Joe McKinney Guest Post for #WinterZombie2014


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Why I Write the Dark Stuff

 Joe McKinney

 

 

In my day job, I’m a patrol supervisor for the San Antonio Police Department.  I work the west side of town.  The police officers who make the calls, who make the arrests, who keep the peace in the busiest part of the city, they work for me.  I’m the one they call when they have major crime scenes that need managing or when something just doesn’t look right.

 

What that means is that I have to see a lot of dead bodies.  And I mean a lot of them.

 

Like last week.  One of my officers called because he had a decomp (police parlance for a body that’s been rotting in place for a good long while) and he wasn’t sure if it was suicide or homicide.  So I showed up to the apartment and there was the dead guy, seated on the floor (or almost on the floor, his butt was about two inches off the carpet).  He had a noose around his neck, though you could barely see it because his skin was so bloated and gummy with rot that it had sort of oozed over the rope.

 

“So, what do you think?” the officer asked.

 

“Suicide,” I told him.

 

“But he’s sitting down.  Wouldn’t he have rolled over or something when he started to choke?  That’s like an instinct or something, isn’t it?”

 

“No,” I said.  “What you’re looking at is an act of will power.  If you want to do something bad enough, you’ll see it through.”

 

He looked from me to the body and shook his head.

 

“Besides,” I added, “look at all that medication in there in his bathroom.  Those drugs are for hepatitis and cancer.  He did this because he was hurting pretty bad.  And look up there.”  I pointed to the ceiling where our dead guy had nailed the rope to the rafter.  “He did that because he didn’t want the rope to slip off.  And look at where he chose to do this, here in the bedroom, so his relatives coming in the front door wouldn’t have to see him.  I bet if you look around here, you’ll find a note.  Probably in the other room, out of sight of the bedroom.”

 

The officer nodded.

 

We both stood there, staring at the body.  The apartment didn’t have air conditioning, and it felt like standing inside an oven, even though it was the middle of the night.  The smell was really bad.

 

The officer kind of chuckled and said, “So, Sarge, I guess this is one for your next book, huh?”

 

I offered him a bland smile.  Cops develop their gallows humor long before they learn that it’s actually a defense mechanism against the horror of confronting your own mortality, and this officer was one of the young ones.  He still had a lot to learn.

 

“Go look for the note,” I said.

 

He stiffened.  “Yes, sir.”

 

When he was gone, I found myself looking at that dead man’s face.  Suicides always get to me. Something about standing in the presence of someone so desperate to take control of their pain and their emotional devastation that they would resort to this makes me feel numb.

 

In the other room, the young officer was clumsily knocking around.  Something fell over and broke.  I almost called out to him to be careful, but held my tongue.  You see, my mind had drifted from my day job to my night job.  I was thinking about what he’d said about my next book.  So many people seem to have that opinion about horror, and about zombie fiction in particular.  To them, a book about shambling dead things eating the living must be nothing but gratuitous violence and gore.  What else could it be?

 

Well, I take exception to that.

 

I started writing because I was scared of the future.  My wife and I had just gotten married.  Then we had a daughter, and the world suddenly seemed so much more complex.  In the wink of an eye, I went from a carefree young cop—a lot like the one in the other room knocking stuff over—to a man with more responsibilities than he could count.  I had obligations and commitments coming at me from every angle.

 

I’d been writing stories for a good long while at that point, starting sometime in my early teens, but never with the intention of doing anything about them.  I would write them out on a yellow legal pad, staple the finished pages together, and leave them on the corner of my desk until the next idea came to me.

 

Never once did it occur to me to do something with what I’d written.  I just threw those stories away and forgot them.  But then came adulthood, and parenthood, and I found myself groping to put the world in order, to regain some of the control I felt I had lost.  I realized that writing could help me with that.  I realized that I could focus my anxieties and make something useful of them.

 

And so I started writing a science fiction novel.  It was a big space opera epic, and it was pure trash.  Every word of it was awful.

 

The reason?  Well, it wasn’t authentic.  It wasn’t me.

 

The real me, the kid who sat at his desk filling up yellow legal pads rather than going out bike riding with his friends, was a horror junkie.  I was crazy for the stuff.  Horror was my first literary love, and I figured, seeing as love was what drove me to return to writing, that I should write what I love. I was feeling like the world was rushing at me from every side, so I wrote a zombie story about characters who had the living dead rushing in at them from every side.  That’s when things started to click.  That’s when it all made sense.

 

But it wasn’t just that simple.  You see, I sincerely believe that fear is the most authentic, and the most useful, emotion available to the storyteller.  It is as vital as love, and indeed, gives love its profundity, for what makes love, and family, and everything we treasure so valuable but the fear that it could all go away in the blink of an eye.  For me, fear goes far beyond monsters.  It is the catalyst for my creative process, and without that creative process, I’m afraid I would wither up inside.  I’m not saying I’d end up like that suicide I just told you about if I couldn’t write anymore, nothing that melodramatic, but absence of that creative outlet would be a hole that nothing else could fill.

 

So that’s why I write the dark stuff.

 

Joe McKinney

San Antonio, Texas

September 11, 2012

Plague of the Undead

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The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

 

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1524813084430035/?ref_notif_type=plan_user_joined&source=1

 

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

 

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/11/01/winter-of-zombie-post-list-winterzombie2014/

 

#NaNoWriMo Day Three of Bleh


This post will be short and sweet, filled with excuses and then a bold statement which may or may not come to fruition (I love using fruition whenever possible)

Excuses

Since the calendar flipped over to November 1st I have:

1. Been very, very sick. I know I’ve been very, very sick by the amount of times I’ve complained loudly to Special Gal by saying ‘I’m very, very sick’ to the point she keeps quiet but stares at pillows and other items and imagines putting them over my face to shut me up.

2. I went to a very cool surprise birthday party and met special people in Special Gal’s life. Only it was a 4 hour car ride (damn you, Orlando traffic!) and I felt like crap the entire time. Luckily, I hardly ever drive. Another reason Special Gal sometimes stares overlong at pillows and my face. 

3. The hotel room on Saturday night took turns being too cold and then too hot and the bed was horrible. Would it kill a good hotel to spend an extra buck on pillows that don’t fold down to paper-width as soon as my head hits them? Even if Special Gal wanted to kill me with these pillows I think I’d survive. If I got 3 hours of sleep I’d be surprised. 

4. The ride back to Jacksonville sucked because… yep… now we were both sick. We spent Sunday in different rooms moaning and napping on and off. Oh, and Thug Life was also sick when we got home. Three sick people. Not cool. 

5. I woke up this morning to the neighbor delivering fill to his yard. At 8 am on a Monday. Loudly with giant trucks. Of course, behind our house is a wetlands you’re not supposed to build on. The builders were very specific. You can’t build on it. The neighbor is obviously special, because he cut down about thirty feet behind his home to put in his own pool. I hope it sinks into an evil burial ground while he’s in the pool. 

6. I have 3 Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast interviews to do today. I can kinda breathe and can talk for short bursts and can cut out the hacking up a lung parts (I hope). I also have e-mails and Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 things to get done and catch up on… and a million other things, like finding socks because my feet are cold right now and this is Florida and ridiculous I might need to put on pants another day and…

Bold Statement

By the end of November I WILL have my 50,000 words in on this thriller novel. You’ll see. But now I am 3 days in the hole and need to catch up…

Armand

Winter of Zombie Post List #WinterZombie2014


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Here is the complete list and link to every post for the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014… updated daily!

Saturday November 1st

Kickoff! 

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Sunday November 2nd

Jack Wallen interview

Jaime Johnesee guest post

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Monday November 3rd

Mark Tufo teaser

Shawn Chesser interview

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Tuesday November 4th

John O’Brien guest post

Jack Wallen Interview

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Wednesday November 5th

Jay Wilburn teaser

Bobby Adair guest post

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Thursday November 6th

Eric A. Shelman interview

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Friday November 7th

Joe McKinney guest post

Jay Wilburn interview

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Saturday November 8th

Jack Wallen teaser

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Sunday November 9th

Jaime Johnesee interview

Shawn Chesser guest post

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Monday November 10th

John O’Brien guest post

Jay Wilburn guest post

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Tuesday November 11th

Armand Rosamilia interview

Eric A. Shelman interview

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Wednesday November 12th

Mark Tufo short story part 1

Bobby Adair interview

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Thursday November 13th

Mark Tufo short story part 2

Joe McKinney interview

Armand Rosamilia guest post

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Friday November 14th

Mark Tufo short part 3

Eric A. Shelman guest post

Jaime Johnesee interview

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Saturday November 15th

Shawn Chesser teaser

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Sunday November 16th

Jack Wallen guest post

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Monday November 17th

John O’Brien interview

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Tuesday November 18th

 Jay Wilburn teaser

Shawn Chesser interview

Joe McKinney guest post

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Wednesday November 19th

Joe McKinney teaser

Bobby Adair guest post

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Thursday November 20th

Jaime Johnesee teaser

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Friday November 21st

Jay Wilburn guest post

John O’Brien teaser

Mark Tufo interview

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Saturday November 22nd

Jay Wilburn interview

Jack Wallen guest post

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Sunday November 23rd

Jaime Johnesee guest post

Jack Wallen teaser

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Monday November 24th

Shawn Chesser guest post

Jaime Johnesee teaser

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Tuesday November 25th

Bobby Adair teaser

John O’Brien interview

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Wednesday November 26th

Jay Wilburn guest post

Eric A. Shelman guest post

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Thursday November 27th

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday November 28th

Mark Tufo interview

Armand Rosamilia interview

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Saturday November 29th

Armand Rosamilia guest post

Eric A. Shelman teaser

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Sunday November 30th

Jack Wallen guest post

Jaime Johnesee guest post

Eve of NaNoWriMo – And I’ve Got A Problem


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I was all in… I swore I’d write a brand new thriller novel in November. At least 50,000 words of it, anyway. An idea I’ve been toying with for months but never had time to write. Something a bit different from what I normally do. 

I even did a rough outline, which for me was writing out a hundred word synopsis of the main story. I did everything but buy special colored pencils to be better prepared. 

And then…

Another contract comes in on the eve of NaNoWriMo. 

I’m not complaining… trust me. I’ve been blessed with the work I get and the money it pays. But it’s a 30,000 word story which will be due in less than 3 weeks, taking up most of my November writing time. 

What’s a boy to do?

Screw it. Of course I accepted the contract (I so love eating and paying bills) and I’m revamping my month to include both projects. I’ll just have to push aside Dying Days 5 (which is about 13k done of the first draft) until December at this point. 

November should be interesting for me. It also might be what I need to get away from Facebook and wasting time and not writing as much as I want. Can I do it? We’ll see…

Armand

“Death Metal” – An Update


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I wrote the Death Metal novella many years ago. I believe it was started in early 2007 and I rewrote it as part of NaNoWriMo in November of 2007. It went through a few rewrites and was finally finished and sold to a small press company who released it in January 2009 with a cover I was never happy with and no promotion. (That’s my cover above, so don’t start ripping it, got it?)

A couple of years later I got the rights back and released it myself, changing the cover and promoting it as a thriller, which it is. Not an urban horror story, whatever that means. 

I am quite proud of the story itself. Death Metal was one of my earliest ideas I actually finished and the first piece longer than a short story sold to a publisher, so I am proud of it for that. 

But I was never truly happy with the book itself. I thought the ending was rushed and there are several spots in the plot where it could have been expanded, the bad guys filled out more and so much more tension to add. 

So… as of November 1st I will take Death Metal off of the market. It will be out of print in all formats. Even audiobook. 

My goal will be to rewrite it in 2015 as a novel and add in all the ideas I couldn’t have done as a younger writer. I’ve grown and can now see what was missing from the story. I intend to add it in and double the word count. With the ending I’ve always wanted for it, too. 

I am also going to start the sequel from scratch. I envision this as a trilogy, with the goal being to rewrite this and also write the second book by the end of 2015. I’ve added it to my schedule. Fingers crossed it will happen. 

Armand

Spotlight On Armand Rosamilia #Imaginarium


I own a shirt just like the one Armand wears.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Armand Rosamilia

 

How did you get involved in the upcoming Imaginarium convention?

Stephen Zimmer begged me to be there. He sent me fruit baskets and a briefcase filled with cash as well as the promise of pound bags of M&M’s (one plain and one peanut). How could I not go? Poor boy would be crushed.

 

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

Chelsea Avenue from Ragnarok Publications. It is a traditional horror novel with some paranormal elements.

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Quick description of it.

“I don’t come across books like Rosamilia’s CHELSEA AVENUE often. Infused with the dreamlike quality of memory, Rosamilia here fulfills the full measure of the promise I first saw in his DYING DAYS series. Beautifully dark, this book held me entranced. I couldn’t get enough!” -Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of DOG DAYS and PLAGUE OF THE UNDEAD 

Some things never stop until the deed is done. 

On July 8th 1987, in Long Branch, New Jersey, The Haunted House Pier and Murphy’s Law club fires destroyed not only local landmarks, but everything Manny Santiago found dear. 

And it isn’t over. 

The entity responsible for killing Manny’s family and wreaking devastation in the small seaside community has reappeared. Again. And is growing in power. 

Now every July 8th it returns, and this time survivors of the fires, including Manny, are being led back to the now-vacant lot on Chelsea Avenue, where the entity intends to finish what it started in 1987 once and for all.

 

Something unique about it.

Despite having 125+ releases to date, this is my very first full-length novel release. I’m quite excited about it.

 

Links for people to buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/Chelsea-Avenue-Armand-Rosamilia-ebook/dp/B00N740DHG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409951343&sr=8-1&keywords=chelsea+avenue

 

Your promo links.

http://armandrosamilia.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ArmandAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/armand.rosamilia

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/armand-rosamilia/11/853/791

 

Your short Bio.

Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping.

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. He’s a proud Active member of HWA as well. 

You can find him at http://armandrosamilia.com for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes!

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

armandrosamilia@gmail.com

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“Imaginarium is an entire convention centered on creative writing taking place September 19-21 in Louisville KY, featuring over 140 panels and workshops organized into 12 categories.  Over 130 professional guests will be featured in the programming, covering all aspects of creative writing in the worlds of books, eBooks, screenplays, comics/graphic novels, and even game design.  All of it is set within a fun, convention atmosphere that includes activities like a Masquerade, gaming room, film festival, and more.  Please visit www.entertheimaginarium.com for further information.”

Spotlight On Jerry E. Benns #Imaginarium


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SPOTLIGHT ON: Jerry E. Benns

 

How did you get involved in the upcoming Imaginarium convention?

I first heard of Imaginarium when I met Stephen Zimmer at MidSouth Con. The excitement he shared for the event was contagious and I wanted to be involved.

 

What is your latest release and what genre is it?

The latest release is State of Horror: New Jersey and State of Horror: Illinois.

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Quick description of it:

State of Horror Anthologies are a series of books which feature stories based in and capturing the feel of the state in which it is names. Both anthologies feature 13 tales of horror.. These are the first two of 50 books planned for the series.

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Something unique about it:

State of Horror anthology series was originally created by author Armand Rosamilia and was relaunched after acquisition by Charon Coin Press. Each of the nine previously books will be updated and new stories added. This relaunch is flagship anthology for Charon Coin Press.

 

Links for people to buy it:

The books are currently available in print at Amazon. Available in eBook format for all major online distributors. The Amazon link for State of Horror: New Jersey is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N15TPEI and for State of Horror: Illinois is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N07ZIAW

 

Your promo links:

http://www.charoncoinpress.com

  

Your short Bio:

Jerry Benns started writing when he was quite young. However, he began seriously writing in 2010 by launching his blog, TripThroughMyMind.com. Since then, he has expanded the site to include interviews with authors, book reviews, and sections to encourage building the writing community. Jerry’s deep-seeded enjoyment of reading and writing now has him embarking on the exciting journey of publishing by launching Charon Coin Press.

In 2014, after becoming the editor for the State of Horror anthology series, Jerry pursued the opportunity to purchase the series, and others, in order to release them under his new publishing company, Charon Coin Press. Jerry brings his experience from his previous marketing/branding company, as well 15 years of experience as a networker and project manager to Charon Coin Press.

Jerry continues to write short stories for a collection to be released later in 2014. He is also currently working on the first novel in his urban fantasy fiction series to be released in 2015.

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“Imaginarium is an entire convention centered on creative writing taking place September 19-21 in Louisville KY, featuring over 140 panels and workshops organized into 12 categories.  Over 130 professional guests will be featured in the programming, covering all aspects of creative writing in the worlds of books, eBooks, screenplays, comics/graphic novels, and even game design.  All of it is set within a fun, convention atmosphere that includes activities like a Masquerade, gaming room, film festival, and more.  Please visit www.entertheimaginarium.com for further information.”