Guest Post: Jay Wilburn #SummerofZombie

Summer of Zombie 2015

“How Do You Write Something That Hasn’t Been Written Before with Zombies?”

by Jay Wilburn

Dead Song Book 1 final cover

Zombie stories are the one subgenre wherein one of the first questions is “so what makes your zombies different?” You don’t get that as much with other types of stories. Other writers get asked what their story is about. That is a normal, respectable question that implies you are accepted as a writer and can simply share what you wrote. The “different zombie” story implies that you have to justify writing in the subgenre at all. Oh, my zombies are glutton free and only attack people who forgot to call their mothers. Sometimes I feel like I’m expected to make my zombies shoot lasers out of their eyes and sprout jet boosters out of their butts before I get to talk about the human character elements of the story.

I think to an extent this puts premise above story in the formation of the question. We may have done it to ourselves though. There are a lot of vapid zombie stories out there. People ask what makes our zombies different because they are afraid we are going to tell them about how our characters hide in a mall like we made something really special. They will have to nod along and pretend that they care until they make an excuse to go to the steampunk jewelry booth next to the zombie book publisher.

I think some of the effort to be different has resulted in creating stories that are wildly the same. The characters still follow the same patterns of run, fight, hide, die, repeat, but the zombies want to eat the naughty bits or the zombies talk and want to make a king with a crown of skulls. I’m not looking to tear down anyone’s story, but there has to be an individual or group that are fighting for something or want something. In a way, that is the same as all literature and we aren’t really doing anything new at all. Maybe with the zombie story finding something deeply emotional to tell or having a real story beyond the zombies is the key difference.

Finding new ways to tell the story may be one of the key evolutions of the zombie story. I know Jack Wallen has played a good bit with stretching what the story is and how it is told. He does voice work too which makes audio elements for his storytelling a natural extension.

I was thinking about him and his work a bit when I started considering the possibility of trying to do real music with the Dead Song story. I was out of my element in trying to compose music, but the story sort of demanded it. Having the first soundtrack done, I can’t imagine the series without the songs.

When I first held the master tracks in my hand after we had finished the final cuts, I didn’t know what to think. Listening to the entire The Sound May Suffer Book 1 EP all the way through with all the songs together and complete, I remember wondering how we made it work at all. The short answer is that I brought on talented people who could actually play and sing. Some of the songs still have my original vocals and guitar playing. In other cases, we used that as a “this is the idea of what I’m going for” and someone with skill redid the vocal or music to make it into something real.

I think back to sitting down with Bryan Ekardt and explaining to him another crazy idea I had. “Listen, Bryan, I don’t really play or sing, but I want to write and record five songs in five different musical genre mash-ups that don’t really exist and don’t natural go together in real life. Then, I want to sell it as a sound track with the book. Can I count you in?” As we began, he got a feel for how weird the process was going to be. Once he realized that I was open to any crazy idea he had for the music, he really jumped in and made my insanity work.

My thoughts on listening to storytelling through those little radio play/ songs from a world I invented in my head was “I can’t believe no one cut me off and convinced me that this couldn’t work.” Part of the success was that I couldn’t find anyone else that had really done exactly this before. There was no bar set for me to jump. Also, I seem to be resistant from learning the intended lessons of failure. I make adjustments and think I need to try something a little different on my next leap off the cliff, but I never really get the message that jumping from cliffs might not be something that should be attempted over and over.

Maybe writing in general is that cliff jumper without a learning curve. If writing is not it, then trying to be a full time writer is. If being a full time writer is still mildly noble, then coming back to zombie stories over and over has to be jumping from cliffs without a glider or a chute because this time I might just fly. If writing zombie stories still isn’t enough, then thinking “you know what a zombie story needs? An original, musical soundtrack!” might be the sign of true insanity. My zombies don’t need jet powered butt packs. Apparently, I keep leaping off the cliff expecting to grow one myself.

The different zombie story may come down to taking a leap off a cliff story wise that seems worth a try just because no one else has done it. Maybe they haven’t because there are rocks down there, but maybe this one will be the magic cliff that will teach me how to fly finally.

Zombie fans have incredible endurance. I think they are getting tired of the empty stories, but imagine what they will do if they finally get something that surprises them. I wouldn’t trade zombie fans for any other genre of fandom. I’ll take any fandom and all their pennies, mind you, but I’m not giving up on the zombie fans to do it. They have stuck with this genre through a lot of hard times. I’m still going to try to give them something different. Here we go over the cliff together again. Hold my hand. Don’t be weird about it. Just hold it!

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.

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: Claire C. Riley #SummerofZombie

ODIUM III The Dead Saga

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In this life, nothing is simple…not even DEATH

 

In the third instalment of the Odium series, having distanced herself from Mikey, Nina is on a mission. She’s seeking a woman who could be the answer to all their problems…or just another nightmare made reality.

Travelling alongside Nova, the two women are faced with countless threats and inexplicable circumstances…just another day in the land of the dead.

But Nina is changing, feeling the strain of this life, and beginning to rethink the choices she’s made and the woman she’s become. New allies will be forged on this road of self-discovery, bonds will be broken, and old enemies will resurface. Nina will be forced to make a decision that could have devastating consequences.

However life is nothing without someone to love, or a family to love you in return. And in this new world, there is only one way to prove that love is still possible. Sacrifice.

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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: Luke Ahearn #SummerofZombie

Apocalypse Breath, Worse Than Morning Breath

Health issues as fodder for a post-apocalyptic author?

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I often think about what would happen to a person’s health during a zombie apocalypse. Not just their hygiene, but their health. After a few days hair will be dirty, unshaven parts will be stubbly, breath will reek, and BO will be off the charts. And that’s just hygiene. I am talking real health issues here. How fast would our health decline, both physically and mentally? What’s it really like to be sick in such a dismal circumstance? Does it matter in fiction? Obviously there is no right or wrong answers, it’s what’s best for the story.

This aspect of an apocalypse is the scariest to me personally. I’ve had to deal with illness in the most uncomfortable situations a few times. It can range from being a miserable and lonely experience to a frightening and depressing one. I’m sure everyone has some incident where they can relate to these feelings. This topic is a goldmine for the writer looking for another cruel thing to throw at their characters.

Imagine any stress, depression, illness, or injury you’ve ever experienced and then imagine what that experience would be like with no creature comforts, no security, no help. Imagine riding out what would normally be an uncomfortable, even painful event completely alone in a strange place. Look back to your childhood, ever been sick at camp or at a sleepover? Ever felt homesick, alone, or lost? Maybe you’ve had a hangover, the flu, maybe something even more serious like childbirth or a cracked tooth (not equating the two events, just throwing out ideas). Have you ever gotten injured and had to wait for an ambulance or medical help? Imagine it and explore just how frightening it can be in that situation; the fear, the stress, the pain and discomfort.

I want to illustrate this point a bit because it’s so fun to write this stuff. Imagine you are traveling alone in an apocalypse. You find a large old factory; brick, three stories tall, doors and windows mostly busted out. Days back you heard from some travelers there was a gun safe on the third floor and you just happen to know how to crack a safe. As you explore the third floor you locate the safe. As you approach you hear a loud cracking noise and the floor drops out from under you. You fall through the rotten floor and to the floor below and break your leg in the fall. It’s cold and will be freezing in a few hours when the sun goes down. Already a chill wind blows through the broken windows. You are in pain and can’t move, you’re stuck in a pile of rotten wood with no way to get comfortable, maybe a few rusty nails are stabbing you. The swelling in your leg is increasing, the pain is becoming unbearable, and the fear is overwhelming.

Even if you could drag yourself any distance at all, it wouldn’t be far, not even out of the large building. You could never get somewhere for help, there’s no one or no place you know of that’s nearby. Imagine worrying about your safety in such a vulnerable state. You’re not able to do much for yourself and when the sun goes all the way down it will be pitch black and freezing cold, but the real problem is that’s when the zombies come out to feed (in this fictional world). The moment the sun drops completely from the sky you can no longer see a thing. Your pain is excruciating. Shortly you hear moans and the scuffling of feet echoing softly through the old building. You know it’s only a matter of time before they find you.

Any injury, any pain, even a discomforting feeling would be a serious and scary event and cause for alarm. You would likely get sick from any number of things in the course of a day of surviving. A scratch from a rusty nail, a bug bite, poison ivy, a tooth ache, or any number of minor injuries could be serious and life threatening. Food poisoning could kill you. If you had asthma or allergies you would get miserable real quick. I could obviously go on and on about a wide variety of ills and ailments.

So the next time you see one your characters crack a smile or breathe a sigh of relief break one of their bones. Give them internal pain and bloody stools (could just be gas and too many canned beets the night before). Or come up with your own devious way to put them in their right place until the big finish of your story. Then they can have a cookie and a juice box.

Luke Ahearn was born in New Orleans, LA. In addition to several fiction books he’s most recently completed Transformation, the second book in the Euphoria Z Series. He has over 20 years of professional game development experience in lead positions; designer, producer, and art director. He’s also authored several bestselling nonfiction books on computer game development. He owns a small prop studio and specializes in pirate art and props for theme parks, resorts, and other clients. He can be reached at http://www.LukeAhearn.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: Candy O’Donnell #SummerofZombie

Z-Radio 2

Immune Zombie–my book!

**My books deal with a woman that is bitten by a zombie and does not turn, instead, she becomes immune. It is a unique concept for me as a writer, but I also wanted it to be intense from the first novelette. In the second book, the reader finds out how the apocalypse got started and what Cherise, the main character has to look forward to. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this short series because I enjoy zombie flicks.

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About the Author

Candy O’Donnell lives in California with her best friend and husband, Jim, and their two enthused teenagers. This family also includes two happy dogs, a languid cat and an energetic cockatiel. At the age of twelve, she wrote her first mini book and has not looked back when her first title was published in 2007. Today, Candy writes whatever story crops up in her imagination. She composes numerous genres as a way of expressing herself fluently. Her early years were spent reading the works of Walter Farley, Stephen King, and other titles focused on history.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and culture in 2010 and she also has 6 grad units in criminal justice.

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCandyODonnell

http://authorcandyodonnell.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @Candyodonnell

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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: PM Barnes #SummerofZombie

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The first book in the Zombie Seed series is not the usual start point.  We jump in a year after the outbreak and stumble into a community of survivors who are attempting to knit their lives back together.  This is a time where the daily threat of the undead, has taken a back seat to the struggles of rebuilding a community.

What was very important to me was to bring in elements that I wasn’t really seeing in other books from the genre.  I wanted to place a lot of focus on the psychological effects of being tossed into a situation where so much that we rely on has changed.

What happens to human beings when they are forced to witness things that are beyond comprehension?  What are the aftershocks once the original battle has been fought and you are left to pick up the pieces?

These are the questions that I explore through my main character Claire. She is a solid female lead, who is as complicated and crazy as she is strong and clever.  I wrote her in a way that reflected how I think I’d handle some of the situations she has to face.

Claire comes together as a multi-dimensional character that we both love and hate a little.  We see her do things that make us cringe and we have moments where we cry inside for her and her plight.

As with Claire, all of the characters in the book are fashioned with a combination of characteristics that allow everyone to see some of themselves.  Zombie Seed doesn’t have traditional heroes or villains, it simply has people, some breathing and some not, trying to make a space for themselves in this new world.  This is one of the many components that set this story apart.

I’ve also chosen to play with the idea of fast zombies and slow zombies being mixed together and the element of intelligence. Ultimately it is much more difficult in this book to draw a clear line between the living and the undead. Both have a mission in mind and both are willing to do almost anything to complete it.

Zombie Seed is the middle of a journey and in my opinion, the best place to start it.  There was much that came before and there is much that will come after.  While it was written to be enjoyable for people who are and are not zombie lover alike, it is not for everyone. This ride is not for the faint or prudish and is designed to turn everything that you’re used to in the genre, on its head.

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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!