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.
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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/
As requested by a few people I’ve decided to elaborate a little bit about the sub-categories of Metal genres. As of right now, no there is of course not every sub-category imaginable mentioned and you never know, perhaps some day I can get to that.
So here we go…
Thrash Metal. One of the easiest sub-categories of Metal to again sub-categorize on. There are a bajillion bands out there with an obvious Thrash influence and clear portrayal of so in their music.
To name a bit, we’ve got:
Death/Thrash (possibly my favorite combination) has/had bands like Burnt Offering, Solstice, Morbid Saint, Hellwitch and Skeletal Earth. These bands have a more “Thrashier” take on what Death Metal is, more or less being Death influenced Thrash. Unlike the earliest forms of Death Metal (Old-School Death Metal) which was more Thrash influenced Death, just as mentioned…
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This will be a short post, because it’s more of a question for readers (besides my mom, I need someone else to answer!) of this blog who are writers or readers…
What’s your thoughts on buying 99 cents eBook short stories? Do you do this often or skip them for longer fiction?
Curious for two reasons: I like buying short stories from author’s I like and 99 cents is a nice price. And, second reason I ask: I have a bunch of short stories I’ve been thinking of either putting together in a bundle (like I did with Skulls and Bones. Death. Cenote collections), or simply selling them individually for 99 cents each.
I also have a couple of different sets of short stories with the same character(s) I was thinking of putting out as individual 99 cents shorts as well, but value any and all opinions from everyone.
I await your honest opinions! Go…
I’m not posting this to elicit pros and cons of joining the Horror Writers Assocation (HWA) because that’s pretty much beside the point at this point… get the point?
I go back and forth about it all the time. On one hand I think it’s a great group, and I know so many present members who talk about the wonderful things they’ve learned by being a member and the cool people they’ve met. It’s also one of those ‘you made it’ points in a career (well, to me it would be).
On the other hand, former members and writers who have no desire to join rip it or just think nothing useful can come from being a member. I can see some of their points, and I’ve been on the fence for a long time.
So, I decided to do something about it. I have no desire to be a supporting or affiliate member, though. That wouldn’t be the goal. I’ve decided to set my own goal and then figure it out from there.
I’m pretty much going to ignore everything I’ve ever sold and start from this moment to get the proper credits to become an active member: sell three short story pieces totalling 7,500 words or more for pro rates of 5 cents per word…
And then, at that point, figure out if I want to join. When I get the three sales (and I’m not being arrogant… it could take me five years to get three pro sales, if ever) I’ll have no excuse to not think about it.
That’s the goal. Sounds like a plan.
Now, to find three pro horror markets… oh, and write three stories… that’s the easy part.
The Summer of Zombie Blog Tour has begun – We now bring you 6 fantastic zombie novelists to entertain you. Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, TW Brown, John O’Brien and Dave Jeffery. I hope you enjoy their work and will check out more of their offerings.
Sample a healthy (undead) chunk from each author’s work, whether it’s samples from their books or short stories or both!
And it’s FREE on SmashWords, so grab a copy!
First off, thanks to Armand for letting me raid his online world for a day or two.
Since this is the first official post I’ve done on the Southern Hauntings Saga, I figure I may as well devote it to the beginnings of the story itself.
While some stories have obvious sources from which they’re birthed, this one was different. I think the seeds were sown a long time ago, a few of them being added with each year I spent in the south. There’s a lot to love about living here, but the myths and legends and history are as rich and intriguing as any you’ll find.
They say write what you know. I’ve lived here my entire life – all thirty two years of it. I know the south. Just like Stephen King writes about his beloved Maine or Bentley Little focuses on the southwest, I write about the south – even when I don’t realize it – because that’s what I know. I know the people, I know the land, I know the dialect and the stereotypes and the truths and the lies.
I also know that I like to scare people, but keep my eye on characters when I write.
Somewhere in the days after I finished up my second novel I started to realize I wanted to focus specifically on the people and places of the south. I pulled a few stories that I grew up with out of my memory and then started doing research for some more ideas. I started with ghosts. I wanted to write a ghost story. Simple enough, right? It is, until you start reading hundreds of ghost stories that are supposedly true and realize that there are so many things worth examining that it becomes hard to pick just one.
So why pick one?
Why not do more than one?
Hell, why not throw some monsters and myths in there too?
But how? I started out just deciding to do a ghost story in the south – a southern gothic type thing – and then work on something else like the Devil’s Stomping Grounds or another regional legend. Then I created Creighton Northgate, or “Crate”, as he prefers.
I’m not unaware of the many different “Paranormal Investigator” stories out there. Writers will tell you that there are only a handful of stories to tell and we all just tell them in different ways. They tell you that because it’s true. My idea was simple – tell the story of a paranormal investigator who doesn’t even want to be called that. Creighton Northgate sees the dead, and that provides him with some income. It also caused him to get thrown out of home and shunned by his family. He’s haunted, tormented. He can’t escape his past and for all we know, he can’t really remember it all. He’s an alcoholic. A highly functioning one, but an alcoholic nevertheless.
A character isn’t really unless they’re flawed, and I realized as I started writing “The Girl” and “The Vagrant”, the first two chapters in the “Southern Hauntings Saga” that Crate was just too interesting to leave in just one novella. Not to mention, his story is just too complex for a single book.
There’s a lot of ground to cover over the next few books. I’ve got a list of subjects for Crate to deal with that’s over two dozen long, although a lot of them will either get condensed down to shorter stories or thrown out altogether. It’s not just southern legends, either. You’re in for a few surprises as the series progresses, but through it all will be not just Crate but a whole host of characters as real as any you’ll meet. I know because I’ve met them in one form or another over my life.
So when you get right down to it, there was a combination of wanting to tell stories set in the south, the desire to fill them with interesting and very human characters, and that was about it. Then Creighton came along and turned it into a long, winding story that weaves through the hollows and the forests, the cliffs and the canyons, the backyard barbecues and the hunting trips on the weekends as it steadily makes its way towards a conclusion I’m excited to see. He transformed it from a series of independent stories sharing only the south as their common bond into something more than that.
I had a lot of fun writing this story. Each book is a totally different beast, but ties together with the others. I’ve never done anything like that before but always wanted to, and now that I’m knee deep in it I’m having a real blast.
In short, I hope that you enjoy reading the Southern Hauntings Saga as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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Bryan Hall is a fiction writer living in a one hundred year old farmhouse deep in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and three children.
Growing up in the Appalachias, he’s soaked up decades of fact and fiction from the area, bits and pieces of which usually weave their way into his writing whether he realizes it at the time or not.
He’s the author of the sci-fi horror novel Containment Room 7, the collection Whispers from the Dark, and the upcoming Southern Hauntings Saga. You can find him online at www.bryanhallfiction.com and learn more about the Southern Hauntings Saga at www.whoiscratenorthgate.weebly.com.
The Vagrant on Amazon
Summer of Zombie Blog Tour Kickoff Party
Two months with five other dudes who write about zombies… I’m shuddering as I look around the room at these freaks of writing, men who scribble about zombies ripping people apart, the end of the world, death and mayhem and destruction.
And then, I realize with a grin… my kinda people.
No blog tour of this magnitude would be complete without first introducing you to the people involved. I hope you’ll begin your journey this summer right here and take it all the way to the end, and get to know six very special authors along the way.
TW Brown is the author of the Zomblog series and the Dead series. He is deeply immersed in pursuing his dream of being a “full-time” writer while trying to balance the duties of husband, father, friend, and Border Collie owner. He keeps busy reading and editing the numerous submissions for a variety of upcoming anthologies and full-length titles for May December Publications. He has had short stories published by Pill Hill Press, Living Dead Press, and others. You can contact him at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.maydecemberpublications.com. You can follow him on twitter @maydecpub and on Facebook under Todd Brown, Author TW Brown, and also under May December Publications.
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Dave Jeffery is perhaps best known for his zombie novel Necropolis Rising which has gone on to be a UK #1 Bestseller. His Young Adult work includes the critically acclaimed Beatrice Beecham Series, BBC: Headroom endorsed Finding Jericho and the 2012 Edge Hill Prize Long-listed Campfire Chillers short story collection.
Dave has contributed to several anthologies from a variety of publishers including Dark Continents Publishing, Inc., Wild Wolf Publishing, Imprint Phoenix, Hersham Horror Books, Wicked East Press and Hidden Thoughts Press. His work has featured alongside many zombie impresarios including John Russo (Night of the Living Dead), Tony Burgess (Pontypool) and Joe McKinney (Flesh Eaters). His short story Daddy Dearest features in the award-winning Holiday of the Dead anthology (This is Horror Awards, Best Anthology, 2012).
He is currently writing the sequel to Necropolis Rising and co-writing Crabs: Apocalypse! the official seventh book in the pulp franchise “Night of the Crabs” created by horror icon Guy N Smith.
Dave is a member of the British Fantasy Society. His website can be found at: www.davejeffery.webs.com
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John O’Brien is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, John became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry starting two large casinos inWashington as the Information Technology Manager and becoming the Network Manager for the Washington State Legislature, the Northwest Information Technology Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Network Systems Manager for Hollywood Video. Currently, John is self employed with his own Information Technology consulting company consulting and managing various businesses with their information technology needs. He also volunteers for a local youth center managing their computer lab.
As a former marathon runner, John lives in the beautifulPacific Northwestand can now be found kayaking out in the waters ofPuget Sound, mountain biking in theCapitalForest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads.
Author of A New World: Chaos, An New World: Return, A New World: Sanctuary and
A New World: Taken
Web site: http://anewworldseries.com/
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Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he is completely unprepared for the coming zombie apocalypse. And it is coming. He hopes to be one of the first killed during it so he doesn’t have to worry. His fiction is mostly zombie, including the Stellar Ultima Outstanding Zombie Award (he just made that up on the spot) for his Dying Days series. He will keep writing zombie stories as long as people keep buying them. He is in love with Twitter at the moment, so find him at @ArmandAuthor before he grows bored with it. http://armandrosamilia.com
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Mark Tufo was born inBostonMassachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corps. He was stationed inParris IslandSC, Twenty Nine Palms CA andKaneohe BayHawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution, he had gone back to school to obtain his masters but when he found himself unemployed due to a company wide layoff he decided to write a book.
He had written the first installment of the Indian Hill trilogy in college, it sat in his garage until July 2009 when he published it on Kindle. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.
He lives inMainewith his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.
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Ian Woodhead is just past the age of forty and lives in the north of England. He’s married to a wonderful woman and has forgotten how many children he has. He had been writing for nearly twenty years but only just gained the confidence to start showing his work for the past few months. To press, he’s written numerous short stories and seven novels. Four of the novels are about zombies. Ian likes to write about zombies. He is currently deep inside another zombie story (Big shock) and three more novels, all in various stages of completion.
Ian finds it a little creepy writing about himself in the third person. Zombies DO NOT run. http://deadian.webs.com/
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All six of us – Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O’Brien and Dave Jeffery – hope you’ll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.
And… one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we’ll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that!