Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rocking Zombie Release Parties ~ Diaries of the Damned by Alex Laybourne

Anyone who has spent time around me knows how much I love zombies. Bug and I have a regular zombie movie night. We hunker down with popcorn, pizza, some choice drinks, and our Nerf guns. Why Nerf guns? Well, the front of our older television has a wonderful glass front. Yes, they’re still around. Anyway, part of our ritual is to shoot the zombies before the characters do. At the end of the night, the person with the most hits is the winner! *crowd screams and claps wildly*

Due to my love of all things zombie-ish, I could

n’t miss a chance to help a good friend with his new release, especially since it’s Halloween. *release the zombie Kraken* Yikes!

While I battle zombie krakens I’ll leave you to get acquainted with this wonderful new group of short stories.

P.S. if you don’t hear from me after a week or so don’t send a search party it’s likely I didn’t beat the sea creatures of the undead. Just start dividing my stuff up. Do zombie pirates have a code? 😉

~*~

Diaries of the Damned

by Alex Laybourne

*

Ebook Cover

The dead have risen and a desperate struggle for power has begun. The military are evacuating all survivors in passenger planes. With their destination unknown, one group of survivors led by a journalist named Paul Larkin, decide to share their experiences with the hope that when combined, their stories will reveal the answers that the government had not been willing to give themselves.

Nine survivors banded together, yet none of them realized, as they stood to tell their tales that they stood on the brink of discovering a conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen.

Grab your copy from Amazon today for just $2.99.

I ♥ zombies.

~*~

Sample:

Chapter 1 – Boarding

 

Paul Larkin sat in his seat and fastened his seatbelt. His body was caked with sweat and dried blood. His ears rang from the gunshots, and his ankle was swollen again; remnants of an injury he acquired jumping from the first floor window of his suburban home. At least, it used to be suburbia, before everything went to shit.

He sat back and let out a long, deep breath. Shock threatened to take hold of him, so he closed his eyes and waited. The plane filled up and the cries of those refused admittance echoed down the walkway, swiftly followed by the sound of their execution.

Paul spared but the most fleeting of moments thinking about it. He found it strange how killing and death had become such a large part of his life.

“Excuse me,” A fragile sounding voice stirred Paul from the calm place he had just started to settle into. “I believe this is my seat.” An elderly woman, late seventies at best stood before him, her face was smeared with blood, while one eye had been covered by a filthy rag that had been hastily secured to her face with what looked like duct tape.

 

~*~

Meet the Author

00 alex

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that he became a horror writer.

Married with four children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

‘Diaries of the Damned’ is his third full length publication along with numbers of short works.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Laybourne/e/B00580RB18/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Laybourne/212049612180183

Blog: http://alexlaybourne.com/

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Categories: Alex Laybourne, author, Short Story Collections, Zombies | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Lesson of the Mirror

00 brunette

 

People were complex bits of total awesomesauce and hotmess. We all had baggage no one would ever see because people could also be very judgemental. So we rarely opened up to them, preferring to live a somewhat detached version of ourselves to remain safe. While I understood the desire to be safe, I’d found opening up could be an amazing experience, even if I risked momentary damage to the softer parts of my soul.

A good friend of mine had someone in his life I’d grown very fond of. She was a bit on the extreme spiritual side, but her perspective often caused me to look at situations from a completely different angle. I cherished her wisdom, even though I didn’t connect the dots the same way she did because my experiences were unique to me.

When she and I first met, my friend warned me that she could be a meddling busybody and ultimately only cares about herself. He said she was superficial and judgemental. While this may have been his experience knowing her, I’d found her to be honest, direct, and insightful.

Over the years, I’d run into this time and again. One or several people denounced someone else, which led to some invisible, unspoken line of separation. But we often forget…

“The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to

every man the reflection of his own face.

Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon

you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind

companion; and so let all young persons take

their choice.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray

 

 

When you found that elusive inner peace, you saw the world through a different eyes. No enemies, no judgement, no invisible foes intent on causing you pain. Instead, you’d see the goodness of all men. And let me tell you, there’s a hell of a lot more good in people than anything else.

When people constantly saw an enemy in the face of what otherwise might be a friend, it was a reflection of something within them. A part of themselves that usually was their own worst enemy. Lets face it, no one could put us down the way we could, right?

Have you looked in the mirror lately? Can you do it without turning away? Is the reflection the one you hoped to see? Can you look in your own eyes and see love looking back? Or do you glance away quickly so as not to be forced to face all the things you can’t stand about yourself?

Many years ago a dear friend had me do an exercise I’ve started again, and one I’d like you to try.

For the next thirty days, stand in front of the mirror close enough to look in your eyes directly without distraction. It’ll be difficult at first, you’ll want to look away, but resist the urge, and say…

“I love you.”

“You are precious, and I’m here to keep you safe.”

“You are an incredible person, and I’m so thankful to know you.”

“You…” get the idea.

Say all the things you’d wished a friend, parent, lover, or spouse might say.

At first, you won’t believe it. Your mind will contend this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, and that idiot who wrote this post is completely insane. Why? Because we’re not used to loving ourselves, we’re not used to saying good things about the person we’ve become. We listen to all the people, who were just seeing a reflection of themselves in you, as a repetitive stream in our heads of why we aren’t worthy.

“The beginning of love is to let those we love

be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them

to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only

the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

~ Thomas Merton

 

How many times a day do you twist to fit someone else’s image of who you should be or what you should do? How often have you tried to reflect back what you think someone wants to see, then find they no longer want to be your friend?

I’m far from being a saint, but I do cherish the teachers who come into my life. And recently I met one who reminded me of the lessons of the mirror, and that when I’m at peace and my intentions are focused on love, don’t twist anything about myself to make someone more comfortable. Because ultimately, people only see in others a reflection of what is inside themselves.

During that brief span of weeks, I couldn’t face myself in the mirror. Now I looked without turning away and saw exactly what I’d hoped to see once again.

Categories: allowing the positive, angels on earth, choosing faith, conscious choices, magic, peace, relationships, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

10 things I Learned by Crossing an Ocean

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I’ve seen this quote a lot, especially lately. Its purpose is to tell people not to invest energy into someone who’s not willing to give it back, or at least part of it. Why drain yourself when they don’t really care, right?

Wrong.

 

Wait, listen to my reasoning first. Here’s the thing, while they’re refusing to jump puddles, I’m having a hell of an adventure crossing that ocean. It’s not always about the time or energy you’re investing, but the things you get to experience in the process.

People refuse to cross oceans out of fear. They don’t think they’ll have the time or energy or anything worthy to give back. Even hopping a puddle is intimidating sometimes. You ever seen Poltergeist 3? That dude got sucked right down into a puddle in the middle of a parking garage. Seriously, those freaking things can be wells of darkness. And what if they turn into giant oceans and sweep us away? See, even crossing a puddle can be frightening.

My last two relationships took me places I’d never been. Whether actual states or emotional states, I expanded my universe by meeting new people and going places I might not have otherwise gone. In the process, I learned important things about life.

 

  1. Love is always worthy of a hundredth chance.
  2. Giving a hundred percent means I have no regrets whether or not something works out.
  3. People are bent on explaining their vision for their future and even if you listen to all of it… for hours on end, sometimes they won’t in return, but it doesn’t change what you’ll want for your future.
  4. We ALL see the world from one perspective, ours, and often won’t agree because we’re a summation of individual experiences. But sometimes we will. Cherish those meetings of the minds.
  5. People can be draining and impossible and selfish and a general pain in the ass, but they’re also loving and cuddly and giving and kind and worthy of every ounce of our time and energy.
  6. Leave nothing unsaid, unwritten, undone. Go all-in, whether or not they’re willing to, and do it without regret because you’ll regret not doing it more.
  7. Do it wrong, screw it up, get emotional and passionate, embrace every moment from beginning to end and live out loud.
  8. Waste time. Literally waste time on something you think will be nothing because you’ll find it was everything when it’s gone.
  9. Be afraid, be terrified, tell yourself a thousand times how none of it will work out, then get the hell off the sofa and do it anyway. Every success and every failure teaches us more about ourselves than any self help book. You only learn by doing it and, whether you have to cross the freaking ocean a gazillion times or just jump over a puddle, you can be proud you had the courage to stand up when everything else in life was telling you to sit down.
  10. And one final thought as you journey across those sometimes unforgiving waters of life…

 

 

 

 

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At the end of life, when time slows and darkness descends, what do you want to remember? Sitting on the sofa, afraid to cross that ocean because people are draining and aren’t willing to go all-in, so why try anyway? Or that one summer when you journeyed somewhere new to meet someone incredible, knowing they only needed a temporary distraction, but which ended up being one of the most loving and connective moments of your life.

You get more than you think, and most of it isn’t tangible, but all of it worthy whether or not they’re willing to do anything in return. Sometimes the greatest gift we give is to those who can’t give back, those who will never see you walking the ocean because they’re still looking down trying to figure out how to jump over a puddle.

Categories: Choice, journeymen, patience, peace, relationships, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

An Excerpt of Something New: No Name Lane

Today I’m posting an excerpt from my new project. Mainly because I was up all night with an ill little redhead, but I don’t want to fall short of my goal to post regularly. So you get a sneak peek of No Name Lane: Diary of an Angel. 

We’re all angels to someone, and this story is a journey about returning to love, both from within and without. It encompansses the reality of a greater spiritual world. It’s the foundation of hope and kindness we build within ourselves, how every thought leads to an action, which can lift or teardown. It’s all about choices, and whether we have the courage to make them with complete and total unconditional love and accept such love in return.

Mind you, it hasn’t been through the editor yet, so please forgive any errors. I’m on schedule to finish it by the end of the month to release in late November.

 

00 No Name Lane

 

***

In the early years, sometime around my early twenties, I’d met a woman. The deep creases on her liver spotted skin moved into a near grotesque mask every time she spoke, hiding the rather kind heart buried beneath. She came from a time removed from this world, a society of money where people don’t speak about it because they didn’t need to, it’s implied by the way they carry themselves. It was a world I didn’t know, one I hadn’t seen in my childhood, but she showed me how to live in it.

On a warm spring day, we sat in the garden drinking tea, watching the tender blooms unfurl to capture the morning sun. I served, as was custom in this society for the youth to honor the aged. She smiled with a swaying nod when I asked about sugar and cream. Motions of elegance, the only way to describe her every movement, but then she was raised to embrace economy of expression. Every smile had a meaning, every scowl a purpose, all of it a symphony of language without a single word.

She told me a story once, and I didn’t understand it then, but I do now.

***

The sensei sat in the center of a rice paper and pale wood room, waiting for his student. A young man wrapped in robes entered whisper-quiet and knelt before him eager to start the day’s lesson. Jasmine incense swirled around the two, a moment of inner calm to steady the heart and mind, and the silence of it rang in their ears, but neither moved.

Finally, the sensei opened his eyes and considered the enthusiastic face before him. “Show me the meaning of kindness, my student.”

And so, the youth scurried away and returned with a bowl of stew. “You haven’t eaten all day, master, please take this stew and nourish yourself.”

Sensei smacked the bowl across the room, and closed his eyes again. “Show me the meaning of kindness,” he ordered.

The young man cleaned up the mess, left the room, and returned with a soft pillow. “Please, master, the floor is hard and your bones are aged. Take this pillow and rest upon it.”

Sensei grabbed it, ripped the feathered stuffing out, and again closed his eyes. “Now, show me the meaning of kindness.”

With slower steps, the youth cleaned the mess, sluggishly walked out, then returned, but with empty hands. He knelt before Sensei, a disheartened frown upon his face, and presented a gift of nothing to his mentor.

The aged master opened his eyes for the last time, considering the youth and his bare hands. A knowing smile full of wisdom graced his lips. He saw the broken spirit of a once vibrant pupil, and recognized the defeat in heart ready to serve the world.

He took the youth’s hands, and said, “No amount of kindness can be offered to those who are unwilling to receive it. You will find, in this world, those who will be unable to accept such a gift, but know it is no reflection of you, my student. But also, do not tolerate cruelty if that is their response. Honor your spirit and offer theirs kindness from a distance.”

***

Of course, I nodded and smiled as if I understood, but she knew I wouldn’t, not completely. My people pleasing ways, my desire to see the best in everyone would cause far more pain until I learned the lesson through experience.

And humans were like that too.

Sometimes it took living the stark reality of people’s cruelty to fully grasp a concept, and I’d spent many years offering the bowl of stew to everyone and anyone. Not so much as a means to garner favor, but because I’d lived in a pit of deepest darkness as a child. Abuse—physical and emotional, the torment of teasing by children taught too well, love only given under conditions of perfection, the terror of not wanting to fall asleep because I’d relive the nightmare again.

It was more than my winged origins, more than a higher calling, but a sincere desire to present only love because there was too much of the other in this world. But humans thrived on conflict, a contented net of safety they’d grown insecure to release. They understood hate intimately and couldn’t conceive of someone wanting only the best for them. This foreign gift of unconditional acceptance evoked anxiety and suspicion.

She tried to warn me back then. “You have a grace beyond your years, despite the circumstances of your childhood. The world will steal it from you, but only if you let them. My peers would have me broken, even in my aged state, but they’ll never receive such satisfaction. I am victim of nothing, a survivor of nothing. I am now and will always be a woman of means because I choose to be nothing less.”

Again I nodded with no more understanding than I had earlier. Instead, I focused on refreshing the tea and cutting a few roses to place in the vase on the garden table.

She responded with a smile resembling a grimace. “In time, you’ll understand, but promise me you’ll never forget.”

“I promise.” My words holding far less conviction than hers.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking through the garden and house. She’d point out antiques handed down through her family. They had a rich history, reaching back to royalty several generations removed. I enjoyed these moments together, her laughter, her kindness, her quiet lessons. Not exactly a mother or grandmother, but somehow family all the same.

It was the last tea we ever had together. Her family didn’t invite me to the wake or funeral, but I wouldn’t have gone. She asked me not to grieve her, only to remember our time together. My only thought now—how could I ever forget?

Categories: angels on earth, Choice, new projects, novella, spirituality, unconditional love, writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Dropping off the Edge of the World – a look at Truth v. Fact

00 flat earth

For centuries people believed the world was flat. In fact, they defended this belief so strongly that anyone making a claim to the contrary was considered crazy. It took several astute philosophers, greek astronomers, and three misguided ships to awaken the consciousness of the larger populace.

When the new world had been discovered, many thousands of people sought refuge from persecution. They desperately flocked to this country to find a little piece of land to build the life they envisioned. However, even with an intimate knowledge of pain and suffocation, many willingly enslaved others.

The slave trade thrived and grew, gaining a footing of enormous proportions in this country. These half-men, as many saw them, were brutalized all in the name of superiority and profit. It took a select few with a broader definition of the meaning of humanity to break the chain, and give these people the respect and equality they deserved.

Perception and truth are funny things. Something is a fact of the world until a few brave souls stand up to challenge it. The group will often fight because change is difficult. As humans, we want a firm grasp of our reality – unmovable facts that define the shape of our world  and who we are. The anxiety and fear intimately tied to change rules every decision the group makes, and those in a position of “authority” often use these emotions to manipulate actions, thoughts, and beliefs.

For fans of The Walking Dead, you can see this clearly in the town of Woodbury. The Governor used the rescue attempt of two characters as a call to arms to attack a smaller group just trying to survive. He painted them as a threat, terrorist bent on taking over the town and destroying the peace they’d fought to create. His truth, created out of fear and revenge, became the townspeople’s reality… until they realized he was freaking insane.

Why do I use fiction instead of something going on in the world today?

Well, that may be the easiest question to answer. Because fiction often mirrors society, only on a tighter more intense scale. What we’re capable of seeing from a more objective standpoint can be a better example than current events, not because it can’t be argued, but people are more willing to calmly discuss something that doesn’t directly affect their lives.

Before we “choose a side” of any issue, we must first consider the lessons of the past. How much of what we believe as a society has been disproven or changed? Hell, when I grew up, Pluto was still a planet. But millions of children will never know this because the shape of their reality has been forever changed.

Anyone asserting anything as an absolute truth is simply talking about their truth, the way they see the world at this very moment. That’s not say it’s a lie, but it’s also not a fact.

Here’s the difference in bullet point format:

Facts –

  • I was born June 26, 1973.
  • I have four sisters and one brother.
  • I was married twice.
  • I birthed three children and lost a fourth in my third month of pregnancy.
  • I currently live on a farm in West Virginia.
  • I haven’t died yet.

My Truth –

  • No political party has the definitive answer on how to run the country well.
  • God exists because I believe he does, not because anyone else tells me so.
  • There are energies and things in this universe we will never be able to explain or record.
  • Man is inherently good.
  • We are all beings of light with a greater purpose only the universe knows.
  • Separation is an illusion. We are all connected whether we choose to recognize it or not.
  • We will not change until we release fear and doubt.
  • There are no ultimate truths.

There’s a distinct difference between fact and truth.

Facts are actual recordable data at a specific moment in time, some of which may change – like Pluto being a planet or my father having more children I don’t know about – but for the most part they’re stationary points in history. It was a fact that people believed the world was flat, but not an actual fact that the world was flat. So, we have to be very careful about what we point out to be absolute. I know for a fact the sun will rise each morning… until it doesn’t.

Truth is based on individual or group perception. It’s usually followed by an extremely emotional argument about how someone else is right or wrong. While interesting and provocative, it can also be very divisive. Man has proven its willingness to fight to the death for these truths, causing pain and chaos. Not one of our more endearing qualities as humans, but certainly a defining characteristic.

So, here’s where I screw with your head.

Given that people believed the world being flat was an absolute fact, can we say for certain that anything we know without a doubt to be fact is more than a personal truth?

Fact – I haven’t died yet.

Truth – But I suppose it depends on whether I’ve actually ever lived in the first place. 🙂

Categories: Choice, Fact v. Truth, separation and society, the universes we create | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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