By Michael Okon
YA Monster Fiction
Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.Wyatt Baldwin’s
senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad
mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather,
Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin
and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d
much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However,
she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks
he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his
friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a
groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in
Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk
among the dead in Zombieville.With real werewolves, vampires and zombies
as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?
“Michael Okon crafts a fabulous novel with unique, unforgettable
characters. …The world building was done fabulously. There were
believable backgrounds that explain how it could be possible for there
to be a world that had not only vampires, but also werewolves and
zombies, excuse me, the vitality-challenged. It all comes together
seamlessly as the plot lines converge to make for an explosive ending.” – Devouring Books 2017, blogspot
“I can assure you of this: you will not be disappointed. Nor will you
sleep well at night for a while, either. But isn’t that the mark of a
master storyteller! Hat’s off to Michael Okon” – Theodore Jerome Cohen, Author of “House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Martelli NYPD, #2)”
“As this book deserves not only top of the New York Times bestseller
list but on the big screen as well. The moment I began to read my world
was transformed and I was living through the novel.” – Carey Hurst, Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
“First rate YA fiction with a monsterous twist. Highly recommended.” – Richard Schwindt, author of “The Death in Sioux Lookout Trilogy”
“Okon does a fantastic job of creating distinct personalities for the
different monsters. The vampires are sly and cunning while the
werewolves are weary and brooding. Even the zombies have some
personality, albeit it’s only shown through thoughts they struggle to
string together.” – Alejandro Ramos, medium.com
“I enjoyed the beautiful prose, the great characters, and the
exciting plot. It’s hard to read this novel without getting emotionally
involved.” – Divine Zape, Readers’ Favortie (Five Star Review)
“I think MONSTERLAND provides something different for the YA
category that really isn’t otherwise present, not only in type of story
but in teen/adult relationships.” – litbites.com, Blog Tour
“This book has a charm often lost in supernatural stories. Michael
Okon sets a brilliant scene where you can hear and see the world coming
to life before your eyes. You don’t read this book, you live it. .. Monsterland makes for a fun yet harrowing horror read, with injections of comedy, and masterful execution.” – K.J. Simmill (5 Star Review)
- 2017 Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review
- Feathered Quill Book Awards 2018 – Science Fiction/Fantasy – Second Place
- Feathered Quill Book Awards 2018 – Teen Fiction, Graphic/Anime (13-18 years) – First Place
- The Feathered Quill, The Write Companion Award for Best Overall Top Pick
- 2018 Shelf Unbound – Notable
- 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Young Adult – Horror genre
- 2019 International Book Awards – Fiction: Fantasy – Finalist
- 2020 Feathered Quill Book Awards – Gold/1st Place – Best of Backlist
Amazon → https://amzn.to/31KQKFy
The sky was a sparkling, powder blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lily pads. The fire he created burned bright, rabbit roasting on a spit made from hickory, the juices dripping to hiss in the flames. Seven of them lay in scattered repose, enjoying the late afternoon lull—two napped, the others tossed a stuffed fur in the form of a ball around the clearing, hooting with amusement when it rolled into the brush. They traveled in a pack, his group, his makeshift family, foraging together, hiding in plain sight. It had been that way for generations. But the glades were getting smaller, the humans invasive.
The sun started its slow descent into the horizon, hot pink and lilac clouds rippling against the empty canvas of the sky. Their color deepened as the sky filled, the rosy hue morphing into a burnt orange as the sun hid behind the condensation. The air thickened, moisture causing the leaves to lie heavily against the branches. Here and there, fireflies lit the gloom, doing a placid ballet in the humid air. The men moved closer as the sun sank into the western treetops, the fading sky promising another clear day tomorrow in the Everglades despite the moving ceiling of clouds.
A lone hawk cried out, disturbing the peace of the glade. Huge birds answered, flapping their wings, creating a cacophony of swamp sounds. The area became a concerto of animals responding to the disruption of their home—wild screams, squeaks, and complaints of the invasion of their territory.
The lead male stood, his head tilted. He heard it again. It was music, the strange organization of sounds, predictable as well as dangerous. Where those rhythms originated meant only one thing—they were not alone. They all rose, tense and alert, searching the waterway. Billy pointed, his dirty hands silently parting an outcropping of trees to expose a flat-bottom boat with strangers floating slowly toward them. It was filled with people, excitedly searching the banks of the swamp, their expensive khaki bush clothes ringed with sweat. Many held huge cameras. It was obviously a film crew, invasive, nosy individuals looking for something, anything, to enhance their lives. Men’s voices drifted on the turgid air. Billy stood, sniffing, his mates following suit. He glanced at the sky, gauging the time, his eyes opening wide. It was late. The bald top of the moon peeked over the ridge in the south, the sky graying to twilight with each passing second. Night came fast and furious in the swamp, dropping a curtain of darkness, extinguishing all light except for the beacon of the full moon. That chalk-white orb floated upward, indifferent to the consequences of its innocent victims. A halo of lighter blue surrounded the globe, limning the trees silver, the cobwebs in the trees becoming chains of dripping diamonds in the coming night.
What were the interlopers doing here? Billy thought furiously. This was their territory. The humans didn’t belong in the swamp. The moon continued its trip to the heavens, the familiar agony beginning in his chest. Billy fought the demons churning within his body, feeling the pain of metamorphosis. He curled inward, hunching his shoulders, the curse of his nature making his spine pull until his tendons and muscles tore from their human positions to transform into something wicked. A howl erupted from his throat, followed by another, and then another. Grabbing handfuls of dirt, he tried to fight the awful change, but, as the sun dipped to its fiery death, the moon took control of his life, and the unnatural force tore through his unwilling body. Reason fled; his heart raced. Falling on his hands and knees, he let loose a keening cry as his face elongated, his body changing into a canine, fangs filling his mouth. He raced in a circle in a demented dance, knowing his fellow pack members did the same thing. Slowing, he regulated his labored breathing, forcing the icy calmness he needed to keep some semblance of reason. He peered through the dense brush. Lights from the search party bobbed in the distance. The odor, the stench of humanity, filled the clearing.
He turned, digging furiously on the ground, throwing dirt on the flames, hiding their existence. It was no good. Discovery would ruin everything. No one could live with their kind. Humans brought disease, humans brought anger, humans brought hatred. They were there; he could smell them, see their clumsy bodies invading his home. “They’ve found us,” he growled in the special language they used. “Run!” he barked as he turned to his pack, watching his friends’ naked skin transform until it was covered with the same silvered fur. They cried out in unison at the pain, howling with the injustice, and then ran in fear from the interlopers threatening their habitat.
- I came up with the idea of Monsterland – a theme park with real werewolves, vampires and zombies – while watching a classic movie marathon one weekend with my kids. I figured if they made a theme park with dinosaurs, why haven’t they done it with zombies. I called my brother and he said is has to be all the monsters. I started writing that night.
- Monsterland was originally self-published in 2015. It was later chosen as my first published book with WordFire Press. The self-published version and published version are very different.
- Monsterland was optioned by Kerner Entertainment, the same company that produced The Mighty Ducks and Smurfs franchises. They hired two Disney screenwriters who pitched me their take on Monsterland. After 2 years, the option ran out.
- Monsterland is the first book in series of 6 books. The sequel Monsterland Reanimated came out in 2018. The third book, Monsterland Beneath is currently at 100k words, the largest of the series. I’m currently working on book 4.
- The Monsterland series has every monster possible. The first book is werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Monsterland Reanimated has The Glob, mummies, and a reanimated monster. Monsterland Beneath has The Kraken, Killer Clowns, and Giants.
best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller,
horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island
University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in
business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has
storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he
can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact
on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the
idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a
sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island
with his wife and children.
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