Monday, September 23, 2013

Zombified Interview with Jeffrey Littorno

Jeffrey Littorno is the gruesome guy behind a haunting new zombie series. The first book The Most Uncommon Cold was released in August and Jeffrey is already feverishly at work nightmaring up the next book. He did take time away from writing to let us dig around in his head...

Ang: When were you first bitten by the zombie affliction? Can you take us back to how the infection began? What’s the most difficult part about sharing this ghoulish love as an indie?
 
Jeffrey: I don’t think I was “bitten” by the zombie plague. It is more like the virus was always within me and just took a while to gnaw its way out. I do remember being pretty young when I first saw the original The Night of the Living Dead in black & white. Something about the black & white graininess makes it seem more real. Anyway, scare the snot out of me. The thing is I couldn’t help watching.  Drove my parents crazy. That movie still scares me. 
 
As far as being an indie writer, the toughest part is needing to concentrate on marketing to get my books noticed when I would rather just be writing... Oh, other than this interview, of course.
 
Ang: If you had to dumb down the plot of your series so a zombie could understand, how would you explain it?
 
Jeffrey: Zombies are just waiting to burst out.  It might be something as simple as a new type of cold that sets them off.
 
Ang: Describe the lucky survivors who engage with the festering horde of the dead.
 
Jeffrey: Define your idea of lucky. I am not sure any of the “non-undead” in my books would consider themselves lucky. Let’s just say they are survivors. Kevin Turner, the main character, is or was a newspaper reporter. He is someone who is used to dealing with facts. Glen is the young, idealistic minister of a storefront church. Understandably, he has some difficulty understanding where zombies fit into his religious worldview. Detective Greg Lawrence is an older, bitter, possibly alcoholic cop who is obsessed with rescuing Christina, the frightened little girl who called into the police station. Finally, there is Taylor Miller, a teenage boy sent to juvenile hall by Detective Lawrence.
 
That is the group so far, but as things progress, it is sure to grow and shrink.
 
Ang: What was the most important aspect when writing your non-zombie characters? Realism (losers, assholes, and cowards) or fantasy (Rambo or the guy/gal who has a Rambo hiding inside them)?
 
Jeffrey: I have to admit that I have little control of who springs up in the story. The voices in my head simply let me know who will be appearing next. I never know who will show up or how long they will be staying. So far, none of those in the story appear to have any Rambo-like traits. They are too busy trying to grips with what they are seeing. I suppose that is realism. Whatever you want to call it, I think it is what makes these characters relatable or familiar. That is what draws readers into such an incredible world and holds them.
 
Ang: Does your series begin just as the zombies start building their paradise or have zombies already gotten things rocking and rotting?
 
Jeffrey: The book starts just after the zombies have appeared.  In other words, they haven’t quite sunk their teeth into the world.
 
Ang: Zombies are people too. They come in all shapes, sizes, speeds, and smarts. What types of the walking dead inhabit your series?
 
Jeffrey: I try to make zombies representative of every type of person in society. Full zombie integration!
 
Ang: Will your infection spread to more books and series? How many blood and guts offerings do you predict in your future? How soon can our zombie and human readers expect to see your next festering contribution?
 
Jeffrey: Well, the first book in The Most Uncommon Cold series was released in August. I am currently working on TMUC II, and it is coming along nicely. I am hoping to have it out by December. Just in time to celebrate Zombie Christmas. As far as how far the series goes, I have to wait for the voices to tell me. I will let you know.
 
Ang: What is your favorite way to kill a zombie? Shoot ‘em, hack ‘em, poke ‘em, burn ‘em, or something even more fiendish? ***Zombie readers please turn away to avoid having your putrefied feelings eviscerated.
 
Jeffrey: Well, Kevin really seemed to enjoy plunging a tire tool into his wife’s head. I guess I have to try that. Glen’s used a claw hammer to dispatch one. That could be fun. Of course, just blowing their heads off at point blank range as Lawrence does might be the most efficient way, even if it is terribly messy.
 
Ang: Do you have a favorite cinematic zombie? Example: My co-blogger Zombie Earl is quite fond of Zombie Roger from the original Dawn of the Dead.
 
Jeffrey: Hmmm, tough question!  Cinematic? How about televisionatic?
 
If so, it would be Morgan Jones’ wife Jenny (that’s right Jenny Jones!) from Season 3 of The Walking Dead. Something about this woman in her nightgown shuffling around the front porch of her old house sticks with me.
 
Ang: Who is your favorite character from The Walking Dead (comics or TV show)?
 
Jeffrey: It’s hard to pick just one character.  Most people seem partial to Daryl. Daryl’s cool, but I really like Andrea. Maybe it was because so many people were bashing her, but I always thought she got a bad rap. Sure, she was cozy with the creepy governor, but she was just trying to keep things together. I have to find another character for this season. We’ll see who shows up. Carl might shine.
 
Ang: Finally, how prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse that we all know is just around the corner?
 
Jeffrey: Can anyone really be prepared for the ZA?  Well, yes they can! Just keep reading The Most Uncommon Cold series for ideas. I swear, I don’t know how things are going to turn out, but there are sure to be some useful survival tips inside.
 
Dig into The Most Uncommon Cold at Amazon.
 
Hunt down Jeffrey at Facebook.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Zombified Interview with Steven Roy

Steven Roy is the creative crawfish behind the Black Redneck vs. Space Zombies novel. This unique take on zombies is Roy's first novel about the walking dead, but hopefully it won't be his last bloody offering. Let's dig into his cranium and learn more about his madness...

Ang: When were you first bitten by the zombie affliction? Can you take us back to how the infection began? What’s the most difficult part about sharing this ghoulish love as an indie?
 
Roy: Way back in the 80’s with a VHS tape of The Return of the Living Dead. Not only did I learn to love zombies, I realized if you should find a barrel of toxic waste that once belonged to the military don’t open it.
 
The most difficult part of being an indie is getting in front of readers. There are an awful lot of entertainment choices out there. I’m thrilled when people take the time to read my books.
 
Ang: If you had to dumb down the plot of your book so a zombie could understand, how would you explain it?
 
Roy: Baddest alien in the galaxy crashes into the farm of the baddest man on the planet. Action ensues.
 
Ang: Describe the lucky survivors who engage with the festering horde of the dead.
 
Roy: Jefferson Balladeer. He’s my main character, and I like to think of him as one of the more original characters you’ll come across. He has what you might call a unique upbringing.
 
The Devourer. This is the most bad-ass, space-zombie making monster to ever step her tentacles into the Milky Way Galaxy. Again, I like to think there’s a bit of originality that readers will find refreshing.
 
Ang: What was the most important aspect when writing your non-zombie characters? Realism (losers, assholes, and cowards) or fantasy (Rambo or the guy/gal who has a Rambo hiding inside them)?
 
Roy: The trick in this type of book is to make the fantastical seem real. One way to do this is to combine realistic characters with an exceptional situation. Then, have the characters react in true-to-life fashion to the previously mentioned fantastical happenings.
 
Ang: Does your book begin just as the zombies start building their paradise or have zombies already gotten things rocking and rotting?
 
Roy: Mine is not a traditional zombie story, so I just couldn’t have someone wake up from a coma to find zombies shambling or sprinting after the few remaining survivors. I had to start at the beginning and show the unique biology of the Devourer. It looks like I get to talk about this more in the next question.
 
Ang: Zombies are people too. They come in all shapes, sizes, speeds, and smarts. What types of the walking dead inhabit your novel?
 
Roy: My zombies are different. In fact, they’re space zombies. Your readers might be asking themselves what the hell is a space zombie. I’ll tell you. It’s what happens when the Devourer gets ahold of you and implants some of her alien cells into you and takes over your body. You’ll become somewhat of a worker ant for her while the alien cells feed on what’s left of your body. Now you’re probably wondering what happens when the alien cells have consumed all the human cells. You’ll just have to read the book to find out.
 
Ang: Will your infection spread to more books and series? How many blood and guts offerings do you predict in your future? How soon can our zombie and human readers expect to see your next festering contribution?
 
Roy: I’m not the kind of writer who wants to write one type of story, so I’m working on a few things totally unrelated to this project. I should have something that resembles a fantasy novel come out later this year, and, after that, I plan to write a Kung Fu Epic. That’s going to be huge and a lot of fun. So, this book is wrapped up with a satisfactory conclusion.
 
However, the character and creatures in this book are too cool to just let them lie fallow too long. You’ll see more stories set in this world. The Black Redneck my ride again. How soon depends on how this book sells, so tell your friends.
 
Ang: What is your favorite way to kill a zombie? Shoot ‘em, hack ‘em, poke ‘em, burn ‘em, or something even more fiendish? ***Zombie readers please turn away to avoid having your putrefied feelings eviscerated.
 
Roy: This really depends on the situation. If you’re trying to be stealthy, the swish of a samurai sword slicing the air might be as big as you want to go, but ideally I would be above the masses of zombies in a Black Hawk helicopter.
 
Ang: Do you have a favorite cinematic zombie? Example: My co-blogger Zombie Earl is quite fond of Zombie Roger from the original Dawn of the Dead.
 
Roy: I always think great stories should touch people’s emotions, even in zombie fiction, so I have to go with Sophia from The Walking Dead. I really didn’t think they would go there. Surprise!
 
Ang: Who is your favorite character from The Walking Dead (comics or TV show)?
 
Roy: I have to go with Glenn. He’s smart, fast, and stealthy. Also, he’s not prone to fits of madness. Why isn’t he in charge?
 
Okay, here’s a brief essay on Carl. I’m sure many of you would like to see Carl experience the death of a thousand nibbles. This is probably due to the second season in which he was what I like to call a “character who won’t stay put.” A lot of the plot was driven forward by his recklessness and stupidity. I consider this one of the weaknesses of the second season.
 
Ah, but in this latest season Carl has become much more interesting. He’s actually a benefit to the group, putting down Walkers with his trusty silencer. I also love that his character is a bit trigger happy. Goodbye annoying Carl. Hello Carl who just shoots everyone.
 
Ang: Finally, how prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse that we all know is just around the corner?
 
Roy: Just around the corner? I’m screwed. I don’t even have any bottled water at my house much less a few AK-47s and the necessary storehouse of ammunition. Can I kill zombies with my eternal optimism? No. Then, I’m definitely screwed. Then again I can run really fast and have great cardio. I might be okay. I don’t have to outrun the zombies. I just have to outrun you guys. Thanks for being a tasty distraction while I get away and don’t forget to read Black Redneck vs. Space Zombies.

 
Dig into Roy's books at Amazon.

Chase down Roy at Twitter, Goodreads, and his blog.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deadly Dee's Review of "The Harvesting"

The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak.

Book Summary

"The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone."

Champion fencer and Smithsonian historian Layla Petrovich reluctantly returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother. Layla never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich had foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that's upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

This exciting new dark fantasy/horror hybrid blends the best of the zombie genre with all the elements a fantasy reader loves!

It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead!


Deadly Dee's Review

So... I recently read The Harvesting, written by Melanie Karsak.

It's actually taken me awhile to write this review because I just couldn't figure out why I was feeling so "blah" after reading it. The premise of the book was really cool, and I was totally prepared to love it. I really wanted to love it. It had all the "stuff" in it that I usually love in a book - zombies, end of the world as we know it, kick ass female protagonist, etc., etc., etc. But while I found myself reading through to the end, (if I really dislike a book, I discard it before I finish) I never found myself truly vested in any of the characters. I really didn't care who lived or who died - there wasn't any point where I found myself nervous about anyone, or even rooting for anyone. The editing was well done (5 stars for that - 'cause I hate when you have to come to a screeching halt to edit in your head) but the story never really gelled for me in the way I was hoping it would. 

At one point in the book Karsak introduces some "strangers" and the story got a little too weird too fast for me, and quite frankly a bit too unbelievable (I know - odd thing to say when you're reading a zombie novel...) and at times hard to follow. There just wasn't enough "set up."  It felt like she had a lot of good ideas, but maybe she could have fleshed them out into several books instead of just one, and spent more time building her characters.

This wasn't a book I got lost in - it was more like a book that lost me a few times...

Liked it... didn't love it. Hopefully she'll grow as an author and her writing will reflect that with her next book...

With all that said, however, I would give Karsak another try if she writes another book. She's got a good imagination, and I can see where given the time she could definitely become a more polished writer. Hopefully my next review will be full of accolades ;)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Showcase: CODE Z: An Undead Hospital Anthology

Check out this cool zombie anthology with contributors like Armand Rosamilia and many others...

Book Summary
We all know many of our favourite Zombie flicks and books make their start in or around a hospital but they soon leave the confines of the medical building and start to lay waste to the world but what happens in those first few hours.

Now is the time to find out.

"CODE Z – An Undead Hospital Anthology" is a horror anthology with an undead theme it contains tales of life, horror, excitement and of course the undead. Each author shares with us a unique and new story.

What happened in those few precious hours before the plague of the dead left the hospital?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Deadly Dee Reviews "Queen of the Dead"

Queen of the Dead (Zombie Ascension, #2) by Vincenzo Bilof

Book Summary

Blood runs through the streets of Detroit and into the gutters of nearby cities. Monsters, both human and zombie alike, have brought civil order to its knees. The haunted mercenary, Vega, must confront this apocalypse head-on with survivors who have their own versions of morality; she’s joined by Father Joe, a pious man who will do everything in his power to save a single life, no matter how many others have to die…

Jim Traverse, the sociopath who has decided the apocalypse will be “beautiful,” has nearly completed his genocidal masterpiece. Jim races against Vega’s company to reach Selfridge Air Base, where they’ll fight for control of the woman who has ascended over life and death, a woman whose relationship with an infernal intelligence gives her power over the walking dead.

One woman can save the world, or destroy it: The Queen of the Dead.

Deadly Dee's Review

Like most of us, I live a really (really) busy life.
 
On Saturdays, I try and get a few chores done, but I also try to set aside some reading time ("me" time I like to call it. ;)
 
This past Saturday morning, I sat down with Vincenzo Bilof's Queen of the Dead (the second book in his series), and the next thing I knew, it was 5:30, and my husband was calling me to ask me what time we were supposed to be leaving to meet our friends for dinner that night. Dinner? Friends? Seriously?!? Hello....??? I wasn't finished reading!!!
 
Aside from the coffee I'd made that morning before I started reading, I hadn't even eaten while I was reading. I'm one of those people who gets totally lost in a book if it's good (you know what I mean - you can talk to me, but I won't hear a word you're saying?) and this book is THAT good.
 
The action is literally non-stop. Even though the viewpoint moves between different (and varied) characters, I never got lost or confused. (There are several new characters introduced - to make up for old ones that are killed off - since Bilof is NOT afraid to kill off his characters...)
 
I found myself eager to see what was happening with everyone, and Bilof brings them together and separates them seamlessly throughout the novel.
 
The one - and only - negative thing I can say is that there were two or three spots that needed tighter editing (I really dislike having to edit a sentence in my head when I am reading).
 
One final note - there is a scene at the end (and since I don't want to spoil this book I won't go into a lot of details) - that I totally did NOT expect, but that actually made me smile. Suffice it to say that it involved loud rap music (2 Chainz), an old, black Monte Carlo, and a character I wasn't expecting decked out in a silver suit with a semi in each hand. There were surprises like this sprinkled throughout the book, but this one was by far, my favorite.
 
There'd better be a part 3 coming soon....

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Grace Lost" is FREE Sept. 2-3

Hungry for a great zombie series? Want some sexy spice to go with your horrifying horror? Well, M. Lauryl Lewis has a book for you!

Grace Lost is free Sept. 2-3 at Amazon! The first book in the Grace series is a great gory read. Once you devour it, check out Tainted Grace and Dark Grace. Also keep an eye out for the upcoming Fallen from Grace.

Once you check out this haunting trailer for the series, get your free copy of Grace Lost today!

Summary
Young and na├»ve, Zoe Kate finds herself thrust into harm’s way when the dead rise overnight. Armed with very little, she and her lifelong friend, Adam Boggs, flee their small hometown in search of safety. Joined by two other survivors, they will face unimaginable horrors and suffer unthinkable losses as the rules of nature are rewritten.

Dig into the Grace books at Amazon.

Chase after M. Lauryl Lewis at her
website, blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.