Chewing Braaiiinns with… Jeannette Sirois

Today I’m joined by Jeannette Sirois, an author and illustrator of graphic novels. For those of you that haven’t run across Jeannette’s work, let’s get to know her a little bit better.

Me (1)Picture a crazy lady with cowboy boots, fake fur coat, messed red hair walking two very stubborn Dachshunds in the pouring rain.  That’s me.  I’m an artist/illustrator, teacher of art and really good with Photoshop and other things art computer related.  I’m also a lover of all things zombie (as long as it’s intelligent and great fun) and watch lots of zombie films on my computer as I work.  I live in the beautiful North West coast province of BC Canada, and work on my graphic novel stuff full-time.  I’m also an illustrator for another graphic novel about time travel, set to go to publishers in the next month or so.  I’m a strong advocate of the environment, animal rights and the good things in life.  Just want to be happy, like everyone else out there, and working on graphic novels is my passion.  You can see the stuff I’m doing at my blog www.thelivingchallenged.com.

Welcome Jeanette. So tell us, why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I’ve been fascinated by the zombie genre for years, for me it opens up many important issues.  We are talking about the death of a human and how that human comes back to life.  The idea is priceless, it means that I can think of a huge number of ideas, mix it into the genre which deals with the zombies and BLAMO a whole new and different story each time.  Even using the original voodoo zombie stories is a great idea, zombie master controlling a horde of the walking dead.  Now that’s a story waiting to be written. You can do so much with this genre and have so much fun with it.

That’s part of the reason that I enjoy it as well. Please take a moment and share with us what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently I’m involved with two graphic novel projects.  I’m writing and illustrating a zombie graphic novel called Three Days of the Living Challenged and I’m illustrating another graphic novel with a local writer.  I’ve completed the manuscript for Three Days of the Living Challenged, and currently working on the drawings.  I post 1 or 2 pages on my blog, thelivingchallenged, every other day or so, depending on how busy my other non-zombie writing life is.  It’s a politically correct save the world kind of story.  The blog is a testing ground for the images and story.  I’m looking for people to give me feedback and/or follow the story.  Creating this novel also gives me a chance to write about the graphic novel creating process.  When I started writing and drawing graphic novels 4 years ago, I read a lot, took classes, but I couldn’t find a lot online to help guide me through the process as a newbie. So I’m sharing my experiences and my knowledge with others.  Hopefully, I can help someone along the way.

It’s great that you’re willing to give back. My series with other Zombie authors is my way of doing the same thing – if the fans that fell in love with Days with the Undead (the second book is coming out soon!) fall in love with someone else’s work, it only serves to keep the genre alive. What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I’m very conscientious of the origin of zombies, and its history.  I’m also aware that sometimes you need to break a few rules to get a good story.  In Three Days of the Living Challenged, my zombies become conscious (well to a certain degree), and although this idea may not be new, it’s what they do with their awareness which I think is unique.  I spent time researching how this might be possible, how the frontal region of the brain can be reanimated.  I came up with a somewhat plausible scientific reason and created the story around it.  There is still a plague, there is still death and destruction, and brain eating, but something unique happens to the zombies.  I don’t want to spoil it here by giving too much away; I do want to say that the zombies in this story save the world.  I believe it is totally cool, so you’ll have to check out my blog to find out what happens. I use a bit of humor, and try to delve into subjects which plague us today; global warming, greed, hate, crimes….  Ultimately, my question is, what will it take to stop us from destroying Earth, does everyone have to die?

What an interesting premise. I’ve only started reading it and I admit I need to catch up! What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Definitely the Zombie Survival Guide, I love Brooks’ take on the genre, and he does it in such a serious manner, a must read.  The Final Infection(book one of a series), great concept and an easy read by Charles Clemons.  The Walking Dead graphic novels, by Robert Kirkman.  I love the art work in this book and Kirkman’s take on how we interact with each other, how we treat each other and how this plays out in the story are masterfully handled.  Love it.  Patient Zero, by Jonathan Maberry.  The idea is great as it creates a unique scenario where the zombie plague is being used by terrorists.  That concept was a new one for me.  Finally, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a very cool book which mixes old and new.  I love how Seth Grahame-Smith was able to combine a good old classic book with a contemporary twist and added zombie theme.  My next read is World War Z, by Max Brooks, and of course Days with the Undead by Julianne Snow (Love Bites was very funny).

Thank you! I do like infuse bits of humour when I can though I can’t say you’ll much of it in Days with the Undead: Book One. What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

I watch a lot of zombie films, and what I’m drawn too is not the gore, but how the writer and or director uses the zombie genre to say something important, different and/or profound within the context of film history and the zombie tradition.  The film is a winner if it breaks all codes of the same genre which have come before it, has good smart writing, good directing and strong acting.  I don’t want smuck, give me something to plump my brain.

White Zombie, 1932, directed by the Halperin brothers.   A classic film and important historically because it was the first film to use the word zombie, a must see.  Night of the Living Dead by George Romero, again a classic, very important film as it broke all zombie rules used in films prior to its release in 1968.  Shaun of the Dead, directed by Edgar Wright, 2004.  A good spin on the zombie genre, with a bit of humor added for fun.  Good acting, smart, silly and a well-rounded film. A definite must see.

You absolutely need to see Pontypool if you haven’t already done so – such a great take on the genre and it’s Canadian! 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?

The zombie genre has had a very strong following for years. With The Walking Dead coming out in pop culture TV, I’ve noticed more and more people are starting to sit up and take interest in the genre.  It’s important to create work which sees the audience as intelligent, smart viewers.  When this happens, as in The Walking Dead, you get viewers who would normally stay away from the genre.  Using the premise of the genre to talk about the human condition, about the world, about our connections to each other is a big part in why The Walking Dead does so well.  It isn’t about the blood and gore, although it is there, it’s about us.  The show is smart, well scripted and has great acting and directing, it’s a show which lends itself to following the zombie genre, but also allows the viewer to have a relationship with the characters.  The Walking Dead has raised the bar on thoughtful zombie film making, and because of this it has hooked a new audience who appreciates the effort.  Frank Darabont has done a good job developing Robert Kirkman’s ideas.  I can’t wait to see what happens each time I watch.

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?

1- My mini Dachshund Kendall, she’s a real ankle biter; she’ll chop those zombies down in no time flat.  GRRRR.

2- My drawing pencil with thick replaceable leads.  I can stab those monsters in the eye, and if the lead breaks, BAM got another one right behind it.

3- My pad of drawing paper, a nasty paper cut will knock anything to the ground.

4- My hand sanitizer.  That stuff will kill anything.  One squirt and that zombie will be the walking clean and march right back to its grave.  Start slamming those coffin lids folks.

5- My 50 pound power Mac desktop computer.  You drop that thing from any 2nd floor window and it will spill brain like no tomorrow.  SPLAT, zombie be gone.

Thank you to Jeannette for taking the time to answer my questions. Please make sure that you check out Three Days of the Living Challenged – it’s fantastic and fresh!

Don’t forget to come back next week when I will be featuring an interview with Morgan Barnhart from The Zombie Response Team…

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Chewing Braaiiinns with… Dale Eldon

Today my guest is a relative newcomer to the field of Zombie fiction, but don’t let that fool you; Dale Eldon is an author you’ll most certainly want to pay attention to. For those of you who haven’t run across his name yet, here’s a little information…

IMG_2489li2When Dale is at his overnight job at a local fast food joint, or even at home, he is plotting stories in which people fall in love, fight for their lives, and die. POTATO MAN, from the anthology, Grindhouse, was born while Dale rolled burritos on his overnight shift when the thought of dozens of severed, possessed hands chasing a woman down a dark street fluttered to mind.

Apart from his “day job”, Dale is currently published in two anthologies, and continues to write for several anthology calls, and has a zombie novella almost ready for consideration by Crowded Quarantine Publications.

His creepy short story, DARK DWELLINGS is on Smashwords and Amazon.

And coming in June, his zombie novella, SMELL OF THE DEAD.

Welcome Dale. So, why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

There’s something so profoundly creepy about dead people not only rising, but dead people who continue to rot with an insatiable appetite for human flash. And there’s just no stopping them. The idea of death is something that people have dealt with in many ways over the ages and in varying cultures. The very fact that death itself, not in the Grim Reaper sense, but something that is very natural has been perverted into a huge army that destroys everything in its path to tear apart those who still live is so captivating. Not to mention I love how the living react to this, and the survival aspect.

I have to agree with you Dale. And I love profoundly creepy stories! Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

1SMELL OF THE DEAD coming in June:

DNA expert Terry Marshall leads his fellow scientists up the biggest mountain in the world… Everest!

In order to escape a hit made on Terry and his friends, he sets up a trip that they wanted to take for a long time in order to disappear for good.

But, things quickly change when one of the scientists becomes deathly ill.

As if the mountain itself was deadly enough, now the group must face a strange breed of zombies, and get down before the mountain, and the undead finish them off for good.

By the end a new threat will emerge…

That sounds amazing! I cannot wait to read it. What is your favourite Zombie archetype; fast or slow?

I like both, but it depends on the story. Though I prefer them to be in the middle. Too fast, and they shouldn’t be zombies (like 28 Days). But if it is believable then I’ll enjoy the story.

Good point. If I’m reading something or watching something, there at least needs to be the potential for escape. Anything less and the premise becomes defeatist to the core. What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Each time there is a new victim for the undead, the change is a bit different. From bio chemistry, to the psychical appearance. Though the most common trait is a strange green and black fibers the protrude from the skin, and act like cactus spines, which can infect any host they come into contact with.

There is also another secret, but one that won’t be reviled until the end. ;^)

Ohhh a secret twist! How exciting! Tell us about your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

David Moody’s AUTUMN series.

Max Brooks’ WORLD WAR Z.

Todd Card’s HELL COMETH.

Joe McKinney’s DEADCITY series.

Jonathan Maberry’s ROT AND RUIN series.

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

Both DAWN OF THE DEAD movies.

DAIRY OF THE DEAD

Both NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD movies.

Also great choices! 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?

Yes, and no. When I was in first grade, I would walk around the playground walking shabbily moaning, and murmuring, “BRAIIIINNNNSSS”. The other kids looked at me like I was on crack. Their parents either didn’t know of, or didn’t let them watch RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Often over the years I’d make a zombie reference, and people usually wouldn’t get it. I do believe the video game series of RESIDENT EVIL helped to get people interested. And in the book world, Max Brooks’ WORLD WAR Z really started to ramp up the sub-genre. Then Robert Kirkman came out with his THE WALKING DEAD comics, which I didn’t hear of before the show (even though I’ve heard of him), and that fed into the rising interest. But when Frank Darabont read one of the comics, he knew TWD would be a huge hit. And once it aired, people who didn’t care before now saw zombies in a new light.

So I’d say if it wasn’t for the video game industry, and Max Brooks, TWD might not have had as much success. Not to mention David Moody’s take on the genre. I feel he has made a great addition to the genre’s success.

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?

Well I have two survival knives, one of which is almost the size of a machete. And it can chop through tree branches like a hatchet. I also have a hatchet in reach, but it’s not quite as sharp. And then there’s the single shot, shotgun on the gun rack.

You may survive Mr. Eldon. Maybe…

Since you can’t currently purchase Dale’s novella Smell of the Dead, let’s take a sneak peek into his short Dark Dwellings

DD Cover 2_FRONTA new freak-show is in town, set up in an old abandoned factory, House of the Macabre which is all fun and games until one of the freaks begins to kill off the others. 

His name is Gummy. He was born with a freakish face and pale skin. Mocked all of his life for looking like a clown, he got a job as one. But this clown isn’t your garden variety, he has a taste for human organs. Aaron Stanson, a newbie to the House of the Macabre gets his first dash with the evil clown when his girlfriend, and fellow freak comes up missing. Aaron who is probably the most normal of the bunch will face off against the worse the world has to offer.

If you’re interested in purchasing Dale’s short for $0.99 USD, simply click on the cover and be whisked away to Amazon. It’s also available on Smashwords here.

Thank you Dale for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to connect with Dale, you can find him on Facebook, his blog, his Amazon Author Page, Twitter, or Google+.

Join me next week when I talk shop with Jeanette Sirois, the creator of The Living Challenged!

Vampire Bites Blog Hop Winner!

On February 14th I took part in the Vampire Bites Blog Hop with organizer Jolie du Pre and the rest of the hoppers.

My contribution was a short written especially for the occasion entitled Love Bites: A Valentine’s Day Misadventure. If you missed it, you can find it here.

At the end of the short, I mentioned that I would be choosing one lucky person who commented to win a copy of my book Days with the Undead: Book One. It is Zombies, but Zombies are undead too, right!?!

So now it’s time to announce the winner….

Angelica Dawson!

Congratulations Angelica!! Send me and email at JulianneMSnow (at) gmail (dot) com and we can work out all the details!

Love Bites: A Valentine’s Day Misadventure

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I’m participating in the Vampire Bites Blog Hop. Back when I joined up, I had no idea what to do for the  hop. Figuring out that I would think of something by Valentine’s Day, I decided not to worry about it. And I’m glad that I didn’t!

An idea came to me as I was writing a submission for the open call “Love, Lust and Zombies” (which BTW, I love my submission for that!) and the story that you’re about to read is something I wrote quite quickly once its premise appeared. I hope you enjoy it and without further fanfare, I give you…

Love Bites: A Valentine’s Day Misadventure

Sitting propped up against the bar, Kyle turned the viscous red liquid around and around the highball glass, his head supported by the expanse of his other hand. Playing the part of maudlin vampire was something he did very well.

Tonight was no different than any other night. He’d made plans to meet Arielle for drinks and then maybe dinner if the mood came over them, but here he was sitting in the bar, still waiting for her after two hours.

Draining the crimson from his glass, he called out to Norm, “can I have another?”

Norm, the stodgy barkeep that kept this place alive despite all of his undead customers came to stand in front of him. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

“No,” was all that Kyle could answer as his body slumped in utter dejection.

“You can’t keep drinking yourself into oblivion each time one of them fails to show. You’re drinking me out of all of my infused stock.” Norm paused for a moment to fill the glass, “do you know how hard it is to convince drunks to donate these days? So many of them are belligerent and tend to revoke permission when they sober up…”

Norm’s voice trailed off as he realized that Kyle was caught up in his own world. Knowing there was no use talking to him in this mood, he moved on to serve his other, more up-beat patrons.

Kyle continued to slump even lower on the stool, the rejection of the night deflating his normally overlarge ego. Noting the woman seated to his left two stools over, he turned a glassy stare in her direction.

From what he could see, she was a fairly ordinary woman. Perhaps a little plain in the face, she had a strong pulse in her neck that instantly attracted him. Perking up at the thought of salvaging his night, Kyle momentarily forgot about his woes and attempted to look dashing in his black velvet suit jacket, dark jeans and slightly less than crisp white shirt. Mussing his shoulder length chestnut hair, he took a quick glance in the mirror behind the bar to gauge the damage. Satisfied, he turned toward her and smiled.

She didn’t notice.

Continuing to smile, Kyle cleared his throat surreptitiously.

That didn’t work either.

Wobbly standing on his long legs, Kyle moved to the stool next to her. Seating himself with his back to the bar, he leaned far enough back to be in her field of vision. Plastering a debonair smile across his lips, he waited.

For a long time.

“Can I help you with something?” The words, once they were spoken came out in clipped tones.

Continuing to smile despite his frustration at her attitude, Kyle introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Kyle. Would you like to chat? Perhaps let me buy you a drink?”

“I’ve got a drink, thank you.” More of the same clipped tones.

“How about a chat then?” Persistent; you’d have to give him that one.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but I would just like to be left alone. Thank you.” Her attitude and demeanour spoke of something lying just underneath the surface, some sort of pain that Kyle wanted to tap into. If he could just get her to talk to him, perhaps he could score.

“You know, when I want to be alone, I don’t really want to be alone. I just say I do. That way people will continue to bother me until I cheer up. It’s funny how that works.” Kyle was grasping at straws by this point.

Gritting her teeth, the next words came out like chewed gravel. “If I tell you what’s the matter, will you leave me alone?”

“Absolutely.” It was an in and Kyle was willing to exploit it.

“My boyfriend dumped me tonight of all nights. Fucking Valentine’s Day and he dumps me. Me! Can you believe it?” The pain of the rejection was clearly written all over her face and permeated her words.

“Aww, Sweets, that’s terrible! What a douchebag!”

“He is a douchebag…” and for the first time that night, she smiled, her face lighting up through the tears that fell.

“Let me buy you that drink, I swear it will get better.” Kyle turned on the charm as he asked the question, hoping that she would agree.

Pausing for a moment before answering, she assessed him. “Sure, I’ll have a Margarita.”

“Excellent, I love the taste of limes!” A little over exuberant, Kyle wondered if perhaps she would figure out his intent.

“Me too! My name’s Anna, by the way.” Her rushed response gave no indication that she thought the comment was a little off.

Throughout the night, Kyle and Anna talked and laughed, each of them happy for the company. At the end of the night, Anna asked Kyle to walk her to her apartment. It was late and she was a little more than tipsy. To be perfectly honest, Kyle didn’t mind. He was hoping to get a little before leaving her to sleep off her hangover. In the morning, she’d probably not remember much of the night or Kyle for that matter, chalking it up the disorientation and dizziness to her alcohol consumption the night before. It was a perfect plan.

Once at the door to her building, Anna turned to him, her tequila infused breath warm across his face. “I know what you are.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” Kyle was surprised that she was being so bold. Most people didn’t have the nerve to call a vampire by its name in this day and age.

“You’re a nice guy,” she answered, teetering on the impossibly high heels she wore. “Wanna kiss me?”

Leaning in, Kyle took what she offered so willingly. Anna clung to him as the kiss continued, her legs getting weak and her mind emptying of thought. Turning her neck to the side, she offered him a new area to kiss.

Kyle hesitated for a moment, pulling back to gaze into her face. Her eyes were serious and from the look of her, she had sobered up slightly during the kiss. Her head was still tilted to the side, an invitation to what she knew Kyle truly was.

Nestling his mouth over her jugular, he extended his fangs and sank them into her willing flesh, sucking up the sweet nectar of her blood..

Then Anna uttered the four words no vampire ever wants to hear…

“Are they in yet?”

© 2013 Julianne Snow All Rights Reserved

So if you’ve enjoyed my little story, please leave me a comment – one lucky winner will receive an e-copy of my book Days with the Undead: Book One. It is about Zombies, but Zombies are undead too!

Also, don’t forget to check out what the rest of the hoppers have offered on their blogs! You can find the list by going here.

The Vampire Blog Hop

On Valentine’s Day you’re going to get a treat!

I’ll be hopping along with the Vampire Blog Hop group, giving you a little Vampire love!

If you’re interested in joining the hop, there’s still time!

Just go and visit the organizer Jolie du Pre on her blog Precious Monsters and follow the instructions!

Chewing Braaiiinns with… HorrO

Today I’m joined by an author that goes by the name of HorrO. Let’s take a moment to get acquainted with him.

HorrO runs three sites, all under HorrO’s House of Horror. The site that started it all was HorrO’s Gory Reviews. Then he started The Dog Days in Zombieville. Now HorrO also runs the rapidly growing PromoteHorror.com. They keep him plenty busy. When not in the horror world, HorrO studies accounting and learns to trade stocks.

Welcome HorrO! So tell us, why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Well, the original idea behind ‘The Dog Days in Zombieville’ (DDNZ) was more about a virus than zombies. As I developed the story, zombies just kind of made sense. There are so many fans of zombies out there, why not? As far as why I like zombies so much, it’s because they just keep coming, and all they want to do is kill. They can make such a beautiful bloody mess.

Tell us about ‘The Dog Days in Zombieville’.

photo (1)First, DDNZ is a Twitter story, meaning it’s tweeted on Twitter first, and then posted on the site. So it’s still ongoing at this point. Because it’s a journal, the surprise is that it can end at any point. When it does, I do have an idea for a sequel, and possibly a trilogy. Besides the journal, my focus lately has been on growing PromoteHorror.com. The name says it all. It’s where I promote anything horror related. If you are a horror fan, stop by and check out the promotions. If you need a promotion, all you have to do is ask.

PromoteHorror.com is a great site. What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

These zombies have some slight dog like characteristics. They can hear and particularly smell better than they could when they were humans. And yes, these are fast zombies. There are a few other things, but that’s for the reader to try to figure out.

Fast Zombies – my least favourite kind! What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Managing all my sites takes up most of my free time so it’s been a while since I’ve read any books. I think the last zombie book I read was Zombie, Ohio. Other than that, I guess I will plug a few books I’ve recently promoted: The Creepers, Zombie Night in Canada: First Period, 900 Miles, and End Storm.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Some people consider it a borderline zombie film, but I love 28 Days Later, and its sequel. Got to give some love to a zombie comedy so I pick Zombieland. And a movie I might like so much because Syfy plays it all the time, Dawn of the Dead (2007). And I’ll throw in a bonus recent movie you should see if you haven’t Juan of the Dead.

Great choices HorrO. I haven’t seen Juan of the Dead yet, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it. 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?

When I really got more involved in horror with my sites, it really opened my eyes up to how many people love zombies. I knew it was big, but not to this extent. I think it’s great what The Walking Dead has been able to do. I know people that aren’t necessarily horror fans that watch the show. I think The Walking Dead along with American Horror Story are great for horror, and display that there is a place for horror on TV.

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 might be out of luck! Let’s see, I know there are some golf clubs, and a bat. Something my character uses, a pen. I could break the legs off this small table, but that might be more useful against vampires. Hopefully my phone has an app for the zombie apocalypse.

You might be screwed HorrO! Let’s hope the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t happen soon… Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with HorrO, you can find him on any of his sites, which all have Facebook and Twitter accounts as well. Here’s a list of links –

The Dog Days in Zombieville – Twitter – Facebook

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HorrO’s Gory Reviews – Twitter – Facebook

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PromoteHorror.com – Twitter – Facebook