When Blood Reigns

By Barbara Custer

JANUARY 27, 2017 · 8:04 AM ↓ Jump to Comments Author Interview When Blood Reigns bloodreignsbanner

Have you been writing for a long time?

I’ve been writing in earnest since the summer of 1990, after my mother’s death. Around 2004, I became the owner of Night to Dawn Magazine and later converted it into a micro-press for other authors.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I took my mother’s death hard, and my college instructor suggested that try journalizing and writing short stories to work past the grief. I decided to try horror. At the time, I was making an avocation of reading Stephen King books, and I began asking myself and speculating: could I write something like that? So I began with short stories and migrated onto books. In most of my works, the protag has had to struggle with grief over the loss of a parent.

Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?

When Blood Reigns is the second book in a series. Steel Rose is the first, which starts out with Alexis and Yeron working at Jackson Hospital. Yeron, a Kryszka refugee, is hoping to practice medicine on humans that fear him. The break-ins by zombies and Kryszka renegades are getting underway, but severe arthritis leaves Alexis too weak to handle most guns. Yeron works on a formula to help contain her symptoms and becomes attracted to her. Meantime the zombies that finally break into their hospital are hungry. Very hungry. Alexis wonders how she will fight them.

I am drafting a third book for the series, but I’m keeping the plotline under wraps until I have it more developed.

Why did you choose this genre?

Stephen King aside, my background led me to choose horror / dark fantasy/science fiction. Back in high school in the 1970s, as I’ve told people, I weaned on Dracula and Dark Shadows, and enjoyed a good horror or science fiction flick. However, my dance with horror began in 1964, during a trip to Atlantic City, when I faced a billboard that read, “See live 1000-year-old woman.” I didn’t understand until after I’d been badly frightened that the pavilion housed a mummified skeleton. The mummy’s parchment dry skin hugged her bones. Not a shred of fat or muscle. Afterward, my skeleton terror accompanied me everywhere I went. I told my instructor who helped me work through my grief about the mummy incident, and she encouraged me to channel my fear into a horror fiction tale. You’ll find plenty of skeletons in Steel Rose and When Blood Reigns.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I would encourage them to find a good writers’ group. It could be one that offers critiques by other members or one where you get an opportunity to discuss the business side of writing. Preferably both kinds. If doable, a new author should consider a class in creative writing and engage the services of a developmental editor before sending work to a publisher or self-publishing. If there are any holes in the plotline, a good editor will catch them, and you can apply the things you learn to future works.

About the Book

whenbloodreigns_300dpi_printTitle: When Blood Reigns

Author: Barbara Custer

Genre: Horror / Science Fiction

Marked for death, Alexis accompanies her lover, Yeron, and four survivors of a zombie invasion on a search for the renegades who created a chemical that induces a zombie-like state. On the way, ravenous flesh-eaters attack Alexis’s team; one survivor turns on her. She realizes too late that the renegades have been tracking her every move. When officials capture her, she becomes deathly ill. Can DNA splicing save her? Will Yeron’s attempts at rescue jeopardize all their lives?

Author Bio

whenbloodreignsauthorphotoBarbara lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works full time as a respiratory therapist. When she’s not working with her patients, she’s enjoying a fright flick or working on horror and science fiction tales. She’s published Night to Dawn magazine since 2004.

Other books by Barbara include Twilight Healer, City of Brotherly Death, Infinite Sight, and Steel Rose; also novellas Close Liaisons and Life Raft: Earth. She enjoys bringing her medical background to the printed page, and then blending it with supernatural horror. She maintains a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and The Writers Coffeehouse forum. Look for the photos with the Mylar balloons, and you’ll find her.

To contact her, e-mail her at barbaracuster@hotmail.com. Visit her at: Website Facebook Linkedin Twitter Links Amazon Book Trailer

In Discussion with Frank Julius Palumbo FEBRUARY 20, 2016 / TODD ALLEN

Frank Julius Palumbo was born in the Bronx in 1964. When not transporting readers to other worlds, he has worked as a carpenter, a freelance illustrator, and is now in law enforcement. His studies include psychology and neuropsychology, and he has been practicing Zen Buddhism and the Kabbalah for several years. He is a writer of horror and dark fantasy with a spiritual bent toward astral projection, occult sciences and Enochian magick. His novel, The Enochian Wars, was published earlier this year by Caliburn Press. 

Todd Allen: Hi Frank. Thank you for joining me to answer a few questions. Tell me about The Enochian Wars. 

Frank Julius Palumbo: The protagonist in my book is Jack Savage, a veteran NYPD police officer who encounters the angel, Enav, during one of the out of body experiences that come naturally to him during his daily meditations. During this time, a new planet has entered our solar system. It draws close enough to Earth to appear as a second sun, yet it’s dark and ominous. Soon, rumors of ancient Sumerian writings emerge. These stone texts tell of the planet Nibiru returning from a twelve thousand year orbit. It was said the mighty gods who descended from Nibiru were worshiped by early man. 

In the story, Planet Nibiru approaches and electromagnetic nuclear bombs are deployed, leaving Earth devastated and defenseless. As New York City is brought to its knees, alien invaders round up humans for slavery and their feasts. Thousands of rectangular space ships land and form a wall around the city, and some begin to coalesce into a centrally located tower that dwarfs every skyscraper in town. Jack Savage and his partner Gilmore Boyle journey to combat the gargoyle-like aliens. What fate awaits those left alive as they are marched toward the colossal structure? Savage is determined to find out as he leads a stray group of survivors in a fight to free Earthlings from their invaders. With the help of Enav, Savage uses his talent for separating his soul from his body and engages the invaders. 

TA: It sounds like the story has some pretty strong ties to science fiction. Is sci-fi a second love? 

TheEnochianWars_Draft (3)FJP: Yes, sci-fi is definitely my second love, if not tied for the first. Although The Enochian Wars falls into the horror genre, there is a strong element of sci-fi and dark fantasy. I’m really not sure what genre it fits into. I write what pleases me, and I hope that if I do that, it will please others. My passions lie with aliens, mysticism, supernatural beings, particle and astrophysics. Now, throw that all together and what do you get? Novels by Frank Julius Palumbo. 

TA: Do you believe in happy endings? 

FJP: Happy endings? Nope, not for me. I prefer a pseudo-happy ending. Such is life, No? See, my characters not only change due to outside conflicts but undergo an evolutionary spiritual awakening, which I believe is inherent in all of humanity. It is this tapping into the inner depths of one inner being, the god within, that allows the protagonist to defeat both external and internal nemesis. And just like life, the process is one of unfolding, a peeling away of the countless walls society has forced us to build. Yes, the battle is won, and we all cheer and celebrate, but the journey has just begun. 

TA: Where do you see this journey taking us? 

FJP: The end of the journey is the end of human evolution. Even though our physical attributes have ceased to partake in natural selection, our consciousness has yet to evolve. Our brains are the same as those of early man, who lived in darkness within cavities in the earth. We are stagnant, stuck living in fear. Yes, we may go to the stars, but without tapping into that which lies hidden within the core of our being, I believe we have little chance of survival. There have been a few individuals in last four thousand years that have appeared to Humanity as a fully evolved consciousness, teaching compassion and understanding for all life. It is in that direction that we must strive. 

TA: Imagine your home is burning down. Assuming all your loved ones made it to safety first, what is the one book you would save? 

FJP: I believe the book I would save is one that not only supports my spirituality but also is a tool that can be employed when the need arises. The book is calledModern Magick by Michael Craig. It is a book for both the novice Magician and the advanced. Within its pages are all the symbols, rituals, techniques, and references that one would need to perform Magick. Magick, according to the famous occultist Aleister Crowley, is "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will. If this sounds like a lot of hocus-pocus, one only has to read a book about quantum physics. There lies a world full of contradiction and unreal phenomenon, where the mind can alter experimental outcomes and influence the manifestation of matter. 

Like my protagonist, I too am on a journey, boldly going where few have gone. Many of the experiences in my books have been documented throughout history, and as a humble servant of Humanity, my testimony is that I too have stepped into the unreal world that lay hidden just beyond reality. 

TA: What drives you to write in the horror genre? 

"Happy endings? Nope, not for me. I prefer a pseudo-happy ending." – Frank Julius Palumbo 

FJP: My drive for writing horror is manyfold but mainly comes from my intimate relationship with anxiety. From a newborn dropping his pacifier, to a college student failing an important exam, or a business professional losing a key account, anxiety is always there. Its churning shadowy fog of unforeseen circumstances emerges around the unsuspecting individual consuming all other thought. Even in extreme happiness, one only has to think of its end to experience the shroud of doom lurking in the background, waiting patiently to appear and dominate one’s disposition. Horror is my way of producing the extremes of human emotion and eliciting the protagonist to delve deeply into the core of their being. When the protagonist reaches that point, he or she exposes the undiscovered and untapped human potential that is inherent in all of Humanity. 

TA: Living with anxiety can be like walking around all day with a very heavy pack. Does writing help to relieve some of that pressure for a time? Can it be therapeutic? 

FJP: Writing is very rewarding. The joy it brings far outweighs the work involved. Creating stories that push my personal boundaries takes me far away from the hum-drum of daily activity. And believe me, being a Sergeant in the NYPD is not hum-drum, but compared to my stories... There is not a day past that I did not delve into myself, seeking out ghouls, goblins and creatures undreamt of. This, in addition to my daily meditation practice, is the perfect therapy for any ailment. 

TA: What advice would you give beginning writers? 

FJP: Now this is an outstanding question and the advice I would give is a word I wished I could have whispered to myself when I started writing all those years ago. I would have done it if I could travel back in time, but I’ve tried and no success...so far. That word is edit...edit...edit... 

The Enochian Wars, was revised seven times. That is work. There is no joy. I would even suggest paying someone to edit a manuscript before submitting to a publisher. (The manuscript’s) chances of being picked would increase exponentially. Additionally, there is a series of small books, all about one hundred pages, which are priceless guides to writing technique. The books are a quick read and I believe they encompass what every publisher looks for in a book. The first one is called Sizzling Style, Every Word Matters, by William Bernhardt. 

I am grateful to Frank Julius Palumbo for sharing his thoughts with me. To get more news and info on Frank, visit his website at FrankJuliusPalumbo.com. The Enochian Wars and his other works can be found at Amazon.