25 September 2012

Blog Tour : Vaempires: Zombie Rising by Thomas Winship

This tour is a little different from the usual, you'll understand what I mean when you read on. Thanks to Thomas Winship and Dark Mind Book Tours for letting me be a part of it!

Vaempires: Zombie Rising by Thomas Winship.
Audience/Genre : New Adult/Paranormal.
Publication : October 2012 (Self Published).
The tale of the Evolutionary War resumes in Væmpires: Zombie Rising.

Væmpires have taken control of twelve major cities. Their leader, Vielyn, seeks the atomic weapons that will bring the rest of the world to its knees.

Vampire forces are reeling. As Linq and Ray race to the royal estate to rendezvous with Cassandra and Daniel, the princess is captured and Daniel falls.

With the fate of world shifting to their teenage shoulders, Linq and Ray must deal with tremendous losses while battling a most unexpected—and undeadly—new foe.

The Vaempires: Zombie Rising Bloody Chunks Tour

Hello everyone. Welcome to the Bloody Chunks Tour!
I’m Thomas Winship, author of Vaempires: The Evolutionary War—a vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?
For this book tour, I decided to do something a bit different. Instead of sharing excerpts, reviews, interviews, and all the usual accompaniments, I’m giving you the book itself—piece by piece.
Or chunk by bloody chunk!
This tour is the only place where you can read Vaempires: Zombie Rising, the next chapter in the vaempires saga, before its official release!
The tale of The Evolutionary War resumes in Væmpires: Zombie Rising.
Væmpires have taken control of twelve major cities. Their leader, Vielyn, seeks the atomic weapons that will bring the rest of the world to its knees.
Vampire forces are reeling. As Linq and Ray race to the royal estate to rendezvous with Cassandra and Daniel, the princess is captured and Daniel falls.
With the fate of world shifting to their teenage shoulders, Linq and Ray must deal with tremendous losses while battling a most unexpected—and undeadly—new foe.
This tour wouldn’t be possible without the time and efforts of a very special group of people, beginning with Silvia and Franny at Dark Mind Book Tours and including everyone on the list below. Please show your support by stopping by, commenting, and spreading the word!

Tour Schedule:

September 10th
Darkest Sins / Book Trailer Reveal

September 11th
GraveTells / Chapter 1

September 12th
Mind Reader / Chapter 2

September 13th
Fictional Candy / Chapter 3

September 14th
Words In Sync / Chapter 4

September 17th
Chapter By Chapter / Chapter 5, Part 1

September 18th
Picked By Poison / Chapter 5, Part 2

September 19th
Reader Girls / Chapter 6, Part 1

September 20th
What's Beyond Forks? / Chapter 6, Part 2

September 21st
Sweet Southern Home / Chapter 7

September 24th
TToria / Chapter 8

September 25th
Kindle and Me / Chapter 9

September 26th
S.M. Boyce's Blog / Chapter 10

September 27th
Happy Tails and Tales / Chapter 11

September 28th
Darkest Sins / Reviews

I hope you enjoy Vaempires: Zombie Rising!

Book Trailer.

Chapter 9.

Linq, as close to panicked as he’d ever been, grabbed Ray’s shoulder. Whether it was more to steady himself or to keep Ray from racing off, he didn’t know.
Ray turned with a question in his eyes, but he stopped when he saw Linq’s face. “What’s wrong?”
Linq pointed toward the west ward. “Daniel’s over there.”
Ray didn’t waste time asking questions. He glanced in the direction for a moment, then turned back, his gaze calculating, assessing. “Let’s go rescue our friend.”
His resolve galvanized both teens. They exploded into action, racing toward Daniel and tearing into the first zombies they encountered with something approaching reckless abandon. There wasn’t time for headshots or witty banter. Body parts flew and bodies tumbled to the ground in the teens’ wake.
Even as they cut through the silent lines like scythes cutting wheat, Linq felt darkness gathering around them. Part of it was the anticipation of what awaited them upon reaching Daniel, but the rest was the realization that going after Daniel had probably cost them any chance of escaping the west ward alive.
It was a decision he didn’t regret.
What he did regret, however, was not finding out what had happened to his parents. His wristband had been vibrating almost nonstop since they entered the palace, but he hadn’t taken the time to check it. It didn’t look like he’d get another opportunity, either.
A zombie lumbered into his path, a hulking brute with a gaping hole in his chest and three fingers missing on one hand. The beast launched a roundhouse right that moved in such slow motion that Linq was almost mesmerized watching it. Shaking off the split-second reverie, he darted behind the beast, raking his claws across the back of its knees. The beast dropped, as if in prayer, and Linq took its head as punishment for sins past. Hewing through its trunk-like neck took more effort than it should have. He grunted as muscles in his shoulder and arm burned.
“You okay?” Ray inquired, sliding a few steps closer.
“Fine,” Linq lied.
“Good,” Ray said, shaking blood and gore from his claws. “I’m pretty tired myself, though. I’m surprised you aren’t.” Taking Linq’s silence as a confession, Ray added, “I’ve got one synth-pak left if you need it.”
“Thanks.” Linq smiled. “But hold on to it awhile longer. The fighting will be over soon, one way or another.”
Ray nodded. “We’re halfway there,” he said, stealing a second to glance over his shoulder. He didn’t say anything about what he saw. He just turned back to the undead horde and went back to work.
Linq didn’t have to look back to know that the mass of zombies was slowly closing in from the north; his senses told him as much. Tingling fingers crawled along his spine. The zombies’ scent increased with each passing second.
“The new ones smell different,” Linq said, lopping the head from a zombie wearing the uniform of a royal guard. It wasn’t the first one he’d seen, but the sight of something that had once stood for safety and security—a uniform he had worn on more than one occasion—adorning the body of one of the undead creatures pierced his heart.
“Yeah,” Ray said, tearing the partially decapitated head from a bald væmpire. “They’re less decayed or something.”
Linq wasn’t certain if he agreed, but there wasn’t time to debate. A knot of a half-dozen væmpires was clustered before them, just begging for release from their undead sentence.
“Slash and burn,” Ray yelled, announcing a tactic designed for taking out a small group of less agile enemies—humans—with a minimum of effort. If there was one good thing about fighting zombies, it was that the teens could discuss strategy without worrying about giving anything away. They’d learned the move directly from Steven DeStrey. Daniel’s father may have inherited his position as captain of the royal guard, but it wasn’t a wasted birthright. The man had been a military mastermind.
Linq and Ray accelerated toward the pack, and then leaped, skimming through the air above the zombies. With each creature they passed over, they pistoned razor-sharp claws down through its skull, skewering the brain with sharp popping sounds. That was the slash part of the maneuver. They landed behind the creatures, and while the actual strategy called for a quick strike to dispose of any surviving enemies—the burn—they didn’t even bother to check their results before racing toward the next group of zombies.
They hit three subsequent groups like a wrecking crew, scattering zombie bits to the wind in a savage melee unlike anything they’d previously done. The attacks were devastating and brutal, but so was the toll in terms of expended energy.
Linq felt wrung out like a used rag. When he back flipped behind the outstretched arms of a blond twenty-something—her claws painted a festive yellow—his knees buckled on the landing. He didn’t fall, but it was close enough to raise a red flag.
He straightened before the woman turned, separating the pretty head from her perky body and breathing a deep sigh as both plopped to his feet. Turning to acquire the next target, he spied Daniel’s body less than ten yards away.
Except for that brief, fateful glimpse across the ward, he hadn’t seen his lifelong friend again, but what he saw was not a welcome sight by any means. Daniel was unmoving, his body awash in blood. The way he lay there, broken and battered like a toy that was abused and tossed away, wrenched at Linq’s heart.
Linq faltered, a sense of déjà vu hitting him as similar images flashed through his mind—Travis and Lee, little Maya, a stuffed puppy. He struggled past it, moving in slow motion, as if underwater. He felt numb. If a zombie attacked, he would die.
Ray skidded to a halt beside him. “Oh my God.” The words rolled in as if from a great distance. “That blood can’t all be his. It isn’t possible.” He looked at Linq. “It can’t all be his, right?”
Linq didn’t answer. He just plodded along, shuffling like a zombie toward his fallen friend. He needed a closer inspection to determine how much damage there was.
Ray stepped in front of him, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. “Snap out of it, man. I can’t do this alone.”
He shoved Linq aside, out of the path of an approaching zombie. Linq stumbled to a knee, putting a hand out to stop from falling to the ground. A zombie head rolled in front of him, a familiar face with overlarge features and a shock of bushy black hair. It was the væmpire who’d drained the straw-haired girl in the apartment complex.
The sight shook Linq from his fugue. He stood, sights and smells and sounds returning with a vengeance, and looked around for oncoming zombies. Ray grappled with a lone zombie a few yards to the right. The immediate area was otherwise clear, but a quartet of zombies was closing in from ten yards out.
Linq turned to face them, but Ray called out, “Tend to Daniel. I’ve got them.”
He didn’t need to be told twice. He raced to Daniel, sinking to his knees next to the limp body.
Linq’s heart sank as he took a visual inventory of the damage. Daniel’s body was as abused as any of the zombies had been. His left shoulder had a blistered laser burn. His right shoulder had a bloody, gaping fist-sized hole. His nose was broken; everything below it a mask of blood.
His chest was worse than everything else—another fist-sized hole, although it looked bigger. There was a surprising lack of blood, but that was consistent with the entry wound that it certainly was. In fact, Linq’s nose detected a large carpet of blood blanketing the grass some six feet away, where Daniel must’ve fallen after the initial shot. He had either crawled to his current location or someone had moved him.
Linq leaned closer to the chest wound. The hole was a rough semicircle, the top half cleanly carved away by the væmpire claws that had caused it and the bottom part stretched and torn by the force of the blow.
Looking at the wound sickened Linq. It was so close to the heart. Too close. Pieces of Daniel’s shirt trailed into the hole, exposing the area to unimaginable contaminants. Gently, he turned the body over. The exit wound was a black hole, with jagged splinters of spine and torn grass surrounding it. He laid the body back down, not wanting to leave the wound open to the insects and other parasites crawling on the ground, but it didn’t matter. If Daniel was alive, the wounds should’ve showed signs of healing.
The realization sapped what little energy Linq had left. He sank to his haunches, demoralized and defeated.
The sounds of flesh being slashed ended, and Ray was beside him before the fourth body flopped to the ground. “How is he?”
Linq shook his head, refusing to look up.
Ray sank to his knees beside him. “Are you absolutely positive?”
“Of course not,” Linq snapped. “I’m a fifteen-year-old kid playing soldier. Now I’m supposed to be a medic? I’m not trained for that.”
“There has to be something we can do,” Ray insisted.
“Then do it!” Linq shouted. “What should we try first? Check his pulse?”
“Vampires don’t have a pulse,” Ray said in a small voice, staring down at his fallen friend.
Linq sighed.
Ray’s body sagged. For a few seconds, neither teen said anything. Then Ray’s body started shaking, and Linq couldn’t hold back the tears, either. He cried, not just for Daniel but for Ray’s family, as well, and for his parents, and for everyone else who had died. He cried for Orion, for the loss of everything that mattered, everything that was good and just in the world, for the king and queen, for …
“Cassie,” he croaked.
Ray’s eyes were uncomprehending.
Linq wiped his eyes, clearing his throat. “We have to find Cassie. She was here.”
Ray’s mouth fell open. “Oh man. You’re right.” He looked around, as if expecting her to materialize out of thin air. “But how do you know she was here?”
“Daniel’s body was moved,” Linq explained. “His spine was severed, so he couldn’t have done it on his own. Cassie must’ve moved him and then got distracted. Either she went after whoever was responsible …” He turned to peer toward the tower, and was jolted back to reality when he saw the zombies closing in. “Damn! We forgot about them.”
The horde inched closer, a sea of silent, shuffling madness that threatened to overwhelm the teens if they stayed put. They climbed to their feet, the effort alone taxing Linq. He was much too exhausted to be ready for action, but he would fight anyway.
Ray banged his shoulder. “We’re in trouble.”
Linq spun in the direction Ray was looking. Through the main entrance, zombies poured into the west ward. More zombies than he’d ever seen. It was over. They were surrounded.
“Linq! We forgot about the zombies,” Ray yelled.
“I already said that.”
“No, I don’t mean that we forgot they were here. I mean, we forget that they exist at all.” The eagerness in Ray’s voice didn’t match the situation. “If that girl can raise the dead, then Daniel would be a zombie, too, right? Which means he’s alive.”
The question staggered Linq. Hope flared for a second before reality blew it out. Daniel was dead. He was certain of it. “Not necessarily. Her power probably only works on væmpires.”
“I suppose,” Ray said, deflating. “Anyway, I guess it’s better that we don’t have him coming after us, too.”
The thought of a zombie best friend was unsettling, but not as unsettling as the zombies inching closer. Linq didn’t want to give them more credit than they deserved, but they almost seemed emboldened by the infusion of reinforcements.
“Listen,” he said, leaning toward Ray. “I’ll attack and try to draw their attention. You sneak away and try to locate Cassie.”
Ray’s eyes widened. “Are you nuts? That’s suicide. I’m not leaving you here.”
“Dammit, Ray! We don’t have much time. Cassie might be in trouble. There’s no way she left Daniel here like this unless she was going after someone.” He didn’t have to say who that someone was. They both knew it was probably Vielyn.
Ray’s jaw was set. “Wherever we go, we go together. I’m not abandoning a friend that I know is alive to chase after a friend who might be dead. Princess or not.”
“If you stay, we’re both going to die. I don’t have enough energy left in the tank to fight my way out of here.” Linq gave Ray a level gaze. “But I can give you a fighting chance.”
“I’m as wiped as you are,” Ray confessed. “But we have one last pack of synth-blood. We’ll share it.”
He reached for a pocket and his face fell. “I must’ve lost it along the way.”
“That’s okay,” Linq said, smiling. It was a tired smile; he’d never been so tired in his life. “At least we haven’t lost each other.”
Ray smiled in return. “At least there’s that.” His eyes were grave. “Are you ready?”
Linq nodded, and they dove into battle once more.
The teens were in trouble from the onset. Their strength flagged. Their speed stalled. Their agility disappeared. Still, they fought with guts and determination against ever-increasing enemy numbers.
“I feel like a human,” Ray said, panting, struggling to get the better of a stocky væmpire with greasy black hair pulled into a long braid. He succeeded in pushing a lifeless arm far enough away to sneak his claws around the man’s neck and sever the spinal cord. Another zombie accosted Ray before the braided man fell to the ground.
Linq swung at his current opponent, a thin girl with a face full of tattoos. It took three swipes to sever her tiny neck, and even then, he didn’t move quick enough to avoid the falling body. It leaned into his chest like a lover before he shoved it aside, grimacing. Beneath the stench of blood and decay, he caught a whiff of her perfume.
More zombies crowded in, their numbers keeping Linq from moving forward. Luckily, they spent as much time shuffling into one another as they did menacing the teens.
Linq shoved an overweight man, tipping him into a trio of others. The move afforded time for a one-second breather. He glanced around, hoping to spot a break in the crowd.
Zombies as far as the eye could see.
He ducked and stumbled beneath swiping claws while calling to Ray. “Maybe we can make it to the tower.”
“Why?” The teen’s voice was strained.
Linq stopped a swinging arm—it took a herculean effort—and beheaded its owner. “It’s the closest entrance into the palace. We might be able to find synth-blood and hole up for a while.”
Ray’s laugh was more of a dry cough. “Did you suddenly sprout wings?”
“No, but we might be able to make progress if we start avoiding them instead of fighting them.”
Sidestepping an olive-skinned woman, Linq collided with a muscular man wearing a dress. The man’s claws raked down his forearm, drawing blood. Despite their exhaustion, it was the first wound either teen had suffered at a zombie’s hands.
Linq bit back a curse and stepped inside the zombie’s reach. Before the man could react, Linq removed his head. But the damage was done. Something—the sight or the smell of his blood—energized the nearby zombies, which moved toward the teens with increased purpose.
Had the teens been human, they probably would’ve prayed to a higher power at that point. And while they wouldn’t have refused any form of assistance—earthly or otherwise—they weren’t expecting any.
Nor did any come. In a matter of minutes, it was obvious that the tide had turned against them for good. The zombies pressed into them, clawing, biting, each move coming closer and closer to landing.
The teens fought on, but their blows were no longer effective. Inch by inch, step by step, the zombies drove them back in the direction of the reinforcements shuffling in from the main entrance.
Linq was so tired he could barely lift his arms to reach a zombie’s neck. He stumbled around on wooden legs that cried for a reprieve. Slide-stepping away from a creature, he almost tripped over a dead body. Looking down, he was shocked to see it was Daniel.
“Right back where we started from,” he moaned, rubbing a hand across his forehead and peering over his shoulder. The zombie reinforcements were steps away from reaching the teens. The fight was all but over. They were boxed in. Linq had visions of being smothered to death beneath a crush of undead bodies.
“It’s as fitting a place as any to make a last stand,” Ray offered. “I’ll take the back and you take the front.” The friends looked at each other, possibly for the last time. “I’m trying to think of something witty, but …” Ray shrugged.
“That’s all right,” Linq said. “We gave ’em one helluva fight.”
They turned, standing back to back beside their fallen best friend and leader, as the waves of zombies crashed over them.

Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY (USA) and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as MBA Director and adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.
Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.
He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.
He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.

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