Don’t Believe Your Own Hype


the thought process

Open letter (OK, blog post, get off my case) to Myself today from Me three years ago… 

I’m damn proud of you. It is unreal how much you’ve accomplished and how many goals you set before you and have surpassed. If you’d said three years ago you’d have over 100 releases on Amazon, worked with some great small press companies, attended World Horror and other conventions not just in Florida but in many other places, had stories published in some great anthologies with other great authors, had a couple of your story ideas turned into upcoming movies, signed a thirteen book deal with a Hollywood production company, got on the actual radio to talk and play the songs you grew up with, met the woman of your dreams and STILL own the beat-up Kia AND it still started, I’d have laughed. 

All amazing things, and a ton more you’ve accomplished in the last 36 months or so. You got away from a horrible, mind-numbing relationship filled with daily fighting, jealousy over a potential writing career and following dreams you’ve had since you were twelve years old. You set many goals and keep setting goals, and you are easily in the best place you’ve ever been in your life. 

Pat yourself on the back, smile as you sip $20 a pound Death Wish Coffee and eat expensive meals in fancy restaurants and live comfortably in a big new house watching the 55 inch TV you bought with some of your earnings over the 36 months. Pat that growing belly, filled with that expensive food and coffee, and keep smiling. 

And then…

Stop acting like a Big Shot, because you haven’t written a damn word in the last three days and your daily writing goal of 2,000 words a day is kicking your ass. When is the last time you actually hit the goal, or hit it feeling good and not just relieved you actually made it but dreading what tomorrow was going to bring?

When was the last time you actually shut Facebook off or didn’t answer an e-mail immediately? How many Pinterest and New MySpace followers do you actually need? Is breaking 70,000 Twitter followers really more important than writing today? Right now?

Remember Joe McKinney at World Horror Convention? While you drank and laughed with a bar filled with other authors, Joe was upstairs in his hotel room writing. Yep, working. Why? Because he gets it. You have a deadline, remember? Which is now getting closer and closer. 

Sure, you finished Dying Days 4. It only took you about 14 months since Dying Days 3 was released, which you swore wasn’t going to happen. God forbid you start on Dying Days 5, right? By the time that comes out Mark Tufo will be on Zombie Fallout 19

So… sit back and Google your name again and read another wonderful review about a release you wrote two years ago. Enjoy the praise from your many, many followers and your peers in the writing world. 

Who, if they are better than you, got that way because they don’t stop writing and doing the important things, the top three…

1. write

2. write

3. write

Now, shut up and turn off the damn internet and get in your work before you check your Amazon sales for the fifth time today. 

Armand Rosamilia

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Authors Supporting Our Troops comes to a (technical) end #ASOT2014


The t-shirt design comes in a variety of colors.

Today is Thursday May 15th 2014, the cutoff date for the Authors Supporting Our Troops event started in mid-January. I had to set this date because, while the four months going have been awesome and the support overwhelming, it was beginning to overwhelm not only me but Special Gal and two rooms of the house. 

A fraction of this year's book donations.

When I began this venture (thanks to author Joe McKinney, who did a smaller version last year), I was hoping for 500 books to ship overseas. I got about five times that amount, and every day brought another box of books and more excitement as I opened the box, cataloged and photographed and posted the books on Facebook. 

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It also let me see how very cool and generous people could be as well. Authors and non-authors alike donated money to help with the shipping costs, many people purchased special shirts we made for the event, a great school did a fundraiser (thanks, Margie Colton!), Change Jar Books collected money and donated quite a bit (thanks Suzanne and Craig!), many many articles were written about the event online and in local papers, and the boxes of books didn’t seem like they’d ever stop coming. The mailman had less of a smile for me each day when he rang the doorbell. I’m sure he’ll be the happiest to know the event is technically over. 

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I say technically because tomorrow, when another box shows up, I won’t reject it or throw it in the trash. I still have quite a few boxes left to ship out overseas to troops in need, and mail 4 or 5 of them out each week (each box contains about 50 books). I still have over 25 boxes left to ship over the next few weeks, and as long as books keep coming in I will keep boxing them up and finding another soldier who wants them. 

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So, how’d we do?

Not counting the 59 books I added to the boxes myself, we ended with 2,446 books from 310 authors… that’s an average of 7.9 books per author, which is amazing in itself. I am going to add an additional 54 of my own books to hit an even 2,500 books for the event. And fill the rest of the boxes I have here, too. 

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Now, here is some of the fun breakdowns I did today for this… not very scientific and if I forgot something… too bad. This is just me having some fun with the ending of the #ASOT2014 event. I’ll also make some 2015 goals so I can see if we break them in 2015

1. We sold 293 #ASOT2014 shirts in 7 different color variations. Obvious goal for 2015 will be 300 shirts and at least 10 colors

2. Books came in from 45 of the 50 States (I won’t list the 5 that didn’t send a book) – in 2015 I hope to hit all 50

3. 13 boxes came in from non-US places, which was pretty cool – in 2015 I hope we break 15

4. The top States we got books from (by number of authors, not books – that would take too long to do and I’m too lazy):

Florida – 37

California – 29

Texas – 17

New York – 17

North Carolina – 15

Massachusetts – 12

New Jersey – 12

Virginia – 12

Illinois – 10

Pennsylvania – 9

Oregon – 8

Connecticut – 7

and so on and so forth… 

Where do we go from here?

I’m excited to keep collecting books all year, so feel free to keep sending them. There is a permanent Facebook group to keep track as more books come in and more information is present. Officially, on January 1st 2015, we will begin the event again until May 1st 2015 with the goal of breaking this year’s numbers. Several publishers have already been in contact about offering up many of their titles and Rocky Wood, President of the Horror Writer’s Association, asked me personally to contact him before the event so that the HWA could get 100% behind this from the start in 2015. Another reason I am honored to be a voting member of the HWA. 

It has been fun, it has been exhausting, and I’ve been yelled at many times in the past four months by Special Gal every time I drool at the cover of a book I want to keep. 

I couldn’t have done this without so many generous authors, and I’d love to thank each and every one of you for helping the troops who can’t get e-readers, laptops, video games, etc. easily and are in horrible parts of a hostile country, get a few hours of respite with a good book. 

I’m proud to have started what I hope will be a yearly event until every one of our soldiers returns home… carrying one of our books in his pack because it got him or her through a rough night. 

Armand

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FanBoy Moment: Meeting Brian Keene at WHC


About eight years ago I was a completely newbie author with a couple of fantasy books out and maybe three horror short stories published to my credit (I have a lot more horror stories published now), and I went to Horrorfind Weekend convention in Baltimore, Maryland. I sat at a table in the dealer room and sold a few books and met a few people. It was fun. 

But I stayed in the dealer room for 99% of the weekend, convinced no one there would give me the time of day. And, unfortunately, I was kinda right. A couple of authors were friendly (Michael Laimo said hi to me) but I was just there. And it was my own fault, because I didn’t talk to anyone or make any effort. Believe it or not, I was shy and insecure among all these great authors. 

Cut to the bar area that night. 

Brian Keene was sitting there, and I knew who he was thanks to MySpace (remember MySpace?) and because his book The Rising had completely knocked me off of my feet. I kid you not. I owe the Dying Days zombie series to this man, because without his book I wouldn’t have attempted zombie fiction. I even wrote a piece about it conveniently titled “Why I Write About Zombies” (feel free to read it and then come back for the rest of this post… I’ll wait…)

Brian Keene - The Rising zombie

I walked up to the bar, as close to Brian as I could get without bumping into him, and casually turned and stared at him like a little schoolgirl. Brian Keene turned to me with a smile and said hi. 

I said blahbehchickablehblehugghhhh and felt my chest and throat tighten. Then I did what every cool person does when meeting an idol… I ran away like a little schoolgirl.

Cut to eight years later and across the country in Portland Oregon. 

The World Horror Convention, and while I’d come a long way but had much more to do and to rise, I felt I’d earned a place at least at the kid’s table. And I was fine with it. And when I heard Brian Keene was going to be the Grandmaster of the weekend, I was excited. And then nervous. 

I wanted to meet him. I needed to meet him. I posted on Facebook about my last and only encounter with him, and how this was going to be cosmic payback. I would stride up to him with a grin, pat him on the back and we’d hug it out like real men. Or something like that. 

Of course, on Thursday afternoon, as Special Gal and I had lunch in the hotel restaurant, Brian Keene walked into the lobby and I might have squealed a little. She thought it was quite amusing and ‘threatened’ to call him over, but I was not ready. I needed time to prepare. 

Cut to a few hours later. 

Special Gal and I were walking through the lobby, minding our own business, when I saw Brian Keene chatting with a few people. As I went to go past him he suddenly turned and noticed me. He smiled and said hi. He put his hand out and I turned my brain off and gripped his hand, shaking firmly. 

He said something but I have no idea what because I was too busy trying not to talk or say something incoherent. I nodded, smiled back, and walked away. Special Gal busted my chops the rest of the night but I was flying. 

The next time I saw Brian Keene was at a zombie panel, and as it wrapped up Special Gal turned to me and said in no uncertain terms we weren’t leaving the room without a picture of me and Brian together. 

I nodded dumbly. She asked him to take it and he smiled and took us into the hallway.

Then he put his arm around me and said “we need to do the Devil Horns, right?” 

He had either done his homework and knew who I was (and that I was a fellow Metalhead) or it was an excellent guess. Either way, I was damn proud as the picture was taken. But, wait… there’s more…

“Are you going to the Gross Out Contest tonight?” Brian asked me.

I had no intention of going but I said yes. Of course I was going to go! 

We made small talk for a few minutes and the guy was just genuine. He gave me a few minutes of his time and even said to find him at the bar that night so we could have a drink. 

I learned three things from this encounter… 

1. I am still such a FanBoy when it comes to him but at least I strung a few sentences together

2. THIS is the way you treat fellow authors, no matter how big or small they are. Brian Keene’s WHC posts aren’t just about what he did and accomplished but about pointing out all the new writers he met during the con, and praising the new batch of authors who are inspired by him

3. Special Gal is the greatest woman I have ever met and I am damn lucky to have her in my corner to help me fumble through the non-writing parts of this career. Friends lucky enough to have met her in Portland can attest to this

Brian Keene 

My goal for years to come is not only to emulate him but also to remember this lesson. Oh, and now I want to hang out with him again and pick his brain for hours… and I’ll try not to make it too creepy…

Armand

Name My Podcast


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Within the next few weeks I’ll be embarking on my latest foray… a podcast, which will be about my own writing career as well as bringing in a new co-host each week to talk about anything they want when it comes to their writing, the scene and whatever else we want to talk about. 

But I need a good name for it. This is where you come in. Simply vote on the names on the poll or choose your own suggestion and let me know what you think. The winner will get some snazzy swag from me… and if more than one person voted on the winning answer in the poll I’ll treat a couple/three people to the winning stuff… Voting ends in a couple of weeks, so hurry up and let me know what you’re thinking! 

My Writing Year – Halfway Point


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October 1st 2013 was a Tuesday. I know because that was the date I got really serious about keeping track of my daily writing and Special Gal put together a very cool Excel spreadsheet so I could keep track of my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly writing. My goal is 2,000 a day Mon-Fri and the weekends off, if possible. 

If I average 1,429 a day I will hit 10,000 words per week and 520k for the year. Not too shabby, especially when most of the stories I’m writing are going to be printed at some point. At this point in my career about 85% of what I write already has a home, so I’m very thankful for being able to build this to where I am now. 

Am I bragging? You bet your sweet candy ass. 

It has taken me years to get to this point in my career, where the sales of my self-published books, such as the Dying Days series, are paying the bills. My work with AK Waters Productions LLC has me venturing into movie deal territory, and I’m being invited to invite-only books with some impressive names. The goal for the rest of 2014 is to keep building it and maybe find a suitable match for some graphic novels. I’d love to see Dying Days in comic book form…

But all is not well in the Kingdom of Mando…

Remember the 1,429 a day goal I spoke of? I’m falling short. Yes, I write almost every day, but not every day. And not every day do I hit my 2,000 word daily goal. There have been a few weeks lately I’ve fallen quite short, in fact. A few weeks ago I wrote 575 words. In the entire week. Followed by 5 straight weeks well under 10,000 words. 

Why am I telling you this? Because I like to see it down on paper. I like the world to know when I succeed and when I fail, because it puts it out there and helps me to see I’m only human. It lets me know that you know when I’m not doing well, and when I need to step up my game. Several people online call me The Machine because I write and write and write, but sometimes I don’t write as much as I want. 

Last week I did, hitting 12,000+ words, but my average is still well below where it should be…

March 31st marked the 182nd day and halfway point for my first year actually keeping track. 

I should be:

182 days @ 1,429 words = 260,078

Instead, I’m currently:

182 @ 1,369 words = 249, 157

I’m about 11,000 words behind… but now that I have it in black and white (on this nifty blog) I need to re-focus and catch up so I can hit my 520k yearly goal… or write even more and break it. 

The hope is this post will be my reminder about where I’m failing and get me back on track to succeed. 

Now, back to writing about zombies and whatever else I feel like writing about…

Armand

Upcoming Convention Appearance: MidSouth Con 32


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March 21-23 2014 I will be appearing at MidSouth Con 32 in Memphis, Tennessee. I’ll be doing a couple of book signings as well as being on a couple of panels, which I’m quite happy about. 

Rymfire Books editor Jerry Benns will also be there and I’m looking forward to meeting him in person. There are a few authors that will also be on panels I’m looking forward to finally meet in person, as well, like J.L. Mulvihill, Stephen Zimmer, Tommy B. Smith and Weston Ochse… but meeting any author is always exciting for me. Add in Guest of Honor Kelley Armstrong, and this is going to be a great convention. 

For more information, visit the MidSouth Con 32 website

If you’re planning on going, let me know! I’d love to meet you! 

Armand

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Thirteen Book Deal! #zombie #thriller #militainment


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Thirteen Book Deal!

I’m proud to announce I’ve signed a book deal with AK Waters Productions for 2014, and it is an impressive one. Not only will I be writing novellas in the zombie, thriller, military and horror genres, but combining two or more genres with each subsequent release.

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AK Waters was part of the team that first brought you Miami Spy Games, which I wrote, and was released in December 2012. Combining AK’s extensive military knowledge (much of it first-hand) as well as his movie and television connections with my writing skills, the new venture will blossom into a long and prosperous union as I work for them.

The vision of this new company is to create fiction ready to be pitched to major motion picture companies as well as television studios, and seamlessly move from the print page to the big screen. I am quite proud to have signed this contract and working closely with Mr. Waters to ensure each release is well-written and fun. This is what AK Waters Productions has termed ‘militainment’.

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The first release for this new company is Zombie Football by Armand Rosamilia and AK Waters…

The Big Show is the premier football event of the year, and one the Russians feel would be the perfect place to begin their attacks.

Two former friends, now rivals, pitted against one another on the playing field, are forced to fight the madness when the SVR’s plans are unleashed… and a zombie horde takes over the stadium!

Get your eBook copy for only $2.99! Zombie Football

Authors Supporting Our Troops


Armand with Joe McKinney

When you meet your idols sometimes they don’t live up to the hype. Sometimes they are grumpy and ornery and couldn’t care less about you. Such is definitely not the case when it comes to Joe McKinney. I met the man at World Horror Convention in New Orleans last year and he was even better in person than in my mind. Yes, I did the Fanboy thing at first but he ended up being a great guy with a genuine love of what he was doing and everything around him. 

Why am I telling you this? Because when he asked me (and many other authors) to help him as he collected books from us to ship overseas to some of our troops, I jumped at the chance. And so did so many others. He was able to put quite a few books into the hands of our military overseas. I never forgot about it, and decided to do my own event this year, especially when I found out from Joe he didn’t have the same contact overseas. 

But I did. 

My girlfriend Shelly (Special Gal to those in the know) had a great contact she’s known for years, someone she considers her family. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him and he is quite impressive. He’ll be coming back to the States in late March and then shipping overseas, at which point he’ll be my contact for this book drive. But let Shelly give you more detail about him:

Shelly: “I met James about 8 years ago when he was 17, while working in a youth department of the church I was attending.  He was a quiet young man living in a rough situation. I starting getting to know him and over the years he has become like a son to me. We got him through high school and he started working and then he started thinking about the military. I support him 110% and he has turned into a wonderful young man who celebrated his 25th birthday this past December. He refers to me as his godmom and I couldn’t be prouder of him if he were mine.”

He is currently a Private First Class serving at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany but will deploy to Kuwait in April.

James graduation from boot camp

Here is the main idea behind everything…

I’ll be collecting fellow author’s books to send to our troops stationed in Kuwait in April. Interested in donating some of your books? The men and women of the Armed Forces love receiving signed books from authors to read and pass around while they’re over there! If you’re an author and want to help, join this Facebook page and then get in touch with Armand for the address to send your copies. Let’s do something positive for someone else! 

I want to thank everyone who’ve already committed to helping with the event and are sending me packages so i can gather the books and box them for the troops. 

Quite a few non-authors have asked how they can help… get in touch with me, I will gladly collect donations to offset the shipping costs from me as well as purchase more books from authors I know at cost so there will be more books in the boxes to ship. 

At this time I am only interested in author-signed books to ship overseas. I think the troops will love the read and also knowing the actual author sent the books or the actual publisher. I’m not looking for your used books to donate or perishables or anything other than print books. This is not an eBook event, and not a forum for your political statements. It is simply to help those in the trenches who might want to read a book they can’t get their hands on right now. 

Come and help out as an author or as a supporter!

https://www.facebook.com/events/647179418679623/?source=1

2014 #AStoryAWeek Challenge


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Jessica McHugh (I pronounce it McHug with a silent second H, like something you buy at a creepy McDonalds) has a great idea going for 2014, and since I dive headfirst into anything that keeps me challenged, I decided to join in as well… and special thanks to Jay Wilburn for keeping me alerted to more stuff to keep me busy… we’ll be the death of each other before this is all done… especially with another #24HourWritingChallenge or three this year… 

I’ll update it each week with what I’ve finished… 

2014: A Story A Week

2014 is the year of #AStoryAWeek. All you have to do is write a story a week. I know, I know, ALL you have to do–like it’s not hard. It will be hard at times, but some weeks will be easier than others. Hell, just scroll down through the list below. It’s not really that long. I actually copy/pasted way too many “weeks” and was pleasantly surprised at how few there were. :)

REMEMBER: a story is a story, no matter how small. It can be 6000 words or 60 words. It can be written, edited, and polished for submission, or it can be a super-rough first draft. It can be brand new, or it can be an old story you’ve finally completed. Just THINK IN INK and get those words down! I will update this list with my story titles to show how I’m progressing, and I encourage you guys to comment with your lists, too! GOOD LUCK!! YOU CAN DO IT!!

Participants
Jessica McHugh (www.JessicaMcHughBooks.com)
Jay Wilburn (http://JayWilburn.com/)
April Hawks (http://princessvespa3.com)
Lori Michelle (www.lorimichelleauthor.com)
Joseph Eastwood (http://www.josepheastwood.co.uk)
Laura Roberts (http://buttontapper.com)
Tonia Marie Harris (http://passionfind.wordpress.com)
Cina Pelayo (http://www.cinapelayo.com/blog)
T.R. Stoddard (http://t-r-stoddard.blogspot.com/)
Nelson. W Pyles (www.NelsonWPyles.com)
Brady Allen (www.bradyallen.com)
Josef Matulich (http://dalmatianalley.wordpress.com)
Rob Smales (http://robsmales.webs.com/)
Axel Howerton (www.axelhowerton.com)
Bill Coffin (http://billcoffin.com/)
Armand Rosamilia (www.ArmandRosamilia.com)
Erin Coughlin
Charlie Boucher (www.facebook.com/bouchercharlie)
Todd Banks
Mae March (https://www.facebook.com/madmaemarch)

Week 1 (Jan 1-5): Nerdz Part 3 (for the Flagler Beach Fiction Series), about 5,200 words – contemporary fiction
Week 2 (Jan 6-12): Nerdz Part 4 – about 5,700 words
Week 3 (Jan 13-19):
Week 4 (Jan 20-26):
Week 5 (Jan 27- Feb 2):

WOW!! YOU JUST WROTE FIVE STORIES! GOOD ON YOU!! KEEP IT UP!

As we enter February, maybe try changing up your genre or perspective. If you’re used to writing dark fiction or horror, why not give something lovey-dovey a try. Or at least make some people fuck. ;) If you’re a third person omniscient writer, try writing limited, or maybe even second person! Change it up this month!

Week 6
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Free Audiobook Contest


That’s right, that’s right… I’m giving away 15 audiobooks to anyone interested!

Oh, there is a catch… (isn’t that always the way?)

I am in need (like every other author on the planet) of Reviews for ANY of my books. So… if you review a book I’ve put out on Amazon and it gets added to the reviews section on the eBook or print version, I will gladly give you a copy of one of three audiobooks:

DYING DAYS

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DEATH METAL

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SKULLS AND BONES

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Easy enough, right? Between today – Thursday December 26th 2013 – and whenever I get 15 reviews on ANYTHING I released (good review, bad review, it doesn’t matter – just as long as it is live on Amazon) and you let me know, I will gladly give you a code for a free copy. 

But wait, there’s more!

If you are so inclined to review THREE different releases I will gladly give you THREE free coupons so you can have all THREE audiobooks… how does that sound?

Remember, Authors live and die on these reviews, so please give the gift of a review to your favorite author (or me) to end 2013 with a positive note!

Armand

Turtle-Crawling Into 2014 With My Writing


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A bad thing happened after a hugely successful NaNoWriMo November for me… I fell off with my writing, and badly. 

This is going to be a whiny, negative blog post, so if you’re looking for pictures of funny animals doing Christmas things, go find it somewhere else. I’m gonna git real fo a sec, yo… 

Today is the 23rd of December (or as some stupid people like to call it, Christmas Eve Eve… don’t call it that) and I should have about 30,000 to 46,000 words written for the month so far. Somewhere in that range would make me happy. 

Where am I so far in December? 17,781 words. Crap. In the 23 days of December I haven’t written on 8 of them. Unacceptable. The November novel sits firmly at 50,500 words and I’ve barely looked at it. I’m limping along on a short story for an anthology. While I love the story so far, the motivation to finish it isn’t there. A lousy 4,000 words in a month on a story shouldn’t be too hard… yet here I am, sitting at 3,457 words for the last 4 days. A half hour writing sprint would finish it off. 

I think the problem is motivation on everything right now. I am currently going back and forth about three potential projects for companies that will give me a nice chunk of money to live off of in the beginning of 2014, which is a great thing… but they are all moving along so slowly with the contracts, payments and deadline setting it is taking up most of my mental time. I should be writing but I’m worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills in the first quarter of 2014, how I’ll be able to have a great Christmas and have money left over, etc. etc. 

I have yet to have a huge writing day in December, and that usually helps me get rolling. One day of 5,000 words on a project or two let’s me relax and write, but it hasn’t come yet. Every day is a new challenge for me. Nothing major, just whiny stuff like spending the day shopping or me not feeling well or dealing with personal issues like my kids. 

I know, I’m being a whiny bitch. I’m a lucky man. I have a great career I’ve been dreaming about since I was twelve years old, I have a great family, a great Special Gal and special friends surrounding me. I have money in my pocket and I live in a nice house and have too much food to eat. 

Now I just need to find the motivation to write before December is over… 

Oh, in case I don’t see you tomorrow… have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Armand

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Armand’s 2013 Year In Review Part 2


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Yesterday you were amazed with my heartfelt and enigmatic first half of 2013 in review… and now… without further ado…

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In the beginning of August I re-released Death Metal in paperback with the new cover, which I like. I also started to think about ideas for the second book in the series, so look for that in 2014(I hope). I also released Golden Lion Cafe Complete, with all of the stories in one release. I also released Dagon, the fourth story in the Keyport Cthulhu series. And kicked off the third Flagler Beach Fiction Series story arc with JandJ Fitness Part 1

Dagon

September was another busy month, with JandJ Fitness Parts 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 released. I ended the month with JandJ Fitness Complete, putting them all together in one spot. 

BookCoverPreview JandJ

In October I decided to slow down the releases, especially anything horror, as most horror books would be pushed out in this month and I’d get lost in the shuffle. Instead, I started the fourth Flagler Beach Fiction Series with Flagler Fish Company Part 1. Part 2 and Part 3 were also released in October. I was also lucky enough to get involved in a charity anthology with some amazing authors and got to write a cool chapter in the ongoing story, The Carnival 13 by SAD House Press. 

Laughing your head off

With the start of November I released the fifth and final story (for now) in the Keyport Cthulhu series, Evil. I then released Keyport Cthulhu in eBook and Print versions, with all five stories in one. Flagler Fish Company Part 4 and Part 5 came next. Then it was time for Flagler Fish Company Complete in both eBook and Print. November also saw a sequel for me and Tim Baker with Dying Days: Siege 2, a return to European Village. Speaking of Dying Days, I also released the long-awaited Dying Days: Origins, which featured Tosha Shorb, a woman many readers should recognize. It was also released in Print. I was also lucky enough to be invited into the Epic Apocalypse Apocalyptic Horror Box Set (with Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer included). You really need to check out the killer lineup, with Mark Tufo, Joe McKinney, John O’Brien, Heath Stallcup, Shawn Chesser and James Cook. 

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Another great lineup was formed and released in December, with Still Dying 2 (yet another Dying Days release), featuring an anthology of great authors playing in my zombie world: Mark Tufo, Patrick C. Greene, Frank Edler, Tim Baker, AD Roland, Brent Abell, Jaime Johnesee and Sean Slagle. It also came out in Print

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I was also able to update a few books, add some more into print, and also release everything on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, SmashWords and Apple. 

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And 2013 isn’t done yet… my Necromance series of horror erotica has been picked up by Hazardous Press as part of their Hazardous Encounters line, and the first two will be out within a few days (I’ll post a new link, don’t worry), with many more in 2014. 

So add another 28 to the list in the second half of 2013. All told, I put out 45 releases in 2013… not bad, eh? I don’t expect to be as prolific in 2014 with this many releases, as I’m concentrating on some longer novels, but you’ll still see plenty out there from me. 

Armand

Armand’s 2013 Year In Review Part 1


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I had a killer 2013… there is no doubt about it. And not only in my writing and publishing career, but in my personal life. I started dating a wonderful Special Gal in December of 2012 and we’re still going strong, I began spending more and more time in Jacksonville and really growing to love it, I got a radio gig on an actual radio station with fellow author and great friend Tim Baker, and even starred in a music video. OK, I just stood there with sunglasses on looking all menacing and sexy, but I was the real star, and not The Cherry Drops.

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What’s really left for me, with my bucket list of things to do before I die? Maybe act in a movie… but I’ll save that one for 2014 so I have something to look forward to. 

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Truth be told, 2013 started out very slow release-wise. I wrote three novellas for a Hollywood company that still have not seen the light of day, although the pay was nothing to laugh at, and was riding the wave for sales of Miami Spy Games: Russian Zombie Gun. Unfortunately, it meant no new releases for me until February, and even then it was a flash fiction piece in the Fifty Shades of Decay zombie anthology from Angelic Knight Press. 

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Over a month later, at the end of March, I had another story published in an anthology, this time in For The Night Is Dark by Crystal Lake Publishing. A couple of days later I had my first official release of 2013, but it was a non-fiction one with Metal Queens: Models 2

MQM2 Cover1

April was a lot of writing for me. Even though I didn’t have many things out at this point, I’d been writing, editing and getting my work beta read like mad. I’d been pounding away at a huge project, one that was totally different for me: a contemporary fiction series that would eventually encompass 70 short stories in 7 print releases and over 40 eBook releases: Flagler Beach Fiction Series

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The first of this series was released on May 15th, Kokomo’s Cafe Part 1. Part 2 was released a week later. Then Part 3 came out at the end of the month, one new two-story part each week. June saw Part 4 and Part 5 as well as the print version of Kokomo’s Cafe and all five parts in one eBook, Kokomo’s Cafe Complete

Dying Days 3 Cover

In the meantime, at the end of May, I finally released Dying Days 3. It had a few twists and turns longtime fans weren’t expecting. In June I released Creeping Death, a collection of my short stories released by Hazardous Press. 

Creeping Death Cover

The last weekend in June saw the beginning of the second part of the Flagler Beach Fiction Series when Golden Lion Cafe Part 1 was released. Part 2 was released the first week in July, followed in subsequent weeks by Part 3, Part 4 and then Part 5

Golden Lion Print Cover

From the 1st of the year (with some breaks) through the end of July, I had 17 releases. I think I had 23 all of 2012, so 2013 was already on pace to beat it… but I had no idea how much more I was going to be putting out in 2013… 

Armand Rosamilia

First “Still Dying” book on sale for 99 cents! #zombies


 Still Dying

Since the second Still Dying book will be out this coming weekend I thought it appropriate to put the first one on sale for a few days only, at 99 cents… so get ‘em while they’re hot!    

Thirteen zombie tales set in the world of the “Dying Days” series… stories about old friends and new, including Tosha Shorb, David Monsour, Steve ‘The Breeze’ Brack, Russ ‘Madman’ Meyer, Jeff Beesler, Morris Chambers, Michael Ross, and many more! 

Plus, includes an unedited preview of the forthcoming “Dying Days: Origins” novella featuring Tosha Shorb. 

40,000 words of zombie intensity… welcome once again to “Dying Days”…

STILL DYING: SELECT SCENES FROM DYING DAYS  

And Coming This Weekend…

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Guest Post: Jason C. Conley


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I thought I might briefly give a few personal thoughts toward the book and perhaps explain in a little more depth some of the symbolism behind the characters and some of the events that transpire.  First and foremost, I set out to make a rousing adventure tale.  Something that swept the globe that involved the things I was most interested in, gigantic monsters, beautiful women as the protagonist and cool technology.  I very much wanted a female lead that followed the “hero’s journey.” 

This had to be an approachable tale, something recognizable and not too abstract, and above all, exciting.  I purposefully avoided graphic descriptions of violence or sexual content in scenes as well as adult language.  Not that I am some sort of prude, but that I think it automatically limits the audience and takes away readership that might otherwise find the tale enjoyable.  I also envisioned this to be something like a classic serial or western from the 20’s or 30’s, or perhaps something more relatable now like Indiana Jones or Star Wars.  This is an action and adventure tale without all the baggage that comes with adulthood. 

Now, that’s not to say there isn’t adult situations that occur in this book.  My political beliefs certainly snaked their way into the story a great deal.   My thoughts on world ‘rulers’ as it were, changed significantly since 9/11.  I realized the world is manipulated through deceit, subterfuge, and outright lies.  And it is through this manipulation that regimes are able to strangle the very public they are sworn to protect.  It is through this basic premise that I developed the stories main antagonist, Buul.  Whose name in itself is a play on the false god of the Bible, Baal. 

 I designed the main characters to be symbolic archetypes that would be comparative to the transition into adulthood.  Let me explain.  The main character, Jasper, through her character arch, was designed to represent the loss of selfishness or selfishness into selflessness.  “She”, her ego, had to be minimized and her thoughts towards those around her had to expand in importance over the course of the story.  She had to realize that she was not the center of the universe, which is something young adults and children all believe of themselves.  It was her own perception of the world that bound her more than the chains around her waist. 

Ron was characterized by the loss of innocence that comes from the separation from your parents.  If you noticed, I immediately isolated him inside that machine, trapping him from full contact with other adults.  It is that loneliness, that feeling of finally being by yourself in a wide, expansive and even dangerous world that you only truly feel for the first time when you move away from your parents that I wanted to encapsulate with Ron.  Though he is still a child, he is trapped, both literally and figuratively.  He wants to go on these adventures but he still wants his mother too.  It is through his bravery and sacrifice in the end that truly frees his spirit and is I believe the purest hero of the story.

Vork is symbolically that inner struggle of peace vs aggression that young adults, typically boys, go through.  The rage that young men sometimes struggle with, many times unsuccessfully, even though they themselves aren’t generally hateful people.  I intentionally paired him with Jasper, literally chaining an outwardly raging beast with an inward gentle spirit to a whiney brat as to both contrast and highlight the war within.

Terrance was the archetype of sexuality and romance, the dangerous rascal that women swoon over.  He was a brash, raging hormone of lust and desire that was forced to see beyond outward appearances and actually care for the inner being of someone dear to him. 

Buul was the opposite side of the coin to Jasper.  He was characterized by self and pride just as she was, but it was his reaction of jealously and superiority and ultimately revenge that contrasted her desire for justice.  He is the Yin to her Yang.  Male and female, brother and sister, one carrying the sun around her neck, the other empowered by the spirit of the moon, one is light, the other is darkness.  One is fighting to rule under wholesome, family oriented motives of love and peace.  The other is fighting for dominate, empowered, ruthless control over his subjects.

You also might have noticed how I incorporated binding, withholding, chaining or imprisoning people throughout the book.  Jasper is chained to Vork, Ron is trapped inside his machine, Buul is withheld by his own crippled body to that wheelchair, Yerrol inside the egg, Shath to the moon, etc.  While I have to admit much of this happened subconsciously on my part I do feel that this feeling of entrapment goes hand in hand with the teenage angst and the difficulties of transitioning into adulthood that I was symbolically incorporating. 

Finally, no book is complete without a little political commentary.  And while I purposefully tried to keep the preaching down, I did pepper the book with a few observations and similarities to our own world.  This book compares thoughts on the “new” ways vs. the traditional and examines thoughts on the ruling class and what it means to be a leader. 

I included situations that I have witnessed in society today such as a “false flag” attack where the population is lied to about an attack by another country in order to rally them to war.  There is also a highly advanced society where their leaders distract the population from their financial troubles with violent games and entertainment at the arena.  Also, I included a great divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” which caused turmoil, distrust, and political upheaval.  And finally machines of war that are powered by technology that actually poisons the operator and those around them.  It is this “new world order” that I am commenting on lightly and suggestively but that is absolutely apparent in the writing and which I am planning on continuing further in the sequel.

 So all of that is buried within a book filled with airship races, attacks by giant mechanized war machines, huge beasts from the sea, shipwrecks on deserted islands, motorcycle races through the underground desert tunnels, train rides, coliseum battles against giant crocodiles, time travel, clock-tower witches and beautiful women, huge birds going to war against more machines and shadow spirits of the undead, all wrapped up with steam punk styling and high adventure.  Whew! 

Thanks for reading and let’s GO ADVENTURING sometime!

The Kingdom of Vosh: The Chained Princess by Jason C. Conley is now available!  Hardcover, Paperback, or digital.
Find us online at:  www.thekingdomofvosh.com
Our Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/TheKingdomOfVosh
Or our Pitnerest page at: https://www.pinterest.com/jconley78/kingdom-of-vosh/

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Book Synopsis: Secrets have been formed in the dark corners of the kingdom. Change is in the air and whispers of new ideas and technologies have swept the land. Unfortunately, the King is old and simple and his daughter is concerned only with worldly possessions. A man by the name of Buul, a man long forgotten, has returned to pay a visit to the King on the King’s birthday. He has not come empty handed and will be the King’s undoing.

The King, in moments of panic and war, can trust no one with the protection of his daughter. He quickly decides to entrust her life with a creature most vile and uncommon and chains her to a Vork. He does not leave her empty handed though. His last gift to the Princess is an amulet with powers even he does not comprehend. The land’s only chance, the only one loyal to the King’s memory, is the daughter that cares nothing of the Kingdom of Vosh.

Spotlight On: Armand Rosamilia


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SPOTLIGHT ON: Armand Rosamilia

 

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

Keyport Cthulhu, a Lovecraftian book of five weird tales plus two bonus stories

 

Quick description of it.

“The painting forced him to move back with such suddenness, he nearly fell over the side of the old wooden railing. It depicted a grizzly scene, as if your worst nightmare had been splattered on canvas. Despite his mind screaming to look away, he could not avert his eyes” – Ancient 

Keyport Cthulhu 

Five stories with a Lovecraftian feel to them… set in the New Jersey fishing village of Keyport, where the Esoteric Order of Dagon has been planning for the awakening of the Deep One all these years… 

ANCIENT 
BARREN 
CABAL 
DAGON 
EVIL 

Includes two bonus stories, the steampunk tale “Rats In The Cellars” and “Cthulhunicorn” co-written with Katelynn Rosamilia

 

Something unique about it.

It is set in the real town of Keyport, New Jersey. I lived there for a couple of years and grew up in the area. The town is not as odd as the story. Just barely.

 

Links for people to buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/Keyport-Cthulhu-Armand-Rosamilia-ebook/dp/B00GHN6XYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1383941150&sr=1-1&keywords=keyport+cthulhu

 

Your promo links.

http://armandrosamilia.com

 

Your short Bio.

Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not watching the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music… and because of him they won the 2013 World Series, so he’s prety good at watching!

He’s written over 100 stories that are currently available, including a few different series:

“Dying Days” extreme zombie series
“Keyport Cthulhu” horror series
“Flagler Beach Fiction Series” contemporary fiction
“Metal Queens” non-fiction music series

he also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool. 

and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal: 

armandrosamilia@gmail.com

 Keyport Print

Spotlight On: Dan O’Brien


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SPOTLIGHT ON: Dan O’Brien

 

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

Water. It is literary suspense with a dash of apocalyptic humor and intrigue.

 

Quick description of it.

The next installment in the B-Sides series follows a father and son living out a quiet life in northern Arizona. A strange occurrence at the border, and a series of events that turns the world upside down, plunges society into a spiral from which it might not be able to recover. Having to flee from their home with a band of unlikely friends in tow, the open road beckons.

Can they survive?

 

Something unique about it.

It is a novella that takes place in a large universe comprised of a multitude of characters. Think Lost meets The Dark Tower with some Walking Dead thrown in.

 

Links for people to buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FUR5NT6

 

Your promo links.

Blog (http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/), Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien), Facebook Author Page (https://www.facebook.com/authordanobrien)

 

Your short Bio.

Dan O’Brien has written 12 novels (all before the age of 30) including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine (Empirical). In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. He currently teaches psychology at CSU, Chico. You can learn more about Amalgam by visiting the website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com.

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Spotlight On Interviews Starting on Halloween!


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Starting at 8 am EST on Halloween my month-long Spotlight On interview segment will be up. I wanted to promote other authors out there, so authors are answering six easy questions from me about their latest release. 

I’ve gotten so many great interviews in so far I might end up running three a day… 8 am, noon and 4 pm EST throughout November. If they keep coming in, I’ll spread it into December, too… the more the merrier. I’d love to help everyone. 

If you are an author and interested, drop me an e-mail and let me know and I’ll send you the Spotlight On info…  armandrosamilia (at) gmail (dot) com 

First up on Thursday… Jacqueline Druga, Paul Flewitt and Jeffrey Kosh. 

Armand 

Writing: A Career Or Your Hobby?


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Writing: A Career Or Your Hobby?

 

            I write full-time, as anyone reading this blog will know. I have been for the last two years, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I can think of no better job than being my own boss, creating something from scratch each day and then having to do most (if not all) of the work to make money doing it.

            For years I wrote between work schedules, kids, marriages and divorces and a hundred other things. I wrote sporadically and I wrote random stories and have a ton of unfinished and/or vague ideas on hard drives, thumb drives, floppy discs and a dead Brother word processor. I wrote when I could and I just sat down and wrote something with no real goal in mind and no real focus.

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            Until two years ago, when it was sink or swim. I had no financial backing, no spouse to fall back on to pay the bills. I tried to find a ‘real’ job but there’s nothing out there for a forty-something retail manager who made really good money and worked really long hours.

            I decided to give this writing thing a shot and gave myself twelve months. I read every blog I could about writing and publishing and asked advice, learning from guys like JA Konrath and Scott Nicholson, authors who were already in the trenches and making an honest living doing this.

            I set a personal dollar figure goal but also wanted to put out at least 12 releases in the year because from my research I knew the more you had for sale the better off you were with potential readers finding you.

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            I am very lucky in that I can write fast and can focus each day to hit a 2,000 word day. I usually do more. My record in one day is 18,000 words, done in a little over 16 straight hours. I have a nice 10,000 word a week goal, so anything over 520,000 words a year is a bonus.

            But I’ve run into authors who put out one 25,000 word novella in a year, buy 500 copies in print at $7.00 a book and then end up selling 10-20% of them locally. And consider themselves having a career in writing. I suppose you could argue they do, but is it really a career or a hobby? Too often I see the bored housewife syndrome. Writing is something for them to do to fill up their time, and that is not a bad thing. Writing is a great release and helps with stress and getting away from reality, but when you suddenly decide you are a legitimate author you need to back it up, have some actual goals in mind and try to get somewhere with it.

            Or else it’s a hobby.

            Not everyone strives to be a successful author, published and making money and enough to pay their monthly bills. I’ve talked with dozens of authors who just wanted to put that first book out to say they could do it, and other authors who have a steady income and do the writing gig on the side when they have time, and enjoy doing it.

            But the goal is to know what you are and who you are, and know your limits. Taking on too many projects and never completing them is a sure way to let people know you aren’t serious, and feeling you don’t need to be on Twitter or have a blog of your own or do any of the leg work is another way to always be known as the quirky local author but never getting enough sales to justify you proudly exclaiming you’re a legitimate writer doing this for a living.

            Because it is a hobby to you.

            The first year I did this full-time I had 26 releases published, more the next. This coming November alone I will have 10. Which might be more than the hobby people have in their career. Why? Because I’m focused, and if I don’t sell another book I don’t eat.

            This is my career and I’m living the dream doing it.

            How about you?

Armand

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Guest Post: Patrick C. Greene


THE DEAD ROCK!

 

Patrick C Greene

 

In honor of Armand’s DYING DAYS series, and the upcoming anthology based in its universe, I decided to take a look at how the zombie phenomenon has infected the popular and underground music scenes.

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Okay. Maybe not the Top Ten – but here’s my take anyway.

Back in nineteen eighty-something, Michael Jackson kicked off the pseudo-trend I guess, with his loving tribute to horror films, the extended music video for his smash hit Thriller. Using then-state of the art special effects, lavish set design, and cinematic-level camera work, The Gloved One went all out, even hiring A-list director John Landis and the one and only Vincent Price to provide some nice atmospheric voice work.

The result was a success on every level. No one had ever seen anything quite like it on MTV, and probably never will again, unless teen moms and Jersey shore mouth breathers turn into werewolves, or face a zombie outbreak, only with decent lighting, editing, scripting, etc. 

If you’ve never seen it, you really should:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA

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The climactic zombie dance number has been parodied and imitated numerous times. Working with Peepin Tom Productions on a zombie film called One Last Sunset a couple of years ago, and again this past spring, I bore witness to a well-orchestrated re-enactment on set. MJ would be proud. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the crew in action, but here’s the trailer for the movie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiuVGjmCUUI

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Back to the music…

Soon after, punk rock pioneer Billy Idol took a tune he had performed with his first band Generation X called Dancing With Myself and re-recorded it for his first solo foray, leading to a video directed by none other than Tobe Hooper. The stylish vid features a raggedy band of what can only be zombies, attracted apparently by Idol’s singing and posturing, crawling up the walls over one another looooong before World War Z made it fashionable. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG1NrQYXjLU

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Still in the eighties, new wave-ish pop band The Hooters contributed an atmospheric and hooky tune called All You Zombies that took the charts by storm–though what the hell it’s actually about is up for debate. I don’t think it’s zombies, but decide for yourself:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LE0KpcP05I

 

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1986 found Credence Clearwater Revival alum John Fogerty tossing out a nice piece evocative of bayou voodoo called Eye Of The Zombie. Warning: ass nudity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcTG2z8CgmY

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For at least the next decade or so, it would be difficult to find a song -or for that matter, any pop culture source- about zombies. With the advent of Road Rules type programming, MTV degenerated to a more subtle and less interesting brand of zombification, and horror films in general began to wane. When they were eventually resurrected, it was in the form of a slasher film revival.

 

But our rotten, shambling archetype could not stay figuratively dead anymore than literally so. With hardcore favorites Misfits leading the way, a new wave of ghoulish rock slowly dug its way from the underground. Generally known as “horror punk”, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror_punk) these acts use all manner of Halloween and horror film imagery, combined with fifties-esque doo-wop sensibilities to evoke a retro spookshow feel. Naturally, zombies are a popular motif.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5N4cTCZoMQ&list=PLA1065C63412C992E

 

blog misfits

 

There’s no shortage of tongue-in-cheek fun to be had from the music and in the presence of horror punk bands. It’s hard not to love a band like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu3Rfc9fr-0&list=FL5BKXFnu9jdFBlTq3KG3dTw&index=854

blog zombie eat brain

 

The Crimson Ghosts did a good job of capturing the apocalyptic feel of the better zombie movies with this little ditty:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgesWcjpd7U&list=FL5BKXFnu9jdFBlTq3KG3dTw&index=763

 

Why even good old Uncle George got in on the undead action, directing this sick little gem for the ‘Fits:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGUWla4OVrY&list=PLA1065C63412C992E

blog zombie rock

Leave it to the world of metal to bring gravitas back to the grave. The video for Moonspell’s “I’ll See you In My Dreams” is bleak and doom-laden:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V11A5-QA364

 

Of course, any band calling themselves Cannibal Corpse should have on their set list at least one track concerned with the undead:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HURnx8kffU4

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To bring the cycle back around, techno/goth metalers Gothminister pay tribute to the song that started it all, with–well, what else? Thriller.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eloYA9eFTys

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***************************************************

  • BIO_ Patrick C. Greene – Some dark serendipity plopped a young Patrick Greene in front of a series of ever stranger films-and experiences-in his formative years, leading to a unique viewpoint. His odd interests have led to pursuits in film acting, paranormal investigation, martial arts, quantum physics, bizarre folklore and eastern philosophy. These elements flavor his screenplays and fiction works, often leading to strange and unexpected detours designed to keep viewers and readers on their toes.

Literary influences range from Poe to Clive Barker to John Keel to a certain best-selling Bangorian. Suspense, irony, and outrageously surreal circumstances test the characters who populate his work, taking them and the reader on a grandly bizarre journey into the furthest realms of darkness. The uneasy notion that reality itself is not only relative but indeed elastic- is the hallmark of Greene’s writing.

Living in the rural periphery of Asheville North Carolina with his wife, youngest son and an ever-growing army of cats, Greene still trains in martial arts when he’s not giving birth to demons via his pen and keyboard. Visit the website: www.PatrickCGreene.com

In addition to his novel PROGENY, and the short story collection DARK DESTINIES, Greene has several film projects in the works, and just finished writing his second novel – THE CRIMSON CALLING -the first in the action-adventure vampire trilogy, The Sanguinarian Council.

  •  

www.patrickcgreene.com

http://www.amazon.com/Progeny-ebook/dp/B009U6VFEK/ref=tf_cw?&linkCode=waf&tag=greenesfiends-20

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Destinies-ebook/dp/B00ATF59J8/ref=tf_cw?&linkCode=waf&tag=greenesfiends-20

www.thesanguinariancouncil.com

The Writing Week That Was: 15,560 Words


WRITER

I wrote last week… and I had a good seven days doing it, too… even though I only wrote on five of them… 

Tues 10/8 – 2,455 words

Wed 10/9 – 3,003 words

Thurs 10/10 – 2,346 words

Fri 10/11 – 0 words (meeting other authors and then my radio show)

Sat 10/12 – 0 words (World Zombie Day in Jacksonville)

Sun 10/13 – 5,600 words (co-writing the sequel to Dying Days: The Siege of European Village with Tim Baker and then my own projects)

Mon 10/14 – 2,154

Projects completed: Flagler Fish Company Parts 1 and 2... sequel to Dying Days: The Siege of European Village

15,560 words done in the week… My weekly goal is 10,000 words, so I made up for the week before a bit (I only hit 8,872 then)… I’m up about 4,000 words on the month and year and I hope to keep it going… Today starts a new week for me, so my goal is to not only hit my 2,000 words but to get ahead as much as possible. 

I’ll try to keep my weekly posts going as long as people are interested in them. I hope it will inspire you to hit your own daily and weekly goals, and it keeps me honest by having to say what I wrote whether I hit the mark or failed… 

Armand Rosamilia

Guest Post: Lauren Rhoads


Loren & Death

            In 2010, twelve writers and artists joined hostess Rain Graves and a team of ghost hunters for a long weekend at a haunted historical mansion in Northern California.  The first Haunted Mansion Retreat was so inspiring—and so scary—that most of us jumped at the chance to do it again in September 2012.  Some new blood was added to the mix and all of us looked forward to four days together in the haunted house.

            I rode with Rain and Sèphera Giron up to the mansion on Thursday afternoon. Once we arrived, Rain put us to work. Sèph and I went up to the second floor to put name tags on beds so that everyone could find their assigned spaces. Sunlight flooded through the windows, highlighting the crisply made beds and cozy rooms.  Mount Tamalpais loomed on the west, lush and green, enrobed in autumn.

            Sèphera and I started with the familiar rooms at the top of the stairs:  here was where S. G. Browne had been menaced by the Black Mass; here was Wes and Yvonne’s sunny corner suite; here was my friendly little blue room where a ghost had touched my hair.

            We had just come out of the room that would be Chris Colvin’s.  Sèph was telling me about the Black Mass that had harassed her and Rain in the corner room in 2010.  We stood in the little hallway, sorting out our list and the name cards, when something large moved through the empty room we’d just left.

            I looked up, startled, and met Sèphera’s eyes.  “Did you hear that?” I gasped.

            “Something is up here with us,” Sèph said and smiled.

 *   *   *   *   *

            Friday night, most of us were writing in the first-floor parlor while the rest joined the GhostGirls’ investigation on the third floor.

            Something heavy scraped across the floor above us: on the second floor, in the area where Yvonne, Wes, and I had our rooms.  It sounded like a heavy piece of furniture—for some reason, I thought of a trunk—being dragged across the floor.  None of us would do such a thing, conscious as we were of being in someone else’s house.  We exchanged glances, but couldn’t explain what we’d heard.

            Scott stomped down from the third floor.  “What was that?” he demanded.

            “We thought it was you,” someone said.

            “We were all on the third floor,” he said.  “Who’s on the second floor?”

            “No one.  We’re all right here.”

 *   *   *   *   *

            After midnight, when I finally got brave enough to go upstairs to change for bed, I tried shoving the furniture around my room to see if I could replicate the noise we’d heard earlier.

            The bed was on casters.  It glided silently across the bare, unmarked floorboards.  Nothing in my room could have made the heavy scraping we all heard.

 *   *   *   *   *

            The house seemed quiet on Saturday.  Even the night passed peacefully.  I felt pretty relaxed about the whole experience, until Yvonne teased me about sleeping with my light on.

            I’d woken up in a puddle of moonlight, so I knew I’d shut the light off before I went to sleep.  My room had been locked from the inside.  No one had been in there touching the lights, but me.

            Or so I thought.

 *   *   *   *   *

            So: every two years, a small group of writers and artists meet at a haunted mansion in Northern California.  What we find there excites us, terrifies us, and inspires us even after we leave.  The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two is our documentation of the four intense days we spent together in the house in September 2012.

            The contents range from the official site report prepared by the GhostGirls to survivors’ subjective accounts of their experiences to short stories and poetry inspired by the house’s atmosphere and the things that occurred there. Damnation Books published the book in June. It’s available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DF74TF2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00DF74TF2&linkCode=as2&tag=cemettrave-20

            Rain Graves, S.G. Browne, Fran Friel, and I will read from the Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two at the Borderlands Café (870 Valencia Street, San Francisco) on November 3 at 3 p.m.  Hope you can join us.

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