Guest Post: Greg P Ferrell #WinterofZombie

BookCoverImage

In honor of being a part of this year’s Winter of Zombie blog tour, here is a set of short stories written exclusively for the visitors to the tour. These were started back during the Summer of Zombie 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 7

By: Tony the zombie

Translated by: Greg P. Ferrell

 

 

A moment of zen with me, Tony the Zombie today. So the other day I was shambling down a long stretch of road, and I came to fork in the road. I looked down both roads and was confused by which way I should go. One path was littered with those metal boxes you people like to run over us with and debris and fallen trees blocked the other. I had a brief moment where I vaguely remembered something from my human life about taking the road less dangerous or something like that. I decided to go down the car-strewn path.

 

As I shambled past all of the empty metal boxes my mind wandered as I gazed upon them. They reminded me of something else from my human life, my female birth giver used to call Happy Meals. I remembered them fondly coming in a box that I would open and find some edible items in but also there was always a surprise mixed in with the food. I remembered that made me happy, hence the name of them. I looked upon these metal boxes and realized they are our versions of Happy Meals, and I almost had a smile come across my face.

 

That was until I stepped on something and a huge net scooped me up into the sky. As I thrashed about in the net trying to free myself I realized the folly of my decision. The next time I come across a fork in the road I’m turning around and traveling down the road I’ve already traveled because there was no freaking traps on that road.

 

Tony the Zombie here to tell you from experience, don’t get so lost in thought that you fail to identify a trap or you could end up like me, swaying in the winter breeze hoping nobody is on the way to stab you in the brain. Hopefully I will talk to you soon.

2015-05-09 15.04.05_resized

*   *   *   *   *

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!

Advertisements

Guest Post: Rhonda Hopkins #WinterofZombie

Survival - Rhonda Hopkins

SURVIVAL: BUG OUT BAG

 

Planning for a zombie apocalypse? Or just an ordinary (is there such a thing?) emergency? Everyone has their own idea of what should go in a bug out bag (BOB). But here are a few of the things I think are important and you may want to consider getting together for TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It). There are some items listed here that my characters have needed in my SURVIVAL series and not always had. So be prepared!

First of all you’ll need something to put everything in. Make sure you have a durable backpack. You’ll want to be able to keep your hands free in case you need to do some zombie killing. The backpack should be well made so that it doesn’t split a seam and spill out all your carefully assembled items. If you’re on the run, you won’t have time to stop and collect it all. Check military surplus and outdoor stores for good options. One that has webbing that allows you to clip on other items to the outside of the pack would be great.

What you pack and how much depends on you. How much weight can you comfortably carry? You might have to walk for miles with that pack on your back. So make sure you don’t overload it. It’s better to have a few necessary items than to have to leave all of it behind because you can’t carry it and don’t have time to stop and sort through it.

Probably the most important thing besides your brain power is water. You can fit a few emergency water pouches in your bag, but put some purification tablets in there as well. That way you can purify any water you come across. You really don’t want to have the runs while you’re on the run, so some form of purification is necessary. Here are some instructions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for purifying water in an emergency. It might be a good idea to print that page out and put it in your pack. You’ll need a water bottle or canteen as well. There are some water filtration bottles out there that you can use for drinking, but they can get pricey and you’ll still need to pack replacement cartridges.

Put any papers or things that may ruin if wet in plastic baggies.

A first aid kit will probably come in handy. Make sure it has bandages, alcohol swabs, gauze, tape, aspirin (Advil or Tylenol), elastic bandage, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, and scissors. You might need calamine lotion or other anti-itch cream in case you get into something rash-inducing. And an instant chemical cold pack might prove useful for sprains or other injuries.

Consider adding a sewing kit. And of course duct tape is a must. You never know when you may have to “MacGyver” your way to a solution. You can even make an emergency stretcher out of duct tape.

You’ll need a flashlight and extra batteries. A good hand-crank flashlight will alleviate the need for the batteries. A headlamp would keep your hands free.

Protein and meal replacement bars are a good option. You can also put in a few freeze-dried emergency meal packages, oatmeal packets, and trail mix snacks. Most experts recommend 1500 to 3000 calories per day per person with a three day supply minimum. Check for guides on edible plants in your area as well as guides on trapping small game. It might prove worth your time to read some articles online and watch some videos in advance. Pack a fishing line as well. Even if you’re not near a place to catch fish, it might come in handy in other situations. You’ll also need a plate/bowl and eating utensils. You can find cooking sets that come with bowls/cups and utensils that all nest into one neat package.

You’ll also need something to light a fire with – matches, lighters, or other types of fire starters. Put the matches in a water proof container. Vaseline soaked cotton balls are a quick way to get a fire going.

Don’t forget shelter. It’s possible you might be sleeping outdoors. If you live in an area where you can get by on a lightweight option, that’s great. But you might live in a climate where a four season tent would be your best alternative. Do you need a one person tent or one for a family?

A sleeping bag suitable for your climate is also a good idea. If you use a compression sack, this will shrink the size of the bag and take up less space. Solar blankets are good to have in your pack as well.

Consider adding a rain tablet – a small notebook you can write on when wet – and pen or pencil.

A knife and a multi-purpose tool, a small folding shovel, & paracord rope are good additions, as are sunscreen, bug spray, and lip balm (a jar of Carmex is a good option).

Add some zip lock bags. (All bags are not created equal. Test them out. Make sure they won’t leak.)

A map of the area might be needed if you can’t get a signal for your GPS.

Small Address/Phone book for those you may need to contact in an emergency.

A weapon to keep you and your family safe. Make sure it’s something you’re comfortable using; otherwise, it could turn into a weapon used against you. Know how to set a trap or set up early warning signals to give you a chance to get away or prepare to fight.

A set of extra clothing and gloves that are flexible enough to carry out tasks. Pants with lots of pockets are a great option. Add a poncho for rainy days.

Gather together some personal toiletries:

  • Travel size toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, etc.
  • Dental floss and toothbrush
  • Brush/comb
  • Elastic band to pull hair back
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wash cloth and/or wet wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Dish soap

If you know you can’t carry the weight of all this – choose the most important for your backpack. Then pack another bag to carry in your car. The second most needed items in one bag and then another for “would be nice to have” items. You may end up leaving all but the backpack behind, so pack carefully.

Other things to keep in mind:

Keep your cell phone charged at all times. Wouldn’t it just suck to need it in an emergency and you find it DOA? You can find some inexpensive solar chargers on Amazon. There are even ones that do double or triple duty as a flashlight or flashlight and hand-crank radio.

A hand-crank radio is a good way to stay in touch with what’s going on in the world.

Never let your gas tank get below the halfway mark. You never know when you might need to be able to leave in a hurry. You don’t want to be stuck in line at a gas station with everyone else. It’s very possible tempers will flare and there’s a good chance of getting hurt even before you get started. You can always get gas later. But it’s a good idea to have a gas can or two filled and ready to load in your car if needed.

When the SHTF, you also want to steer clear of pharmacies, grocery stores, and hospitals for the same reason. So plan ahead and make sure you have what you need in advance for emergency situations.

If you take prescription medications, make sure you keep those all in one place where they are easy to grab and go.

In case you are able to travel by car, it’s a good idea to have a few gallons or cases of water and extra food supplies and clothing to take with you ready to go.

Have a designated meeting place for family members and friends in case of an emergency. There is safety in numbers, so the more prepared individuals you have as a team, the better.

Check expiration dates every six months and replace items as necessary. If you’re really organized, keep a list of everything in your bag and put the expiration dates there. That way you don’t have to actually unpack your bag each time.

All that specialized equipment you’ve bought? Make sure you know how to use it. Practice with it. It won’t do you any good if you need it and have no idea how to operate it.

That’s it. So, what did I miss? Let me know in the comments what you think are essentials for your bug out bag.

Rhonda Hopkins

Award-winning author, Rhonda Hopkins, has learned firsthand that truth is stranger than fiction. Her two decades of experience as an investigator provide her characters with a depth and realism that gives truth a run for its money. Having come in contact with the best and the worst that society has to offer, Rhonda’s imagination is filled with story ideas. Rhonda writes horror, suspense, paranormal, and YA urban fantasy. She is the author of the zombie apocalypse series, SURVIVAL, and the award-winning paranormal novella, THE CONSUMING. She also has a non-fiction book, NAVIGATING FAMILY COURT: IN THE BEST INTEREST OF YOUR CHILD, to assist those going through custody litigation.

You can connect with Rhonda at:

Website: http://rhondahopkins.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/RhondaHopkins.Author

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/Rhonda_Hopkins

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/rhondahopkins

Google+:  https://www.google.com/+RhondaHopkins

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhondarhopkins

Find more from Rhonda at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Rhonda-Hopkins/e/B009KWDCCW

*   *   *   *   *

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!

Teaser: Ted Nulty #WinterofZombie

Other side of me cover (2)

The Other Side of Me Preview

Written by Ted Nulty

Ch.1

          The change took Pastor Eland Matthews overnight. He had been at a church picnic all day Saturday until the news of the terrorist attacks sent people into a mild panic. The gathering had broken up in an orderly fashion, as people went back home to make sure that their extended families were okay. Eland had stayed with Cory Monroe to help clean up, then load the church’s van. Sunday was spent calming the members of his congregation who came to the church for comfort. He had to have Corey and Julia make extra lemonade and sweet tea for all the people stopping by. The attacks seemed to have been relatively ineffective, there had been some casualties at the power plant where one of the planes used in the attacks had crashed, but none were from his congregation. He went to bed Sunday evening feeling a little warm. His ebony skin didn’t show the rash that was creeping up his neck.

Eland had served in the United States Navy as a Corpsman or ‘doc’ attached to a Marine Corps infantry unit. Although he had never declared himself a ‘conscientious objector’ he felt that he would best serve his country by saving lives instead of taking them. After completing his tour he had served in several roles at his ministry before becoming ordained and taking over. At just over six feet two, with smooth ebony skin, his features were handsome. His smile was a strip of pearlescent white that sent waves of charm out to his congregation. The musculature he had developed while serving with the Marines, and which he maintained with a rigorous workout regimen in the basement gym, filled out his Sunday suit nicely. There were few women who didn’t get butterflies when he spoke to them in his rich baritone voice. His grooming was capped off with a faint dash of cologne that tended to make people lean in closer to identify it.

The toxin that had been dumped into the city’s water supply was in the sweet tea he had been drinking. He had ingested enough toxin during the day, to overload his neural network five times over. While his body did its best to eject it from his system, the toxin still concentrated itself in his brain. During the night his saliva became a thick serum which held enough toxin to contaminate another person if they were bitten. His body temperature rose to 102 degrees and he began to sweat freely. He was tossing and turning in his bed when a commotion outside caused him to snap upright. He looked around at his small room, recognizing it as his, but somehow feeling that it was also not his. Another noise from outside his window turned his attention away from the room. He stalked over to the window which faced out towards 25th Street in Gulfport Mississippi. He looked down upon a woman who was backing away from a man. The woman had what appeared to be a large doll in her hand and she was swinging it repeatedly at the man. He finally caught her arm and bit into the doll.

Food the thought flashed across his mind. Other images of vandals on the street flashed in his head as well. He immediately became enraged at the activity and bolted out the door. His small apartment was attached to the side of the church and was above the kitchen. He ran down the stairs leading up to his loft and through the cooking area. He slammed into the door leading outside, and leapt down the short flight of four stairs. He charged towards the gate on the side of the church yard.

The sound of the fight was easily heard as he pulled open the gate and ran towards the sound of the conflict. Rounding the side of the church, he saw both the man and woman crouched in the street tearing strips of flesh off of the young child the woman had been carrying. The man had been able to grab the child’s leg and twist the torso away from the woman. She had maintained a grip on the arm however, and the already ravaged skin had torn as the child’s arm came off.

Eland saw that the male had the bigger piece, and instinctively knowing he posed more of a threat, Eland attacked him first. The two people were so busy chewing and growling at each other, that they didn’t notice that Eland was on them until it was too late. The impact of Eland slamming into the man’s back knocked him flat on his face and drove the air from his lungs. Eland easily bent down and bit into his victim’s neck, tearing out a huge mouthful of flesh before he could recover.

The woman had scooted away on her butt when Eland first ran into the man, but she darted forward and grabbed what was left of her son’s corpse as the one sided struggle played itself out. She threw aside the arm she had been chewing on and ran off down the street dragging the small body by the leg. Eland had growled at her for taking the child but there was nothing he could do while he finished killing the man underneath him. Once the body stopped twitching, he continued to tear at it for several minutes, grunting in pleasure as the hot blood filled his mouth, and the chunks of flesh filled his belly. The toxin which had been flowing in the man’s blood now sat in Eland’s stomach and was slowly absorbed.

After taking his fill, Eland stood up and looked around. There was a building on fire a few blocks over, and the sound of a siren could be heard in the distance. None of these things affected his immediate needs, so he ignored them. What he wanted was a drink. His metabolism was going overtime, and his body craved water to flush his system. The thick serum in his saliva was mixing with the blood coagulating in his mouth. He worked his mouth a few times and swallowed. He went back inside the church kitchen knowing that he should be able to get something there to satisfy his craving. He walked in and suddenly drew a blank on how to get a drink. He immediately became enraged and began slamming utensils into the shelves and counters. The fit took a better part of 10 minutes before he collapsed to the ground breathing like a locomotive.

Once he had calmed down he went exploring, and instinctively found the men’s restroom. He immediately began splashing the water from the toilet bowl up into his mouth. After rinsing the slime and blood from his mouth in one stall, he went to the next one and drank his fill. The fluids and meat were sloshing around in his belly as he stood up and wandered back out into the rectory. The early morning physical activity coupled with the lack of sleep and a full stomach were making him drowsy. He finally curled up in a corner of the chapel and fell into a troubled sleep.

Author pic

*   *   *   *   *

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: GG Silverman #WinterofZombie

VTZH_ebookcover_FINAL_sm

Zombies and Comedy: Bringing Horror to a Wider Audience

 

Sometimes, if I’m at a cocktail party and chatting with someone I just met, the topic will eventually turn to what shows we’re all watching or what we’re all reading. If I tell someone I’ve been watching The Walking Dead, sometimes the other will shudder visibly and say, “I don’t do zombies.”

 

“Why?” I’ll say.
The response is invariably something along the lines of, “Zombies give me nightmares.”

Then the topic turns to what we do for a living, or what we love doing in our free time. That’s when I tell people that I’m a horror writer, that I’m writing zombie books that are also funny.

 

They’ll raise an eyebrow. Then someone else will chime in and vouch for me, saying that they, too, aren’t into zombies at all, but had a laugh reading my book and would recommend it to others. And maybe they’re now into comedic horror, and my book was the gateway drug. Score!

 

A few weeks later I might run into the person I was chatting with, or I might hear from them online. They’ll say that, yes, even though zombies traditionally give them screaming night terrors, they read my book and enjoyed it like crazy. They might even go so far as to leave me a glowing review online saying the very same thing.

 

So, what am I trying to tell you, fellow writers?

 

Adding an element of comedy could be a great way to broaden your audience. Think of it this way: so many of your friends have seen Shaun of the Dead, but how many of your friends have seen 28 Days Later?

 

Right. Now you know what I’m getting at.

 

Funny makes horror better.

GGSilverman_by_CamilleChu_Crop2

G.G. Silverman is an award-winning author who lives just north of Seattle. Her first book, Vegan Teenage Zombie Huntress, is a comedic feminist YA zombie novel. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local bookstore through IndieBound.org

*   *   *   *   *

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: Nerys Wheatley #WinterofZombie

Mutation cover smaller

Embarrassing Zombies (and How to Avoid Becoming One)

By Nerys Wheatley

 

The zombie apocalypse has begun. This will be a defining moment in human history, separating the men from the boys, and, presumably, the women from the girls. Or the men from the women. Whatever, only the strong and resourceful will survive. The human race will emerge as a new entity, refined until it has reached the pinnacle of physical and mental potency.

 

Which means, obviously, that you and I aren’t going to make it. Admit it, you know it’s true.

 

So knowing you are days, possibly hours, from joining the ranks of the undead, what should you do? Say goodbye to your loved ones? Spend the time weeping uncontrollably and lamenting the waste of a promising life cut short? Eat every cheesecake you can get your hands on because, let’s face it, those few extra pounds aren’t going to matter now?

 

No.

 

Okay, maybe the cheesecake.

 

But what you really need to do is consider what kind of life zombie you is going to end up with. The sad fact is there are plenty of ways you can humiliate yourself once locked in your endless search for raw flesh to munch. So for the sake of your future dignity, here are seven tips to make your time as a zombie just a little bit less embarrassing.

 

1     Don’t get turned in a shopping mall. There are so many reasons for this, not least of which is malls are the natural habitat of the teenager. They will find some way to humiliate you while using you for target practice and it won’t be pretty. Oh, and if you’re a man trapped in a women’s clothing store? Think of the embarrassment you feel waiting for your significant other while she’s in the changing rooms now, and times it by a thousand.

 

2     Avoid anywhere there are wild, carnivorous animals, especially the zoo. It’s one thing to end your existence in style with a crossbow bolt to the brain. It’s entirely another to be Simba’s chew toy for the next six months.

 

3     Don’t use curlers to style your hair. I know, you would think that, what with it being a life or death situation and all, perfect hair wouldn’t be a priority.  But just in case you are trying to leave a good looking mobile corpse, do not use curlers. Because – a zombie with curlers in its hair. Think about it. Do you really want your future killer to have to take two shots instead of one to put you down because he’s laughing so hard?

 

4     Do not wear a Walking Dead t-shirt. Yes, it may seem cleverly ironic at the time, but really you’re just saying, “I watched six seasons of a TV show about surviving a zombie apocalypse and still got bitten on the first day.” Your inept failure will be right there for all to see. Forever.

 

5     Don’t turn in a swimming pool or hot tub. A relaxing spell in the pool may seem like just the thing to calm you down during the collapse of civilisation as we know it, but floater zombies are the zombies all other zombies look at with disgust. There’s pretty much no lower you can sink. Excuse the pun.

 

6     Men – wear jeans that fit. Those three sizes too big ones you think are oh-so-cool now? Not so cool when you can’t hoist them up anymore and you have jeans sagging around your ankles for the next ten years. Even the other zombies are going to be laughing at you.

 

7     The final one is more a social faux pas, but is nevertheless important enough to mention. If you have a family, stay away from them. Even in undead circles, it’s regarded as bad form to eat your own children. You don’t want to be that zombie.

 

These seven tips are by no means exhaustive. Add to them. Make a list and keep it where you can find it easily. Read it over and over until you have it memorised.

 

You may be going down, but at least you can do it with head held high and dignity intact. More or less.

 

FB profile picture 1a

Nerys Wheatley was born in the UK and grew up in the decade of shoulder pads and big hair. She writes fast moving, action packed horror and science fiction with strong characters and a sense of humour. When she isn’t writing, she likes to read, go for walks, read, watch TV shows about spaceships and/or zombies, play the piano, and sometimes she does a little reading.

 

The first two books in her zombie action series “Twenty-Five Percent” are available now.

       Mutation (Twenty-Five Percent Book 1) http://myBook.to/Mutation

Downfall (Twenty-Five Percent Book 2) http://myBook.to/Downfall

 

*   *   *   *   *

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 Lefebvre #WinterofZombie

Scott Mug Shot

Why zombies?

I’ve been doing interviews for a couple years.
I started back in November of 2014.
I was trying to get people to promote a project I was working on and sent out a press release to a few dozen of the sensible places to send a press release about the kind of project and all I ever received in response were auto-generated e-mail confirmations.
It seemed like the old “experience/employment” paradox.
Can’t get a job without work experience.
Can’t get work experience without getting a job.
In this case, I couldn’t get anyone to promote the project I was working on because I wasn’t famous enough for people to care about anything I was working on.
But how was I supposed to get famous if I couldn’t get people to cover the project I was working on?
I didn’t think that was fair, so I started my interview blog and promised to interview anyone to promote anything they wanted to promote as long as they did their part of completing the correspondence style questionnaire and provided answers engaging enough that the interview was worth posting.
I posted Interview #167 this morning.
I’ve interviewed creative types from a wide variety of arts.
Film-makers, musicians, fine artists, and authors.
Recently it’s been mostly authors.
That’s how it goes.  Like veins of ore in a mine, once you find a little you usually get more of the same.
Most of the authors are working on their first book, or first few books.
Some of them have a distribution deal with a publisher.  Some are self-published.
A lot of them center around zombies or some other variation on the dead/undead.
You know, like the Bauhaus song about Bela Lugosi. https://youtu.be/OKRJfIPiJGY
When an author writes about zombies, I try to remember to ask them “Why zombies?”
Why not vampires, witches, or werewolves?
I usually don’t get the answer I’m looking for.
I know that the popularity of The Walking Dead show is probably behind a lot of the inspiration for these books.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
I can totally understand watching the show and watching the group of relatively normal people in an unusual situation fighting for survival against other survivors and the persistent looming threat of the zombie horde and thinking, “Hey, I can totally imagine myself in the zombie apocalypse.  Wait a second!  I could write a book about that!”
I’ve received a lot of these books to read and review either as a result of the interviews or for my book review blog.
I usually don’t get very far in them.
Either the writing isn’t very good, or isn’t engaging, or they feel compelled to put some weird twist on the zombie creature.
Even relatively well-known authors have lost me.
I had heard good things about Brian Keene’s zombie books and had a case of Leisure Books at my job, so I decided to try them out.
The writing wasn’t bad, but the premise that the zombie apocalypse was a result of the spirits of the dead and demonic returning to inhabit the bodies of the living didn’t work for me.
He lost me when a swarm of sentient birds attacked something, I think it was a helicopter.
I couldn’t get past the premise, so I gave up on the book.
I’ve read a fair amount of zombie themed books and watched at least a hundred zombie movies.
I read the comic books for The Walking Dead up until the arc that ends at around issue #100 and I watched the first four seasons fairly avidly.
But The Walking Dead wasn’t what inspired me to write about zombies.
The comics and the TV show are good enough.
Even though, if offered the chance to play with that world and character set, I think I could have a lot of fun and do a decent job and make some interesting things happen, but I haven’t gotten that call yet.
I’m happy enough to just sit back and just enjoy the results of the effort of others.
I also don’t plan on watching Fear The Walking Dead.
One passably well, but flawed, zombie apocalypse series from that creative team is enough for me.
The reason I write zombie is because I was asked to write a short story for a zombie-themed anthology.
I had written a book for a publisher and when I would talk with aspiring authors that fact would come up.
One of the authors told me that he was putting together a zombie-themed anthology and asked me if I would write a story to be considered for the anthology.
The publisher liked the story, so I went on and wrote another story under a pen name to help fill out the book.  The same scenario, but from a different perspective.
The book was supposed to debut at a Midwest horror convention.
I took time out of work and drove out to the convention on my own dime to be part of the release.
The convention was nice enough to comp us a table and the editor and one of the other authors were planning on being there to help promote the book.
The books did not arrive in time for the convention and the editor/publisher was literally in tears with frustration.
I came up with the idea of going to the business center of the host hotel and running off a few dozen copies of my story to hand out as a teaser for the anthology.
The publisher wasn’t very keen on the idea, but failing that we were just going to be three guys sitting behind a table with nothing to offer anyone.
I gave one of the print-outs to the owner of a DVD distribution company I knew.
The next morning he surprised me, telling me that he actually read the story that night and enjoyed it.
He asked me, “So, where’s the rest of it?”
“The anthology? The books didn’t get to the publisher in time for him to bring them to the convention.”
“No, the rest of this story.  I like the world you created and I want to read more.”
I filed that away in the back of my mind and let it sit there for a few years.
One night at work I found myself daydreaming about the zombie apocalypse again and I started playing with writing small vignettes describing the world as it would be.
Abandoned supermarkets falling in on themselves with bushels of blind potatoes and carrots growing out of the bins of vegetables.
Abandoned cars on the freeways, slowly turning to rust on flat tires, windshields thick with dust and ash from the burning cities, streaked with several seasons of rain.
I was adding paragraphs to the thread until I had enough to put together a short story, then more than that and I decided to finally revisit the idea of expanding the short story into a book, which went on to become the beginning of a series of books.
My inspiration for the zombie books I write is equal parts post-apocalyptic movies and zombie movies, specifically the zombie movies of George A. Romero.
I grew up in the late 70s/early 80s during what was called the “cold war” between the United States and Russia.
We were warned that at any time the Russians could push the button and send their ICBMs.  The last thing we would see would be the con trails of the missiles arcing across the skies overhead.  That was if you lived in or near a major city.  If you lived somewhere in the middle of the country you would have to try to survive a slow death from fallout, radiation poisoning, nuclear winter and cannibal clans.  So, pretty much the film The Road (2009).
As for the films of George A. Romero, I first saw Night Of The Living Dead when I was maybe ten years old, having snuck down in the middle of the night to watch the late late movie.
It was terrifying, and left a lasting impression and I sought out the later films in the series when I was older.
Although they are great films, I was not a SWAT team member or a helicopter pilot or a TV cast member.
I was not a member of a motorcycle gang, or a scientist or a member of the Army living in an underground mine.
I enjoyed those films, but I often found myself wondering what would happen if there was a zombie outbreak where I lived.
I think I waited long enough to avoid the error of making myself the main character, or an idealized smart, tough, and sexy version of myself.  My life really isn’t that interesting.
I also avoided creating one-dimensional archetype characters like the tough-as-nails ex-marine, the tough but vulnerable nurse, the obnoxious yuppie character that you love to hate, the stoner/gamer, the goth girl obsessed with death, etc.
I decided to do a crowd-funding campaign to try to raise a little money so I could take some time off of work to write the book.
In the campaign, I offered contributors the opportunity to be characters in the book.
Each character would get their own novella establishing their character, and I would push the characters towards each other until they were a group and push them towards a common goal to preserve and rebuild human society in the world they found themselves in.
I was using as my model, Stephen King’s The Stand, in which he does essentially the same thing.
He introduces the characters, spending four or five pages first establishing, then following each one, moving them towards each other until they come together.
I have long been an admirer of the work of Stephen King, and thoroughly enjoyed reading The Stand the first ten times through.
But recently when I revisit The Stand, I find the paranormal/religious themes of “good versus evil” that underpin the conflict of the book preachy and two-dimensional.
As an atheist, I believe that human nature is more complex and flexible than “good or bad” and I’m more interested in essentially good people forced to do bad things and essentially bad people forced to work together in the interest of mutual preservation.
Those are the themes that I explore in my books.
A post-apocalyptic world falling to pieces where there is no higher power with their hand on the wheel.
The crowd-funding campaign was passably successful.
Successful enough for me to decide to carry through with the project, but not successful enough for me to take time off work and work on the book exclusively.
I wrote and published the first two books, but I waited too long to write them.
Now that The Walking Dead is one of the highest rated TV shows, everyone and their cat is writing their own post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic series of books.
The market is saturated with zombies which is completely fair in the free market economy of modern self-publishing.
I think that the first two books in the series are special, and deserve more attention than they have received.
If I can get some momentum behind the first two books, or at least a few dozen reviews, I’m looking forward to revisiting The End Of The World Is Nigh and writing the rest of the story, which, if it goes according to plan should be about as long as Stephen King’s The Stand when I edit all of the novellas together like shuffling a giant deck of cards, and it will be my loving homage to all the hours of nightmarish pleasure that King and Romero provided me with during my formative years.
That is why I write zombie fiction.

*   *   *   *   *

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!