Monday, September 30, 2013

DEAD: Reborn and a punch in the gut that doesn't hurt anymore.

First, the GOOD news:

DEAD: Reborn is NOW Available!!!

Get it HERE! Or the paperback is HERE!
The release of a new book is always a thrill. And this is also when I become more "visible". That has always been a bit of a downside for me because of my past, but, over the last couple of years, from the overwhelming support from people like YOU...I can finally shrug those couple of voices aside. I know who I am, and I know what I am about. And I also know that I have worked hard to become a better person. I have the love of my wife, a blossoming relationship with my daughter, Ronni, and the unwavering support from my step-daughter Jenifer. And of course there is you.

In two and a half weeks, I return to the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution as a guest speaker. I will be sharing how it is possible to rise from the ashes if you are willing to work VERY hard. I just completed my first Warrior Dash and recently received an invitation to speak at a Men's Fellowship meeting on Sunday, October 13th at our church.

So, celebrate with me today. The anxiety that used to accompany this day is largely washed away. And for that, each of you has my most sincere thank you. I hope that you enjoy the story.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Short Attention Span Theater wraps up three titles with final thoughts.

Friday, I will be talking about my upcoming release of DEAD: Reborn, but today, let's talk about some stories that are already available for you to pick up and read over the weekend. Also, maybe it is just me, but I can't seem to get much interest in FREE audio versions of my Zomblog books. Since many of you are friends, maybe you can give it to me it just THAT books in general...or am I simply way less popular than even I thought?

And now, a question to my authors, Nicole Storey, Wesley Clark, and James Cook:

What are some of your most successful marketing tactics so far? 

And now, in no particular order...

Get it HERE!

One thing that I enjoy in a good zombie story is the various takes on humanity as a whole. Cook gives us the best and the worst. There are some rather harrowing scenes, and not all of them involve the undead. A real strength in this story is the action. It is well written and flows. Not everything goes in the favor of the central protagonist, but Eric and Gabe do have more success than failure. Also, this story does an excellent job of closing--yes, you are certain that there is more adventure in store, but no cliffhangers.

All in all, this is a great book and if you love the dead and have not read it yet, you should. It is on the top shelf.

Now for my critiques, because nobody is perfect: EDITING. This is too good of a book to have some of the editing gaffs that it does. Also, I am not necessarily a fan of the "action hero" type. Eric and Gabe are certifiable cad asses. It makes it easier for them to pull off what they do and not have you scratching your head, but still...just a personal preference.

That said...this is a MUST READ for zombie fans. Click on the link above if you want it RIGHT NOW!!!

Get it HERE!
This is a book that does a lot right. It has very "next door" characters. I am always a fan when the main protagonists are the "just like you and me" type. There is a good amount of action and it flows well. You get to know each of these people so that they are not just anonymous "red shirts" when they get in to trouble or...die terrible deaths.

If this is the start to a series, then I would be ready for the next one please.

Now for the critique: The idea of using flashbacks to give the background on that characters is a good idea. However, I believe it could have been better organized. Sometimes the flashbacks go on for so long that you forget what was happening before. It reminds me of "LOST" in a way that sometimes the flashbacks cross paths or reveal something that gives an added depth to the overall story.

Pick this one up and be early to the party.

Get it HERE!
Storey has a really good tale here. I was amazed and pleasantly surprised at the vivid world that she created. Her characters are real and flawed. There are no leaps or moments that leave you scratching your head. That is one of the hard part when creating an alternate reality--making it seem real while still fantastic.

The critique that I do have is that a few scenes seem to drag on and the main character gets a little grating at times. Still, this is a nit that I am picking. This is a very strong opening to a series and VERY out of the box from the YA title that the author is better known for.

And there you have it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let's do the time warp again!

About 30 years ago (akk!) I was a regular cast member for Rocky Horror Picture Show. I played Brad and graduated into the role of Frank. Sure, I was a lot younger and thinner...but that is another post entirely. My daughter Jenifer turns 20 today. This weekend, we took her to the +Clinton Street Theater to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

To say that things have changed would be an understatement. However, evolution can be a fun thing to witness. Like any creature, you can see the core of that familiar animal...something like RHPS is subject to the same things. WHile many of the familiar call back lines were still there, I was treated to some very new and fun twists. The T-Rex as Dr. Frank N' Furter was hilarious. There were some very clever lines that went along with that twist. But the funniest was the two aliens as Riff Raff.

So, to start the show, there was the usual Virgin call. But the Clinton gang has really amped it up since the old days. (GADS!) And now, the festivities are much more involved. There are some pre-show games played that are...different. And they allow for you to auction your own virgin away to endure special tortures...and if you think I didn't bid up for Jenifer's night...then you have not been paying attention. 

Jenifer...sold at a virgin auction! Worth every penny.
WHat I did not realize that the recently auctioned virgin is allowed to pay half the price and have their own auction winner join them...

Yep...I'm wearing a kilt.
The night was a blast. She was all smiles on the way home, and that is the best thing you can see on your daughter's face. I like to take rather unconventional routes when it comes to gifts. I like to give something that creates a memory versus something that is gone, used, broken, or discarded in a month or two. Oh...and earlier in the evening I took her in for a tattoo. (Three buttons behind her right inside story between us.)

In other news...I received the following email the other day...

Attention uninfected:

You are safe...for now.

You will receive a day of event email with vital information including the start point and check point coordinated on the Monday (10/07/13) before the event date. 

Things to keep in mind:

*You will be navigating the growing zombie population at night.
-wear appropriate clothing for the weather and darkness. We suggest reflective gear and/or headlamp/flashlight.

*This is an urban event meaning NO roads will be closed.
-please obey all city and traffic laws. You are on your own for this.

*Only coordinates will be given of the checkpoints.
-use mapquest, google maps, or any other system to plan your route as there is NO SET ROUTE. 
-consider using your smartphone to store the checkpoint coordinates during the event.

*You will be navigating through the streets and back to the start point which will stretch over 3 miles.

Thank you for joining us on this zombie adventure and we look forward to eating your brains soon.


Dawn of the Dead Dash Staff

Yep...another run coming up this October. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 20, 2013

If this offends might be the problem.

So, all will be back to normal on Monday. I have books to read and review...interviews to post, and music to ramble on about. But today, I wanted to touch on a subject that might raise a few hackles. As a writer, my blog is a way to let my readers know what is coming. It also gives me a chance to promote some of my comrades who toil over the written word. But sometimes...sometimes I just want to rip in to people with guns blazing and leave them a bubbling mass of goo. After all...I am only human. And what many of you may not know is that I used to have SERIOUS anger issues.

Many of my friends over the years likened me to the character "Ajax" from that movie, The Warriors.

So, I guess I am glad that I have my wonderful wife taking care of things like Facebook and Twitter. Don't get me wrong, if you see words, they are mine, but she lets me know when somebody makes a comment and then I can respond to it. Honestly, I need to spend my time writing; books do not just magically appear...they take lots of work (as many of you know). I think that the social media has some merit. It had helped people find long-lost family members, raised awareness in regards to the struggles in places like Egypt...all good. However, it has also given people the ability to sit in the comfort of their dark little rooms and spew hatred and say things that they would never say if the person that they were talking to was standing right there.

One of the things about written versus SPOKEN words is that it lacks inflection or expression. It leaves itself open to interpretation. That means that whatever is in the mind of the reader (anger, envy, malice) gets ramped up because they read into words what they WANT to see. That causes escalations when there was never really anything there, often leaving one side scratching their heads.

I have watched writers completely melt down on Facebook forums and they forget one simple fact. YOU, as a writer, are a brand. If you don't really care about how many people read your stuff, then melt to your heart's content. But when you act the fool, no matter how grand of a sob story you try to weave later, most people are smart enough to know that there are usually two sides. And if they see you carrying on, you could very well lose that next sale. People don't mind supporting a little crazy...but if you are a raving, whining, pity-party-throwing loon...or, equally nasty, the person talking bad about people, spreading vicious rumors and ranting about every perceived slight, you will lose your audience.

Sure, there are a few people that I would LOVE to tee off on. There have been times where I wanted to personally invite an individual or three to lean down and take a big smooch of my behind on chili and pickled egg night. And I will admit that there have been individuals that I would love to meet in a dark alley. But...I spent years finding ways to channel that into positive things. And if I get too worked up, I take my dog for a walk or pick up my guitar...what I do NOT do is act on those emotions.

We live in a world where everything you do--for better or worse--is under the public microscope. To my fellow writers, most of you know it, so I am preaching to the choir, but YOU are a brand name. To the non-writers, remember that adage about "If you can't say something nice..." (Unless you are part of the Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees rivalry...then there just is not any hope...not even Dr. Phil would have you guys on together.)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Today I will be enjoying various festive things. Today is my 48th birthday and so I will not be around much. I will be playing video games with my daughter and who knows what else Denise has planned this evening. So, Short Attention Span Theater will return on Friday. I turn things over to one of my fellow authors who appears in the Booked Anthology with me...Caleb J. Ross. So, please enjoy.

Sometimes a reader has to read a story more than once to really get the vibe the author was laying down. Your story did that to me and at the end, I was very entertained, but was there some super-secret subtext that I might be missing?

If there is, it’s a secret even to me. It’s a story of a man and wife pair who sell live rats in jars to oddball collectors (Merkle, the lead protagonist, says about the jars: “Not exactly a ship in a bottle. More like a battleship stuffed into an eyedropper, or if Cinderella were a nineteenth century Chinese princess with a glass slipper binding her feet.”). The impetus to the story is when one of the sales goes wrong; Merkle accidentally brings the wrong man back to her hotel room for the transaction. She spends the story trying to find the correct seller while simultaneously dealing with the recent loss of her unborn child. The two issues come together in quite a disturbing climax. Typical Caleb J. Ross domestic grotesque stuff.

What can you share about your writing process?

I have two young kids, so my writing time is sparse. During the day I keep scrap paper in my pocket to jot down ideas. I then, in the evening, transcribe those ideas until I hit my 250 words/day minimum goal.

I used to have time to romance the writer’s life a bit more. I’d have a cigar or two, turn the lights low, and really fall into a special zone. Not anymore.

I’ve also had to expand my idea of “writing” to keep from punishing myself for lack of productivity. Over the last couple of years—sans the past few months as I focus on my next novel—I’ve gotten into making YouTube videos in a big way. So, I started counting my video making time as writing time. It’s all creative in the end, I suppose. In fact, I hope I get this damn novel finished so I can go back to videos for a while.

For anyone interested, check out my channel, Burning Books.

Share some Booked dirt if you have any dirty little tales to tell about Robb and Livius.

If I said anything, they’d certainly unleash back at me ten-fold. Actually, they are both stand-up guys. In fact, consider this my official dare for them to do something interview-response-worthy. Your move Booked.

How did you find the podcast to begin with?

They actually found me, in a round-about way. Back in April 2011 I sent a tweet from the @TheVelvet account about Christopher Dwyer’s novel When October Falls being a good way to bide time until Christopher Baer writers another novel. Robb and Livius were apparently Baer fans. Our friendship blossomed from there.

In fact, I think that was the start of Robb and Livius’ involvement in The Velvet community, which ultimately grew into many of the relationships they have now with many of the writers they’ve had on the show.

The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the issues you see cropping up? Solutions?

I’m not entirely sure what you mean. Any community has faults, especially when members outgrow what originally brought them in. But my experience with writing communities has been largely positive.

I suppose if I can say anything it’s that writing communities do have the potential to insulate its members from the wider reading public. Members get so obsessed with the memes and trends within the circle of writers that they forget they are writing for readers, not other writers.

The social media is…(your chance to expound in as abstract a manner as you wish.)
From a marketing (re: book selling) perspective social media is the online “mouth” part of “word of mouth,” but it’s not both the “word” and the “mouth.”  Authors still need a worthwhile “word” to mouth about.

What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you are a writer?

What do you write about? This, because, most of the people who ask me have no idea what domestic grotesque is, nor do they have sense enough to thinking about what it is before jumping to the conclusion that grotesque = perverted/gross/sexual/prison-worthy. Domestic grotesque is simply a term I use to define the combination of domestic situations (family, marriage, etc) with strange or visually jarring imagery.

What else do you have out or coming soon for readers to grab?
I recently got the rights back to my novella As a Machine and Parts, so I released it under my personal imprint. It’s a fantastic short book about a man who is slowly turning into a machine. Before that, my first novel, Stranger Will, was re-released in March. Readers who like dark fiction with heavy themes will love Stranger Will.

Do you think that a writer can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?
No. Definitely not. Craft is learned from reading. Sure, anyone can write a workable narrative without reading—movies, video games, and life in general will develop a sense of narrative—but when it comes to learning craft, reading is a necessity.

What is in your TBR pile right now?
I’ve got over 100 books on my Goodreads to-read shelf, but of those the contenders for my next reads are Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird (somehow I never read this growing up), and a collection of Harry Crews works. I’ve never read Crews, but friends who know my tastes say I’ll love him.

What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?
I don’t care for poetry. Even though I love the beauty of language, and often pride myself in being able to craft a narrative that has a strong sense of language, it’s tough for me to respect poetry.

Share something interesting but completely trivial about yourself.
Growing up, I collected everything. A few collections: tea bags, Kool-Aid packets, condoms, single serving restaurant condiments, and fishing tackle.


Pictures and bios you can use if you want can be found at this link:

Twitter status that started it all with Booked. Podcast.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Partying like it was 1984!

I had a great weekend.
Unchained Girl says, "Bottoms up!"
Denise and I went to the 80s Throwback Party at the Hawthorne Theater. I make no secret about my love of 80s music (some of the GREATEST guitar music came from that era). I saw a Cult, Poison, and Van Halen tribute band. They were all good, but Unchained, the Van Halen band was the highlight for me. Oh...and I even got a pick from "Eddie" which I will be using on my guitar...maybe it will channel some of that guy's talent. He was a-freaking-mazing!

I am a known KISS fan, but if I had to pick my top 5 bands of all time (excluding Stevie Ray Vaughn--he is his own category...GENIUS!), it would be:
  1. KISS
  2. Van Halen (the DLR years...I was VERY unhappy when Sammy joined)
  3. Aerosmith
  4. Queensryche
  5. WASP
So, seeing Unchained was a treat. These guys go the extra mile to pull off the tribute. "Eddie" keeps that ever-present smile, "Diamond Dave" is all swagger and innuendo, "Michael Anthony" carries killer harmony vocals and has a gruff sort of swagger, and "Alex" beats his drum kit with abandon.

Even better was how they pulled off the sound. Looks only get you so far, but Unchained leaves little doubt that you just experienced the Van Halen experience. These guys are a blast...just see for yourself.

And as you can see, we were VERY close to the action. Which was almost like re-living my old days as a concert rat back in the 80s, minus having to sleep in the parking lot of the Portland Memorial Coliseum (which is what you had to do if you wanted to be up close on the floor back in the days of General Admission.)
Unchained Girls, Unchained band...and me!
After the show, the band was even nice enough to pose for a few pics, and even brought along their Unchained Girls. Talk about making a guy feel special for his birthday. Diamond Dave even took home a copy of DEAD: The Ugly Beginning and we talked briefly about the "good old days" of Romero's original Dawn of the Dead. Does a band get much cooler? Probably not.

I will try to have my Wednesday post up, but since I will be turning 48 that day, no promises. In our house we celebrate "Birthday Week" so there is no telling what could happen. So, don't let Monday get you down. Pull out some classic VH and re-live some good times.

Last, but not least, I have one unclaimed set of audio books: Zomblog, Zomblog II, Zomblog: The Final Entry, and That Ghoul Ava and The Queen of the Zombies. Comments are entry tickets, so if you comment, you could win! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

And the winner is...

Things went a little wonky this week, but here we are...Friday! And one of you lucky people just snagged about 40-50 hours of audio book goodness. Are you curious?  Well I have good news...I actually had such a positive response that I drew 2 names. So, Michele Heeder AND Leann Hazen need to shoot me an email so I can send you your codes for your very own free versions of the original Zomblog trilogy, and also, the newest and FIRST full length version of That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of The Zombies. If you want to see all of my current titles on, just click HERE for everything but Dakota (which I wrote as Todd Brown because I thought it might be good to separate my horror from non-horror stuff. (FACEPALM!)


So, going in to the weekend, how about an unedited peek at the upcoming (October 30th) Zomblog: Snoe's Journey? Okay. Enjoy...

Friday, June 3rd

A delegate from the Confederated Union of Tribes arrived today. She refused to speak to anybody until I was brought to meet with her. I find it nothing sort of amazing that anybody can make a trip from someplace so far away by themselves. Not only that, but considering how fast she had to be moving…on foot!
General Carson has been busy. (I guess he gave himself a promotion.) This was exactly as I feared. I knew that all of our time talking and arguing was a huge waste of time. While we have been doing a whole lot of nothing, he has been recruiting and campaigning. The message he has been putting out there has been very simple: Join or Die.
I guess he sent an emissary to the tribes. They refused to join him. He was smart enough not to press the issue, but it would seem that the Council of Tribal Chiefs decided they needed to know what they might be dealing with and sent a scouting party out to get numbers.
They stopped after the third group never returned.
I guess I should amend that statement. A few returned, just not in the same state in which they left.
I met with Kai River in the council auditorium. (I had to ask how to spell it when she told me her name. It is pronounced KEY-eye.) It was just the two of us and I had no idea what she was expecting, but I know the look of disappointment when I see it.
“You are the daughter of Meredith? Fellow traveler of the man called Greyfeather?”
I gave her a nod. She sat silently for an uncomfortably long period with her eyes shut. Since she asked for me, I figured it would just be best if I kept my mouth shut and waited.
When she started to whisper something, I felt the hairs on my arms stand up. It was a chant of some sort, and I kept hearing one phrase repeated over and over:
Mitakuye Oyasin. (Again, I had to ask…it sounds like mi-TAK-eeyo-AH-sun.)
This is some sort of prayer. I know that much for sure. The thing is, I have no idea what it means and she wouldn’t tell me. Something about it not being her place to share, and that I was to join her and return to the Tribal Council.
I explained that I was already preparing for that trip and that the train would leave soon. She shook her head and told me that I was to send my people south to the former Kah-Nee-Tah reservation. They would be met by warriors from the Confederated Tribal Nation, but that I would be going to the Land of the Seventh Generation. (What I knew as Oklahoma.)
I asked about a dozen questions, but she would answer none of them. I told her that I did not think I could go with her if she would not tell me anything. She simply nodded and told me that it was my choice. I had to come of my own free will.
I will sleep on it tonight.

Monday, June 6th

We have walked for two days in complete silence. So…yeah, I basically agreed to go. Betty and Paul both told me that they had these dreams about me. Neither one could remember a dang thing, but both said they woke up knowing that I was about to leave and that they needed to see me off.
That was strange since I had not made up my mind yet. When I explained that I was only thinking about it, they each said I had to go.
“I can’t explain it.” Betty kept frowning and shrugging; obviously she was at least as confused as me. “I just know that, if we are going to win, you have to do this. I can’t say anything more than that because I honestly have no idea why I feel that way.”
Paul was even more blunt. “If you stay…everybody dies.”
No pressure, Snoe.
I sleep with my journal now. I keep thinking that I will have some amazing dream or vision, or whatever the heck everybody else seems to be dialing in to these days. Nope.
Okay, not entirely true. I did have one dream. But it was something to do with balloons, bacon, a pony, and this birthday cake that Mama Janie made for me when I turned twelve. Pretty much no help at all.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Laura Stahl breathes life into Snoe

Today marks the release of the audio book version of Zomblog: Snoe. And I am thrilled to say that the lovely and talented Laura Stahl is already working on Zomblog: Snoe's War, and will take the story to its conclusion with Zomblog: Snoe's journey. So, here she is...

Snoe in the sunshine!

So, what led you to doing voice work for audio books? 

A couple of years ago a friend of mine, Kyle McCarley was narrating a series. The author was interested in the idea of having a male voice for male characters, and a female voice for female characters. I thought it was a great opportunity to try something I had always been curious about. I'm an actor, and telling stories is one of my favorite things to do. It all just seemed like a natural course to continue to pursue it. It's a great creative exercise.

The social media is… 

Internet cocaine. I've never been very good at Facebook, twitter or things like that. I should probably work on those skills. If you use it right, it's an excellent professional tool. I just can't get past all of the people who use it as a diabolical over-share device. I don't want to know what your lunch looked like, and I really don't think doing your laundry at odd hours of the night constitutes zany enough activity to call your life "Hash-tag" random. 

Share some information about your individual work on projects besides the ones you are
doing for me: 

I've been very quietly writing songs on the Ukulele. I find it rather therapeutic. I'm not sure what's going to become of those. I may self-produce some and see where I can take them. I'm also in talks for a few independent films which has been a lot of fun. The projects are still in development phase and I've been lucky enough to be a part of that end of the creative process. It's been really eye opening. 

What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals
who know you are in the entertainment industry? 

"Yeah, but what do you do? Like, for money?" another good one is, "When will you have rent?" (Just kidding on that last one. They've learned not to ask anymore.)

Get it HERE!

So, let’s talk a little about the Zomblog series. What are your thoughts on the project, and do you have an interest in the zombie genre apart from this work, or is it simply part of the job? What (if anything) do you think sets it apart from other stories in the genre 

I like that we've gotten to see enough of a time line to watch society begin to try and regrow. In the first insurgence of the popularity of Zombies, it sort of seemed like we were irrevocably watching the end of our species. In this latest return, we as a race have been fighting back. I love that Zomblog is making a statement that our current moral compass as a nation at the least is not satisfactory anymore against the insatiable hunger of blind masses. It's also great that we're reading the literal thoughts of our heroes. We get to live the life they do, while still allowing our imagination to fill in what isn't mentioned. 

What are some other projects where fans can find your work? 

If anyone out there is a fan of MMORPGs, I am the voice of the Tinkerer from the free to play game Dragons Nest. I have a few NPCs there as well. You can also find my voice in Maple Story. I'll leave it to the fans to find me. :) 

How would you describe Zomblog to friends? 

Zomblog is like viewing the birth of Legends from the inside. In the universe of Zomblog, the legacy of Sam, Meredith, and now Snoe, is widely known and has grown fantastical even in the heightened reality of existing Zombies. Because we; the readers; are lucky enough to live outside of the infantile society, we can get to know these characters as human beings, instead of the figure heads and mythic symbols they've quickly become.

What is one thing about you that would surprise individuals who do not know you personally? 

I speak a little Japanese. But not enough to survive. Also, one of my favorite things to do in the world is fly on trapeze!

What do you look for when choosing to narrate an audio book? Or are they simply acting jobs that you simply take as they come along? 

Getting down to brass tacks: Passable grammar. I know that sounds silly, but thanks to the fantastic opportunities of the internet, there's a huge wave of self publishers. It's great for those who would otherwise not have the chance. But it's also true that there's now less of a need to actually understand the written to get your voice out to the public. Honestly though, if I can't understand what you're trying to say, I can't fairly communicate it to your audience. 

One of the biggest criticisms regarding Zomblog is that it paints humanity in a negative light? Did you get that vibe? How did you see it? 

I can see where those criticisms are coming from. The world of Zomblog is stripped of niceties. We're still working on surviving, and not yet on thriving. Humanity can really be incredibly ugly. We've all seen it: fanatics, zealots, imperialists, psychopaths, these things stain the history of humanity- which in comparison of the world isn't very long. One thing that's good to remember though-- Zomblog is a heightened reality, (thankfully) not one we live in. As such, the ugliness as well as the beauty will also be sharpened. 

How do you see humanity dealing with a scenario such as this? (Removing the idea of how unlikely it is, of course.) 

Honestly I don't know. Seeing how communities rise up together in the face of disaster, I hope better than the series describes. 

Did anything stand out for you? 

The series as a whole, really. I just like that these people are PEOPLE. Not super heroes. We have flaws, all of us. We are unreasonable, prejudice, selfish and narcissistic. We don't like change. But we all have a need to thrive. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A temporary interruption.

Yes, I know what is supposed to be Short Attention Span Theater and the announcement of Monday's winner should be here, however, today marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorists' attacks on this country.

Having served in the military and been given the chance to see other places in the world, I gained an early appreciation for what it means to live here. So, today, don't be a Democrat or a Republican...just be an American. Give a polite smile to a stranger, let a person merge onto the freeway in front of you, say 'thank you' to the person who gives you your morning coffee.

2,977 of your fellow citizens left for work this morning 12 years ago. They had no idea it was to be the last time that they saw their loved ones. Do not take anything for granted. We squander so much time on petty things that we can forget what it means to live and love.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Things you learn by mistake...

Hope your weekend was fantastic. Mine was...busy.

As many of you know, I ran in the 2013 Warrior Dash (take a look at the obstacles HERE) this past weekend. I learned a few things in the process. Things like: mud can get in some crazy places; no matter how much you scrub and wash, you will still find dirt in your ears two days later; there is no way to look cool running an obstacle course; you can get too tired to "suck it in"; the "runner's high" is a myth and a lie created by skinny people who think they are funny and clever.

All that being said, I did have fun completing that course...and I will return next year. (Hopefully in much better shape.) 

So, I have a prize for one of you. All you need to do is leave a comment today...anything in general is fine, no stipulations. A winner will be drawn at random and receive the audible versions of the entire original ZOMBLOG trilogy from audible. Check in on Wednesday for a shot at That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of The Zombies as well as my newest edition of Short Attention Span Theater.

On Friday, I will be revealing the first sneak peak at Zomblog: Snoe's Journey with a wee bit of an excerpt. Also, I will pose a question about venting...teeing off...calling people cetera.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I win! Don't like it? Too bad!

The other day, I received my box of signed +Mark Tufo books. Pretty groovy way to kick off my day. But it gets better. You see, I am busy editing Zombie Fallout 7. So all you Tufo fans need to brace yourself...more Talbot goodness is on the way. And here is the coolest part...I get to read it first!

Now, don't ask because I will not share one morsel of what lies in wait for the legion of fans. But it got me to thinking about how lucky I am. Every once in a while, a moment occurs that reminds me of my fortunes.

I have managed to overcome a great deal to reach this point...and I have earned it. Nothing was just given. I have had to battle to get where I am. And trust me, there are some who are beside themselves because of it.

I really am at a good place in my life. Sure, the books could be doing better, but every writer will tell you that (and mean it). Yet, so much has happened in the past two years, and most for the better. People have come to accept my flaws and allow me the chance to go forward. Sometimes, I get these very nice email and am speechless. They come from strangers who have read my posts, read my work, and decided that they will take me at face value (special thank yous go to Selina Maeder and Debra R. Johnson) . And trust me, what you see is what you get. And then there are some friends who have known me since I was an obnoxious teenager...AND THEY STILL LIKE ME! (Jamie, Val, Mike)

I have made some amazing friends the past couple of years (Vix, Greg, Catie, Rhonda, Wanda) and found some support from my peers and comrades (Mark, Armand, John, Suzi). Sure, there have been those who still feel the need to fan the flames of hate. But now they just make themselves look stupid. They don't know me, and will probably never take the time to try and get to know me. Truthfully...their loss, not mine.

Tomorrow, I run for a great cause. Later this year, I will be editing an anthology where all the proceeds go to the V Foundation for cancer. I have some remarkable talent contributing to that book. 

You see, it does not matter where you have been. It matters where you are going. There is a world full of good people...bad people... The culture we live in now likes to really hammer home the bad. I say it is time we start to celebrate the good. Change happens one person at a time. Stop slapping others down and offer a hand. You may never actually see the results of your good deed, and THAT is what makes it so special.

So, this nice to each other.

Oh yeah...and watch football! It is NFL kickoff weekend. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pay Attention! Even if it is just for 30 minutes a week.

You can get it HERE! Or the Audio version...HERE!

Welcome to this week's edition of Short Attention Span Theater!

For today, I actually come, hat in hand. You see, That Ghoul Ava and The Queen of the Zombies has 9 reviews. Yep, since the April release...only 9 people have felt it merited a review. (I wish I knew a better way...maybe some of my heavily reviewed comrades can give me some tips here.) My problem is that I need a minimum of 10 to be considered for a specific promotional site. So, if you have read it, and not gotten around to posting a review (good or bad, this is not a call for pats on the if Ava missed the mark for you, it is very much okay to say so), it would be super if you could pen one in the near future.

First, a question to my authors, Nicole Storey, Wesley Clark, and James Cook:

What responsibility do you feel to your readers when it comes to writing a series?

And now, in no particular order...

Get it HERE!

Actually...I missed my reading time with this one and have to own up. Maybe the author will openly chastise me so that I know he knows (and that he is checking up on my progress).

Get it HERE!
Once the story gets going, it stays pretty tight. One thing that I really enjoyed is that you meet some of these characters, and then get their backstory bringing you up to speed on how they got from point "A" to point "B". My only criticism is that perhaps this could have been feathered in more. I really like getting to know these people, but then you "run off with them" for an extended period and almost have to ramp back up to get to the main story lie. I would have liked some of that time on one of the side stories to have been spent with the rude neighbor as spoilers, but the author knows what I mean.

Get it HERE!
I always enjoy how a writer sets the rules for any paranormal sorts of beasties or characters in their tale. Ms. Storey is doing an excellent job of laying the foundation for her mythos. I am starting to feel like the characters have fleshed out, and now I get to see them put into action. (side note: Kudos for the "Horny Devil" line. It made me laugh out loud and I had to read the passage to Denise so she could know what it was that had made me chuckle.)

One thing I am enjoying is the real person drama underneath all the angels and demons popping in. This makes the story much more vivid as it is not just about the "creatures" and more about the people. Also, Storey does a bang-up job of giving her other-worldy sorts some very rich character dev. (Think Kim Harrison and how her demons have been given such full character traits instead of being treated like a side dish.)

And there you have it. Return next week. Also, pose a question for the authors here if you want...hopefully they will pop in and respond (no promises).

Visit the EVENT!

After you have checked out stuff here, go see what my friend Claire Riley has going on. She has a big event going on as we speak...or read...or whatever it is we are doing. So head over and find out how you can get TONS OF FREE STUFF!!!