Spotlight Saturday: The Walking Dead Returns Tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is the day!! That Walking Dead returns to AMC and I for one will be watching to see what happens!

When we last left our survivors, the prison had been breached and everyone had to scatter. Some ended up together, but others may very well be on their own. What’s going to transpire? Who will die and will we see the return of Carol?

And I have to ask—is Lilith dead??

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Summer of Zombie Blog Tour: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Mark Tufo – Special Edition!

This June I’m taking part in the Summer of Zombie Blog tour with eight other authors who also write in the genre. As a special treat for all of your Zombie lovers out there, I’ll be featuring all of the authors in a special edition of Chewing Braaiiinns! First up is Mark Tufo, so let’s take a moment to get you all acquainted…

Me and the mutts, Riley is on your left and the big guy is Henry.
Me and the mutts, Riley is on your left and the big guy is Henry.

Hi my name is Mark Tufo and this is my small bio slash zombie homage. First off trying to boil your life down to a few paragraphs is like trying to get out of the house with a newborn in under 5 minutes. Those of you with kids will understand the reference. Speaking of which I have three, thankfully they are mostly grown at this point which has allowed me to pursue a writing career. I grew up a blue collar man in a blue collar family, after a stint in the Marines and then the more dangerous Post Office, I decided to educate myself and get one of those cushy white collar jobs. Well I got a few, damned thing was though I couldn’t hold on to them. Kept getting laid off. It was during these down times that I began to write, it was a way to cope with the stress of having a family that was becoming more and more difficult to support.

My wife and I put out the first Zombie Fallout book in February of 09, there was huge fan-fare, ticker tape parades and maybe even some hyperventilating from the one fan that bought the book that month. Didn’t matter much that wasn’t why I had written it in the first place. I wrote a zombie book because I’ve always been fascinated with the genre. Ever since I was 7 years old and my cousin who was babysitting thought watching Night of the Living Dead would be a good way to while away the time. I’d never been so scared and enthralled at the same time in my entire life. I devoured all things zombies, movies, books, comics. Didn’t matter much. And then during one of my lay-off periods, my wife dared me to write one. (Mostly so I’d leave her alone) And I haven’t looked back.

The Zombie Fallout series is 6 novels and 1 novella long, with Zombie Fallout 7 due in October. I have the Timothy series which is written through the eyes of a zombie (not for the faint of heart – and don’t eat and read it – you’ve been warned). And there is also the continuing saga of The Book of Riley, a zombie tale told through the eyes of Riley an American Bulldog. I don’t always write about the quasi-dead, but they’re never far from my brain! (Horrible pun but fitting – Thank you for taking a few moments to learn a little about me)

Why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Why zombies you ask, because I love the smelly bastards that’s why! Since the age of seven when I had a misguided babysitting cousin think that watching Night of the Living Dead was a good way to while away the time, I’ve been enthralled. Up to that point in my life I’d never been so friggen scared and I loved it. Sure I didn’t sleep for two weeks but other than the delirium I was right as rain.

Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

My latest published project is Tim 2 a psychotic clown; it is the continuation of a zombie tale through the eyes of a zombie. Not for the faint of heart, put it this way I’d thought about selling a limited edition in its own barf bag! I have just sent The Book of Riley Part 3 off to my editor the esteemed TW Brown. It continues the saga of Riley, an American Bulldog during a zombie-apocalypse.

I love the idea of such a different point of view! What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I don’t know if my zombies are all that much different than anyone else’s. I think it is my characters that folks can identify with. For the most part they are the every man and woman that make up the majority of our society. They have their quirks and are just as flawed as the rest of us. Even the characters that think they are Rambo rarely live up to the hype.

Is there a Zombie novel that has influenced you more than any other? If so, what is it and why?

I don’t want to mention the particular author (I promise it is no one on this tour). I had just finished reading the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it just kind of left me wanting more. So I half-joked with my wife that I thought I could do better. This was before I was writing and she said then ‘do it.’ Now I’m not saying I wrote a better book, I’m just saying I got to write my story the way I wanted to see it played out.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Okay haters can hate now but I love Resident Evil. Obviously Night of the Living Dead and I think Shaun of the Dead is brilliant. Although narrowing it down to 3 is like saying what are your three favorite books. It’s just about an impossible task.

I loved Resident Evil! 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 has always been a sub-genre culture of us zombie lovers, it ebbs and flows but if you love zombies now you’ll love zombies later that’s just the way it is. TWD had definitely brought us to the fore, folks that would normally turn their nose up to us are embracing all things zombies right now and we have the added benefit of not sparkling.

As we all know, music and slaying the Undead go hand in hand. Given these headings, what would be your Soundtrack to the Zombie Apocalpyse?

1. Overall theme for the Apocalypse: Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

2. What plays when I kill my first zombie: Hells’ Bells – AC-DC

3. What plays when you’re chased by the horde: Take it on the Run – REO Speedwagon

4. When you have to kill a loved one: Angel – Sarah McLachlan

5. When you find a group of survivors: Paranoid – Black Sabbath

6. Meeting a new love interest: Life is Sweet – Natalie Merchant

7. Making a Final Stand: Fire it Up – Black Label Society

8. You’ve survived it all: Cheers – Rihanna

9. Then you discover a bite mark: Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

10. End Credits: Holocene – Bon Iver

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?

This works well for me, my safe is in my office. Let’s start with my AR-15, we’ll move next to my shotgun, which I’ll strap to my back, in my shoulder holster I’ll place my .357 magnum, in my hip holster I’ll put my 9mm. And if my pants will stay on, I’ll put my .22 pistol around my waistband. However as a foot note, I am fairly convinced that the z-poc will start while I’m in Target with nothing more than towels that are on sale to defend myself with.

Well Mark, you may be the most prepared person I have interviewed to date! And it’s true that we never know where we will be when it happens until it happens.

So let’s take a quick look at Mark’s newest release Tim 2

Tim2appleTimothy lived a life only a psychopathic sociopath could enjoy and understand. When he was bitten on the first day of the zombie-apocalypse he turned the tides on a single-minded virus he affectionately called Hugh. Together they terrorized a city before seemingly meeting their untimely demise. Nobody could have foreseen his resurrection. Tim’s close call with death has done nothing to temper his missions in life, to live, to eat and to rule the world.

Tim is back and he’s an asshole.

Thank you Mark for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Mark you can find him on his website, Facebook, or his Amazon Author Page.

If you want to keep up on all of the action during the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, consider joining the Facebook event page here!

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Morgan Barnhart of the Zombie Response Team

Today on Days with the Undead, we’re going to take a few moments to talk to Morgan Barnhart, co-founder of the Zombie Response Team and co-author of Prepping on a Budget. Welcome Morgan, why don’t you take a moment to introduce yourself.

zrt logoMy name is Morgan and I’m the co-founder of Zombie Response Team. Zombie Response Team educates people on how to deal with a variety of disaster situations by learning basic survival skills. It’s true what they say; if you can survive the zombie apocalypse, you can survive anything.

Tell us Morgan, what prompted you to get prepped?

We realized many years ago that we were not as prepared for disaster as we thought we were. We’d always talk about what we might do, but we never got prepared for anything. One day, we just decided to start prepping and decided to join other communities to learn from each other. Anything can happen tomorrow, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be prepared for it rather than scrambling to figure ‘something’ out or to have to rely on other people for help.

Did you turn to any resources to help you get started?

Oh yes, there are a ton of great communities online, as well as tons of books and even local communities. It’s easy to find other people who are preparing, we’re not all ‘doomsday’ preppers, in fact, most of us aren’t. We’re just normal people.

What is a normal day in the life of a prepper?

We live our lives just like everyone else. We have jobs, we have social lives, we watch movies. We also just happen to keep an eye out for exits and escape routes. We also happen to prep on the side by filling old milk jugs with water and storing them, buying extra non-perishable food and storing it, making our own solar panels, etc. It’s more like a really fun hobby.

Apart from preparing supplies, what else do you do to prepare?

There’s a lot more to being prepared than just having stuff. You need to have the mindset and the skills to survive. You need to have the WILL to survive when disaster strikes. You need to have skills in which would be valuable in a disaster situation, such as how to build a suitable fire, how to purify water, how to live without electricity, how to garden. Etc.

Tell us about your book – Prepping on a Budget.

It’s a short book that briefly talks about how to prepare while on a budget. There are actually so many cheap and/or free resources out there to help people get prepared, there’s just no excuse not to be!

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the 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?

Oh The Walking Dead absolutely increased it. It’s always been a steady genre, but with the introduction of The Walking Dead, there’s been a huge burst. In fact, the genre has been going strong for a long time, which makes us a bit nervous as we fear people will suddenly get sick of zombies and ward off the whole genre since they’re in the media all the time these days.

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?

My diamondback 9mm, browning knife, the lid from the back of the toilet, computer monitor and a baseball bat.

I had never considered the lid off the back of the toilet as a weapon before – thanks! Sounds like you definitely have the will and the skill to survive.

Now let’s take a peek into Prepping on a Budget… Don’t forget to click on the cover to be whisked away to Amazon!

preppingonbudget_coverMany Zombie Response Team members don’t have a whole lot of disposable income, which is what inspired ZRT to release this free eBook for every prepper out there who feels out of the loop or uncertain about their gear or education because they can’t afford “the best”. This eBook goes into detail about where you can find cheap, yet reliable, gear. It also goes over how to find FREE education. You don’t need to have thousands of dollars to be a prepper, you just need what’s going to work for YOU, including what will work for your budget.

I’d like to thank Morgan Barnhart of the Zombie Response Team for stopping by today to share Prepping on a Budget. If you would like to connect with the ZRT you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

The Zombie Response Team is also giving away one copy of the digital and audio version of both of their books Prepping on a Budget and Could the Zombie Apocalypse Become a Reality! If you’d like to enter, follow the link!

A Rafflecopter giveaway

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…

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!

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Tim Baker

Today I’m joined by relative newcomer to the Zombie genre, Tim Baker. Tim has recently released a novella alongside Zombie author Armand Rosamilia. For those of you not acquainted with Tim, let’s get to know him a bit better…

shibumiRhode Island native Tim Baker relocated to Palm Coast in 2006 and immediately fell in love with the area. In early 2007 a bizarre dream inspired his first novel, appropriately called Living the Dream, and he has been cranking out books non-stop ever since. Tim writes fast-paced, off-beat crime stories set in Flagler Beach and St. Augustine, full of colorful characters and loaded with unexpected and often humorous twists and turns. You can learn more about Tim’s work and how to contact him on his website at www.blindoggbooks.com.

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

I have to be honest…ordinarily I am not a zombie author. I was asked by my friend Armand Rosamilia to co-write a zombie novella with him – so here I am. I will say this though…I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Well at least you’re having fun! Tell us about latest project.

My latest release is called Pump It Up. It’s a fast-paced thriller that starts in a back-room silicone pumping party and runs rampant through Flagler Beach via St. Augustine, a water slide and even the bottom of the ocean. It’s a wild ride for sure! (no zombies though)

For those of you looking to take a peek at that novella that was co-written by Tim and Armand, here it is…

European Village in Palm Coast Florida is the last bastion of defense against the unending zombie horde.
Darlene Bobich and John Murphy are fighting for survival, and their feelings for each other.
They are surrounded: The defenders of European Village ahead, mysterious strangers from the rear, and zombies everywhere. But inside European Village, a small band of survivors are doing whatever it takes to stay alive – but are they risking their own survival by keeping the new strangers out?

Dying Days: The Siege of European Village is the latest release in the Dying Days series by Armand Rosamilia, and first with author Tim Baker (Water Hazard, Pump It Up) and combines their favorite characters in one rousing story! Includes an Author interview detailing how the story came about, as well as sample chapters from both authors!

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Different from what? I can’t compare them to other zombies – I’m a rookie, remember!!! I can say this though…in the story Armand and I are writing I’ve brought the hero from my other books in. His name is Ike and he is one bad mutha…anyway – the zombies in this book are different from other zombies because no zombie has ever had to deal with the likes of Ike before!

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

I could lie and rattle off five zombie books but I won’t. Like I said – until recently I wasn’t into the zombie thing at all. I’ve only read one zombie book and that was Dying Days – by the aforementioned Armand Rosamilia. (I liked it enough to go along with his suggestion to write with him)

Maybe now you’ll read more in the genre 🙂 What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

As with the previous question – I’ve only seen one…Night of the Living Dead when I was in high school. I loved it though and whenever it comes on TV I watch it.

Well at least you have watched what I humbly consider to be the best one! 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 zombie genre has had a cult-like existence for years and it was always an inch away from boiling into the mainstream. The Walking Dead gave it the extra heat it needed to get there, now the popularity is increasing exponentially which is driving more attention to the show, which increases the popularity…it’s becoming a perpetual motion machine.

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 first two would be my feet…I’d use them to get my ass further away to a place that has a better selection of weapons! After that I’d probably take a sharpie…the ink could give them a nasty infection. I have a couple of knives within arm’s reach, I suppose they would come in handy. And finally, I have a small wooden souvenir baseball bat from a Boston Red Sox game…it would make an excellent skull basher!

You may well survive Tim. Maybe… Thank you for answering my questions! If you’d like to connect with Tim, check out his website. If you’d like to take a sneak peek at Tim’s latest solo release Pump it Up, here it is...

Pump CoverWhat begins as a quiet walk along scenic A1A in Flagler Beach, Florida quickly becomes a near death experience for vacationing Dave Ryan after he witnesses something very bizarre.

Ex-Navy SEAL Ike is enjoying a quiet evening with friends, drifting peacefully off the Florida coast. Things take a turn toward surreal when Ike suddenly has to rescue a man thrown from a nearby boat and left to drown.

Ernie Boudreaux makes his living preying on people’s vanity and insecurity by offering back room cosmetic procedures. He will also go to great lengths to protect his operation…up to and including murder.

And then there’s Saffire…the mysterious link to Ernie’s past returned to settle an overdue debt.

Ike will do whatever it takes to protect his friends…Ernie will not forfeit his cash without a fight and Saffire wants a pound of flesh – preferably Ernie’s.

The result is a high stakes free-for-all with several lives and a lot of cash on the line.

Don’t forget to join my next week when Eddie Rotten joins me!

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Jon Britton

Today I am joined my Jon ‘Double Tap’ Britton, Zombie enthusiast and author. Welcome Jon, take a moment and introduce yourself.

A little about me, I’m married to my lovely wife Sharon and have two adult sons, J.T. and Steven. I served in the United States Air Force and my current profession is that of a licensed plumber. I run a Facebook fan page called Z.S.A Texas, write articles for Brains Magazine and also help admin Cold Dead Hands which is a 2nd Amendment Advocacy page, not zombie related, but I manage to slip zombies into the conversation every chance I get. I also blog and forum moderate on CDH’s website http://colddeadhands.us where I tend to handle the zombie and ‘prepper’ forums. Somewhere in among all of that I work on my books.

Why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre, Jon?

The first zombie piece I ever wrote was on that very subject. I have always been a fan of the genre in movies, but not excessively so. A friend introduced me to the whole zombie subculture and I was hooked. I have actually written two pieces on the subject of ‘Why’. One can be found in my Facebook page notes here and the second which was a more in-depth exploration titled Rise of the Undead: Memetics and the zombie sub-culture is published in Brains Magazine issue #3. You can order the hard copy of the magazine or get a free digital download here.

Plug your latest project; published or otherwise.

My latest project is in the pipeline to be published in the near future, no date set yet. Through my Facebook page Z.S.A Texas, which is a regional site that is part of the Zombie Safe Area community, I met Samuel Garcia, author of Dead Air: A Zombie Novel and he had an idea for a follow-up anthology. He was looking for aspiring authors to write a short story based on the events in his original novel, but from their own perspective in whatever part of the world they lived in. Thus, Dead Texas was born. It will be included in the Dead Air Anthology with an option to extend it to its own full length book which I plan to do at a later date.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I am just now writing my first book with my own story line and my own zombies. My goal right now is not to redefine what a zombie is, but rather to dabble in the causes and the survival aspects. Although, I do have a unique zombie-type that I am planning to write about in my next book. All I can say at this point is that it will have strong religious overtones and possible repercussions. How’s that for a teaser?

That certainly is a teaser! What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Ironically, I’m not a big zombie book reader. Dead Air was the first and only zombie book I have read and that was strictly in research for my short story since I had to follow his story line. Sam is a gifted writer, but by not reading other peoples’ works, I’m not tempted to plagiarize, either intentionally or unintentionally.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

1968 Night of the Living Dead has to be #1, not because of the quality or the story, but simply because it gave birth to the entire genre that is still alive and thriving to this day. Zombieland would probably be my #2, the rules and the comedy aspect of the zombie apocalypse really resonated with me. #3 would be Dawn of the Dead (both of them, yes I’m cheating).

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?

I honestly believe the popularity of The Walking Dead is due to the popularity of the genre and it’s underlying sub-culture. The fact that the show is an excellent show, well written and produced may indeed bring in new zombie fans. The instant popularity I believe is due to the already existing fan base that is much larger than most people realize.

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?

Ah yes, this one never gets old. Considering the room I am in right now has a shelf full of tools right next to me, the choices are plentiful. Also being an avid knife collector and strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, let’s just say I will stand better than an average chance of surviving.

You may well survive Jon, you may well… Thank you for answering my questions and please come back when the Dead Air Anthology is released!

Join my next week when I interview Rose Blackthorn!

Chewing Braaiiinns with… AJ Brown

Today I’m joined by AJ Brown, author of horror and a Zombie serial that you can find on Tales of the Zombie War. If you aren’t acquainted with AJ, it’s high time we changed that!

AJ Brown is a storyteller who pens emotionally charged/character driven stories that often include a touch of dark paranormal. His work has received such honors as a Pushcart nomination, and editor’s choice for Issue #12 of Necrotic Tissue. Bards and Sages Quarterly, Liquid Imagination, and Midnight Echo are a few of the literary zines where his stories can be found.

Above all else, AJ is a husband and father of two beautiful children who not only support his creative endeavors, but also provide inspiration (sometimes in rather unexpected ways).

If you’d like to learn more about AJ Brown’s life and work, visit his blog: Type AJ Negative. However, beware, AJ is a unique mixture of strawberry Kool-aid drinking redneck and traditional values Southern gentleman.  The only things he takes seriously are serious things and he isn’t one of them.

Welcome AJ! Let’s get right into the interview – why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Honestly, I think zombies are almost the perfect monsters.  They have no remorse, feelings, and no fear at all.  They multiply with each person they infect.  They can get you one on one or as a group.  They are relentless—kind of like Jason or Michael Meyers in the slasher movies.  No matter how long or far you run, they are always going to give chase without tiring out.

There is also a palpable fear when it comes to watching a zombie movie—unlike any other horror flicks out there.  It is a hopeless feeling that one or ten people may be against a million zombies.  Think about this:  almost 7 billion people in the world and if 99% of them become infected with the zombie virus, that leaves about 70 million people worldwide to try and wipe out 6.3 billion.  The odds are almost insurmountable, making it that much more scarier.

Then there’s the whole mindset of this is my wife or child or husband or parent and I love them and now they are a zombie, but I just can’t kill them.  How many of those 70 million people are going to die because they still look at their zombie loved ones as people?

There is no escape.  No hiding.  Just running for the rest of your life.  That is terrifying.

I agree, that is absolutely terrifying! Tell us about your latest project.

Dredging Up Memories is a zombie series that I have been working on for the last couple of years.  It appears at the Tales of the Zombie War website and the first 10 or so installments currently reside there.  I’m also looking to turn the series into several novels by the time all is said and done.  The novels will have extra bits and pieces about characters and certain zombies as well.

I know all about publishing a saga online and then adding bits and bobs for traditional publishing. It’s a fun process. What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I’m not so certain my zombies are so much different from others, but they can’t climb fences or tanks or drop down on their bellies and hop right back up, that’s for certain.  My zombies shamble, stumble, fall—all the things that I think a dead body would be capable of doing.  Nothing drives me crazy more than seeing zombies being able to navigate hilly ground without falling down, but then the living person falling down every few feet.

I think the one thing that sets Dredging Up Memories apart is the main character, Hank Walker, and his sidekick, Humphrey.  Hank has lost everything, so this little teddy bear (Humphrey) becomes his lone source of companionship and is the only thing that keeps him from going bat crap crazy.  There is a constant internal struggle that Hank has to deal with.  Are the dead really dead or are they trapped inside those rotting husks?  This plays on Hank and Humphrey is his outlet.

Tell us about your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

The Autumn series by David Moody is awesome.

World War Z by Max Brooks

Cure by Belinda Frisch

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

The Undead:  Zombie Anthology by David Moody

(Yeah, I have my favourites in the genre)

Don’t we all? That’s what makes the genre so great! What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Shaun of the Dead

The original Night of the Living Dead

Zombieland

All good choices as well! 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 strength of The Walking Dead has helped it, and by that I mean the character development, and story lines have brought people in that would have never watched a zombie movie or series such as this.  I think it has strengthened an already strong sub-genre of horror.

On the same token, it may have influenced people so much to the point of the market becoming saturated with zombie tales, movies and shows.  It could make those who love good horror tired of the sub-genre quicker, though I honestly think zombies will reign for a very long time as one of the most noteworthy monsters ever created.

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?

Ha!  I’m in luck.  My top desk drawer has fifteen very sharp knives in it!

There are two baseball bats in my closet—aluminum ones, so no need to worry about them breaking on me. . .

My tool box is in the closet.  Can I choose the whole toolbox with its various screwdrivers and hammers in it?

You may just survive the Zombie Apocalypse AJ… Maybe.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions AJ! It’s been a blast! For those of you that would like to connect with AJ, you can find him on his blog Type AJ Negative and on Facebook. His Zombie Serial – Dredging Up Memories – can be found on Tales of the Zombie War, and his books Along the Splintered Path and Southern Bones can be found on Amazon. Just to whet your appetite, let’s take a look at AJ’s Southern Bones:

Welcome to the South. Recognized for its traditions, beliefs and hospitality. The people are genuine and a helping hand and a home cooked meal are never too far away.

Welcome to the South. Where some traditions are better off forgotten. Where some beliefs are based, not on the Bible, but on what men want you to believe. Where behind the hospitable smiles are angry snarls trailed by the feral snaps of rabid people.

Welcome to the South. Where a house stands lonely on a hill, its owner a man deformed by life. Where children aren’t quite as naïve as they appear. Where the darkest secrets are found within its families, and where dying sometimes isn’t the end.

Welcome to Southern Bones, a collection of eleven short stories from the mind of A.J. Brown.

Exciting stuff, huh??

***

Join me next week when I interview John Britton!

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Suzanne Robb

This wonderful Monday morning I am joined by Suzanne Robb, author of many Zombie tales and one that you should have heard of already. If for some odd reason you haven’t, let’s get you acquainted…

Suzanne Robb is the author of Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh my! published by Dark Continents, and the novel Contaminated published by Severed Press. She is a contributing editor at Hidden Thoughts Press, and co-edited Read The End First with Adrian Chamberlin. In her free time she reads, watches movies, plays with her dog, and enjoys chocolate and LEGO’s.

Welcome Suzanne! Let’s get this started with an easy question – why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Yep, they terrify and fascinate me at the same time. As a kid I watched Night of the Living Dead. I didn’t sleep for weeks and had nightmares, after that I was hooked. Scary movies, but especially ones about zombies caught my attention. I like the genre because it is so malleable. You can read depressing stories, action based, sci-fi, military, comedy, and so on. Zombies are quite a diverse bunch and are constantly being reinvented by people, I love it.

Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

Hmm, I just finished a book called The Moonlight Killer, a sort of different take on the werewolf. I also have in print a new book, Contaminated, published by Severed Press. A lot of people have commented they wanted to know more after the story, which is good as it is meant to be that way as it is part of a trilogy, have to make people want to come back.

Leaving them wanting more is the best way to keep ’em coming back! What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

For me what makes zombies different is the most horrific thing is people’s reactions and not necessarily the actual zombie. A mob mentality arises and people tend to attack first and not bother with questions later. In a way, I find it ironic that people act in a similar fashion to the very things they consider nasty dead things with no conscience.

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

Hmm, that is a tough question.

I would have to say Zombie Wilson Diaries by Timothy Long, World War Z by Max Brooks, The whole of the Autumn series by David Moody, Breathers by S.G.Browne and the last one is the screenplay to Zombieland, I think that movie is genius.

Great choices so I definitely have to follow it up by asking you which 3 Zombie films are your favourites?

Zombieland, Night of the Living Dead (Romero version only), and Fido.

Great films! Speaking of another visual medium, 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 always been there, but television was not paying attention. Movies always do well no matter how low budget. Take the Army of Darkness series, Fido, Night of the Living Dead remakes, Dead Snow, and so forth. Even some of the first movies around (silent) like I married a Zombi were hits in their target audience.

I do think that The Walking Dead has made it okay for people to say they like zombies, and even commercialized them to the point where people who would generally turn away from the genre actually give it a chance.

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?

Five things – Good thing I am working on renovations I suppose. A hammer, crowbar, baseball bat, dismantled light for the metal tube, and as a last resort butchers knife. In other words, I am not long for this apocalypse.

You may well survive Suzanne, especially with an arsenal like that! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and answer my questions.

For those readers out there interested in Suzanne’s book Contaminated, let’s take a sneak peek at it…

Dr. Arthur Covington may hold the key to the most important discovery in the history of humankind. He is, however, not the only interested party. 

If he is to survive treachery and attempts on his life in his bid to escape a secure, high-tech facility, he will have to rely on others – but who can he trust?

 Underground, an explosion rocks the facility. Someone drops a viral agent. 

In a new world where none can be trusted, Covington’s life hangs in the balance. It’s a race against time…and the end of the world…because it’s not just the living he has to fight against. The dead are rising. Dead men walk the halls below the earth, and the only thing keeping him from being contaminated is his gas mask…and it won’t last forever

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Clicking on the cover will take you directly to Amazon.

And don’t forget to join me next week when I’m joined by Belinda Frisch, author of Cure.

Chewing Braaiiinns with… J.Paul Wallace

Today I’m joined by a newcomer to the Zombie scene – J.Paul Wallace. Or is it J.P. Kurzitza?  All I know is that one is his horror alter-ego and the other is his real self… The long and short of it is this; we’re here to talk about his short story Ache which has been released on Amazon and guess what my little pretties – it’s his foray into horror and the Zombie culture. Let’s be gentle with him for the moment and we’ll see what falls out of his brain as shake him up a little…

J.P. Kurzitza was a jock for most of his life, a hopeless dreamer, and an unparalleled underachiever.  He excelled in the art of time-wasting, and was also an accomplished procrastinator.

Somehow, in early 2000, he found a woman who was actually into procrastinating, wandering, underachievers, and they were later married in 2002.  Their family began to grow rapidly, so much so that Kurzitza’s job wasn’t paying the bills.  So, he and his wife made the decision for her to go back to work, and for him to become a fulltime stay-home dad.

Little did he realize that making this life-changing alteration would magically transform him into an author, but that is exactly what happened.  Now, Kurzitza is still at home, has 3 boys, one girl, one cat, and one dog.  His wife is still the love of his life, but a not too distant second is his passion for the art of storytelling.

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

So glad this is the first question, and I apologize in advance if I offend any of you fanatical Zombie lovers out there.  I always wanted to at least attempt to write a horror story of some kind in my lifetime.  It just so happened that with the recent resurrection (ha ha, get it?) of the genre, helped along by The Walking Dead, I figured that writing about Zombies was as good a place to start as any.

The biggest reason I wrote it, however, was because I was frustrated.  I’m a big movie buff and love Romero’s first two Zombie films—both brilliant.  After that, though, Zombies became very clichéd and unoriginal.  More films and books were being made with little to no change to the Zombie culture.  Zombies are undead; Zombies eat the living; Zombies can only be killed by assaulting their heads in some manner, blah, blah, blah.  But more importantly to me, Zombies had no personality.  I was tired of the lack of vision within Zombie stories, so I grandiosely set out to re-write the Zombie as a character itself.

Call me the Stephenie Meyer of Zombies.

The Stephanie Meyer of Zombies, huh? If you’re talking about success, I’m with you. If you’re referring to the Twilight version of a Zombie Apocalypse… That may be a different kettle of fish altogether. Though… Enough about the idea swirling around in my head! Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

I have several published works, including two novels, two short stories, and three non-fiction works, but ACHE is my latest and only foray into the world of horror, or Zombies, to be more specific.  Don’t be fooled by the preview on Amazon for ACHE.  It is an 80 page short story, but you only get a very small sampling of the work.  That’s because most of the text was converted into JPEG format.  Why?  I can’t say.  You’ll have to read it and find out.  So, instead of displaying the story as an 8000 word story (which it is), Amazon only reads it at roughly 2200 words, and sees the other ¾ of it as only pictures (which it is not).

Let’s take a quick look at Ache now:

A struggling writer, and soon-to-be father, is coaxed into keeping a diary chronicling his wife’s pregnancy in hopes of snapping out of his creative funk. However, what started nine months ago as a beautiful and wondrous journey ultimately turns into a firsthand account of his agonizing metamorphosis into something truly hideous. 

He will stop at nothing to keep his young wife and unborn child safe. But can he save them from himself?

Not just another Zombie story. This one’s got a pulse.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Not only do I give the readers a great story full of emotion and anticipation, but I also give them a visual experience as they’re reading it.  I took a very big risk with the way I published this story, but I truly believe it was the only way to capture the mood I wanted.  If you’ve got a tablet reader, you’ll enjoy it even more.

Not only that, but I reinvented the Zombie character itself.  Not so much physiologically, but mentally and emotionally.  I asked myself the question, what if Zombies still had a fully functioning brain and thought, but had become slaves to their disease and couldn’t act on their thoughts, and could only give in to their primal, immediate physical cravings: eating flesh?

Without giving too much away, the story is told from the male protagonist’s point of view in a diary format.  Originally meant to chronicle the day by day happenings during his wife’s first pregnancy, his diary quickly turns into a chronicle of his slow metamorphosis into “one of those things” milling about the alley.  I know at its roots my story sounds like every other Zombie story I was talking about earlier, but I put a little more personality, a little more of a human element into my Zombie character than is out there right now.

As a writer of Zombie fiction, what are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Wish I had a better answer for you, but I don’t.  Zero.  Not because I don’t like any, but because I haven’t read any.  Like I said, I’m a movie and video game guy when it comes to Zombies.  Without trying to sound like I’m sucking up, Julianne’s will be the first I read.

First off, I’m flattered – thank you! I would highly recommend reading more in the genre however, because I think you’ll be surprised at the level of humanity and originality many of them contain. You mentioned earlier that you’re a movie guy, tell us what your top 3 favourite Zombie films are?

Night of the Living Dead (original), Dawn of the Dead (original), and Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters)

Good choices! You may have even redeemed yourself a little! 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?

No doubt it certainly solidified it.  More so by it being on TV than in print format.  But there’s always been an interest with the undead as evidence in all the horror films that keep coming out.  It seems like every second movie has something to do with another take on Zombies, or the undead in some fashion.  I don’t think it’ll ever go away.

Oh no.  We can’t stop it!  THEY KEEP COMING!  But then again, why would we want to?

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?

Perfect.  I’m in my office, and I’ve got a few little ditties that just might serve me well.  At least until I come across a chainsaw or shotgun.

  • My Swiss army knife.  Great for corkscrewing some Zombie eyeballs.
  • A utility knife, or OLFA knife.  You know, the one with the retractable razor blade.
  • An aluminum baseball bat.  ‘Nuff said.
  • A steel weight bar.
  • A pointy trophy.

Thank you J.P. for spending a little time answering my questions. If you’re interested in connecting with J.P., you can find him on his website, on Twitter, or on either of his Amazon Author pages: J. Paul Wallace & J.P. Kutzitza.

Join me next week when my guest will be Jack Wallen!

Oh and stay tuned for the Coffin Hop festivities from October 24th to October 31st!