Guest Post: Jay Wilburn #SummerofZombie

Summer of Zombie 2015

“Zombie Roadtrip”

by Jay Wilburn

Dead song book 1 CD Cover Idea-001

I kind of wish I had saved this article title for a story. That’s a million dollar idea. We try to be fancy about it, but ultimately zombie stories eventually come down to hiding or escaping. The roadtrip story is a common variation on the escape. You are leaving somewhere and going somewhere. Maybe that somewhere is just the hell out of here – the bug out. In a lot of zombie stories, it is that idea of a safe place that might be somewhere I heard about or somewhere I was before that I’m guessing might work. Many a zombie roadtrip has ended in disaster when the promised land turned out to be a zombie infested ruin. I drove across four states to a military bunker and all I got was bitten and this tee shirt. There is something natural about that zombie roadtrip though.

I remember a while back that Permuted Press put out an explanation to their guidelines when they opened for novel submissions. I paraphrase, but they basically said that they were still interested in seeing zombie stories although they were more interested in new takes on the apocalypse. They specifically mentioned that if one were going to send them a zombie story to make it something besides the old roadtrip. I became more conscious of the number of zombie roadtrip stories out there.

My first novel, Loose Ends, is a roadtrip story. The characters’ lives have fallen apart around them and they don’t know how to rebuild. They go out looking for another option. In that story, their pasts turn out to be waiting for them in the ruins even after all these years of the zombie apocalypse.

Brian Keene’s The Rising is a roadtrip. A father is trying to get across multiple states to try to save his son. One snippet of a phone call is enough to tell him that his son needs him and we are off.

Jack Wallen is cowriting a fascinating story where a couple separated by a great distance crosses the landscape separately on their individual journeys to find each other.

Even in series that often park the characters on a hiding spot for an extended period of the novels, the characters will take on a journey at some parts of the series.

The roadtrip forces characters to prepare, pick a mode of transportation, and improvise. They have to rely on and deal with their travel partners. They have to access new people and new situations. They take the readers on a tour of the world as it has become as the writer creates it.

In my new series Dead Song, the characters are music collectors and will crisscross apocalyptic America recording the music of the survivors. Each of the twelve novels will be named for a month of the year, but also will include the starting and ending points of each journey. Book 1 starts in Milwaukee and ends in Muscle Shoals.

Each of these places has a history and a personality. As zombie writers, we impose a new history over those places in the story and the landscape in between. The journey is meant to test the characters in their own growth within the story. The roadtrip is a way to move the characters beyond what they know and force them to react to new circumstances, threats, and challenges.

It may need some refreshing and some new takes on the theme, but I still love a good roadtrip story – zombie or otherwise.

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

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

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: Joe McKinney #SummerofZombie

Zombies on Film: The Dead and Its Shortcomings

The Dead Won't Die

I wanted to love this movie.  I remember watching the trailer and practically salivating over the gorgeous West African scenery, the magnificent makeup and special effects and the potential for substantive commentary on modern Africa and its many woes.  Unfortunately, a weak script put this film in the awkward position of exploiting the very issues on which it is trying to comment.

Written and directed by brothers Howard J. Ford and Jon Ford, The Dead was filmed on location in Burkina Faso and Ghana, two regions that have, over the last few decades, seen plague and famine and countless acts of racial atrocity under the guise of civil war.  The setup feels perfect for a zombie film.  Plague makes for a logical cause for the outbreak.  Famine and starvation are mirrored in the population eating itself.  And death, as the great leveler, obfuscates the divisions of tribal and racial differences.  The Dead tries to address all of these points, but sabotages itself with a lackluster storyline.

Lt. Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) has just survived a plane crash and sets out across the sunbaked, unforgiving landscape of the Ivory Coast in the hopes of reaching safety and reuniting with his family back home.  At the same time, Sgt. Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei) has broken away from his regiment to find his son.  These two very different men are forced to team up and help one another on their quests.

And therein lies the problem, I think.  In order to properly carry through on its promise of addressing West Africa’s many problems, the story needed more than a few token glimpses into village culture.  There were a few humanizing moments, especially between Sgt. Dembele and his grandmother, and between Murphy and the mother hoisting her newborn on him, but not even those scenes dug deep enough.  If a zombie is going to be effective as a metaphor, it has to have established corollaries in the story.  Shawn of the Dead did this beautifully through a mirrored plot.  The first half of the film established the sense of aimless frustration and disenfranchisement of Britain’s youth, and then the second half of the film mirrored the events of the first half, but with zombies.  The point that we are all basically zombies already lands with perfect clarity.  The Dead could have been such a powerful statement on man’s cruelty to his fellow man, or a brilliant indictment of colonialism, or a call to arms against a continent starving to death, but it just didn’t reach that level of sophistication.

What we get instead is a rather pedestrian buddy/road-trip story.  Perhaps that would have been enough of a frame to bring out the issues the film seems to want to tackle, but the script wasn’t even up to telling much of buddy movie.  Murphy and Dembele hardly speak at all during their time together, and when they do, the setups are obvious and clearly forced.

But the film, despite its weak storytelling, does have its positives.  The scenery, filmed in grainy 35 mm, seems to be on fire through most of the movie.  It’s stunningly beautiful, and goes further toward establishing Murphy’s exhaustion than Freeman’s acting.

Also, the zombies are truly frightening.  The faintly glowing eyes and legion of broken and mangled bodies make for some excellent scenes, and there are enough exploding heads and severed limbs and zombie-feasting scenes to make most zombie fans feel right at home.

My score: 4 out of 10.

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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: Jake Bible #SummerofZombie

Zombies: Sometimes the tried and true is what people want


Jake Bible


I’ve talked before about how it took me having a completely original idea to get into writing zombies novels (Dead Mech. Read it.). But what about writing straight up, Romeroesque zombie fiction? Is that overdone? Is the genre glutted with these types of novels?

No. Not if they are done right.

I had the good fortune of having my Apex Trilogy (Dead Mech, The Americans, Metal & Ash) published by Severed Press. If you don’t know Severed Press, they are a great small press out of Australia that had specialized in post-apocalyptic and horror novels. They have moved on to other things like sea monsters and kajiu and military space opera, but zombies are their bread and butter.

Only a couple months after Severed published my Apex Trilogy, I had the bad fortune of being laid off. Bye bye full time employment! So, I immediately started putting feelers out into the publishing world to see if I could land a gig with someone. It was either that or go back to being a chef or back on the road as a salesman, the only two things I was truly qualified for other than writing. One of those feelers went to Severed Press to see what they were looking for.

They responded that they wanted Romeroesque zombie novels or sea monster novels.

I had nothing like that stewing in my brain. In fact, I was completely against writing anything as boring as straight zombie fiction. I’m the guy that mashed-up mechs and zombies! I’m the guy that created conjoined twins, one alive and one undead! But to write something as plain as Dawn of the Dead where the dead come back to life and just eat people? Puh-lease! Boring!

Or, maybe that was the point…

The magic of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was that it wasn’t just a movie about the dead getting hungry for a human snack. It was a deliberate commentary on American society and consumerism. It was satire at its grisliest!

And I know satire.

So, I dug deep and wondered if maybe I had some Romero in me. Was there anything I wanted to comment on in American culture today that hadn’t really been touched by undead hands? It took me a couple weeks of brainstorming before I realized the idea was right in front of my eyes.


You see, I happen to live in a subdivision. Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes made of ticky tacky. Culs de sac and vinyl siding. Cut and manicured lawns and neighbors that wave to each other. Oh, and the most important part: an HOA.

What’s an HOA? That’s the Homeowners’ Association. The absurdity is in the name. HOA. Homeowners is one word. It should just be called HA, but it’s not. The ridiculousness was just waiting to be mocked.

For those that don’t know, the HOA board is the last word on what happens, and doesn’t happen, in a subdivision. They decide if people need to get notices for their lawns being too long or their shrubs being too short. They tell neighbors to rat on each other or to just deal with the complaint they’ve received because there’s nothing to be done.

“It’s in the covenants! It’s in the covenants!” is their defense.

I am not a fan of HOAs. They can quickly turn from an organization with the homeowners’ best interest in mind to a totalitarian regime bent on making suburban life a living hell.

Or living dead hell, as the case may be.

So, if Romero mocked consumerism, then I was going to mock conformity.

Z-Burbia was born.

I set my novel series in a suburban subdivision just like the one I live in and set it in my neck of the woods: Asheville, North Carolina. Now, this meant I had lots of fodder for my story. Asheville is a liberal enclave in a sea of conservatism. And my fictional subdivision was an HOA ruled, conservative dictatorship called Whispering Pines that was stuck in the liberal enclave surrounded by that sea of conservatism.

Except, now instead of being surrounded by a sea of conservatism, Whispering Pines, and Asheville, was surrounded by a sea of the undead. Politics go right out the window when the dead want to eat your face. Yet politics never really go out the window, do they?

I was able to blend the horror of the zombie apocalypse with the slapstick idiocy of an HOA struggling to stay relevant in a subdivision that was constantly besieged by the undead, cannibals, crazy cults, and random survivors just looking for a safe place to live.

The novel wrote itself (not really, I wrote it).

I channeled all of my annoyance with suburban life into a protagonist that was able to say and do things that I couldn’t. I turned everyday life into a very successful series. All without having to mash-up genres or come up with a radical new idea. I just looked at the soul of the zombie genre, where it all started, and built on that.

Sometimes the tried and true is what people want because that is what they can relate to. I know I can relate to my Z-Burbia series, and apparently so can thousands of others since it’s been in and out of bestseller lists for almost two years now. The familiar is often the best way to express yourself.

Write what you know, and all that jazz!

So, the lesson here is that sometimes, no matter how unoriginal something may seem, there is always a fresh way to look at it. Don’t shut yourself off to something because it has been “done”. Perhaps it has been done, but not as well as it should be. Tried and true does not mean perfected. Keep digging and you can find the idea in plain sight.


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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: Melanie Karsak #SummerofZombie

Zombies & Philosophy: We are the walking dead

Final His Res Ebook Cover Midway

“Don’t open. Dead inside,” a warning spray-painted on a hospital door in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, neatly summarizes the theme and symbolic significance of the zombie movement in contemporary popular culture.  Zombies no longer hunger for brains.  Zombies no longer amble to the mall.  A comet doesn’t transform us into the undead.  When T.S. Eliot wrote, “this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper” (97-98) he was not talking about a zombie apocalypse, but he was talking about agonizing emptiness and loss.  The zombie trend in popular culture addresses this same symbolic significance. The zombie apocalypse results in catastrophic loss: mankind dies.  The emptiness, deadness, we feel as a result of living in a disconnected, desensitized, othered society causes us to suffer zombie-like famish.  How do zombies feed their insatiable hunger?  They consume—everything—and so do we. Zombies, in the mindless pursuit of oral satisfaction, come to serve as a symbol for deep sense of emptiness and loss felt in contemporary western society.

Zombies amble in mindless pursuit of something or someone to consume.  Today’s iterations of zombies would have Sigmund Freud chewing on his cigar as he choked back an “I told you so.”  Zombies today are a metaphor for every psychological and social ill Freud envisioned: a physical incarnate of the death instinct and with a focus on oral consumption as its pleasure principal, discontent with civilization ending in its destruction, and the all-out reign of the id—if you hope to survive the zombie apocalypse.  Contemporary zombies consume everything: fingers, entrails, limbs, and even the occasional chicken.  They are no longer the connoisseurs of human anatomy the way they were in the 1970s and 80s.  Rarely, and poignantly, do contemporary zombies have a preference for brains. These days, zombies will consume anything.  The zombies’ oral fixation is a post-mortem instinctual pursuit of satisfaction.  As Freud notes, “the purpose of life is simply the programme (sic) of the pleasure principle” (25).  Through oral consumption, zombies seek satisfaction. Few zombies have sex, thank goodness, but Freud notes in his Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis that the “oral instinct becomes auto-erotic” (408).  A zombies’ oral urge, however, is never satisfied.  What does it say about us that in our undead form we still seek to satisfy ourselves through consumption?  As a result of the zombie apocalypse, mankind becomes a mindless eating machine.  Zombies, and their endless drive to consume, are a reflection of the social problems of modern life.  In western cultures, we consume our way through food and goods, our environment, and our interpersonal relationships, all the while being over-exposed to violence.  It’s no wonder we feel “dead inside.”  We don’t need a zombie apocalypse.  We are a zombie apocalypse.

About the Author:

Melanie Karsak is the best-selling author of the The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy), the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series, and The Saga of Lady Macbeth. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.


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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

What is Humanity’s Hope about?


That is the number one question I get asked almost daily. The easy and short answer is, it’s a tale of surviving a zombie apocalypse but that does not do justice to the story. So I’m going to do the long answer here without giving away any spoilers for the series.

Humanity’s Hope is a story of a girl who is thrust into the center of a war against an overpowering enemy with the goal of dominating the world. The zombies though aren’t that enemy. Zombies are part of the problem she and her companions will have to deal with to get to the bigger problem. They are dangerous and vicious but not the end goal.

The girl is eighteen-year-old Hope. Up until the outbreak that brought the zombies into being she was just a typical high school girl with dreams of prom and graduating. When the outbreak happened she, with her Dad, younger brother and sister, holed up inside of a Camp that they created by fortifying their neighborhood. With the help of friends and other survivors they try and wait out the devastation. All of them are unaware of a secret history their family has that will come to light when an old friend of the family visits them. As the camp is overrun on two fronts the survivors scatter thinking that they are done for but that is the least of their problems.

The real problem lies with a secret group of individuals who are part of an organization that has long played in the background of human life. They pulled the strings to make the people in visible power do what they wanted. The rumors have swirled about a group like this for centuries, The Illuminati, Skull and Bones and the Free Masons are just some that have long been thought to be some of those players. The truth is those groups were created by this group to keep themselves well hidden. This group knows the real history of the world since they forged it. War, financial collapse, disease, and rebellion were their doing. History is told by the victors and rarely relays the real truth of what happened.

Kane is the current leader of that secret group dubbed The Council. He has an agenda that will lead them to his endgame and that is to finally rule the human population out in the open instead of behind the scenes. He gathers all of his fellow members from around the globe to a safe zone created in South Florida and will reveal his plan to them. Their secret life will finally be made public and that is not a good thing.

A man amongst them will have to come to realize the danger Kane and his fellow Council members present. That man is Vice President Miller, the highest ranking official left from the old government. He will need to think back a long time and remember an experiment that he was apart of to fully understand what he is up against.

Another aspect of the story is the tale of Hutch, a recently retired Navy S.E.A.L who has taken it upon himself to eradicate the zombie population. Every dead slab, as he calls them, is one last problem in the world. However one at a time is too slow and he comes up with many different ways to kill as many as possible at one time. Be it dropping a building on them or baiting them into a trap, his options are never limited or boring. While he travels across the country there is a separate mission he is on that for the time being is only his to know of.

The story is similar at first. The zombies come and civilization is destroyed but it quickly takes a hard right turn and speeds towards an Epic adventure pitting a small group of survivors against a formerly secret foe that has had to come out of the shadows to claim their place as the leaders of Humanity.

In the process secrets will be revealed and changes will happen to some of the survivors. New threats will pop up from hiding and a few new allies in the fight will be revealed. Hang on to your seats and enjoy the ride. I don’t think any of the characters will.

Read more Blogs by Greg P. Ferrell at

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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!