Guest Post: Jay Wilburn #SummerofZombie

Summer of Zombie 2015

“Apocalyptic Character Studies”

by Jay Wilburn

I’ve written more than a few apocalyptic and dystopian tales over the years. Some of these stories were zombie tales, a few were Lovcraftian, others ended the world in other ways, and more than once I’ve steampunked my dystopian landscape. All of these settings provide a different canvas for telling the story.

Zombies in particular can be the ultimate blank canvas or mirror. If written well, their shambling, oozing, and chewing can be the dark, dead reflection of the living characters and their struggles. The undead can serve as a powerful counterpoint to those that are struggling to live for the readers.

The characters matter for the story to a greater degree than the actual nuts and bolts of the apocalypse within the dystopian tale in the same way that an idea or a premise only matters with the story and plot to flesh them out. Interesting zombies chasing boring characters is likely a terrible story. Interesting, deep characters that are striving for something in a story that matters can make almost any monster or scenario work.

Writing an apocalypse and the characters in it is a responsibility to a class of readers that are willing to give so much faith to writers. So many of them have been disappointed by so many zombie stories and are inexplicably coming back one more time. That is a huge exchange of trust between a writer and reader in a genre with so many examples of uneven work.

It is also a high demand upon a writer that takes his or her craft and art seriously in the midst of all the zombie rot and splatterful goodness. If you’re writing a story about a teacher and a class of kindergartners, that is a daunting task. Writing about those characters surviving a zombie outbreak requires a different level of speculation and a higher challenge to realism. Writing about that same teacher six months, a year, three years, or longer into the apocalypse is an attempt to do justice to a character that is different from writing the kindergarten teacher, an ordinary person under extraordinary stress, or a generic person that is generically hardened by all the years of generic struggle before appearing on page one.

“You know I used to teach kindergarten,” he said as he shot a room full of zombies through the head. Then, he never mentioned it again.

People are more than their occupations, their race, their religion, their hometown, their disabilities, their families, their losses, or their particular defining characteristics. They are more than those things, but they are all of them too.

Human beings are contradictions. The interesting ones are contradictions within contradictions. We are all hypocrites. It is the one quality people nearly universally dislike in others, but it may be the most consistent trait in all of us – our own inconsistency. It is a trick to capture that on the page in a way that is layered and complex, but not all together distracting. A contradiction on the page can read like a mistake by the writer instead of a realistic portrayal of a human being. One of the contradictions of our contradictions is that we also tend to follow patterns and make the same mistakes in the same way as often as we are given an opportunity to do so. Enough of this on a page creates a flawed character readers can get to know. Too much of it and the character has no arc of growth worthy of the reader’s time.

The essential nature of a really interesting human being that becomes even more important under the stresses of the apocalypse in a story is that we all say we want and believe one set of things, but very often we do and act on other things. We don’t live up to our own expectations and standards. We justify our contradictory choices and mistakes. We lash out when we are called on it.

All characters want something, if they are worth having in a story. The really interesting characters in life and on the page think they want one thing, but in reality they actually want something different. To communicate that to readers in a way that doesn’t tip off the character in the story to their own shortcomings too early, is quite a story to read.

Difficulty tends to bring out our true natures and often the things about ourselves we don’t want to believe are true. The apocalypse would be the ultimate example of that. Characters should fall short. Characters should find out what they are made of and not always like what they discover. That is where the growth can be found.

In a zombie story, almost every point of the story comes down in some way to running, hiding, escaping, or fighting. That is not all that different than real life. Characters should always be living out some aspect of these actions in themselves as well.

Even if I am writing a character that is the same race, gender, religion, and political leaning as me, if it is an apocalyptic story, I’m still writing them in a different state of being than myself. It matters more when I write a character that is different from me.

I’ve written a number of gay characters in various stories. Sometimes these stories are making a specific statement about that, but every story should be telling us something even if it is not a direct message,

In the Dead Song dodecology, two of the main characters are gay men. They drive the story and the emotional thread. We experience the apocalypse through them. I owe it to those characters, to readers, to people who identify with them, and to the story and genre to write them well. I’m not writing just about men that are like them, but those men in the context of the apocalypse and how it has changed them. They deal with characters that are more tolerant in their attempts to just focus on survival. They deal with others that are more hateful now that the social boundaries are stripped away. All of those interactions mean something to the story and to the readers that identify with those characters.

At the same time that I have to show respect to writing characters that are or think differently from me, I have to show respect to those characters’ individual flaws that make them worthy of following through their imperfections and growth.

Dead Song delves into the idea that identity is what we show to others, but it is also what we hide. This essential contradiction informs the characters and their interactions through the struggles of a world trying to find and identify itself again.

Characters are everything to the story and they make all the other parts of the story and world matter.

Check out the first book in the Dead Song dodecology and the soundtrack The Sound May Suffer for the story told through words, pictures, and music.

Dead Song Book 1 final cover

Check out The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

http://jaywilburn.com/cover-reveal-dead-song-legend-book-1-january-from-milwaukee-to-muscle-shoals/

Check out the five song sound track in The Sound May Suffer … Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

http://jaywilburn.com/cover-reveal-ep-soundtrack-the-sound-may-suffer-songs-from-the-dead-song-legend-book-1/

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He was a teacher for sixteen years before leaving to become a full-time writer. He writes in many genre. His Dead Song series book 1 is available now along with the five song soundtrack The Sound May Suffer.

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ 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!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Mark Tufo #SummerofZombie

Recently I asked my readers for some help in regards to suggestions for the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour posts. Below is one of them. Now I hope I can stay on track and actually answer the question.

 

Fred Goodrich – How about a day in the life/head of Mark Tufo during a book beginning

 

 

I get a lot of correspondence from folks who wish to write their own book. To them, I honestly hope nothing but the best. I think though that a fair majority of those poor souls believe that this is some sort of get rich quick scheme. My goal is not to dissuade you in anyway just to give you an incite in a day in the life of. Might as well start at the beginning, it generally involves me peeling the cat off of my stomach. Yes I have a cat and we have a deal, I give her food and she doesn’t eat me. Then I shamble my way down the stairs, years of football and the Marine Corps have made all my bendy places ache thoroughly in the morning. Thus begins my morning ritual with Henry who will vacate the couch he has no business being on to greet me at the bottom of the stairs, by the time I get down there his whole back side will be wagging not just his tail. Eventually after a minute or so Riley will get her lazy ass up as well and come over and get a decent ministration.

I typically hang with them for 10 to 15 minutes, they just have a way of making the world a better place. Then it’s off to the chickens. Yes I also have chickens and for someone that was deathly afraid of birds this was a bit of a hurdle for me. Bernard is the rooster and I got to admit he is alright in my book, he’s usually up by the gate because he knows without fail I’m bringing him a treat in the morning. A few minutes later I hit my office with a mug of iced coffee and begin the day in earnest. While I wait for the coffee to kick in I will generally do email, fb, twitter and whatever other medium I have going on correspondence-wise. This I do for maybe two hours, then on to writing. I strive for 3000 words a day, it doesn’t happen all the time but that’s my goal. Depending on the scene and how I have it laid out this takes about 5 hours. After another mug of coffee it is back to the correspondence which can take another hour.

At this point I’m about 8 hours in and I’ll take a break, either take the mutts for a walk or we’ll go out in the backyard and chill for a bit, or maybe into town to get more coffee, just depends on the day. After dinner I head back to my office and edit, I know, I know not edit in the traditional sense, I have no effen clue a preposition from an adjective, more like proof reading and lay out I suppose. No set schedule on this just depends on what’s on my plate, maybe about 2 hours. I then try to wrap up any final emails and jot down some notes in regards to tomorrow’s writing. By the end of the day I’m about 12 hours in, this was every day except for Christmas, for the last four years, but for the sake of sanity (and things around the house needing some work) I do not write on the weekends any more.

And all of that does not even begin to scratch the surface of all the things my wife does behind the scenes, she literally puts in more hours than I do. By the time we’re in bed together it is close to midnight. So to those of you who want to write, I salute you, but if you want even a modicum of success be prepared to pay, it will be the toughest job you will ever perform mentally. Now like I said this is in no way designed to dissuade, I ABSOLUTELY love what I do, I ADORE my fans, I cannot imagine doing anything differently except perhaps going on tour with Widespread Panic with Trip as my sidekick. 🙂 Oh we would have such fun together.

 

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ 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!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Shana Festa #SummerofZombie

Schwarzenegger + Zombies. Should be a smash hit, right? Not so much!

 Maggie Poster

The other night my husband looked at me with a goofy grin. He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to rent a movie, and he’d found the absolute perfect one that would meet both our preferences. I went with it, and as soon as it began playing, I praised him for being spot-on. He loves action, I love zombies. It’s not often that our two worlds collide with such kismet. But that day, they did. Arnold Schwarzenegger went way out of his comfort zone and starred in a zombie movie. Crazy, right?

I’d seen the previews, and my expectations were appropriately set. I knew going into the film that it would be a slow burn. World War Z, Maggie would not be. I was right, but I wish I hadn’t been. I’m sad to report that Maggie was a major disappointment. If you want horror, you’ll get about thirty seconds of it. If you want to see Arnold cry like a baby for ninety minutes, then this is the movie for you.

Seriously, I think he cried more in this film than in all of his body of work combined. And why, sweet Jesus, did they dye his hair that dark? It just looked weird. The story jumped around, providing only a miniscule glance into what happened to bring the story to present time. But it didn’t actually give any good zombie lore. Just, hey, there’s zombies. We aren’t gonna tell you why or how, just deal with it. The best word to describe Maggie is forgettable. I’m disappointed that what I’d hoped to be an excellent addition to the genre was actually a total melodrama.

As if the movie in its entirety wasn’t dull enough, the ending is sure to inspire any hardcore zombiephile to throw popcorn and yell at the screen. It was bad enough that the most action came from Arnold’s tear ducts, but to deprive viewers of the sweet payoff of that crucial moment where an infected takes its last breath is downright sadistic!

Can I have my ninety minutes back? Please?

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Shana Festa grew up in the small town of Northborough Massachusetts. As an impressionable tike, she shared in her father’s love for Horror, and spent most of her childhood hiding under the blankets worrying what nightmarish creature lurked in her closet. She grew up on a healthy diet of classics like Nightmare on Elm Street, Return of the Living Dead, American Werewolf in London, Child’s Play and Poltergeist.

Her writing career was born from her long-time addiction to terrifying tales. Under her alter ego, The Bookie Monster, Shana reviews horror and paranormal books, with an emphasis on zombie fiction. Her altruistic beliefs fuse seamlessly with The Bookie Monster’s mission to provide readers with honest reviews and to provide authors with a platform to promote their labors of love.

Shana holds a degree in nursing and now resides in Cape Coral, Florida with her husband and two adorable dogs. In addition to her apocalyptic series, TIME OF DEATH, she is a founding member of AT HELL’S GATES, a horror anthology series dedicated to supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

 

Promo links.

Author Website: http://www.shanafesta.com

At Hell’s Gates: http://www.athellsgates.com

The Bookie Monster: http://www.bookie-monster.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookiemonstersf

The Bookie Monster Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebookiemonster

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ 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!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Greg P. Ferrell #SummerofZombie

In honor of being a part of this year’s Summer of Zombie blog tour here is a set of short stories written exclusively for the visitors to the tour. They’re from the perspective of one Tony the Zombie and his personal gripes against us humans. Typed out by Greg P. Ferrell because really have you ever seen a zombie use a keyboard, it’s not pretty.

A day in my dead life!

Chapter 1

By: Tony the zombie

My name is Tony or at least that’s what it says on the nametag on my shirt and I’m a zombie. Now I don’t want you to feel bad for me I’m actually enjoying this whole back from the dead thing I have going on, well most of the time anyway. Right now is not one of those times. You see I was chasing some prey and kinda got myself into a pickle now.

I originally found my prey as they were getting out of one of those big metal things with wheels that they so love to run me and my friends over with. I started to chase them and before long I found them trying to hide in one of the big snack boxes as we call them. Unfortunately for them the big rectangular hole was already broken and I was able to go inside it after them. Well I made a mistake and chased them through the house and into a room where the rectangular holes had panel on them and they closed the holes up on me. Now I’m stuck inside here and cant find a way out.

I figured while I’m in here I would discuss some of the things that really irritate me and my friends as we chase you warm bodied morsels down. So sit back and listen and maybe you will learn a few things before this is over.

Number 1: Rectangular holes are not supposed to be blocked. Now we undead do appreciate the little round ornaments you hang on each of them but really those things are pointless and don’t add much to the viewing pleasure for those of us stuck on the other side. It takes us a long time to scratch and claw through those panels you put in our way and it does a number on our fingernails which, we need to rip into the soft covering most of you have to get to the good meat. I mean look at me now trapped in here by myself. I have no body else to help me push through the panel in my way and even if I did it takes a good twenty or thirty of us to bust through one anyway. These things need to go away.

Number 2: the other smaller rectangle hole with the invisible magic shield over it. Again what is the point? I can see you through it so I know you’re there and obviously you can see me because you make that loud noise with your mouth. Those things are really annoying. I try to go through the hole and I break my nose on it. If I felt pain anymore that would probably really hurt. They’re a little weaker than the big rectangular panels but they’re usually up high and we have to crawl though them, which somehow inevitably ends up tearing the clothes off of us or worse ripping through our skin. If that is what they are supposed to do then bravo it succeeded but really it’s just annoying. We’re not very vain as a species but some of us just don’t need to be walking around naked.

So that’s it for now but please come back soon as I vent more about what gets under my skin. Right now I just saw a smaller rectangular portal on the other wall that might be a way for me to get out of here. I think I’ll just run face first at it and see.

Read more Blogs by Greg P. Ferrell at https://ragnorakk.wordpress.com

Or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/humanityshopeseries

Or visit the website www.humanityshope.com

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ 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!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Jolie Du Pre #SummerofZombie

Welcome To Our Zombie Hospital

 Zombie_Hospital

The zombie apocalypse is upon us, spreading its ugly wings all over our beautiful planet and making the few humans left hide as deep as they can. The biggest problem is that more and more humans get bitten and infected with the nasty zombie virus, thus increasing the number of zombies.

Luckily, there’s still hope for the infected. The zombie hospital is the place where all the effects can be reversed so that these individuals regain their human status.

Once you get admitted into the hospital, you won’t see the daylight again until you get cured. The treatment consists of a series of prolonged UV exposure sessions. UV rays have the power of weakening the zombie virus, leaving it powerless, ready to get killed. This happens in the second stage of the treatment. Unfortunately, some patients are too weak to resist the first stage, which is quite aggressive. It is similar to what chemotherapy does to the human body while also killing the cancerous cells.

UV exposure makes the patients very vulnerable. This is why the second stage of the treatment takes place in an isolated aisle of the zombie hospital, where only a handful of doctors and medical nurses have access. Patients are put in metal containers, which are then exposed to extremely powerful magnetic fields, generated with the help of huge electromagnets. The polarity of the magnets is reversed every two minutes, the result being a Brownian movement of all cells in the body. This stage of the treatment takes several hours. When it is over, the patient is returned to the human condition.

However, the convalescence is a critical phase. Patients need to receive proper nutrition and human love. Otherwise, they pass away. Those who can afford to pay the hospital fees during their convalescence have more chances to be saved than those who are forced to return to the streets. However, they can only die, they are never going to turn into zombies again if bitten or infected with the zombie virus.

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Jolie du Pre is a dystopian author, paranormal romance author, article writer, blogger and lover of monsters, especially zombies.  The third book in her zombie series, Benton: A Zombie Novel, Vol. 3, is available now at Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UACUHBA

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ 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!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Rebecca Besser #SummerofZombie

Anything but Zombies!

Edited by Gerald Dean Rice

Anything But Zombies Cover

For decades we’ve had vampires, werewolves, Jason, Freddy, and Michael. And now zombies have gone all Hollywood.

In this tongue-in-cheek take on the zombie sub-genre, author and publisher, and lifelong horror enthusiast Gerald Rice has assembled a fresh and downright disturbing collection of stories.  Inside new breeds of monsters emerge like sentient sex dolls, anti-zombie terrorists, suicidal cultists, the woman who can smell sin, and there’s more.

ANYTHING BUT ZOMBIES features original short stories from some of the most clever and imaginative horror writers of the day including Armand Rosamilia, Jake Bible, Tonia Brown, Rebecca Besser, Jimmy Pudge, Gerald Rice, MontiLee Stormer, Lee Moan, Jeff Strand, Tim Curran, and Faye McCray. This diverse cast of writers lends their extraordinary talents to usher in the next wave of monster.

This impressive anthology is both frightening and fun. Now the horror world has finally got just what it needs—Anything but Zombies!

Enjoy a brief excerpt from Rebecca Besser’s story, “P.C”:

Dillon escorted and helped the Undead American into a chair in the middle of the room. Once he was in place, the arm and leg braces clamped down and Dillon pushed a button that drew the chair slowly from a sitting position to a table with the zombie lying supine. Once the prone position was achieved, Dillon pushed a button on the control panel that scanned the patient to read his imbedded chip that would confirm his number on the restore list and make sure they were restoring the correct Undead American.

Everything matched up exactly as it should.

“Well, it looks like it is you, Dad,” Dillon said softly, still afraid to believe the truth. “Here goes nothing…”

Would you like to read more of Rebecca Besser’s story?

You can get your ecopy of Anything but Zombies! here:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook

Kobo

Google Play

Find out more about Rebecca Besser: www.rebeccabesser.comhttp://rebeccabesser.wordpress.com@BeccaBesser

Rebecca Besser Author Pic

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ 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!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!