Not really… at least, I hope. I want Alyssa Milano to write mine, and cry about her missed chance with me… anyway, I did a nice thing yesterday because I can sometimes be a nice guy. Todd wrote about it, which was very nice of him (although I didn’t do it for the accolades, I will take them)
This week we lost a great friend, who’s battle with cancer came on suddenly and took his life… but Larry ‘Stew’ Stewart will never be missed, and I’d like to think even now he’s up in Heaven teaching the angels the proper techniques to use a crossbow. He was a huge fan of the Dying Days zombie series and came out with his wife Gerri (and, of course, Orion) in support of me at book signings. I was lucky enough to meet him through author Tim Baker, and I’m glad I did. Alas, not five minutes after completing this tale I received the word he’d gotten his final orders.
Dying Days: Stew
Orion stood at attention next to Larry “Stew” Stewart, waiting for the signal. There were three zombies in the Cracker Barrel parking lot, all wandering aimlessly. He had a clear shot at two of them but the other was behind the façade and the closest to the front doors. The zombie was stumbling through the ornate wooden rocking chairs for sale.
Stew bent down slightly, feeling his knees shake. His lower back, still giving him fits thanks to a war wound as a gunner in a humvee, popped loud enough he thought the zombies would hear him. “On my count, Orion. I need you to distract the last one. But first…” Stew drew his crossbow and pulled two bolts from his shoulder bag.
With precision aim he took out the first two zombies with perfect bull’s-eye hits to the forehead, dropping them both. He turned to his faithful companion, Orion, and nodded. “Go.”
Orion ran across the parking lot in silence, stopping a few feet from the zombie until the undead noticed the dog. Orion danced backwards as the zombie approached.
The crossbow bolt took it right in the left eye and it fell to its knees before planting face-first into the pavement.
“Here you go,” Stew said and pulled the last liver treat from his jacket pocket, tossing it to Orion. “We make a great team.”
The Cracker Barrel was dark inside, but Stew was always prepared. You didn’t survive this long in such a harsh climate using a cane and with a bad back and two bad knees unless you knew what you were doing. He pulled a small flashlight from his gear and took a tentative step inside. He had his Taurus Circuit Judge rifle-barrel shotgun with .410 gauge 3-inch magnum shotshells at the ready, and his 4510 Taurus Public Defender revolver was loose in his side holster. He didn’t want to alert any zombies in the area to his presence, but he would use his firepower if need be.
He used the light to methodically scan the ruins of the Cracker Barrel, noticing the faint footprints in the gathering dust. Someone had been here and recently.
Stew put a hand up for Orion. He didn’t want the dog to go running inside blindly and get bit or get shot by the living. It was safer to keep him back until he was needed. And Stew hoped it didn’t get to that. He had another bolt ready to go in his crossbow.
Once he got inside he kept the flashlight aimed at the dirty floor, and knew there were at least three sets of recent prints in the building. The retail store side was trashed, with broken clothing racks on the floor and the shelves barren and cracked, tables rotting and covered in a layer of dust. The front windows had been blown in at some point and a pile of leaves, tree branches and dirt were under the windows.
Orion gave a short, low growl.
Stew turned and fired his crossbow, striking the zombie in the face. Her dirty blonde hair, straggly and falling out, came off the top of her head as her bloated corpse hit the ground with a loud thud.
He turned as fast as his injuries would allow, scanning the restaurant for more threats. Confident he was alone for the moment, he bent and rubbed Orion’s side. “Good job, once again.” Stew wished he had more treats or some hot dogs. Orion loved hot dogs.
The thump from the kitchen brought another bolt to the crossbow and Stew was sliding quietly across the dirty floor without a sound. He kept Orion back with a simple hand command. He didn’t want to find a hundred zombies inside and have Orion charge into the fight. And Orion would to protect Stew.
Stew was glad there were no doors leading into the kitchen. From his vantage point he could see only darkness. He put the crossbow into his left hand and slowly raised the flashlight, the beam cutting through a destroyed server station just inside the door, its light gleaming off the stainless steel counters. Before he swept the beam to either side he saw the movement.
The flashlight was put between his teeth and he took the shot with the crossbow, slamming the lead zombie through the nose and pushing it back into the three behind it.
His Public Defender was pulled, and he planted his good leg and began shooting the zombies one at a time as they stumbled out of the kitchen. He didn’t want to announce his position, but he didn’t have a choice.
The first three went down and he had a pause as the next one tried to step over his comrades and fell to the floor, kicking up dust. Stew noticed all of them were heavily armed, although they had no brains to use the weapons.
Stew caught the movement to his left as more zombies came from around the other kitchen door, rifles and ammo belts around their shoulders and backs. He took careful aim so he didn’t hit a weapon, and started putting them down.
He switched to the Circuit Judge and blew holes in them, taking a large chunk of the wall as well. None of the zombies got close to him, falling well short of the fireplace between the openings.
Another three zombies came from the left and two more from the right and Stew kept his focus, spraying back and forth until there was nothing moving. Dust and smoke stung his eyes but he didn’t so much as blink, because he was too busy listening for the scraping of a shoe or any movement. Satisfied after two minutes of keeping still, he finally entered the kitchen, leading with the Circuit Judge and his flashlight. Once he was sure the Cracker Barrel was secure, he’d go back and strip the enemy of their weapons.
There was a lone zombie crawling on the floor at him, its legs severed from the knees. Stew put it out of its misery with a shot to the head.
At one point some or all of these zombies had been alive, because the office was packed with boxes of food and gallons of water, and the kitchen counters were covered with so much ammo and weapons Stew wanted to cry. “We hit paydirt,” he whispered to Orion. “The only thing missing is some hot dogs for you.”
Stew smiled at his good fortune, and went about securing the dining room windows and main doors, setting traps in the parking lot, and inventorying his massive supply of guns, ammo and food.
If he didn’t find a pack of hot dogs in one of the ice chests, he’d have to keep on his journey, but at least he had a solid home base for his new missions.
Stew smiled and pet Orion.
I’m interviewed about all things zombie on another great blog, so check it out!
I’ve been a prolific writer for many years, and I have quite a backlog of unpublished short stories, most of which shall always remain unpublished. That’s just reality. There are some solid ideas in the pile, but overall most of them aren’t really worthy of being sent out into the world unless I go back and rewrite them. With so many new ideas always invading my head, it doesn’t seem logical.
I’ve had a couple of stories submitted and ‘bought’ by small press publishers that have never seen actual publication, and that is the price you pay at times for dealing with companies that range from professional to scatter-brain, broke and just a dreamer with an idea. I have no problem with presses tanking and shutting down, because it’s just the way the business works. What I have a problem with is a small press company that strings your story along for months and sometimes years, and then suddenly releases a book with your story in it and never bothers to tell you or give you any credit in their Amazon listing or anywhere else.
It’s recently happened to me for the second time, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, to be honest. The original submission went out in March 2012 and was finally accepted in September 2012, which is a long period to wait but fine. Maybe six months isn’t a big deal. Of course, a query after 2 months and 4 months went unanswered, which was annoying. But I got it.
I went back and forth over the next week or so about edits (I had a couple) and then they were going to send me further notice. This was September 2012.
And then I heard nothing. So in November 2012 I asked about it but no answer. As well as January and February 2013, all unanswered. I sent them an e-mail saying I was pulling the story since I’d never seen anything further from them, never saw a word about the press again, and the website is pretty stagnant.
Today… March 2013, I get an ‘Oops! This was published in October 2012, the e-mail must have gone to your spam folder (which it did not, since I check it every few hours to make sure nothing gets dumped there, which stuff does) and I sent out a mass e-mail. Here’s the link.’
The Amazon listing only has the editor and one contributor listed and the cover designer and none of the other authors involved and only a few of them tagged on the bottom of the page (about half?) which bothers me. Why?
As a small press publisher you’d think the goal would be not only to put out a great anthology, but to get your authors involved in promoting the heck out of it and generating sales for it. This book is languishing in the 1.8 million ranks, the cover is so generic (it’s the same cover you’ve seen a dozen times in the last few months with the zombie chick on the cover) and they only have 4 reviews. And it is for charity!
Why not let the authors get behind it? Why not send out more than one mass e-mail saying it was released and here’s the link? Why not ask for authors to post about it on their blogs, tell them to mention it in interviews or just ask for help promoting it? It feels like, after all that time, they just wanted to toss it out there and be done with it.
I had a similar situation with a vampire anthology last year. I finally wrote a vampire story but the press went under and another took over, but then they just put it out without any author input or listings anywhere, and it tanked. I’m not expecting every author to be listed in the title, but a list of their names in the book description might generate a few sales, right? Why think a reader will see the title and the editor’s name and take even a second to open the sample and read to see who’s on the ToC?
Am I being too dramatic this morning? Am I putting too much effort into this? I haven’t gone on Author Central yet and linked this anthology to my author page, and I’m not sure I want to. It’s been out for five months already without me knowing about it, and there has been zero promotion for it. There was never any payment for the story, and no royalties are forthcoming… I’m not sure why I even submitted now, to be honest. I think the concept was great and the website (at the time) was very professional and it was for a charity, so I sent it in. I like doing charity anthologies, but I’m curious how much money was actually generated without any promotion.
I’m not going to tell you the name of the book or the company. If I decide to list it in my books it will be up there, but I seriously doubt I will go through the minor effort of doing it. It seems they didn’t bother.
Alex Laybourne Interviews Armand Rosamilia, his Boyhood Crush! #horror #zombies #pudding
My guest today is another talented author, and a man I am lucky enough to call a friend. He is a fan of the darker side of fiction and is living the life many of us can only ever dream of. In a return visit to my humble little blog, ladies and gentlemen is if my pleasure to share with you the words of Mr. Armand Rosamilia
You and I chat quite a lot online, but for those people not cool enough to hang with us, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’d rather not…
I am a very serious horror author who has no real time for humor. I live only to write about my ex-wives and all those who’ve wronged me in my past (and present and future) by making fun of my mullet as a teen, and playing Dungeons & Dragons (I was a…
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Excellent blog by Alex Laybourne about what I’m talking about this week, too
I have seen a number of posts this past week about publishing and the world of professional writing, and a number of them raised the same question that I have been pondering; a theory that I am currently testing.
As the industry has changed, so changed the mindset of the read. The instant access offered to us all by e-readers led to a shift in reading choices, with more interest being expressed in short stories and anthologies than longer novels. I am not saying they overtook the popularity of novels, but the interest and demand for novellas and short work increased at a rapid rate.
What happened as a result… writers started putting short fiction out into the market. It made sense. However, it would appear that in an instant world, were we want everything to come in manageable chunks, we are seeing another shift in the demands of readers…
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A fellow bored author (you know who you are!) was talking about the diverse songs he has on his iPod and asked me if mine was all just Metal music. I told him confidently it wasn’t… because I don’t own an iPod.
But I do have an external drive with exactly 16,404 songs on it right now. I didn’t hand count them, I just hit the properties button. Anyway, the question did throw me a bit… was it all Metal on there? It turns out there is a crapload of Metal on there, and I am quite proud of it. Some of this shit was copied from CD’s I bought 25+ years ago and I still have, local New Jersey bands you never heard of like Xenon, American Angel, Push and Bon Jovi (OK, maybe you know that one).
I have a ton of music I don’t listen to, but I decided to make a list of the ones I really still like (some of them are utter cheese but I won’t apologize) and list them in no particular order… although the first one happens to be my favorite song EVER and sits on top for a reason. Without further ado… a bunch of non-Metal songs I still listen to when the mood strikes me… oh, and just a quick ado… none of these are considered Metal songs or even hard rock for some, I tried to stay away from anything heavier if I could help it… OK, no further ado… OK, one more… I know there are a ton of cool songs I left out, but these were the first group I know I’ve listened to recently… OK, again… :
Anything, Anything by Dramarama
Knockers by The Darkness
Joey by Concrete Blonde
Never Surrender by Corey Hart
Missing by Everything But The Girl
Radar Gun by Bottle Rockets
Heartspark Dollarsign by Everclear
Irish Drinking Song by Dropkick Murphys
Sitting In A Bar by Rehab
Candy by Iggy Pop
Do Right by Jimmy’s Chicken Shack
Light of Day by Joan Jett
Ready To Go by Republica
Blood And Roses by The Smithereens
Dear God by XTC
Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo
Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes
Silent All These Years by Tori Amos
Jersey Girl (live) by Bruce Springsteen
What have we learned, boys and girls? Don’t let me drink Jack Daniels Honey close to midnight on a Friday and decide I need to post a blog for Saturday… pretty much, that might be it…