Friday, August 29, 2014

Why are people dumping ice water on their heads!?

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have been seeing all these people, famous and not-so-famous, dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. You may be wondering why? Simple, it is to raise money and awareness for ALS. For those not exactly sure what that is (c'mon, admit it...there are a few of you {me} who did not know exactly what ALS is besides just some disease), I have provided you with that information below.

From Wikipedia: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), Charcot disease, and, in the United States, Lou Gehrig's disease—is a neurodegenerative disease with various causes. ALS is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, and difficulty in speaking (dysarthria), swallowing (dysphagia), and breathing (dyspnea). ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases.
In the U.S., more than 5,600 are diagnosed every year, and up to 30,000 Americans are currently affected. ALS is responsible for 2 deaths per 100,000 people.[1]
Median survival time from onset to death is 39 months, and only 4% survive longer than 10 years, although rare cases survive 50 years or more. Most die from respiratory failure, usually within three to five years from onset of symptoms.
Now, for what you came to see...

However, in addition to the challenge, I have also sent my own donation of $100 and ask that each of you reading this send just $5. If you do so, and then email me at, I will give you the choice of any of my audible titles OR the epub or MOBI (depending on your ereader device) in my library. Yep, I will be taking you at your word.

Also, wish me luck. Saturday I will be running in a half-marathon (13+ mile obstacle course that starts with a half mile swim) called Inferno. This is my longest distance to date.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ice bucket challenge? Ummm...sure.

So, my friend, Alex Laybourne has issued the fun to watch "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge." I accept. And even better, I will have the footage right here on Friday along with my own challenge. A few of you should be nervous...

Me beside my FREAKING HERO on a best seller list?

Also, some of you may be aware that there is a new craze in the indie book world. Oh yeah, I'm talking about the 99 CENT BOX SET! They are popping up everywhere. Some are with multiple authors, and some are collections or the packaging of a series.

Pay attention. When the KDP program first started, it launched a lot of indie careers (including mine). I decided to dip my toe in that pool in November of 2011 with the first Zomblog. I was hoping for around 500 free ebooks to be snagged that fateful weekend. When I hit 10,000, I was floored. That was what pushed me into being able to write full time as my residual sales began to climb into numbers I never imagined.

Eventually, the free market was saturated and Amazon had gotten what it wanted from the indies so it tilted the playing field and started changing the rules. Mark my words, they will come after the 99 CENT BOX SET next. I don;t know how, but they will. In the meantime, I am reaping the benefits.

So, why would I put a 6 book collection on sale for 99 cents? Simple. That series did more than I could have hoped for or dreamed. These days, the DEAD series and my That Ghoul Ava books are my focus. Ava is slowly building an audience and DEAD is doing great. Zomblog is selling  maybe 50-70 books a month combined.So I decided to give the box set a try. Hang on to your the first 5 days, it was not really moving...then it was like a shark at the end of a fishing line. In the past four days it has sold over 1,000 copies!

My writing brethren know that Amazon only grants a 30% pay out for titles under $2.99 (versus 70% for titles $2.99 and above). Still, it is simple economics. A thousand units at 30% beats fifty at 70%. And then there is the exposure. If you have a good product, people will look for your other work.

So, come back Friday for my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And in the meantime, grab the Zomblog Saga Box Set. It is less than a buck. Also, if you would like the full collection on Audio Book, I have two full sets left. Simply email me at If you do, and nobody else has claimed win. And before you get too is sort of like the pretty girl sitting at the bar. She goes home alone because every guy thinks she will say no (sigh).

Monday, August 25, 2014

What are you gonna be for Halloween? Seriously.

So, Monday will be short and sweet. Hard to believe, but it is already almost time to start planning the Halloween party. Oh...and I will be planning one. I plan to invite some of my dear friends...Doug & Jamie, Mike Ridneour, Muffy Bunny...just to name a few. However, that got me to thinking...what will I be this year?

I actually am very excited because one of my Ava fans is making a "That Ghoul Ava" costume. Oh yeah...there will be pics.

So, if you were invited to a "book themed" Halloween party, who would you come as?

I invite you to comment below and share your ideas as well as HOW you would prepare your costume.

That is all.

Come back Wednesday because I am giving away more FREE Audio Books!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tables turn and it is the READER who gets interviewed.

I have been interviewed a number of times over the years. Done to death some might say. So, I was sitting here, just taking a break between writing sessions on the new DEAD: Reclamation, and the DEAD: Vignettes (Vol. II) Special Edition material when an idea came swirling up from my cup of coffee.

Interview the READERS. YOU tell ME what makes my book (and others) good or bad.

So, here is the deal, I need you to email me. You know the Please put "INTERVIEW ME!" in the subject line. Hopefully a few of you will bite. Now, just so you know, I will ask some tough questions. And I will expect you to be bold and blatantly honest. If I get enough, I would like to run them spread out over the next few weeks.

Any takers? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Valarie cuts the legs off of zombies!

I am putting together the "bonus material" for the Special Edition versions of the DEAD series. Currently I am scouring books 4, 5, & 6. Valarie becomes part of Kevin's tale (The Geeks), but what about BEFORE Kevin and Shari discover her? Yep...that seems like a good place to beef up my DEAD: Vignettes (Vol. II) Special Edition.

Here is a sneak peek...

“I am a princess,” Valarie said as she looked in the mirror.
Outside, she could hear some of the sick people pounding on the walls. The last time she had looked, they were not faces that she knew. These were strangers and Valarie knew not to talk to strangers. Still, she would need to take care of these poor people. For some reason, the sick people liked to bite.
She glanced down at the mostly healed rip on her left arm. That had hurt. It was even more upsetting that the person who had bitten her was Father Drieson. Priests were supposed to be people you could trust.
Valarie adjusted her tiara and then put on her gloves just like her mee-maw had taught her. There was work to be done.
Grabbing the leather straps and the saw, Valarie peeked outside. Today there were only three of the sick people. That wasn’t going to be too bad.
The girl paused for a moment. An observer would think that she had perhaps suddenly forgotten something and was trying to remember. That was not the case.
“I know, Mee-maw,” Valarie said, her voice almost totally flat and monotone. “Do the surgery below the knee.”
She cocked her head as if hearing something. And in some cases, she actually was. Her mind was replaying the memory of the day that her grandmother had explained to her how and why she needed to cut the legs off of the sick people.
Eventually, almost as if she had been frozen and was now slowly unthawing, Valarie began to move once more. She walked to the door, her tongue sticking just slightly out of the corner of her mouth as she focused all of her attention on the task at hand.
Opening the door, Valarie reached out with one hand and quickly grabbed the zombie (sick person) that had just been pounding on her door. Yanking the sick person inside, she just as quickly slammed the door.
Turning, she used one foot to sweep the legs out from the young woman just as she was about to rise to her unsteady feet. She used to actually wince just a bit the first times she had done such a thing, but the sick people did not seem to notice. Most of them didn’t even cry. And the ones that did were usually already crying when she got to them.
Taking the long piece of leather thing, Valarie bound the hands first. The sick people didn’t kick much, but if they grabbed you, that usually meant they could get in a nasty bite before she could tie them up properly.
Once the hands were secure, Valarie grabbed one ankle and dragged the lady down the hallway and to the room where her mee-maw had closed her eyes before opening them as one of the poor sick people. This was the room where she had taken off the legs of every single sick person in the Sage Farms area.
She wrinkled her nose at the smell. Not even the pine tree juice was helping with the stinkiness that was now a permanent part of this room. A swarm of flies buzzed around the room, but they were thickest at the open window. Valarie paused for just a second. She would need to go outside and push some of those leg pieces away. The pile was stacked so high that she could see them without having to actually go over to the window and look outside.
“I promise to go very fast,” Valarie said as she pulled the sick woman to her feet and then shoved her onto her back on the long table. Using the same straps that her mee-maw had helped her put in place, she secured the sick woman in place and grabbed the saw.
As promised, it only took a few minutes to saw off each leg just below the knee. There was hardly any blood, but what there was sure didn’t look right. Valarie was pretty sure that blood was not supposed to be black.
“Now, let’s put on some more prettier clothes,” Valarie said with a broad smile as she patted the sick woman on the cheek. She seemed not to notice as teeth clacked together loudly as her hand moved away. “I think the orange tee shirt will fit.”
Valarie went to work changing the sick woman’s top. The she pulled out a brush. “You need a ponytail…”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Muffy Bunny turns evil(-ish)!

As some of you may know, my newest book, soon-to-be-released, is Next, on a Very Special That Ghoul Ava. I am thrilled to say that I have the new cover by talented artist, +Thomas-Andy Butnariu. So, tell me what you think!

My good friend, +Beth Voydat  (but always Muffy Bunny to me) was actually the inspiration for this episode's villain cover model. AND, she picked the supernatural being that would play a key role in this tale. The gwyllion!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stop being such a dick...

As I sit down to write this, I could go two ways. The first is to put somebody on blast. The problem with that is that, no matter how small, I am a public figure as a writer. Would coming out and ripping somebody a new one (I am talking using names and everything) be a turn off? And what about the backlash from the friends/fans/followers of the person I punched in the throat with my little blog? They would get all mad and stuff. Then a shot would be fired in return. I really don't have the energy for that.

The other way I could go is to say "HA! Gotcha!"

That might confuse you for a moment until I explain. Blog posts that I have put up with a headline that veers towards a negative slant are viewed in some cases five time the amount of normal posts. Oh yeah...I started paying attention last year. My post titles "A punch in the face...and a hug" received over three times the views as my "Warriors, Spartans, and Maniacs...oh my!" post. Now it could be that many people do not care about mud/obstacle course running, or the training involved...but that is simply one quick example. Across the board, my "controversial" (read critical) posts get blown up with views. When I say thank you or post a review, those posts reach triple digits in views, but my only posts in the four digit views are ones that can be perceived as negative or salacious.

So why is that?

Have we truly devolved to the point where negativity, name-calling, and meltdowns are more worthy of our attention? So, I have a challenge. Oh yeah...this is another chance to get ignored and hear nothing but crickets.

My challenge does not involve a bucket of ice water, and there is no monetary penalty for ignoring it, but here it is:

Either in the comments here or on the link you found this post, say something nice to somebody that you might not have spoken to for a while. Be sure to tag them. Or...just say something nice to a friend and let them know that you care or are thinking of them. You never know when fate will take them from you forever. If today was their last day...what would you want that person to know? Say it, tag them, and encourage them to spread some goodness this weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Future Sound of London

I write to music.

It is a fact. I use music to set the mood for me when I sit down to work on my DEAD series. The main artist that I listen to is The Future Sound of London. You can actually find my writing playlist on Spotify: "Music for writing the DEAD series." (Oh yeah...I LOVE my Spotify playlists!)

Their album, "Dead Cities" is a staple to my playlist. I love it because of the energy. It can be dark, frantic, and even mundane at times. There are no lyrics, so I can just let the music flow over me like honey as I hammer away. There are other artists that I listen to (Mars Lasar, Tomita, and Goblin, just to name a few), but if I ever saw a screen adaptation of my work, I would beg and plead for FSOL to produce the soundtrack.

So, here is my little question...for those of my writing compadres who listen to music while writing...what is on your "must hear" soundtrack? And for everybody else, if you could put any of my work to music, who are some of the artists that fit? (No fair giving Ava a soundtrack, hers is built in to the chapter titles already!)

Monday, August 11, 2014

You asked for got it...

******BIG FAT SPOILER!!!******

I love my logo!

Okay, You have been warned. What follows is the opening scene from the 10th book in the DEAD series, DEAD: Reclamation. That scene will be a bit of a spoiler for anybody not up to date with book 9. Also, it lets a major cat out of the bag in regards to what you can expect from this 3 book arc (Books 10-12). Some people might not think it is a big deal, but my inner circle of confidants have all expressed that this is sort of a big deal (which is why I have kept it secret for so long...I have known this was coming since book 5).

So, if you want to be surprised in October and discover this "twist" for no further.



Billy Haynes once told me that you can get somebody to talk just by leaving them in a room full of items that look like they would cause a great deal of pain. I hope it works.
“Is he secured, Thalia?” Dr. Zahn asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said as I shut the door behind me.
“Then you should get up to HQ. Billy is setting the roster for the next patrol. And don’t forget that your little brother is over at the garden. You are supposed to pick him up on the way home.”
“I know.” I sure hope I didn’t sound as annoyed as I felt.
My name is Thalia Rosa Hobart. I am little Stevie Hobart’s big sister…daughter of Steve, and I can’t remember a time when zombies did not exist.


“No activity has been seen in the La Grande valley for three months,” Billy was saying as he stood at the front of the huge room in front of the hell notated and hand drawn map on the wall.
“And when did the wind turbines around Island City get yanked down?” a voice from somewhere in front of me asked.
“Best guess is within the last two weeks.” Billy did not hide his grimace of annoyance.
Seriously, this was stuff that the rumor mill had been spitting out for the past ten days. Why would anybody ask that question? The only person that stupid—
“So why have we waited this long to send a team down?” Kayla Brockhouse asked as she stood up, probably so that people could see that stupid look on her face…and her boobs. She thought those were the answer to everything.
I fought the urge to yank her back down into her chair by that curly blond hair of hers that she grew out well beyond regulation. Just another example of how those stupid bumps on her chest acted like some sort of male brain damage inducer. Her squad leader apparently found his eyes unable to go high enough up her body to see that she had at least three inches past the collar. I wonder if zombies are that stupid.
Mroar…oh…you have boobs? Well, never mind then, I’ll go eat somebody else.
“Something funny, Miss Hobart?” Billy’s voice snapped me out of my daydream.
“Uhh…no?” Damn, had that sounded like a question?
He gave me a nasty glare and I patted myself on the back for not sticking my tongue out. Billy had never been the same since losing Katrina. She’d been on a routine security patrol a few years ago. Her team had never returned. There had been some frantic searching that revealed nothing. Eventually, Billy disappeared. He returned almost a month later…different.
It did not take a genius to know what he’d found out there. Still, he never talked about it…ever. At least not to anybody who might leak anything. I am pretty sure that he told Dr. Zahn. She would go to the grave with whatever it was he had said in those few days that he stayed in the doc’s office.
“As I was saying…” Billy gave me one more tight lipped grimace, and then continued, “…the reason we have not gone down there is because ZH-Seven was in the area between us and them.”
ZH-Seven wasn’t the largest zombie herd, but it did number well over a half a million. You did not want that crossing between you and home if you could help it. Herds were really the only thing about zombies that anybody was concerned about these days. In fact, most times, if you passed a single or a small group, you just ignored it. It wasn’t worth the time or the energy.
The reality was that zombies were still very dangerous. You only went head-to-head with one if you absolutely had no choice. The logic was that you couldn’t get bitten if you were not within range of their mouths. The hope that those things would fall over had long since vanished. Nobody could explain it. It defied biology (according to people that knew about that sort of thing).
“The route is now clear and we want to send a full field team down to observe only.” He really emphasized those last three words and practically shouted that last one.
There was a ripple in the room. We seldom sent full field teams anymore. That was a relic from the days when you could still scavenge from abandoned homes and such. Those cupboards had been bare for a long time. If it wasn’t already cleaned out, then it was well past its expiration date.
Full field teams had a six person squad with a full armament load out, two scouts, and a medic. We almost never allowed a medical person leave on a run. While the danger was slim, the mind set was that it was stupid to risk such a valuable resource. As it was, the first class had just graduated, swelling our number of trained medical persons from five to eight.
Dr. Zahn had put together a program and was in charge of making sure the medics knew what they were doing. She had help from Sunshine, a lady who knew her stuff when it came to herbs and natural remedies. Also, there was this lady named Cynthia Bird. She had been a veterinarian. Dr. Zahn relied on her a lot when it came to training—mostly because the doc did not have the patience.
The other two medical people in the community had been EMTs. One was this man named Greg Carrigan. Greg was one of The Immune. He had lost his right hand in the early days. He never smiled much, but he always had a nice word to say.
“The team will leave just before dawn tomorrow,” Billy announced. “Jim Sagar will be leading. The patrol list is posted. Check it on your way out. If you are on it, then you are excused from any tower watch you might have been assigned. That is all.”
Everybody got up and started for the door. I was falling in, ready to go pick up my brother when Billy called.
“Thalia, a word please.”
I sighed. He was probably going to give me a bunch of grief about not paying attention. He was always riding me and giving me a hard time. Sometimes I wondered if I had ticked him off when I was little and this was some form of revenge. I let everybody pass, but I noticed Kayla give me a nasty look on the way out. One of these days I was going to catch her alone…and when I did…
“I wanted to tell you instead of your seeing it on the board,” Billy said by way of greeting. You are on the team for this run.”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sneak a peak?

So, here is my dilemma...

I have begun work on my newest book in the DEAD series, DEAD: Reclamation. My problem is that I usually post a little sneak preview once the story is up and running. I like to throw those out to whet the appetite. However, to do so for book 10 would be a HUGE spoiler if you have not read the series, and even more important, if you have not read book 9, DEAD: Spring.

So, since most who read this are some of my most stalwart and loyal fans, I put it to I post a sneak preview? I just make you wait until October?

Next on my list of things to worry myself with is my Zomblog series. For a while, it was my biggest seller. Granted, I always wanted the DEAD series to be my legacy, but to say that the sales for Zomblog have been lackluster is a gross understatement. Even worse, the audio version (book 1 came out in July of 2013) has sold less combined copies than my latest DEAD audio release, Book 6--DEAD-Confrontation sold in a matter of its first month.

I guess I need to get the word out and that brings me to this simple task. Today, I will post everything you need to grab Zomblog on audio FOR FREE!. If you listen and then review it, all you need to do is email me and I will set you up with the second book in the series, and so on until you have completed the series.

Also, the first five people to email me at get the same deal. So, the first person to use this code wins! (And if you are using, then just email me and I will set you up. This code is only good for US subscribers.)

2.      Enter the download code into the "Redeem Your Promotional Code" field and click "Redeem". FQ7SHHBGWN9W6 (you can simply copy and paste)
3.      If you’re not an Audible customer you’ll need to create a new account. Don’t worry, you can use your Amazon account to do this.
4.      Follow the instructions. You’ll have 1 credit applied to your account.
5.      Go to Zomblog  listing []
6.      Add it to your cart. When you check out you’ll see an option to apply the free credit.
7.      Listen. Enjoy. Review.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Last Call for a free That Ghoul Ava audiobook.

Get it HERE!

Okay...this will be the last time for a while. I am searching for some people who want to dive into the world of the audiobook. I need you to be dedicated to not only listening, but also posting a review (good or bad) that lets me know what you think about the story, characters, and even the narrator(s).

Get this one HERE!
I have three titles (one is the short that got the series rolling) so far and am just about ready to wrap the fourth one with a bow and release it to the world. However, these books need some people who will tell the world...act as a "word of mouth". 
And this one can be nabbed HERE!
Ava is quirky and different. And honestly, I think she is about as "mainstream" as I will ever get as a writer. I make no bones when I say that this series is where I pin my commercial hopes. Face it, my DEAD series just has too much going on to ever see the big or little screen. Maybe ZOMBLOG...but, I honestly believe that That Ghoul Ava has the chops make it in a screen adaptation.

So...if you want a free series on Audible where all you have to do is post an honest review, then now is your chance. And if you have NEVER tried an audio would be a great time to try because you won't have to pay a penny! Just email me at and you are good to go!


Monday, August 4, 2014

"Friend" is NOT a verb...

Okay, I admit that I am a bit old...48. And maybe I am not always up on the latest trends. However, I feel that there is something chipping away at society and it needs to be said.

Friend is NOT a verb. A friend is somebody who is there for you in times of need and trouble. A friend is somebody who laughs with (or sometimes AT) you. A friend knows what you like and what you do not in the big scheme of things. A friend is not some random and anonymous person that clicked a button on social media. 

Can you make and meet real friends via the social media? Sure. I have a few people very near and dear to me that I would have never met otherwise. However, I feel that the "friend" feature of Wastebook has turned that word into something flimsy and lacking substance.

The whole social media thing has made communicating so difficult; not to mention, impersonal. When somebody posts some bit of tragic news on social media...I have a hard time hitting the "like" button. And if I am at a loss for what to say (or, Heaven forbid, miss the post) then it is if I did not show that I cared. And I am not the kind of person to type {hugs}. I give them...but I do not type them as a form of communication.

Worse still, is if you send a message and the person reads it with their own slant, you can be completely misunderstood. The word "whatever" can have a dozen meanings depending on how it is said...inflection of the voice, et cetera. What happened to picking up the phone?

So, while I doubt this will gain much traction...I invite  (notice that I did not say "challenge") you to actually CALL or...if you are feeling REALLY crazy, physically go see a REAL friend in your life. Let them know you do actually care, and that you might not read or respond to all of their posts. 

But you are still a friend:


noun  \ˈfrend\
: a person who you like and enjoy being with