Sunday, October 20, 2013

Red Dust: The Fall

Hey Guys and Girls,

Long time no post. Life got in the way as usual but we are back. We've recently published our third zombie western short story - The Last Rider and a collection book -Red Dust: The Fall.

With The Walking Dead coming back to our screens why not enjoy more zombies and checkout some of the authors we have hosted on here or read some of our works ;)



Monday, September 16, 2013

How working at a haunted house helped my mystery writing by Dave Core

For the past few years I’ve spent my October weekends guiding tours of a local haunted house. The folks who run the haunt have one rule for the guides – make sure the folks are entertained. They hope the people leave terrified. They want to see people running from the building – their eyes bulging, their jaws pulled back, and their flesh pale and sweaty indicating a fast heart rate and a burst of adrenaline. There’s even a chalkboard tally kept to keep track of how many patrons wet themselves. But if they leave laughing, that’s almost as good.
The point is they recognize that not everything that scares one person is going to scare the next. The creepy old lady wearing a wedding dress and rocking a baby doll, the crazed masked man wielding the roaring chain saw, the army of undead coming from the gap under the wall, the electrical burst of sparks and the malfunctioning elevator that suddenly feels as if it’s dropping, the laughing clown, the silent child; ask a dozen people which of these images elicits the most dread and you’ll get at least a half a dozen different responses – maybe more. Because when you invite a fickle public into the haunt you’ve spent months preparing, it’s all but certain that some fraction of those guests will leave saying that nothing they saw was particularly frightening to them; and that’s okay, so long as they also say they had a good time.
For me though, as a writer, leading these tours represents the ideal opportunity. To tell the truth, I’m not a particular fan of the fright milieu. I don’t especially care for horror films, I don’t read ghost stories, and I don’t personally believe in the supernatural. My genre of choice is thrillers: mysteries, spy-stuff, and political intrigue.
The thing is, though, because of my time spent with those who love gore and monsters and demons and insanity my writing has improved. Horror as a specific genre is the foundation for the tension aspect of any tale. When you get right down to it, Bram Stoker wrote detective fiction. Mary Shelly wrote a travel log. Edgar Allen Poe wrote love stories. Stephen King’s It – is it a story about a psychotic, undead, killer clown; or is it a story about a group of friends rallying to overcome adversity? To me, It is Stand by Me plus Pennywise.
What I have learned running guided tours of the Goucher Haunted Hotel in Toronto, Ohio has made my mystery fiction all the better. I can sum up the lessons I’ve learned in four simple observations, each of which has improved my ability to build suspense and to shock my readers.
Lesson one: anticipation. When guiding a tour, one is usually following a prior tour. There’s no way to keep the guest from hearing the slamming doors being experienced by the tour before them when they are only two or three rooms behind; but very often the suspense elicited hearing some other group being startled by a bang was more frightening to my tour than the bang itself once they reached it. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at this and Steven Spielberg learned the lessons well. Think about the movie Jaws; it’s what you expect to happen almost more than what actually does happen that causes you to leave the theater afraid to go in the water.
As a writer, this kind of atmosphere is surprisingly easy to generate. You know what’s coming. Heck, it’s your story; of course you do. So why wait until the moment that it happens in the narrative to reveal it to the reader? Let them know that it’s coming … and then write up to it slowly. Throw in a few false starts. Go off on a tangent about the color of the bedspread. Use punctuation to your favor. See that ellipses mark a few sentences back? It made you read the sentence more slowly than a comma would have, right?
Lesson two: red herrings. Disorientation is a powerful thing. Often times, a tour in the haunt would be ruined by a guy who thought he could see all of the scares being telegraphed. The best way to deal with him – I learned – is to hint at a scare that never comes. “If you could all stand over here and admire the chandelier that Mrs. Goucher had installed for their jubilee celebration,” I might say. The group’s resident spoiler then tells everyone to watch out – it’s going to fall. That’s when he backs up against the wall and a zombie arm grabs him by the shoulder scaring the bejeezus out of him.
The secret to a successful red herring is the details. The more you, as a writer, focus on the distraction, the more focused your reader will be on that distraction. It’s why the magician spends so much time flourishing the drape while the assistant scrunches into the cubby hole. He doesn’t want you thinking about what the assistant is doing.
Lesson three: feel it. Last year, at the beginning of our tour, two portraits morphed into a set of demonic eyes as a disembodied demonic voice told the guests that they’d been assigned a guide who they should heed if they hoped to make it out alive. The second week of the haunt, the director realized that we had been missing an opportunity, and he asked the guides to go into a trancelike state when the voice came on – pretend the demon has control over you, that he controls this hotel and everybody in it. After that, as soon as the eyes lit up some of us fell to our knees. Some of us stood and shook. The thing is, it set a mood, and it established our character for the tour.
When writing a scene, put yourself as deeply into that space as you can. Feel the terror so that you can describe the terror. The more you immerse yourself into it, the more immersed your reader will become. For me, the best way to accomplish this is deep background. Write a history that the reader will never see. Know how your protagonist did in school, what her first boyfriend smelled like. Know what the villain thought about his grandma. Name his pets. Know his medical history.
In my mystery series, I hint that the female narrator and the male detective have a shared family history. The reader is never privy, but I know every detail of that history and it informs every interaction. I know why she says X when she does, and it rings true because of that time she said Y. The reader feels this even if she never understands why, and it makes the danger more real.
Yet no matter how adept you become with the first three items, never forget that not everyone is frightened by the same tropes. Your book about giant spiders is not going to frighten an arachnologist. So how do you assure that everyone leaves the story entertained?
Lesson four: comedy, which – believe it or not – relies on two of the same three techniques: expectation and misdirection. Only rather than empathy, comedy relies on release. A pratfall isn’t amusing to the one who fell. A pie in the face isn’t funny if you feel sorry for the person with cream in her nose. They’re funny when the tension – which is built on anticipation and confusion – releases.
A good story can entertain without comic relief, but it cannot hope to entertain everyone. That’s why everyone from Shakespeare to Wes Craven has banked on it. Think of any popular horror story or thriller. If it didn’t have comic relief, I’ll bet it got mixed reviews. Now, I’ll grant you, it’s true that Ingmar Bergman didn’t rely on humor, and his films are critically acclaimed; but I ask you, how many people do you know who rave about how entertaining Bergman’s movies are?
Expectation, misdirection, and empathy: three powerful tools in a horror writer’s – or any writer’s arsenal. The better acquainted you become with them, the more likely you are to have your readers turning pages and running for a change of pant. However, if you want to assure that every reader who opts for your genre is at least happy with the experience, make sure to leave them laughing in the end. That’s what my time with the ghouls taught me.
I’m Dave Core, the author of the Lupa Schwartz series of mystery novels. Book one in the series, Extreme Unction, is available in print and ebook formats and can be found on -
My facebook author page is
My writing blog is
My next release, Confessions of the Cuckold will be available on September 2.
The Goucher Haunted House in Toronto, Ohio begins conducting tours at the end of September -

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How to survive the zombie apocalypse by Glyn Gardner

Ok. You’ve scoured your house for everything useful. You’ve shoved everything in your backpack as you can fit. You’ve unpacked it in order to get those last few things in. You’ve finally decided you can do without those Vienna Sausages and the last can of Coke from the fridge. You have your 50 pound pack on your back. You have a knife in your belt and a pistol on your hip. You have a shovel that is doubling as a walking stick. You are ready to beet feet, bounce, un-ass your current residence.
But, how? Do you just walk out the front door and start walking? What other modes of transportation do you have? What are the pros and cons of each?
Let’s look at our most often used mode of transportation: The car. Oh how nice it would be to just cruise out of the hot zone in my nice SUV; passing the shambling, slow moving zombies in the air conditioned comfort.
1. Capacity: Cars have a large cargo capacity. You can offload that heavy rucksack for a few hours.
2. Speed: Cars have a huge speed advantage over other modes of transportation. Not even sure if the “Rage” zombies can keep up with even the most underpowered, overloaded car.
3. Protection: Cars are generally covered in glass, metal, and plastic. You’re probably safe from the random zombie just reaching out and grabbing you.
4. Range: Range is a huge factor. You can cover a lot of ground with a car. You have a chance of getting ahead of the outbreak, or of exiting the area before the government quarantines the area.
1. Require roads: Most cars, light duty trucks, and SUV’s don’t really do well off road. They don’t have a high enough ground clearance to make it over even moderate obstacles.
2. Fuel: Cars are hungry little creatures. The better they are at hauling our stuff, and protecting us from zombies, the hungrier they’ll be.
3. Target: That’s right. You’ll be a target. Imagine if you’re walking out of the hot zone and some jackass drives past you in a nice comfy Caddy. Think you might wanna try to take it from him. Damn right. Every time you slow down, someone is going to try to take your car. Some might not even wait for you to slow down. Desperate people will do desperate things. You might get shot at by everyone you pass.
4. Noise: Cars make noise. Noise travels. Zombies, bad guys, even desperate people are going to know you’re in the area. You may not like the attention you get.
So, does this mean you abandon your car and just start hoofing it? I’d say for 80% of us, the answer is no. Get as far away from the known danger area (where you are now) as you can. Just keep in mind that at some point you may have to start walking, and/or find another mode of transportation.
Motor cycle
I’ll just touch on motorcycles. They have limited range, carrying capacity, and offer no physical protection. They are generally more tolerant of rough terrain, especially if the bike is made for off road use. Be warned. Off road bikes are generally not muffled, and are that much louder. You may still be the target of robbery, so, keep that in mind.
Most homes in America, and around the world for that matter, have a bicycle or two in them. They are really a pretty good option.
1. Fuel: You’re the power source. You don’t have to find a working gas station, or carry fuel.
2. Flexibility: You don’t have to ride a bike. If you get tired of pedaling, you can always dismount and walk with your bike. The bike can still carry your gear the entire time.
3. Mobility: A bike can go just about anywhere. Rivers and mountains being a few notable exceptions. When everyone else is sitting in the traffic jam waiting for someone to help them, you can veer over to the shoulder or the grass, and keep right on going.
4. Easy to maintain: Unlike a car, most 12 year olds know the basics of bike maintenance: keep the chain greased and on the sprockets and air in the tires. What happens to the car when it’s sitting stuck in traffic for an hour with no air blowing over the radiator? You can even ride a bike with no air in the tires in an emergency.
1. Limited range: Unless you are an avid biker, or in very good shape, you’re realistically only going to be able to make 70 or 100 road miles per day. This will of course decrease if you have to go off road. While this number is not bad, remember it is about what a car can cover in about 1-2 hours if traffic is light.
2. Protection: A bike has little protection from the elements or zombies. One lucky grab and you’re on your back holding your busted melon with a zombie eating you. That reminds me: Safety First. Wear a helmet. It would suck to escape the zombie hoard and then die from a brain bleed when you fall off your bike.
3. Limited carrying capacity: In reality, you won’t be able to carry much more on your bike than you can on your back. Oh, if you turn it into a pack mule like the Vietnamese did during the Vietnam War, and then you can carry a butt-load. You just won’t be able to ride it in an emergency.
Some folks have access to horses. If you have access and know how to ride, then this is an excellent form of transportation. They require grass for fuel, they have a large carrying capacity, and can travel long distances. Be warned, most horses are a bit skittish around things like snakes. I’m betting that even the best horse out there may buck when confronted with a zombie. That would suck to get thrown from your ride as a couple of zombies come at you.
Airplanes are a good form of transportation. They can cover extremely long distances in a very short time. They can carry large amounts of people and cargo. They do require fuel, a lot of fuel. An airplane has one disadvantage that no other form of transportation has. Once you’re in the air, you have to land. Run out of gas, or can’t find a place to land, and you get to become one with the earth at a high rate of speed. When I refer to airplane, I mean the little air strip planes. You couldn’t pay me to try to jump on a Delta flight out of the hot zone. Airports are going to get overrun quickly. And, I don’t want to be on American flight XYZ when someone decides to turn from living to dead at 30,000 feet.
This is my personal favorite form of transportation. Boats have it all. They can be powered by you or a motor. He’ll, you can even get ones that are powered by the wind. You don’t have to power them at all. You can just let them float down river.
They can carry a bunch of stuff. Even a little boat can carry more than you can carry on your back. They can even carry a you and your friends to safety. Just don’t tip them over, and wear your life vests. Don’t want to drown as you’re on the verge of rescue.
They are relatively safe. Put a few hundred yards of flowing water between you and your hoard, and you can almost rest easily. Almost. I read a friend’s book, Until the End by Tracy Ward, this summer. I was reminded that rivers have bridges, and bridges can hold zombies. Some of which may try very hard to fall into your boat. So, watch those bridges.
Food. Boats are generally used on water. Water usually has fish swimming in it. Catch enough of those little guys, and you got a meal. Just remember, zombies may be in the water. If you snag on something it may be a zombie. Be careful.
Now, all of these recomendatio0ns depend on where you are. If you live in the desert of the Southwest U.S., then you probably don’t want to try to get to a boat. So, keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you.
My plan is to get as far as I can with the car. The family bikes are strapped to the luggage rack. When I get to something the car won’t get past, I’m going to the bikes. I’m making for a river and looking for a boat. From there, I have either the Red or Mississippi River to take me out. I can go west, north, or south.
Don’t forget to check out APEX. My characters don’t always follow my advice. But, that’s the nature of my characters. They don’t always listen.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to kill your zombies by Glyn

So, how do you want to kill your zombies? Fire? Bullets? Big assed sword? Let’s think about this for a moment. The dead are roaming your neighborhood. Your house isn’t secure. You have a backpack full of clothes, food, water, and maybe even your toothbrush. What weapons and tools do you grab on the way out?
There are a lot of factors that go into this decision. I’d have to say weight is going to be the first thing you think about. You’re already carrying something like 25 or 30 pounds on your back. What else do you want?
Do you want a gun? If so, what kind? You may want a gun. There’s pro’s and con’s to guns:
Cons- Noise. Guns are noisy. Under the right condition, a gunshot can be heard a mile away. If you shoot someone or something everyone in the neighborhood is going to know you’re there. Shoot more than once and most people can tell what roughly where you are. Do that during the zombie apocalypse, and either you move, or you’re going to have a lot of hungry new neighbors.
Guns are hungry little creatures. You have to feed a gun. If you run out of ammo you have a 5 pound block of metal and plastic. You can of course hoard ammo, and carry it with you. But, ammo is heavy. I was looking at my stash today, and realized I have about 500 rounds of several calibers, and it weighs about 30 more pounds
Training. Most people aren’t trained to use a gun effectively. Don’t forget, zombie don’t die unless you shoot them in the head (at least in my world). Most military and hunter types are taught to shoot at the largest target, the chest. Remember the movie The Patriot “aim small, miss small.?” Head shots are tough under the best of conditions. Throw in the stress of a zombie trying to eat your brains, and you have recipe for disaster.
Along with training, comes the fact that guns are dirty little creatures. If you don’t clean them regularly, they will eventually stop working. Some guns handle the dirt better than others. The AK-47 is known for it’s ability to fire after rolling in enough mud to drown a pig. The AR/M-16 types are more finicky. It has to do with the self-loading system, and the fact that the tolerances are tighter, which means less dirt=more problems
Pros- Lethality. If you hit a zombie in the right spot, it’s dead with one shot. IF.
Guns are about the only practical weapon that lets you kill a zombie, or person, from range. The best zombie is a dead zombie. The best dead zombie is a dead zombie over there.
Guns are versatile. You can use them to hunt, if it’s a rifle. You can use them to defend yourself from the terrified masses out there struggling to survive.
So, what kind of gun do you want? The question of use and training are going to be for you to answer. Some people are proponents of the.22 caliber rifle. It’s small, light, and accurate, it is relatively quiet, and the ammo is very light. My problem with the .22 is that unless you plan on living off of raccoons and rats, it’s not a good hunting gun. Plus, it is not a man stopper in a real firefight with live humans.
The AR or other 5.56 semiautomatic is not a bad choice. You can hunt descent sized game. They definitely can kill a human at very long distances, and it’s a very accurate round. You will have to sacrifice weight, and everyone will know you’re shooting one when you do. An added bonus is that you will probably be able to scavenge a large amount of ammo after the military collapses, at least in NATO countries.
AK’s are not a bad option, but it can sometimes be inaccurate, and the round is bigger, therefore heavier.
Hunting rifles are great for super long distance shooting. If you’re going to pick zombies off from 200 yards with headshots, you want a blot action hunting rifle.
For closer in defensive situations, a good pistol is a must. Just, keep in mind that most people who are trained can’t hit headshots regularly outside of 15 feet. Add stress to that, and you’re really only going to be able to headshot a zombie about 10 feet away from you. That’s really close.
What type of pistol? High capacity, high capacity, high capacity!!! I don’t care if a .45 is a man stopper and a 9mm might not be. If you hit a zombie in the head, it goes down. I say find a good reliable 9mm with a lot of bullets, and get good with it.
I’ll lump shotguns in with pistols due to the limited range. Capacity, capacity, capacity! In the apocalypse, a .410 is as good as a 12 ga. Shotgun’s are also easy to use with a relatively low level of training.
The thing to keep in mind about a shotgun is that generally they have low capacity, BUCKSHOT is a must. The pump action makes noise, and the shells are bulky and heavy. That being said, one of my main characters in APEX carries a shotgun. She’s quiet the badass with it.
So, you’ve thought about what gun you’re going to use. What else do you want? You don’t want to just go around shooting every zombie you see. You need something quiet.
There are several tools I’m a big fan of. Anyone who has ever been in a discussion with me about zombies can tell you I love a pitchfork. Here’s why: It’s long. You can keep a zombie a good 5 or 6 feet away from your face with it. It has 3 or 4 tines. This means it’s harder to miss. It’s like a short spear with the added bonus of extra sharp points. In the Middle Ages, when they called up the local peasants, they didn’t give them sword. They gave them spears. Why? All you need to know how to do is thrust.
But, most people don’t have a pitchfork. Plus, it’s pretty heavy. Again, keep in mind how much you’ll be traipsing through the woods, mountains, or desert with.
Here in America, I’m also a fan of the baseball/ softball bat. Most men in America and a fair amount of females know how to swing a bat. They’re not too heavy. I would avoid the $100 and up models though. Those tend to be very thin walled; good for sending softballs over fences, but pretty fragile. You don’t want to break your club in the middle of a fight.
Let’s take a moment to talk about sword. Some people are huge fans of the katana (Thanks Michone). But is it really a good choice? First, how many people have access to a katana? I don’t mean the sword shop, comic shop version. Those are not live blades usually. They’re show pieces; another tool that will fail you when you really need it.
How about a real katana? Do you want to grab that? Yes, if you have any idea how to use it. Different swards are made for different things. The katana is truly a slicing weapon. You don’t hack with it, but draw it rapidly and forcefully against your target, much like a kitchen knife cutting chicken.
The gladius, from Greeks and Romans, is made a stabbing weapon, not a slicing weapon. Imagine stabbing a zombie in the head, and the point doesn’t pierce the skull, but skims off to the side. Uh, oh! I’d rather carry a good hunting knife, or even a machete. They machetes on the market now are all live blades, and made to cut through woody brush.
How about a broad sword? Again, most examples out there are for show. If you do happen to find a good one, it wouldn’t be too bad. This is truly a hacking weapon. It’s meant for the weight of the sword to help it drive it’s way through armor. If you happen to hit a zombie in the head with it, you will probably cleave it’s skull and brain.
What other household items can we find to use as a weapon? What else should I consider before walking out the door?
Shovels make pretty good weapons. You can use it to crush the skull of a zombie; as well as using the sharp point to decapitate a zombie. Don’t forget the tip of a shovel is made to pierce the ground and could do that for a zombie’s neck too.
Hatchets are ok. They are made to cut deep. I’ve found that a good hard swing with a hatchet can throw you off balance, exposing you to attack from an undefended quarter. Think twice about this weapon.
Claw hammer is a must! Not only can you use it as a weapon, (claw to the brain!) but you will need a hammer at some point and time. It’s light, and doesn’t take much space.
Axe, mauls, and sledge hammers are out! They’re heavy, and you have to be able to control them. Again, imagine swinging at a zombie with a 10 lb sledge hammer, and you miss. The hammer hits the ground, your teeth rattle, and that zombie is nibbling on your shoulder. Keep the heavy weapons that you have to swing in the shed.
Screw driver. I like a good screwdriver as a tool, but not as a weapon. Plus, you can get a multi-tool and have a blade, screwdriver, and even pliers. Plus, don’t forget you’re going to need a knife for food. You don’t want to cut your food with your zombie-gut-covered hunting knife.
My personal load out is about 50 pounds. I’ll have a .45 cal pistol, semi-auto 5.56mm rifle, baseball bat, hunting knife. Plus all the survival gear and ammo I’ll have on my backpack. Hopefully I’ll have my family with me, and we can split the load a bit. Plus, I would love to have the shotgun, but I ain’t Rambo, and can’t carry three guns.
None of my characters in APEX have thought ahead, so they travel much lighter than I would. But, then again, it wouldn’t be a good book if it was all about people sitting around joking and eating peanut butter crackers.
Don’t forget to give APEX a read for more weapons ideas.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to survive the zombie apocalypse: Part 2 by Glyn Gardner

Hello everyone, it’s Glyn Gardner; your favorite (I hope) budding zombie author again. Today I’m going to continue talking about how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Last time I discussed whether to run, or to shelter in place. Today we are going to assume it’s time to run. For some reason the place you find yourself when you first realize the zombie apocalypse is happening will not support you or protect you for very long.
What next? Do you just run out into the streets willie-nillie? Maybe screaming and yelling for help? No! To steal a page, or the cover actually, from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC! If you’re going to survive the end of the world, you have to keep your wits about you.
OK, you’ve taken a deep breath or two, and counted to ten. Again we have to refer to Maslow. What do we need next?
Water! First and foremost, you need water. Depending on your environment, your water intake may need to exceed two gallons per day. There are a couple of ways you can acquire the water you’ll need. One, you can carry it with you. Do you have something like a Camel Back? If so, you can carry enough water on your back to last a good half day. If you don’t have a Camel Back, what do you have? Do you have bottled water? How about juice bottle or a thermos? How many can you stuff in your back pack?
The amount of water you carry is also going to depend on your fitness/ strength level. Water is heavy. A liter of water weighs about 2.2 pounds. This means that gallon of water you need will be about 9 pounds, and take up a pretty big chunk of space. This will affect your water strategy.
An alternative to carrying all of your water on your back would be to carry some way of purifying water. As I said last time, about 8 drops of household bleach will purify a gallon of clear water. This means that a quart of bleach that takes up very little space can purify several weeks’ worth of water. Your geography is also important here. If you live in the Southwest U.S., you might not come across much water in your travels. You need to carry more. I live in Louisiana. I can find all kinds of rivers, streams, creeks (called a bayou here). I can get away with a few bottles of water and my Camel Back.
So, you’ve loaded your backpack with all that you’ll need to stay hydrated. What now? Gun? Knife? Ninja stars? NO! Get some food. When we discussed food last time we talked canned food and dry food. If you’re going to be in one spot for a long time, those are the ways to go. They don’t spoil very fast. Well, they are also full of juice usually, and are heavy. In this case, I’d say ditch the canned food unless it’s meat. SPAM, deviled ham, and tuna are all excellent forms of protein. Unless you plan on wandering around hunting and fishing, protein is going to be a problem for most people. You can of course eat some of the 6 legged creatures you run across, but most people won’t, at least at first.
Now what else do you take? Dehydrated food (IK consider rice and pasta in this category, even though they aren’t technically dehydrated) is easy to transport, but you’ll have to use some of your precious water to rehydrate it. At this point you need to think weight v. calories. Look in your cupboards and find the things that are calorie dense. Peanut butter, crackers, fruits (Most will be ok out of the fridge for a couple of days.), any candy or granola bars will also be good sources of calories.
The mantra to keep in mind when it comes to food is: You have plenty of fat. You need plenty of water. NEVER EVER leave water for more food.
Now you’ve got a pack full of food and water. Everything a growing survivor needs right? Wrong. You’re just getting started. Do you plan on hiding in the Ritz Carrolton with a nice warm robe and blankets tonight? Nope, you’re most likely going to be on foot, and if you’re lucky you’ll be out of town and away from a bunch of people. That means shelter is going to be a problem. You might be able to find a nice warm bridge to sleep under, or maybe even a fairly clean trash bind to sleep in. You’ll probably be able to find a roof over your head one way or another. You may not however be able to find something warm to sleep under.
So, you’ll need to pack something to shelter you from the environment. If the ZA happens in January, and you live in Maine, you need a lot of cold weather gear, or at least a good coat, gloves, and hat. Always have a hat. It holds in heat when it’s cold, and can protect your head from the sun when it’s hot. I’d also suggest AT LEAST 1 pair of extra socks. As an old soldier, I can never have enough socks in my bug-out bag. I hate wet feet. I even have a pair of shoes in my bag, but again: I hate wet feet. Imagine walking all day, and then having to sleep up against a tree in the woods. What would you absolutely need to keep from freezing to death in your area? That’s what you need.
So, you now have water, food, and a bag full of clothes you’ll need to survive the elements. What now? Are you ready to go out into the big bad world of zombies? No, you aren’t. You need weapons and tools. Zombies are slow and stupid. What separates them from us? TOOLS! We can be slow, and can definitely be pretty stupid, but even the dumbest of us knows how to hit a nail with a hammer. So, arm yourself with the best tools you can find…NEXT TIME

Don't forget to check out APEX for more zombie!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why I write about Zombies by Armand Rosamilia

Brian Keene is the reason. End of post.
Oh, you want more info?
I'd always been a huge fan of zombie movies, ever since being scared as a kid watching Night of the Living Dead. While everyone else was into vampires, I was the teen getting excited over zombie movies, which were hard to come by. Back in the days before the internet you had to actually go to a video store (no Blockbuster, no RedBox) down on the corner and hope that mom or pop that ran the place were fans of zombies. I remember the closest video store to me had a huge horror section, but mostly these obscure slasher flicks. I had to go a couple towns over because there was a video store that had an amazing collection of zombie movies, and I ended up renting them all.
But I'd never read any zombie books, even though I read a ton of horror. I was more into scary monster books without honing in on vampires, werewolves and zombies. Instead, demons and ghosts and serial killers were a huge part of my reading experience.
Until The Rising.
I remember being in the local Books A Million and searching for another paperback. The horror section had disappeared, leaving you to search through thousands of fiction books for that hidden gem deemed horror. Sure, King and Koontz had huge sections devoted to them, but everyone else was relegated to being lumped in with general fiction.
As if by fate, Brian Keene's book was facing out and the cover immediately caught my attention. I can still remember reading the back cover blurbs and being excited, because reading zombie fiction had never interested me before. The few short stories that I'd read were either about voodoo queens or cliché brain-eating zombies that had no real plot.
This was something quite different, and I read it in one day, amazed at the characters and how the zombies were not the whole story. In fact, I got so into the characters that, at times, you forgot it was even about zombies and just about survival.
I had never read anything from Keene, but went back to the store and bought every paperback he had available, including the other zombie books, City of The Dead and Dead Sea.
Within a few days I was heavily immersed in zombie fiction. I started surfing the internet for other zombie fiction, finding some great anthologies like The Dead That Walk and The New Dead.
I was also amazed at the amount of zombie authors putting out quality releases, and had to read them all.
Then I started writing my own zombie fiction, something I had never done before despite twenty years of writing stories. I thought there was nothing new, nothing fresh about it. I was wrong, and as I started thinking about my own ideas.
As a writer you never want to toss a few cliché ideas and worn plotlines together and get a story. But once I had an idea I thought was unique, I went with it. Suddenly there were more characters, more ideas than I had time to write. What started out as a simple flash fiction piece, "Anything But Luck" (released in Daily Bites of Flesh 2011 by Pill Hill Press), became a world of extreme zombie fiction from me. Another half dozen flash fiction zombie pieces took shape, followed by my Highway To Hell novella. Since then I've written and published a slew of zombie short stories, followed up Highway To Hell with Dying Days (now with 2 sequels and more to come).
And I owe it all to Brian Keene and that paperback book staring at me.
Armand Rosamilia 

Armand Rosamilia on