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In 1876 on the Salt Flats of Utah, a prehistoric bacterium came to life when it entered the bloodied wounds of a small posse of lawmen and spread like wildfire. Two years later, the territories are overrun with the walking dead. Salt Bowl Death begins with a bounty hunter called The Reaper by those who have encountered him. Dressing in all black and riding a steed with a hellish spirit, The Reaper cuts down the undead population…for a price. No normal person feels at ease around him, whether it’s due to his reputation or the fact that he keeps his face covered. The town of Fortuna, Arizona becomes the one place where he finds that he is not alone in his quest.
Ann is a Soiled Dove traveling with her best friend. Both have secrets that they are running from and they will have to face them head on when they reach the town of Fortuna. Abandoning their previous occupation, they have begun taking payment for eliminating the infected from each town they pass through. Along the way, they are always preceded by a Marshal who claims to be hunting the women down for unspeakable crimes. When Ann and her companion meet The Reaper, questions arise, secrets are revealed and destinies collide. All the while, they fight off the flesh eating creatures that roam the town at night.
Cypher Lx leads a very busy life working full-time in law enforcement, part-time as an alternative model, and going to school full-time for Forensic Psychology. When she is not busy with those things, she participates in cowboy action shooting, makes Victorian gowns by hand, crochets, draws, reads and writes. She whole-heartedly believes in rescuing homeless animals and has five of her own adoptees. Most recently, she has taken up Egyptian bellydancing. While she enjoys reading vampire romance, her writing is geared more toward the horror and urban fantasy genres.
What will readers like about your book?
Zombies, psychological drama, and...zombies.
Why did you self publish?
I quickly came to the realization that agents will only read what they're in the mood for at the time or what they are looking to market. Most want you to tell them the entire story in two pages so they don't have to read the whole thing. It seems to me that it takes all the enjoyment out of actually reading the book. It's really hard to be catchy in just a few sentences. If you can't grab their attention, you're lost. Hello rejection slips. I want people to be able to read and enjoy my work and much as I loved writing it. There are probably a good amount of unpublished books out there that I would have loved to read which agents rejected. I hope that those authors will also self-publish.
What is your writing process?
I really like to write in the first person. It helps me get inside my characters' heads. I also tend to write in a very non-linear fashion. Typically, that means I'll write the first chapter or two, write the ending, do some work in the middle, piece them together, flesh out the rest, and then edit...edit...edit. My story doesn't always turn out the way it began.
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
One month for Salt Bowl Death. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo 2010. Everything else takes several months depending on how quickly the story comes together.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
My husband and I are both zombie enthusiasts. We also participate in Cowboy Action Shooting when we have the time. Combine that with all of the recent zombie video games that have come out recently and you have a good recipe for a zombie story. One thing I didn't want to do was focus solely on the zombies. I wanted the plot to be character driven with zombies as a part of the environment and backstory. Mind you, there is plenty of zombie action, but I felt that too many zombie-style stories concentrate on the gore and death count and not enough on the people that exist in that world.
Deep Inside the Mine
The crew had found a tunnel that looked promising. Naturally formed and sharply curved, it was still just wide enough for two men to walk through at a time. They hadn’t been down this way since the blasting the day before. Work was being done in another section of the mine, but the lode wasn’t as good as they expected. Moving to this new section at the end of the day was more to examine the structural stability and decide where to go from there. An odd scent wafted out of the opening that smelled like a mixture of sulfur and decay. The foreman wondered if perhaps there was an opening on the other side of the mountain and something had crawled deep inside to die. Or maybe several somethings judging by the strength of the odor. No matter. It wouldn’t be the first time they had to clear animal carcasses out of the mine. Occasionally, a wild animal would find its way in, but couldn’t navigate the way back out. Eventually, they would find the remains and remove them. The crew went through the passage, which opened up into a large cavern with rocks jutting from the floor and the ceiling. Once they had all filed in, they realized they had struck pay dirt. It was the largest lode source they had found to date. With eyes wide, they had all but forgotten about the stench that seemed even stronger in this space. A low groan echoed through the air.
“Sounds like we might need to place some support beams,” one of the men said.
With another groan sounding, the cavern was a flurry of sudden activity. But it was too late. Now, screams bounced off the walls of rock as the men tried to flee through the opening they came through. Their panic made the situation worse and no one could get through the tight turn, except one lone man who was badly injured. A deep wound in his thigh gushed blood as he stumbled through the tunnel. By the time he reached the end, he was barely conscious and unable to see clearly as he tried to set a detonating blast. Delirium rapidly set in as he placed the charges. He pushed the plunger and the blast went off. The man was barely aware of anything as he lay slumped against the rock face waiting for the dust to settle. The last thing he saw was the gaping hole of the tunnel, still clear of debris.
“God help us all,” he muttered as tears rolled down his dirt streaked face.
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