Sunday, December 31, 2006

One more endorsement! And Happy New Year!

Another endorsement!

"Kim Paffenroth put me on the edge of my seat from the opening scene of this apocalyptic thriller and never let up. His prose is gritty and tough, as horrific and as multilayered as a Brueghel painting, but it is always intelligent, always with something insightful to say about the human condition. Dying to Live is a truly powerful achievement. Don’t miss it."
--Joe McKinney, author of Dead City

I can't say how excited and happy I am for the way everyone in the horror community has welcomed me in 2006, and it looks like it'll continue in the New Year! I'm catching a buzz now on some decent vino, and will switch over to champagne in a couple hours, and I just have so much to celebrate and for which to be grateful. I look forward to all the new zombie mayhem in '07 and I hope you all will continue to have me along for the ride! Thanks, and God bless - KP

Friday, December 29, 2006

First endorsement for D2L!

And a fine one it is, too:

Dying to Live is not just a thinking man’s horror novel, it’s a zombie book for philosophers. There’s plenty of action --and we enter the story while it’s already in gear—and we get inside the head and heart of a moral man trying to understand the cosmic implications of the apocalypse.

Kim Paffenroth, a religious scholar and teacher, is also the author of the acclaimed Gospel of the Living Dead, a wonderful nonfiction book that delves into the serious spiritual implications of the living dead returning to attack mankind.

In both fiction and nonfiction Paffenroth takes the risky route of exploring the heart and soul of an often heartless and soulless genre, and by doing so he brings new depth and dimension. Bravo!

-Jonathan Maberry

Title, Teaser, Editing

Going over the edited copy of Dying to Live. After some discussion, have decided to make the "2" into a "to." I hope I can be excused if I still abbreviate it to D2L, as I think that looks cool. The editing is the usual stuff - a lot of adverbs and passive constructions have been excised, but it makes the whole thing read a lot tighter and snappier now. My thanks to my editor at Permuted.

Here's a teaser. It was always one of my favorite passages, as three of our protagonists work their way through an abandoned city. Any comments are welcomed.

The wrecked cars in front of the building were especially dense, essentially shutting off the entrance, and many of them were also badly burned, as though they had kept coming there and crashing, even when the wrecks were already two deep and up on the sidewalk. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the sign above the entrance: “MERCY HOSPITAL.”

I had thought perhaps of checking out the building when Tanya had mentioned it the night before, but it didn’t look too inviting now. With such a traffic jam in front of the doors, I couldn’t even see any way in. “Come on,” she whispered, “let’s go. I hated hospitals before this, and now they must be crawling with them. Let’s go.”

Just then we heard a wail. At a smashed-out window on the third floor, one of the dead had spotted us. It wore a nurse’s uniform, covered in blood, and was partly burned all over. It was pointing at us.

The room behind her must’ve been crowded with other zombies, for at her signal of new prey, they pressed forward and toppled her out the window. She flipped in the air and landed on her back with a horrible, dull thud. The impact was hard enough that her upper torso and arms bounced up, then flopped back down. The fall must’ve broken her back, as her arms kept writhing and her head kept lolling around, yet she made no move to get up.

As my gaze moved back to the window, another zombie crawled onto the sill. It was burned so badly I couldn’t tell what it had been in life. The others pushed it out. Unlike the other, it landed face first, a more fatal landing, as the head snapped back, then flopped forward, and the whole body stayed still. Mercy Hospital was continuing to claim victims.

More zombies stood at the window, flailing and clamoring and killing themselves to get at us. I turned to see both Tanya and Popcorn just as mesmerized by the grotesque display of undead, human lemmings. And I saw, almost at the same time as I smelled its hideous stench, a zombie’s rotted hand reaching for the back of Tanya’s neck.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tell a Christmas Story, Get a Free Book

I am so tickled by the idea that some people found my book, Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth, under the Christmas tree this year, that I'd like to hear more stories of such events. So, if you leave a comment here of the story of how you opened yours, who gave it to you, what was the reaction, etc., I'll put you in a drawing for some free copies of my novel, Dying 2 Live, when it is published in 2007 by Permuted Press.

Oh, and if you didn't have one under your tree, but you've heard so much good stuff about it (some of it, perhaps, not even written by the author himself) that you have to have it, there are two ways to go about it. Order it yourself ( is still giving a 33% discount), or, if you are a blogger or reviewer who would publish a review of it, OR if you are a member of the Horror Writers Association who would consider recommending it for the Stoker Award, then just email me a request for a free copy. It's that easy.

Thanks and happy new year - KP

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The X Presidents

This crime-fighting superhero team is now down to only two members. I believe that the Free World is in worse danger than ever previously imagined. But perhaps, with the help of Mr T and Ace and Gary, Freedom will prevail. Perhaps.

The Good News Is, There's Horror Everywhere

I've been reading through On Writing Horror, which my good friend and awesome zombie photographer Bill gave to me for Christmas. And I noticed one of the things several essayists mention is how seminal 20th century horror works moved the setting out of castles and moors and put it in contemporary America. And that got me to thinking about how different places are creepy in very different ways. Out in New Mexico - where Bill grew up and where I spent my high school years - or in Arizona or Utah or Nevada, you can be out in a place that's undeniably, even overwhelmingly beautiful, but also so desolate and deserted that you feel naked, exposed, vulnerable. I even get creepy thoughts, like if I were to die (or if I were to kill my hiking partner), the bleached bones wouldn't be found for months, if then. You're scared, because there aren't enough people around. But then I thought how differently discomfiting the woods of Appalachia are. Not as barren and uninhabited - there are roads and power lines and you see a trailer or cabin every couple miles - but there's something wrong. It's not that there are no people, but somehow they haven't reached the critical tipping point to qualify as civilization. Or safety. And again, the creepy thoughts creep in. Why would someone want to live off in a cabin, miles from the nearest town? Unless they were mutant cannibals! And then finally, of course, you reach the overload point when you're in a city, and there are just too darned many people to feel comfortable - smelly, rude people jostling you, bumping into you. And even the nicely dressed ones - some of them are probably up to no good, too; they look kinda shifty and all uppity, eyeing me in my Old Navy and Target clothes. Jam nine million people on to an island, and there must be thousands of them who are killers, crack heads, rapists, spouse and child abusers, witches, mad scientists, psychos, devil worshipers. Anyway, just means there are plenty of stories yet to be written.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas present for oneself

Not, technically, in the spirit of the holiday, but I think we should all treat ourselves once in a while. Maybe I could rename it an End of the Year Bonus. Anyway, I'm so excited over the Stoker banquet, that I bought this very nice, black, cashmere blazer to wear there. I mean, it's really nice: great fit, feels like velvet, warm and cool at the same time. It's got it all. Except the outside pockets are fake. All the outside pockets of all the blazers in the store were fake. When did that happen? Then I reached way into the back of my closet for this black shirt that my wife gave me as a present probably 15 years ago. It was still in the shrink wrap, as I have never had occasion to wear a black, dress shirt. But now I do.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stoker recs, Happy New Year, and Real Community

In what will probably be the last update of the year 2006, two more Stoker recommendations were posted this week. I don't know what to say at this point. Perhaps the Christmas card I got from an old girlfriend's mom (long story) summed it up best: she said "You're finally living the life you dreamed of in high school - writing books about zombies!" Pretty perceptive she is, because that's really about it at this point. I do what I love, I get paid (a little) for it, and some of the people who do the same thing like and respect my work. I'm not sure what more people could ask for in life. Once again, the free book offer still stands: any HWA member - active, affiliate, or associate - may request a free copy. So may anyone with a blog, zine, or print journal who would review it.

I also bought my New Year's Eve cigar. I smoke a big, expensive (by my standards - $7 or $8) one twice a year, whether I need to or not, and New Year's is the one set time. I'm thinking March 31 will be the other one next year, with my new friends in the horror community. Oh, which is another thing I've been meaning to post here. For almost 20 years now, I have belonged to various academic and religious groups, and I have never, ever been in a group that is as accepting, generous, and encouraging as the "horror community." This is all the more ironic, because the people in the various religious and academic communities talk endlessly about how important community is to them, how much they want to build up their community, how central the community is to what they do. And you know what? It's mostly all talk. Meaningless, hypocritical blather. You put a bunch of them in a room and it's like a bag of wet cats - nasty, vicious, selfish, loathsome. But you get together a bunch of people dressed in black, most of them thoroughly tattooed and pierced, who write stories about eviscerations, decapitations, rapes, and torture, and they are just the nicest, most respectful, polite, and kind people around. Now, I appreciate irony more than most people, but that's just plain hilarious, I think. But, one takes community where one can get it, and I've felt it in the horror community, and I'm just as pleased as punch to be a part of it now.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

House of the Dead 2

Watched House of the Dead 2 last night on the Sci-Fi channel. (Actually, I flipped between it and SNL.) Harmless. Actually, to put it in context: it was about 10x better than any other movie I've seen made by the Sci-Fi channel, which tend to be absurd CGI trash. This was a competent mass zombie attack, with arrogant civilians scrapping with hot-shot military (no, really?!). It wasn't much different than Resident Evil, and probably made with one-tenth the budget, so they should be pleased with what they got. (I didn't see what it had to do with the video game, which is probably my favorite first-person shooter at the arcades, but I guess that's pretty irrelevant.) I didn't quite understand the exact status of the zombies: they seemed plenty fast, but very clumsy, so they could catch up to the characters at a full run, but then they'd kind of flail around and not be able to get a grip on them. Oh, and the flailing: I remember one interview with Romero, he said that you never, ever wanted to make any motions when you were directing a crowd of zombies, or suddenly the whole crowd of several hundred people would all make exactly the same motions, instead of making random, mindless movements, and it wouldn't look right. Well, somebody must've flailed their arms in unison, from left to right, because that's what every, single zombie did in this movie, and it looked goofy.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Amazon Search Inside Option

Amazon has finally made the Search Inside option available for GotLD. There has been some intermittent bloviation as to the hypertrophied prose I utilize in my argumentation, rendering it less than lucid and making it prone to circuitous digressions. (Unlike my detractors, I can parody myself. And I can take a joke.) So, now everyone can read inside the book and decide for themselves. And, for the HWA members who need a little more of a sample before recommending the book for a Stoker Award, the free book offer still stands. Merry Christmas to all.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Just bought my ticket for the Stoker banquet in Toronto. I chose the Bay of Fundy Salmon with Sherry Pink peppercorn essence. (I'm not sold on the braised endive: I guess I still think of it as a kind of lettuce, and therefore it shouldn't be cooked. But, it'll be one of many new experiences for me at the World Horror Convention!)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Somebody else deserves a Stoker, too

I'm almost done with Jonathan Maberry's debut novel, Ghost Road Blues, and it is stunning. Once things get rolling, he's got evil down in all its sickening forms – demonic, pathetic, or psychotic. I think that his vision is so powerful that it can be favorably compared not only to other horror writers, but to the classics of world literature: Maberry’s Pine Deep shares much with Dostoevsky’s Russia or Melville’s Pequod – profoundly true worlds teeming with demons, brutality, and madness, but equally brimming with beauty, love, and wisdom. It's a complex, heart-pounding read, and I really believe it deserves the Stoker for Best First Novel.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Stoker

Gospel of the Living Dead is getting more recommendations for the Stoker Award and I am thrilled. In case anyone has clicked over from the link on the HWA website, let me say that any HWA member (not just active, but Associate or Affiliate as well), or anyone with a blog or zine who might review it, can request a free copy (real, not PDF) of the book. Just send me an email with your snail mail address.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Since Permuted is already busy plugging away for Dying 2 Live, here's the synopsis of it.

In a modern world overrun by flesh-eating zombies, a single man makes his way across the deserted landscape. His monotonous and violent existence is punctuated by anguished doubts about the morality of killing the all-too-human monsters that surround him, and by anger at the God who could allow such horrors. He is helped in his struggle both to survive and to answer the nagging questions of existence when he joins a group of other survivors, led jointly by an ever-practical and efficient military man, together with a mysterious and quizzical prophet. With quiet courage, their community creates a little niche of peace and beauty among the hungry ghouls, until it is threatened by another group of much less enlightened or humane survivors. In the final battle between these two groups, it becomes clear that some of the living are much more terrifyingly evil and monstrous than the undead could ever be.

This debut novel blends theological ruminations, thrilling action sequences, and horrific violence into a unique take on the zombie myth. It’s Romero meets St. Augustine meets Dante in this thoughtful, harrowing, and oddly-uplifting descent into zombie carnage and human depravity.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Starting to edit my novel, Dying 2 Live, for publication. Moving some text around, but nothing major. Always tense moments, for the first reaction is always to try being a prima donna and shouting "No! This cannot be! My words are sacred!!" but then decide that's not a great idea. I think it'll be a fine process with a good result.


Triumph of The Walking Dead