February 26, 2014

Culex Pipiens and Incessant Hunger

Culex Pipiens is offering  a companion story exclusive to the zombie fiction blog. The story intersects with another of Culex's works. Read them both to discover how they come together. 


by
Culex Pipiens



The infected are everywhere and your only chance for survival is to run. How long can you run before dropping? What then? Find out in this short story prequel to "Incessant Hunger."





Who is Culex Pipiens?

Culex Pipiens is the pen name of  the author of  the zombie fiction stories: Incessant Hunger, Rabid Zombies,  and Sample 28. Each of these stories has its own unique flavor and approach.



Read the companion

Incessant Hunger asks the questions:
"When society is gone and the support systems no longer provide, will what is left  of the human raced decline into scavenging raiders in an attempt to satisfy the hunger pains?  How far will some people go? What are they thinking?"




Find more zombie fiction at Culex Pipiens' website




February 19, 2014

Unsettled Settings by Catt Dahman

Unsettled Settings

By

Catt Dahman


Z is for Zombie is a very emotional series for me. With nine books (so far) published via Severed Press, I was able to explore characters, situations and some interesting places. I found myself discovering great settings for my characters to engage with one another and with, of course, zombies, or “shamblers” as we call them. I found that the settings truly drove the action and consequences in my book.

I am a native of North East Texas, so I write about it. I know other authors from Texas, Joe McKinney, Rhiannon Frater, and Bowie Ibarra. They are friends of mine and I respect them tremendously; however, I did growl at them as I wrote because I thought to myself, “Now, Austin is Bowie’s, so I can’t go there….” I did that more than a dozen times, being vigilant not to go into their universes. I am sure Bowie would share some of Austin, but no, I couldn’t trespass.

One of the most useful settings is Hopetown. Originally, it was Popetown, named after the owner who was a zealot and fraud; I was able to actually look the “place” because it was based on a “compound” of a famous person who lives outside of Fort Worth. (I claimed Fort Worth in my universe.) Fenced for fortification, Hopetown offers a river, lake, cafeteria, dorms, a big house, barns, and a media center, so everyone is able to gather in a safe place, spread out, and have a normal life. Hopetown becomes the place everyone wants to join.

Hopetown contains numerous basements and sub-basements for supplies, and in the midst of the underground, there is a little gang, left from the crazies who lived as a cult. For entertainment, the gang makes a sort of “gauntlet. In the middle of dealing with undead who hunger for flesh, a group must deal with other things in the basement: snakes in a pit, tumbling boulders, and the shock of finding that the cult buried secrets in the basement.

This was a lot of fun because I set up the gauntlet and my team to clear it, but they had to fairly and realistically survive the traps (the gang) I set. Imagine my irritation when I found that it was harder than I imagined to survive the basement. There was no cheating allowed. They had to come up with imaginative ways to stay alive and help one another, forming tight bonds. Seriously, I was greatly pissed off at some of my characters who were inadequate in the basements.

Another place people gather for safety is a zoo. Some of the people help the animals that are left and appreciate them, and elephants are great for helping move logs and paraphernalia. Some of my characters set up life there at the zoo, behind the rock walls and fences. It’s a good place until there is an accident, and the ocean exhibit is shattered, sending not only the shamblers into a room with survivors, but some ravenous sharks as well. I enjoyed this because when I see the sea exhibits and look through the glass at swimming sharks, I always wonder “what if the glass breaks?” I always wonder things like that.

A house in Jefferson, Texas figures throughout the series and it is based on my family’s farm there. Jefferson is a popular tourist attraction because of all the historical homes, riverboat rides, and reenactments. I had a wonderful opportunity to juxtapose modern day life (with zombies) against the old-time charm when life was humbler. In my series, with no cars, no electricity, no running water, and a need for older crafts, I was able to show how when everything was stripped away, it was as if characters went back in time.

What was extra fun is that the bayou is very natural. It used to be a place for steamboat trade and now is smaller, but there’s moss, big cypress trees, vines, snakes and alligators. That was a great locale because I spent many weekends in Jefferson. At times, an alligator would come up to our land and try to get a dog or there would be a puma screaming from the woods. Chilling memories.

Port Arthur, Texas is the place my survivors all finally go to; it’s a protected island where they have cabins and livestock, and live like old timey settlers. For my characters, Port Arthur is a true safe haven for many years. I can’t say it remains safe because I am kind of a cruel “god” with my proceedings.

And I wrote the requisite mall scene but in my own way. I follow the George Romero Rules , but being able to explore the mall situation was a challenge. Again, I wrote myself (my characters) into somewhat of a threatening place and then I had to get the people to safety in fair ways. I do this a lot. I write the situation and give myself limitations and constraints and then have to figure out how to overcome them. It’s like making a puzzle for myself that I must solve and really, it is not easy. I never want to have a magical rescue or “oops, I forgot I have a gun in my pants as well as 30 grenades”. I am fair and if someone can’t get away from the zombies, then, there is nothing I can do but let them be eaten. It’s a tough job.

I have scenes at Stephen F. Austin University, in towns in Arkansas, at an airplane crash sight, and of course at the hospital, as all zombie authors should. My beginnings are in the hospital and a neighborhood in Texarkana, Texas, which is a small city (70,000 pop.) on the Texas/Arkansas border. It’s where I lived most of my life. I changed a few places but Texarkana is the first, and most important setting because that is where everything begins. Long ago, a friend gave me some blue prints of a hospital in Texarkana, and with modifications, I used those religiously, making some scenes a difficult challenge for me.

I could have had an imaginary world entirely, but because I used the exact highways and towns as they are, I provide myself with, yes, a test, but also an emotional and cerebral attachment to the places. When readers tell me they found themselves emotional about certain events in the series, I know what they mean; I found my journeys equally as emotional. I close with number nine. Nine books seemed to sum up the story I had to tell, but guess what? Readers have asked for a tenth and after some thought, Severed Press and I decided that a tenth (at least) will be written.

It’s time for another visit to North East Texas.

I hope some friends come along.





catt dahman is the author of  the Z is for Zombie series,  published by Severed Press.
The series includes  nine books so far.  catt dahman:
"...has been writing for more than 30 years, has taught in public schools, private schools, and college. Her degrees are from A & M. A native of Texas, she has lived all over the US, but is currently back in the Fort Worth, Texas area where she lives with her husband, son, 4 cats, 1 dog and a ferret."
Visit her website at Catt D.com.



February 12, 2014

George Cook Discusses the Dead War Series


The Premise


The title of my series is The Dead War Series. The story takes place in the year 2053. Even with all of our technological might the Earth falls to the dead because of a lack of unity.

Will mankind be able to work together to save what is left of humanity?

The source is a virus known as the Beserker Virus created by the military to turn enemy soldiers against each other. Unfortunately, once it is actually released, the virus mutates with horrifying results.


The Characters

There is, of course, Richards. He is the hero of the story. He is a former police officer now special forces soldier haunted by having to kill his parents at the start of the zombie apocalypse. He has a strong sense of duty and will do whatever it takes to accomplish his mission.

A second character would be Duncan, an Irish mercenary. His reasons for helping to spread the virus are hidden and not revealed until book two. Like Richards he has no problem doing whatever or killing whomever to complete his mission.

Lastly, there is Delice. She's a young child who could be mankind's only hope of surviving the zombie apocalypse.

The Settings

The story takes place in the now decimated city of Newark NJ in the year 2053.

The setting in the second book is what is currently known as University Hospital in Newark. The many doors and rooms in a hospital add to the fear factor as you never know what is behind each door or corner.

One of the great setting is the Prudential Arena better known as The Rock. It's where the US army has staged its command and where two of the stories main battles occur.

An Excerpt

...Richards lowered his pistol and began to creep away from the area. He turned a corner right smack into an oncoming Gray. The dead had soulless black eyes. No pupils, no whites of the eyes, just black orbs.

The thing shrieked as it reached out at Richards. Richards instinctively kicked the thing back and fired just once. The blue bead of laser light slammed into the Grays forehead and blew out the back of the things head in a blue burst of light, blood, and black bile.

Richards rolled forward and then spun around onto one knee. The other two Grays he had seen earlier were almost on top of him now. Richards fired twice silencing both with head shots. He got to his feet and ran. He could hear moaning sounds all around him now.

About the Author

I am former military ( US Army ). I am married with one child and for the last 5 years I have served on my local board of education. For the last three years I have been president of the board. I was re-elected to my seat on Nov 5, 2013 and elected president again in January 2014.

My blog is thedeadwarseries.com. My blog features information on me and my books, but it also has other news and videos for zombie lovers. I do reviews on zombie movies and feature other zombie books besides my own. I think that's the best way for indie authors to help each other by sharing our books with like minded readers.

I would really like to thank the fans and readers who first read the book. They caught a lot of mistakes but more importantly one or two continuity issues. I want to say thank you to those who have supported me and The Dead War Series. Your support is greatly appreciated.

If you like the genres of horror, action/adventure, and science fiction you will enjoy The Dead War Series.

February 5, 2014

Spirituality in Zombie Fiction by Paul Loh

Zombie Fiction and Spirituality 



Being faced with your own mortality is a shocking wake up call for many people. For some, it happens when they've survived cancer, a heart attack or had a near-death experience from drowning, electrocution or some other life-threatening experience. 


Facing Mortality


Rarely will death stare you in the face as cruelly, grippingly, or literally as in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

Many people might find themselves completely re-evaluating their priorities. Of course, mere survival would be a challenge, but toward what end? What is there to live for? One might begin to wonder if there was ever any real purpose to their lives.

Now might be the first time that question has occurred to them. At this time, they can choose to truly live for the first time in their lives or just give up the fight.

Atonement


Some might come to the conclusion that it is their friends and/or family which are the most important to them. Some, having lost all friends and family are forced to make do with whatever vestiges of humanity are left. In my book, 'The Greater Number', the character Mbu is traveling with a schizophrenic old lady who believes that he is an alien who is going to bring her to his space ship so that she could see the heavens.

He recalls an incident from his youth in which he had made fun of a little boy who believed that he could catch 600 sharks with a twig with a piece of string tied to it. Months later, that boy died of an inoperable brain tumor. Looking back on the incident, Mbu says:
"Yeah. He was eight years old. I wish I could go back and let him live his whole life believing he can catch sharks with a twig. I think about that whenever I pass by the lake."
Because of this regret from his past, Mbu decides to go on letting the old lady believe that she's going to fly in a space ship. In a later scene, she is mistaken for a zombie and has her head blown off.

Mbu is glad that she has finally gotten her wish and was able to go "see the heavens."


Religious Contemplation



So many people will try to figure out exactly what is important in their lives. In my short story, "Eventide Battalion," there is a group of people who have escaped the zombies to live on an island. After years, they found that there was only one piece of clean paper left.

Instead of fighting for it, they put in on an altar as a shrine. They go to this altar to meditate on what they would write on it.Survivors in this story can only contemplate what they would write. Since it is the last piece of paper, it becomes a spiritual object. They worship The Last Piece Of Paper On Earth. This is the only religion on the island.

I suppose, it would be similar to wondering what you would want your last words to be or what would be carved on your headstone. In other words, what is your legacy? What would you like people to remember you for? What will be left behind once you're gone?


Personal Transformation



A few people might have been thieves, gangsters or even murderers before the apocalypse. Their new circumstances might make them choose to be a benefit to humanity now. In my book, The Nocent Part 2: Advent of the Scathing, the character Daniel Reese was formerly known as the Good Friday Killer. He was a serial killer who murdered one victim every Good Friday.

One night, he was at the lake and something happened which made him completely turn his outlook on life around. About this change of heart, he says,
"I tell you, it takes a lot of darkness to blind you, but only a little light to help you see."
At the end of the book, he then goes on to sacrifice his life in order to save the life of another of the characters. He went from taking lives to saving them.


Embracing Life


One of my favorite scenes in a zombie movie was at the end of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead when the main character is surrounded by a crowd of zombies. He's about to shoot himself through the roof of his mouth when something clicks into place within him.

He suddenly chooses to live and turns the gun instead on the oncoming horde. He offs as many as he can so that he can make his way to a nearby helicopter and fly away to safety.

This is what I love about zombie stories. They make you think. They make you feel. 

When faced with your own mortality, what will you choose to do with your life?