Great article about keeping your blog fresh… some good advice
This is not shaping up to be a good week of writing for me… Hell, last week wasn’t so hot, either. And when I look back the last three months… ugghh…
I always set a daily goal of 2,000 words and figure wherever my head is, I’ll write. It all works out in the end because (in theory) as long as I’m writing something projects will get completed and I’ll have plenty of continuous products to hawk… except it isn’t shaping up like that.
Let’s see.. the last release I put out wasn’t actually a new thing, as the Dying Days audiobook came out on June 4th 2012… and nothing the rest of the month. The last time I had a brand new release? April 1st with Bones. Death. Cenote, my three-story collection. Sure, I re-released a few Rymfire Books anthologies in print in April but nothing new from me.
And what am I working on? About 167 different things all in different levels of completion. But none of them finished, which is killing me. Lately my 2,000 a day goal consists of writing 400 lousy words on 5 different projects, which are all hovering around the halfway mark.
I’ve finished three horror shorts this past month but they immediately got submitted to pro markets since I’m still hoping to get three pro sales and join (or not join) the HWA. You can read about that here. So I don’t count them in my gripe as to work I plan on self-publishing.
When I started the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour I was hoping to have my Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days completed, but I’m about 3 short stories shy of that right now. My readers/editors are spot-on and ready for the next part but I can’t seem to finish any of them.
I really, really want to set a simple publishing goal for July and say one new release each Friday. That gives me about a week to hammer out a few stories and get them to an edit. If I complete just one within the next day or so (I’m talking short stories), I can get my beta readers to rip it apart for me and can (in theory, here we go again) have it up and live by Friday, July 6th.
I already have the first short story in a six-story arc at the finale, so I might work on that one and then have it prepared. Hell, the awesome artwork by Jeffrey Kosh has been done. Yep, just waiting on my sorry ass to finish it now.
So, I’ll be off to finish four short stories (at least) and get them out in July. Wish me luck!
Now, what are you working on and where do you stand with your latest work?
First off, thanks to Armand for letting me crash his party here. I did it once before, not too long ago, and enjoyed it so much I came back for seconds. I’m here to talk about “The Vagrant”, a novelette that is available from Angelic Knight Press and one that has gotten great early buzz from some truly gifted authors. It’s an introduction to the world of “The Southern Hauntings Saga”, the first novella of which will be released next month. For now, however, “The Vagrant” is an introduction to it that I’m really proud of. Anyway, on to the meat of this thing.
Elsewhere, I’ve talked about the origins of the story and a little bit about the southern legends that feature heavily in it. Today, however, I want to look closer at horror itself. More specifically, why the focus in my writing isn’t usually on gore and shock value.
Let me get it out of the way up front: I don’t mind dumping a bucket of gore onto a scene when it’s called for. Some subgenres in the horror field call for it, really. Zombies and body horror are often filled with as much gore as a Lucio Fulci film, and I enjoy it. But while you’ll run into blood and guts sometimes in my writing, I try to focus on a different kind of terror.
I like stories that give you that tingling sensation on the nape of your neck. The ones that make you glance over your shoulder every so often to make sure that you’re still alone. The ones that make you dread walking by a window for fear that a face may be outside, pressed against the glass and looking in at you. I like for horror to worm its way into your subconscious so that every creaking board in your house takes on a different quality altogether. These aren’t the only kinds of scares out there, for sure. But they’re the ones I wanted to try to conjure up with the Southern Hauntings Saga.
Sometimes an evisceration is called for in a story. Planting an image in a reader’s mind of horrible atrocities inflicted on the body can indeed make their head spin with the frightening possibilities of ‘What if it happened to me?’. Being skinned alive or decapitated certainly leaves a striking mental picture, but the simple truth is that if a book is nothing but that, it tends to remove a bit of the shock for me. Done well, it’s great. Like I said, I love Romero and Fulci’s gory splatterfests. I love to read Ed Lee and Wrath James White and Jack Ketchum. They handle it right, in my opinion. The central character in the Southern Hauntings Saga, Crate Northgate, will see his share of blood and guts. But it’s the journey that’s most important for me, and I hope it’s the same for most readers.
I want to scare readers. I want to leave an impression on them for days, so that when they’re home alone a couple of days after finishing a story and they hear a pop or a creak, they think back to that moment in my story when the pop or the creak was much more than just what it seemed to be at first. I tried to build atmosphere in this series – focusing on a rising, unsettling feeling of dread instead of just a few shocking images thrown at you. I hope I did it. I hope that readers not only connect with the character, but that the horror involved crawls along your skin and tugs at that part of your brain that makes your heart beat just a little bit faster. I’d love to hear back from you guys as to just how well you think I did.
You can buy The Vagrant through this link: http://www.amazon.com/Vagrant-Southern-Hauntings-Saga-ebook/dp/B0087APS98%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAJBDF5XQBATGDX4VQ%26tag%3Dspea06-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB0087APS98
You can also learn more about Crate Northgate and the Southern Hauntings Saga by visiting www.whoiscratenorthgate.weebly.com
And of course, Bryan Hall can be found at www.bryanhallfiction.com
Some great simple advice for writers
As an independent author, I set my own deadlines for rough drafts and the final draft publishing date. However, just because I do this myself doesn’t mean I don’t hold myself to the standard of finishing on time. You might say: “You’re not like a real novelist who has a deadline from a publisher set in stone. You can change your deadline at will and still be ok with it.” The answer to that is definitely “no.” I take pride in being able to meet a deadline. Even though I set the deadline myself, I see it as a personal goal and if I can be realistic with myself and meet the deadline on time or sometimes early, I feel a sense of accomplishment that is unmatched.
Of course, you may be reading this and you already have scored a contract with a publisher and your deadline is looming. My…
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My first experience with zombies was back in 1988 when I saw the film adaptation of Wade Davis’s The Serpent and the Rainbow. I was twelve-years-old and while maybe I didn’t know it then, the story was right up my future alley—part medicine, part horror.
Based on a true story, the movie depicts the control of a Haitian man named Clairvius Narcisse who “died”, was interred, and rose from the dead as a “zombie”. Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist, went to Haiti seeking to bring back the “zombie powder” responsible for Narcisse’s condition to be used in theU.S.as anesthesia. There were no bites or scratches, no hordes or shooting, and there was no apocalypse, but the psychological angle was terrifying and the tale ranks among my favorites.
Fast forward all of these years later, after fifteen years in medicine and after writing horror almost exclusively for many more years than that, I finally decided to write zombie fiction. It seemed the perfect stage given my background and the story all but wrote itself. Cure, my new zombie release, is part horror, part medicine and all fast-paced. Released only two short weeks ago, it’s already garnered seven five-star reviews.
Here’s the official blurb:
Welcome to the Nixon Healing andResearchCenter, refuge for the indigent sick and playground for the maniacal Dr. Howard Nixon whose cancer research has him dabbling in the undead. His human-zombie breeding program is falling apart and only Miranda Penton can save it.
Miranda gave up her budding military career to marry a fellow soldier but when their first child is stillborn, it’s more tragedy than their new marriage can handle. One year later, following her painful divorce, Miranda accepts an unexpected job offer to join Nixon’s security team. Her recruitment is part of Nixon’s dark plan and she quickly becomes one of his captives. A close friend who is a divorce lawyer Mesa AZ was a significant help in describing alot of the steps.
Nixon impregnates Miranda with a zombie fetus, but her imprisonment at the center is short-lived. A rescue team led by Scott, her estranged ex-husband, releases her and the infected on the unsuspecting hospital population.
The virus is spreading and must be contained. The center is going into lock-down. The group’s escape is threatened by a homicidal security guard and a raging storm. The town ofStrandville is ground zero for the zombie apocalypse and Miranda must escape because the fate of humanity lies with her unborn child.
Here’s what some readers had to say:
“Let’s face it, original is hard to come by. Everything has been done and tried. But what makes a book unique and refreshingly stimulating, is the author’s ability to breathe life into their characters, and send them on a course that you are compelled to follow along. Cure delivers just that. It is a rotten breath of fresh air with a premise that I haven’t seen in any other Zombie novels.”
“Cure, by Belinda Frisch, is soooo good that Five Stars is not enough! This tale is in a category all its own. I read a great number of books, zombie books among them, and have never read one with this kind of twist, this kind of originality.”
“Welcome to Strandville, a little slice of small-town heaven with a helluva secret – something sinister is afoot within the sterile confines of the Nixon Healing and ResearchCenterand people are starting to take note. When cancer research unleashes the unspeakable, the very CUREfor the pending-apocalypse may just be more deadly than the virus itself.
Belinda Frisch’s latest tale is equal parts medical thriller mixed with classic horror where the danger posed by the undead pales in comparison to the hideous nature of Dr. Howard Nixon and his equally lethal medical team. Frisch’s characters are deeply developed and her writing propels the story toward a completely satisfying conclusion. From the characters you love to hate to those you hate to lose, the lines in this battle for salvation, and humanity itself, are finely drawn.
CURE is dark, disturbing, and deliciously addictive. I couldn’t put it down!”
There are many variations on zombies, but if you’re looking to root for an eclectic cast of humans on the cusp of an outbreak, Cure takes a unique approach to the apocalypse. In the town ofStrandville, the villains are as dangerous as the virus.
* * * * *
Belinda Frisch’s fiction has appeared in Shroud Magazine, Dabblestone Horror, and Tales of Zombie War. She is an honorable mention winner in the Writer’s Digest 76th Annual Writing Competition and the author of DEAD SPELL,CRISISHOSPITAL, TALES FROM THE WORLD, THE WARD,AND THE BEDSIDE and the newly releasedCURE, the first in the Strandville Zombie Series.
Summer of Zombie Blog Tour interview with all six authors
When I decided to add interviews to my blog, I wasn’t thinking I’d have the chance to talk to six authors at one time, especially for my inaugural interview post. Being in the right place at the right time (also known as being on Facebook, all the time…) allowed me the chance to host The Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, featuring Armand Rosamilia, Dave Jeffery, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, John O’Brien and Todd Brown.
The Summer of Zombie Blog Tour has the six authors making their way around the blogosphere throughout the month of June, today just happens to be my place.
I’m a new writer breaking into the writing industry. How did you guys get your start and when?
Dave Jeffery: To be honest, I’ve been pretty lucky. My first published novel (a mental health related text) was acquired by a specialist publisher who was looking to expand into general fiction. From…
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Just because I love Thrash Metal music \m/