So hey, what’s this “Talon” thing about?

Long ago, before Underworld, before the blasphemy of Twilight, I started a Vampire novel. It wasn’t really meant to be a novel, but let’s not split hairs. I started writing Talon, which had (and still does) have a much deeper meaning to me than first appearances. I took the Vampire trope and rewrote it to be the way *I* wanted it to be.

Crosses? Ha. Only if properly blessed, so that little trinket you bought at Wal-mart won’t help you. Bibles. Again, only if properly blessed. Garlic? Best served on bread and served with spaghetti. Need an invitation to your house? Hardly. Vamps will walk right on in. Daylight? Yea, it weakens them a bit so they try to limit their time out in it, but explode? Naw. That’s Hollywood bullshit. Stakes through the heart? Hurts but won’t kill. Going to high school and sparkling? Get the fuck out of here.

Vampires aren’t soulless Demons. They also don’t tend to be broody melancholic creatures who would fit in at an emo gathering. They can run the full gambit of emotions, but the blood that gave them immortality has corrupted them. It brings out the worst in each of them. So yes, they tend to be brutal, even sadistic monsters–all the worst of mankind’s emotions walking around with an insatiable thirst. But, under the right circumstances, they can be much more than that. And that’s where I found Nicky.

Nicky is definitely an Alpha-predator. He’s not only been trained to be sadistic and cruel, part of him takes great pleasure in it. He never wanted to be a hero. He never asked to be saved. He knows what he’s done is wrong. He knows a lot of the thing he *continues* to do is wrong. He sees himself as unworthy, already damned, case closed, shut the book, game over, man–game over. I think this is where Nicky and my souls overlap just a little bit.

As a person who has done some bad things in his life (nothing like Nicky mind you), I have felt that “I’m already damned.” feeling. I never asked for redemption. I never felt I was worthy of it, but through chance, or destiny, I ended up on a better road than I was one. Like Nicky, I was given the chance to atone for my sins. Nicky’s story, while brutal, vulgar, full of violence and foul language–in the end this saga is truly about being redeemed and God using the worst of us for good if we’ll just take that chance.

The Talon series, despite being so many things that would turn most Christians off, actually has a strong Christian undertone that comes out over the course of many books. You see Angels, Devils, Demons, Lucifer, and even God himself hiding in plain sight in this series. It’s an action/adventure full of blood, gore, and violence. But there’s also a love story and the question of “How far would you go to protect someone you loved?” I can’t classify this series as any one thing. Is it dark fantasy? Yes. Is it action/adventure? Yes. Is there a touch of paranormal romance in there? Yes. It is blood and gore and violence and beauty and ecstasy and chaos. It’s a beautiful chaos. There’s something for everyone in this series. It’s my great symphony, my Bohemian Rhapsody, my attempt to leave a mark on the world.

So, what is Talon about? It’s about everything and everyone. It’s the Alpha and the Omega. It’s the hope that even washed up, battered, broken and twisted people can find some peace in the world. Now bring on the Demons. Nicky has some ass to kick.

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A message from Nicholas “Talon” Watson

So yea, life was peachy-fucking-keen. Sure, I was alone…and a murderer. Yea, guess I shouldn’t leave that part out, huh? Well, what the fuck do you expect? I’m a fucking Vampire. I drink blood. It’s what I fucking do. Everything was just fine, until I saw her.

If my heart still beat, it would have stopped. If I still breathed, it would have taken my breath away. It was like staring at a ghost. No, it was worse than that. This girl was real. She was right there in front of me. The strawberry blonde curls, the line of freckles running across the bridge of her nose, the same sad brown eyes—in every way imaginable, this girl looked just like my dead sister.

It wasn’t enough that she was dead. Oh, no. She had been murdered right in front of me along with my mother. I was seventeen at the time, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The Colony of Roanoke had itself a good ole fashioned fucking witch hunt, and my family was the victim.

I should have died that night. Shit, sometimes I wish I had died that night. But no, God and his sick fucking sense of humor had me live through it long enough to catch the attention of a Vampire named Tessa. She was beautiful—red hair and emerald green eyes. She looked like an Angel. Man, was I ever wrong about that.

As beautiful as she was, she was twice as ruthless. She taught me to kill. She taught me to relish in the suffering of others—and I did. I became the very hate that I despised. One by one, we killed them all. Well, all but Molly Hale. She was the daughter of the bastard who murdered my family, and I had loved her as a mortal. Tessa thought it fitting that I turn her. So I did. She became my Dark Bride. Together we slaughtered all who crossed our paths, and tortured for our own amusement. Others’ suffering became my bliss. Their agony became my release. Some flee from the darkness. I ran into it and let it consume me.

Four hundred years. Four hundred fucking years of death and mayhem, all ruined in a moment by the eyes of a stranger. I trembled. I remembered my humanity and I hated myself for it. I thought of my sister, frozen in the woods, tied to a fucking tree like some discarded piece of trash left to rot. The soul that I was sure had died oh so long ago twisted up in my belly until the agony of it set my mind on fire. Worse than any pain I had ever felt, it was like dying all over again—and I wept. Tears fell from my eyes, something that hadn’t happened in centuries. Suddenly, I wasn’t the monster I had become. I was that scared seventeen year old boy watching his sister die all over again.

And I shouted in my mind, “No! Fuck you, God! Not again! Not like this! Not here and not today! Not on my watch, old man. You’ve already taken everything from me. Would you really torture me like this again?”

Of course, there was no fucking answer—there never is, but I knew what I had to do. I could right the wrong. The monster could be the hero. Where I had failed, I could succeed. This poor girl, whoever she was, I would save her and atone for my sins. I would do this, for my sister Lizzie’s sake.

How could I have known that plucking this thread would unravel my entire world. Everything I knew, everything I was, everything I was meant to be would be turned on its head. The road it set me upon, there would be no turning back. There would be no stopping the avalanche once it started pouring down the mountain. No more cares. No more regrets. This is the path I’m on and I will ride it all the way either to the gates of Heaven or the pit of Hell. I care not which.

So, come for me, dark ones. I can hear you hiding in the shadows, whispering your foul threats and lies in my direction. If it’s my head you want, come and fucking take it. You say I’ve broken your rules. Fuck your rules. Fuck your petty aristocracy with your noses turned up in the fucking air. Fuck being bound by an authority I no longer recognize as my superior. I am my own man. I make my own rules. I am the Vampire Talon, and I will fucking destroy you.

–Nicholas “Talon” Watson

Talon: The Spider’s Web: 7/22/17 from Burning Willow Press

Author Spotlight: Charles Lee Mullenix (The oddest interview segment on the internet continues)

In the hotseat today we have Charles Lee Mullenix. He’s another author at Burning Willow Press and quite a character. First, let’s start off with what you already have released “The Future is Built on Ashes.” This is a wild mash-up of Cyberpunk fantasy and dystopian and has just about every niche of those genres in it in some capacity. Please, tell the readers what they’re missing by not reading this gem.

They would be missing everything found in genre fiction. Literally…everything. That’s not like when hipsters say literally, and mean figuratively. I’m talking literally everything. This book was born out of my frustration from years of writing low-budget screenplays. My imagination was always being restricted by the limitations of money, time, locations, available actors, etc, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought if I switched to books I could write anything I wanted with no creative ceiling, and I went f@#king crazy. From dragons to cyborgs to ninjas to monsters to myths to Gods/Devils to Demon/Angels, and even put my spin on classic literary icons. I like to play a game where I have somebody try to think of something ‘cool’ from genre fiction, and no matter what they think of I have it within this book or the series of books to follow. It’s got it all. My main protagonist is an original ‘being’, and I created a couple new monsters/technologies totally unique to this franchise.

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But this book about EVERYTHING RIGHT HERE.

 

Not only are you a writer but I’ve heard you’re a Martial Artist. Considering S.L. Kerns is a body builder I’ve thought of having you two square off in a Burning Willow Mortal Kombat fight, but that’s for another day. What got you into the Martial Arts and what discipline or disciplines do you practice?

I’ve seen that dude with his shirt off, S.L. Kerns, so I’m tellin’ ya right now that I’m not fighting fair. I will have a knife on me. Haha I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, and it’s historically a fighter’s city. Tons of world champs, or well-known pro fighters have come from here. We have streets named after boxers, and I think for whatever reason it’s just genetically in us. We’re a scrappy town, so I was always into fighting kids as early as elementary school. But, in first grade I saw Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee, and it was over. I was hooked. I would watch movies, kickboxing fights, MMA stuff before it was even considered MMA, and anything I could find Martial Arts related and I would study it. Watch entire movies, and fights in slow motion. Break down the body mechanics until I could do it myself. We’re talkin’ second or third grade. My mom bought me some instructional videos, and by 15 I was training at a local Jeet Kune Do gym. That’s the Martial Art that Bruce Lee created which was meant to be a blend of styles not limited to just one. My Sifu had studied under the man who took over Jeet Kune Do from Bruce after his death. The school was filled with top notch talent, and pro fighters. I’ve trained with some well-known icons and fighters during my time. All in all I’ve studied 26 arts in the equal number of years, so there’s a ton of disciplines in there. I’ve just kinda made them all my own. Pick and choose what works for me, but try to learn as much as possible.

 

Okay, that being said…Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris in real life with both in their prime. Who takes it and why?

I’ve gotta go with Bruce for obvious reasons, but I will give Chuck credit. Not only did Bruce handpick him for the final fight in Way of the Dragon, but he did so to spar with him. Norris was a beast back in the day.

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Bruce approves of this answer.

 

Were you a fan of Kung-Fu movies as a kid? I know I was. If so, what were your favorites?

Huge. Huge, huge fan. Enter the Dragon was epic. I grew up in the ‘80’s, and that was the height of the ninja phase of low-budget movies. Sho Kosugi is a God. All his movies. Enter the Ninja, Pray for Death, Ninja 3: Domination, and Black Eagle with VanDamme. Jean-Claude was a big deal too. Bloodsport. Kickboxer. Dude, there’s too many to name.

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Okay, we’ve covered that…but wait, kids. There’s more! You’re the lead vocalist of a metal band? You are quite literally getting cooler by the moment. What bands influenced your music and/or are just your favorite to listen to?

Thanks, man. You’re cool yourself. Best questions ever. Um, Guns n’ Roses in third grade changed my life. I’m adopted, and I’d tell people Axel Rose was my father. He’s not. I’ve been in mostly metal bands, so I’m inspired by a lot of wild, heavy sh@t that nobody has heard of. Every Time I Die, Dillinger Escape Plan, this Japanese Death Metal Goth band Dir En Grey is the most insane thing on this planet, but I also dig a lot of Hip Hop, Blues, Jazz, and Classical stuff.

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Did Charles’ mom take Axl to Paradise City? You decide…

 

So….greatest metal band ever: Black Sabbath….or Black Sabbath? Lol Okay, I’ll be fair,  you can pick any band you choose. (whispers: the correct answer is Black Sabbath)

If I ask Ozzy, or Dio version of Black Sabbath will I get slapped? Haha Love the Sabbath I do, but my favorite is actually Led Zeppelin.

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This debate still rages to this very day.

 

Hypothetical question: You can pick any two authors, alive or dead, and spend the day with them (one at a time) to pick their brains. Who do you pick and why?

Bret Easton Ellis. He inspired me a lot in my early twenties, and is still to this day probably my biggest influence. I’d love for him to show me the New York City that he knows while doing mountains of cocaine. Even though I’m sober now I’d come out of retirement for that. My second pick would be Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sherlock Holmes books were a huge deal for me as a kid. I’d just like to sip tea, and chat writing with him at an old library. He was English. He’d like tea, right?

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Mr. Ellis, you have been officially paged.

 

And if y’all thought we were done with Charles’ extra curricular activities, WRONG! You’re also a filmmaker about to start production on your first feature film. What’s the film name and what is it about? Who in the film industry has been an influence to you? Do you find film making and authoring to be related? Is the transition easy or is it hard? Sorry, that’s a lot of questions, so take your time answering.

I don’t want to give too much away about the movie, but like all my work it shares a unified universe with everything else. It is going to be a wild ride filled with sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and Kung-Fu that ties into my books/comics. Quentin Tarantino was a big deal in my early teens, Japanese director Takashi Miike is a punk rock god who has directed like a hundred movies, Gareth Evans is a genius, and yes I think the mediums are related in ways. Maybe not for everyone, but it is all storytelling to me. One you just have to think of camera angles. I don’t think one is easier, or harder, but there is a lot more freedom when writing novels.

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Quentin can do my segment, as long as I don’t have to be “Mr. Pink.”

 

Last, but not least, you have a release coming out this summer I believe it is called “Block.” I’ve already been given a brief run down on it and it sounds intriguing. Tease the people with a little info to get them salivating for that pre-order date to get here.

“Block” follows a writer with writer’s block named Arthur Turk, direct nod to Arthur Conan Doyle, who is growing insane from frustration not being able to write anything of quality while navigating the world of a writer trying to get published. He’s strangely offered a dream job writing by a mysterious man named Mr. Mayflower, and from there he sees a supernatural world open before his eyes. One that was always there, and now he has become a part of it. Don’t wanna give too much away.

 

One last question, and I’m stealing this one (I’ll admit it). If Heaven’s real and God one day opens up the pearly gates for you, what do you want to hear him say?

Hey, everybody. Chill the f@#k out.

 

Thanks for your time, Charles. Looking forward to that new release!

Thank you, sir. This has been fantastic. Really fun. Thank you for your time, and I hope everybody checks out my work as well as all other Burning Willow Press authors. The entire crew over there from top to bottom are really great, talented people. Very passionate about writers/writing, and driven to help authors get their work to the masses.

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Mr. Charles Lee Mullenix. Tell me that’s not punk as fuck! 🙂

More Talon Sequel Goodness. “The bond between two Demons.”

Remember the first day we went to the book shop and met Esmerelda?”

Well, yea. Of course I do. Why?”

Esmerelda knew something about your powers. She knows where they come from.”

Sadie playfully slapped me on the arm. “And you didn’t tell me? The fuck, Nicky?”

Sadie, calm down. This isn’t easy to say and it probably won’t be easy to hear. Those black and blue flames of yours…it’s Hell-fire.”

Hell-fire?” she shrieked. “Why in the Fuck would I be able to summon Hell-fire?”

I paused. I didn’t want to say it, but her eyes pleaded for an answer. “Esmerelda said that means…”

I couldn’t spit the words out. So Sadie forced my hand. “Say it, Nicky! Say it!”

This means that you must be part Demon.” There. I said it, and I regretted it immediately.

Sadie hopped out of her chair. She was obviously upset and shaking. “Bullshit!” she screamed. “I am not part Demon! That’s impossible!”

I stepped towards her, wanting to comfort her, but she backed away. “Sadie…”

Don’t ‘Sadie’ me!” She fell down on her knees and started crying. “It’s not true…it can’t be.”

You said you never knew who your father was. The powers, the flames, it all makes sense of you think about it, baby.”

She screamed, “It doesn’t make sense! Nothing makes sense!” She looked up at me and her eyes were rolled over and glowing black again.

I took a step backwards. “Sadie, baby…”

What?” she hollered angrily.

Your eyes…they’re black.”

What?” she said in a softer tone. She stood up and stepped in front of the mirror on the wall. She took one look at herself and she slouched down and withered up into almost nothing. “Oh my God.” she whispered.

The same thing happened right before you kicked ass and took names at Marcus’ old office.”

She turned to me, with tears pouring down her cheeks. “This is what I looked like?”

I carefully nodded my head, afraid to upset her any more. “Yes. This is what your eyes looked like.”

She fell to her knees again and cried even harder. “I’m hideous! I’m a Demon! Why me, Nicky? Why did this have to happen to me?”

I knelt beside her and carefully lifted her chin so she was looking at me. “I’m a Demon, too. And you still love me don’t you?”

Sadie wiped her eyes and turned away. “Don’t ask such silly questions!”

I turned her head back until our eyes met. “You still love me don’t you?”

She placed her hand on top of mine. “Now and always.”

I caressed her tear-stained cheek. “And that is the same way I love you. I don’t care about what you are. I care about who you are. I don’t know where life is taking us, but it’s taking us there together.”

We sat there in the floor for hours without saying a word. We just clutched to each other, unsure of what to say. Maybe we didn’t have to say anything. The force holding us together was stronger than any words we could have spoken.

Another Talon Sequel Excerpt with a little tip of the hat to Stephen King.

I struggled against the chains that bound me, but still had no luck. Fucking silver. I bloody hate that damned metal. I was still half-drugged from whatever Ricky had jammed into my neck, so I had to concentrate hard to think or talk. “S…Sadie, are you okay?”

She still sat there on one knee. I could hear her panting heavily. Every time her powers manifested, they took the world out of her, but at least she was still conscious, which was an improvement from her previous experiences. She looked over her shoulder at me, she was drenched in sweat, but she was smiling. “I’m okay, baby. Did you see what I did?”

Although I was in terrible pain, I chuckled. “You mean the part where you went all ‘Carrie on a bad prom date’ on the room? Yea, kind of hard to miss. Baby, not to be demanding here, but could you please get these chains off of me? I’m starting to feel a wee bit nauseous.”

A Little Peak at Talon book 2, “Russian Roulette”

Faust shook his head. “It’s not that easy, Nicky. You’re missing out on the point. There are consequences to what you do. If you return, history will repeat itself. Sadie, Taz, Jonesy…all of them, they’re all going to die—just like your family, Kascha, me. It’s a curse Nicky. If you decide to live, you’re going to literally watch everything you love burn.”

Faust snapped his fingers and we were suddenly in the middle of Five Points South. All the buildings were decimated. Smoldering fires filled the air with a thick black smoke and it was raining ashes from the sky. There were abandoned, burned out vehicles everywhere. It looked like World War 3 had broken out there.

What the deuce is all of this?”

Faust very smugly took a seat on a park bench which had survived the destruction and replied, “It’s your future, Nicky. If you stick around, this is what you’re going to cause, along with the deaths of all your friends. Is this really what you want? Do you want to watch the world to burn?”

I heard the clip-clop of hooves against the pavement. I looked to the west and I saw a horse-drawn carriage approaching me. The coachman wore all black and his hood couldn’t hide the fact that his face was a skull. Even the four horses pulling the carriage were something other-worldly. Their eyes burned red, they exhaled a thick black smoke, and fire danced around their hooves. Behind the carriage was a funeral procession made up of two rows of followers. They wore all black and they had their faces painted up like skulls. It reminded me of what I had seen in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead.

The carriage stopped right in front of me and I turned to Faust. “What the Hell is all of this?”

Faust tapped his cane twice against the ground and the members of the funeral procession opened up the back of the carriage. They removed and then sat a casket right at my feet.

Why it’s your funeral, Nicky! They’ve come to pay their respects to the man you used to be. This future, this nightmare, it all ends if you’ll just…” Faust cracked the lid to the coffin. “…get inside.”

Welcome to “The Dark World” by S.C. Parris

Dark World

Welcome To The Dark World.
A World kept from the eyes of humans where all manner of Dark Creature live, war, and thrive. But certain Creatures are about to find that there is more to the dark than blood and bite…. The Dark World holds secrets…and the greatest of all are about to be revealed.
— “Her name…is Alexandria Stone.”
These are some of the last words Xavier Delacroix hears from his beloved Eleanor Black…just before she bursts into a Lycan Creature. And if this wasn’t enough to rattle Xavier’s brilliant mind, other Vampires – namely Dracula – are becoming elusive and speaking only in vague air about Xavier’s supposedly brilliant blood. But with a human to find, Lycans to kill, and a World to protect, Xavier is not so sure what to believe or who.
Buy the book here. (BOOK SALES BEGIN 8/30)