wasn’t catching up enough. Ricky was starting to waver and the two vampires were gaining ground. Chris didn’t dare shoot at them, for fear of hitting Ricky.

Directly ahead of Ricky two figures rushed into the clearing. Ricky stopped short like a frozen rabbit, then quickly made a ninety degree turn. In the moment he was clear of the two vampires, Chris pulled his gun up to line up a shot. He popped off two shots, hitting one. It went down, but Chris didn’t believe for one moment it was dead. The other continued to hurtle after Ricky. Just as Chris had lined up the next shot he felt a sudden gust of wind and smelled death. Whipping around he found himself face-to-face with another creature. He pulled the trigger and the creature’s shoulder exploded. The vampire grabbed him around the throat with his other hand, laughing a high-pitched maniacal laugh.

“So you are the one making all the trouble. Well, no more!” Lifting Chris clean off the ground,  the vampire squeezed hard.

“Who the fuck are you?” Chris gasped, struggling against the grip. He clung to the vampire’s forearms in an effort to reduce the pressure on his neck. His feet flailed about helplessly, trying to find a foothold, maybe gain some leverage.

“One who is older and stronger than the others you’ve disposed of here.  I will be your executioner!” Chris clawed at the hand that now had a vice-like grip on his throat. He didn’t have the upper body strength to hold on much longer. He knocked his feet together, trying to release the switchblade he had embedded in his boot. First click, it didn’t work. Damn. He should have tested them in a more realistic combat situation! The world was starting to go grey as Chris tried again to trigger the mechanism on his boot. Yes! He felt the release mechanism whoosh and with a last desperate surge of force, kicked out as hard as he could. The blade embedded itself in the vampire’s stomach. The monster roared and threw him on the ground like a used-up rag doll. It flung itself forward, clawing at him with its long nails in rage. Searing pain tore through his back and shoulders as the creature grappled with him. This was it. He knew he was going to die; but a part of him refused to go out alone. This bastard was going to be coming along for the ride, if Chris could help it.
 
***
 
My 5 Star Review of The Hunters


A group of young people discover their small town is becoming infested with vampires, so they decide to band together and fight back. However, after a year, they have yet to rid the town of the ever-growing population of vamps. One night, as the group stalks vampires, two strangers arrive and help them out of a tough situation. These two mysterious strangers, known as Havoc and Fury, call themselves the Hunters. Unwittingly, their lives become entangled with those of the group of young people as the vampires are now hunting the hunters.

The Hunters by Heidi Angell is a refreshingly different kind of vampire novel from what we've seen over the past few years. These vampires are not your kid sister's sparkly kind that all young girls swoon over. They are not Sookie's True Blood drinking friends. These vamps are what vampires have been throughout time – bloodthirsty killers. And the hunters are out to destroy them.
 I have read my share of vampire novels over the years and I have to say, I enjoyed Heidi's novel very much. It is action-packed from the very first page and you don' t want to put it down. I am positive that readers who enjoy this genre will enjoy The Hunters.

 
***
 
I want to thank Heidi for sharing this information about her new book and for the interview. I hope you will all add this new novel to your reading list.
 
Cheers,
Deanna

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