The monster from your nightmares is here. It’s destroying civilization. Soon the human race will be extinct.
The year is 2037, and Corporal Kimi Jayden has one chance to rescue the lone refugee girl who is miraculously immune to Reaper absorption. Twelve-year-old Lily walks the deserted streets of Savannah alone, ever since the Reaper absorbed her family—and tried and failed to absorb her—a year ago. An amorphous creature that has nearly wiped out civilization, growing as it feeds, the Reaper assimilates its prey’s intelligence when it consumes flesh and blood. Growing smarter with each human it absorbs, the Reaper transforms into monsters created from our darkest nightmares—and it loves tormenting its victims.
Kimi and her fellow survivors in the North Georgia Renegade Enclave believe Lily’s DNA holds the key to mankind’s survival. But the Reaper covets and abducts Lily, and Kimi must battle a ghastly horde of Reaper incarnations to preserve humanity’s last hope against extinction.
JAGANNATHreveals the resilience and determination of the human spirit in an action-filled tale of terror, selfless courage, and ultimate triumph and redemption.
“What an exciting story and non-stop action! Set twenty years in the future, JAGANNATH is about a monster from the depths of the ocean, awakened by its hunger and its need to feed… and it feeds on humans. After devouring more than half of the world’s population, it has grown to epic proportions and is seemingly unstoppable. There is one remaining chance: a little girl named Lily. Hop aboard for a thrilling adventure!” – Deborah D. Moore, bestselling author of The Journal: Cracked Earth and The Journal: Ash Fall
“Jagannath is a hair-raising, fantastic, adventurous ride. Brilliant, amazing, and impossible to put down. A must-read for all sci-fi/ horror fans. Highly recommended!” – Lynda Fitzgerald, critically acclaimed author of If Truth Be Told, Of Words & Music, and the LIVE mystery series.
A tentacle as thick as a railroad tie burst out of the gap in the crumbling wall. The sinuous limb shot toward the Renegade soldier like a giant compressed spring releasing. Before the soldier could aim his flamethrower at it, the tentacle coiled around him and squeezed.
He shouted for backup, and two soldiers raced toward him. They aimed their wrist-mounted nozzles at the transforming tentacle. Tight streams of blue gel spurted toward the creature’s extended limb, but the soldiers fired too late. The tentacle seeped under the soldier’s visor and touched bare skin, and the Reaper began to absorb him.
Kimi scowled, studying the holographic video of the battle against the Reaper in the dead city of Savannah, Georgia. Safe within the War Room of the North Georgia Renegade Enclave, she had a bird’s-eye view of the chaos and destruction from two days ago. The scene stoked an ever-smoldering fire inside her.
The Reaper had killed her whole family fifteen years ago, one day before her thirteenth birthday. She had hidden, helpless to stop the creature as it consumed them. The loss left a gaping wound inside her that only vengeance could heal.
Her shoulders tensed as she remembered watching her hometown of Jasper, Georgia burn. The raging flames had surrounded her as everyone she knew and loved was absorbed. The Renegade soldiers who came to rescue the survivors were too late to save anyone but her.
Kimi was an orphan in the truest and bloodiest sense of the word.
Joining the Renegades was inevitable. She signed up two years after her rescue at the lawfully acceptable age of fifteen. Ever since that day, she wore the red, blue, and orange insignia of blood, life, and flame with honor and pride.
Though the holo-vid was painful to watch, Kimi’s duty was to observe and learn. She kept her eyes on the soldier, knowing he would respond with the only avenue of escape he had left.
“Fall back!” the soldier called to his buddies. “I’m hitting the fail-safe!”
His voice was loud and close through the War Room’s speakers. He was doomed, but he didn’t cry out as the Reaper soaked up the skin on his neck and jaw. The creature’s pseudo-flesh shifted shape, forming a cocoon around him. But the soldier popped off the cap covering the recessed red button on his hand-grip control before he was immobilized.
Not for the first time—or the last—Kimi wondered why they didn’t call the fail-safe button by its true name: a suicide switch.
The two standing soldiers trained their flamethrower nozzles on the creature as they backed away. Tight streams of fire shot out and ignited the Reaper’s viscous muck, too late to save the dying soldier. But the flames started frying the isolated portion of the creature into yellow smoke and charcoal gray ash.
The doomed soldier pressed the red button, and the potent explosives in his helmet and body armor did their job. The force of the blast made creature-gook spray outward in all directions—along with various body parts.
Kimi gritted her teeth. Had the soldier pressed the suicide switch in time, or did the creature absorb his brain before he died?
When the Reaper rose up out of the oceans’ depths and came ashore sixteen years ago, it seemed like nothing more than an amorphous sludge with the limited intelligence of the aquatic mammals it ingested, a creature of transforming slime that imitated living organisms. It separated into portions like a deploying army, and quickly developed a ravenous appetite for human flesh and blood. But when it began metamorphosing into human form and mimicking people, the evidence was conclusive: the creature was growing smarter, accumulating knowledge with each person it consumed.
The Reaper was not only feeding on their flesh and blood; it was absorbing their minds, and assimilating their intelligence.
And it grew as it fed.
Kimi’s scowl deepened as she watched the holo-vid. She still heard her mother, father, and little sister’s screams, heard them even in her dreams. Being assigned to fly in the follow-up search-and-rescue mission with the eleven other Renegades gathered in the War Room had her stoked.
Colleagues and readers alike have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney The Reality Bender. The multiple award-winning author of the paranormal thriller Soulsnatcher (Lazy Day Publishing, April 29, 2014 – ISBN 978-1499251777) and the post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Jagannath (coming from Permuted Press February 3, 2015 – e-book ISBN 978-1618684134, trade paperback ISBN 978-1618684127), as well as numerous short stories and eight novels, Kerry blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his novels and short stories: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers—even when the voices don’t compel him to. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists… even when he has to kill them.
Kerry lives near Stone Mountain, Georgia with his Golden retriever Holly Jolly, a professional Therapy Dog, and is currently writing his next supernatural novel and trying his best to remain rooted in this dimension—and trying to decide which characters he’s going to kill.
A perfectly valid question, and one that I’m asked nearly as often as its companion question, “Where do you get your ideas?” I’ll answer the first question here as succinctly as possible, and answer the second one in another post.
Ever since I was a wee lad, the written word has fascinated and enthralled me. I could hardly wait for that twice-a-month trip to the library, when my parents would turn me loose in the children’s section to wander aisles full of mystery, adventure, action, and other wonders of the imagination in the form of books, books, and more books. Everywhere books, with worlds of splendor and magic to explore captured between their covers and waiting to be experienced in my eager mind. Every time I left the library, I carried a stack of books so high I had to be steered back to the car. Nothing else could equal the thrill and excitement of knowing I was about to dive into the unparalleled miracle of stories. I never could wait until we got home to start reading. I cracked open a selected favorite before my parents finished climbing into the car, and started reading on the way home.
When my brothers and I were learning how to read, my mother bought a cassette tape recorder and read and recorded our favorite books on tape, with a “beep” signaling each new turn of a page. We had boxes and boxes full of tapes with nothing but her recordings of books. My parents both loved reading to us, but if they had spent their time reading to us as much as we read, they never would have gotten anything else done—including sleep.
As I got older I started doing odd jobs around the neighborhood—mowing grass, clearing debris from yards, anything I could do to earn a few bucks (I mowed a lot of grass, lol). And I bet you can guess what I did with every last penny I earned, including my allowance. More books, yay! I absorbed all the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift books like an extra-large industrial-grade sponge intent on draining the oceans. When I got old enough, my parents turned me loose in a used book store down the street from the library so I could explore the titles the library didn’t carry. Oh, what a wondrous world I found! Every last Tarzan book—and every book Edgar Rice Burroughs ever wrote—all of Kenneth Robeson’s Doc Savage and The Avenger books, the multitude of Maxwell Grant’s The Shadow books, and so many other favorite adventure series for young boys I can’t begin to recount them all: They were all mine, my worlds to explore. Soon my father had to build extra bookshelves just to hold the growing number of books my brothers and I added to our precious collections.
But it wasn’t enough. I soon realized I had stories in my mind too, and they were all aching to be told and shared with the world. I needed lots of extra paper, pens, and pencils. I started writing stories. They were terrible, but they were great to me, and my parents indulged my overactive imagination. One of the greatest treasures of my childhood was the happy grins I would see on their faces when I was engrossed in writing a story. They’re no longer here to share my current success, and I still miss them both every day, but I still see their smiles in my mind.
My favorite part of my English classes was when my teachers would ask us to share a personal story or essay, or—oh God, could it be true—write a story of our own! I was in Heaven, pure bliss. And the coup de grace? When I was in eighth grade and my older brother was in ninth grade and was the editor of the school newspaper, I discovered they were holding a short story competition in which the winner would be published in the school newspaper. Holy Moly! Only two days were left for entrants to submit their stories. I suddenly got “sick” and had to stay home from school. Guess what I spent that time doing? Yep. I turned in my story two days later, just in time, and I still remember my chemistry teacher’s knowing smile (she was the one who accepted the submissions) when I did. “Sick, huh, Kerry? Riiiight.” A couple of weeks later, when I came home from school, my mother had a grin on her face that you couldn’t wipe off with a rag doused in acetone. What the heck was she so happy about?
I found out the next day at school. In Homeroom, after saying the Pledge of Allegiance, my teacher passed out the dinky little school newspaper, and my classmates started murmuring and asking, “Kerry, what’s this?”
I won! My story won first place, and was published right there on the front page of the school newspaper. I needed to be tied down so I wouldn’t float away. What a day, and what a wonderful world of magic it opened in my mind. I still have the winner’s plaque to this day, hanging on the wall of my writing office.
I was bitten by the bug. The world was mine. Nothing could stop me. Well, something did: Music. Wondrous music, another magical world! I started playing trumpet in high school band, and a few years later I picked up the guitar. I spent the next twenty-seven years playing professionally and semi-professionally in various bands, and even wrote, recorded, produced, and released three CDs of melodic hard rock, which are available along with two other CDs on which I performed and co-wrote on my author website here.
But the original bug was still biting me all along the way. My head was filled with stories waiting to be written and shared with the world. In 2004, I sort of “hung up” my guitar and started writing my first novel. Since then, I’ve written eight novels, numerous short stories, and several poems. In 2012, my first short story was published: A Clatter of Hooves, a Christmas story published in Silver Boomer Books’ anthology A QUILT OF HOLIDAYS. It’s been re-published three times every Christmas since then. In the summer of 2013, my creepy short story Something in the Air was awarded Honorable Mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest, and subsequently published in SNM Horror Magazine’s December Diseases Issue #61. In November 2013, my short story In the Night She Comes won First Place in the Atlanta Writers Club Fall 2013 short story contest. Also in November 2013, my short story about a remarkable therapy dog Old Coot was published to critical acclaim online at Page & Spine. In December of 2013, I received the most amazing news of all.
I had been submitting all my novels to literary agents since 2005, and got a handful of requests for partials and full manuscripts, but no offers of representation. In the second week of December 2013, from seemingly out of the blue after having considered my submissions forgotten, lost, ignored, or rejected, within two days I got offers from two different publishers for two different novels. I can hardly describe the feeling of euphoria. It was just like when I won the school paper competition. Since then, my paranormal thriller SOULSNATCHER was published to critical acclaim by Lazy Day Publishing (April 29, 2014), and my post-apocalyptic sci-fi/ horror thriller JAGANNATH is now published by Permuted Press (February 3, 2015).
Look out, world. Here I come. And I’m just getting started. Keep an eye out for my future published works, because they’re going to storm the castle and cast an irreversible spell upon you.
In the most fundamental equation, I’ll answer the question “Why do you write?” with seven simple words: I write because I can’t not write. If I didn’t write the stories swimming around in my mind, I’m certain my head would explode.
I heartily invite all you authors out there to share YOUR amazing stories of success. Share a comment and your thoughts here, and toot your horn for everyone to hear. Happy reading and writing to you all!
Enter to win the following on the JAGANNATH by Kerry Alan Denney 2015 Blog Tour with Fire and Ice Book Tours: 5 E-Book Copies of Soulsnatcher, Five $10 Amazon Gift Cards, an Ebook Copy of Deborah D. Moore’s The Journal: Cracked Earth, or an Ebook copy of Deborah D. Moore’s The Journal: Ash Fall! Twelve Winners! Entry dates are 2/9/15 – 3/9/15. Open Worldwide.