Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interview with George L. Cook

Name: George L. Cook IIII

Book Title: The Dead War Trilogy

Author Questions

1.   How long have you been writing for?

I started writing right after seeing Star Wars for the first time. So I have been writing since I was about 10 years old. I didn't publish an actual book until 2008. But i had a few poems and articles published in magazines and newspapers.

2.   What do you think sets your work apart from others in the genre?

I think there are three things that set The Dead War Trilogy apart from other books in the zombie genre.

The first being a sense of hope. Many zombie books are all doom and gloom. I think that readers have to have a sense that the characters they have come to care about will not only survive but have the chance to actually live their lives in peace again.

The second is the level of action. I grew up on 80s action movies so I love lots of action sequences. This being a story of soldiers battling the dead ( and other things / person ) there is plenty of action to spare.

 There is also a scifi element that many stories lack. There is also what I believe to be a possible and realistic explanation for the cause of the zombie apocalypse.

3.   Do you have any tips for new writers?

WRITE! Don't keep checking on your sales figures or worrying about your reviews. The only way all of us get better as writers is to write.

Also write in a genre you like not one that's popular right now just to make a quick buck. To me that's not very satisfying and i feel my lack of enthusiasm for a genre would show up

4.   What books do you read and do you have a recent recommendation?

I read everything. Science fiction, horror, fantasy, and biographies. I just recently finished by Ian Woodhead and would definitely recommend that book.

5.   Where can readers find you?

They can find me here:

Website: http://www.thedeadwarseries.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedeadwar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deadwarseries

Zombie Survival Questions

1.   You see a hand gun, a bat and a knife. Which do you choose as your weapon for the apocalypse?

I'm from New Jersey ( US ) so I have to go for the baseball bat. Itdoesn't need reloading and I don't have to worry about it getting stuck in someone's skull and not being able to pull it out.

It's also relatively silent so it wont make a ton of noise to attract more of the dead.

2.    Place of survival. Your own house, a shopping mall or The Winchester pub?

All zombie fans know that malls are a no no. That always ends badly and besides there are too many doors.

In theory the pub sounds like a good idea. Hey if you gotta go you might as well get pissy tail drunk and have a good time at it. But because many pubs have a lot of windows this is probably not the most defensible place.

That leaves me with home sweet home. I can better defend my house and block off the staircase and hold out for as long as possible. If I'm going out I would rather go out in comfortable  surroundings with the people I know and love.

3.   You see an underground parking centre. Do you go in?

Hell no. Again I'm from New Jersey and I wont use an underground parking garage pre zombie apocalypse.

Seriously though I think anything underground with entrances that big would only become an underground tomb.

4.   You see your boss is now a zombie but is no immediate threat to you. Do you still use your last bullet on him/her?

What kind of person do you think I am? I would not do such a foolish thing. I would use a baseball bat and bash their **uking brains in.

5.   What luxury item would you keep in the apocalypse?

The expensive car that I just sold from the recently down guy down the road.

6.   You're bitten, do you
A)   Shoot yourself before you turn?
B)   Ask a friend to do?
C)   Turn and enjoy the all you can eat human buffet?

It would have to be A. I would opt out rather than become a danger to my family and friends.

Feud - Red Dust (Short Story 2) Out Now

Feud - Amazon

Feud - Smashwords

If you missed The Lost Party it is currently free on smashwords with the coupon provided on the site.

The Lost Party - Smashwords

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Of kings, warriors, and Oreo Blues by By Carole McDonnell

Of kings, warriors, and Oreo Blues
By Carole McDonnell

The Constant Tower is a story about Psal, a lame prince who is unable to go on a journey. It’s not the lameness that’s keeping him from traveling. It’s the world he lives in. No one travels outside at night on Odunao, a planet with three moons, one sun, and a night that tosses people to disparate parts of the planet.

But being lame is not Psal’s only problem. Or rather, his being lame is problematical in that he is not a warrior. On Odunao, a sickly, over-sensitive, limping boy is a blight to the warriors of his clan. It doesn’t help matter that Psal is a prince.  

I don’t know why or when I developed a love for kings, royalties, and warlords.
I can only chock it up to Shakespeare and the Bible. Certainly, growing up Black in the US, I should perhaps  have developed an attachment to freedom-fighters, democracy, underdogs, and equal rights. Heck, as a woman, I should have developed a love for female protagonists. Alas, no such luck. Of course, many American female fantasy writers write about royalty. But my main characters are often male. They often belong to a race that is different from mine. They are often royalty, which I am not.

So why this identification?  I hate to admit it but I’ve begun to think that although I like to think of myself as enlightened, it appears that I am a product of my childhood education. As a kid, I grew up in a Jewish-Italian  neighborhood, and have always found myself somewhat “out of my element.” I even wrote an essay once called “Oreo Blues.”  For better or worse, I seem to always be interested in how the other half lives. And I always seem to want to challenge the clans to which I belong.  

At first, I tried to be aware and self-aware enough to write about women. After all, women were supposed to write about women. And I tried to write about Black folks because I am Black. But childhood education sticks. Unlike many of my Black and/or female writer friends, I didn’t feel like taking courses to shake the evil British canon out of my mind. I liked English lit and I grew up with fantasy/quest stories of boys going on journeys — and that’s what I write about. I grew up reading about kings and hearing characters speak to Prince Hal and Prince Hamlet as “My Lord.” So the whole class system is woven into my fantasies, whether I like the class system or not. I grew up reading the Bible so I wasn’t going to get all super-enlightened and throw away my faith in order to cast off Imperialism.

So the child is father of the man…or of the woman.

Of course, there was a time I felt guilty about all this. I thought I should write about strong women instead of weak oppressed women. Little girls need to see strong women, right? I thought I should populate the world with dark-haired, dark-skinned icons whom little Black children could love and honor. But, why change myself? I write about what I see, and not about what I feel the world might be or should be. 

And it turns out that I have somehow managed to merge my own issues with those literary icons I studied during my childhood. So, while I write primarily about male heroes, I do approach those guys with my own Black female sensibility. And although I write about outsider-princes and wounded warriors, (I’ll thank Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello, Edmund, Shylock, and Hal for that), I do write about racial oppression and I do seem to write truly multiculturally. My books are populated with people of all races, and the races of my heroes —and their love interests— don’t generally matter. I’d like to think that my writing is ambassadorial, touching people of all races and I hope The Constant Tower will find readers from all over the world.

Writers are supposed to write what they wish to read. As the saying goes, “Wells are dug by those who are thirsty.” I suppose the easiest way to think of it.