Aaaaaaand…It’s Over! (aka My Year-End Wrap)


So 2014 has been an interesting year. Now that it’s over, I can laugh about it, right? Lots of changes in my personal life meant lots of delays in my authorly life, but with regards to my annual goals list I still had some big successes. Let’s take a look, shall we?

About this time, I generally go through my goals list item by item and detail how far I’ve gotten. Of course, I didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d hoped (nothing new there), and since I’m far too lazy to go back a year and look at the actual list, I’m just going to point out a few successes. I’ll start with one very cool item I may have already mentioned.

Camp Hollybrook has found a home with the good folks at Damnation Books. Camp Hollybrook is my mildly humorous and very bloody Bigfoot novella that I loosely set in the Jersey Pine Barrens. I’m excited for this release, because I think the book is a lot of fun. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, let’s hear from someone who’s a bit of an expert on things humorous AND bloody:

“A gory, fun-filled creature feature romp. There’s nothing pretentious about this one—just enjoy the splattery ride!” — Jeff Strand, author of DWELLER

Another goal was to join the Horror Writer’s Association and earn enough from book sales to pay for my annual membership. That one gets a yes and yes. I know some folks take issue with the HWA, but I’m the type of person to ignore the occasional drama and focus on the good things. The HWA is the professional association for dark fiction writers, and that’s what I write. I do plan to renew my membership for 2015. So there, I said it.

Yet another goal of mine was to write a new short story a month for the entire year. Although this one’s a no, I did manage to write a handful of really damn cool shorts that I’m very proud of. In my opinion, this year I wrote some of the best short work I’ve ever done. Of course, I haven’t spent a lot of time shopping them around (or doing anything else for that matter) because of the next goal.

FINISH THE DAMN SUBMARINE NOVEL. As of today, that one is a yes screamed from the highest mountain I could find…which is just the foot-tall hill in my back yard, but it’s the thought that counts, right? After years of work on this damn thing, I was tired of talking about edits and revisions and changes and blah blah blah. I sat down, ignored everything else except work and family, and finished the final edit. In the past 2 months, I haven’t written or shopped any other work. I haven’t written any new music. I haven’t played any video games (no, really…I haven’t!). I haven’t even spent much time on the internet. All I’ve done is work on this book, and now it’s not only done, but it even has a title.

its done

Funny thing about this is, the final version came in right around 64,000 words. I didn’t plan that at all, I just write until it’s done and then edit the crap out of it. Know what else came in right around 64,000 words? Stripped. True story. Weird, right?

Anyway, next step is to stick a hot poker in my eye. That would be less painful than drafting the synopsis and query letters, but it’s a necessary evil if I ever want this book to set sail.

You see what I did there? Set sail? Because it’s a Navy book? Get it?

Ahem…anyway, there’s a question that I know I’m going to get eventually, so I’ll just ask myself first.

Question: Do sailors really say fuck that much?

Answer: Yes, yes they do.

So there’s another book done, now to figure out what’s next (there are three on deck, with a few more waiting in the wings…it could go either way, but I’m thinking I’ll wrap Celery Hand Duran before digging into the haunted house book…but don’t quote me).

However…before working on any of that, I might just get drunk tonight and kill a few hundred zombies with my old pal Isaac Washington. I hope you’ll all join me.

Happy New Year!

Winter of Zombie 2014 – A Little Career Advice from Joe McKinney



Welcome back friends, I’ve got quite a treat for you. It’s always an honor for me to host during the Summer of Zombie/Winter of Zombie events, and this winter is no exception. Today it’s my pleasure to bring you A Little Career Advice from Bram Stoker Award-winning author Joe McKinney. Dive on in, you won’t be disappointed!

A Little Career Advice

 By Joe McKinney

Joe McKinney Author's Photo copy

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  When I got started, I had no idea I was a writer.  None.  I wrote a novel called Dead City about a young patrolman trying to get home to his family on the first night of the zombie apocalypse because, at the time I was a young patrolman dealing with the stress and anxiety that comes with being a new parent.  I kept wondering to myself why anybody in his or her right mind would trust me with a kid.  I mean, me.  I’ve got issues out the wazoo.  In what kind of universe am I qualified to raise a child?  Every time my wife and I went to the doctor’s office for a checkup, all I could think of was that famous opening quatrain from Philip Larkin:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

That was totally me.  I was so scared of being a dad.  I was so totally convinced that I was going to screw it all up.  That poor child in there, mewling in the nursery, she was going to have the world’s most conflicted, most frightened, most “God help me I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing” parent this side of wherever.

I was struggling.

But I’m a fixer.  I’m that guy who has to do something about his problems rather than just accept them.

So, what I did to cope with that confusion and stress and total, mind-crimping fear, was write a novel about a young cop fighting zombies.

It seemed simple enough, and really, the book wasn’t written with any sort of market in mind.  I knew nothing of publishing, in fact.  I had only vague notions, and those were of the distorted kind I’d picked up from authors who like to write about authors, like Stephen King.

I honestly thought it worked like this:  You write a book.  It becomes a bestseller.  You quit your day job.  You wait around for adventure to come to you.

Really.  No joke.  That was what I thought the writing life was like.

But, back to the novel.

I wrote it, and a publisher bought it.  The book came out in mass-market paperback—with a horrible cover I might add.  But, despite all the marks against it, it did quite well.  I wrote a zombie novel when there were very few other zombie novels out there.  And I was in bookstores before bookstores became dinosaurs.  What that meant was that I got read by readers hungry for what I had written.

I sold a bunch of copies.  Not a million, but a good amount.

And here’s the kicker, I kept selling.  My editor at Kensington admitted to me once that he expected my book to die on the vine within three months, and I was right there with him.  I wasn’t a writer, after all.  I was just some guy who used zombies as a metaphor for the fears of becoming a dad.

But let’s turn back the clock a bit.

I started as a short story writer.  The whole reason I wrote at all was to talk about individual moments that mattered to me.

And that meant short stories, mostly.

I’d write them, staple the pages together, and leave the manuscript at the corner of my desk until the next idea came along.  Nearly all those stories eventually got tossed in the trash because I didn’t think of myself as a writer.  Writing stories was just something I did because my mind was restless and needed an outlet.  And I hate Sudoku.

Yet I found myself with kind of a hit on my hands.  With Dead City continuing to sell, I suddenly found it easy to do something with those short stories I’d been trashing.  I could actually type them up, polish them, and ship them out to magazines and anthologies.  For a year after the publication of Dead City, I went on a story-writing binge, sometimes turning out as many as three in a single week.

I sent them out to every market I could find, rarely researching the recipient beforehand… because everybody in this writing business of ours is respectable and has honorable intentions, right?

To be brief, I learned two lessons from this.

First, research your publisher before you agree to do anything with them.  There are good people out there… and then there are the creeps, and the dead beats, and the assholes, and the completely fucking clueless… and thanks to the Internet, every single one of them can put together an anthology or a magazine or a website or whatever.  You are the company you keep, my mom once told me, and after a year of recklessly publishing, I found myself in the company of some dubious bedfellows.

Research, people.  Know whose mule you’re hitching your wagon to.  When everything is said and done, a good name (you can put the word “brand” in here, if you want) is worth its weight in gold.  You have to be your own best advocate in this world, and that means learning the skills needed to understand the business side of writing and to navigate its (sometimes) rocky shores.

There are sirens out there that will guide you to your doom, so beware.

My second lesson is this:  The novel is king.

As I mentioned above, Dead City did better than my publisher expected.  It wasn’t the walkaway success The Walking Dead was, but I was suddenly money in the pocket, and publishers like that kind of thing.  After a year of sprinting through short stories, I got an email from my editor at Kensington.  He wanted to know about a sequel.

I read the email and said, “What sequel?”  I’m not a writer.  I had the one story.  That was it.

Until I thought of the short stories I’d been cranking out.  Only then did I step back and say, “Gosh, maybe I am a writer.”

Yes, short stories are fun—but unless you’re Ray Bradbury, they don’t pay the bills.  I can’t stress this enough, and I really wish there had been somebody there to tell me, “Hey, don’t wait.  Writing is fun, and it can be a business, too, if you work at it, and that means keeping the novels coming.”  Had I heard that, I would have been able to approach this writing gig with a little more direction and purpose.

I seem to have done okay, but really, it’s been a race to catch up on the time I lost that first year of my career as a professional writer.  So, my advice for managing your writing career consists of two things. First, know the business.  Learn it.  Take the time to discover the ins and outs of your trade.  And second, write books.  Always be looking toward that next novel, and make sure it’s better than anything you’ve ever written up to that point!

Plague of the Undead

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The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

Dear Rob Zombie: I’m Sorry

On this glorious Halloween night, I’d like to say:

Dear Rob Zombie,

I’m sorry – I’ve been hating Halloween 2 for all the wrong reasons. Please allow me to explain. For starters, I’m a big fan of Rob Zombie’s music, and have been since the days of White Zombie.

Now this is the real shit...

Now this is the real shit…

I saw him live with Korn when he was on tour for Hellbilly Deluxe, and it was a hell of a show. When he started making movies, I was pretty excited. I loved House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, and when I heard he was remaking Halloween I just about jumped up and down.

The good one...

The good one…

Here’s the part where a lot of you will start to hate me: I liked Rob Zombie’s Halloween better than the original.

Please stop throwing shit at hurts.

Please stop throwing shit at me…it hurts.

John Carpenter’s original Halloween is a classic that could never be replicated. I think this is where many remakes go wrong. They try to imitate what made the original so great, and they fail. What I loved about Rob Zombie’s Halloween is that it didn’t try to imitate the original. It was truly a new vision of the characters, and it was violent as hell. I think I squealed a few times while watching it, and when I learned he was making a sequel I couldn’t wait to see it. That’s where it all went wrong.

The NOT good one...

The NOT good one…

I hated it. Big time. I watched it merely waiting for it to end…just so I would never have to watch it again. When asked about it later, I always used this rationale: there was not a single likable character in the movie. Seriously, they all sucked. I mean, what a pack of whiny assholes. Where the Lorie Strode character was at least believable in the first movie, she had turned into a self-hating might-as-well-be-goth character who looked like she could cut herself at any minute, and whine at the audience through the whole thing. Everyone was pretty much like that. I hated them all.

I really thought that was why I hated the movie so much. I’ve seen stupid movies that I still enjoyed, but if I didn’t like any of the characters it was always a fail. Most times I would just stop watching, but I watched all of Halloween 2 in the hopes that I would see a glimmer of what I loved in the first one. Instead I saw a stupid ending with ghosts and horses or something, I don’t know…I’ve repressed the memory. However, I recently learned something; I might have been hating the movie for all the wrong reasons. Again, allow me to explain.

Last week I read a novella. I won’t talk much about the book in this setting because I don’t want you to think I disliked it, but if you’re interested you can read my review on Goodreads. As it relates to Halloween 2, the important part is this: I hated every character in that book. Couldn’t stand them and hoped they would all die. Seriously. However, I somehow liked the book. It was a really cool and creepy read, and at the end I didn’t even care that I hated the characters. This was the first time I even finished a book where I didn’t like the characters (and was a little confused by the story, but that’s a different conversation), much less enjoyed the book overall. What the hell happened?

I don’t know, but the bottom line is this: In a perfect world, your characters will be as likable as your story. That’s generally considered a win. However, if your characters suck, the story and writing had better be damned good. I don’t recommend trying this just to see if I’m right, but I think people will forgive certain things (like shitty characters) as long as you keep them engaged and entertained. I also think this works both ways, because I’ve read books (and watched movies) where the story was horribly stupid but the characters were so engaging that I made it to the end and enjoyed it overall.

In the case of the recent book I read, the story and writing were that good. If you’re okay with a few head-scratching moments, I do recommend giving it a read. It has great pacing and you’ll rip right through it. I just bought another book by the author, if that’s any indication. Unfortunately, in the case of Halloween 2…well…sorry Rob Zombie, but your movie just plain sucked.

Word of the Day: Irregardless


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In today’s exciting chapter of the new and to-be-randomly-updated feature on my little slice of the internet (henceforth to be aptly titled Word of the Day), we will discuss a word that is near and dear to many of our hearts: irregardless.

Irregardless is one of those words that a lot of people use and a lot more people hate. Like me. I hate it. It’s redundant, it’s stupid, and I know a few people who use it all the time like it’s their favorite word. For a long time, I got behind the war cry of IT’S NOT A WORD!!! Sadly, after a five second Google search my whole world has been turned upside-down: it turns out it is a word.

ooh, look! it's an adjective AND an adverb!

ooh, look! it’s an adjective AND an adverb!

Not surprisingly, its definition is the very word that should always be used in its place: regardless. Why not just use regardless? Because irregardless is a bigger word? Does the extra syllable make you feel smarter? I just can’t understand it, but what amazes me most is how long this bastardized combination of irrespective and regardless has been around. According to the folks at Merriam-Webster, it’s been around for over a hundred years (first known use: 1912). Considering it would take a couple years for it to make its way around the world, that would bring common knowledge of its use to around 1914. That, of course, is the beginning of World War I. Now, I’m not saying that this stupid word started WWI or anything, but with as violently hated as the word can be, you can’t fault my logic that it has to be more than a mere coincidence.

Crazy? Who said anything about crazy?

Crazy? Who said anything about crazy?

All kidding aside, the sad truth remains that this is a word if for no other reason than Merriam-Webster said so. They’re the word police, right? Hey, wait…if I get a job there, can I just make up words and put them in the dictionary? Wouldn’t that be fun? Finally, MacDubious would get the global respect it deserves. But I digress.

I say if you like the word, go on and use it. Use it as if it’s your favorite word. Use it until you’re blue in the face, because everyone around will be able to look forward to you passing out just so you’ll stop saying it. Go on with your bad self, but go on with the understanding that just about everyone is hating you. And if you’re using it in the company of us authorly-types, well…let’s just say there’s a really good chance you’ve been straight-up murdered in someone’s book. Horribly and violently murdered. Maybe more than once.

Not…not that I know anything about that…

On Violence…Again


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With the release of Camp Hollybrook coming in a few months from Damnation Books, I’ve had folks ask me what it’s about. I usually say something like, “It’s a violent and slightly amusing Bigfoot novella”, and for most folks that does it just fine. Of course, I’ve also gotten repeats of yet another question that goes a little bit like this:

Why so violent?

I’ve discussed this before, more than once, yet I feel it’s worth repeating every now and then. I don’t condone violence. Not in the real world. It sucks. Real people get hurt all the time…good people who in many cases were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s reality, and it sucks. So why do I write such violent fiction?

Thank you Google.

Thank you Google.

Well, it’s all in the word, isn’t it? If reality sucks, then a big part of being a writer is taking people away from that reality, at least for a little while. When you’re in a fictional environment, anything goes. Some people (myself included) get a real kick out of being scared. Fake scared. Like books and movies scared. Sure, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Hell, I’d rather pull my eyelashes out one by one with a rusty pair of pliers than listen to country music, but it’s popular and it sells so there’s got to be something to it. It’s just not my cup of tea.

I'll have mine with a side of The Empire Strikes Back, thank you very much...

I’ll have mine with a side of The Empire Strikes Back, thank you very much…

So why violent fiction? I’ve said it about Stripped and I’ll say it again about Camp Hollybrook: because when you close the book or turn off the movie, everything is back to normal. For however long you spent with your choice of medium, you were transported to a world where anything goes. You can be scared, you can squirm as absolutely horrifying things happen to characters that you’ve (hopefully) come to love. When they win in the end, everyone feels good. You close the book, and the world is back to normal. Isn’t that just the greatest thing?

But can’t you write anything that’s not so violent?

Short answer: yes, of course. Long answer: yes and no…and I don’t know. If you’ve read enough of my short fiction, you’ve no doubt read something that’s not super violent. Yes, I have written things where no one gets torn to shreds. Before you ask, no, I don’t think I have any stories where no one dies. Stories end up as they are because I simply write whatever story comes out. It’s that simple (and confusing, so I try not to read too much into it). Is there something weird about me that makes me start killing my characters as soon as they’re developed? I don’t think so. Or maybe there is? I don’t care either way.

If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Actually, with all the people I’ve met and worked with through the years, writers in general tend to be some of the nicest. I think I’m in good company, and if someone believes my stories are going to summon the devil, I’m okay with that. Because it’s stupid. No, really…It is.

You know what? I think I’ll let Chest and Brock handle this:

 Reed Rothchild – He’ll fuck in his own time…

Long story short, keep your nightmares on the page and you’ll sleep better at night. It works for me, and with as popular as horror books and films continue to be I suspect I’m far from alone. It’s saying something when one of the best selling authors of all time (regardless of genre) is Stephen King. That guy has written some horrifying shit; he’s even written generally taboo things like killing kids and animals. We forgive him because he’s awesome. He’s immensely popular because he’s taken millions of people to other worlds where they can be scared, they can laugh, they can cry, and most importantly, they can forget about whatever shitty thing is going on in their lives for a brief period of time.

You know what that is? That’s magic.

Focus, Man, Focus!


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So here we are, more than half way through 2014. When I was younger, a year seemed like a lifetime. Now, I blink and I missed a few months. Such is getting old…

First off, an update: my much talked-about (by me) violent bigfoot novella Camp Hollybrook has found a home at Damnation Books (publisher of the very cool Hairy Bromance by T. L. Barrett, which I reviewed here, and the upcoming Salpsan by Robert Essig, whose Through The In Between, Hell Awaits I reviewed here). Now all I want to do is get back to work on Return to Camp Hollybrook, but I’ll talk about focusing later… I’ll be sharing details and cover as they come up, so hooray for that!

Also, I have two short stories in the upcoming 22 Lies By 44 Authors from Post Mortem Press.Do you see? Those pants are literally on fire.

It’s a collection of flash fiction by members of the Post Mortem Press family and boasts an impressive table of contents, including my stories Therapy and A Man In A Room. I’m really looking forward to this, as one of the stories is about a man named Cappy that I hope you like reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

Anyway, after working on over a dozen separate projects at the same time (3 novels, 4 novellas, and lots of short stories) I’ve decided it’s time to focus. For me to focus I have to write it down, so here it is:


Sorry about the yelling, but I’ve been talking about this longer than I’ve been talking about Camp Hollybrook, so..seriously. Get it done. I was on track to have it done this week, but then the Camp Hollybrook contract came in so I shifted gears to a contract/pre-marketing mindset. I’m back to editing as of today, so I plan to have it done and out to beta readers next week.

2) Finish Celery Hand Duran.

This is a novella I’ve been off and on working on. It’s a bizarro story that’s a lot of fun, now I just need to finish it. Once done, I’ll let it marinate for a few months before pre-beta edits, so that won’t see light until 2015 at the earliest, probably 2016. Yeah, I’m slow like that.

3) Complete final edits on The One With Phil and The One At Work

These are a pair of short stories I’ve been working on for a while and just haven’t polished them quite enough yet. They’re marinating right now, so by the time I get back to them they should be ready for a final once-through. Then, it’s out to the world. And before you ask: no, that’s not their real titles. I don’t have titles for most works in-progress, so I tend to name them like Friends episodes.

4) Climb Mount Next-Novel

I’ve got two other novels plotted out with pages of notes for each. I have to figure out which is next, but one is going to be first-drafted by the end of the year…even if it means I don’t sleep until 2015. I’m on it.

So there it is, my focused plan of no-distraction for the rest of 2014. As much as it pains me, I need to ignore everything else I’ve been working on, even the new ideas that have popped in my head and screamed WRITE ME NOW OR I WILL FUCK WITH YOUR HEAD AND MAKE YOUR BRAIN BLEED.

Every "brain bleeding" image was depressing, so here's a pair of kittens!

Every “bleeding brain” image was depressing, so here’s a pair of kittens!

Okay, they may not be quite that aggressive, but they do have a habit of invading other stories if I leave them alone for too long. After all, that’s how Duran ended up in the submarine book (unless I edit him out…shh! don’t tell him! He’d be sooooooo pissed)…

Contributors & titles announced for 44 LIES BY 22 AUTHORS

Borrowed (stolen) from the very cool Christian Larsen, author of Losing Touch .


If you’ve been to the Post Mortem Press website in the last while or two, you may have noticed a book cover there, just teasing the hell out of you:

Do you see? Those pants are literally on fire. Do you see this? Those pants are literally on fire.

Well, now I can tell you that Post Mortem Press will be releasing its upcoming flash fiction horror anthology: 44 LIES BY 22 AUTHORS … sometime, I guess.

I would tell you a release date, but who’d believe me? I’m one of the liars in the book. Told two of ’em in “Chief Chatzahoaken” and “The Lightning Makes a Stop”, and now I know who the others will be … and the labels of their libel:

  • Eric Beebe – “All Authors Lie (and Some Editors, Too)”
  • J. David Anderson – “Retirement” & “Happy Birthday”
  • Paul Anderson – ” Passive” & “Lead into Gold”
  • David Bernard – “A Ghoul’s Gotta Eat”, “After Midnight…

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Summer of Zombie 2014 Spotlight On Sarah Lyons Fleming


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Greetings Internet! This fine Thursday morning I’m honored to host another exciting chapter in the month-long Summer of Zombie 2014. Today’s treat comes in the form of a spotlight on Sarah Lyons Fleming, author of Until The End Of The World, And After, and So Long, Lollipops. Check it out:

Summer of Zombie 2014 SPOTLIGHT ON: Sarah Lyons Fleming


What is your latest zombie release?

Until the End of the World (Book 1) There is a book two that just came out, but I’ll be doing book 1. 🙂

Give us a quick description of it (no spoilers).

Cassie Forrest isn’t surprised to learn that the day she’s decided to get her life together is also the day the world ends. After all, she’s been on a self-imposed losing streak since her survivalist parents died: she’s stopped painting, broken off her engagement to Adrian and dated a real jerk. Rectifying her mistakes has to wait, however, because Cassie and her friends have just enough time to escape Brooklyn for her parents’ cabin before Bornavirus LX turns them into zombies, too.

This is difficult enough, but Cassie’s tag along ex-boyfriend and her friend’s bratty sister have a knack for making everything, even the apocalypse, more unpleasant. When the two attract a threat as deadly as the undead to their safe haven, Cassie’s forced to see how far she’ll go to protect those she loves. And it’s a lot farther than she’d anticipated. This, coupled with Adrian’s distant voice on Safe Zone Radio and, of course, the living dead, threaten to put Cassie right back into the funk she just dragged herself out of.

Survival’s great and all, especially when you have leather armor, good friends and home-brewed beer, but there’s something Cassie must do besides survive: tell Adrian she still loves him. And to do that, Cassie has to find faith that she’s stronger than she thinks, she’s still a crack shot and true love never dies.

UTEOTW cover 300

Tell us something unique about it.

It’s not your usual gore-spattered zombie novel. It’s mainly a story of survival, humor and true love. With zombies.

Where can people purchase it? 

On Amazon

On Barnes & Noble

On iTunes

Learn more about Sarah:


Facebook: SarahLyonsFleming

Twitter: @SLyonsFleming

Goodreads: Sarah Lyons Fleming

Author’s Bio:

I’m a Laura Ingalls devotee, wannabe prepper and lover of anything pre-apocalyptic, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic—-or anything in between. Add in some humor and romance, and I’m in heaven.

Besides an unhealthy obsession with home-canned food and Bug Out Bag equipment, I love books, making artsy stuff and laughing my arse off. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, I now live in Oregon with my family and, in my opinion, not nearly enough supplies for the zombie apocalypse. But I’m working on it.

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SummerZombie Shirt Front

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

Lucky 13 is available now!


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Now available from Padwolf Publishing:


Lucky 13, a collection of tales of crime & mayhem. All 13 stories contain some element of luck, whether good, bad, or indifferent. My story “This Is Only Going To Hurt” is in there, along with stories from Trent Zelazny, Jessica McHugh, Matt Schiariti, Sarah A. Hoyt, Brady Allen, Danielle Ackley-Mcphail, Patrick Thomas, Robert Waters, Diane Raetz, Georgina Morales, John L. French, and Michael Laimo. It was edited by the very awesome Edward J. McFadden III, author of numerous books and stories including one of my favorites from the past couple years: The Black Death of Babylon.

Want to know what “This Is Only Going To Hurt” is all about? Why not read the intro:

     Frank cracked an eye open and stared at the clock. It was too blurry to read, but the darkness outside told him all he needed to know—it was too damn early. When the phone rang again, he reached for it. He knocked over a bottle of something, and it dropped to the floor.

     Fuck. He slapped his hand around the cluttered nightstand until he found the phone. Should have turned this thing off. He fumbled with the keypad and sighed when he found the answer button.

     “Yeah, who’s this?”

     “It’s Barron,” a voice said.

     “You’re not my brother,” Frank said. “You’re a girl.”

     “I know,” the voice said. “It’s about your brother. He’s missing.”

     “Who is this?”

     “Xiuying,” she said.

     Frank sat up and reached for the lamp. As soon as he clicked it on, he squeezed his  eyes shut and dropped back down to the bed. The light was not helping his head. “What do you want?”

     “I need your help,” she said. “Barron needs your help.”

     “He wouldn’t even call me if he was dying,” Frank said.

     “I know. That’s why I’m calling.” Frank opened his eyes and looked across the room at his desk. Amid the scattered paper and empty bottles, a framed photo of him and Barron remained upright. It had been taken years earlier, back when Frank was an honest cop and Barron still lived in New York. They looked like friends, but things had changed.

     “Where is he?”

     “I last saw him yesterday,” Xiuying said. “He had a meeting. He never came back.”

     “What do you want from me?”

     “Come to Guangzhou, help me find your brother.”

     “I can’t fly to China,” Frank said. “I’m not even supposed to leave the country.”

     “I know. Your brother told me.”

     “Oh yeah?” Frank said. He sat up again and looked at the stack of documents on his desk collecting bourbon stains. “What else did he tell you?”

     “He told me you have no love for Internal Affairs. He told me you would leave the first real chance you got.”

     “That sounds like bullshit,” Frank said, even though he knew better. Barron knew better. Frank’s investigation was not going well. Maybe it is time to go. “A ticket to Guangzhou is damn expensive.”

     “It’s already paid for,” Xiuying said. “You leave in four hours.”

     “That’s not a lot of time,” he said.

     “Then you’d better get dressed.”


Lucky 13 is available now in paperbackkindle, and nook versions, and the audiobook is being recorded for release soon. Check it out!


Summer of Zombie 2014 Guest Post – Featuring Jack Wallen


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This year, I’m honored to host Jack Wallen for the Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour!


For the month of June, zAuthors will be hosted across this awesomely bloated internet of ours, so don’t forget to follow the link at the bottom of the page. You wouldn’t want to miss anything during this fantastic June of the Dead, but before you get all scroll-happy, read what special guest Jack Wallen has to say about:

Apocalypse and Rock: Two nomtastic genres that belong together

If I were to ask you to name a genre of book that fit perfectly with rock and roll, what would you say? Romance? Nay. Historical Thriller? You’re killing me! Young Adult? Only if by “rock and roll” you mean pop music, then ‘maybe’.

Of all the genres of books, there is really only one that seamlessly melds with rock — horror. But even more specific — apocalyptic horror. No other form of fiction blends to the perfect mix as does our favorite dystopian fiction.

Rock and zombies. They go hand in hand, like a Marshall amp and Gibson Les Paul. Like psychobilly and pompadours.

This idea, that rock and zombies are the perfect pairing, is what led me to write The Last Casket. If you look throughout the I Zombie series, it’s very clear that music is an important element in my life — I constantly reference music in many forms. The second book, My Zombie My, gave birth to Zombie Radio (which wound up being a weekly podcast of mine). As I wound my way through the landscape of the series, music continued to play a major role in the survival of Bethany Nitshimi and her ragtag machine of hope. The idea of music being the food of life culminated in the sixth book in the series, the soon to be released Cry Zombie Cry. This story centers around a metal music festival used to celebrate life. That story includes the band Unsun — who play a central role in the climax of the action. Soon after I completed the first draft of that book, I decided to take the idea one step further and I sought out the psychobilly band Kitty in a Casket to star in a new I Zombie spinoff series, The Last Casket.


I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was when they agreed (I’ve been a big fan of theirs for some time). This new series brings together two of my favorite genres and crashes them into one another with attitude to spare. Attitude — a key element in the pairing. The psychobilly (and rockabilly) music genre is fueled by the perfect attitude for apocalyptic fiction. It’s fun, it’s hot, and it’s kick ass. Kitty in a Casket embodies that in ways many other bands cannot.

Art happens in mysterious ways. Allowing the evolution of ideas to flow freely helped me to arrive at this union of rock and horror. I feel very honored and humbled by Kitty in a Casket allowing me to immortalize them in fiction as much as I am thankful and honored by fans sticking with me on this dark hayride.

And, as I would say to anyone, please remember to support indie artists of all kinds. Search out Kitty in a Casket and purchase a tune or two — you’ll dig their horror-fueled sound.

Find out more about Jack Wallen


Zombie Radio:


Twitter: @jlwallen


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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie