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John L Campbell’s zombie apocalypse novel, Omega Days, will be released in paperback May 6. I’ll have a review in early May, so please check back for it. In the meanwhile, John dropped by to share some tips in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
FIVE THINGS NOT TO DO DURING A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
-John L. Campbell
It’s the end of the world, and our communities are crawling with the walking dead. Finally! No more nine-to-five, no more bills, and you can at last have that Corvette you’ve always wanted; just drive it off the lot. For years we’ve been bombarded with information about how to survive, through film and books, television shows, commercials and what-if discussions over beers. We’re ready. It’s go time.
There are some unexpected dangers lurking, however, that will bring your visions of EOTW glory to an abrupt halt. In the interest of public service, I’ve outlined the pitfalls that should be avoided in order to have a safe and happy zombie apocalypse.
Do not attempt to rescue your relatives.
First of all, they’re zombies by now. And you don’t like most of them anyway, remember? Think back to that last family holiday. Now imagine your bunker filled with those same relatives, now zombies, sitting down for the big dinner. Zombies have awful table manners, and they’re just as ungrateful for all the hard work you put into it as they were at Thanksgiving. And just because they’re the undead doesn’t mean they’ve changed; they still hold grudges, bring up embarrassing memories, try to borrow money, complain about medical conditions you’d rather not hear about, and empty your liquor cabinet. You’ve been looking for a way out of these family gatherings for years. The zombie apocalypse is the perfect excuse.
Do not go out in search of food and supplies.
Remember the way you complained about the crowds during your last holiday shopping trip? Think of Black Friday times ten. By the time you get to the stores, they’ll have sold out of all the good stuff, and, of course, most of the clerks will already have turned. Zombie retail clerks. Ew. The lines will be endless, your awesome apocalypse vehicle will get dented by shopping carts in the parking lot, and when you get home, survivors will be squatting in your house. Better to stay in and eat those things you’ve been neglecting at the back of the pantry for years; the pumpkin pie filling, the granola you bought during your last Get Healthy kick, the prehistoric croutons. You wanted to lose weight anyway, right?
Don’t forget to wear clean underwear.
Your mother warned you for years. Now the probability of “getting in an accident” has just multiplied.
Do not hang around New York City.
Yes, Will Smith made it look cool. And yes, carriage rides in Central Park are very romantic. But the city is swarming with the walking dead, and if you thought it was difficult to get a cab before? New York zombies are pushy and rude, and will become unbearable once the power grid goes down and they can’t get a cell phone signal. NYPD will be busy ticketing all the abandoned cars in the street, so they won’t have time to give you directions to Radio City, or save you when you’re being pursued by an undead bike messenger. Zombie bike messengers. Ew. In addition, Wicked and Phantom just won’t be the same as zombie actors lurch across the stage, croaking their lines and devouring the people who paid five hundred dollars for orchestra seating.
Do not isolate yourself on a Caribbean island.
But an island is perfect, you say, and you love the tropics. Sure, the idea is logical on the surface; wait out the plague on the beach, getting hammered on fruity umbrella drinks. But Caribbean islands have snakes. Ew, snakes. And island zombies hate tourists, especially if it’s a French island. French zombies. Ew. They do, however, find tourists delicious, and this will negatively impact the level of service you receive at hotels and resorts. And let’s think it through. The pool bar will be mobbed, the pool itself will have questionable objects floating in it, and the locals will triple the price for para-sailing and native crafts. No, better not to travel, and avoid that undead TSA agent challenging you on the size of your travel mouthwash.
Survive the zombie apocalypse by staying home. Don’t leave the garage door open, remember that you can drink toilet water if necessary (from the tank, not the blue stuff in the bowl,) and pass the time with a good book. I could recommend several. In the meantime, just sit around and wait for the government to save you. They have a plan for this, right?
About the book:
When the end came, it came quickly. No one knew where or exactly when the Omega Virus started, but soon it was everywhere. And when the ones spreading it can’t die, no one stands a chance of surviving.
San Francisco, California. Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face…
University of California, Berkeley. Skye Dennison is moving into her college dorm for the first time, simultaneously excited to be leaving the nest and terrified to be on her own. When her mother and father are eaten alive in front of her, she realizes the terror has just begun…
Alameda, California. Angie West made millions off her family’s reality gun show on the History Channel. But after she is cornered by the swarming undead, her knowledge of heavy artillery is called into play like never before…
Within weeks, the world is overrun by the walking dead. Only the quick and the smart, the strong and the determined, will survive—for now.
About the author:
John L. Campbell is the author of the zombie apocalypse series, OMEGA DAYS from Penguin Random House. Book One, “Omega Days,” was an overnight Amazon Horror bestseller, and remained on the list for 17 weeks. In addition, he is the author of two collections of short horror stories, RED CIRCUS and IN THE FALLING LIGHT, and a novella based upon actual events, THE MANGROVES, which chronicles the most horrific crocodile massacre in recorded history. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary magazines and ezines.
John has lived all over the U.S., and has worked as everything from a limo driver to professional investigator and executive. He currently resides with his family in New York, where he is hard at work on the next novel in his Omega Days series.
Campbell is an Active Member of the HWA; Horror Writer’s Association, and is represented by the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in New York.
Coming soon, SHIP OF THE DEAD. Prepare to be boarded…
The post 5 Things Not to do During a Zombie Apocalypse by John L Campbell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.
Cynthia Garner dropped by the virtual offices to share her Top 5 items every woman needs to pack in her post-apocalyptic survival kit. See if you agree, learn about her latest release, Vampire’s Hunger, and then enter the giveaway!
Cynthia Garner’s Top 5 Items in a Post-Apocalyptic Woman’s Survival Kit
3. Pain reliever
4. Lip balm
5. Fabric refresher
What do think? What would you add to your post-apocalyptic survival kit? Maybe the guy on the cover of Vampire’s Hunger??
VAMPIRE’S HUNGER by Cynthia Garner (April 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99)
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.
Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her…except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.
As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse…
About the author:
Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that Cynthia’s love for all things paranormal was born. When she’s not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she’s on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert Southwest.
Social Media Links:
Barnes and Noble
Two nights later Duncan answered the knock on Kimber’s door. Murray stood there, just as fragile looking as ever. “What now?” Duncan asked.
The other vampire lifted his chin, motioning toward the inside of the apartment. “Maddalene wants to see your little necromancer again.” His face was expressionless but Duncan caught the smirk in his voice.
He clenched his jaw. No way in hell was Kimber going back there until he and Maddalene came to an understanding. The fact that Maddalene had overridden him and allowed hungry vampires into his living quarters, to threaten Kimber and her friends, had driven home the point that the sense of loyalty he felt toward Maddalene was a one-way street.
“Tell Maddalene to forget it,” he told Murray.
“I’m not your messenger boy, MacDonnough.” The skinny excuse for a vampire gave a grunt and pointed to his head. “Still attached, the way I like it. You got something to say to Maddalene, you say it yourself.” He gave a sardonic salute with two fingers and sauntered off.
Duncan closed the door and turned to face the other inhabitants of the apartment. Natalie stood in the kitchen, leaning back against the counter, her hands braced on either side. Aodhán was kicked back in the recliner, his gaze steady and calm. Kimber, his lovely Kimber, stood beside the sofa, arms crossed and one foot tapping on the floor.
“I am not going back there,” she said.
“No, you’re not.”
“I mean it, Duncan. Maddalene wants the impossible, and I won’t do it.”
“No matter what you…” A frown dipped between her brows. “Wait. What?”
He couldn’t stop the small grin that quirked his lips. She was adorable when she was confused. It wasn’t a look he got to see very often because she had such a sharp mind. “I said I agree. You’re not going to see Maddalene.”
“Oh.” Her hands dropped to her sides. “Um, why not?”
Ignoring the interested gazes of Aodhán and Natalie, he walked over to Kimber and took her face in his palms. “Because I don’t trust her right now, and I mean to keep you safe.”
Her lips parted and he couldn’t stop himself from dipping his head to press a soft kiss against her mouth. When he drew away, her lashes fluttered and swept up to show slightly dazed eyes. That was a good sign, anyway. He knew she wasn’t indifferent to him. If he could prove to her that he wouldn’t lose control and drain her, maybe one day she’d trust him enough to let him close again. To let him love her.
He took a step back. Where the hell had that come from? He didn’t love Kimber. He couldn’t love her. She was mortal. He was not. He didn’t deny he wanted her—his lust for her was nearly a living entity on its own. But love?
He didn’t have the time for love. He didn’t have the luxury for love.
He didn’t have the right. He’d done things he wasn’t proud of. Kimber deserved better than him. She certainly didn’t deserve the danger he’d be putting her in if Maddalene found out he had a soft spot for Kimber. And he deserved…
He firmed his jaw. He deserved only what she gave him. But that didn’t negate the fact that she had something he wanted—well, actually, two things he wanted: the ability to contact the Unseen and a body he wanted to lose himself in. Both might be within his reach if he could just get Maddalene to back the hell off.
Yeah, Duncan. Just keep telling yourself all you’re interested in is her body. You might really believe it someday.
He turned away from Kimber. Grabbing up the tire iron from where he’d placed it underneath the coffee table, he headed toward the front door. “I’m going to talk to Maddalene.”
“Wait.” Kimber’s soft voice stopped him. When he looked over his shoulder at her, she said, “Be careful.”
He gave a nod and pulled open the door. As he closed it behind him, he heard Aodhán say, “He’s strong and he’s fast. On his own, he’ll be able to get around any zombies out there. He’ll be fine.”
Fine against zombies, yes. Against his own heart? He wasn’t so sure.
5 print copies of VAMPIRE’S HUNGER, Grand prize: Twilight Saga White Collection
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With great interest, I read your special issue about biometric computer authentication (March, 2014). My firm has been looking for a viable biometrics solution for quite some time and several of the products you reviewed look promising.
However, we have one question that remains unanswered by any of the articles in this otherwise excellent issue: Do any of these products work for the undead?
You see, we take being an equal opportunity employer quite seriously. Hiring the undead keeps us in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and contributes to a diverse work environment. We also recognize that there are certain advantages to hiring people who have risen from the grave. For one thing, they seldom object to working the night shift. In fact, they prefer it. As long as the shift ends before sunrise, you can count on zombies to remain alert and productive way into the wee hours of the morning. They also tend not to require expensive health benefits or group life insurance.
But for these prized workers, traditional passwords don't do any good because people tend to forget them when their brains rot and leak out of their ears. Unfortunately, biometric authentication often brings its own set of problems.
It's hard to log in to the network with a fingerprint reader when your fingerprints have decayed and your finger tends to remain in the reader after you pull your hand away. Likewise, iris recognition devices are problematic when the eyes keep falling out of the head and dangle well below the beam from the reader. Face recognition? Forget it. As the face deteriorates, new patches of mold or the continual changing of the shape of a rotting face with its sagging skin and ever-more-deviating septum renders such systems useless.
Some of our employees have suggested that it might be useful to have a device that allows the employee to pull the bowels from his belly and run them through a scanner. This might help solve the problem, but it raises an obvious security issue: What's to stop somebody from pulling the guts out of a coworker and using them to gain access to a restricted system? DNA-based devices have similar security problems. We even tried odor-based biometrics, but quickly learned that this type of device overloads and fails when the workplace houses more than a small number of rotting corpses.
As you can see, current biometrics don't work for an organization like ours. In this economy, more and more people seem to be dying every day, and as they venture forth from their coffins to seek suitable employment, biometric authentication seems like the way to go.
If the research you did for your special issue provided insight into how to use biometrics for this under-appreciated segment of the workforce, we would love to hear about it.
VP of Security
Liquid Putrefaction, Inc.
May Contain Spoilers
It seems as though I have fallen into a zombie rut again. I don’t know why I keep turning to these books, because they are starting to give me nightmares. Seriously! Vampire’s Hunger isn’t even that graphic, and I woke up during the night after I finished it from a scary dream. Heart pounding, can’t fall back asleep nightmare. Good thing the puppers were there to cuddle! I am taking a little break from zombies, but I bet it won’t last long!
Kimber is a necromancer. She works with the police, raising the dead to find out who murdered them. After a summoning goes wrong, she discovers that she’s unleashed the zombie apocalypse. In addition to fending off zombies, she has to deal with the threats of the rest of humankind who also blame her for bringing doom upon the human race. I would so not want to be in her shoes.
Duncan is the second in command of the local vampire clan. He has been lusting after Kimber for years, but she keeps rebuffing his advances. She doesn’t trust vampires after they murdered her family, and she’s not about to get close to Duncan. He vows to protect her and her friend Natalie as society takes a nose dive. Along with the fairy Aodhan, Duncan has his work cut out for him. His queen, Maddalene, wants Kimber to raise her consort from the dead, and she just won’t take no for an answer. Sworn to obey her every command, Duncan is torn between his growing feelings for Kimber and his loyalty to his queen.
Vampire’s Hunger is a fast, sexy read. I liked the setting – the world has just ended, and Kimber is still adjusting to her new normal. She blames herself for the zombie plague, and she is determined to figure out a way to put an end to it. The day she brought Richard Whitcomb back to life something went wrong, and she is going nuts trying to understand why the Unseen, the source of her power, has changed. The day she called Richard back, something felt wrong and evil, and when she tried to release him back to death, he fought back. The entire episode was a complete disaster, challenging Kimber’s skills to keep him under control. It also marked the start of the zombie apocalypse, leaving one unfortunate observer bitten and infected. Yup, Kimber’s slip up resulted in Patient Zero and the end of the world.
I originally started reading this book because I saw the word zombie in the blurb, but I think it was more focused on the vampires. I felt that the zombies were more of an obstacle for Kimber and her friends to get around than an actual threat. There were a few battles with them as they traversed from Kimber’s apartment to Duncan’s vampire enclave, but it was the vampires that were the real danger in Vampire’s Hunger. Duncan’s queen is a nutbag, and she is going to force Kimber to raise her dead consort, come hell or high water. Kimber knows that the attempt will kill her; it’s hard enough raising someone who just died, let alone someone whose original death was a hundred years ago. The Unseen isn’t being very friendly to her, either. Something dark, evil, and dangerous keeps lurking in it’s depths.
The main conflict between Kimber and Duncan is Kimber’s distrust of vampires. She is afraid that Duncan will lose control and drain her of every drop of blood in her veins, leaving her a lifeless husk. Her family was murdered by vampires, and they haven’t done much to gain her trust since then. Duncan, however, has been nothing but protective of her, watching over her and Natalie and working with Aodhan to keep them safe. Still, with the insane Maddalene threatening everyone she cares about, it’s no wonder that Kimber has no love for vampires. Duncan refuses to go against his queen, even though he knows that she is off her rocker and that she is becoming increasingly unstable. I was disappointed that it took him so long to decide to do something about her, but once he makes up his mind that Maddalene is too much of a liability to keep her power over the clan, he quickly moves against her.
The book ends on a cliffhanger, but Vampire’s Thirst comes out in May, so I didn’t give it a ding for that. I enjoyed Vampire’s Hunger, and I am looking forward to book 2.
Review copy provided by publisher
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.
Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her . . . except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.
As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse . . .
Approx. 50,000-60,000 words.
Age Range: 18 and up
Grade Level: 12 and up
Series: A Farm Novel
Publisher: Berkley Trade (November 4, 2014)
Pre-Order The Vault: Amazon
In a world where vampires rule and teenaged humans are quarantined as a food source, there is only one choice—resist or die. But fighting the vampires comes at a
May Contain Spoilers
This book came along at a perfect time. I am under a lot of stress and in a bit of a funk, and my usual romance comfort reads weren’t holding my interest. When that happens, I usually turn to post-apocalyptic titles, and bingo! there was The Remaining on Netgalley. This was such a good read! I read it in almost one sitting, and if you enjoy zombie tales, I can’t recommend it highly enough. This is so far from my usual read, too, in that there wasn’t one speck of romance anywhere. This is a straight up run away from zombies and try to save the world adventure yarn.
Lee Harden has been holed up in a bunker in his basement. He’s part of a special unit of the US Army, and when things get dicey in the world, he is ordered to lock himself in the bunker and await orders from his superiors. Every other time has been a false alarm, but this time, the world as Lee knew it really did cease to exist. With only his dog Tango and his strong sense of duty to rely on, he has been tasked with the impossible. To survive, rescue, and rebuild the US government. Good luck, Lee! You are going to need it!
The time Lee spends in the bunker, just waiting for his orders dragged a bit for me, but once he dons his personal protection gear and heads upstairs – whoa! I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire book! Argh! My contacts were glued to my eyes by the end because I stopped blinking! It was almost like I was afraid I would miss something if I took my eyes off my Kindle for even a second. I was disappointed by the non-ending, but heck, I always am. The story stutters to a complete stop, like someone stopping just an inch before toppling off the edge of a cliff. Ugh! At least four books in the series are currently available, with book five due early next year. If I space them out over the rest of this year, I won’t go nuts waiting to find out what happens next. Plus, I need a give my overworked heart a little rest. There are parts of The Remaining that made me jump!
This series was originally self-pubbed. Orbit picked it up, gave the covers a face-lift, and re-released the first four books in January in ebook format. Print editions are on tap starting in May. I love zombie books, and The Remaining managed to fly under my zombie radar, so I’m glad I finally discovered the books.
Lee is skeptical that a killer virus has over taken the population. Once you catch the disease, you become a mindless savage. A mutated form of the rabies virus, there is no hope once you become infected. Lee quickly learns that the infected are violent, strong, and take a lot of fire power to stop. After he’s almost killed by a teenage girl, his whole attitude changes. If one teenage girl gave him so much trouble, what is going to happen when he encounters an adult male infected? Good thing he has his bunker full of ammo, food, and water to fall back on. He also has power, so it’s not like he roughing it. Hot showers are just a shower stall away. Until a miscalculation costs him his safe house, and every advantage he was counting on. How is he going to save the world without supplies? How is he going to defend himself against the infected? How is he going to protect the ragged band of survivors he’s managed to rescue? Things are looking mighty grim for Lee, and the odds are stacked even more against him after some unpleasant run-ins with rogue normals.
I found the story so appealing because Lee’s mission is so hopeless. He’s working on nothing but adrenaline, but he doggedly continues with his directive. Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse for him, they do, and yet he still refuses to give up. He always keeps a level head, falling back on past combat experience to get him through the nightmare he’s found himself in, and this is a nightmare of epic proportions!
Fans of John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising will fit right in here. If that series isn’t your cup of tea, The Remaining probably won’t be, either. If you enjoy a fast-paced, non-stop action zombie thriller, give The Remaining a try.
Grade: B+ (This would have gotten an A had there been an ending!)
Review copy provided by publisher
In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS.
TO RESCUE AND REBUILD.
This is the first novel in the action-packed series:
Book 1: The Remaining
Book 2: The Remaining: Aftermath
Book 3: The Remaining: Refugees
Book 4: The Remaining: Fractured
REAPER’S TOUCH by ELERI STONE
Genre: Western Paranormal Romance
Print Length: 280 pages (95,000 words)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 10, 2014
Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.
Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.
Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reapers-touch-eleri-stone/1117366830?ean=9781426897900
“Stone crafts a dark and delicious tale of cowboys vs. zombies and bittersweet love found in unexpected places. Truly exceptional! I did not want this to end!” —Kristen Callihan, bestselling author of FIRELIGHT
“A thrilling, original romance with the right mix of danger and desire.”—Zöe Archer, award-winning author of SWEET REVENGE
“Stone isn’t afraid to bring on the heat in this twisted tale of life on the range.” —Karina Cooper, award-winning author of TARNISHED
Author Bio & Contact Links:
Eleri Stone grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three children. A lifelong fan of fantasy, she started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists, character-driven storylines and guarantee of a happy-ever-after. Writing fantasy and paranormal romance, she is the author of the Lost City Shifters series (cat shifters in the Amazon), the Twilight of the Gods series (Norse demigods in the American Midwest) and the Spellcraft series (adult high fantasy).
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GRAND PRIZE: One $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble
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May Contain Spoilers
I was in the mood for a little zombie chaos, so when I received a copy of Elixir as part of a blog tour, I loaded it up and started reading. Despite some reservations, I did enjoy this quick read, but I would have enjoyed it more if the protagonist hadn’t been so lacking in common sense. She hates guns and refuses to carry one. She is being attacked by a Red, a couple of guys save her by shooting the zombie, and she is upset that they didn’t try to reason with him first. Uhhhh – dudette, you are one of the few human survivors of a zombie apocalypse! Trying to reason with mindless, flesh-eating monsters will only get you killed. Really?
I kind of feel like I should write this review as a list of pros and cons, so here we go!
Lots of zombies chasing the terrified Maya after she emerges from the safe room her father installed in their house before he left for work and never returned. Her father was a chemist, and he believed that he was THIS close to finding a cure for the 212R virus, which was turning everyone who didn’t die from it into frothing beasts, completely lacking higher brain reasoning. When she runs out of water, she is forced to leave the safety of her little room, only to find herself fleeing from a pack of infecteds who want to eat her for lunch.
The zombies have a few weaknesses that give the surviving humans a chance to survive. The virus has destroyed their sense of equilibrium so they can’t climb trees or walk up a set of stairs. While they are fast and fiercely single-minded when it comes to catching a meal, this flaw makes things a little more interesting because the humans can seek higher ground, and then they have to puzzle their way away from the zombies.
Pollard, one of the young men who saves Maya from the kid zombie, is my favorite character. He wants to find a way to restore the world to the way it was, and he’s not afraid to put himself into danger to do just that. When Maya wants to go to her dad’s lab to find the antidote for 212R, he doesn’t hesitate to go with her and protect her.
Maya often behaves irrationally. I mean, to the point where she is severely lacking in common sense, has a death wish, or has somehow escaped Darwin’s theory of evolution. She is just too stupid to live at times, but sadly, the only deaths are not her own. She is hungry, dehydrated, injured, and exhausted, but instead of staying with Pollard and his little crew in a safe place, she stubbornly insists that she must carry on with her plan to get the elixir. A few days spent eating, sleeping, and resting her sprained knee would have been the best investment of her time, but no! Off she hobbles, putting others in danger and getting someone painfully killed.
Maya’s mother was killed in a horrific moment of domestic violence, and now she has a deep aversion for guns. While I can understand how losing her mother like that would make her leery of guns and the people waving them around, the world has changed. If she didn’t want to go packing, fine, but don’t berate and judge others poorly because they believe it’s now necessary to carry a firearm. Her rage at Pollard for asking questions. NEVER. before saving her hide from the Red made no sense. The kid was going to eat her. The was beating her, most likely to her death, with toy steel trucks. There was no need to ask questions, other than – is this chick worth the hassle of saving??
Maya has made it her life’s single task to find the elixir that might or might not exist. She and Pollard’s group suspect that there is a military presence at Camp Carson. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go there and ask them to retrieve it for them? It’s not like Maya could do anything with it. If she did find an antidote, she knew that the next step was to find scientists and equipment to mass produce the serum. If she gets killed before getting the serum to people who know what to do with it, she’s just destroyed everyone’s last hope for a cure.
I sense that a love triangle is brewing between Maya, Pollard, and Ben, the zombie. Ugh. I hate love triangles. And I wanted a better explanation for why Ben wasn’t a mindless, flesh consuming monster. Instead, he follows Maya around like a puppy, defending her from other Reds, occasionally uttering a vague, “Mmmmmmm.” Why? We never get an answer in this volume as to why he’ is different from others of his kind.
The cliffhanger ending is a bummer. Major league! These books are short, less than 170 pages each. It would have been better to package them together in a single download, rather than having Elixir just grind to a halt. Very frustrating! A quick check over at Amazon shows that they were all released on the same date – Feb 26 – so the only reason for breaking them into installments seems to be to make the cash register ring more often.
Despite my reservations, I did enjoy Elixir. The entire series is available for rent if you are an Amazon Prime member. Otherwise, be aware that there are three books in the series (that I know of), and they are all quite short. I’ll have a review of the next book as soon as I can fit it into my reading schedule.
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours
The red plague has devastated the human race, turning billions of people into zombies with red eyes and an insatiable hunger for human flesh.
The 212R virus sweeps through the population so quickly a possible cure is left to rot. Seventeen-year-old Maya Solomon may be the only survivor who knows where it is. But to reach the lab in Raleigh, North Carolina she will have to outrun the infected boy tracking her every step and cross into a city swarming with monsters.
Okay, Picture Book Month is over. Now it is time for...zombies!
Not to worry. I'm not doing a month on them. I'm not even all that enthused about zombies. I've read a couple of good books, seen a few movies, and that's about all I need. Especially since many zombie books are also apocalyptic novels. And, as Garrison Keillor once said about pumpkin pie, the best apocalyptic novel you've ever read isn't that much better than the worst.
That's why I ignored Rot & Ruin
by Jonathan Maberry for a long time when it was on my library's new YA shelf. It wasn't until I saw a review for one of its follow-up books that I gave the first book in the Rot & Ruin
series a second thought and made a point of finding it.
What makes this book so intriguing is that while it is set in a vague American future, it has a western vibe. The characters in this book are fourteen years into zombie world and the little group we're interested in are living in a small town they've created to keep themselves safe from the zombie horde. One character goes so far as to compare the people living there to western townspeople protecting themselves from Native Americans. Horses figure in the story because society has fallen and power for machinery is limited.
Our protagonist's older brother fills the roll of the lone gunslinger with his own code, making him noirish, too. There's no law in these parts, so you've got outlaw types who are far worse than the zombies, just as you had outlaws in westerns. Our heroes head out of town to save their woman from said outlaws. There is even a scene that calls to mind the cavalry coming over the rise to save the day.
For those of us who grew up with parents who watched westerns on TV every night of the week, it's fun to pick up all the western, well, cliches. (I didn't enjoy doing this anywhere near as much while watching Defiance
.) It's been a long time since television was populated by cowboys, though. The western connection won't be an issue one way or the other for younger readers.Rot & Ruin
is an apocalyptic novel that works for me because the society in it isn't stagnant. So often in these books the world goes to pieces and stays that way for generations. No one shows any interest in technology or even changing the height of a hemline. Given the last 500 years or so of human existence, that seems unrealistic to me. Cultures evolve.
And there are suggestions that the culture portrayed in Rot & Ruin
is going to. It's only been 14 years since the world fell to zombies, and already the young people who are growing up there are thinking that they'd like something better. If the zombies come, it seems likely to me that before long people are going to get sick of them and start thinking of ways to make a better life. Trying to make a better life is what we do.
Interview with Michelle McLean
Do you write in different genres?
I do! I love writing in different genres. It lets me explore different aspects of creativity and work out different parts of my brain. I write historical, paranormal/urban fantasy, and contemporary romances, and educational non-fiction. Along with a bit of poetry and a picture book or two
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
I really don’t have a favorite, unless you count romance But sub-genre-wise, I love them all. Historicals allow me to delve into the past which I absolutely love (my bachelors degree is in History). Paranormals and urban fantasies allow me to play around with the supernatural and other-worldly things which I also absolutely love. Contemporaries allow me to switch up my every day world a little. And my non-fiction allows me to tap into my analytical side and help people with educational matters, which I also really love. I’ve penned poetry since I was little, and have written several picture books for my kids that I still read to them. I can’t imagine not writing any of these.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
Wish Upon a Star was originally a fairy tale retelling that was a mashup of Pinocchio and Rumplestiltskin. Most of the fairy tale elements were taken out in edits, but my main character was based on the blue fairy and spends a lot of time wishing on stars
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I almost always title the book afterwards. I like to use a line or some words or a theme that is special to or prevalent in the book to use as a title and often that doesn’t come across until it is finished. The one exception is a novella I’m working on. I heard a line in a song that I just loved and built a book idea around it
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Victoria Holt has been my biggest influence. She was my first authorial love Once I graduated to novels (at a fairly young age) I read everything I could get my hands on. I was always raiding my mom’s shelves and she had a ton of Victoria Holt’s gothic romances. I fell in love with the genre immediately. And when I decided to write my own first novel that type of story was in my head. A historical romance full of romance, danger, and mystery I write other genres as well, but historical romances, especially gothic, will always be my first loves.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
One of the books I’m working on has several shape poems in it. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep them in there as it won’t show up correctly on all digital devices, but they are really fun to create. In the book, I have poems shaped like an hour glass, an ankh, a lightning bolt, a broken heart, a pyramid, an eye, a music note, and several others. Here is one, shaped to look like a drop of blood.
my face so tenderly,
in hands that had killed.
For me. Fingers gently touch
my cheeks. His lips kiss away my
tears, my blood. “Breathe,” he whispers.
His lips brush mine. “Just breathe.” I shudder,
my breath escaping at his command. “If you insist,”
I try to joke. Fail. Shouts fill the night air. “Go!” I cry.
“They mustn’t find you with me. Go!” He freezes, his storm
gray eyes on our hands, clasped between our pounding hearts.
The horror on his face mirrors that on my own. One last caress, so
bittersweet. He wavers. “Go,” I breathe. He steps back, back, raised
hand stained black with blood. Mine, his, theirs. His pained howl rips
through me, burning his image on my soul. “For you I’ll live,” I whisper,
unwilling to breathe, unable to stop. They will come for me, their hands
grasping, to return me to my clan. “Go!” I plead. One last look and he
runs, his tortured fury echoing through me, his pain my own. They
come, see me bathed in blood. “Who did this?” they ask. I shrink
from their touch. Gently they lift me, murmuring, “Let us help
you.” I swallow my protests, settle into their strong hands.
They ask, over and over, but I don’t speak. And they
don’t suspect. They take me home. I care not.
I’ll breathe because I promised I would.
But oh how it hurts. He is gone…
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The first draft. I’m horrible at first drafts. Editing, I love. I can revise very quickly and enjoy doing it. Pulling a first draft out of me is like yanking my own teeth. I’m not sure why, because I really love to get the stories down on paper. But those blank pages just staring at me are hard to fill sometimes. Give me a completed manuscript to polish up any day
When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
Mostly, I read I used to do a lot of cross-stitching and I play the piano. I love movies and spend a lot of late nights with my favorites. But mostly, I read
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I have a non-fiction book on how to write poetry that should be releasing at the end of the year. And next year, the last book in the Blood Blade Sisters trilogy will be releasing, along with a new historical romance set in the 1920s that will come out next summer. I’m also working on the book with the shape poems and have a fairy tale retelling series I’ll be shopping around soon
Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean
Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancé Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.
Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as a zombie uprising threatens them all.
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Jason sank down beside me and pulled me toward him, pressing a kiss against my temple.
“Are you okay?” he asked, brushing soot and a few burned leaves from my face and hair. The smell of burned plastic and singed hair coated everything. But it could have been worse.
I leaned against him for a moment before trying to push to my feet.
Jason stopped me. “Rest for a minute.” He reached into my backpack and pulled out another bottle of water.
I took it gratefully, gulping down half the bottle before handing it to him to finish off. When he was done, he bent down, kissing a drop of water from my lips. His hands cupped my face. “I’m sorry. For everything. All of it. Everything I put you through. These wasted years without you.”
“I’m sorry too.” I pulled away and looked up at him. “If we get through this—”
“When we get through this. Not if.”
I gave him a small smile and nodded, knowing he knew what I wanted to say without having to voice the words. “When we get through this, maybe we can talk. About things.”
He gave me one more lingering kiss. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“But for now,” I said, brushing a lock of hair from his forehead.
About the Author:
I grew up in California and have lived everywhere from the deserts of Utah to the tropical beaches of Hawaii to the gorgeous forests of the east coast. The oldest of five children, I am generally an organized mess with slight Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. I have a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, an insatiable love of books, and more weird quirks than you can shake a stick at.
I am the author of Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, (Career Press Jan 2011), To Trust a Thief (Entangled Scandalous Jan 2013), a historical romance trilogy Blood Blade Sisters (Entangled Scandalous 2013), and a zombie fairy tale retelling Wish Upon a Star (Entangled Ever After Oct 2013). In addition to my novels and non-fiction work, I write picture books and a bit of poetry. If I’m not editing, reading, or chasing my kids around, I can usually be found in a quiet corner working on my next book.
I currently reside in Pennsylvania with my husband and two young children, an insanely hyper dog, and two very spoiled cats.
$20 Gift Card (Winner’s Choice: Amazon/B&N) & a “Wish” Necklace
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[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Ruth, and welcome to Manga Maniac Cafe! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Ruth Browne] I’m a writer with escapist fantasies about lawyering.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about One Thousand and One Nights?
[Ruth Browne] It’s the story of a busty biker redhead blasting zombies with a shotgun. It’s also the story of a sharp-witted young woman looking out for her little sister in a hostile universe, spinning stories to keep hope alive. It’s a romance, in more ways than one (but also in the most important, pleasantly erotic way). It’s a retelling of the Persian legend of Scheherazade during a zombie apocalypse.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Ruth Browne] I saw the Entangled ad for a zombified retelling of a fairytale, and took a few weeks to think about it. The mostly European Disney fairytales seemed pretty hackneyed, so I dismissed them. The 1001 Nights idea probably arrived via Aladdin, which is one of my favourite Disney movies. When it appeared in my head I pretended to ignore it so it would hang around. Pretty soon I was fleshing it out in my head, starting from the premise of being chained to the wall by an attractive man. The characters began as generic badasses of urban fantasy and developed from there. So, a combination of erotic daydreaming and Disney musicals. Forgive me.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sheri?
[Ruth Browne] Brave, uninhibited, lonely.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Aleksy had a theme song, what would it be?
[Ruth Browne] Iron Maiden – The Trooper. I stole it from Max Brooks, sorry Max.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Sheri is never without.
[Ruth Browne] Her sense of humour.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Aleksy’s bedroom?
[Ruth Browne] Pretty pictures. Crime fiction. Boredom.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Sheri’s greatest regret?
[Ruth Browne] Sheri tries to live without regret, but leaving Lebanon and her parents for the States as a child is a decision she really regrets, even though she had no control over it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Ruth Browne] Music, like the Beck track that plays in the van. Brilliant writers, like Gaiman and Miéville. And my own long-standing desire to write something I personally would want to read, especially in the genre of apocalyptic fiction.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Ruth Browne] Time, inspiration and Ceylon tea.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on One Thousand and One Nights?
[Ruth Browne] I was recovering from a death in the family. 1001 Nights was my distraction.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Ruth Browne] Max Brooks’ World War Z. Detailed, fascinating, epic beyond belief. It froze my blood with horror.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Ruth Browne] Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I wrote an enthusiastic book review on it when I was six.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Ruth Browne] Friendship and good times above all things, except food and sex.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Ruth Browne] I’m on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook so any contact is welcome.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
Sheri spends her days fighting zombies and her nights chained to a wall, earning her every breath by telling stories to her captor Aleksy—stories that make them both forget the ruined world. Sheri could put up with the conditions—at least she knows her sister is safe in the community Aleksy leads—until she realizes she’s falling for him…even though he wants her dead.
When Aleksy allowed Sheri and her sister into his compound, he didn’t know about the zombie bite on her back. It’s only a matter of time before she turns into one of the rising dead and threatens their existence, but Aleksy has a secret need for Sheri and her stories. For everyone’s safety, he chains her to his bedroom wall, hoping for just one more day. But how long will the community allow Aleksy to ignore his own rule: always kill the infected. Always.
ZOMBIES! I can not resist them, especially at this time of the year! Here’s a cover reveal for a Love in the Time of the Dead, which releases Oct 22. Perfect time to read a romance with zombies!
Title: Love in the Time of the Dead
Author: Tera Shanley
Genre: Adult supernatural/zombie romance
Publication Date: October 22, 2013, by Omnific Publishing
Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.
Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he’s only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities.
Two honorable and alluring men – one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving…and living.
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About the Author
Born and raised in small town Texas, Tera Shanley grew up in books. Her cousin gifted her a signed copy of Beauty by Bill Wallace when she was young and that was it for her. So smitten was she with getting lost in a story, that while other eleven year olds her age were groaning at the accelerated reader program in school, she was racking up the points just for fun.
Balancing chronic book-wormyness is her devotion to the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, camping – her soul is happiest out of doors. And lucky for Tera, her family feels the same. She grew up a wild child helping her grandma ranch cattle, and has a hundred memories out in the wilderness which tend to influence her books.
When she’s not eating chocolate, slinging rifles, or soaking up some sun, she’s lost in a book, but these days it’s more often one she’s writing. From historic western romance, to paranormal romance, to apocalyptic (zombie) romance, the genre doesn’t matter quite as much to her as the love story.
She currently lives with her husband and two young children, and is owned by two crazy mini-cujos.
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Title: Under a Graveyard Sky
Author: John Ringo
May Contain Spoilers
Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.
When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.
For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived under a graveyard sky.
When I saw Under a Graveyard Sky on Netgalley, I immediately clicked the request button. I just can’t get enough of zombie books (you won’t catch me watching zombies shows, though – too gross!), and this sounded intriguing. It takes place right as a plague is decimating the human population, causing chaos and countless, bloody loss of life. The first 15% of the book felt a little draggy, as the author expounded on the science behind the man-made illness that was causing the infected to attack and eat their fellow humans. The biology of it exhausted me, but not to worry! Once things got underway with the out of control sickness, I was hooked, hooked, hooked! I was reading this everywhere – when I was filling the gas tank, standing in line at the store, even making extended visits to the bathroom so I could have a little peace and quiet time away from the puppers so I could find out what happened next!
This is a blast to read. The Smith family has fled to the sea in an attempt to escape the certain death that comes after contracting the virus, which is a modified form of rabies. The Smiths have been training for the end of the world for years, and they are more than prepared for the challenges ahead. What they didn’t really count on was their daughters getting caught up right in the thick of things back on shore. Steve’s brother has promised to keep the girls safe – and occupied – if they are allowed to help back in New York. While this section of the tale didn’t make much sense to me, it did get the action firmly moving forward. Faith, the youngest daughter, seems to have a zombie beacon strapped to her back, because everywhere she turns, there’s another one, ready to bite her face off. The fact that Steve and Stacey allowed their girls to go ashore once they were relatively safe on their boat didn’t seem like a smart idea to me, especially when they decide to go to a concert in the park. In the dark. In the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But no matter, it got my heart racing at the mere thought of being in that much danger, self-inflected or not, and made for very entertaining reading.
Once the family gets back on the water and sets sail for parts unknown, things really get nuts. After rescuing a young girl, the only survivor after her family turns and tries to eat her, from their yacht, Steve has a new mission in life. He isn’t going to take this zombie thing sitting down. No way! Steve is going to save as many people as he can, and take out as many zombies as he can, because there are people out there trapped and starving on boats just like Tina’s. Now, I never stopped to think about what it would be like to be trapped in a cabin with no food or water while my family was locked outside, noisily eating each other. Now that I have, well, I don’t know that being on a ship in the middle of the ocean would be such a good idea after all. Especially if someone was infected, but we didn’t find out until it was too late. What do you do? Try to throw them overboard before they bite your brains out? Not a pleasant thought, any way you contemplate it.
The sea rescues did get a little repetitive, at least until they got to the cruise ship. Then it was Holy Crap, you have GOT to be kidding me! How are a handful of people going to wade through that many zombies? Despite some lags in pacing, I found this a fun, fun read. The challenges faced by the small band of survivors made for compelling reading. I couldn’t put my reader down, and I blew through this book in no time flat. My one, major complaint? Those three dreaded words on the last page – To Be Continued. NO!! Really??? Why couldn’t there be just a teeny tiny bit of closure?! The wait for To Sail a Darkling Sea isn’t THAT bad, but come on! It won’t be out until February of next year!
Review copy provided by publisher
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I enjoyed the heck out of Under a Graveyard Sky, so I am quite eager to get my hands on To Sail A Darkling Sea by John Ringo. Check back tomorrow for my review of the first book in his zombie apocalypse series!
BOOK II IN THE BLACK TIDE RISING SERIES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. Sequel to Under a Graveyard Sky. A family of survivors fights back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.
A World Cloaked in Darkness
With human civilization annihilated by a biological zombie plague, a rag-tag fleet of yachts and freighters known as Wolf Squadron scours the Atlantic, searching for survivors. Within every abandoned liner and carrier lurks a potential horde, safety can never be taken for granted, and death and turning into one of the enemy is only a moment away.
The Candle Flickers
Yet every ship and town holds the flickering hope of survivors. One and two from lifeboats, a dozen from a fishing village, a few hundred wrenched by fury and fire from a ship that once housed thousands…
Light a Flame
Now Wolf Squadron must take on another massive challenge: clear the assault carrier USS Iwo Jima of infected before the trapped Marines and sailors succumb to starvation. If Wolf Squadron can accomplish that task, an even tougher trial waits: an apocalyptic battle to win a new dawn for humanity. The war for civilization begins as the boats of the Wolf Squadron become a beacon of hope on a Darkling Sea.
What are you waiting on?
Having met KISS, Glee and Nick Cannon, the Archie gang is now going undead in a new ongoing series called AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE that’s set after the zombie apocalypse has hit Riverdale.
Yes, it’s The Walking Jughead.
The surprise here? The series is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who has worked on such things as the upcoming Carrie remake, many Marvel comics, the Spider-Man broadway show, and that Archie/Glee crossover we just mentioned—he’s actually one of the producers on Glee.
This time the accent will be on “zombie mayhem.”
“AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE combines two of my great passions: Archie comics and horror comics,” said Aguirre-Sacasa. “This series came out of conversations with Jon [Goldwater], asking questions like, ‘what if the Archie characters found themselves in a Stephen King novel like The Stand or a Sam Raimi movie like The Evil Dead?’ Could we pull that off, tonally? We’re really going for it. The first arc is called ‘Escape from Riverdale.’ The second arc is called, brace yourself, ‘Betty RIP.’ Of course, all the horror stuff will be balanced by elements that are quintessentially Archie.”
Why do we feel that Archie’s school cafeteria will be serving a very different cuisine?
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I love the tag line for Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt. Where there is horror can there be love? You betcha!! I don’t know much about this book other than it will be in stores in October, and it has ZOMBIES! Can’t wait!
What are you waiting on?
Tweet Or so this just released promo would indicate. The Robert Kirkman-penned (!) Marvel Zombies spinoff in 2005-6 was a bestseller for Marvel, leading to lots of rotting superhero covers. In the intervening time, zombies have lost none of their bite. (Sorry,) Like a zombie, this is a no brainer.
By: Chris Verstraete,
Feel like I have been sick for-ev-er..... finally I actually feel like myself again. Can't wait for spring now and flea market season soon!!
So, what is new?
* If you didn't read it, I have a Valentine's story (or just call it a twisted love story) over at King's River Life Magazine....
* I also won a Dog Writer's Assn. Award for best mainstream magazine story! Info and a link to the story is on my nonfiction web page.
* If you're intrigued at all by zombies, several of us writers have started a blog, GirlZombieAuthors -.http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/.. random postings, so come check us out!
* I am now almost through the last edits before the galley on GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie - which I learned should be coming out around JULY 1. Yay! Saw a preliminary cover too so that should be done soon.
Wow! After what also seemed like forever, it is now only months away to seeing the book! Wow!
Funny, how after so many reads, reading it again all these doubts rush in. But I still like the story so hope others do, too.
** So, how do you cope with an upcoming book release? Get scared still? Share your thoughts!
By: Justine Larbalestier
Blog: Justine Larbalestier
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I have a writing problem which is shared by many writers: I struggle to get started.
I wrote about this problem a bit way back in 2009 when I confessed to almost destroying my professional writing career before it even started. The first six months of being a full-time freelance writer was one great big procrastinatory guilt-ridden hell.
Since then I have reigned it in so that it’s only a struggle at the beginning of a first draft.
For the first week or so on a new book it is a major effort for me to look away from whatever online or offline spectacle is calling to me in order to start typing. I’ll have the open scrivener project with the initial idea jotted down. Girl who always lies. And I’ll think, well, do I know enough about lying? Maybe I should look up what recent research there’s been? So I do that. Then I accidentally look at twitter. Or someone’s blog where a flamewar has started. Then my twenty minute break reminder will buzz. So I have to get up and stretch and someone will text me and I’ll realise we haven’t chatted in ages and call them. And as I walk around the flat chatting I’ll realise that I haven’t emptied the dishwasher and once it’s emptied I have to load it with the dirties. And then I’ll be hungry and have to make second breakfast and in doing so I’ll notice that some of the parsley in the garden is going to flower and I’ll pick those bits and kill some bugs and check for weeds and make sure the passionfruit isn’t growing over to our next door neighbour’s deck. And then I’ll realise we need pine nuts for the dinner we’re going to make so I have to up to the shops.
And like that. At which point the sun will be setting and it’s time to down tools and I’ll have written precisely no words of the new novel I swore I’d start that day.
The next day there’ll be more of the same. And that will keep on until for some miraculous reason I start typing actual words that turn into actual coherent sentences of novel-ness.
The next day the struggle will be a little bit less bad and every day will be better than the day before until I’m on a roll and the novel is actually being written.
By the time I’m heading to the climax and then the end of the book it’s really hard to not write.
It goes like that unless I take a break for a holiday, or get sick, or for some other reason stop work for four days or more. When I return to the book it’s as if I’m starting all over again. Aargh! It takes several days, sometimes more than a week, to get back into the swing again. Drives me nuts.
I have developed several methods of dealing with this annoying tendency of mine.
Procrastination is good
The first is to simply accept that procrastinating is part of my process. Often I’m unable to get started on a new novel because I’m not ready. I haven’t found the way in: the right voice, the right setting, the right starting point. I haven’t done enough research. All that futzing around is me finding a way in. It’s necessary and without it I can’t write my novels.
Though sometimes I’m just flat out wasting time. RSI has meant that I do way less of that online. I consider that to be a blessing because it pushes me out to the garden or out of the house altogether a lot more often. Nothing better for thinking things through than being away from my computer. Long walks, I love you.
Not having done enough research is often the reason why I can’t get started. I need to know more about that world and those characters and what their problem is.
Before I could really get going with Liar I had to find out a lot more about lying. Why people lie, what kinds of lies they tell, the difference between compulsive and pathological lying.
Same with the 1930s New York City novel. I needed to know so much more about the city back then, about the USA back then, about how the USA wound up where it was in the early 1930s. So the idea kicked around for quite a long time before I could write anything down.
Sometimes a novel springs from research I don’t realise I’m doing. I’ll be reading a non-fiction book or listening to a fascinating radio show or see a great documentary and it will give me a great idea. That’s how my sekrit project novel, what I just finished first draft of, got started.
Many books at once
I have learned to always jot down new ideas. For me they’re rarely ideas, per se, more often they’re a fragment or beginning. That way I always have a novel to turn to when I’m stuck on the one I’m supposed to be writing.
The first words I wrote of Liar are:
I’m a liar. I don’t do it on purpose. Well, okay, yeah, I do. But it’s not like I have a choice. It’s just what comes out of my mouth. If my mouth is closed then I’m cool, no lies at all.
That did not make it into the book. I don’t even know whose voice that is. It’s not that of Micah, Liar‘s protagonist. But I jotted that down in 2005 as the first spark of the book that was published as Liar two years later.
At the time I had already started, but not finished, the book that was to become How To Ditch Your Fairy and was on deadline to finish Magic Lessons, the second book in the Magic or Madness trilogy. I was also hard at work on the Daughters of Earth anthology. It was not a good time to start a new book, but I was stuck on Magic Lessons: so the day before it was due with my US publisher I started writing HTDYF.
Yes, I was a bit late with Magic Lessons. From memory, I think I was no more than two weeks late, which is not too bad. Starting HTDYF when I did meant that after I’d sent off the first draft of Magic Lessons I could get back to work on it. And in between ML rewrites and copyedits and proofs and having to write the last book in the trilogy I kept going back to it. It was a wonderful respite from what I was supposed to be writing.
Turns out that what works best for me is to always have more than one novel on the go. Right at this moment I have recently finished the first draft of my sekrit project novel. But I have ten other novels that I’ve started, ranging from the 1930s New York City novel, which is more than 100,000 words long, to a rough idea for a novel of 126 words.
If I get stuck with the book I planned to work on I turn to one of the other books. Often I’m writing back and forth on several different books at once until one of them takes off. Sometimes I’m totally unable to decide and poll my blog readers or ask my agent or Scott. That’s how I went with Liar back in 2007 and put down the lodger novel and the plastic surgery novel both of which I know I’ll get back to some day. Actually I got back to the lodger one a few years ago before it was swamped by the 1930s NYC novel and then Team Human.
If I get an idea for a new book I always jot it down no matter where I am with the main novel I’m working on. Sometimes that novel takes over. The novel I just finished came to me very strongly a year ago when I was feeling overwhelmed by the sprawling NYC 1930s novel which had just hit 100,000 words with no visible sign of ending. I hadn’t, in fact, gotten up to what I thought would be the book’s first incident. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND WORDS and I wasn’t at what I thought was the beginning. AARGH. In my panic I started a whole other novel.
In conclusion: There may be a good reason you can’t get started. Procrastination can be your friend. It’s okay to flibbertigibbet from one novel to another and back again and then to another and so on. Other writers will have other solutions and processes. Do whatever it is that works best for you. Zombies should not, in fact, be added to all stories. Just the ones that need zombies.
Author Lyra McKen discusses the origins of her novel, Zombified.
When asked to discuss how I came up with the concept and story line for my novel Zombified, I had to think back. I had to think of where I was mentally when the idea formed. I had been annoying my family and boyfriend for weeks talking about the Zombie Apocalypse. My Dad would say something about, "If the economy doesn't do something then we are in for it." That isn't exactly what he said, my father doesn't speak like that, but for the sake of this article that is what he said. I would respond with, "The Zombies will take over!" As annoyed as my family was, I was fascinated with Zombies and why they enthralled our culture so. I begin to think how would you feel if you knew you were going to start eating people and rotting away? Cassie started to form in my mind. She was a young girl with a bright future, derailed by a disease and the end of life as she knew it. I then started thinking, what if Zombies actually could communicate and had a purpose with their constant wondering around. Slopar was born, my idea of the Zombie language. I pictured Cassie talking to someone about her life as she snacked on him and wrote the beginning. After this I started thinking, what if you bit your crush? I had to give Cassie a gorgeous guy, figure out how to get them alone, and let her ruin it with her soon-to-be-dead tendencies. I really enjoyed writing the novel. I wanted to explore the thoughts of the partially infected, and what would happen when they met up and tried to fight the desire to feed as the infection spread. I hope people enjoy reading Zombified as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for taking a trip into my mind. Zombified is available on Kindle for $3.99 (FREE to Prime users) and also in paperback. You can get it here - http://goo.gl/fzdDb
BROXO by Zack Giallongo is a fantastic debut graphic novel and a little bit different from what I normally find myself reading. It's a little bit violent, a little bit gross and a littl ebit creepy. However, it's also frequently funny, occasionally poignant and packed with great characters. It may be a jump, but it actually reminds me a bit of one of my favorite television shows, Avatar:
Here are some horror or post-apocalyptic young adult titles to get you in the mood for Halloween! All priced under 4 bucks. Click on the covers for the Amazon product page.
Sudden Independents by Ted Hill – .99
Jimmy never thought he’d be spending the apocalypse farming in Nebraska and worrying about Hunter. But when the plague killed their parents, along with everyone over the age of seventeen, Jimmy suddenly became head of the household.
Then the oldest kid in town turned eighteen and the plague chased him down. Now Jimmy has one more thing to worry about—and he’s running out of time.
Hunter finds a little girl named Catherine under a cottonwood tree in the middle of nowhere. When Catherine magically heals Hunter’s broken arm, Jimmy hopes he will survive his eighteenth birthday if he can protect her from the horseman responsible for unleashing the plague.
The Scourge by A G Henley 2.99
Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She’s never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings’ tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.
And she’s always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.
The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn’s.
Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.
As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.
A tale of star-crossed lovers, strange creatures, and secretive, feuding factions, THE SCOURGE introduces readers to a rich and exciting new world where nothing is as it seems.
The Outside by Shalini Boland – 3.99
A post-apocalyptic romance thriller.
The world of the future is divided by Perimeters: high-security gated communities where life goes on as normal. If you’re inside you’re lucky, if you’re outside life expectancy takes a nose dive.
Riley is fortunate to have been born on the right side of the fence. But her life of privilege comes crashing down when someone breaks through the Perimeter and murders her sister. She forsakes her own safety to go in search of the killer. Luc decides to go with her otherwise she’ll be dead before she’s past the security gate. But what awaits her outside is more unbelievable than she ever expected.
Cut to the present day where Eleanor’s world is falling apart. This time next year, civilisation won’t be quite so civilised . . .
The Burn by Annie Oldham – .99
The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That’s what Terra’s father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right. She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. But then she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, and she must decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn – 2.99
When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin – 2.99
Everything is in ruins.A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.So what does Araby Worth have to live for?Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
By: David Elzey,
Blog: The Excelsior File
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by Jonathan Maberry
Simon & Schuster 2012
Benny and his friends continue on their quest to find what's left of civilization before the zombies and death cults get to them first. Third in a (seemingly) endless series.
Why is it so hard for writers, agents, editors and publishers to know when a story has gone on too long and jumped the shark?
Long-time readers here at the excelsior file might
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Author: Darren Shan
May Contain Spoilers
When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B’s racist father thinks it’s a joke– but even if it isn’t, he figures, it’s ok to lose a few Irish.
B doesn’t fully buy into Dad’s racism, but figures it’s easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn’t work, B doesn’t hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks.
That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers.
This is the first Darren Shan novel that I have read (I have read some graphic novel adaptations previously), and despite some reservations, I enjoyed it very much. ZOM-B kept me happily entertained on a flight to OKC; it’s a fast read, with blistering action and compulsively readable prose. I gobbled this up in just a few hours, and was disappointed when I reached the last page, because this one comes to a painful, screeching halt. It has no ending, just one of those annoying To Be Continued on the last page. While I now feel invested in the series and will be on board for the next volume, I worry that the next book won’t work for me as well. This one hit at the right time; with Halloween looming, I was in the mood for something scary, and being trapped on a plane for was few hours, I needed something to occupy my time and keep me from wallowing in boredom. ZOM-B did that; in spades. I don’t know if I will feel the same way, or have the right circumstances, when ZOM-B Underground hits stores February of next year.
B is a high school student, and after hearing reports of a zombie invasion in an Irish town, B’s father laughs the news off as a hoax. When B’s mother voices her concern, her husband reacts violently, silencing her fears. B isn’t sure what’s going on, but if the videos and the pictures of rotting dead people viciously attacking and eating helpless people is true, B doesn’t know what to do. When the zombies show up at school, chaos erupts. Only those brave enough, and willing to do anything to survive, will live through the massacre. Will B make it out of school alive?
B is a hard character to like. After years of trying to fend off his father’s abusive attacks, both on B and on B’s mother, B is exhausted. Playing along with his father’s racially biased views in order to avoid beatings, B comes across as just as bigoted and narrow-minded as his dad. While he tries to deny his prejudice, because, hey, he has a black friend, it’s hard to ignore the things B says and does. The intolerance towards other cultures is a strong theme in the book, but it is so heavy-handed that at times it didn’t work for me. It grated on my nerves. Yes, B’s dad is a bully and a jerk, but I didn’t need to be reminded of that every other page.
B has a lot to deal with at home as his father’s temper often flares out of control. When news of a zombie plague hits the news, everyone laughs it off as an elaborate joke. When B’s worst nightmare comes true and the zombies overrun school, it seems as though the world is ending. Only quick thinking and brutal reactions keep B and a small handful of students alive. The zombies are relentless, and B’s little group is shrinking fast. One after another is picked off and eaten by the ravenous zombies. Soon, it’s everyone for themselves. While the small group is forced to work together, it is painfully obvious that the peace will only hold as long as it is mutually beneficial. If tossing a student or two to the zombie mob will buy the more ruthless survivors a reprieve from a painful death, so be it. The group dynamics were always shifting, which made the read even more suspenseful, because you never knew when someone would be sacrificed or eaten by the zombies.
This is a fun, fast, gory read, right up until that dreaded, hated, To Be Continued. I like a little more closure to my books, but as this is the first in a projected 12 book series, I guess I need to get used to running into a lot of brick walls.
Review copy provided by publisher
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews
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