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The Kindle Countdown Deal for THE IMPOSTOR #2: THE BLOOD MACHINE is underway!

For the next 24 hours, the eBook (the second volume in my “New Pulp” post-apocalyptic superhero series) is on sale for just $.99.

For the 24 hours after that, the sale price will increase to $1.99.

After that, the price will return to the regular (still dirt-cheap) $2.99.

If you haven’t tried the series yet, you can download THE IMPOSTOR #0: SUITING UP for free.

And THE IMPOSTOR #1: HALF A HERO (which includes the story in #0) is always bargain-priced at $.99.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_21?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=the+impostor+richard+lee+byers&sprefix=the+impostor+richard+%2Cdigital-text%2C212
 

Much to my own surprise, I am a last-minute addition to the list of author guests at Away Mission in Tampa this weekend. If you're attending, I hope you'll check out the Author Smackdown and other writer events.


Here's a little advance notice that starting on April 16th, I'll be running a Kindle Countdown deal on THE IMPOSTOR #2: THE BLOOD MACHINE. It'll be $.99 on that day, jump to $1.99 on 4/17, and return to its normal (and still dirt cheap, may I add) price of $2.99 on 4/18.

For those who missed me pimping it before, THE IMPOSTOR is my New Pulp post-apocalyptic superhero saga. Those who've read it seem to like it.

But, Richard (I imagine you saying), I'd like to take advantage of the sale price, but I haven't read the previous IMPOSTOR volume. I'd be lost.

No problem. You can download THE IMPOSTOR #0: SUITING UP for free. This is the first story in the series, and reading it should enable you to decide if you're interested in continuing with the sequence.

If you are, grab a copy of THE IMPOSTOR #1: HALF A HERO. The lead story will be the same one you just read in #0, but there are three other stories too, and this eBook is $.99 all the time.

So please check out the series if it sounds like your kind of thing.

Thank you, Odyssey Con!


Thanks to Odyssey Con for having me as a guest this past weekend. It was a terrific event, I had a great time, and I highly recommend the con to all SF fans.

Crossing the Streams: The Reveal!


The Crossing the Streams 2014 contest is over. Here’s a selection of the great entries I received. (Some of these have been lightly edited to achieve a bit more conciseness and some degree of consistency with regard to italics, apostrophes, etc. What can I say? It’s the writer in me.)


Darin Stahl: It's got to be Godzilla. From the time I first saw Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster at my local mom-and-pop movie theater back when I was a wee lad, he has been the KING!

Got a problem with a huge flying bat or out of control three-headed dragon? Call 1-800-GODZILLA. Atomic breath is on the way!


Oren Truitt: My favorite monster is the Wolfman. Larry Talbot is an unwilling monster who hates what he is and fights against his fate with all his might. He suffers from a curse but not from any guilt of his own. Should I ever write a Wolfman story, Larry would find a way to turn his curse to his advantage against those who are truly evil and deserving of punishment.


Stephen Howard: My favorite monster of all time...and I love monsters...would have to be the Predator. I saw the film when I was pretty young, and the thing was both gross and scary. It's still ugly, but as an adult, I have to admire the creativity that went into designing the look of that alien with its four mandibles and piggish looking face. It was a great blend of horror and science fiction. Definitely one of my all-time favorite aliens.


Scott Williams: I am a huge Forgotten Realms fan and the monsters that seem to be the hardest to characterize and deal with in print are the mind flayers (or mindflayers, depending on the book). I find the combination of a bizarre appearance and the possession of psychic dominance to lead to fascinatingly difficult monsters to deal with.  While they are not always written about well, when they are done well, these can be some of the most consequential monsters in fantasy.


Joe Riordan: Baneslayer Angel from Magic the Gathering. It’s my favorite card and happens to be a creature.


Josh Hardt: The Borg have always fascinated me. They are, of course, a type of zombie. But so much more than that. The people that they were still exist, deep inside. The true horror of the Borg is that their humanity is stripped away/suppressed and they are forced into acts of atrocity that the individuals despise.


Mark Walker: Favorite monster from fantasy, science fiction, or horror is Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery.

Paul Sheldon's super fan turns out to be a living nightmare. On the surface she is a friendly face that nurtures Paul back to life after a horrendous car crash.  But after she discovers that her favorite character has died in his newest book, she freaks!

She is the scariest kind of monster because she is so real.  She could be the neighbor you say hello to in the morning or the nurse who checks you in at the doctor's office. (shiver) Just thinking about her gives me the chills.


Daniel Miller: I've always been partial to the Rancor in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The thing just wanted some food, man!


David Williams: Sauron. He is never seen in The Lord of the Rings. His presence is everywhere. He can terrify Hobbits in the faraway Shire, he is the ever present menace to Gondor. He is worshiped by the men of the South and the East. We never actually see him. The character never speaks directly in the book. The only scene in the books where we get his actual words are when he speaks to Pippin through the palantir, but we the readers never hear him. Over a thousand pages of text and the Lord of The Rings never appears in person.


Dan Whiteside: My favorite monster is the wolfen in Streiber’s Wolfen. This is largely because it was one of the first horror novels I ever read. I read it four times in two years and I found them fascinating and horrific.


Mark Sturdivant: My favorite movie monster is Pinhead from Clive Barker's "Hellraiser" series! I think it took a lot of imagination to think up such characters as the Cenobites. They are some of the most original horror villains to come out (In My Humble Opinion) in years! I was so tired of the rehashed slasher flicks when I discovered the Cenobites!


Alex F. Fayle: My favorite monster would have to be Pern's thread - they are the perfect monster. Relentless, uncaring and seemingly impossible to stop.


Blue: I'd go Gerald Tarrant from C.S. Friedman's “Coldfire” Trilogy.  He is literally damned of the church, feeds on blood, hunts the peasantry for sport and their fear. On the other hand, he's an urbane gentleman who is trapped in a situation of his own making, a sacrifice of what he cared about the most for what he thought would be good. Evil, but with good intentions.


Brad Garner: My favorite fantasy creature would have to be the dragon. They are always very powerful but beings of great and sometimes terrible majesty.


P. F. Bruns: My favorite monster from any fictional realm is Cthulhu. Even when used for comedic effect, Cthulhu (I don't think there can be a gender-specific pronoun for something this alien) remains deeply disturbing due to Cthulhu's sheer power.

My friends and I used to play Call of Cthulhu for the simple reason that if you even remotely adhered to the rules, you had basically no chance of survival, much less victory, if any of the Great Old Ones showed up--and only a marginal chance if their enemies the Elder Gods took notice and intervened. The only thing players could hope to achieve was preventing prophecies from fulfillment, or, failing that, sacrificing themselves to save this plane of reality.

THAT'S monstrous.

One very good friend of mine maintains that such is far less true for the Cthulhu Now edition of the game, since by his logic, even Cthulhu is less frightening when nuclear strikes are available. This reasoning overlooks several absolutely vital facts:

1) Those in charge of nuclear weapons have to actually believe this big scary tentacled mythical creature's return to this dimension is imminent and inherently devastating.

2) Those in charge have to be able to bring the world's nuclear arsenal to bear before Cthulhu gets wind of the possibility and takes their minds and souls.

3) Nuclear weapons are likely to be much more dangerous to humans and other earthbound life than to massively powerful creatures capable of unaided inter-dimensional travel, flight through vacuum, and draining lesser creatures' sanity on sight.

4) Oh, yeah: one central tenet of every account of Cthulhu thus far (except for last year's crowd-sourced novel "Awoken") holds that just perceiving a Great Old One causes severe psychological trauma. Then again, we now have the Real Housewives and the Kardashians, so maybe we've been toughened up.


Jason Woollard: I have always liked Shelob. She ALWAYS creeps me out! Yuk!


Jesse Joyal: My favorite monster would probably be the Godzilla.  From a tiny reptile to an irradiated beast, he has been both bad and good, a parent and a horror. He has save Tokyo and destroyed it which was OK but then he turned his sights on the USA...damn him. Godzilla has surpassed generations and the cartoon can now be found on Netflix and my 5 year old can't get enough of his sidekick Godzooki. (What the hell is a Godzooki anyway?)


Katie: My favorite monster of all time is the dragon. Wise, greedy, evil, good. You get the whole range of  types. They really are like people... except super powered... and able to fly.

Besides I always wanted to be a dragon and be able to lounge my treasure horde! Just keep those adventurers away!


William Cramblet: My favorite monster is the drow after reading Gary Gygax’s book as a kid.


Meagan Malone: My favorite kind of monster would be a dragon (specifically a robotic dragon), because they are so powerful and free. Whether dragons are mere beasts or the wisest creatures in the lore, they can fly (or sometimes swim or use magic or breathe fire - there is always something cool about a dragon, even if it's nontraditional) and they are feared/respected. I would like to possess these qualities. Specifically a robot because things that are robots are cooler than things that are not robots.


Anthony Caryl: I think my favourite monsters have to be the “deities” of the Cthulhu Mythos with Dread Cthulhu him(it)self as the frontrunner

What’s more monstrous that something that is dead (but cannot die), that cares nothing for humanity (but sends dreams of insanity our way just by existing), that will awake someday “when the stars are right” and destroy us all? No chance for heroics to save the day, no way out when the time comes, that’s it for us and even worse, some people worship this, and actually think they can come to some accommodation with him and rule the world as some sort of puppet, and try to wake him early. Idiots.


Steve Ferrebee: My favorite monster of all time? All right I'm going to give you a few before I give you my absolute favorite.

Baba Yaga- There is something about a crazy witch that lives in a chicken legged hut that scares me. Especially if she is Blair Witch evil.

Groot- who originally was a monster, but eventually became on of my favorite Guardians of the Galaxy.

I love all the Universal Monsters!

But my Favorite is Godzilla King of the Monsters. Nothing can stop him. He always comes back. He destroys indiscriminately! He's a living breathing nuclear weapon. A mountain of terror!


Jeff Hotchkiss: My favorite monster is Frankenstein's monster because he was created almost 200 years ago and is still relevant.


Karl Kloeden: My favourite monsters are the Weeping Angels from “Doctor Who” for several reasons, but mainly because they are genuinely scary to me, and I think the way to stay safe/escape is brilliant by both being simple yet difficult: don't blink. I feel that they are incredibly well designed, with the fact that in certain environments you'd think they were normal and overlook them, never knowing how close to danger you actually are as soon as your back is turned, coupled with the way they look and “move” as they're closing in on you. Additionally I love how I can be drawn in so much that even though I'm just watching TV, I often find myself trying not to blink myself, that's a level of engagement I rarely find with other monsters.


Jmiddle1: The Kraken from 1981's Clash of the Titans. Superb, scary...and Harryhausen's last work.


Christos Pipinkas: My monster of choice would be Blaine the Mono, from Stephen King's “Dark Tower” saga. I don't really know why. It's just a malfunctioning computer and a pink bullet train, come to think of it. But it's alien, dangerous, inhuman, utterly insane. It's also the reason why I'm scared of trains.


Joe Crawford: I wish I could be cool and pick Godzilla, Ghidorah, or even Fin Fang Foom, but I have to pick Megalon. Why? There is just something about this underwater cockroach that speaks to me. His antenna? His drill hands? The way he jumps up and down? Or maybe just that he hated Jet Jaguar as much as the rest of us. Godzilla vs. Megalon being his only appearance makes him interesting as well. Heck, Manda was in at least three movies. The fact that it was unavailable except on crappy bootlegs and public domain releases helped build up the mystique as well. Somehow Gigan's best friend became my favorite kaiju.


Sam McDonnell: My favorite monster has to be the Dementor from “Harry Potter.” I believe that I was 14 when I first read Prisoner of Azkaban where the creatures are first introduced and at the time they were the creepiest things I had read about. The idea of a deathlike creature able to suck your soul out kept me up at night. A fate worse than death, I thought. To this day, the Dementor remains, to me, the best example of a monster scary not just because of its looks but because of its function.


Eric E. McClure: My favorite monster is actually a man, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. This might be cheating a bit, but as I thought back, few "monsters" got into my head like that. I believe this is my fave because we saw/read his methods and thought, That could easily happen again". The reality of this "monster" makes him by far the most frightening.

I would have said clowns, but 30 years of therapy has slain that dragon. :)


Theodore Ladas: My favorite monster would be the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog!

The reason should be pretty obvious since it is probably the fluffiest and cutest monster out there, so it's an excellent choice for a pet. It is rather small so apartment space will not be an issue in case you plan on keeping it long term.

Also, despite its appearance, it is a fierce guard with a rather vicious streak a mile wide, probably better than any dog you might have and can decapitate easily any group of, let's say, annoying knights who might try to enter your home (especially if you consider it a turreted castle).

It's pretty invincible, too, requiring a rather unique weapon to defeat. I sincerely doubt you'll find many bothersome individuals in possession of the holy hand grenade of Antioch, let alone know how to use it by counting properly to three (....no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.). Yep, that cute little bunny is definitely my fave monster!

P.S. And don't forget its huge, sharp, pointy teeth!


Steven Wilber: Dragons are by far my most favorite monster, although I am not sure I would consider these wondrous creatures to be monsters. I have always been fascinated by books with dragons I think because to me dragons can represent the best and worse of mankind. In some books, they are portrayed as dumb animals driven by hunger, and in others, evil dragons are driven by greed and the desire for power. Yet in some books, dragons are noble and good.  It is this breadth that draws me to dragon-related fiction and fantasy in general. And my love of dragons is probably apparent in my screen name on many messageboards: DragonReader


Stephen Twining: My favorite monster from science fiction, fantasy, or horror has its genesis in the plastic toy dinosaurs of the 1970s. Packaged along with the Ankylosaurus, the T-Rex, and the Stegosaurus was a curious golden-copper creature with long antennae, a bulbous body, and a bizarre splayed tail. This plastic monster became a favorite of mine, though I could find not reference to it in any encyclopedia or dinosaur collection that I owned. Years later, this strange beast reared its head in Dungeons and Dragons and became known as the Rust Monster, bane of all fighters, sword wielders, and shield maidens across the Realms of D&D! According to contemporary legend, E. Gary Gygax discovered the plastic creature in the very same dinosaur collections and it was reborn as a devourer of metal. The Rust Monster is now an icon in the mythos of Dungeons and Dragons, having its start in the mundane and finding its home in the supernatural.


Eddie Fitzwater: Mine is not really one monster but a community of monsters. I choose all the monsters from the movie Nightbreed based on Clive Barker's book Cabal.


Darkscythe5867: Favorite Monster would go to the Yuuzhan Vong species that Mr Salvatore helped create for the “New Jedi Order” series of books. Growing up, and still to this day, I was fascinated with Star Wars. After reading so many Star Wars books with the same reoccurring theme of dark vs light, it was a complete fresh breath of air to have this new species that was completely devoid of the Force and couldn't be taken down by the usual conventional ways. They were a race that to rise in the social caste it involved self-mutilation, they were appalled by anything that wasn't biological and I was completely sold. Everything they used was alive or grown. The weapons and armor were living creatures! They couldn't be mind tricked, light sabers were practically completely useless, and didn't show up at all in the force. They even brought a moon down on a planet! Props to Mr Salvatore for reigniting my live for Star Wars all those years ago.


Hwsbrb: The Mechanical Hound. Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury.
This monster, introduced so casually as a dog in a firehouse, builds into something terrible.


L. Lam: I like the Cookie Monster because I also like cookies and if we went to a supermarket or bakery together, we'd probably buy all the cookies on the shelves.


Leeanna: Picking a favorite monster was difficult, so I went with a somewhat silly one... murlocs from World of Warcraft (both book and game format). They're oddly cute, but have the most annoying war cry, rwlrwlrwlrwlrwlrwl. And they go everywhere in a pack, so imagine fifty throaty, gurgly voices screaming rwlrwlrwlrwlrwlrwl...


Abhinav Jail: My favorite fictional monster would be the Sarlacc from the Great Pit of Carkoon in Return of the Jedi. Seeing that monster for the first time is one of the scariest memories I have. We never really see much of him, true, but he was still terrifying. That row upon row of teeth, inexorably digesting anyone who fell into them, was too horrible to watch.


Annikka Woods: My favorite monster has always been the kelpie. I don't know what it is about a horse that could drown people? I've always been a little strange.


Frank O’Sullivan: What exactly is a monster? A grotesque being, or a being which carries out grotesque acts, or simply both? And in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror worlds I feel it is even harder to distinguish what is or what isn't a monster. In Faerûn, for example, an orc may deem a human a monster, while a human would think the same of an orc. But can they be both right? I suppose the simple answer would be yes, depending on your point of view.
And then there are the drow, an evil race. Do all other races in Faerûn look upon them as monsters, and if so, are all drow monsters?
What I am getting at is simple, and is far from unique. Beings should be classed as monsters from their actions, and not from their looks or reputations of their race.
So to answer your question, long-winded I know, my favorite monstor is Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow (of course) from Faerûn. For not all monsters need to be evil.



Gef Fox: Favorite monster, eh? Off the top of my head, the Thing really stands out. John Carpenter's The Thing is probably my very horror movie--favorite sci-fi movie too, I'd wager--and a lot of it has to do with the sheer terror of a villain that is gruesome enough in its own form, but doubly so when it's passing itself off as human, sled dogs, or whatever life is easily at hand. And seeing the mind-shredding forms it took at different points in the film will likely never get washed from my memory.

I'm a fan of Godzilla and Skinner Sweet from Scott Snyder's American Vampire, but the Thing takes the cake.


Lori Parker: My villain is Gollum. He was a tragic character. Walking beside him throughout the novels and films provided unusual insight into this duel-natured being. And, had not Smeagol given in to the Gollum within us all, there would never have been a need for Frodo.

“My precious!”


JEss Rodrigue: The tembo from the Dark Sun play setting is my favorite monster. My friends cringe when news of a tembo haunting the desert comes their way.


Turkishproverb: My favorite monster?  You know, I think I change my answer every time I get asked this, which has to be a bad sign.  In this case, I'll give an answer I gave a few times before with Cthulhu.  A big monster that's been used several different ways, I have to respect something that scares far more for its concept than through action. It's a monster that, in its small way, wins without fighting. Further, I have to respect how the creature has managed to insinuate itself into pop culture of late, something many beasts only dream of.


David Cleary: Michael Wazowski or Mike to his mates.
He is a small green monster with one eye and a huge heart. He best mate is a huge blue monster called Sulley and his girlfriend has snakes in her head instead of hair and she is called Celia.
I like him because he tried so hard in school to become a scarer. His teachers, the principle and everyone laughed at him and said he couldn’t do it yet he studied and tried very hard to do it. He believed in himself.
He is also a genius and he was able to open the magical door from the other side by scaring adults.
He makes me laugh, but I can also relate to him.


Tom Smith: My favorite monster/creature would have to be the creatures from the “Alien” movies. My first viewing was in my pre-teens and it scared the bejeezus out of me for years to come. I think it was very imaginative for its time. It seems the only other movie aliens looked like Grays or robots up until that point. This was the first time people really considered that they could be the alien equivalent of a happy meal, not just get destroyed by giant spaceships or robots.


Yankton D. Robbins: It would have to be Godzilla. From the old movies, not the new ones. Though I have to withhold judgment on the new one until it's out.  I'm not normally big on “monsters” but Godzilla just rocked the house!


Now to announce the winners. As you can see, all these were good, and it was quite tough to choose one based on perceptiveness or entertainment value So if you disagree with my choice, well, I can readily see how you might do that. But I’m the judge, and the entry that resonated with me the most was Stephen Twining’s championing of the rust monster.

The winner determined randomly (with the aid of my trusty percentile dice) was Annikka Woods.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I hope it was fun.

Crossing the Streams entries are now closed


"Crossing the Streams" contest entries are now closed here on my site and, I believe, on everybody's. I received too many good submissions for easy decision-making but will announce winners soon.

One change to what I announced previously: I originally said that winners could choose between two of my books, BLIND GOD'S BLUFF: A BILLY FOX NOVEL and PATHFINDER TALES: CALLED TO DARKNESS. I've since decided that the winners will receive both novels.

My books on Google Play


For those who care to shop there, I've learned that a bunch of my Forgotten Realms novels, BLIND GOD'S BLUFF: A BILLY FOX NOVEL, and THE VAMPIRE'S APPRENTICE are all available on Google play. Here's the link:

CARAVAN OF SHADOWS is available again.


My novel CARAVAN OF SHADOWS (a tale of ghosts set in the original World of Darkness) is now available again after being out of print for a number of years. If you're interested, follow the link.

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