I’ve always been a lover of the short story. As a reader as well as writer. Although I love reading novels and novellas, I get an extra special thrill when I learn a writer I like has a new collection coming out. I may be atypical, because I know many people who find a collection less satisfying than a novel. I couldn’t disagree more. The satisfactions are different, but with a collection I feel almost like you’re getting more bang for your buck, a dozen or more fictional worlds for the price of one. There are many collections I love, more than I can discuss here, but I have decided to list my favorite five here. In no particular order. Skeleton Crew
by Stephen King. To be honest, I don’t think there’s a collection by King that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Though the man is known for his sprawling epic novels, I think he is a master of the short form. However, Skeleton Crew
is my favorite, I think its selection of tales is remarkably strong and eclectic. “The Mist” alone is worth the price of admission, but stories like “The Jaunt,” “The Raft,” “The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands,” and “The Reach” really make this collection a standout. The writing is solid, the stories engaging, and they cover a variety of subjects and even genres. Electric Gumbo
by Joe R. Lansdale. Lansdale has numerous short story collections, and when I see his best discussed I rarely see this one mentioned, but for me it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first collection I ever read by the man and the one that made me fall in love with his writing. It contains some of his most well known tales such as “The Night They Missed the Horror Show,” “The Steel Valentine,” “By Bizarre Hands,” “Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back”, as well as some nonfiction pieces. It shows a great range, and what really impressed me was how hard these stories were to categorize as far as genre. They were just damn good stories. The Books of Blood Vol. I
by Clive Barker. Barker burst on to the scene with the first three volumes of The Books of Blood
, making quite a name for himself and deservedly so. I believe the first volume of this series to be the strongest. If for no other reasons than it contains what I consider to be one of the best short stories I’ve ever read, “In the Hills, the Cities.” Takes a familiar premise of the couple wandering into a strange little town off the beaten path and takes it in exciting and unexpected directions. Other stand outs are “The Midnight Meat Train” and “Sex, Death and Starshine.” A stunning collection that really did change the face of horror. Blue World
by Robert McCammon. The man’s novels are very well known, but I think most people are unaware of his short fiction. The only collection he ever put together, I think Blue World
is a thrilling and extraordinary selection of short tales. Tales like “Nightcrawlers” and “Something Passed By” are highly effective and memorable horror stories, but the collection also has offerings like “Night Calls the Green Falcon” which is a poignant homage to the old serial cliffhangers that preceded movies, and the story has a lot of heart and emotional weight. I love McCammon’s novels, but I truly wish he’d do more short stories as well because he has the skill. Smoke and Mirrors
by Neil Gaiman. I’m not the biggest fantasy fan in the world, but something about Gaiman’s work I find utterly magical and transcendent. He has done a couple of collections, but this one I think is near perfection. Tales like “Chivalry” and “The Price” place fantastical elements firmly in a real world we will all recognize, creating something both surreal and familiar that thrills the reader. There are some narrative poems here, and “One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock” is both a tribute and a moving examination of the power of stories. This is a wonderful sampling of Gaiman’s work, showcasing his ability to transport readers into the worlds of his making effortlessly. The Illustrated Man
by Ray Bradbury. Okay, so I know I said my favorite five, but I simply could not have a list that did not include Bradbury. He wrote novels, nonfiction, etc., but I have always found that where he truly excelled was the short story. He has so many great collections, I had trouble settling on one, but I chose The Illustrated Man
because it was the first I read by him and truly inspired and captivated me. Mostly science fiction stories, at their core they are about the human condition. Stories like “The Veldt,” “The Man,” “The Long Rain,” and “The Exiled” all use futuristic settings and sci-fi set ups to explore modern issues and concerns. It also contains the masterpiece “The Other Foot” which confronts racism with a candor and fair-mindedness that is quite astonishing for a story originally published in the early 50s.
Okay, so there you have it, just a few of my short story collections by some of my favorite writers. As a writer who favors short fiction myself, it is my goal not to outdo these writers—because that would never be possible—but to follow their example. When I put together my collection GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC, I tried very hard to select stories that would represent my range as a writer. Some dark, nasty tales, some more humorous, a few that were more fantastical and sweet, and even some that didn’t really fit into the horror or fantasy genres per se.
I wanted readers who were perhaps just discovering my writing through GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC to get an eclectic peak into my imagination. A little down and dirty horror, a little heartfelt fantasy, a little something here and there to make you think, some flash fiction, some longer pieces. My hope is that readers walk away from it feeling like they’ve gotten a crash course on what I’m capable of as a storyteller, and that the stories have left them satisfied and entertained.Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll end up on someone’s favorites list.GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC can be purchased in digital format here: http://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-in-the-Attic-ebook/dp/B00CUPZ4LS/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1370653381&sr=1-19http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghosts-in-the-Attic-ebook/dp/B00CUPZ4LS/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1370675690&sr=8-8&keywords=mark+allan+gunnells
Sometimes you stumble across something and you want to tell the world about. It happens I’ve found something I’d like to share, something joyous, yet unsettling, amateur, yet smart.
I’m talking about Splatterpunk.
Splatterpunk is forty-odd pages of horror goodness, a zine created by the mysterious Jack Bantry, who by luck, fluke or maybe blackmail has secured a few decent names in horror to grace his pages. In the issue I received I read a short story by Jeff Strand called Fair Trade that was instantly my first favourite read of the year, accomplishing more tension in three pages than some authors do in entire novels. Also included were three other equally fantastic shorts all illustrated by some extremely talented artists, a few columns, some encouraging reviews and a truly honest interview with Ray Garton. Bantry has pulled in some great names and more are promised in the future.
I caught up with Jack to question him more about his amateur endeavour.
What's your readership and how's it growing since you started?
“I printed 200 copies of the first issue. Selling was difficult because there's not too many horror magazines and websites anymore and they get so much stuff sent to review that they only seem to choose "known" publishers. I have nearly sold them all and that's just through my website and me pushing it through other writers' sites. I printed 200 copies of issue 2. It came out 3 weeks ago and I've nearly sold them all. I print the zine myself so I can print another 100 copies in the next couple of weeks and I hope to increase the print run of issue 2 up to 500 copies. The problem is still getting reviews. But more people are showing interest.”
Who's you're furthest subscriber so far?
“I don't take subscribers because I don't know when the next issue will come out. Well, I do but it's not official. I don't have a set deadline and I don't know if the zine will be here in 6 issues, so I don't want the pressure of a six issue subscription, etc. (Issue 3 will be out June/July and issue 4 at the end of November. Issue 4 has to come out then because someone is writing me a christmas story involving one of their popular, long running characters!).75 percent of people buying the zine come from the USA, Approx 15 percent UK and 10 percent Australia.”
Would you ever consider an E-copy of Splatterpunk in the future?
“No. Splatterpunk is a printed zine. I think I'm able to attract great writers (in my opinion A listers) because it's a printed zine. There are loads of ezines publishing horror shorts, but the printed zine is sadly disappearing. I don't have any desire to do an ezine.”
What inspired you to create the zine in the first place?
“I read horror obsessively and have done since I picked up a Stephen King novel in the late 80's. I have since started writing horror stories and when I started looking for places to send them I noticed all the small press horror zines had folded (Enigmatic Tales, Unhinged, Sackcloth & Ashes, Sci-Fright, etc). I used to do a punk zine in the 90's and I got the idea in my head to start a horror fiction zine. Then because of the time it takes to read submissions I decides to invite writers who I love to read. The zine is still open to submissions. But I wanted to have people who I'd like to read, and I needed some popular names to help sell it!”
How do you approach the authors in order to secure their stories in the first place?
“I invite writers which I love to read and I pay them a small amount of money in exhange for a new story which they all seem to write especially for the zine. Which I think is awesome. They are household names and I can't believe how generous they are. The same goes for the artists. Glenn Chadbourne did me some art. He illustrates Stephen King books for Cemetery Dance! I have found that there's a whole community of like minded people. Some want a lot of money, but it's their job after all! Others make money elsewhere and support me on the cheap. Maybe they remember the days when there were more zines. It could be nostalgia. Or they could be really nice people. The zine is DIY, it has the punk ethic. I don't make any money and actually lose money paying writers. I think they know this and it's good to see people sometimes do this for the love. I can't thank them enough.”
When I first held Splatterpunk in my hands, I admit I felt a little giddy. It felt underground and a little bit wrong. I’m used to either e-books or a paperback with a broken spine, so holding twenty sheets of A4 stapled together felt like I was cheating on books altogether. But it felt good and a little bit dangerous.
I know zines have a place in the past, and there’s little point in producing one today, with the cheapness and range of the internet, what’s the point?
Because it isn’t mass produced and there wasn’t many others reading the same as I was. It felt special, as if I’d been admitted into some secret club.
With chapbooks becoming more and more popular as little keepsakes of horror nuggets, there seems no reason why a zine such as this could take off; quality content done on the cheap. Whilst Splatterpunk is still in its early days, I hold much hope for it. A lot of love and talent and talent has gone into producing it, all it needs is the readership keep it afloat.
What are you waiting for?!?
Head to http://splatterpunkzine.wordpress.com/ to order a copy, only £2.99 an issue!
For me, and a lot of others in the horror community, it’s been year of the zombie. The Walking Dead has found its pace on television, re-inventing it’s story lines to bring surprise turns for even the most die-hard fans of the graphic novels, whilst Brian Keene’s The Last Zombie reaches its final story arch. Zombie culture will continue well into the New Year with the release of World War Z, Warm Bodies and the BBC’s own zombie drama, In The Flesh airing on BBC3 in the spring. With such abundance of undead material out there it’ll come as no shock that seven of my top ten of the year are zombie related in some way. I can’t apologize for this, unless writers stop coming up with great new ideas involving Z’s, I’m helpless. I think why the zombie craze has taken off so much is that’s it’s a monster that anybody (or anything) can become. As humans who get sick each and every flu season, we see zombies as the next step perhaps, death looking back and clawing for another chance at life. It’s an intrinsic fear of ours about getting ill, or catching germs, the reason we shrieked so much whilst playing ‘TAG’ as a child. Nobody wants to be it, but anybody can be it.
So take a looksie of my picks of the year, I’ve read them all and loved them all. If you want to make a lot of authors happy check them out. Hell, check them all out. I’m glad I did!
10. Donny Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Ken Goldman
“Ken Goldman, is the author of more than 650 published stories, which makes wonder why I feel a little cheated over this short story collection. I mean, if he’s written so damned many, why tease the reader with only five? Whilst each tale is murderously brilliant in its own right, so why hold back Ken?”
9. The Meat Wagon by Marcus Blakeston
“What you get with The Meat Wagon is refreshing, though disturbing take on the zombie apocalypse. Whilst normal apocaliterature follows the road of a dysfunctional hero or rag tag bunch of survivors, Blakeston gives us a bad ass motorcycle gang, bleary eyed and hung over then thrust into the man eating madness of a zombie invasion. Blakeston creates the interesting scenario of what the lawless dregs of society will get up to when our infrastructure and government eventually crumbles to dust and it’s a nice change to not follow a group of do-gooders into the end of world dawn but a bunch of wise-cracking, drinking and fighting, morally corrupt bikers.”
8. Survival Horror by Paul Johnson
“The story is short and satisfying as Johnson doesn’t waste much time in setting up the situation before he heads off at breakneck speed through splatters of gore and double cross’s whilst making it as easy as possible for the reader to enjoy themselves without feeling like your missing anything out. I even found myself chuckling at points at sly references to the future and a few decent one liners. We have an admirably hero, despicable villains, and a seemingly never ending army of infected psychos wanting to tear our hero apart, all set against a time limit which adds another welcome dynamic tension to proceedings.”
7. Tribesmen by Adam Cesare
“Remember those shock horror exploitation movies from the 70’s and 80’s? Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, Eaten Alive etc, etc. Some even alluded to being snuff films showing real gore, which gave further mileage to the famed ‘video nasties’. Adam Cesare’s debut novel deals with one such shoot in which a Euro trash director, Tito Bronze maroons his cast and crew on a desolate isle with the intention of utilising the local natives. When the local are nowhere to be found, the castaways realise that they’ve made their first mistake by coming here. What follows is a supernatural, splatterfest; long enough to be devoured in one grisly chunk, but short enough to leave you hungry for more as Cesare offers his victims up as a buffet to ghosts of the islanders who seem intent on making their own film, with which much more realistic special effects than the director originally intended.”
6. Badass Zombie Road Trip by Tonia Brown
“I could find little wrong with BZRT; it’s nicely written, well plotted with enough twists and turns to keep any readers attention all the while being an interesting take on the zombie genre. The plot involving two friends, one who, by way of other worldly forces and a deal with a certain fallen angel, finds himself a fully fledged paid up member of the undead, is far enough away from traditional zombie fare to attract a full range of horror fans.”
5. The Undead Situation by Eloise J Knapp
“I don’t know how she did it, nor do I know where she found the inspiration from (but someone should ask her. If there’s a guy like Cyrus is out there, we should all know who he is for safety’s sake!) but she manages to create a fantastic character with Cyrus V. Sinclair. Imagine if Travis Bickle was in that cabin in woods instead of Ash and you’re somewhere near, a character so flawed in his perception of the world, at times it felt like Steinbeck or Hemmingway had somehow written a gritty zombie novel. The story is so down to earth that you feel like you’re there with him every step of his journey, feeling his punches and pains”
4. Dead Stop by D. Nathan Hilliard
“I’ve been a fan of Mr Hilliard since reading one of his short stories last year and I’ve have been looking forward to a longer work from him ever since. Dead Stop doesn’t disappoint in grabbing the reading by the throat from the get go with a fantastic description of a zombie awakening whilst trapped in the grave. Carrying on throughout are some excellent descriptions of the zombies physiology and even the reasoning behind the biters great strength is told so well it’s believable.”
3. Splinters by Joseph D’Lacey
“Every story in this chilled me in some way, which is the sign of a very good book. Each story served up is a different little amuse bouche, ranging from body horror to the imminent apocalypse. Whilst some are dreamlike in quality lulling the reader in with the prose, others are startling and horrific without resorting to graphic descriptions of blood and gut. This is something I admire of D’Lacey, or maybe I’m just not shocked anymore.”
2. The End of Jack Cruz by A A Garrison
“Think Dark. Then think of the end of the world, the entire planet decimated by a horrific disease of which no one is immune and the only way to alleviate the symptoms is take a hefty dose of opiates every four days.
Meet heroin addict Jack “Colonel” Jones, one of life’s losers who finds himself as one of few who discover the key to surviving the viral apocalypse. Whilst on the scrounge for his next hit the Colonel stumbles across Jack Cruz, a gun-toting survivalist with supplies up to the eyeballs. Seemingly he’s the answer to any survivor of the apocalypse dreams- and nightmares.”
1. Deck Z By Chris Pauls and Matthew Solomon
“What Pauls and Solomon have created here is a perfect piece of zombie post-modernism which hits every rivet and nail squarely on the head. I found nothing wrong at all with the story, prose or characters and for a debut novel, this is an impressive feat, bowler hats off to the people at Chronicle Books for a sterling effort.
You already know the story of the Titanic, what Deck Z does so seamlessly is use that trusted formula of Just Add Zombies and bingo! You have this excellent, though in parts harrowing novel which offers readers a ‘what if’ scenario if there was an outbreak of the undead during the final hours of the famed, doomed ocean liner”
Okay, I’ve read a lot. I’m not going to pick my favourite scary novels, nor am I picking a bunch of stories about killer pumpkins and masked killers. I’m picking short stories that actually made me shiver. I’m a fully grown human male with body hair and two kids, but I still have chills sent down my spine now and again. So over the past year I’ve eaten a good few anthologies with my reader eyes. I’ve picked five for you to consider. If you’ve any sense you’ll go and buy these now, ignore the kids banging on you front door (or basement, I’m not judging) curl up and get reading to see if these stories stick with you as much as they did me. It’s dying art form a good book, and that’s what Halloween is all about, telling scary fucking stories.
5: The Sea and the Statues
appears in Black Mirrors by Paul Edwards published by Rainfall Books. The Sea and the Statues, my favourite in the collection, pulls off a timeless creeping tension, bringing a Greek myth feel to proceedings. I won’t spoil the twist ending, but the story serves as an adequate prequel to one of the most popular Greek myths with a prose that lingers long after you’ve finished.
4: How do you like yours? by Tony Walsworth appears in the Spinetinglers Anthology 2011 published by Spinetinglers Publishing. A first person necrophilic tale of Julia Smedly who all too casually describes her bizarre lust for stiff males and the lengths she goes to get her man. In fairness and in reality, this is how twilight should have turned out. It would have been a much better love story.
3: The Walker appears in Dark Corners by Theresa Curnow published by Smashwords. A shoe obsessed thief finds herself literally walking to hell in a visionary piece which worked terrifically on so many levels. This was a short story collection in which about 90% of the stories hit home, but The Walker was by far my favourite. Being an avid runner and rambler I’ve had blisters before, but many take walking to the shops for granted, imagine if you couldn’t and walking forever in endless agony was your final fate.
2: Altar Girl appears in Splinters by Joseph D’Lacey published by Timeline Books. Be careful for what you wish for as a downtrodden mother daydreams of a better life away from her unappreciative family, but finds that her problems will still follow her to paradise and back. Your destiny waits wherever you run, we can’t escape our fate in this Matheson-esque piece of reality twisting tale telling. The image of a moody faced, naked Kirk Douglas will forever haunt me.
1: Storm Chase by D. Nathan Hilliard appears in The Middle of Nowhere: Horror in Rural America published by Pill Hill Press. I still haven’t figure out what I loved about this. It’s a simple set up of a man and his mistress haunted by his dead wife during a hurricane. But it’s the way in which Hilliard reveals his ghost that chilled me. A lone white figure standing in the middle of a rain swept field that creeps gradually closer and closer whenever you take your eyes off of her. It’s simple but effective, if we take our eyes of what we fear, it makes it ten times worse as we’re imagining whatever comes next before it has even happened. That’s what we should really be fearing; our own imagination.
We writers get inspiration from the weirdest places. Which is why the question “Where do you get your ideas?” is such a difficult one to answer. Because there is no one answer. Different ideas come from different places. Inspiration can be straight-forward, or come at you from an unexpected source.
Such as my novel Sequel
. The inspiration for that one came from a movie…a really bad movie.
The 80s was a great time for slasher films. Okay, so maybe they weren’t all masterpieces, or even most of them, but it was still a wonderful time to be a horror movie fan, plenty of films to choose from.
Like the early 80s college campus horror Final Exam
Okay, I will admit up front that I am aware that this film isn’t exactly a cinematic benchmark or anything, but I have a great fondness for it. Mainly because the movie was filmed at Limestone College in Gaffney, SC, which happens to be my alma mater. That adds a level of entertainment value for me—seeing the murders taking place in the locations I am so familiar with—that might not be present for other viewers.
But I also have affection for the movie because it just tries
so hard. Yes, it is very formula; in fact, on an audio commentary track it is revealed that the filmmakers were given a mandate to include as many familiar situations and set-ups from other popular horror films as they could. And yet while staying within the confines of the formula, the filmmakers make a stab at some interesting touches, leading me to believe Halloween
was their main inspiration.
For instance, the film is low on blood and gore. In fact, after the initial pre-credit slaying, there isn’t another murder for almost an hour. Instead, the movie tries to build suspense and tension. I’m not saying it always succeeds, but by God does it ever try
. It also spends time developing the characters’ personalities so they are more than mere fodder. Unfortunately, the characters are mostly stereotypes played by actors with…shall we say, limited abilities. Another interesting aspect of the film is that the killer is never given a real identity or motivation. The movie actually gets a lot of flak for that, but I actually really like it. I actually think it’s the film’s biggest strength.
So while the film fails more than it succeeds, it is a movie with great intent, and as I said, the fact that it was filmed on the campus of the college I attended just delights me. I watch it fairly regularly and always enjoy it.
And as earlier stated, it provided the inspiration for my novel Sequel
While a student at Limestone, I often thought it would have been interesting to have been on campus while the movie was being filmed, and I would sort of imagine that maybe all these years later they would make a sequel and return to Limestone for the production. Of course, considering the film was a box office dud, that didn’t seem likely, but I thought, What if the movie had become a cult classic over the years?
And that got the wheels turning in my head. I began musing about a cheap slasher film that was reviled in its day but gradually developed a cult popularity. And ten years later a big-shot director decides to make a sequel. And what if someone out there really didn’t want that sequel made?
The idea seemed full of potential for cheesy fun, a homage to the slasher films I grew up on, getting to explore the clichés of the genre while hopefully putting my own stamp on it. I could explore red herrings in a fun way, try to keep the reader guessing, adding a bit of a mystery element to the tale.
I didn’t actually sit down to write the novel until several years later, and while I had a blast writing it, it sat around for a decade before finding a home. I did sub it a few places, got a few nibbles but no real interest. Until Tom Moran saw some potential in it and helped me get it all shaped up.
And it all started with a little 80s slasher that most people haven’t never even seen. As a bit of a tribute, I named the director of the slasher in my novel James Dallas, a nod of the hat to Final Exam
director Jimmy Houston. Without that movie, my novel wouldn’t exist.
Just another reason I love the film.
Mark Allan Gunnells’ novel SEQUEL can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0615649629/ref=mp_s_a_2?pi=50x75&qid=1345136587&sr=8-2
To celebrate the release of BLOODSTORM on DVD Revolver have chosen their top five horror films to share with us here at Snakebite Horror, Including the fantastic MUM & DAD and and our 2011 film of the year THE WOMAN.
BLOODSTORM hits shops this August with a mixture of every zombie fan's favorite...NAZI ZOMBIES and a little touch of robot action.
Deep in Antarctica a group of scientific researchers are abducted by a platoon of Nazi storm troopers. Led by Dr Josef Mengele, this bloodthirsty troupe has lain in wait in a secret base underneath the icy wastes since the fall of Nazi Germany.
Led by Adrian Reistad (Jake Busey, Starship Troopers), the survivors have to find any means of escape from the hell that faces them, trapped by a colony of Nazi survivors, whose bodies are a horrifying patchwork of decaying and regenerated flesh.
Meanwhile Dr Mengele, who has continued his horrific human experimentation, is masterminding an invasion of Earth from the frozen depths. Can the scientists make it to the surface in time and stop his evil plans of creating an all-powerful Fourth Reich?
Check out our review for the film which will be published on Snakebite in the coming weeks but for now check out the awesome trailer below
Note that this is not a list of the five funniest novels of all time--just five funny, weird novels you should read, assuming that you like funny, weird novels.
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Yeah, I'm starting off with an obvious choice, but the books in this series (well, okay, the first three) are some of the most hilariously insane novels of all time. This isn't the place to go for laser-focused storytelling; Adams continually and cheerfully goes off on wild tangents, and that's a lot of the fun.
2. The Unnatural by David Prill.
So here's the premise: it's a world just like our own, except that instead of watching baseball, sports fans watch...competitive corpse embalming! Yes, this is the tale of a young farmboy with talent and a dream. If you're always saying that you'd read more sports-themed novels if they were about trying to set the record for number of corpses embalmed in a single season, this dark and funny book is for you.
3. Bad Chili by Joe Lansdale.
Lansdale has written several books featuring Hap & Leonard, and all of them mix beautiful writing with lowbrow, laugh-out-loud humor. This one opens with a rabid squirrel attack that is the funniest thing I have ever read in a novel.
4. Go, Mutants! by Larry Doyle.
Nobody packs more jokes into a book than Larry Doyle. This one is a loving tribute to 1950's sci-fi movies, and though there's all kinds of over-the-top alien craziness, much of the humor is so understated that if you read too fast, you'll zip right past it.
5. John Dies At The End by David Wong.
Yeah, I'm jealous that I didn't think of this title. A combination of Big, Deep Ideas and gross, demented humor. You will laugh. You will think. You will gag.
Jeff Strand is the Author of books such as DWELLER, THE SINISTER MR CORPSE and FAINT OF HEART. You can purchase A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO
over on Amazon from June 29th 2012
I've been asked by family, friends and readers why I chose to write about zombies, like maybe they are the red headed step children of the horror world. I've noticed that the largest writers in the horror genre have for the most part completely ignored them, some might say Stephen King's Cell was based on them but I'd say that was a stretch. Some think the genre is played out, I mean how many ways can you portray a slow walking ambling shuffler that likes to eat brains?
I honestly don't care what any of the detractors say, I love to read a good zombie book or watch a good movie. Ever since I was seven and my cousin who was babysitting decided that watching the Dawn of the Dead was a good way to pass time, I have been hooked. I remember as a kid my heart was hammering in my chest as those zombies slowly descended on that house in the middle of nowhere. When those hands started crashing through the boards in the windows and the door was shaking in its frame I damn near wet myself.
I'm sure someone will eventually conduct a study and tell us about our innate fear of the undead, but all I know is if I want to be thoroughly entertained I just need to find something zombie related. And then we get back to my sister-in-law who can't decide if I am completely off my rocker or a decent person just trying to tell a story. (She won't read my books by the way). I've told her that the relationships of the survivors in my books are as important as the zombies themselves. There has to be some good to balance out all that is horrific. But she can't get passed the word 'zombie' like it is somehow a dirty word. It's funny I truly think there are folks out there that won't a zombie book just because they consider themselves 'slumming' if they do. I think they're missing out on some really good new talent and some pulse pounding action. A good story is a good story plain and simple.
Zombies really hit their stride with George Romero's brilliant take and they have waxed and waned over the years. Obviously right now we are riding a crest, there's barely a set of commercials that go by that don't reference them, plus The Walking Dead, and Max Brooks' World War Z hitting theaters with an uber A-lister playing the lead so yeah it's a hot genre. But even when it goes into its lull there will still be those amongst us that will always love to read someone else's take on a zombie apocalypse, so whereas I think the chances of an actual end of the world scenario involving zombies is fairly unlikely, I still can't help myself as I prepare diligently for just such an event, because I don't want to be on the inside of a house leaning up against flimsy boards when zombie arms pull me outside where I have my brains munched on. No thank you!
* * * * *
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!
I'm Tyler Churchill. Not too long ago I had this insane adventure, with car chases and body parts coming off and everything, which I wrote about in the book A Bad Day For Voodoo. It's not my job to say that it's the best book ever written, but I will say that if you don't read it, the following conversation will definitely take place:
[You're walking down the sidewalk, whistling the merry tune of your choice. Up ahead you see a friend.]
YOU: Hi, friend!
YOUR FRIEND: Hi, you! Crazy party last night, huh? I've never seen anybody eat that many pretzels without getting a drink of water!
YOU: And who brought the rhinoceros? I kept thinking "Whoa, somebody is gonna get tusked!" but nobody did, which is good because it would have been funny at the moment of impact, but not so funny once we got into the screaming and bleeding and ambulances.
YOUR FRIEND: Were you there for the ritual?
YOU: What ritual?
YOUR FRIEND: You'll find out. [His or her expression darkens, and he/she gives you a wicked smile.] Oh, yes, you'll find out.
YOU: Seriously, what ritual? There was a ritual? Where was I?
YOUR FRIEND: When the time is right, all will be revealed.
YOU: C'mon, tell me what the ritual was! You can't just throw something like that out into the conversation and then not give answers! Tell me! I need resolution! Resolution!
YOUR FRIEND: I was just kidding. We were all sitting around playing Words With Friends on our phones. Somebody played "rhinoceros" on a triple-word score, which was pretty ironic. Actually, I played "rhino" first and they added "ceros." So what did you think of A Bad Day For Voodoo?
YOU: That new book? I didn't read it.
[Several onlookers gasp.]
YOUR FRIEND: Excuse me?
YOU: I said I haven't read it.
YOUR FRIEND: You...you...you haven't read A Bad Day For Voodoo?
YOU: No. That's okay, isn't it?
YOUR FRIEND: Okay? Okay? Don't you understand what this means? It means that you're not cool!
YOU: But that's not possible! I do cool things all the time!
YOUR FRIEND: It doesn't matter! This is the book that will define our generation! If you're ever on a game show and the host says "For twenty thousand dollars, please give us the definition of your generation," you could hold up A Bad Day For Voodoo and win the twenty thousand dollars!
YOU: But...but...but...but...but...but...but...I thought it was just a silly book!
[Your friend shakes his or her head and sighs.]
YOUR FRIEND: No. It is not.
SOME GUY WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE IN THE AREA AND IS EAVESDROPPING ON THE CONVERSATION: You really haven't read A Bad Day For Voodoo? Wow. I heard that those people existed, but I never thought I'd see one outside of a zoo.
YOU: You don't have to be a jerk about it.
YOUR FRIEND: Yes, he does.
YOUR FRIEND: I never knew you were so uncool. It's like our whole friendship was a lie.
YOU: You're making too big of a deal out of this.
YOUR FRIEND: Do you see all of those weird-looking colorful waves that are coming out of people's eyes?
YOU: Ack! Yes! What are those?
YOUR FRIEND: Those are waves of judgment. Everybody is judging you. This will follow you around for the rest of your life.
YOU: No! I don't believe you!
[You get hit by a car.]
YOU: Ow! Ow!
YOUR FRIEND: That's what happens when you don't read A Bad Day For Voodoo. Bad luck follows you everywhere. Watch out for that circular saw blade.
YOU [quickly ducking]: Aaah! That circular saw blade almost took my head off!
YOUR FRIEND: And you'll need your head to read A Bad Day For Voodoo! Do you understand now?
[A monkey jumps out of a tree and starts punching you in the neck.]
YOU: I understand! I understand!
YOUR FRIEND: Your coolness meter is running out quickly, but there is still time to replenish it! Run to a bookstore or an internet and buy A Bad Day For Voodoo! Hurry, before it's too--
[The earth begins to crumble around your feet.]
YOUR FRIEND: Oh no! It's too late! The world needed your coolness! It's the only thing that kept us from being all dystopian and stuff!
[Zombies--fast or slow, your choice--show up and start eating people.]
PEOPLE CURRENTLY BEING EATEN [in unison]: Nooooooo!
YOU: What have I done? What have I--
[Suddenly you wake up screaming.]
YOU: It was all a dream! Only a terrible, terrible dream! In fact, the book A Bad Day For Voodoo doesn't even really exist!
SOMEBODY (YOU'RE NOT SURE WHO): Yes, it does. It's just not out yet. But it will be in June 2012. And you'd better buy it, or the next time you wake up screaming, Effie Trinket will be drawing your name for tribute.
YOU: Then I shall mark my calendar, or better yet, pre-order a copy of A Bad Day For Voodoo right now!
See? You may think I made all of that up, but I assure you that my only concern is for the safety of the world. And even if you don't care about the world, you should read about the time that my history teacher Mr. Click falsely accused me of cheating on a test, and my friend Adam got a voodoo doll of him, and I jabbed it with a pin during class, and things went wrong, wrong, wrong!
My girlfriend Kelley, who is smarter than both of us combined, also got caught up in the whole thing, and you will not believe the kind of stuff that happened. It's crazy! I mean, we ran into this one family who...well, you don't want spoilers, but it was one messed-up family.
Oh, the book is my completely true story, but the publisher put the name "Jeff Strand" on the cover, because of some sort of ransom demand. Just ignore that.
Okay, so, you know what to do, right? Awesome. See you in June.
From Jeff Strand, the author of DWELLER, THE SINISTER MR CORPSE & WOLF HUNT, comes A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO Jeff's first foot into the world of YA fiction. This is the first of two special features to celebrate the release.
On this wide world that is the web it is rare that we get an author go out of their way to give us a true exclusive to Snakebite Horror so when horror writer Adam Baker got in touch with a video he made directly for us here at Snakebite we were very flattered. So here it is, Adam Baker's Guide to Zombie Survival.
Adam Baker is the author of the novels OUTPOST and JUGGERNAUT which are both avaliable now on Amazon and any