Chewing Braaiiinns with… Todd Brown

This gorgeous Monday morning, I am joined by the wonderful Todd Brown. I was introduced to Todd’s writing late in the game and admittedly, I’m trying to get caught up.

If you are not familiar with Todd, he 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 by 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: twbrown@maydecemberpublications.com or visit his website at www.maydecemberpublications.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://twbrown.blogspot.com or twitter @maydecpub and on Facebook under Todd Brown, Author TW Brown, and also under May December Publications.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s start the interrogation… Eer, I meant interview – promise! So tell us Todd, why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I saw Dawn of the Dead at age fourteen. A girl two rows ahead lost it into her popcorn; that was the coolest thing I’d ever witnessed. Other than that, I think it is an open-ended environment that allows a writer to in any direction he or she chooses.

I have witnessed quite a few things while at the movies, but I can say that is not one of them (thank God!). Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

I have the fourth Zomblog (Titled Zomblog: Snoe) coming out on Halloween. I am currently working on the 5th book in the DEAD series (Dead: Siege & Survival) which will release on December 15th.

If you’re looking to get a head start on either of those series, here’s a little bit of information about them. Clicking on the covers will take you to Amazon, should you wish to purchase either of them.

The unthinkable has happened. The dead are walking! Humanity’s fragile thread may be reaching its bitter end. Individuals and groups struggle to survive…some at any cost. Will there be anybody left? Or, is this just…The Ugly Beginning?

***

Samuel Todd is a regular guy: …Failed husband… …Loving father… …Dutiful worker… …Aspiring rockstar. He had no idea if anyone would care, or take the time, to read his daily blog entries about his late night observations. But what started as an open monologue of his day-to-day life became a running journal of the firsthand account detailing the rising of the dead and the downfall and degradation of mankind…

Awesome news Todd, I may even be caught up by then! What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I think it is the characters that make my stuff different. When it all boils down, zombies will be what bring the readers, but the characters are what keep them coming back.

Agreed, many come for the gore that can only be attributed the undead, but in the end, they’ll keep coming back if they care about the characters. Well Todd, speaking about books and characterization, what are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

In no order except for the first which is my all-time favourite:

Monster Island by David Wellington

The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer

Day-by-Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne

The Rising by Brian Keene

The Walking Dead graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman

Monster Island ranks at the very top of my list as well. I think it may have been the first Zombie novel that really broke the mould for me when it comes to the kind of world that you can create after the dead rise. That would make an awesome movie, IMHO, which brings me to my next question. What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Dawn of the Dead (the original)

Shaun of the Dead (hilarious but exceptionally done)

Dawn of the Dead (the remake was excellent…and I am not a fan of sprinters but loved it anyway)

Awesome selections! The original Dawn of the Dead holds a special place in my heart and the remake was shot close to where I live which is surreal in a way. Walking into the mall after seeing the film was more than a little unnerving… Do you think the popularity of The Walking Dead and its appearance in mainstream media has helped to increase the popularity of the genre, or has there always been such an interest?

You would have to be naïve to think otherwise. I’ve had countless friends and acquaintances come up to me now and say “Now I get it!” There has always been a culture of zombie, but it has become acceptable now whereas it used to be a fringe group.

Pop Quiz: if the Zombie Apocalypse were to occur right now, 5 things found in the room you are currently sitting will be your weapons – what are they?

A guitar, a coffee table leg, a bookshelf support pole, a lamp stand, and my autographed Kyra Schon NotLD trowel.

You may just make it Todd, especially with a useful arsenal of everyday items. If you’re interested in finding out about the rest of Todd’s works, check out his Amazon Author Page for more information.

Join me next week when I am joined by fellow Canadian and author James Friesen.

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Joshua Cook

Today I am joined by Joshua Cook, author of the Zombie A.C.R.E.S. series and AiZ: Alice in Zombieland. If you don’t know anything about Josh, it’s time to get you folks acquainted beginning with a few words directly from the man himself…

Writing has always been my passion in life. It has always been a hobby to me though. Thanks to some unfortunate luck in my life, I am now able to focus full-time on my writing, and this is the result of the fruit of that labor.” ~Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, late in 1977. This where he spent most of his life. There have been short bursts throughout his life where he has spread his wild oats to other parts of the United States, though.

Briefly Josh lived in Arizona and a brief – dark – time in Indiana and Ohio. Finally he landed in Washington State. He now calls Seattle his home where he lives with his beautiful cocker spaniel – black lab mix, Sam Dogg.

This is where he created the growing fan favorite web site ZombieACRES.com, which spawned its first book in 2012. After many years of writing non-fiction, news, and various other articles, Josh decided to poke around in fiction – and loves it.

Well Josh, readers are dying to know… why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Dead things, of course. Seriously, though, I have loved zombies since I first watched Night of the Living Dead as a child. I have always been a ‘blood and guts’ horror fan, so the dead rising to feast on the living was just a perfect match. The older I got, I learned to appreciate the survivors sides of the stories, though.

Most zombie stories are basically the same – the dead rise (or get infected), eat the living, people with big guns come in and take care of them all. What really separates the good from the dead are the survivors and their stories. Who are these people and how did they get sucked into this new hell hole that has become their life?

That is one of the things I focused on when writing AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) – the people. There is some blood and gore, of course, but the true driving force of AiZ is the emotional journey each character goes through. Where they have been is important, but when the crap hits the fan, it is who we will become that really matters.

One of my characters Sam Ashe, has been a zombie lover his whole life. He thought he would be ready when the undead called. When they did show up, though, he realized watching and reading about zombie attacks was completely different from real life. I think this is typical of many of us, no matter what we say now. You just never know until death is knocking at your door.

Now is your chance to plug your latest project; published or otherwise.

The story of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) is as follows:

William Lohman, a recently deceased man, held an interview that was seen by the entire world. In this interview, he told of how the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, Roslun Global, has been conducting secret experiments meant to revive the dead, among other atrocities. Mr. Lohman was taken quite seriously seeing as how he was obviously one of these experiments, what with the decay and all.

This interview knocked over the first domino in a long series of setbacks for Roslun Global, and the company’s greedy CEO Richard Roslun. Richard was not known for being subtle or calm, but he was known for getting results…at any cost.

Nine years have passed since that historic interview changed the world forever. People have learned to live with the idea of zombies, much the same way they learn to live with many modern diseases; it’s a terrible thing, but it doesn’t affect them. Until it does, that is.

Georgia ‘Gee’ Marie is a typical college student. She enjoys reading and hanging out with her friends, smoking a little weed and going to work. Her life is pretty mundane, until she returns one day to visit her father. Gee finds her younger sister being attacked by her mother, who has just finished feasting on the rest of the family. Gee and Alice are about to begin the greatest trials of their lives. Not only will their will to survive be tested, but the bonds that hold them together as family and loved ones will be pushed to their limits.

The paperback version of Alice in Zombieland will be available in a month, but here is your chance to grab your signed copy before anyone else can even begin ordering any. For a limited time, pre-orders will be available for two different versions of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) in paperback.

This special edition of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) is limited to less than 100 copies ever made and only available through ZombieACRES.com. The limited edition paperback features different artwork than the regular version, is larger than the regular edition (8×10) and contains Bruce Campbell vs The ACRES. This eleven page comic featuring the artwork of Donovan Scherer pits the great Bruce Campbell (star of The Evil Dead trilogy) against an undead film crew on the set of a new film. The only way to see what happens is by grabbing this limited edition paperback today. Along with cool new artwork from Timothy Brand and Donovan Scherer, each copy of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) Limited Edition will be hand signed and numbered by Joshua Cook, author and creator of Zombie A.C.R.E.S. Each copy comes with a FREE digital copy of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga).

For those of you that cannot wait for the August paperback release of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga), now is your chance to pre-order your copy today. Not only will you get a copy before the official release date, but it will also be hand signed and personalized however you like by Joshua Cook, author and creator of Zombie A.C.R.E.S. Each copy comes with a FREE digital copy of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga).

Whoa, lots of information, but I think we got it all. Thanks! Is there anything that makes your Zombies different Josh?

I have seen the same zombie story more time than I can count. I love the majority of them, but it has become just more of the same. I wanted to bring something different to the genre. Instead of placing the reader in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with just cryptic hints at the cause, Zombie A.C.R.E.S. and AiZ take place at the beginning of the apocalypse.

In Zombie A.C.R.E.S., it is a pharmaceutical company that triggers the zombie apocalypse. The creation of the Second Birth Serum will allow people to become medicated zombies after they die. While this serum is not complete, some experiments are able to talk act almost like the living.

Now get prepared for the hardest question; what are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead (2003) – Max Brooks

The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead (2010) – Roger Ma

World War Z: An oral History of the Zombie War (2006) – Max Brooks

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology (2010) – Various Authors

X Factor Zombie Massacre (2012) – Stewart King

Great choices Josh! What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Re-Animator (1985)

Awesome, Josh! Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is definitely tops my favourites list! Moving into television, do you think the popularity of The Walking Dead and its appearance in mainstream media has helped to increase the popularity of the genre, or has there always been such an interest?

There has always been a growing underground fanbase for the undead. The mainstream appeal of zombies always seemed to be cyclical. When pop culture was slammed by the popularity of the Resident Evil games and movies, Dawn of the Dead remake and Shaun of the Dead, there was no way the mainstream could avoid being infected. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic and show are examples of how good zombie fiction can be and have definitely helped fuel this latest craze, but us freaks have always been here.

Pop Quiz: if the Zombie Apocalypse were to occur right now, 5 things found in the room you are currently sitting will be your weapons – what are they?

I could break apart a bed for wood to make into possible weapons (and tools). Luckily there is a hammer in here to help with the wood breaking, and also as a weapon if need be. Truthfully, that is all I would trust to defend myself with. My first choice would be escape as I am kind of trapped in a corner room of a basement apartment (easy same floor exit, though).

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Josh. If you would like to connect with Josh, you can find him on his Amazon author page, his Smashwords author page, or on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest. Josh also runs a website that lists free Kindle and Nook books at FreeBookDude.comAiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) now available on Kindle, Nook and multiple formats. Two paperback versions are being released soon and you can reserve signed limited edition and regular edition paperbacks at ZombieACRES.com today. Get the perfect gift for that zombie fan in your life at the Zombie A.C.R.E.S. merch store and LIKE Zombie A.C.R.E.S. on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Join me next week as my guest will be Todd Brown – Author, President, and Editor at May December Publications.

Check Out – Zombie Shift: An Online Graphic Novel

I happened upon this the other day and I’ve been enamoured since! Each and every one of you should check it out!!

From the website:

Here is a graphic novel about a Zombie viral outbreak that I drew on my lunch break with a ball point pen. Read it with your eyes & hopefully you’ll like it with your brain and hearts. Any similarities to real life people or places is purely coincidental.

http://www.rockyzombie.blogspot.co.uk/

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Armand Rosamilia

Today my guest is Armand Rosamilia, a prolific writer hailing from Florida by way of New Jersey. So Armand, why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

The juxtaposition of their role in society and… nah, zombies are just cool. I’ve always loved zombie movies and when I discovered zombie stories I was hooked.

That’s a very honest answer. I’d have to admit that Zombies hooked me from the ‘get-go’ as well. If you’d like the opportunity to plug your latest project, published or otherwise, feel free.

I have two series running right now. My Dying Days series of zombie books, and the next one will be out very shortly. It’s called Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days, and it is 13 short stories set in the world of the other books with new and old characters throughout. Second is my Keyport Cthulhu series. It is a modern setting set of short stories in the real and creepy town of Keyport, New Jersey. I add definite Lovecraftian twists and turns to the series, and the third tale, “Cabal”, will be out shortly. My Amazon Author page has all of these releases and more.

Here’s a sneak peek at Barren, Armand’s second book in his Keyport Cthulhu series:

A short story with a Lovecraftian slant… In “Barren” (the second in the Keyport Cthulhu short story series) a biker, on the run from the motorcycle club he betrayed, finds something far worse than former friends to contend with. 

8,600 words, including Author Notes… a modern horror twist with a Lovecraft feel to it.

Now, Armand, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – what makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I don’t want my zombies to be hokey or goofy. I want them to scare you. Not only do my zombies want to eat you, they want to violate you.

Zombies that violate you? Interesting… Not something I’m sure I would want to encounter after the apocalypse. Actually the thought scares me… Moving on, what are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

The Rising by Brian Keene is the one that got me started on this journey. The rest of his zombie books are up there, and anything by Mark Tufo is solid. I’m a fan of the TW Brown zombie books, as well as John O’Brien, Dave Jeffery and Ian Woodhead. Pick five? Very hard!

It’s always difficult, but we ask the hard questions around here. Let’s hope this one is a little bit easier to answer – what are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Dawn of The Dead remake, Shaun of The Dead and Pontypool.

I loved Pontypool! It ranks way up there for me as well, along with the book – which was fantastic! Speaking of how books influence other forms of media, do you think the popularity of The Walking Dead and its appearance in mainstream media has helped to increase the popularity of the genre, or has there always been such an interest?

I think there is a great, healthy fan-base but it exploded with The Walking Dead. Once the series ends, those people will move onto the next big thing (Mummies? Spiders?) but the hardcore fans will always be around. I definitely helped.

Fair answer. Pop quiz: if the Zombie Apocalypse were to occur right now, 5 things found in the room you are currently sitting will be your weapons – what are they?

The half-empty bag of M&M’s, hitting them with my paperback book collection, my Captain America coffee mug, my printer/scanner which never works when I want it to, and these pipe bombs I’m working on. Oops, should I say that out loud?

Probably not, but I’m sure you’ll be okay… Maybe… If you’re interested in connecting with Armand, you can find him on Facebook, Goodreads and Google + and also on Twitter  via @ArmandAuthor. Oh, and don’t forget to check out his Dying Days series!

Join me next week as I interview Joshua Cook, author of the ZombieACRES series.

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Adam Millard

Today I am joined by Adam Millard, a talented author who also wears the owner and editor hats over at Crowded Quarantine Publications. If this is the first time you’ve heard the name Adam Millard, I’m going to start off by asking – where the heck have you been hiding?? Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s a bit more information about him…

Adam Millard is the author of twelve novels and more than a hundred short stories. His work can be found in collections and anthologies from Evil Jester Press, Angelic Knight Press, May December Publications, Bizarro Press, Sirens Call Publications, and Rymfire Books. Adam can be followed on Twitter @adammillard. For more information, including upcoming appearances and signed copies, go to www.adammillard.co.uk.

Now it’s time for the fun part! Let’s get down to business and ask Adam the age-old question – why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I just find the whole concept fascinating. The methods by which one becomes a zombie can be anything, which is what makes a zombie-apocalypse so unpredictable. It can be anything from an uncontrollable virus to a passing comet. When a bite from a Sumatran rat-monkey can make zombies, you know anything can, and I just love the different scenarios. To me, zombie books and movies aren’t about the hordes of undead; they’re about the survivors, the people who suffer through the event and try to remain uninfected. It’s their story, not the zombies.

I suddenly have the urge to watch Braindead… Speaking of movies, what are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

The original Dawn Of The Dead is my favourite zombie film of all time, though Zack Snyder’s remake wasn’t too shoddy by remake standards. Shaun Of The Dead is my favourite zom-com, and references a lot of great movies. There have been a lot of imitations, but none that even come close to capturing the originality and cleverness of SOTD. And it would be wrong to say anything other than the original Night Of The Living Dead as my third answer. That was the one that started it all, a piece of cinematic history. Not bad for a movie with a budget of only $115,000.

Funny you should mention Synder’s remake; I actually lived near and used to shop in the mall that they used for filming (before they tore it down). Kinda surreal to walk through it after seeing the movie, it’s amazing how being able to physically put yourself in the setting can make the scenes seem more real. It’s like imagination and books, and how reading can open your mind up to new and wondrous worlds. What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Okay, this is a tough one. I would definitely say the Autumn series by David Moody, and I’m counting that as one of my five. Moody knows how to write zombies, and I urge anyone who hasn’t yet, please read it. World War Z by Max Brooks just for its ingenuity. The way he put that together was superb. J.L. Bourne’s Day By Day Armageddon is also great. David Wellington’s Monster Island, and its subsequent sequels, and finally Night Of The Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall. I just love the idea of a zombie-apocalypse happening at a Star Trek convention. Lots of fun.

I’m a huge fan of Wellington’s Monster series myself, but I have yet to pick up Night of the Living Trekkies– thanks for the recommendation! It’s interesting how each author that writes in the genre puts their own little stamp on what a Zombie means to them. What makes your Zombies different?

My zombies are your standard Romero zombies. They don’t run, or shoot weird appendages from their hands. They’re just dead folk shambling around. I wanted to honour George Romero’s definition of zombies as closely as possible, since these were the ones I grew up knowing and loving. Back then, zombies didn’t sprint at you like Usain Bolt on bath-salts; those were the days. . . .

Those certainly were the days Adam, if I were to come across a Zombie that ran like Usain Bolt, I think I might just give up! There’s absolutely no way I’d be able to outrun it! While I find a lot of the suped-up Zombie films and literature to be entertaining, I like the aspect of believability that you get with certain pieces. Like The Walking Dead. For the most part, in my opinion, it’s so well crafted that it has that air of believability that runs through it. Perhaps that’s why it’s so popular and has driven up the interest in the genre… What do you think? Has the popularity of The Walking Dead and its appearance in mainstream media has helped to increase the popularity of the genre, or has there always been such an interest?

It certainly hasn’t harmed the genre. I love The Walking Dead. It got a lot of people unfamiliar with the genre interested in zombies, which is great for the likes of me. I probably wouldn’t have sold half the books I have if it wasn’t for shows like The Walking Dead. I think, once in a while, a genre gets a kick up the ass. Vampires had it with True-Blood and The Vampire Diaries, ghosts had it with American Horror Story and Zombies have it with The Walking Dead. In a few years time, interest might wane once again, but ultimately the genre will never go away.

The Walking Dead certainly hasn’t hindered any of us that write in the genre. Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

I’ve just finished the first draft on the final book in my Dead series, which is due to be launched at the Sci-Fi Weekender in March 2013. It was one of the saddest books I’ve ever had to write, which might sound stupid being a zombie novel. These characters have put food on my table for two years now, and how do I repay them? Well, you’ll have to wait, but let’s just say the book ties everything up neatly. I had a lot of fun with this one, and I’m looking forward to seeing what my amazing illustrator, Chris Taggart – who’s responsible for all the covers in the series – comes up with.

If you’ve missed any of the Dead series, now is the time to catch up! Here’s a look at the most recent book in the series, Dead Frost. If you’d like to purchase it, clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon, but make sure you read the rest of Adam’s interview first!

 The world ended on October the seventh, 2011. Not with a bang, as some theorists predicted, but with a whimper. There was no fruition of a Mayan prophecy, no alien attack, no terrorist uprising, and no supervolcano eruption. It was a simple virus that finished mankind off; a superflu that couldn’t be cured once it had been contracted. A small group of survivors find themselves struggling to come to terms with the new world around them. Living in a disused army barracks, the group survive in relative safety, only sending scavengers for food and supplies when necessary. Shane Bridge had, until recently, been incarcerated in a maximum-security prison, but now that he is out, and the monotony of day-to-day life has become unbearable, the time has come to abandon the confines of the barracks and begin the search for his family. But death is never far away, and the flesh-eating hordes are the least of Shane’s worries. The Frost has begun…

If the Zombie Apocalypse were to occur right now, 5 things found in the room you are currently sitting will be your weapons – what are they?

I have a vintage typewriter, which has some weight to it but it worked for Paul Sheldon in Misery, so I’d give it a go. Looking round, I’ve realized that all my good weapons are upstairs, which is probably a silly mistake. I have a motorcycle crash-helmet next to my chair; I reckon I could put that on to prevent having my face chewed off, and also headbutt the zombies. I have a pair of scissors – a nice big pair, too, not ones for trimming toenails – a hefty Predator mask, which is hanging on the wall and could do some serious damage of utilized correctly, and a three-tier candelabra, which may or may not be sharp enough to spike the undead with. The room is pretty much baby-proofed due to having a small one running round. If I was upstairs in the armoury, though, the hordes wouldn’t stand a chance.

Well Adam, it sounds like your fairly prepared – let’s just hope you’ve got time to get up the stairs! If you’re interesting in finding out more about Adam or in learning where you can pick up his books, all of that information can be found on his website.

Tune in next week for my interview with Armand Rosamilia…