Hey there, zombie pals,
Halloween is on the horizon, so my mind has been on zombies.
To be fair, I think about zombies pretty much 365 days a year (366 days on leap years). Whether it's Christmas, Halloween, No Pants Day (First Friday of May) or National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5th), I'll always dedicate a generous amount of my waking time to pondering how a zombie pandemic might alter my weekly schedule.
That's just how my brain works. Zombies are my escape from reality. Being the father of two kids and married to a busy wife with an actual job, I always have a ridiculous amount of errands, appointments and logistical family obligations on my calendar. If I could cut my weekly responsibilities down to nothing more than a few hours of machete fighting, subsistence pigeon hunting and occasional moat-building, I probably wouldn't need so many darn Alexa reminders just to stay on track with life.
Same goes for special events or celebrations. Whether I'm attending a street parade, a backyard BBQ or a baptism, I'm picturing zombies, suddenly storming in uninvited, just to mix things up a bit. Whatever the cause for public festivity, I always try to spoil it with a few million imaginary undead cannibals. Invite me to a housewarming pot luck, I'll probably bring a truck full of freeze-dried chili con carne, veterinary-grade antibiotics and a freshly sharpened scythe.
I do make up for it by rocking the karaoke microphone, though. There's nothing quite like watching a full-grown man belt out a gravelly, emo version of Divynlys' classic ballad I touch myself to bring the house down. Nobody's ever confirmed that I'm any good at singing, of course, but until Simon Cowell tells me otherwise, I'll keep thinking of myself as an undiscovered Robert Plant.
Some dates are obviously more socially acceptable than others for daydreaming about zombies: March 11th's National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day is spot-on perfect; June 13th's International Axe Throwing Day also works well; and December 5th's International Ninja Day sounds so awesome I'm marking it on my calendar.
Likewise, there are some days which are massively incompatible with fantasizing about the zombie apocalypse: July 8th's National Sneak some Zucchini onto your Neighbor's Porch Day doesn't really jive, somehow; March 15th's National Napping Day seems thoroughly ill-advised; and August 5th's National Underwear Day... yeah, no. You probably don't want to be officially honoring your panties and tighty-whiteys on the same day you repeatedly soil them while running from a pack of half-eaten Calvin Klein and Victoria's Secret underwear models, right?
Anyway, like I said, I've been thinking about zombies. And you know what? As much as I love everything to do with zombies (except maybe for zombie-themed sex toys, that's WAY out of my zombie-nerd ballpark), I think I've realized that I'm not particularly scared of zombies anymore.
Don't get me wrong. I love 'em to death, pardon the pun. I read tons of zombie books, I watch zombie movies, zombie TV shows... but these days, it's all just fun. I don't think I even remember the last time I watched a zombie movie and truly felt scared.
(Meanwhile, I do get kind of stressed out watching the season finale of Ted Lasso...)
To be honest, I'm a little miffed that zombies don't scare me much anymore. Maybe I overdid it with zombies over these past years. It's kind of like when you eat too much spicy food: a few months in, the spiciness barely tingles your taste buds anymore, and you spend way less time in the bathroom after your meal, moaning while secretly updating your Facebook status. Or how when you've been married to the same person for many years, you give up on trying to fix yourself up before they see you in the morning. When I wake up, I usually look like somebody crossbred Big Bird's grandfather with a grouchy Steven Tyler. But despite my monstrous morning appearance, I haven't heard any complaints from my wife in years.
There's a lesson here: if you give yourself enough time to gradually neglect your looks while living with somebody, they probably won't notice. Just work it in there, slow and steady, like you're building one of those beautiful Buddhist Monk sand mandalas, except on your face, and way more hideous.
If I give it another good twenty years or so, my wife probably won't even notice that somebody swapped her previously dapper husband with a moist, half-melted wax statue of Yoda that smells like a forgotten ham sandwich, and who hardly wears anything beyond old Crocs and ragged flannel pajama bottoms.
Anyway, that sounds like a reasonable explanation: I've simply been overexposed to zombies. Maybe I just need to mix in some vampires, demonic billionaires and shape-shifting succubae to keep things fresh.
Naaah. I'll stick to zombies. By the time the zompoc happens, I'll be so zombie-jaded the post-apocalypse won't be any scarier than a rerun of Seinfeld. That works for me.
What about you? Do you ever get scared watching or reading zombie movies?
There's a big "except" to my earlier statement about not being scared of zombies anymore: Thing is, I'm not scared of zombies, EXCEPT... I just heard about The Sadness.
That's right. There's a brand new Taiwanese quasi-zombie movie on the horizon, and this one is apparently so terrifying and traumatizing most viewers can't even handle it. But it's also supposed to be really, really good. Like, the critics who've seen it - those who could actually sit through it - are RAVING about it. So maybe, just like Negan on TWD says, I need to keep my sh***ing pants on. Because even watching the trailer below kind of makes me want to go stock up on toilet paper like it's 2020.
Note that this movie isn't out yet, but it should be available on lots of streaming services pretty soon. I don't know about you, but as soon as it's out, I'm going to give it a go. If you stop hearing from me for a while, assume that I may be taking an extended vacation under my bed.
What about you?
Are you doing anything fun for Halloween? Trick or treating, handing out candy at home, binge-watching scary movies, bio-engineering an underground clown-werewolf virus to take over the planet?
Me, I'll be trick or treating with my kids. I'll also likely be wearing my favorite zombie mask, which is so scary-looking it's probably illegal in most countries. This is me in my mask. Most of my neighbors are elderly, so there may soon be a bunch of houses on my street for sale, in case you're in the market.
If you have an unusual, funny or scary Halloween costume, I'd love to see it!
Editing, editing, editing!
So much editing is happening right now it's making me dizzy. Better Dead than Red is heading off to my copy editor right now, so it's inching closer to the finish line! And after a massive amount of polishing, Zillionaire is back for its final review with our developmental editor, then off it goes to formatting. I just got three brand new illustrations for the book a few days ago to better subdivide the book into three parts: Before Zompoc, During Zompoc, and After Zompoc. I'm really happy with how these turned out... along with the 60+ original cartoons we have in the book, the print version of this book will look fantastic!
ALSO, some really big news (for me at least!): my first ever novella Dom of the Dead is finally available in print and eBook format on Amazon (also free on Kindle Unlimited)!
Putting Dom of the Dead on Amazon wasn't even on my radar, except that I found out a few weeks ago that I had several awesome reviews for the story on Goodreads (btw: if you're one of the readers who took the time to write up a review, thank you so, so much!). A fellow author warned me that if Amazon (who owns Goodreads) noticed that my book was listed on Goodreads but not on Amazon, they'd take down the listing along with all of its reviews. I really didn't want these great reader comments to disappear, so I put in a couple of weeks of work to reformat and polish the story, get a full 3d cover made, write an extra chapter, and learn how to set up an Amazon author account.
This also means that Dom of the Dead is no longer available as a freebie, like it has been for the past year. The good news is that once my upcoming Better Dead than Red is published (it'll be available for free for my newsletter readers when it first launches), I'm going to write a third free Zombie Vale story to give away to all my fantastic newsletter subscribers. (I already know what this story is going to be, and I think you'll all really enjoy it.)
In the meantime, though, I would SO appreciate it if you would consider leaving a review for Dom of the Dead, now that it's finally available on Amazon. As of right now, I don't have a single Amazon review yet, so you could be one of the first to share your feedback!
We indie authors are always so eager for reviews, because only about 1% of readers ever take the time to leave them. Reviews really twiddle Amazon's algorithms, and go such a long way towards helping a book get noticed by potential readers, especially when it's newly listed. It also means so much to us, on a personal level. The day I figured out I had some actual good reviews on Goodreads was honestly one of the happiest days I've had in years. And if you're feeling extra awesome and buy a copy (electronic or print), Amazon gives your review the golden "Verified Purchase" stamp of approval, which turbo-charges its legitimacy.
BONUS INCENTIVE: There's an all-new chapter in Dom of the Dead which wasn't there before. If you don't want to buy the story, you can still read the new chapter using Amazon's Look Inside feature (it's Chapter 2; you can't see it right now, but Amazon will update the preview version over the next few days to make it visible), but if you'd like to actually own the full, newly updated version, and maybe even leave a review... well, if I were a medieval bard, I would compose epic ballads about your wisdom and beauty. Given that I'm not a medieval bard, I can at least promise to think fondly upon you while humming in the shower. How's that for gratitude?
My brother recently gave me an awesome belated birthday gift: a hardcover edition of Afterlife with Archie: Escape From Riverdale, a graphic novel that compiles issues #1-5 of the Afterlife with Archie comic book series.
Now, I don't know about you, but I grew up devouring Archie comics. Reading Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica's antics was a huge part of my childhood. So I was thrilled to find out that my favorite cartoon teenagers from Riverdale have an entire universe where they're pitted against hordes of the undead!
Afterlife with Archie is a really fun, nostalgic read, reminiscent of an older generation of horror movies. It makes a great addition to any zombie book collection. Obviously, this is a way more mature take on the Archie mythos than the regular comics, sort of midway between the original comics and the Riverdale TV adaptation. It's bloody, disturbing and quite dark. But the authors still manage to retain all the usual fun Archie teenie-bopper dynamics, from the eternal Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle, to Moose and Midge's complicated relationship, to Reggie's predictable troublemaking antics. All the usual characters are there, including Mr. Lodge, Mr. Weatherby, Pops, Big Ethel and many more. You even get a cameo from Sabrina the teenage witch!
Also... lots and lots and LOTS of flesh-eating zombies. Consider yourself warned. Not everybody makes it out of this zompoc alive.
I really enjoyed this read, and the artwork is shockingly good. I highly recommend it to anybody who loved Archie comics, and who also happen to dig zombie stories. The series continues with a second hardcover compilation titled "Afterlife with Archie: Betty RIP", and I'll definitely be buying that one also.
BOOKS BY MY AUTHOR FRIENDS
Baileigh Higgins - Primordial Earth
Book One of The Extinction Series
This is their world, and we are the prey.
After an unexplained event shifted entire cities millions of years into the past, life has become a daily struggle for survival. Rogue, tenacious and fierce, has never known anything except a harsh life on the streets of Prime City until she finds herself on the wrong side of the law... and the wall.
Nothing could’ve prepared her for the outside...
Exiled, unarmed, and alone, she faces a perilous journey into a savage prehistoric world. With nothing but her wits, she sets out into the unknown. Can she find a way to survive or will the primordial land claim another victim?
Primordial Earth is a gripping time-traveling, sci-fi thriller for fans of action-packed, character-driven, post-apocalyptic tales.
FREE BOOK PROMOTIONS
That's all I have, friends. Thanks so much for reading, catch you again next month!
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