Saturday, January 5, 2013

{Release Blog Tour} Guest Post: Apocalypse Survival by M.R. Merrick

I'm just going to tell you that this is one of the best, if not the best, guest posts I've ever had on the blog. Matt has a wonderful since of humor and is an astonishing storyteller. If you haven't read Exile, Shift, or Release, I suggest you do so immediately (Buy links at bottom of post)! Simply Amazing!!! Thanks to Val @ Stuck In Books for hosting this incredible tour and allowing Better Read Than Dead to be a part.

Rafflecopter Giveaway at bottom of page!

Apocalypse Survival by M.R. Merrick

An asteroid was heading for the earth; that’s how it all started. It was the beginning of the end and that giant rock had bastards setting off nukes in every direction. But the people didn’t die. Oh no. The radiation that shoulda wiped us all out just made things worse; mostly it turned everyone into mindless flesh eaters. Ironic thing was it was all for nothing; the asteroid missed.
You wanna know about the end of the world? Alright, I’ll tell ya. But you better pull up those panties first, boy. It ain’t pretty.
First, there was no power. That’s right. No fancy phones that talk to you, no video games, and no HDTV. Forget hot water. In fact, forget comfort all together. Running water: Gone. A clean bed to sleep in: Gone. A fan to keep you cool: Gone. You got a broken baseball bat or a knife, and—if you were really lucky—a pistol with a couple shots left.
Canned food was your friend—if you could find it—but most of the time you were sucking the guts from beetles and eatin’ rotten fruit. If you found a beer, you’d cut the guy next to you to make sure it was yours. And you didn’t sleep. You nodded off with one eye open and you kept your shoe laces tied tight. If anyone crossed paths with you and wanted a scuffle, it’d be the first thing they’d take.
So how’d I survive? I don’t even know. Let’s call it a helluva lotta luck.
I’d been traveling for months, maybe years. I lost track of time a few days after the bombs hit. It got hotter every day, and the sand was always blowing in your face. I spent all my waking hours moving from town to town, trying to find a place where I could set up shop. Fresh water and something that kept the flesh eaters out was all I needed. I nearly found it once too, but when I finally got settled in, something else showed up.
Flesh eaters aren’t the only thing you have to watch out for on the outside, because when the nukes struck, the world changed. All the continents moved around, ramming into one another while some of them just sank into the ocean. Yeah this world sure got messed up quick. Out there, it ain’t like it is in here, no sir.
I’d been walking for a while since my last meal, and dusty desert had turned into rotting forest, which had changed to crumbled mountains and then back to desert. I’d found a big ass knife, rusted to shit but it cut good enough, and I made a wicked whip out of a piece of driftwood and barbed wire. I didn’t need a gun; I’d gotten so good I could shear the head off a flesh eater from fifteen feet away.
After I’d walked long enough that my beard was to my chest, I came to a little town nestled back in a mountain district. Most of it seemed untouched compared to the rest of the world: the mountains were still standing, with snow decoratin’ the tops like a Christmas tree waitin’ to be cut down. Most of the houses were intact, cars were still parked on the street, and there was a pump at the back that brought fresh water up from a stream. My legs were skinny, scabbed, and shaking. I was weaker than ever, I was starving, but I had stumbled into paradise.
The place was abandoned so I took my pick of the properties. Found myself a real nice stretch of land on a quarter acre or so. There was just a small house on the back of the lot, but that’s all I needed, and it still had grass! It needed a good cut but it was lush and green, just like I’d remembered grass to be.
It took a few days to get set up, but when I was done, I had rigged up alarms and booby traps all over the town. I had plenty of supplies from the local hardware store that sat untouched, and I cooked a good few meals over an open fire. Aside from a bit of dust, their grocery store was practically brand new. Finally, I felt like I was going to get a good night’s sleep—the first I’d have had in who knows how many years. But then they came:  the other monsters.
Flesh eaters aren’t very smart. They’re brain dead and they always feast on the closest carcass they can find. Since I was the only one in town, I knew they’d smell me out quicker than the jiggle of a jackrabbit’s ass.
I had trip wires set up all over the town, ready to alert me of any intruders, but the alarms didn’t fire off. I hadn’t seen anything but flesh eaters for ages and I wasn’t ready for them. Not preparin’ for ‘em was just me being careless, but what cleared my traps was somethin’ I’d never seen before. I couldn’t have prepared for them.
My eyelids were falling fast and for the first time since before the end, I could feel a good sleep pulling me in. And with my luck, just as ol’ Mr. Sandman was about to tea bag me, a BANG sounded at the door. No more sleep for me.
The barbed wire dragged along the floor behind me and the driftwood handle was stuck in the back of my pants. My hand was sweating in the humid night’s air and I gripped the rusty blade like it was my only salvation—because it was.
The front door was open, creaking in the wind and hangin’ by only one hinge. I heard a strange beat humming along the wooden floor boards and it made my knuckle hairs stand on end. Sweat ran between my fingers, dripping down the handle of the blade. The floor boards creaked with each step until I finally stopped in the living room, stretching my senses to find my attacker.
It sounded behind me and I nearly jumped outta my damn skin. I turned faster than a bat out of hell, but there was nothing there.
I turned back around, ready to swing my blade, but it was too late. Two feet planted into my chest and sent me ass backwards across the room. My body crumbled into the wall and the drywall behind me cracked, covering me in a wash of white dust.
I sneered in pain and jumped to my feet, ready to face the son of a bitch that thought he could take me on, but the room was empty. It was just me and a flood of powder floating in the moonlight.
This time when I turned, I was already swinging my blade. The feet smashed into me again, but I got him too. He cried in pain but it was rough like a horse with a high pitched squeal at the end. I rolled across the floor and came up on my feet.
The creature was lying across the ground, squirting blood and huffing something fierce. His body twitched like the carcass of a flesh eater after you threw it against an electric fence. But this wasn’t no flesh eater. I didn’t know what the hell it was.
I was careful not to get too close but as I walked across the room, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Damn thing had a dog-like face, big ass legs on the backside, a thick ratty tail and tiny little arms. Half of its left foot was lying on the floor beside it, and as I watched it squirm into the moonlight, I didn’t believe it: I’d just cut the foot off a god damn kangaroo.
I inched closed as it writhed along the ground. When its solid white eyes caught sight of me, it hissed. Four-inch fangs hung down from its snout and blood dripped from its mouth. I’d heard about these things from passersby once upon a time, but I never believed in ‘em. Vampire kangaroos? I’d seen a lot of shit in my life, but this was at the top of my WTF-o-meter.
My heart leaped in my throat as the creature lunged out, trying to wrap its grubby little paws around my ankle. I reacted with haste and brought my blade down on its head. Blood splattered over my face and all across my newly claimed floors. Lemme tell ya: I cursed something fierce after that.
I swung my blade back behind me but I only cut through the air. The room was empty. I could hear the beast hopping along the porch outside. I pulled the whip from my pants and rushed out the door, hoping to have more room to work out in the yard.
When I leaped off the porch and turned around, three more of them were glaring at me, their eyes as white as moonlight and practically glowing. They hopped the railing and bounced towards me in a blur. I snapped the barbed wire across the air and watched as one of the heads split from its body. He fell limp to the ground and his head sloshed across the grass. The other two snarled and moved to either side of me, lashing out and thinkin’ they could best me.
I pivoted, keepin’ them each in my peripheral vision. As they inched closer, I side-stepped away to keep my distance, until they lunged at me in unison. Long fangs dripped black saliva and I somersaulted backwards at the last moment. They sunk their fangs into one another and screams barked from their snouts. I was already on my feet, ready to take advantage of the situation. The rusty blade cut through the air, slicing through one neck, and then the other.
When they hit the earth, dirt shot up from the ground all around them, leaving me strugglin’ to catch my breath. I was too old for this.
I waited a few minutes outside, making sure the coast was clear, but when I finally decided it was safe enough to go inside, something skittered across the underside of the roof.
Chills ran down my spine and I didn’t dare set another foot inside that house. I knew that sound. I’d faced it before and I sure as hell wasn’t ready to face it again. That sound meant a nest. A nest meant this place couldn’t be home. Not with those creatures here.
I didn’t wait for it to see me. I ran as fast as my scrawny legs would take me down to the hardware store where I’d already rigged up something real nice. With two propane tanks strapped to my back, I marched myself back up to the house, waiting for those suckers to make themselves known. A stainless steel handle was in my grip and a small flame flickered at the end of a long gray pipe. I was ready.
Skitter, skitter, skitter.
My finger hovered over the handle, but when the monstrosities started to appear, I knew this wouldn’t be enough. Dozens of spiders moved out from behind the house. Some broke through the shingles on the roof while others ran across the porch. Their mouths oozed something white and their fangs chittered together. These weren’t ordinary spiders; these were infected. They were the size of a big dog and mean as hell.
Beady eyes reflected the moonlight and when they kicked their legs, long hairs fluttered in the air. I was careful not to let ‘em touch me. Just being too close to the hair would give you a rash for a week.
Skitter, skitter, skitter.
I lit the night up in a stream of blue, orange, and red, casting the flame across the yard, but I didn’t dare get closer. I walked backwards as fast as I could and I saved every bit of propane I had. I didn’t have enough to kill ‘em all, but if any one of them got too close, I lit his ass up like a firework.
Green guts exploded over the yard and stained the siding of what I had hoped would be my new home. But they didn’t stop.  Dozens more kept on coming and I knew they were nesting somewhere close. I also knew from my last encounter with ‘em I wasn’t going anywhere near it. These things were babies compared to the queen. I needed to get out of here.
When I’d set some distance between me and them, I moved back to the hardware store. I had loads of weapons and traps set up, but it wouldn’t be enough. Not enough to kill all of ‘em and the queen.
When I’d explored the town earlier, I found myself an old truck that still started. I loaded it up with everything I could manage from food to weapons, and I hopped in and drove away.
I passed town after town, and even ran over a few flesh eaters along the way, but I didn’t dare stop.  I pushed that truck as far as it would go, until finally the gas was gone and the engine quit.
Never again did I settle in another town. Not for long. I didn’t get my hopes up and I didn’t sleep. I just tried to survive. That was until I met your lot and your daddy welcomed me to safety. And here I am, hiding behind these high stone walls and enjoying an ice-cold beer. Who’da thunk there’d be a part of the world that sat untouched from it all? You lucky sons of bitches have it made. I guess now I do too… If it wasn’t for you and your dad rescuing me from that pack of hairless, sparkling flying-monkeys, I’d be a goner. Those things looked like something out of that Twilight you were showing me.
So that’s it. It ain’t a pretty story but it’s a story nonetheless. That’s how I survived the apocalypse. Or at least that’s part of it. I don’t think your daddy would like me talking to you about the time I shot a stripper in the face after she and her zebra-man tried to eat my right arm. Hell, she wasn’t just a stripper, she was a giraffe shifter.
You know what, screw it. Do you wanna hear something really crazy? Let me tell ya…

Title: Exiled
Series: The Protector #1
Author: M.R. Merrick


Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. Failing to develop any elemental magic on his fifteenth birthday left him exiled in a world full of half-demons, and no hunters to protect him.

When Chase discovers the Circle's plan to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world, he vows to stop them. Knowing he can't do it alone however, he accepts help from Rayna, a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.

As the pair attempt to stop the Circle, Chase realizes working with a demon is only half the battle. When they find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, it leaves one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.

Title: Shift
Series: The Protector #2
Author: M.R. Merrick


Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.

As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.

Title: Release
Series: The Protector #3
Author: M.R. Merrick


After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna.

One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

Grand Prize (3 Winners)

3x Signed paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)
3x Signed 8x10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)
5x Bookmarks
1x Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)
1x Magnet

Runner Up Prize Pack, Option 1 (5 Winners)

1x Signed paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster
1x bookmark (Winner’s choice)
1x Magnet

Runner Up Prize Pack, Option 2

Runner Up Prize Pack, Option 3 (5 Winners)

Secondary Prize Pack A: E-book of Release (10 Winners)
Secondary Prize Pack B: 1 Bookmark (Winners Choice) & The Protector Magnet (10 Winners)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for being part of the tour.


  2. What an awesome post!
    I keep reading about those books everywhere, I think I'll try to read them soon!

  3. Wow! I'm all in! These books look great. Favorite mythological character = vampires because they can be so sexy! Haha!

  4. These books sound amazing... Mythological Character- hmmm so many to chose from do I really need only one... I guess a Vampire...

  5. Vampires and Werewolves, of course!! They are powerful, and beautiful, and I am writing a YA Para/fantasy novels called Blood Moon series, about them. Shameless plug, I know!!

  6. Thanks for posting the giveaway! This looks great! Hmm... Favorite mythological creature? Shifters are cool, ya know, all the were-beasts. Of course, vampires :)

  7. My favourite mythological character is the Gryphon. There are lots of books about vampires, werewolves etc. but very few with Gryphon's. They are mysterious and beautiful.

    Thank you for the giveaway! :) I have these books on my TBR list!

  8. Faeries! I love all things Fey. Thanks for doing the guest post it was awesome!

  9. My favorite mythological creature growing up was Pegasus, but as I got older, I began to favor the Gryffon. Yeah, I guess I have a thing for wings. :)

  10. I just love mythical creatures with wings... They're really awesome!
    Thanks for hosting this giveaway..!!!

  11. My favorite mythological creature are Sirens. I've always liked them.

  12. Vampires! Just find them fascinating!

  13. Vampires! Because they are interesting and amazing fantasy creatures.

  14. Vampires, because they are dark and sneaky



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