Good morning, everyone! I'm super excited to introduce a fellow author and friend, M.C. Norris. He's here talking about his upcoming release (available September 1 through Severed Press), which I highly recommend you check out. Jump on the series now--this is the first in four that Severed Press is putting out! So with further ado, let's get right to it!

Deep Devotion by MC NorrisDeep Devotion
M.C. Norris
Speculative Fiction


Rising from the depths, a mind-bending monster unleashes a wave of terror across the American heartland. Kate Browning, a Kansas City EMT confronts her paralyzing fear of water when she traces the source of a deadly parasitic affliction to the Gulf of Mexico. Cooperating with a marine biologist, she travels to Florida in an effort to save the life of one very special patient, but the source of the epidemic happens to be the nest of a terrifying monster, one that last rose from the depths to annihilate the lost continent of Atlantis. Leviathan, destroyer, devoted lifemate and parent, the abomination is not going to take the extermination of its brood well.

M.C. is pretty busy gearing up for this debut release. But he sent us a special guest. A sea monster. And if I make it through the interview alive I'm betting this will be pretty remarkable. Let's see how it goes...

Guest Interview

Claire: So, Deep Devotion is making some big waves on Amazon right now. Last check, thirty-seven rave reviews and 4.6 out of 5 stars for a debut novel in the first two weeks. M.C. Norris must be doing something right, and we’re going to get to the bottom of that, but first, I think the question that’s on everybody’s mind right now is why you? Why did author M.C. Norris send in his sea monster for this interview, with all the available human characters in his book?

 Sea Monster: I’m the perfect choice to illustrate a key point. Deep Devotion is different. It’s anything but formulaic. Norris outsmarts the genre at every turn.  

Claire: What makes this book stand apart, defying the trappings of its own genre?  

Sea Monster: Let me get inside your head a little bit—  

Claire: Uh…personal space. Really. Tentacles or whatever you call them to yourself.  

Sea Monster: Kind of an inside joke, there. If you’re expecting a bunch of military stuff, you’ll find none of that in Deep Devotion. Not a single military strike. Not one bullet fired. I’m going to scare the hell out of you, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll reel you in from a deeper level. My perspective is frightening, totally alien, but it’s not alienating. You’ll sympathize with me, and maybe I’ll make you wish you hadn’t.  

Claire: Tell me a little bit about the human characters in this book.  

Sea Monster: Deep Devotion is driven by some wonderfully flawed characters. There’s Kate, for starters. Hot mess. Kansas City EMT with a boatload of intimacy issues and debilitating phobias, all stemming from some childhood trauma. Had a little brother who drowned in a Kansas cow pond while she was supposed to be watching him. Kate blames me for that.  

Claire: Kate’s from Kansas. It says here that you live on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. How can she blame you for her brother’s death? Did you really do it?  

Sea Monster: Won’t say if I did, and I won’t say if I didn’t, but I will say that I’ve got one hell of a long reach. I’m an unlikely suspect in that drowning, but you can’t rule me out. I’m crafty. I snatch thousands of human lives right out of the heartland.  

Claire: (Squirms a little) Are you—eating them?

 Sea Monster: Come on. I’m a filter feeder. Pretty peaceful, really, unless you rub me the wrong way, and then I’ll show you my ugly face. Might decide to ruin your life, your marriage, take your loved ones away, drag them screaming right out of their world, and down into mine.  

Claire: Okay, that’s a little dark. But how does a person clear out in the middle of the continental U.S. go about rubbing you in the wrong way?  

Sea Monster: Mess with my family. And chances are, you already have. Like that person there, three miles to the left. Excuse me…gotta run.  

Claire: Well, good thing he was called away. He? Hm. It? Anyway… I’m kinda glad he jetted off when he did. From the reviews, I’m pretty confident I have indeed messed with his family. I’ll just scoot on out of here as well. Before it comes back. But you can stay and read an excerpt while I run.

“Children don’t drown where water should not exist, not in the wishing pools remembered in the hearts of deserts. No, it could not be. What happened to Jeffrey was no accident. His was a willful killing, and a cruel one. There stood a mimic in the moonlight, connected by deeper roots to something else, something down in a pond beneath a pond, a grotto, where it fanned its saffron gills and waited, just as it had haunted the seas of time’s beginning. It waited for a chance to lure young life to an early death. Because that’s what it was all about. That’s all that it did.”

If the dull knocking of an oil pumper was the heartbeat of the plains, then the southwesterly winds were the region’s breath, unbroken by anything but barbed wire. The winds hissed daily through the barrens, until sundown quelled the breeze to a profound silence so stifling that it made the ears ring. At that hour, formless things, blanched as the dust and dry grass that wrought them, emerged from seams in the wastelands to ply soundlessly through the bluestem while the heartbeat of the plains kept on knocking. From atop some Osage post, a meadowlark bid the sun farewell with its piercing apogee, and another day was done.

At the heart of this vast desert, situated in a common cow pasture, was a something of a dimple in the parched earth, an old landmark. Arrowheads were common, here. The Naturals learned of this place by following the dauber swallows from their colonies of mud nests, and soon enough, it became a place of slaughter. Here was a scar, where the earth itself had been scalped to the bone, so bare and so cracked that no plant grew. Most years, it remained as such. But on good years, against all odds, this slight depression in the plains became a pond.

Summer days, its surface mirrored the sparkling blue skies. Buzzing things and crackling hoppers patrolled its muddy banks, all fringed with smartweed, green tangles and pink starbursts that writhed through the pocks left by wallowing cattle. It shimmered when the breeze tousled its glassy surface. Rings expanded, as tadpoles rose to kiss the sky, and descended, waggling, back down into their cool abysms. Whirligig beetles gyrated in their endless promenades. By day, the cow pond was a peaceful place, a crucible of life and flashing minnows that came from God knew where. But by the light of a dying sun, another presence within the pool seemed to awaken. Kate encountered it, not long after Jeffrey drowned.

Surrounded on all sides by pasture, where anthills tented the aggregate shells of a bygone seascape, Kate nested in the oasis in a snarl of smartweed at an hour when the lonely pond flattened black as a shark’s eye, and the stars burned coldly in the gulfs of space. This was Jeffery’s Place. In the weeks following his drowning, she came here with false hopes to commune with some lingering vestige of all she’d lost to this place. This was her vigil. Her penance. Her fault that her little brother drowned.

But she should not have come here, at this hour. Kate was just a child, naïve to the world’s evils, exposed in her openness to a sign, to some form of contact from the other side, and perhaps that is why Kate attracted the attention of a thing that she’d otherwise have not.

It rose in its funereal suit of oily mud, and glistened in the starlight. If this was her Jeffrey, then it was not but the husk of that sweet child, its eyes so dulled to a sinful complacence, its lips curled into a larval smile. Jeffrey was gone, but Kate could not turn away from the mirage of him. Because she understood in that moment that she was being visited by the very thing responsible. Children don’t drown where water should not exist, not in the wishing pools remembered in the hearts of deserts. No, it could not be. What happened to Jeffrey was no accident. His was a willful killing, and a cruel one. There stood a mimic in the moonlight, connected by deeper roots to something else, something down in a pond beneath a pond, a grotto, where it fanned its saffron gills and waited, just as it had haunted the seas of time’s beginning. It waited for a chance to lure young life to an early death, because that’s all that it did.

The nymph hooked its greasy finger, and it beckoned to her. It wanted to show her things, would only she hear its siren’s song and follow this bait into the pond, as three-year-old Jeffrey had done. If she would take its slick fingers into her own, then together, they would go down, down, into the world of drowned children, down to the places where the tadpoles lay torpid in the mud, and deeper still, to the pond beneath the pond, to the dark sanctuary where older things waited. There, in the pit of pits, lived her personal demon. It could not ease Kate’s burden, but it could certainly give her what she deserved.



Author MC Norris
M.C. Norris is an active member of the Horror Writers’ Association, with nineteen published short stories, and three published novels to his credit: Krengel & the Krampusz (Severed Press, TBR 2014), Deep Devotion (Severed Press, TBR 2014), and The Dread Owba Coo-Coo (Severed Press, TBR 2014). The nineteen published short stories of M.C. Norris appear in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including: Withersin, Wrong World DVD, Brainharvest Magazine, Pseudopod, Dead Bait, and Malicious Deviance. Mike also won 5th in Chizine/Leisure Books 13th Annual Short Story Contest.  

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