Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Kristen Middleton

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with Kristen Middleton, author of the Zombie Games series. For those of you who have yet to come across Kristen, let’s get you all better acquainted…

KristinMiddleton_PicKristen Middleton lives in Minnesota with her husband, Dave, and two daughters, Cassie and Allie. She spends her days chasing kids, drinking iced-coffee, and obsessing over completing her current book or starting the next one. Besides spending time with her family, she enjoys reading, movies, traveling, cooking, and watching The Walking Dead and Shameless on Sunday Nights. She also LOVES getting emails from her readers, so (unless you’re craving brains or blood) don’t be afraid to send her a message at: kristenmiddletonauthor@yahoo.com.

Welcome Kristen, so tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I think the idea of zombies and an apocalypse is terrifying and fascinating at the same time.  I think that they remind us of how little we take for granted of the things in our lives right now and how easily it could all just slip away if something catastrophic like that ever really happened. Plus, they multiply quickly, they are relentless, and will do anything to eat our brains.

Share your latest project with us.

I just finished book three of Vengeance (Night Roamers), which is part of my vampire series. October 1st, I hope to have Zombie Games (Book Five) available.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Mine are a little more slow-moving but other than that, pretty typical zombies.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

A movie inspired me, actually. About two years ago my husband talked me into watching Zombieland and I was totally fascinated with it. Just like that movie, I’ve tried adding a little humor and fun to my zombie series.  .

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

I really enjoyed Shannon Mayer’s Nevermore series and Jacqueline Druga’s Sleepers. I had tears reading those two books and they stand out to me the most. They really capture the pain and loss of the world ending as we know it. Losing family and trying to survive in a horrific zombie wasteland.

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I think that readers looking for more military zombie books might be more apt to read a male author’s zombie book. Most of my readers are female and have commented that they enjoy the humor and romance I’ve managed to slip in.

That’s an excellent point Kristen. Have you ever thought about using a male psuedonym to sell more books?

I’m actually doing pretty well building a name for myself in the zombie genre. The past few months I’ve been up there with Mark Tufo and Shawn Chesser in author rankings on Amazon, and I’m pretty satisfied with my sales. It’s a very interesting idea, however. If I ever decide to write a book filled with more gore, violence, and sex, I might have to experiment with that.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

Characters.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Zombieland

Night of The Living Dead

28 Days Later

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?

Definitely has increased the popularity.

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 frying pan

A rolling pin

A broom handle

Only three? Kristen, I’ve gotta say I don’t like your chances…

Not let’s take a sneak peek into Kristen’s Zombie Games (Origins)…

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Wild thought that living in the chaos of her mother’s home daycare and dealing with new feelings for Bryce, her martial arts instructor, was a struggle until her world turned upside down. When an untested vaccine kills more than just a rampant flu virus, Cassie learns how to survive in a world where the dead walk and the living… run!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Kristen. If you’d like to connect with Kristen, you can find her on Amazon, Facebook, or her Website.

Zombie Film Fridays: Birth of the Living Dead – The Story Behind Night of the Living Dead

Full disclosure here: I have not seen this documentary, though I admittedly want to. I think it’s incredibly interesting to see films against the backdrop of what was occurring in a nation at the time of its inception. I don’t have much information on the film – just this link 🙂

Birth of the Living Dead

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Julie Cooper Brown

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Julie Cooper Brown, author of the The Last Days Series. For those of you unacquainted with Julie, let’s take a moment to change that…

julie anderson aneJulie A. Brown, also writing as Julie Cooper Brown. Julie has always loved to write poetry and the like in her younger years. She has written The Last Day in the Life of Jillian as her first attempt at writing fiction and hopes to break through with this new novella. Julie enjoys playing guitar, piano and violin though she is unable to read music. And although she has no degrees to brag of and only an eighth grade education, she is confident in her writing and only hopes to improve her technique in the future.
Julie has three children from a previous relationship and three step-children with her husband of six years, Jeremy Brown. They currently reside in North Fort Myers, Florida.
Julie has several siblings and credits her vivid imagination to all the pretending they had done as children. Julie has also been a short order cook for 25 years and hopes to be able to let that go if her books are successful.

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

The thought of the dead rising to walk the earth has always frightened me, so I became addicted to my fear. I love to be afraid of the zombies! They are not real! Yet, they scare me worse than any Friday the 13th (or similar –  really could happen movies) ever did. So, needless to say I love Resident Evil and any game that involves killing zombies or solving mind bending puzzles to find the cure or the way out. So, when I became bored while unemployed, I wrote a story that would reflect how I may deal with a zombie apocalypse if one were to occur.

Tell us about your latest project.

My latest project is Book IV of The Last Days Series. Titled The Dead Live On.

In book III, chemical bombs were set off throughout the United States… Book IV will reveal just how effective the solution really was. That’s all I must say. J I do have recurring characters.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

My zombies are different because they actually have a fully functioning conscience. They know who they are, and they know what has happened to them. Though they have no control over their actions, their bodies occasionally respond to the emotions of what they are thinking. Also, some of my zombies go through a half stage… Where they are still fully functional but are over whelmed and controlled by the hunger for flesh; so you can see and feel the anguish they suffer over the acts that they are committing.

What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Honestly, I have never read a zombie book. I do love the horror genre, I read King, Saul, Koontz, Rice and Keene mostly.  So, I was unsure of how my zombie fiction would turn out.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Oh, that’s easy because I have watched plenty of those.

Night of the Living Dead

The Return of the Living Dead (It was hilarious as well as frightening… I was all of 10 years old)

Dawn of the Dead (original, though the newer version was great as well)

I would like to mention the worst also!

Zombie Nation… Geez… (just cross your eyes and shake, you’ll do fine), though I have a favourite dialogue from that movie as well…

“You don’t eat people!” says the Voodoo Priestess

“Well, what do zombies eat then?” Asks the terrified poorly made up teen zombie…

And the Voodoo Priestess answers…“CHEESEBURGERS, GIRL! DAMN!”  lol

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 do. The Walking Dead is a fantastic show, great story line, awesome scary zombies and a great cast. There are a lot of people I know personally who didn’t care much for zombie pictures until they watched The Walking Dead. Now, they are hooked and will be hard pressed to find something as entertaining to 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?

A lamp, a machete, (my husband brought home to sharpen up for his step-father just yesterday lol), nunchucks (also my husband’s), baseball bat, and an extension cord??? Lol Everything else in here is too heavy to use as a weapon.

You may well survive Julie, but only just barely!

Now let’s take a sneak peek into the book that started the series, keeping in mind that the 4th book is set to be published on August 21st!! And now for a little The Last Day in the Life of Jillian…

Jillian and Evan are trapped and Evan is ill. Jillian recalls the events that have led to their demise, as well as documenting the stages of Evan’s infection as he changes into a being she used to love to be afraid of.

Thank you Julie for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to find out more about Julie’s work, check out her website!

 

 

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse: New Weapon!

So starts the first in a new series on Days with the Undead – How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

When I see something I think will be useful, or a tip being shared around, I plan on bringing it to you all. Heck, we might as well be prepared right?

And so…

http://thedoghousediaries.com/4287

World War Z’s Place In Zombie Fiction


World War Z
‘s Place in Zombie Fiction

Susan Nichols

Entertainment these days is incredibly accessible for fans of different genres and methods of entertainment. If ESPN is airing a popular sports broadcast, sports fans can stream it live from any device that can access the Internet; if J.K. Rowling is revealed to have written a crime novel under a pseudonym (this just happened), thousands of fans can instantly download the e-book; and if Betfair invents a popular new casino gaming app, it will be downloaded by the truckload instantaneously. Fortunately for fans of zombie sagas, many of these modes of entertainment can be enjoyed.

From hit games like Plants Vs. Zombies and the Call of Duty Zombie mode, to a seemingly endless onslaught of zombie literature, this popular genre has exploded all over the realm of entertainment. And this is why the release of the Brad Pitt film “World War Z” earlier this year was such a significant event. But was the film a success?

Some zombie fan purists prefer low budget films and “cult” fiction, rather than blockbuster attention, and there’s certainly an argument to be made that the massive budgets of Hollywood can cheapen a zombie epic. In this particular case, the film may not have delivered a traditional zombie fiction vibe, but it certainly had its strong points. Here are a few observations of “World War Z.”

Was it true to the book?

Many know that “World War Z” was based on the novel by the same name by popular zombie author Max Brooks. However, Brooks is on record criticizing the film, which, all things considered, was based only loosely on the book. Brad Pitt did hint, however, that a potential sequel may delve more into the details in the book.

Was it terrifying?

Let’s be honest – we want our zombie fiction to be terrifying. So, was “World War Z?” Well, yes and no. To some extent, the film took itself lightly. It was certainly no horror film, and at moments the zombies’ movements and actions were almost laughable. From a human perspective, however, the film approached a zombie disaster in a way that seemed plausible and terrifying.

Was it believable?

Yes, and this is where any existing terror comes in. “World War Z” was a surprisingly realistic feeling film, more about the spread of a deadly virus than yet another tired focus on sauntering living dead villains. The film felt at least remotely like something that could happen, and that was its strongest quality.

Was it original?

To the extent that any film based on a book can be, yes. Again, this was more of a virus film than a monster movie, and for that reason it felt pretty original among zombie fiction.

Is there sequel potential?

Absolutely. At the end of “World War Z,” humankind has hope, but the real war has only just begun. Pitt and others have already hinted strongly at a sequel, so if you liked this film there should be more on the way to keep you happy.

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Rebecca Snow

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Smashwords! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Smashwords.

Today I bring to you an interview with Rebecca Snow. We share a last name and love for zombies but I swear we’re not related! At least not that we’ve been able to figure out – yet… For those of you unfamiliar with Rebecca’s body of work, here’s a little information about her:

dawnRebecca Snow is a Virginia writer who travels as much as her homebound geriatricats allow.  Her work has been published online and in numerous small press anthologies. You can find her online at cemeteryflowerblog.wordpress.com, on Twitter @cemeteryflower, and on Facebook.  Look for the bloody handprint.  She’s working on a novel or two even if she doesn’t know how they end.

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

Zombies are incorruptible.  They don’t care who you are, what your social standing, who your friends are, how much schooling you’ve had, how many awards you’ve managed to accumulate, where you live, or what you’re wearing.  If they can find you and grab you, they will try to eat you.

Tell us about your latest project.

I’m starting a photo bloggy thing involving zombies, but I haven’t fleshed the whole thing out in my head enough to discuss it.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I could always say, “Because I wrote them,” but I’ve used that answer so often it makes me sound like I need a bigger door to get in the room.  Seriously though, no two people write alike.  But some of my zombies are a little different.  Some can think.  Some have different motivations than brains.  Of course, some are just plain zombies.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you. 

Not really, but there are lots of zombie stories and novels that KEEP me writing in the genre.

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write? 

There are so many.  I really like David Moody’s Autumn series.  Joe McKinney’s stuff.   If I had to pick an absolute favorite though, it would be Mira Grant’s FEED.

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men? 

I’m really not sure if gender plays a role in getting noticed.  There are a lot of talented (and noticed) female writers in the genre.

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books? 

Not a chance.  If someone’s making a judgement call on what my chromosomes say, it’s their loss, not mine. And even if it did make a difference, I’d feel like I’d compromised myself.  I don’t begrudge writers who do use pseudonyms.  We each have our own perspective.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing? 

Gore covered characters.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films? 

Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Pontypool (Although I’m not sure that could be considered Zombie)

Holy crap! Someone else has seen Pontypool! I love that movie and the book is awesome too. On another note, I live near Pontypool (seriously). 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 the interest has been there, it’s just that it wasn’t as accessible as it is now.  There were years that I’d go looking for zombie novels and get looked at funny in the book store.  That’s definitely changed.  I still get funny looks, but now it’s for the dancing.

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’m not allowed to say, but I’d be well protected.

I’m sorry Rebecca, but without prior knowledge of what you have, I’m going to have to surmise that you won’t survive…

A huge thank you to Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions!

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Anna Taborska

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Smashwords! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Smashwords.

I have the great pleasure of posting my interview with Anna Taborska today. Anna is one of my fellow Darlings of Decay and if you haven’t heard of her yet, you soon will. In fact, let’s get you all acquainted now…

Anna TaborskaAnna Taborska was born in London, England. She is a filmmaker and horror writer. Anna has written and directed two short fiction films (Ela and The Sin), two documentaries (My Uprising and A Fragment of Being) and a one-hour television drama (The Rain Has Stopped), which won two awards at the British Film Festival Los Angeles in 2009. Anna also worked on seventeen other films, with actors such as Rutger Hauer, Scott Wilson, Noah Taylor and Jenny Agutter, and was involved in the making of two major BBC television series: Auschwitz: the Nazis and the Final Solution and World War Two behind Closed Doors – Stalin, the Nazis and the West. Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies, including The Black Books of Horror and Terror Tales of London in the UK, and Best New Writing 2011, Best New Werewolf Tales Vol.1 and The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four in the US. Anna’s story Bagpuss was an Eric Hoffer Award Honoree, and the screenplay adaptation of her story Little Pig was a finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival Screenplay Competition, 2009. Anna’s debut short story collection, For Those who Dream Monsters, is due out in late 2013, with the release of a novelette collection, Bloody Britain, planned for 2014. You can view Anna’s resume here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1245940/ , watch her films and book trailers here: http://www.youtube.com/annataborska and get the latest news about her short stories here: http://annataborska.wix.com/horror.

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

I generally write about what scares me. I find Zombies particularly scary because they are practically unstoppable – unlike living humans and most living monsters, they don’t feel pain, and their sheer numbers are overwhelming. And Zombies are morbidly fascinating as they are a walking display of the process of decomposition of the human body and, as such, a reminder of our own mortality and inevitable grotesque and ugly end. I find that a good way of dealing with my fears is to incorporate them into my writing.

Tell us about your latest project.

My first short story collection, For Those Who Dream Monsters, should be out in November 2013. Closer to the date I’ll put out a trailer with more info on my YouTube page after that, I’ll hopefully have a novelette collection, Bloody Britain, out in 2014. I must confess, these collections will not contain Zombie stories – rather tales of other monsters, both human and not.

However, in the meantime, for fear of letting the Zombie out of the (body)bag, I can only hint that there will be a somewhat kinky Zombie story coming out from Mortbury Press later this year in The Tenth Black Book of Horror, edited by Charles Black. If the idea of a naughty Zombie story with nuns and necromancy appeals to you, then keep an eye on the Mortbury Press website: The Tenth Black Book of Horror should be up there around November-time, and on Amazon not long after that.

I’ve had stories in the Black Books of Horror before, and I’m particularly pleased to have my story Little Pig in The Eighth Black Book of Horror because my severed head appears on the front cover – drawn by artist Paul Mudie – among the heads of all the other authors whose stories appear in the book. I guess other people might feel the same about appearing on the cover of Vogue. Little Pig has been a very lucky story for me, as it was picked by editor Ellen Datlow for her anthology The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four, and my screenplay adaptation of it was a finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

I cannot wait to read your collection coming out later this year! What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I currently have two pieces of work with zombies (but I plan to write more!). One is the flash fiction piece Picture This, which appears in Darlings of Decay, and features representatives of the slow-shuffling Night of the Living Dead variety. The other is a screenplay I wrote some years ago, working title Chainsaw, with a detachment of Nazi Zombies residing in an underground bunker in Eastern Europe. At the time I wrote the screenplay, there weren’t many Nazi Zombies about, but with films like Outpost and Dead Snow coming out, my Nazi Zombies have become less of a novelty. These particular Zombies are slow-shuffling scavengers, feeding on the corpses of dead animals when there are no living humans to be had.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

One of the most inspirational pieces of work I have ever read is Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. Some might argue that the legions of bloodthirsty undead in Matheson’s novel are closer to vampires, but for me they’re zombies, albeit speaking ones, and they were certainly portrayed as zombies in the 2007 film adaptation starring Will Smith – a film I enjoyed a lot, but which drifted too far from the original and in which Matheson’s superb and chilling ending was sadly turned into a Hollywood happy ending. I was very saddened to learn of Matheson’s death not long ago. Richard Matheson’s novel, and George Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead were the two works that most inspired me to write in the genre.

I agree with you Anna; I think I Am Legend is more of a Zombie book than Vampire, though I can see the similarities to both. What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

Again, it’s I am Legend by Richard Matheson. Having said that, there is a rich body of great new Zombie fiction out there at the moment, and I plan to read more new work, as well as the classics.

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I think gender plays less of a role in getting noticed in the genre than it used to – certainly when it comes to the world of books, in which women such as Mary Shelley have traditionally blazed an electric trail (if you pardon the pun). The film world is different – the genre is still very much male-dominated, and when we think about Zombies, we think of directors such as George Romero and Lucio Fulci; the number of Zombie films directed by women is painfully small. Returning to books – if traditionally readers have been more comfortable reading Zombie works by men, then I reckon this would have been linked with people’s perception of traditional gender roles and the misconception that representatives of ‘the gentler sex’ are incapable of handling the darker, crueller, gorier side of life. I think by now most of us know that simply isn’t true.

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books?

Yes, I have thought about using a male pseudonym. When I first started submitting horror short stories for publication, I tried sending them to magazines such as Playboy – I never even got as far as having a story read, let alone accepted. That was probably the time when I most considered using a male pseudonym. But then a friend forwarded one of my stories to talented British horror and crime writer Paul Finch, who helped me a great deal and introduced me to Charles Black of Mortbury Press, who was the first person to publish one of my stories. So with the help of Paul and Charles in the UK, and a bit later editors Jeani Rector and Jean Goldstrom in the US, my work started to come out under my own name.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

I probably spend more time writing characters, although gore can be a lot of fun to write.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

There are a lot of Zombie films I love, such Zombie Flesh Eaters and The Beyond by Lucio Fulci, but I’ll have to be boring and say: George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead – for me, those really are the best Zombie films ever made and I never tire of watching them.

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 that The Walking Dead appeared in mainstream media because of a resurgence in the popularity of the genre in theatrical movies and in books, but there’s no doubt that The Walking Dead is gaining new fans for the genre.

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?

Scissors, metal lamp stand, chair leg, television set, large glass vase.

You may well survive Anna, but only barely! Now let’s take a quick look at The Eighth Black Book of Horror that features Anna’s story Little Pig

BB8-Front-600 (19)The latest volume of The Black Book of Horror contains 13 new stories by Reggie Oliver; Paul Finch; David A. Riley; Mark Samuels; John Llewellyn Probert; Gary Fry; Tina & Tony Rath; Marion Pitman; Thana Niveau; David Williamson; Anna Taborska; Stephen Bacon; and Kate Farrell.

Thank you Anna for taking the time to answer my questions! If you’d like to connect with Anna you can find her on IMDB, Facebook, Twitter (though she admits she doesn’t Tweet much), her website, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Zombie Film Fridays: A Little Bit Zombie

I happened to catch A Little Bit Zombie one evening on The Movie Network and was enthralled by it. I will admit it’s not the best of films, but it’s funny, co-stars Stephen McHattie (a fantastic Canadian actor), and has references to Tactical Bacon. What else do you really need??

Infected by a virus, a mild mannered HR manager attempts to fulfill his overwhelming desire for brains, all while trying to keep it together so as not to incur the wrath of his bridezilla-to-be.

My Rating: A-

Interesting Facts: The beer that Craig drinks throughout the film is an actual beer, called “Devil’s Pale Ale”, and is brewed in Ontario, Canada, by the company Great Lakes Brewery, and following the credits there is a shot of Muffins’ foot bursting from its grave.

And now it’s time for the trailer!