Guest Post: Jay Wilburn #WinterofZombie

Dead Song Book 2 front cover

Winter of Zombie 2015

Write What a Better Version of You Would like

by Jay Wilburn


Writing advice is everywhere. Most of it only works part of the time even if it is good. A lot of it isn’t good. When it is good, there is no sure fire way to know when the rules are supposed to be broken. You’re supposed to guess and either you will be seen as a genius for knowing when to break the rules or you will be the example for why the rules should be followed. You are told to write what you love. We are advised to write what we know. We are encouraged to expand our horizons by some or to find our niche by others. I would suggest that maybe you should strive to write what a better version of yourself would like.

The idea would not be to write for what a more pertinacious version of you would like. You can write high literary, but this doesn’t mean to apply flowery language to try to make a story more high-minded than it actually is. This does not mean to tackle the genre that you think the crowd would enjoy. These are the things we do when we get up inside our heads and try to write for acceptance in whatever form we happen to be seeking it. This is what we do when we are trying to appear better than we think we are while feeling that we are far worse than we actually are. In the process of trying to be this person, we lose the things about our writing that indicated we had potential to begin with.

When I say to write what a better version of you would like, I mean to try to write for the audience of you without the hang-ups and self doubt. What would that writer create without the fear of what the rule makers would think of the product? If you were writing for a version of yourself that was not second guessing your choices, what would that story look like? Which directions would those characters turn if they weren’t being held back by the author’s nagging doubts? I would have to imagine those stories written by that version of the author would be quite interesting to say the least.

We almost can’t be that version of the author entirely. The longer we write the more we become aware of our bad habits that require adjustments. We probably should make those changes to produce better work. The weight of all of those checklists of our shortcomings and bad habits will add up over time. There is a net effect that will sometimes stifle the work instead of being integrated into our styles seamlessly. There are trade offs to giving up that raw, unfettered writer that worked for the passion of it at the beginning. The better version of us would hold on to the edge while constructing a better sentence and action scene too.

We make choices about our writing career based on the self doubts of that burdened version of ourselves we become. This is the writer that makes choices we sometimes look back on and regret. This is the guy that stops writing about zombies not because he thinks he is meant to, but because he feels like that’s what real responsible writers would do. Moving into other areas of writing is not necessarily the wrong choice, but doing it because the self conscious voices in our heads advise it probably is the wrong motivation. When we sit down to write, we should try to access that unfettered version of ourselves even just for a little while.



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

Start the series here è

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

Continue the series here è

Check out the first soundtrack to the series, The Sound May Suffer: Music from the Dead Song  here è

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



Author Jay Wilburn

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

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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!

Teaser: Derek Ailes #WinterofZombie


  Zombie Twister from Zombie Command: A Horror Anthology

“Jeremy, we found a video camera in the back of the Garland,” the sheriff said.

“Good, maybe we’ll get a clue to what happened out here,” Detective Jeremy Riggs said.

Jeremy looked at the modified truck called the Garland with intrigue.  The four door truck had been modified to look like a tank and was supposed to withstand the force of at least an EF4 tornado.  The crew from the Garland was missing just like the inhabitants of the small town of Gleeson, five miles down the road.  An EF5 tornado had recently havocked the city of Wichita, Kansas, a few hours prior, leaving massive devastation in its path.  Whole towns were obliterated by the storm.  Gleeson was the exception.  The town was still standing but the inhabitants were gone.  Something else was responsible besides the tornado.  He was hoping whatever the crew recorded from the Garland, would give them some sort of clue.  Maybe they caught something on tape.

“Jeremy, we found a body.  You have to see this to believe it,” Sheriff Charles Santino said, almost out of breath.

He followed Charles out into the corn field where a couple of deputies were hunched over a body.  He looked at the body with disgust.  Something had ripped the body to shreds.  It looked like the work of a large hungry animal.

“Get the coroner here right away,” Jeremy ordered.

“Might take a while.  Phone lines are down.  The tornado did major damage to the cell tower,” Sheriff Santino said.

“Be on guard.  Whatever did this to him may still be nearby,” Jeremy said.

“A coyote?” Charles Santino asked

“Perhaps,” Jeremy said, looking at the body closely.  “I don’t see animal bites.  These bite marks look human.”

“A human did this?” Charles asked in shock.

“Won’t know for sure until an autopsy is performed.”  Jeremy said.  “Keep the deputies here until we can get the coroner here.  I want to go back to the station to watch the footage from the video camera.  Maybe they caught whatever killed this man on tape.”


Jeremy walked into the police station carrying the video camera.  He made his way to his office and walked over to his desk.  He hooked the video camera’s USB cord into his computer and uploaded the camera’s files.  Once the files were uploaded, he clicked on the first one.


“Is it rolling?”  Trevor Cline asked.


Trevor adjusted his red ball cap and walked over to his newly modified truck.  “This is my latest invention, the Garland.  Named after my favorite actress, the Garland is reinforced with thick steel plating designed to withstand the force of at least an EF4 tornado.  The latest technology within the Garland will make tornado chasing a lot safer and we can, in theory, get real close to a tornado.”

“Cost a lot of grant money as well,” Jake Tyler said, pointing the video camera at Trevor.

“Well worth the money.  The amount of information we will be able to learn from a tornado now that we can get real close is invaluable.”

“Not to mention the money we will make selling the footage to the weather channels,” Jake joked.

“You’re videotaping; I’m talking.”


“As I was saying, the Garland can hold up to four people and this,” Trevor said, pointing to a square metal device mounted on the roof of Garland, “which can measure the wind speeds of a tornado without being destroyed in the process.”

“Trevor, I brought food for our journey,” Josh Kellian, the driver of Garland, said as he entered the garage.  He was very tall and really thin.  His face was covered in acne scars.  “Checked the radar, we are a go for today.  Weather looks in our favor.”

“Yes!” Trevor said excitedly.

“An excellent day for tornadoes?”  Jake asked.

“Looks like a line of severe storms back to back,” Josh said.

“Or as one would say, an orgy for storm chasers,” Trevor said, excitedly.


“We’ve been on the road for over an hour now.  As you can see out the window, the skies are getting pitch black.  We are heading to Wichita since weather conditions are ideal for tornadoes,” Trevor said, pointing toward the darkened skies outside the truck.  “You see the dark green in the sky.  When the sky looks green, it’s light reflecting off moisture and hail stones that are up in the clouds.  Doesn’t mean that there will be a tornado. It does signify a strong updraft that could lead to the formation of a tornado.  Really cool.”

“Trevor, Jasmink is out,” Josh said, pointing toward a blue van parked on the side of the road.  He was pointing a video camera toward the sky.

“During the tornado season, every storm chaser is out here hoping to encounter a tornado up close.  I’ve had a few colleagues over the years that have been killed for being reckless.  One of the reasons why I designed the Garland,” Trevor said.

“That and you want to get a television deal.  All about the fame, not the science,” Jake said.

“All about the science,” Trevor replied sarcastically.

“Speaking of science.  We are getting close to Gleeson.  That town gives me the creeps.  It’s rumored that a guy that used to work for the government creating chemical weapons lives there.  Imagine having him as a neighbor.  You can’t even imagine what he’s doing in his garage.  Not working on cars, I tell you,” Josh said.

“You believe everything you hear.  There’s no mad scientist living in Gleeson,” Jake said.

“It could be true,” Josh said.

“Yep, he’s in his garage making a monster.  A monster, I tell you,” Trevor said jokedly.

The song on the radio was interrupted by the Emergency Broadcast System alerting them to a tornado warning in their area.

Download Zombie Command: A Horror Anthology now if you dare:

straight jacket 3

*   *   *   *   *

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: JL Koszarek And Thad David #WinterofZombie

DTC final cover

Divide Then Conquer

Book One Of

The Zombie Company Crusade Series

J.L. Koszarek

Thad David


Recon Jack Media



Only the dead have seen the end of the war.

-George Santayana


They say it happened suddenly and on the surface, it did. “The Scourge” caught humanity by surprise—an unexpected whip that lashed the weak, took out the sick and punished the strong.


First Sergeant Bob Johnson ripped the plastic wrap off the pink notebook imprinted in silver with a picture of The Empire State Building. He’d found it in an abandoned gift shop before making the 102-story walk up the stairs to the top of the tallest building.

Now, he placed the notebook on the table that overlooked a once bustling city and sat in a chair. His movement unsettled months-old dust motes that danced in the golden sunlight streaming through the broken windows. The sharp edges of the once pristine plate glass clung to the edges of the steel frames, jagged boundaries that hung at the brink. The wind whistled and whispered painful reminders of the breaking of humanity and marked the end of the fight for Johnson. Ironically, the apocalypse had created golden afternoons that resembled early evening—a portrait photographer’s paradise, only without beauty.

The 1,224-foot lonely walk up those stairs had given Johnson time to reflect and finalize the feelings that had brought him here, thoughts he’d had for too long. He pulled the matching pink Empire State Building pen out of the spiral of the notepad and wrote:

“We the people of the United State are no more. For too long, modern politics divided this once great nation. Take your pick. Republican or Democratic, religious, non-religious, and everything in between, they fractured our society. If there is one thing history has taught us, it is divide, then conquer.

Billions of dollars spent making the people choose sides, pitting Americans against each other, blinding them to what was really going on behind the curtain. And for what—one more vote? I almost feel bad for the last politicians of America. How could they have known the damage they were doing with all the rhetoric they spewed, the power they lusted for? No one figured the secessionists would have the courage or the resources to pull it off, so no harm, no foul, right? They figured there was enough big money to keep them in line. America was the greatest super power in the world, or so we deluded ourselves into thinking. Surely, they could police their own.

Maybe they didn’t even try, but it doesn’t matter. No one could have prepared us for this, a virus that ripped through our nation in a matter of weeks. It pulled our entire infrastructure apart in a few days. An entire country without power, gas, water, and everything else we’ve grown to depend on. Even the satellites are failing now. The greatest enemy we’ve ever known wanders our earth multiplying faster than anyone could have imagined.

It doesn’t surprise me, however, that we were so unprepared. Everyone had become greedy with their own power. And then when it did strike from out of nowhere, did they really think the citizens would unite under the big red, white, and blue after all their smoke and mirrors? Trust me, some of us tried and most of us died trying to unite and bring our nation back to its former greatness.”

With a heavy sigh, Johnson leaned back in his chair. Then he shook his head and continued, “It turns out when you remove the 24/7 blinders of news cycles spreading terror and chaos, social media outlets, things that normally keep citizens content on their couches…those same beliefs that were fed to them to garner their vote would eventually rise up and bite us all. No more bread and circuses because there is no more bread and the circus is hell.

They started as safe zones, bases built to protect the innocent from the infected that roamed freely. At first there were only four, and believe me, you were lucky if you made it to one. It didn’t matter which one because people will do anything for protection, let alone medicine, food, and shelter. The safe zones offered you a life, a chance to start over, to pick up the pieces of whatever remained.

Absolute power, who would have ever dreamed of such a thing in the United States? Once the people in charge realized the power they possessed, a new set of rules were made. New rules and the people had no choice! Follow the rules or leave, and good luck on your thousand mile walk through millions of infected to the next safe zone.

There were four major sections: The South in what used to be Savannah; The Midwest outside of old Colorado Springs; The West, a refuge on Coronado Island; and  last, but not least, DC, where they tried to pull them all back together. Each section developed their own belief systems, the so called “proper” way to govern. It’s pretty easy to guess which sections went in which direction and why they had no desire to reunite.

I haven’t been to The West or the Midwest and if the rumors are true, they are zombie free and flourishing. I don’t buy it, though. What glitters isn’t always gold. From what I understand, The West ended up under socialist rule while the Midwest remained moderately liberal and are currently working the hardest to find a cure. They honestly believe they can end this curse, and who knows? Maybe they can.

DC, though…what a joke! All I can say is corruption breeds corruption. I give them an “A” for effort, but they are stuck in their ways and still won’t admit they’re the problem. Grown men fighting over a seat at the head of the table for what used to be one of the world’s super powers, all in the hopes of being the one that would bring the United States back to its former glory. No one cares about that anymore.

The South, where I ended up with my family, was a ruthless place to live. Being native New Yorkers, we were on vacation in Florida when the outbreak hit. I was grateful we were able to make it to Savannah’s safe zone. My wife, Rebecca and our nineteen-year-old son, Mike made it with me. We lost our daughter during the long journey to Savannah.”

Teardrops stained the paper with heavy, ink-blurred circles as, for the first time in months, Johnson allowed himself to cry. “Not being from The South,” he continued, “I didn’t share a lot of their values, but I didn’t care. We had our own room, a safe place to sleep, and food. They even managed to get a small amount of power back on in some locations. I never thought we’d be so happy to see a light bulb turn on, even for just an hour a night.

My family’s differing values quickly came out when we boycotted the sickening state-sanctioned games. Poor men fighting other poor men to the death, mostly men of color or other minority status, with the winner’s family getting a house of their own. We could not fathom the terrible waste of talent and health. To kill a perfectly healthy uninfected good man who had a family of his own, to make so many orphans! God knows, we didn’t need any more orphans.

One night while I was on watch, my son caught section security cops raping my wife. He was killed for trying to stop them. I was called off sentry duty only to find them both dead, my family murdered. The ultimate torture.”

Johnson’s sobs were so severe he had to stop writing, catch his breath and clear his eyes. He was tired, lonely, and ready to be done with war; weary of the agony. With ragged breath and shaking hands, he continued his lament. “The South was barbaric like that, always finding new forms of torture for those who refused to conform. I was knocked out and when I woke up, I was in some random town with my dead family next to me. I contemplated taking my life at that point, just lying down next to them in eternal sleep, but realized that doing so meant giving in to the tyranny. I couldn’t let his treachery win! I was still a man—if only on principle—a man with values of my own and a man with purpose!

I buried my beloved son and beautiful wife and decided to try and find my brother and his family here in New York. It was a complete wasteland from Savannah to New York, aside from DC, which I avoided. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but then again, if you’re reading this, you probably already know.

If a cure is found, don’t make the same mistakes we made.


First Sergeant Robert S. Johnson, US Army”

Johnson calmly smoothed out his letter and looked up at the wall where there were over a thousand letters and photographs fastened with nails or other sharp objects. He found a somewhat empty spot, held the letter steady to the wall, and stabbed his pocket knife through it. He turned and walked through the broken window and out onto the ledge. He looked down at the empty city below as a gust of wind whipped at his shirt and hair. The beaten soldier closed his eyes and stretched out his arms. Embracing the golden light, he took his last flight into the great unknown.

JL KoszarekThad

*   *   *   *   *

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: Steven Pajak #WinterofZombie

MadSwineTrilogyCovers (Steve Pajak)

From Regeneration (Mad Swine Book 3)

Although surprised by my brother’s attack on these men, I sighed with relief, thankful he’d dispatched them without raising warning. My relief was short lived when a head popped up from the booth beside Brian, an older man in his forties balding on top, but with long black hair streaked with gray hanging down from the sides. He wore a thick handlebar mustache and I could see his neck inked, but I could not make out the detail of the tattoos at this distance.

“What the fuck is going on?” the man asked. Sleep still clung to him, but his eyes quickly widened when he saw the blood that flowed freely from the card players. He started to rise up from his booth, but before he could get to his feet, Brian fell upon him, grasping his neck with both hands, pushing him back down onto the padded seat.

Just as I rose with the intention of helping my brother, a voice startled me from behind.

“Hey Mikey, you still tapping that ass?”

Whirling around, I raised my pistol and pointed it at the man who stood in the doorway of the kitchen, his body holding the swinging door open.

“Be cool,” I said, but the way his expression quickly changed on his face, I knew he wasn’t going to be cool.

“Who the fuck?” he asked as he reached for a weapon tucked into his waistband.

I shot him in the chest point-blank before I could find out what he was reaching for.

As his body fell backward and slid to the ground, I rushed into the kitchen and stopped in my tracks when I saw Kat. My heart raced suddenly in my chest; I could not tell if she was dead or alive. Taped into a chair and naked from the waist up, her hair, dirty and caked with blood, hung down over her eyes. Her nose was bleeding and both of her eyes were already beginning to swell.

The two men with her looked up, surprised by the gunshot. The first person, the younger of the two men, stood behind Kat. He held a fist full of her blonde hair, as though he were in the middle of yanking her head back when I came in. His face was pale in contrast to his black, unruly hair. The second man stood beside Kat leaned forward, a cigar in his right hand. Even from this distance, I could see the angry burn marks that pocked Kat’s breast and stomach, so many I could not count the red welts of flesh.

Blood and brain fragment exploded onto the wall behind the young man as the bullet I fired struck his face, caving in his nose, and destroying his right eye. Calmly, I reached out and lay my pistol on a stainless steel rack to my right. The man slowly stood as I approached him. He watched me with cool eyes and let the cigar fall from his grip.

“All right, then,” he said. “Do your worst, bro.”

No sooner the last word came out of his mouth, I struck a devastating blow to his larynx, severely damaging the Vagus nerve, impairing his ability to create sound. His hands rose reflexively to his neck; his eyes were no longer cool, but instead ringed with sudden panic. I delivered a heavy front kick to his hip, knocking him off balance and onto the floor. Before I realized what I was doing, I brought the heel of my boot down onto his head and face, once, twice, repeatedly, not stopping until his face was an unrecognizable, gelatinous mess.

Suddenly sickened by my actions, I turned and wretched, vomiting yellow liquid onto Kappy’s black and white tile. I wretched again, this time only a dry heave and nothing came out. I sucked big gulps of air into my nose and out of my mouth, trying to keep myself from throwing up again.

When I looked up, I noticed Brian standing in the doorway of the kitchen. He stared at me for a few long seconds before finally moving toward Kat. He crouched down in front of her and gently brushed the matted hair out of her face. He gently caressed her cheek as his fingers slid down to her neck. He checked her pulse.

“Well?” I asked. “Is she…?”

“She’s alive,” he said.

I nodded my head and suddenly went down to one knee. I felt like all of the energy had suddenly left my body and I could not support my own weight. Brian started to come to me, but I put up a hand, stopping him.

“I’m fine. Go get Sam and Phil in here.”

He remained for a few seconds, as though he were contemplating ignoring my order, then he turned and left the kitchen without a word of protest. My brother understood I needed to be alone and I was grateful he gave me the space.

Author photo (Steve Pajak)

Steven Pajak was born and raised in Chicago’s Near Northwest neighborhood. Over the years he’s lived in Wartrace, Tennessee and Dallas, Texas. Steven graduated with his bachelor of arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University. He currently resides in the Chicagoland area with his wife and kids.

From an early age, Steven was fascinated by books. When he was twelve, his grandmother purchased his first Stephen King book, Nightshift. From that first book, Steven was hooked on horror. His favorite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Cormac McCarthy and Richard Matheson.

Steven is an administrator at an Illinois university. He lives in the greater Chicagoland area with his wife and two children. He continues to be an avid reader of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and many other favorite authors in the horror, suspense, thriller and general fiction areas. He enjoys sport shooting, fishing, hiking and camping. He also enjoys cooking and watching movies.

Look for Steven at,, or


*   *   *   *   *

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: Rhonda Hopkins #WinterofZombie

Survival - Rhonda Hopkins



When Sarah escapes from her brutal abductors, she promises to return to rescue her twin sister, but with the walking dead invading Fort Worth, TX, she is forced to rely on a competitive coworker who made her work life hell for years. With her coworker weakened by cancer treatments, her sister still imprisoned, and zombies looking for an easy meal, Sarah’s only plan, if she can pull it off, is Survival.



The women sat in the SUV not speaking. The only sounds came from outside, where the dead attacked the living. Car horns blared and screams filled the night. Try as they might, they couldn’t help but stare at the horror surrounding them. People fled cars stalled in traffic, trying to get in others, or into nearby buildings. Some outdistancing the zombies. Some not.

A woman’s body hit the side of their truck. Blood and gore spattered against Dana’s window and the Expedition rocked. Two of the dead had her held there while their teeth chewed their way into her flesh.

“Oh God. We have to do something.” Dana moved to open her door but found herself shoved back against the seat. Sarah held her there.

“No . . . we can’t. There’s nothing we can do. It’s too late.” They watched helplessly as the woman slid to the ground and other zombies came to feed upon her.

“Screw this.” Meredith backed up the vehicle, getting just enough room to go up and over a trio of animated corpses on the ground next to the front tire and across the median to the other side where traffic was less dense. Dodging what she could, she made better progress. Meredith’s reflection in the rearview mirror showed she was fading fast.

“Mere, if you’ll stop when you can, I’ll drive the r—”

A shrill scream eclipsed all the other noise. Sarah’s head jerked around to her window. Dana gasped. “That sounded like a kid.” All three searched the surrounding area.

“There! Next to that building.” Meredith pointed to her left.

“Stop the car.” Sarah moved to the other side of the vehicle, and grabbed the door handle.

Dana looked over her shoulder. “I thought you said—”

“I know what I said. Just stop the car, Mere! It’s a kid for Christ’s sake.” Sarah opened the door before the Expedition came to a full stop and ran toward the girl. When she saw Sarah coming at her with the machete, she screamed again, but froze in terror.

Sarah dropped the knife next to her as she knelt beside the child. She looked her over and figured her to be about four or five. Blood covered her pink shirt and pants, but she didn’t see any injuries. “Are you okay? Where’s your mom?” She had to repeat the question twice before the girl pointed. Sarah saw a man crouched over a woman, hugging her to him half a block away. “Is that your dad?”

The girl nodded as she whispered, “She tried to bite me.” Tears flowed down her face and she gulped for air. “She bit daddy and he . . .” The child sobbed unable to finish. Sarah rose, picked up her machete, and pulled the girl into her arms. The child’s face nestled against her shoulder, her sobs quieter, but they still racked her small body.

Sarah motioned for Meredith to follow with the vehicle as she moved cautiously toward the man and obviously dead woman. She kept the girl’s face pressed against her chest, so she wouldn’t see the bashed in face which used to belong to her mother. A flap of skin hung from what was left of the woman’s mouth, her teeth and face covered in gore. A brick lay near her head stained with her blood and brain matter.

The man clutched her to him, whispering over and over how sorry he was. He had a huge chunk of flesh missing from his arm and another from his chest. His head turned and his eyes met Sarah’s. “Maggie? Oh, my God, Maggie. Are you okay?” He reached for her, noted how her head pressed against Sarah, and then looked down at his wife. He laid his wife down and tried to stand, but could not. He had lost too much blood. Instead, he scooted backwards a few feet and held out his hands.

Sarah leaned down to place the girl in his arms just as a blast came beside her. She whipped around to find Dana standing there, gun in hand. A zombie staggered toward them, unaffected by the large bullet hole in his stomach. “Aim for the head!” Sarah turned a full circle. Others had heard the gunshot and were now on their way. She shook the man’s shoulder. “We have to go now. More are coming.”

She tried to get him to stand, but he looked at her then back at his injuries. He held his daughter against him, covering her ears as best he could. “I’m not going to make it and I don’t want to put her at risk. Please take care of her. Please.” He stroked the child’s back and begged Sarah with his eyes. Sarah stifled a sob and nodded. “That’s Janine.” His chin pointed at the woman he had left to hold his daughter one last time. And I’m Paul. Campisi. Please help her to remember us.” Tears fell quietly down his face. Sarah nodded again and he brushed the tears aside.

Dana fired three shots at the approaching dead. Time was running out, but she thought they could give him a few seconds more with his daughter. “Maggie? Maggie, look at me, honey.” He gently moved his child so she could see his face. “Your mommy and I love you very much.” Sarah didn’t know how he found the strength, but he held back the tears as he looked at his daughter for the last time. “But you have to go with . . . .” He looked up.

“Sarah. That’s my sister, Dana.”

He turned back to Maggie. “Sarah and Dana are going to take good care of you and make sure you’re safe.”

“No! I want to stay with you and mommy.” The girl wailed and wrapped her arms around her father’s neck.

“I know, sweetie, I know. I want you to be with us, too. But . . .” He caught his breath and held back his own sob. “You need to go with Sarah.” Tears fell then as he hugged Maggie one last time.

“We have to go! Now!” Dana shouted. She fired another couple of shots, but there were more corpses ambling toward them than they had bullets.

Sarah moved quickly, taking a struggling Maggie from her father’s arms. “We’ll take care of her, Paul. I promise you.” She pressed the curly brown head against her chest and ran for the SUV with Dana on her heels.

Another kid ran past her and she shouted for Dana. Her sister turned just in time to grab him by the shirt. He clawed at her, yelling that a zombie had him. He kicked her shin, and punched her in the stomach, but she held on. “Kid! Hey, kid! I’m not a zombie. Stop fighting me or we’re both gonna get dead.” He finally stopped struggling and looked at her. His wide chocolate eyes were filled with fear as he took in the horde nearly surrounding them.



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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:







Find more from Rhonda at Amazon:

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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!

Teaser: Duncan P. Bradshaw #WinterofZombie



Nice watch huh?

No, it’s not broken, not at all. It’s meant to be like that; serves as a welcome reminder. The world we live in today holds so few certainties anymore; some things fade away, whilst others endure.

For instance, the memories I have of the times before the end are like a disjointed slide show, or a shoddily edited old 35mm film reel. You know, the ones we see with all the glorious conquests these days.

Random scenes with people I can no longer recall the names of, in places I couldn’t give you directions to. All existing in a world which lives solely in the stories that the survivors, us, tell.

I have but three images of my mother. Whether time or grief removed the others, I haven’t the slightest clue.

One is from my seventh birthday. I was crying for reasons unknown, she pulled in close to me and whispered soothing words, I wiped the tears from my eyes and blew the candles out. She smelt of cake mix and her skin was as smooth as a sharpened blade.

Another is from the final morning we had together. My reluctance to eat breakfast was testing her, I can remember the strain in her eyes. I had no idea why we had to leave so quickly that day; it would be years before I was able to understand the look she gave me that fateful morning.

The last image is the one I like to dwell on the least. I used to think she was wearing a red scarf, but time and adult eyes revealed the awful truth that it was her blood.

She had come back as one of them by then. The face I snuck a glimpse of as the man told me to look away, whilst similar to the other pictures of her, looks the least like her.

I remember the man striking her with the baton, I ignored his warning and watched as she died.

For the second time.

These days such horror seems so distant, so utterly alien. The things I have seen since then and over the course of so many years have withered away the ability to baulk at such sights.

But whilst my senses have been dimmed, one thing burns brighter than ever. The wish to keep alive those voices that were silenced in those days, months and years. We had plenty of false dawns in the struggle to reclaim our place in this world and, for many, they never got to see the world we live in now.

After them.

Those early days almost extinguished all hope we had. Some withered away, whilst others took evil into their hearts and used those dark times to create private fiefdoms or empires based on suffering and blood.

These places were the last to conquer, the hardest. Where they were found, they held no claim, other than to the body they were spawned within, they acted on instinct and impulse alone.

The others, though, were there because they felt they were owed something. They took advantage of the zeitgeist and acted out their depravity to every unimaginable whim.

This story, or at least the one that I can relay, is to speak for the silenced.

His is not the only one I have heard and remembered over the years. The other story I’ll impart with his, is from another who felt equally compelled to remember those he shared time with.

In life, there are no coincidences, no fate, no master plan; there is only a choice.

Many of us are able to make our own decisions; for some, that privilege was taken away, but it was a choice to someone nonetheless.

Sometimes though, lives, both in the past and present become intertwined. This is nothing more than chance.

So please, stay a while. The lights will remain on a little longer yet, this zone has been cleared of the last of the risen dead. We’ll get no further interruption.

Let me tell you a story.

This is not how he died.

This is how he lived.


Class Four: Those Who Survive can be purchased here:


Amazon UK:


Amazon US:


My website:


Duncan P. Bradshaw is a UK based zombie author, and is man enough to accept that the apocalypse could happen any day. Tolerating his day job with as good a grace as he can muster, he gets through each day just so he can continue building his zombified world for the future Class Four books. Even when they are complete, new stories from this world will be written, painting a vivid picture of the British Isles under siege.

Hit him up on Facebook at

Or his website right here


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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!