Guest Post: P Mark DeBryan #WinterofZombie

La Paz no date

Mark DeBruyn’s take on the Zombie Apocalypse

Why is the Zombie Apocalypse so popular? Is it because we are a bunch of sickos that enjoy people getting eaten? Do we enjoy the blood, guts, gore and lip smacking intestine gorging undead? Well, yes we do, but there is so much more to it than simply getting the bejesus scared out of us. We thrive on the hope. Hope? You say, what the hell? Yes, the hope, we look around us today, the 24 hour news channels bombard us with all the crap that goes on. The internet gives us tremendously fast access to disasters of all types across the world. And yet, we hold onto hope, hope that we can survive, that things will get better, even when the world goes to hell in a hand basket. Can we be the one that overcomes the virus, or whatever it is that causes the inevitable Zombie outbreak? We feel helpless to change our world as it exist today, but if some damn Zombie comes strolling down the lane, we can bash its brains out, blow it up, shoot the hell out of it, and that gives us a smidgeon of hope. Some control over our destiny. We can revel in the fact that it is okay to take out that moron brother-in-law when he turns; that jackwad boss, who is only in his position because his dad owns the company. It is us, standing up and flipping our kilt up and waving our buttocks at the world. FREEDOMMMMMMM! So lock and load, fix a snack, and sit down and read a good Zombie Apocalypse novel. Oh, yeah, it would be cool if it was mine, but any of the crazy sickos listed here on the tour will work.

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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ 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!

#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

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Guest Post: Jaime Johnesee #WinterofZombie

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Since the late 70s zombies have had a huge impact in mainstream media. From “Night of the Living Dead” to “Zombieland” movies, tv shows, and books have brought the zombie into the spotlight. Every time people seem to think the zombies will just shamble away they prove the naysayers wrong and morph into a whole other monster.

There have been so many incarnations of the zombie since it was first mentioned in folklore. From ravenous and unstoppable to the utterly ludicrous zombies have Thriller danced their way into every aspect of pop culture.

These creatures have evolved and changed over time to become ever more threatening and more realistic. Gone are the days of the slow moving shambling beasties that are stupid and easy to outrun. Now you can get your zombie fix in whatever flavor you’d like.

From sweet and romantic like “Warm Bodies” and funny and fresh like my own Bob the Zombie series zombies can be more than just monsters. Though if that is what you’re after there are plenty of amazing authors who write zompoc to check out.

Some of my favorite authors in the zombie genre are Mark Tufo, Armand Rosamilia, Shawn Chesser, John O’Brien, Joe McKinney, Jonathan Maberry, Rebecca Besser, Claire C. Riley, Jolie duPre, Ricky Cooper, and Mike Evans. If you’re a fan of zompoc you can’t go wrong with those authors.

If you like your zomedy, I highly recommend Christine Verstraete’s “Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie” and Jeff Strand’s “A Bad Day for Voodoo”. There is a ton of it out there, you do kind of have to dig through the zompoc stuff to find it, but zomedy is one of my favorite subgenres, for obvious reasons.

If you think zombies are on the way out, think again. These monsters, be they funny or serious, are around to stay. Much like vampires and werewolves, zombies may get played out but they will always be there as a staple of monster fiction.

People will always be intrigued and fascinated by the idea of the undead and there will always be stories of people clawing their way out of their graves for revenge or the munchies. It’s human nature to enjoy being frightened and what is more terrifying than something you can’t kill because it is already dead?

I know the genre has become a bit overrun these days but I see that as a good thing because, hey, when you get right down to it I love to read about zombies. On that note I am off to finish a zombie story of my own. Have a wonderful day and thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts here.

Jaime blue straight hair

Jaime Johnesee lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. She spent fourteen years as a zookeeper before shifting her focus to writing full time. Widely known for her bestselling horror comedy series, Bob the Zombie, she is currently coauthoring the paranormal horror series, Revelations, for Devil Dog Press as well as working on her Shifters series. You can find out more about Jaime Johnesee at her website: https://www.JaimeJohnesee.com

 As well as on

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJaimeJohnesee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaimejohnesee

Google: https://plus.google.com/100525684067368354417

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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ 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!

#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Samie Sands #WinterofZombie

Forgotten Samie Sands Cover

The AM13 Series

By Samie Sands

The idea for the AM13 series came out of one of those typical ‘how long do you think you’d last in a zombie apocalypse?’ conversations.

The answer for me, I’m ashamed to say, isn’t very long!

I just don’t think that I have the knowledge and skills needed to get by in such a harsh climate. I’m not the sort of person who knows how to start a fire with sticks and I don’t know if I’m strong enough to bash in a zombie’s head – especially when they’re newly infected and not very weak!

That’s where the idea for Lockdown was born. Most of the zombie novels I have read centre around someone with a military background or nursing knowledge. Or if not that, they find some kick ass inner strength and the apocalypse is actually the making of them. When I created Leah (the main character), I was thinking along the lines of ‘what about everyone else?’ I wanted the plot to focus on someone who isn’t the typical protagonist, someone who isn’t strong, smart and a survivalist.

That isn’t to say she’s based on me – just that the idea came from that conversation J

In fact, this is how I’ve described Leah in her character bio:

“Leah isn’t the typical heroine that you find in zombie apocalyptic novels. She’s not got any of the survivalist skills needed in this horror-filled situation; she isn’t strong, level-headed or able…she certainly isn’t someone you’d want on your team!

In fact, Leah is flawed, frustrating, she’s actually a bit of an airhead. She’s 23-years-old but is very young in her mind – indecisive, desperately insecure and afraid of real life (and that’s before the arrival of any zombies). She’s always been a ‘follower’ in her life, and continues to be so throughout the plot. Leah stays true to her – albeit imperfect – self.

She is what makes Lockdown a unique read. Following her journey into the unknown isn’t full of action and smart decisions. Is Leah a protagonist that you’ll route for? There is only one way to find out!”

So that should give you a little idea of what sort of person Lockdown is dealing with!

After I completed writing Lockdown, I went on to write the sequel Forgotten. This book introduces 3 new characters and the style of the writing is different from the first book. The plot flicks between the main characters points-of-view (a feature that some readers have loved, and others haven’t been so keen on). Again, I wanted to try something a bit different with this book. I wanted to experiment a little with my writing style.

Just to give you an idea of the varying personalities included in Forgotten, here are the character bios:

“Ethan (Leah’s cousin) is an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) sufferer whose condition has affected his life dramatically. His fear or germs, disease and illness have caused him to become isolated, afraid, ‘different’. There is no chance someone this frightened can survive the zombies…is there?

Alyssa is an overly confident teenage girl who has spent her life daydreaming about the zombie apocalypse finally arriving – and now that it has, she knows with an absolute certainty that she will survive. She’s read all the books, watched all the films, done all the research. She’s strong, tough…a badass! Any group would be lucky to fight alongside her.

And finally, there is Dr. Jones, the scientist who can’t understand why he alone seems to have been selected to attempt to cure the virus…surely there are survivors that are much more experienced than him in virology? And what will happen to him if he fails? Is the fate of the human race really resting on his shoulders alone?”

Readers have described these characters as ‘frustratingly real’ too, which is a part of what I wanted to go for in my books. No one is perfect, and I wanted to reflect that. Now I’m in the process of finishing up the third and final book in the series, and this one will end the series in an explosive manner!

 

Samie Sands Author Pic

Author Bio: Samie Sands is a 29 year old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing. Lockdown is her debut novel, published by Triplicity Publishing, with Forgotten following soon after. She has also had a number of short stories included in successful anthologies.

She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures. To follow Samie’s work, please check out her website http://samiesands.com.

 

Other Links: http://thelockdown.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/SamieSandsLockdown

http://www.twitter.com/SamieSands

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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ 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!

#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: JL Koszarek #WinterofZombie

DTC final cover

Literary Zombies

By J.L. Koszarek

 

 

Not having a Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley, or even an Anne Rice for leverage, writing about zombies is a unique and liberating challenge. While there are many films about zombies beginning nearly 100 years ago with The White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi, there is no literary genesis for zombies, no poems, no short stories, no tragic love stories or sonnets. Zombies have been left for literary dead.

Dracula and Frankenstein, and even Vampire Lestat were not soulless. They felt emotion, pined for those in the living world, even Dr. Frankenstein’s monster was painfully self-aware if not through the doctor’s suffering. They knew they were monsters undeserving of love. Each of them terrible victims of the tragedy of self-loathing, a rich inner conflict deserving of dramatic literary and metaphoric fame. Tragic. Romantic. Memorable.

While resurrection stories appear throughout history from the epic tale of Gilgamesh and others in Greek mythology to even Biblical mythology with the story of Lazarus, zombies don’t appear in classic western literature. Writing about them within the constructs of the 18th and 19th centuries was probably nearly impossible. The literary challenges were insurmountable because to write about the zombie, given the times, would be a fruitless attempt to tell a story about the resurrection of the truly soulless. Our soul, or as I prefer, consciousness is the center of everything dramatic, everything within us that drives our emotions, decisions, behaviors, all elements required for an interesting literary plot. The 19th century author was not aware of the concept of a zombie and even if she were, she would lack consideration for something the world assumed had no soul. Even the story of Lazarus is sketchy regarding his soul. Once Jesus calls him forth from the tomb, he remains nameless and eventually fades from recognition.

Zombies were not conceptualized as “walking dead” by the Haitians because the people who became zombies never died. They were wretched victims of a vengeful diabolist who rendered them powerless through his knowledge of chemistry. Even in death, the poor victim was unable to find freedom from the slavery of the day. In the 1930’s Zora Neale Hurst wrote about the Haitian zombie rituals, which exemplified the human struggle for liberation (Haitians viewed death as the ultimate liberation from the harsh realities of life) versus dark magic centering on power over others. Herein we see for the first time that zombies never died, but rather they were living, breathing human beings captured by voodoo priests and enslaved as an act of revenge.

The voodoo priest made a powerful poison powder from a litany of burned and dried organic ingredients including but not limited to human remains, lizards, spiders, worms, and frogs, but every variation of the powder included puffer fish, a known neurotoxin. The clever priest, knowing his chemistry would dispense just the right amount of his coup padre to render the victim comatose, a state in which the victim’s heart beat and respiration would be undetectable given the technology of the day. In truth, he would be very much alive, and sometimes even conscious, but unable to physically or verbally protest his funeral rites and burial after which the priest would exhume him from the grave, give him more hallucinogenic chemicals, beat him, enslave him, and declare that he has risen from the dead as a soulless creature. The Zombification Ritual, such an agonizing plot for revenge not only on the victim, but his entire family.

Herein, I believe the challenges for today’s zombie literati aren’t so overwhelming. Writing about a nonconscious being is akin to writing about a rock, except a rock isn’t animated like a zombie! Zombies open the door for hundreds of questions. How can this be? Why is it here? Where did it come from? What is it doing and why? Is it aware? Does it remember? Is it cognizant of its surroundings? Now, we’re getting somewhere.

The leverage today’s writer of the zombie genre has is unprecedented. There is no historical standard to which authors must aspire, zombie varietals are ripe for their own imagination. This is liberating, but with serious caveats. Popular culture is much more demanding than history. Much in the way of anxiety creeps into my heart when I imagine my readers disliking my zombies. With Thad David’s valuable input, he and I have embraced the neozombie virulent variety. It metamorphoses in seconds, it’s fast, violent, and seemingly lacking consciousness. It does not so much consume its victim, but rather spreads its virus. For this writer, this type of behavior indicates some kind of consciousness or collective awareness, a not so far cry from the original zombies of Haitian lore, except for the catatonic slave scenario.

Instead of metaphysical black magic and voodoo, today’s zombies have fallen victim to a mysterious virus with as yet unknown origins that deems them mindless, driven only by the primal nature that a virus has to replicate itself. So, even the zombie has a will to survive. It evolves in a dynamic world filled with adversity and yet, as in Haitian lore, the zombie is the still the loser in the ever ending struggle for power, the ultimate victim of a hostile natural world, which brings us to what zombies have come to symbolize. Do they remain the ultimate symbol of revenge, the powerlessness of the human condition? I think so, but this begs the question, then within whom or what does the vengeful heart reside? There are no voodoo priests, no more colonial planter class slavers or European colonists from which the poor person of color struggles to be freed.

What do we wish to be freed from? What condition renders us powerless? Who are the powerful and why? What about our conscious lives? What does freedom mean? Is there even such a thing? If so, how do we achieve it? Can it be experienced in the framework of our minds? What does it mean to die? What does it mean to love? These are the fertile challenges for today’s zombie literati.

The world is our oyster.

JL Koszarek

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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ 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!

#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Jay Wilburn #WinterofZombie

Dead Song Book 2 front cover

Winter of Zombie 2015

Familiar Characters – Same, But Different

by Jay Wilburn

I worry a little bit about creating my characters. It stresses me a little less in a short story. I can let them explode out on the page and usually build the dimensions I need in a short space. In longer works, I stress a little more. I typically end up with a bigger cast. I want them all to want something. Even if some of them are working toward similar goals, I want them to be different and speak differently – act differently. I want them to be realistic, but sometimes what makes characters real is difficult to sell on the page.

I wrote a post on social media earlier about my struggle to write realistic, flawed characters. Flawed characters are interesting characters. This is because all people are broken in small and big ways to varying degrees. We recognize this on some under layer of our minds where we occasionally find the capacity for empathy. This is why well written flaws make the best, most interesting characters in writing.

There are two important flaws that all people have, but we hate in others on such a deep level that they are difficult to write well because people want to hate them and reject them in characters on the page too. All people are hypocrites, but we despise the revelation of hypocrisy in those around us. None of us live up to our own ideals. All of us have beliefs that we aspire to and fall very short of. We hide this in ourselves and that is the formula for hypocrisy that we all carry in our emotional chemistry.

The other universal flaw is even more difficult for me to write well. We all seek to point out the good to be found within us while at the same time tuning our senses and minds to identify the bad in others and the world around us. Sometimes we do it to try to improve our own good through a grading curve, sometimes we do it because we think we can battle that bad and win, and sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it. A realistic character would possess both these flaws, but it is a real work of art to write a judgmental hypocrite that people will like.

A friend of mine brought up the point of depression being a factor that negates people finding the good in themselves. I would argue that while we still all probably hate things about ourselves, we’ll still gloss those things over in a moment of expressing our relative virtues or in comparing ourselves to greater evils in the world. I explained it in that discussion like this. Depression isn’t experienced the same by all people. Lots of people, depressed or otherwise, can still hate themselves and hate things about themselves and their lives. At the same time, they’ll still have the “us and them” categories. A depressed Democrat will still see their beliefs as good and Republican beliefs as evil or vice versa –same thing with religious and non religious.

Feeling bad about one’s self does not exempt someone from this inward versus outward tendency. On the page in particular, self hatred is probably best portrayed as a great disappointment the character feels for not having achieved what he or she feels is deserved from individual destiny. The manifestation of that then is seeking to right that perceived wrong through playing out those two universal flaws mentioned above.

If done well, these characters would appear wildly unique on the page, but in reality they would be intimately familiar because they would be exactly like all of us. Maybe this is a bit much to try to achieve in a zombie story, but I don’t think so. The humans really should have a few more dimensions than the zombies do, I think. The unique aspect would be in selling these characters with the flaws that we are not willing to see within ourselves. If I figure out how to do this, I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

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

Start the series here è http://amzn.to/1CvxbST

Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 2: February from Vicksburg to Cherokee

Continue the series here è http://jaywilburn.com/book-2/

Check out the first soundtrack to the series, The Sound May Suffer: Music from the Dead Song  here è http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thesoundmaysuffer6

or on Spotify. The hard CD is also available on Amazon.

 

Author Jay Wilburn

http://jaywilburn.com/

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ 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!

#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Scott M. Baker #WinterofZombie

a photo of me at Wewelsburg

Is the zombie craze about to come to an end? 

It’s a legitimate question. The genre has been spreading like a zombie outbreak ever since Brian Keene released The Rising back in 2003 and breathed new life into a dead market, culminating in The Walking Dead. With the development of their hit series, AMC has succeeded in doing what no other television show, movie, or novel had accomplished before—making zombies mainstream. The series is one of the most watched programs on television, and the convention circuit and merchandising for The Walking Dead is an industry onto itself. Yet it’s the very popularity of a genre that often leads to its decline because success breeds imitation. While imitation is often the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also the best way to make a quick buck, which has led to a seemingly endless influx of zombie novels, movies, TV, shows, and video games.

Fans have been treated to some truly outstanding books (Patient Zero and World War Z), films (The Horde, Zombieland, and The Dead), and video games (Resident Evil, Dead Island, and Left 4 Dead). Unfortunately, we have also seen zombies placed in every scenario imaginable, facing off against strippers, cheerleaders, ninjas, cockneys, and even Abraham Lincoln. Enough zombie romances and comedies have entered the market to spawn the creation of their own subgenres, zomroms and zomcoms. The living dead have even made their way into TV commercials. Traditionally, once a horror icon becomes the subject of farce, its demise is inevitable. (A good case in point is Universal Studio’s cache of monsters from the 1930s and 1940s, all of whom lumbered through countless resurrections until permanently put to death by Abbott and Costello).

So does this overabundance of zombies in our culture mean the craze has burnt itself out and is about to subside?

 

Far from it. Zombies are different because they fill a niche no other monster is capable of.

 

Vampires, werewolves, and other ghoulish creatures and creepy crawlies will always thrill us. Vampires appeal to that dark erotic nature of our personalities that we keep bridled, while werewolves remind us of how violent and uncontrollable our subconscious truly is. The other monsters are adult manifestations of those things in the closet that scared us as kids. They are fantasy, and we don’t care. We sit in a darkened movie theater, or become engrossed in the pages of a novel until the late hours of the night, and relish what horrors await. We know that as long as the characters can survive to the end, then they will continue to live normal lives.
Zombies strike a chord with us because they tap into our deepest emotional and psychological fears.

First, there is an undertone of realism to the zombie genre that is terrifying. Despite exaggerated reports of Ebola victims rising from the dead or the ingestion of bath salts turning drug addicts into flesh-eating ghouls, no one honestly expects a zombie apocalypse. What is frightening about the scenario, however, is that it represents a total collapse of society as we know it and the breakdown of everything we hold dear. We didn’t create our own Hell by messing around with a Ouija board or a black and gold puzzle box. Factors beyond our control initiated the outbreak, and now we are forced to defend ourselves and our families as the living dead hunt us down in our own neighborhoods.

This scenario has been brought home to us repeatedly over the past decade by around-the-clock news, which has piped microcosms of the apocalypse into our homes. We sat glued to our television sets while watching the flood waters of Katrina inundate New Orleans and tsunamis devastate the coast of Japan. It took days, and in some cases weeks, before local and federal governments could enter the devastated areas and reestablish control. In the case of New Orleans, the devastation was accompanied by the collapse of the social order. Looters took advantage of the chaos. People had to fend for themselves in order to survive, sometimes against the local authorities. Our hearts went out to the victims of these natural disasters while a part of us breathed a sigh of relief that there but for the Grace of God goes us. The fear that zombies generate is that, if an outbreak ever did occur, we would suddenly become those nameless victims and would be forced to confront bitter realities about how we would react in such a situation.
Second, as strange as it sounds, a zombie apocalypse provides a grim hope for the future in the form of a “reset” button. All the seemingly insurmountable troubles we face disappear, and the playing field is leveled overnight. We’re no longer a part of the 1% or the 99%, a liberal or a conservative, a payer of taxes or a recipient of a government subsidy, a member of the elitist upper class or the struggling working class. All of our debts, our past mistakes, and our concerns would be wiped out overnight. Our possessions and social status would become irrelevant. All that would matter would be our strengths and abilities, and the direction in which our moral compass points.

One of my favorite zombie movies is Zack Snyder’s 2004 reimaging of Dawn of the Dead because of its portrayal of how ordinary people would react during a total collapse of the social order. Would we become Anna or Michael, who try to maintain their humanity even after losing everything dear to them? Would we become Kenneth, who opts to look out only for himself? Would we become CJ, the mall security guard who turns away the survivors because “no one here is infected and I intend to keep it that way?” Or would we be Tucker or Frank, the nameless faces that blend into the background and merely go on existing, only to become the red shirts of the survivors? Confronting how we would behave in such a situation can be scarier than dealing with the zombies.
The struggle between surviving and maintaining some semblance of humanity is what the genre is all about (combined, of course, with some intense gut-munching, head shooting action and buckets of blood and gore.) We will be entertained by an occasional zomcom, or a zombie falling in love with a teenage girl or being a boy’s loyal pet. We might even have to endure zombies that glitter in the sunlight. However, as long as fans are terrified by the end of the world, then zombies will always provide them with a frightening and exciting why to exploit that angst.

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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ 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!

#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!