December 30, 2013

Beginner's List

So, EVERYONE knows the great, basic zombie books already, right? Well, no. Not everyone. Some people haven't read the "classics." Some people don't know about the top independent authors. Some people don't know where to start.

Here's a list of zombie books for beginners and those new to the genre. It includes, of course, the huge and most-popular bestselling titles. But this zombie reading list goes a bit beyond the basics. On this list, you will also find some really good zombie novels by new, small-press, and independent authors.

If you just want to read what everyone else is reading, you can stop after the first two titles. Sure, start with the biggies if you like.
  1. The Walking Dead Compendium One and Compendium Two by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Tony Moore
  2. World War Z by Max Brooks
But I recommend you keep reading. You'll find a world of post Zombie-Apocalypse adventure a little further down. If you want to really begin to know the zombie genre, you'll find some zombie book titles that occupy a niche within the genre.

The books on this list, taken together, will give new readers a taste of the wide range of characters, plots, and premises within the genre. They've been chosen for just that purpose: to provide a good sampling.

Ten  Good Zombie Fiction Books for Beginners

(Alphabetized by Author's Last Name)

  1. Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
  2. Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne
  3. Blood Crazy by Simon Clark
  4. Feed by Mira Grant 
  5. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
  6. Dead City by Joe McKinney
  7. Autumn by David Moody
  8. Dark Recollections by Chris Philbrook 
  9. Plague of the Dead by Z. A. Recht
  10. Dead Meat by Chris and Patrick Williams 

There are many more great zombie fiction pieces out there... so don't stop here.

Take a look around the blog for even more choices. You'll be hooked before you know it.



December 29, 2013

Mark Campbell Discusses Desolation

Desolation

by Mark Campbell


Mark Campbell's Desolation was released this Fall. Campbell discusses some of the key factors that shape the book.

Desolation

My first book and a number of my short stories all deal with zombies and the horror genre. I like to really immerse my readers in the worlds I create and let them see the atrocities through the eyes of the characters involved.

You don’t have to read Degeneration in order to understand what’s going on at all but there are a few hidden gems in Desolation for the readers of my first novel. Readers will find some secrets that pertain to the origins of the virus that decimated the world.

While this book technically takes place a year after the events of my first novel, Degeneration, the story of Desolation itself stands on its own as another tale entirely.  This book has zombies, yes, but the core of the story is a very human one that transcends the typical zombie tropes in the genre.

The Price of Safety

Those who have taken refuge inside one of the numerous FEMA camps scattered throughout the country live under strict authoritarian rule in exchange for the promise of safety from the living and the dead alike.
The story takes place a year after a government-engineered bioweapon accidently got released and caused a zombie pandemic. Those who were either immune to the toxin or were lucky enough to escape infection have splintered into two different fractions; those living behind the walls and those risking a world without.

Refuge and Rumors

One setting is FEMA Camp 6, located just outside the ruins of Phoenix, AZ. The camp is crowded, starving, and dilapidated as squalor and disease run rampant. Despite the heavy police presence, the thin threads of social order are wearing thin. One event in particular may prove to push things beyond the breaking point.

Another setting is FEMA Camp 7, located just north of Bismarck, ND. The camp serves as the new nation’s Capital and also acts as the central supplier to the other camps. To some, the Capital serves as a beacon of hope and an end to the starvation.

The outskirts of Regina, Canada serve as another critical setting for ‘Desolation.'  Rumors have spread that the infected corpses were frozen up north during the harsh winter and that Canada is not only infection free but also rebuilding. However, false rumors have a way of spreading and the promise of a safe haven may be little more than just another promise broken.

Jerri's Journey

The story centers on Jerri, a survivor who lives in one of FEMA’s overcrowded camps. As supplies dwindle and the situation inside the camp becomes more desperate each day, she has to make a choice to either leave her prison sanctuary or risk staying behind.

In her world, the living pose an even greater danger than the undead lurking outside the walls.

Jerri’s journey is a complicated one both externally and internally as she has to discover a reason to keep living in a world that looks so bleak. We see the story primarily through her eyes. She’s stubborn, loyal almost to a fault, and pessimistic about her future and the future of mankind. Having lost all of her family, friends, and boyfriend during the initial pandemic she doesn't have much to live for anymore. The book chronicles her journey as she tries to define what existing and living really means to her.

December 26, 2013

Brian Pinkerton Discusses The Hunger War



How I Started the Apocalypse: Book Two

The Hunger War


Brian Pinkerton's new book came out this Fall. Jule discussed some of the particulars with him.Here are a few highlights from the discussion.




What's the premise of this zombie novel?
This is Book Two of the "How I Started The Apocalypse" series that has been published by Severed Press. It recounts the continuing adventures of Chaz Singleton, the zombie who launched an epic plague.

How does the zombie apocalypse originate in your book?
A military experiment to revive the dead to create a new breed of super soldiers. A small number of smart zombies are trying to cope with a growing population of dumb zombies

Who are the zombies and what do they do?
Brian Pinkerton
The lead character is a compassionate, sympathetic smart zombie who struggles with his flesh-eating addiction like an alcoholic struggling with booze.
Chaz is the reluctant zombie and Peter is his embarrassed human son. The growing zombie population has chosen Chaz to be their leader.

The city streets become a battleground for The Hunger War.

December 20, 2013

Zombies Can't Swim


A Short Story Collection: Zombies Can't Swim

A flash fiction story from this blog is now included in a complete zombie fiction collection. Zombies Can't Swim is a new story collection by Colin M. Drysdale.

Drysdale is the author of For Those in Peril on the Sea and the originator of the Maths With Zombies website.

His 55-word story  "Leaving" first appeared on this blog in March of 2013.  It was always one of my favorites.





Zombie Flash Fiction: "Leaving"


LEAVING

I move from the barricaded windows back towards our bed and kiss her as she sleeps.
I’ve loved her for as long as I can remember but now I’m abandoning her when she needs me most.
I look down again at the now-festering bite mark on my arm. How could I have been so careless?

Zombies Can't Swim

Now that flash fiction piece has become a part of a new collection of short stories called  Zombies Can't Swim. As the book-blurb explains:
Zombies Can’t Swim is a collection of stories written by Colin M. Drysdale whose debut novel, For Those In Peril On The Sea, was released in 2013 to much acclaim. 
In this anthology, he explores a variety of zombie and post-apocalyptic related themes in tales ranging from ones short enough to fit in a Twitter posting, through flash fiction to full length short stories. 
Not all the stories in Zombies Can't Swim take place in the water. Drysdale says
"They take their inspiration from subjects as disparate as the real life mystery of Flannan Isle through dilemmas you may face in a zombie apocalypse to why you shouldn’t try waiting up for Santa Claus."

Maths With Zombies

As a sideline, Colin M. Drysdale also maintains a website called Maths With Zombies. The site uses zombie -based scenarios to create story problems with a more interesting background than those often found in textbooks. It's possible that site will grow into a book. In the meantime, readers can view the story problems as they are added to the Maths With Zombies blog.

Colin M. Drysdale

Drysdale is a marine biologist whose zombie fiction links the traditional zombie stories with the sea. Zombie fiction isn't his only line of work.
"Colin M. Drysdale is a marine biologist and author. Under his real name, he has published numerous academic papers and articles, as well as writing a number of technical books. However, when writing fiction, he has chosen to write under the pseudonym Colin M. Drysdale to distinguish between these two very different areas of his written work."
Drysdale has also contributed an article for this blog about the advantages of living on the water in a zombie apocalypse "When Zombies Rule the Land, Take to the Water."


December 17, 2013

Barnes and Noble on Zombie Fiction

Zombie Fiction 

on the Barnes and Noble Book Blog

The Barnes and Noble Book Blog has a few dedicated readers who frequently write about zombie fiction.  In 2012-2013, Barnes and Noble published several book lists and zombie fiction articles.

Like to see them all in one place? Look below.


The Top 20 Zombie Novels of the last Decade

By Paul Goat Allen

"This list includes science fiction, horror, urban fantasy, apocalyptic fiction, romance, tongue-in-cheek parody, literary fiction, bizarro fiction, and alternate history titles. Zombies are everywhere, my friends, and if the phenomenal popularity of The Walking Dead is any indication, I think they’re here to stay for quite some time.
If you want the crème de la crème of zombie fiction, here’s your list!"
--Paul Goat Allen

6 Books You'll Need to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse 

By Josh Sorokach

"Most people believe they’d be able to survive the zombie apocalypse, but I know better. I’d be one of the first to go. I’m not a fan of dirt, compasses confuse me, and I’m not someone you should count on in a crisis. I once had a small kitchen fire and my first instinct was to “throw more fire on it.” When the going gets tough, and the tough attempt to eat you, you’re going to need a few books to help you survive."
--Josh Sorokach

The Essential Zombie Fiction Reading List

By Paul Goat Allen, June 2013

Women are well-represented in this list. Contains titles by Mira Grant, Sophie Littlefield, Rhiannon Frater, Jessica Meigs, Eloise J. Knapp, Dana Fredsti, and Kristyn Crow.

Other articles by Paul Goat Allen



3 Zombie Novels for the Undead Enthusiast 

By Kat Rosenfield

"...in honor of everyone’s blazing new enthusiasm for the great American zombie, we’ve picked three new (or new-ish) novels from the genre to add to your shelf."
-- Kat Rosenfield




December 12, 2013

Is Zombie Fiction Meaningful Literature?

We like to think so. In fact, we'd like you to think so, too.  We're pretty sure you  already do. 

Can you tell us WHY zombie fiction is meaningful literature?

Yes? 

Then, you can win a free autographed copy of Chris Philbrook's novel Dark Recollections

Zombie Fiction Is Meaningful Literature. Defend.

Where to go:  
Chris Philbrook's Facebook Page
What to do:  
Write a post that explains WHY zombie fiction is meaningful literature
When to do it:  
Anytime between now and December 16th. Contest ends at 11:59 pm on December 16th.
  
What you can win: 
Your own personal copy of Dark Recollections, signed by Chris Philbrook.*






Posts will be judged on quality and originality. Bonus points will be awarded if any part of the post can be tied in to the Adrian's Undead Diary universe. 





Chris Philbrook is the creator and author of Adrian's Undead Diary.  


Chris has several years of experience working in game development and editing as well as writing fiction for several major game design companies.  











*This contest must have a minimum of ten entries in order for the prize to be awarded.


December 4, 2013

Harlequin (Zombie) Romances

Over at Harlequin.com, there's a tiny debate about zombie fiction going on.

Harlequin romances with zombies? Sounds kind of odd, right? Well, it is a little odd. But it is also, apparently, a fairly popular reading theme for Harlequin fans.  Popular enough to inspire a short article, anyway.


Check it out at "Take a Bite out of Zombie Fiction" over on their site. The article is accompanied by  links to Harlequin's zombie-romances.


This pro-and-con is really a pair of short commentaries. Two loyal Harlequin readers each sound off with their thoughts.
 
Arista G. suggests that  "There is Still Life in Zombies" and argues that zombies:

"...are a metaphor for many issues we combat in society. For this very reason zombies will remain an iconic figure in popular culture for years to come."




Amy W. counters with  "Zombies Should Stay Dead," and claims:

"There are only so many ways a well-known concept can be tweaked without losing its essence. You can make zombies run fast or be infected by spores, but they are still zombies with all the traits and limitations associated with them."


Want to know which Harlequin Romances  involve zombies? Scroll down the page, and eight different titles are offered along with the article, many of them published within the past 12 months.

Yes, this is a real book cover
Not exactly horror, but an interesting  take on zombie fiction nonetheless.  What are these Harlequin (Zombie) Romance titles? Find a few representative titles below.

Through the Zombie Glass 
by
Gena Showalter

Undeadly 
by
Michelle Vail

Aftertime 
by
Sophie Littlefield

Zombie Moon 
by
Lori Devoti
(Devoti is also the author of the free zombie fiction novel Zombie Midnight)

Skeleton Crew
by
Cameron Haley


December 3, 2013

The Zombie Book of the Month Club


The Zombie Book of the Month Club  Facebook group keeps a clear focus and precise guidelines. As a result, the group seems to be thriving. Current membership is 1,192 individuals. Shaun Phelps is the founder. The group is moderated by Anne Stevenson and Tracey Fitzgerald Rose.
 


Hall of Fame

The club focuses on one zombie novel per month. Members read and respond, and the zombie author often stops by for a chat.  Excessive self-promotion is discouraged, which helps keep the focus where it belongs- on the Zombie Book of the Month.

The group has a Hall of Fame for its monthly featured books. Click on each book cover to see the month and year and find a link to the author chat.  The Hall of Fame includes 21 zombie authors

Informal Chats

Although it is sometimes difficult to follow a transcribed chat session, it is well worth the effort.  These are unedited records of real-time, casual chats. Some content may be flippant, off-topic, or inappropriate.  If you're interested in little-known details about new and established zombie authors, take some time to comb through these previous author chats. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
 

Featured Book and Author Links

The 21 authors featured so far include both well-known and independent writers. Most have participated in author chats linked below. Please note that users must be logged in to Facebook to read author chat files. Follow the title link to discover more about each individual book.

Sylvan Kills 
November, 2013

Ian Woodhead
October, 2013

Daniel J. Williams
September, 2013

Timothy W. Long
August, 2013

Sean Liebling
July, 2013

Derek J. Goodman
June, 2013

Rhiannon Frater
April, 2013

Paul Mannering
April, 2013

Wayne Simmons
March, 2013

Jonathan Maberry
(No Author Chat)
February, 2013

D. A. Roberts
January, 2013

Kirk Allmond & Laura Bretz
December, 2012

Joe McKinney
November, 2012

Tonia Brown
October, 2012

Emily Goodwin
September, 2012

Joseph Talluto
August, 2012

Shawn Chesser
(No Author Chat)
July, 2012

Tony Burgess
(No Author Chat)
June, 2012

Stephen King
(No Author Chat)
May, 2012

Ian DG Sandusky
(No Author Chat) 
April, 2012

Mark Tufo
(No Author Chat)
March, 2012





November 27, 2013

Feed The Zombies: A Facebook Zombie Fiction Event

Today only!

On Facebook today, there's a zombie fiction "all you can read" event. 

The party is hosted by Timothy L. Long and Angelina Carina Barry. 

All day long, zombie fiction will be available for only 99 cents. Throughout the day, authors will be stopping by the Facebook page to chat with fans.  

If you want to, 
you can 


Today, you can get each of the following books on Amazon for only 99 cents:


By D. A. Wearmouth
By David Moody
By Rhiannon Frater
By Craig DiLouie
By Iain McKinnon
By Michael S Gardner
By Jackie Druga
By Joseph A. Coley
By SB Knight
By Tim W. Long
By Keith Milstead
By Rachel Tsoumbakos
By Eloise J. Knapp
By Katie Cord (Evil Girlfriend Media)
 
Epic Apocalypse – Apocalyptic Box Set (This one is $1.99) James Cook, John O’Brien, Joe McKinney, Armand Rosamilia, Heath Stallcup, Shawn Chesser, and Mark Tufo

November 25, 2013

Tony Baez Milan on Zombie Fiction in Spanish and English

Zombie Fiction: Spanish or English?

I have always written and published in both languages fairly simultaneously and I go back and forth between them, so I have not felt a transition. Moving between English and Spanish has become natural for me. It hasn’t been the same with my movies. Although I have written movies in both languages, the ones which have been produced have all been in English.

The stories choose the language in which they are to be told, and so the language doesn't change the work, but the specific language becomes the more natural form of its expression.

Spanish is my native language. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico.

A Puerto Rican Zombie Apocalypse


The zombie apocalypse would be very different in Puerto Rico.

At first, no one would believe it. People would marvel and wonder at the strange behavior of their neighbors or friends or acquaintances turned into zombies, talking about the bad habits some people may have developed, not being ashamed of anything, not even of biting someone in public. “Something to do with his upbringing,” a passing Puerto Rican might say about a misbehaving zombie, before realizing the severity of the situation.

I think there would be long-winded, one-sided arguments between zombies and Puerto Ricans before there is finally any violence. Plenty of machetes on the island, so when the violence finally starts, it would be extra bloody.

And loud. The zombie apocalypse would be a lot louder in Puerto Rico.

The arguments alone would be deafening. Also, a lot of people just jumping into the Caribbean Sea, hoping that zombies couldn’t swim.

Zombies


I don’t think I became interested in zombies, but rather was scared of them as a child. They chased me in nightmares, the kind of dream where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to be able to run; you try, but you don’t make much progress and the horrors catch up to you, and then you wake up all screwed up.

I used to go see zombie movies at the local theater, sometimes alone, which was a mistake, because I would have to walk back home and all the while I watched my back!

Later, as a writer, I became more interested in zombies when I discovered they can be metaphors, that you can explore things like identity and prejudice through zombies.

Dead, and Must Travel


I actually published my first zombie novel, DEAD, AND MUST TRAVEL, in English, in the United States. It came out earlier this year. Eventually, there might be a Spanish translation.

I wrote the first paragraph, and the entire novel, in an apartment in Los Angeles. In the living room, I had a small corner where I set up my work space, complete with a dog gate that kept my two small children at bay when I wrote.

I was surrounded by filing cabinets and by books on bookcases and on plastic stackable shelves, and on the wall there was a detail of a painting by Diego Rivera, of people working the land, mounted on a cheap frame. I liked that picture there because it reminded me that, if able, one needs to work. Also, there was an Ansel Adams print, all rocks and mountains and sky.

Language Makes a Difference


An interesting thing about DEAD, AND MUST TRAVEL is that I kept thinking about it in Spanish, trying to figure out the story, but it wasn’t until, in an instant, it occurred to me that it should be in English.

Once I figured out that the novel wanted to be told in English, in the next instant the whole story came rushing into my head, fully formed, like a bolt of lightning! I struggled with the story until the moment I figured out that I was looking at it from the wrong point of view, from the wrong language.


About Tony Baez Milan 

Writer and director TONY BÁEZ MILÁN was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His short stories, in English and Spanish, have been published internationally in numerous magazines.

He has written and directed the films A PIECE OF WOOD, RAY BRADBURY’S CHRYSALIS, EDGAR ALLAN POE’S REQUIEM FOR THE DAMNED (The Pit and the Pendulum segment), and MYTH PROLOGUE.

www.tonybaezmilan.com 

 

More Spanish Zombie Fiction

Juan De Dios Garduno: Y Pese Al Todo

Manel Louriero: Apocalipsis Z

Gareth Wood: El Despertar De Los Muertos

November 4, 2013

Zombie Short Fiction: The Lake at the End of the World by Vincenzo Bilof


The Lake at the Edge of the World 

By

Vincenzo Bilof


The utility van rumbled on, though we were on fumes. The blasted trees in the median stood stark against the slate-colored sky made possible by the perpetual burning of our own monolithic metropolises. Every horizon we sought was stained with ash as if a hateful deity sprinkled the remnants of a burning cigarette upon our tired world.

There wasn't any ammunition left, though all three of us had become proficient with well-sharpened, edged weapons. Civilization's complete surrender haunted our never-ending escape. No matter how much time passed, the relentless dead remained uncountable and undeterred.

My two female companions were professional survivors. They wouldn't risk their lives for any man; men had made women scarce in the midst of our society's dissolution. I was their captive. Raven-haired Selena, our driver, provided the perfect balance with the pleasant and always-smiling Fiona, the natural blonde who stayed with me in the back of the van.

We arrived at the harbor, where a thick fog hovered over the black, oily water. As Selena had envisioned, a narrow riverboat with oars waited, as if we'd arrived at the end of a sprawling dreamscape. We knew how to run, and here we were, at the edge of our nightmare.

There wasn't enough room in the boat for all of us. Selena and Fiona argued over my fate; I would likely turn on them and become a sexual predator like the others. I was a man, after all.

I knew they were going to leave me behind; Selena always won. When they filed into the boat, I watched them with my hands behind my back. I was very excited when one of the living dead emerged out of the black water. Clumps of wet hair clung to its face like seaweed, and long fingernails curled over its fingers like horrendous talons. The wrinkled flesh on its face seemed more of a rubber mask pulled tightly over a child's face. Sexless and terrible, it could have belonged to an alien race.

I leapt into the water as the girls grabbed for their weapons. I tipped their boat while more shapes emerged in the fog.

The girls should have known there was no escape. We'd been running for so long…

Fiona scrambled back to the shore, while their machetes floated in the water. I grabbed Selena from behind and whispered sweet words into her ear.

When the creature bit down into her throat, warm blood splashed my face. She didn't scream. The dead beast reared back with a chunk of her flesh in its mouth. Selena's legs kicked in the shallow water. I shoved her into the creature, delivering her unto the embrace of the painful death that had been inevitable all along. Months (years?) of running had terminated at this point.

Selena reached back to claw at my face. The monstrous corpse leaned in and bit down into her chest, filling the disturbed water with inky crimson.

I let her go, and found that Fiona had extended her hand to me. I pulled her into the water. We wrestled for a floating machete. Selena screamed while more corpses causally joined the feast. Violent splashes disturbed the apocalyptic silence, but soon it would be all over, and the land's newly-ordered peace would be restored.

I pulled Fiona close and joined my lips to hers. Her dry, cracked lips were still soft, and the blade in my hand entered her stomach easily, and it reminded me of cutting into warm butter. Her blood filled the water. I let her go. She grabbed the blade in her stomach and looked at me with wide, blue eyes. A clawed hand reached over the top of her head and pulled her backward into the embrace of the damned. Lovely, blonde-haired Fiona didn't scream.

I waded in the water for a moment as the silent, purposeful dead filled the lake with their red-rimmed eyes and sagging jowls. A stray eyeball floated in the bloody miasma.

At any moment, I would awaken.

November 1, 2013

Sean Liebling Discusses Zombie Fiction

Sean Liebling, author of the Blood, Brains, and Bullets series, discusses why he's fascinated with the zombie genre.


The Apocalypse Reading Group

I developed my love for the apocalyptic genre quite early. I've seen almost every zombie/ apocalyptic movie out there, and in the last decade have read most of the books. My extensive Marine Corps background and outdoors nature allowed me to empathize with a great many of the movies and books I read. 

Then when I retired in my forties, I read even more, spent time with my family, and started a reading group of apocalypse-based books.

Our reading group members include an M.D., a psychologist, a police sergeant, and several retired military officers. We get together once a month, have a few drinks and discuss the latest books we've read. There are a few main topics we always agree upon. 

Our main complaints? The lack of research on an author's part regarding locations or weapons, and main characters turned into superhuman heroes. We brainstorm different scenarios and nomenclature.


Questioning Mainstream Standards

For the most part, until very recently it used to be quite common for zombie authors and authors of apocalyptic books to write a certain way, using certain old themes. None of this makes any sense, and lacks any form of historical or psychological accuracy.

If 97% or more of the human race dies off within a few days or a couple of weeks at the most, why is there never any food available? Why is the survival make-up of refugees always a large group of men and a few women that half the men fight over? (Caveat: recently some authors have started putting the token child in their books and movies.) 

Why do most authors have their zombies burn like dried pine kindling? Why doesn't any zombie slash apocalypse author— with very few exceptions—put any form of sex in their books?

This is where I, along with a very few others, broke the barriers.

Thinking Outside the Box

I took a large step outside the mainstream box and wrote a very different apocalyptic concept. With the help of my colleague, a medical doctor, I dreamed up a virus that could actually be created today. With the help of a licensed psychologist, I created a typical survivor group demographic, which is also based on all known history of crises. With my own Marine Corp training and service, and with the help of others in the service, I did my best to create accuracy in weapons and weapons systems.


Blood, Brains, and Bullets

'Blood, Brains, and Bullets' has been wildly successful; despite several intriguing offers I have decided to remain self-published for now. I will not get into publishing pros and cons here, but suffice to say, I can do equally well if not better on my own, with a much higher royalty. I’ve sold over 17,000 copies of Book One, have received over 1,000 fan emails, and consistently rank high in science fiction and horror.

I enjoy what I do and I am having an awesome time. The fans and support from fellow Indie authors has made it all worthwhile. I enjoy writing and especially enjoy the fan email, of which I receive a plethora. 

I recently self-published Book Two in the series, entitled Legacy of the Living and have heard great positive feedback so far. I am currently writing the third book of the series, which is called Sacrifice of the Damned.





Sean Liebling’s website: http://seanliebling.com

Follow Sean on Facebook at: Sean Liebling, Author on Facebook

Email Sean Liebling sean@seanliebling.com




October 30, 2013

Zombie Fiction: Characters in the Works of Julie Cooper Brown


The Wife

Jillian is a hard working short-order cook.  Jillian tells the reader how the infection came about and the things that were happening that led up to the moment that Evan is bitten.

Jillian documents the stages of the infection as it ravages his body. She is only waiting for the complete change to take place so that she can kill Evan and then herself.



Jillian and Evan take shelter in a house on Spirit Lane in Punta Gorda, Florida. That is the house where Kate finds them when she arrives. 

The Soldier


Kate is the main character in book two. She is an American soldier paired with her longtime friend, and they come across the bodies of Jillian and Evan as they look for shelter for the night.  She is plagued by prophetic dreams and fear of not surviving.







The Children


Kate also stumbles across a 6 year old girl in the house, Angel. She takes it upon herself to protect her from infection. Another child is introduced in Book II as well.  Kimmy is a 5 year old girl who is severely disturbed, abusive child who loves to mutilate Barbies.
 



The Zombies


I gave a few of my zombies a conscience with no control over their actions. So they are witnessing these terrible acts of gore and unable to stop themselves from taking the next bite! The anguish and horror they feel as they are committing these acts are portrayed.









Julie Cooper Brown is the author of  a collection of zombie books called The Last Days.The zombie series began with a first novella called The Last Day in the Life of Jillian. Brown followed up with Kate's Calling, and the third book in the series, Angel. These three novels are available as a single volume. Her fourth book,The Dead Live On, went live for Kindle in August of 2013.

October 11, 2013

Sacrifice by J. Cornell Michel

Flash Fiction from the author of Jordan's Brains.

This story has some thematic similarities to Patrick D'Orazio's "Dog Days." Take a look at the story Q & A at the end to hear what one of the authors has to say.

SACRIFICE



Maxine knew that her husband wouldn’t last much longer without a decent meal. She’d been out hunting for three days, but she returned home that afternoon, empty-handed and exhausted. Her husband snapped at her as she walked into the living room, but Maxine knew that he couldn’t get to her. She’d tied him up months ago, when she realized it was too dangerous to let him roam free in the house.

Frank had always been an affectionate man, and he was no different after he died. He’d reach for her in the middle of the night, constantly looking for attention. After a few days, it became too much work to keep tabs on him all the time, so she tied him to his favorite recliner and put him in front of the television. There hadn’t been a signal for days, just a blank screen, but Frank didn’t seem to mind.

The day after Frank was resurrected, Maxine was lucky enough to come across the neighbor’s cat. She easily trapped the animal and brought it home. She set the cat in front of Frank, brimming with pride. Frank had been providing food for the family for years, and now it was her turn to put food on the table. But Frank would have none of it. He shoved the cat off his lap and glared at Maxine, reaching for her with his undead hands. Maxine wasn’t keen on feeding human meat to her husband, but she didn’t have a choice.

Reluctantly, she went out the next morning in search of food for her husband. She convinced herself that it wasn’t murder. No, it was more like gruesome grocery shopping. Maxine made sure to only hunt loners, so no one would get suspicious. The first item on her grocery list was her next-door neighbor, Dorothy. The old woman had lived alone for decades, and Maxine knew that no one would miss her.


She rapped on Dorothy’s door, and politely waited for the old woman to answer. Several minutes passed before the front door slowly opened.

“Hello, dear,” the old woman said. “What are you doing here? The government said that people aren’t supposed to leave their homes.”
“I know, but I wanted to check on you and make sure you have enough food,” Maxine said sweetly.
“Oh, I’m fine, dear, don’t you worry about me. I have plenty of food, and the government is working to do their weekly drop-off. Would you like to come in?”
“No, I was actually wondering if you’d like to come over to my house for a visit. I’m making venison stew for supper.”
“How lovely! I haven’t had meat in weeks,” Dorothy said, licking her lips. “Did Frank catch the deer?”
“Yes, he’s quite good with his rifle. He went out hunting yesterday, and we have plenty to share. Why don’t you come over right now, and we can all have dinner together?”
“Well, I’m sure it would be OK for me to leave the house just this one time, since we’ll be walking over together.”
“Marvelous,” Maxine said as she took Dorothy’s hand and led her down the gravel path to her house.

Poor Dorothy didn’t stand a chance. Maxine led her into the living room, and she shoved Dorothy into her husband’s waiting arms. Dorothy screamed like a banshee, and carried on for quite a while. Maxine felt like a monster, and the intense guilt made her leave the room. But she got used to it after a while. Maxine even started eating her own supper next to Frank while he devoured his victims. It was nice for them to be able to eat meals together again.





Maxine began to fear for her husband’s health when her hunting trips weren’t successful. Frank had only been having one meal per week, and he was starting to look gaunt. Maxine knew she’d have to do something drastic soon, but she was running out of options. She’d walked for miles over the past three days, and she hadn’t come across a single survivor. 

She knew what she had to do. It was time to make sacrifices.

Maxine was a dutiful housewife, and she walked into the kitchen on autopilot, like she had many times before. She grabbed a butcher knife and stared at it for a few seconds before returning to the living room. Maxine walked up to her husband with tears in her eyes, and she gritted her teeth as she sliced into the meaty flesh of her forearm and cut out a chunk. She yelped in pain as she handed her offering to her husband. Frank greedily grabbed the meat, swallowed it, and looked at her, wanting more. 


Maxine was never able to refuse her husband, and she wasn’t about to start now.  

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Story Q & A

Q: Have you read "Dog Days" by Patrick D'Orazio?

I just read “Dog Days,” and it was a great story. I think it’s very well written, and the descriptions pulled me right into the story.
Q. How do you think your story contrasts with that one?
“Dog Days” has vivid descriptions that set the scene, and, in contrast, I didn’t really add any physical descriptions in my story. In this story, I tended to focus on what characters are doing and how they’re feeling, rather than what they’re seeing. D’Orazio’s writing sets a great example for others in that respect. In my story, Maxine volunteered to sacrifice herself to Frank, but Jed wasn’t a willing victim at first. However, he conceded when he realized that it would keep Susie alive a little longer.
Q. In "Turning" Bryan Cassiday enters the mind of the zombie. Do you think Frank thinks like this, or does he not think at all?
I’ve written about “thinking” zombies before, but it wasn’t where I was going with this story. I wanted the focus to be on Maxine, and just have Frank in the background.


About J. Cornell Michel


Michel currently lives in Maryland, but has plans to move to San Francisco very soon because she's feeling ready for a new adventure. She is looking forward to a change of scenery, the excitement of hunting for a new job, and the thrill of discovering indie bookstores.

Most of Jillian Cornell Michel's  free time is dedicated to devouring stories about the living dead. She writes for Zombie Guide Magazine with four other talented writers. We post new articles every day on our website: http://www.zombie-guide.com/

Michel turned her zombie obsession into something productive when she decided to write Jordan’s Brain: A Zombie Evolution.  


As she explains:
Jordan is a psychotic yet friendly zombie expert whose gender is never revealed. Having prepared for the zombie apocalypse since childhood, Jordan is thrilled when hordes of the infected undead finally invade. With a bug-out bag and a confident grin, Jordan leaves the safety of the psychiatric hospital and wanders alone into the zombie-infested streets to rescue family and strangers alike. Everything seems perfect until Jordan’s loved ones start dying, and Jordan has to face the harsh reality that the zombie apocalypse isn’t going according to plan.

October 9, 2013

Dog Days, by Patrick D'Orazio

Flash Fiction from the author of Comes the Dark

Patrick D'Orazio was generous enough to share this piece of flash fiction with me back in February. It might be an interesting read right now, considering the story that is coming out on this blog tomorrow.


Dog Days



Jed’s eyes popped open after a fitful nap, and he dragged himself up from the bedroom floor. He patted Susie on the head and forced his aching legs to carry him down the stairs. Digging in his ears, he removed the ear plugs and stuffed them in his pocket. Relentless pounding and wailing flooded his senses.
 

“You keep a-knockin’, but you can’t come in …” Jed sang tunelessly as he checked the barricaded doors and windows for the umpteenth time. He could barely hear the padding of Susie’s paws as she followed him into the kitchen with the hope of being fed.
 

“Sorry, girl. No dice.”

They were down to five full gallon jugs of water. The food had run out three days ago.


Jed’s Labrador looked as lousy as he felt. She’d stopped barking at the moans of the undead weeks ago, but the endless desperation of the monsters had worn on her. Her gorgeous coat was falling out in clumps as her ribcage grew ever more visible.


“Were gonna starve in here, baby, but at least those bastards won’t eat us.”
 

Being eaten alive was Jed’s biggest fear. Blackened teeth sinking into your flesh and blood-scabbed fingers tearing into your muscles and organs was the worst possible way to go. Starving would hurt, but Jed hoped his senses would grow dull and he would pass away in his sleep.
 

Susie gave a low, throaty growl as Jed took a swig of water. Looking down, he could see her raised hackles and her lips pulled back, revealing sharp doggy teeth.
 

“Girl?”
 

Jed dropped the jug and raised his arm just in time to prevent his pup from sinking her teeth into his throat. Instead, Susie latched on to his forearm as Jed’s back slammed into a cabinet. Jed’s legs crumpled and he collapsed to the floor, howling in pain.
 

Susie relinquished her hold and scrambled out of the way of Jed’s falling body. He landed face-up and felt lukewarm water from the jug he’d dropped seeping through his clothes. He couldn’t move.
 

“Susie? Wha- what didja do to me?”
 

A trickle of blood darkened the puddle of water beneath Jed’s arm. He could still feel his extremities but could only move his neck. As he struggled, he heard Susie growl again.
 

Jed shifted his head to watch as she inched closer.
 

“Susie, sweetie, I think you really hurt daddy. I can’t move. Calm down, baby.”
 

Susie drooled with hunger. Jed had never seen such a look of desperation on his sweet puppy’s face before, and it chilled his blood.
 

Susie nuzzled the arm she had already torn open, lapping at the blood before sinking her teeth into the open wound. She ignored Jed’s screams as she tore off a hunk of meat.
 

He’d lost some weight during his time trapped inside the house, but Jed suspected there was more than enough meat for Susie to survive on for a long time to come.




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Patrick D'Orazio is the author of Comes the DarkInto the Dark, and  Beyond the Dark, all of which are published by  Permuted Press

You can read more about Comes the Dark on D'Orazio's blog, Tomes of Darkness.