Creating the Cover (blog post)
As an independent author with limited resources, what I’m able to save to put into my writing is used to have my work edited before it is released. As such I’m unable to afford the covers I would like to see on my work so for the past couple of years I’ve been designing my own, while teaching myself how to use Photoshop to create covers. I’m pretty damned proud of what I came up with for All Roads Lead to Terror. I wanted to touch the potential reader on an emotional level while at the same time showing that the story within the covers was about leaving your childhood behind as one stepped into adulthood. Of course what better way of showing innocence lost than with an abandoned teddy bear. I tried several different routes, all with little success, until I staged the photo myself.
I picked up the stuffed bear from Goodwill for a couple of bucks. When I carried him out of the store he was in pretty good shape. Once I got him home it got a little interesting, even though I look like a grumpy old man, I can be rather emotional at times. I believe a writer has to be very much in touch with their emotions in order to properly convey the feelings of their characters on the page. It was this familiarity with my own emotions that stopped me at first from doing what I knew I had to do. It’s just a stuffed bear, I kept telling myself. That might have been but before he went to live at the Goodwill it was obvious a child had taken good care of him.
In the end I quickly removed his left leg and ear. A bit of black paint and some hard rubbing gave me the look I wanted for with his fur, a matted, unwashed appearance. Adding the sling was a final touch to show that though he had been abandoned at one time he’d been cherished by a child that shared its sorrow for a world turned upside down.
He has no name, yet. But his sacrifice has earned him a place of honor in my office, he sits on the top shelf of my bookcase, watching over my shoulder as I work, occasionally he will sit in my lap as I write, to help me connect with the emotions that I strive to bring to the page. He will also appear on every subsequent cover in the series.
He serves as a constant reminder of what I hope to achieve with The Dreadland Chronicles that will focus not on the brutality of the world in which they live, but the undying hope of the young as they struggle to rebuild a shattered world that has been left to them, and make a better place for those who will follow.
All Roads Lead to Terror (synopsis)
The horrors of the past meet the brutality of the present.
The world has become a wild place filled with wild things, and into this new reality each of them had been born. Coming of age at the end of days, where savagery was the norm, and man's inhumanity to man was on daily display. Where the only law was the firepower one carried, and the only hope was for a swift death followed by an endless sleep.
Four boys strengthen the bonds of their friendship, while taking their first hesitant steps into adulthood, as they face the brutality of an old, new world. They will be tested at every step in their journey as they travel through a shattered land filled with the remnants of a society that no longer exists, constant reminders of a security none of them will ever know.
Meat was born at the height of the Zombie apocalypse, upon his birth his mother took one look at him and pronounced him meat. He grew up in a reality where they were all nothing more than walking bags of meat. With a temperament forged in terror he is driven by a desire to do what is right for his fellow man. He is also curious about the true history of the world.
Window, his best friend, is very quiet, and ever watchful with a quick hand. To him friendship was the most important thing in the world. His family had perished in the ruthless times after the awakening and his character had been forged in the fire that took them from him. His friends were all he had left so he watched over them with a jealously protective nature strengthened by that sense of invulnerability all boys his age embraced. Further backed up by a quick hand with the .44 he'd used to kill the men who had raped his mother.
Then we have Einstein who had been born within the compound at Bremo Bluff after the apocalypse. Having spent his life behind the fence he has no first hand knowledge of how brutal the world has become. As his name implies he's the smartest in the group, as well the most innocent. While that innocence helps to soften the ruthlessness of the other three, it serves at times to drive a wedge between them. On his first trip he will discover just how terrifying the world has become.
The final member is Billie-Bob, one half of a set of twins who appeared outside the fence several years earlier. Your typical class clown whose mouth runs a mile a minute, if he isn't sharing overused jokes about Zombies, he's whispering the passages from a book his mother used to read to him when he was younger. It serves as a chant that provides him with a degree of comfort. Billie-Bob is unique in that at the age of eleven he has proven himself to be a natural born sniper with a willingness to use his special talent to protect his friends.
In Richmond they will be confronted by a savage cult of children who worship a creature of the night. An ancient being that feeds on the fear of its victims, delving into their deepest, darkest secret, probing half forgotten memories that lay like a rotting carcass at the heart of the soul. For these creatures, that were once considered the nightmare imaginings of a fevered mind, are now awake in a world where the population that once served as their food source has been reduced.
Awake and very, very, hungry.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1NX4VNU
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1RbRCJP
Read for free with Kindle Unlimited
All Roads is frankly Stephen King's Stand By Me, with zombies. But not too many. To call this a zombie novel would be a misnomer. First and foremost this is a coming-of-age drama, written by a man with a deft hand for characterization, set within a dystopian backdrop. -- Mark Taylor, author of Witches: Tea Party
"It is tough to scare readers that are looking to be scared. ALL ROADS LEAD TO TERROR has characters with dimensions, flaws, and flawed relationships. The threat is fed well and builds fear in the characters that transfers to the reader. This story is a credit to the genre and worth your time." -- Jay Wilburn, author of The Dead Song Legend Dodecology.
“Despite the death and horror, I walked with these boys willingly as I read the book, listening to my lessened echo, glad to have made my way intact through to the end, and looking forward to the next book in the series.” Fairness in everything
“It's a very interesting tale that will pull you in and keep you turning pages and pulling for the main characters. It isn't my usual story, but I really enjoyed it and rooting for the heroes. I wouldn't advise eating while you read if you have a sensitive stomach--but I would recommend reading it. I look forward to the other books in this series!”Cindy Cowles Amazon reviewer
Author Bio Social Media Links
Richard was born in Frostburg, Maryland, in the winter of '58' and currently lives eight miles away. A five-year stint with the military allowed him to see what he wanted of the world. Married with four grown children and eight grandchildren, he and his wife provide a home to three pets that are spoiled beyond rotten.
In addition to writing daily he works a full time job in retail, and piddles around in his wood-shop making one mess after another when time permits.
Richard can be found online at:
Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardSchiver
Written in Blood is Richard's personal blog where he shares his thoughts on writing, and whatever else that might strike his fancy. http://www.richardschiver.com
He can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and would be delighted to hear from you.
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