Sunday, April 29, 2007

D2L2 - The Sequel

Finished the outline for the sequel. Still plenty of room to "tinker" (and for the final action sequence, I'm going to have to, as it's another complicated collision between several groups coming together at the same place). It makes it feel so much more "real" once I have mapped out more than just the general plot trajectory, but the smaller detours and subplots as well. I moved a lot of stuff around and I think I have the pacing just right, which is something I always worry about. There are a few scenes of building intensity in the first half to keep your interest, but then it just starts to go nuts in the middle, and never lets up, which is how I think this kind of story should be told.

I give my exams to my classes on May 11 and 16. After grading those, I'm going to sit here - right here, right where I am now! - and write a chapter a day. I'm so psyched.

Nice Game

Nice head shots, good splatter, nice mix of slow and fast zombies, nice mix of tasks (find survivors, find weapons, build barricades, fight).

Crashed my computer on day four, however, so I don't know how much I'll be playing it.

Five Weeks Later

D2L has stayed between 2,000th and 12,000th on for over five weeks now. Pretty exciting.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Flames Rising

Kody has posted a nice review of D2L over at Flames Rising. Thanks Kody!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Now there's a funny movie - IF you like black, British humor, AND you know a fair bit of the conventions of over-the-top action flicks like Bad Boys II, Point Break, and Lethal Weapon (and even though those were the main targets, I definitely could see some horror movie spoofs). The gags are pretty sweet. But the gore was a bit more than I expected (and I'd been warned) so be prepared. And I had my Bonds wrong: I thought the bad guy was a cameo by Pierce Brosnan, but it was Tim Dalton. Regardless, if movies were as enjoyable as this and Grindhouse, I'd go every week.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Voice

Mine feels pretty old most days, but the good folks over at have designated D2L part of their New Voices Guarantee:

It's their guarantee on selected books by new authors, that you may return the book w/in 30 days for full credit, no questions asked.

But you'll keep D2L. You know you will. You'll give it to your friends. Well, no, don't do that. Make them buy copies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An Unusual Zombie Speaking Gig!

I've never been, but it's some kind of Christian rock/culture festival in the summer, and they have some pretty unusual seminars for attendees, during the day, before the bands start blasting:


I vaguely recall seeing this guy on Nightline weeks ago:

NOTE: Do NOT be fooled by the first video! This is a terribly misleading come-on to get you to think that this is one long string of hot girls going to hell! Most of the posters are NOT hot chicks with 'tude and a cute smirk!!! Most are your typical angry white guys. (I should know, I've been one most of my life.) Take out all the guys wearing Metal or Punk band tshirts, and all those who've been to a D&D convention this month, and I don't think there'd be enough to get together the Battlin' Blasphemers softball team.

But seriously - you want to not believe in God? I'll defend you anywhere, anytime. Freedom, tolerance - a couple of the nice things about our country and our way of life (not that we always live up to those ideals, I know). Be nice to me and I might even want to be your friend. You want to mock other people's faith? Then you're just an immature, angry little kid and you need to grow up and find something positive and useful to do with your life. You think religion(s) have failed to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and beat the swords into plowshares? Well, then go out and join some atheist/secular group that's working for those things and stop being a little, privileged, first-world whiner with a cam.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thanks Fran!

A great shout-out from Connecticut's Horror Maven, Fran Friel, author of Mama's Boy! (THAT book out-sicks anything I'll ever write, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!) An excerpt from her great MySpace blog:

"I finished reading Dying To Live, by Bram Stoker Award winning author, Kim Paffenroth. I haven't read a lot of zombie stories yet, but I suspect few, if any, will have the amount of heart and character depth that Kim accomplishes in D2L. It's got the great action expected in any zombie adventure, but this story is also poignant, intimate and thought provoking. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. "

New Amazon Review

From Amazon:

Benjamin K. Ethridge (Rancho Cucamonga, California)

I remember when I first watched DAWN OF THE DEAD and I was certain that something important, even though gory and disturbing, was happening on screen. DYING TO LIVE took me back to that feeling. It uses the tools of a Romero zombie myth, adds spiritual insight, a self-analyzing narrator, and a character named Milton, who has a secret that brings something completely different, not to mention symbolic, to the genre. If you or someone you know is a fan of the Night-Dawn-Day-Land of the Living Dead series, a fan who appreciates Romero, the chances are great that you will enjoy this book and eagerly await more installments.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Charlie the Unicorn

Not related to horror or Christianity, but just some freaky stuff.

It is very difficult to string together things that are truly random, w/o any semblance of logic or order or connection. But that is a valiant attempt.

Rants Against Christians in the Horror World

You see them a lot. Given that someone like Fred Phelps is out there, spewing a particularly bizarre cocktail of ignorance and hate, can you really blame all the people who just say "To hell with it. Christians are all hate mongering idiots. I hate Christians"? I can't. So, I don't blame them for feeling that way. Sometimes I do try to engage them in debate, as I don't think it very helpful that they make huge generalizations about Christians, and issue a blanket condemnation of 85% of the US population, about 30% of the world population. (Sounds sort of like bigotry and narrow-mindedness, doesn't it?) But I usually refrain. (There's a thread on Shocklines right now, where someone is lumping all Christians in with Phelps, and I could jump in - if I wanted to spend my whole day on that.) Usually the exchange is just pointless and bitter and all that happens is more anger is spread, even if I "win."

But sometimes, I do have the time and the will, and I do engage, and the other person has the time and the patience, and we have a real dialogue, instead of an argument. I wanted to link to one of those times here, and thank the other person for a very informative and helpful exchange.

Friday, April 20, 2007

This Was What I Was Trying to Articulate

This was what I was wondering about as I thought about Virginia Tech and the emerging hand-wringing about the killer's "disturbing" writing, worrying that there might soon be a call for anyone who writes violent, gory prose (ahem - sounds uncomfortably familiar) to be subjected to greater scrutiny.,,20036014,00.html

I wrote gory, talentless prose in high school; but I never shot anyone. The only people I ever even hit in anger were two friends, who remain my friends today (thanks!). In today's world, if I were a teenager again and writing the same stuff, I'd probably be sent off to at least be observed, probably (over-)medicated. I now write gory prose, with, I hope, some talent, and I think that's where Mr. King raises a good point: if you have talent, you have something to live for, something to accomplish before you go, something positive to give other people (even if it's not always to their taste). You are, in short, part of something bigger than yourself - your community, your nation, your generation, the "art world," whatever. You have a reason to live, which if Cho had had, he wouldn't have wanted to be shot to death Monday. If you are a writer or an artist, then your greatest revenge against the bullies who tormented you in high school would be to produce art that shows what a superior person you are now, while they remain a bunch of hairless apes. But Cho was no writer, and apparently he felt the only shot he had at self-actualization and self-promotion was the 15 minutes of hideous, costly infamy he is getting this week. If all you have is inarticulate rage, putting it down on paper doesn't make it more articulate. And it only makes it more disturbing in the sense that it shows how writing it down doesn't really satisfy you, unfortunately. Because unlike those of us who express some message or art through violent images, and for whom, therefore, the act of putting it on paper is very satisfying, almost ecstatic, someone who has only violent rage to express probably will never be fully satisfied with the verbal expression of it. He will someday want to turn to a real, physical expression of it. And that's where the overwhelming sadness of all this comes: so terribly much talent of all those 32 people, most of them very young, that will never be realized.

Amazon numbers - the Drama Continues!

D2L has now been between 2,000th and 12,000th for a month. I still don't know what that means in real sales, but I'll let you know!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Another great review!

From Mike Brendan's blog (

Now that we've gone through the nasty stuff, let's get to the fun stuff: Death! Or rather, undeath as portrayed in Kim Paffenroth's Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead. Now normally, I don't -- or try not to -- say much about the writer in question. In this it's different because I think it's important to understand where this book is coming from. You see, this is Dr. Paffenroth's first foray into fiction. He's an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College. He's also written a book called Gospel of the Living Deadwhich critiques and analyzes the series of George Romero films (which hold a particular soft spot for me, being that Mr. Romero's from 'round here). It's a good read if you want to take an academic look at the zombie horror genre, although those who have deeply studied the genre may or may not find something new. Dr. Paffenroth takes the challenging high road, in my opinion, by asking, "What good can we derive from these movies and this genre?"Dying to Live is his follow through. It's clear that this novel is written by someone who is a fan of the genre and clearly wants to contribute. And he sticks to his guns in the writing, which is what gives it its strength. If I didn't know any better, I'd have wondered if he went through the same program I did when I started learning how to write.It's a solid read, one that took me about 3-4 hours of time to get through (and only because I can read fast). The narrative is tight and keeps a good pace throughout the book. Action is sufficiently gory for the genre, but not done to excess. It's done to enhance the story not surpass it, and that's the sign of good horror writing. In my opinion it was a little long on the beginning and short on the end, with the character of Milton being a bit of a deus ex at the climax, but in the story at large these are minor points. Milton's solution to the situation had plenty of build to it, for one thing, so in a way it made sense.The key point to the story is about morality, and what happens when everything goes to hell. The Zombies are two fold victims, once to the plague that made them, and once more to the humans that put them down. Indeed, while the outpost Jonah first finds isn't quite the best place on earth, it's a refreshing sight from all the despair of a dying world. We also the ends of depravity man can fall to without morals, and much of this can be drawn from Dante's Inferno. Even the survivors can be likened to the occupants of the first circle of Hell. A more Nietzschean edge can put to the story, considering the philosopher's ominous warning about fighting monsters without becoming one in the process. We see some of that in the story, from repentant to savage to indifferent, each character deals with the grim task in his or her own way.Personally, I think Dr. Paffenroth is to this genre (and perhaps horror in general) as Killswitch Engage is to metal -- in fact I recommend listening to said band while reading this. The message in the work itself is uplifting if you can bring yourself to look past the surface. This is the thinking man's zombie story.

I'd rather be what JUDAS PRIEST is to metal, but let's not get carried away! Thanks Mike! I'm glad people are digging the content and the execution of the novel and I hope I can follow up on it with more tales of mayhem, carnage and hope.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another Acceptance!

This one for a little ghost story. (What?! No zombies?!) It'll appear in All Hallows:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Mall Ready for Zombie Siege

Once we barricade ourselves in here, we'll even have our very own, generically holy-looking church! -

And, I kid you not, on the table in front of the church, among the various pamphlets to encourage and uplift passersby about getting off drugs and alcohol, several of the brochures were FEMA ones about Emergency Preparedness. Does anyone in the church get the joke, that they're being set up as the official Dawn of the Dead, zombie-survival church? Are they being ironic? Or oblivious and they just believe in being prepared for floods and such?

As usual with such news, I don't know whether to be glad or appalled.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

This Lady Has "Wrath of God" DOWN!

As Inspector Gadget always said, "Wowsers!"

And as I always say after seeing something like this, or an episode of SuperNanny, "Wow, my parenting skills are AWESOME!"

Who films this stuff and plasters it on the Internet? Judging from the camera angle, I'm guessing naughty, giggling sibling hiding behind the dining room table. And dad lays pretty low for the whole shootin' match, I see.

Christmas decorations and language

Finally took down the last of them outside. (Hey - don't laugh! It's been cold! And I've, um, been busy! Yeah, real busy!!) I saw that the box said "Lighted, Twinkling Tree." Isn't that half redundant? I could see where a lighted tree might not be twinkling, but isn't a twinkling tree automatically a lighted tree? So wouldn't it be enough to label it "Twinkling Tree"?

Friday, April 13, 2007

My own thread on Shocklines!

Not even started by me or my publisher! I don't know how long it'll last!

28 Weeks Later

I saw the trailed the other week, and it looked pretty darned good, but this makes it sound awesome:

Another D2L Review!

Another person who "gets it" about zombies!

Thanks, BFZ!

I'm just thrilled that people "get" what I was trying to say. I'm not sure whether or not I should regret putting in the infamous "THAT SCENE" in Frank's story. Several reviewers have mentioned it now, so I guess it "works," but on the other hand, I don't want to be known as "THAT guy who wrote THAT scene, the one with THAT. Yuk."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Double Rejection Letters!!

It's like the Doublemint Twins! Except, it's not two gorgeous women in shorts and tank tops! Other than that, the concept is exactly the same!!

The two rejections were for some flash fiction (my first attempt, so I can hardly act surprised or disappointed) and an oddball Biblical story submitted to a pretty big publication (so another one that's not surprising).

Someday I'll be able to follow up Stoker wins with a streak of acceptance letters, and when that happens, I plan on becoming completely insufferable. But until then, I'll drink a tall glass of STFU and slog ahead.

Vonnegut Gone

NYTimes obit

I won't go on about how sad it is, as it strikes me as much the same as when Elvis died - a man whose best work was long past, so it's really not very sad at all. And I won't go on about how he was one of the greatest American writers of all time; he was far from that, even at the height of his accomplishment.


There was a way in which he epitomized his age - jaded, cynical, haunted, but jaunty and sardonic. When not getting all misty-eyed about the Greatest Generation, what other adjectives could we reasonably apply to the people who lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War, and who then got to wrap up their middle adult years with Vietnam and Watergate? They were bound to be broken, worn out, damaged goods, full of pessimism and, at best, resignation. And if all the truths they had to tell us were ugly ones, they were, almost in spite of themselves, truths nonetheless. His was the generation, or even two, before mine, so I always felt him and his literary characters to be distant and somehow unreal, perhaps even slightly ridiculous.


You needn't spend too much time doing the math to figure out to whose generation he did belong - my father's. Like Mr. Vonnegut, my father experienced whatever meager happiness he had in life while on Long Island. If I could never fully understand or admire Billy Pilgrim or Mr. Vonnegut, his imagination and skill did help me sympathize more with my own father and all the alienation and pain he felt in his life. I hope they're together tonight, shrouded in celestial cigarette smoke, bitching endlessly but with mostly good humor, as they were both so wont to do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thanks Zombos!

Zombos did me another great turn with another fantastic review:

Zombos' Review of D2L

And this one he went to all the trouble of writing up in a hilarious (I think) format of a conversation between me and God. It was more fun to read than my novel!

The Little Haunted House's New Home

There it is!!

It's funny how it shows up so much darker in photos than in real life.

But it sure looks good, don't it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I am the Undead

I've been getting a trickle (like, um, TWO pieces in two days) of fan mail, and of course people want to know how/why I write what I write now - zombie apocalyptic horror. So I thought about it. It's a yearning, really. You get an idea, and you have to put it on paper. When I was working on GOTLD, I realized I had some ideas about the zombie genre that just couldn't be expressed by analyzing other people's zombie stories. And those ideas are not that far away from stuff in my other non-fiction that I've written about more explicitly Christian depictions of sin and evil (e.g. Dante, Flannery O'Connor, etc.), but they needed the voice or the form of fiction for them to be expressed right. So, I gave it a try.

I can also say what this move means to me. It's a blessing, a chance, a gift, and one bestowed with only very slight inconveniences (all those pesky rewrites, rejection letters, and the occasional bad review). Most people hit age forty, and if they're not 100% satisfied with where they're at (and it seems many of them are NOT), if there's some yearning they have that's not being fulfilled, then they might have to cause some real trauma and upheaval to themselves and their families to go fulfill that yearning - possibly divorce, quitting a job, moving to a new state or a new country - or stay put and never know what might have been. That sounds like a choice that sucks pretty bad either way. But me, I get to do this, keep my job and my family, and see where it leads. That's a pretty big blessing, as they go, I think. So thanks!

Another Amazon review!

By a reader, out of the blue:

Posted by Ralph Schroth on Amazon:

Ever since I read Brian Keenes' The Rising and City of the Dead I have had a hunger that could not be satisfied...until I read Dying To Live. I read it while working the night shift at a Jail and I found myself thinking.."Yeah, I could hole up in here and survive, but it's that hospital accross the street that I have to be concerned about." I was totally frightened and fell out of my chair at one point when the phone rang. I strongly recommend this book to any zombie lover out there. It was well written and it drew me into character from Chapter 1.

Urban Dead

I've mentioned before to check it out -

I've played it for a few months. Most days, you check in, see if your character is in any imminent danger, try to fix things if s/he is, try to fiddle with stuff it s/he's not. But for the last week (coinciding with WHC!), I have felt like a hunted animal. Every time I log in, the house I'm in is overrun with zombies, I have to bug out, leaving behind other survivors ("asleep" in the game world and unable to defend themselves!) and frantically look for a better place to hide. I can't call it "fun" but it's a little excitement!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Short Fiction

Made my first sale of short fiction to the upcoming anthology of cross-genre Cthulhu stories to be published by Permuted. Nothing too terrifying, but an atmospheric mix of Cthulhu myth with the content and style of a classic author. It was a fun exercise, and I am so thrilled the editor liked it enough to include it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


NYTimes review (A.O. Scott, who's gotten a lot of reviews right in my book) said Death Proof was A+ and Planet Terror was weak, and I see some people agree, but I have to say I think both were top shelf. Rodriguez' had more of the 70s feel to me, with the insane gore (some of it perpetrated against Mr Gore himself, Tom Savini), the gratuitous and ridiculously stylized shots of mostly-naked women, the crazy coincidences, the people who you're 100% positive are dead popping back up later on when it's convenient for them to do so, etc. But the final sequence of Death Proof might be the best 20 minutes I've ever seen on film. I was climbing over the back of my seat, or pressing my feet through the seat in front of me for the first half of it, then I was laughing hysterically for the second half, still laughing through the credits, still laughing out the door of the theater, to my car, and halfway on the drive home. My abdomen will hurt for days from that. The long conversation in the diner didn't work for me, as it was too competently shot and acted for it to qualify as pure camp or send-up (cf. the conversations in the cars, which cut back and forth so awkwardly that they feel like camp), so it did just kind of get on your nerves. But what a small price to pay for such cinematic gold!!

GOTLD review!

You know, between winning the Stoker Award, and reading his review of Streets of Fire, I was ready to let bygones be bygones with this reviewer, but he continues to post his little screed even now:

I was thinking of selectively quoting from it as a gag and posting it on message boards all over, maybe like this:

"Paffenroth's prose is lucid and reader-friendly," raves Thomas Sipos in American Chronicle.

Why don't you trash my novel next? Maybe it'll go on to win the Stoker Award too. With two of the little haunted houses, I could use them as bookends.

Amazon Numbers

For those of you who frequent Amazon, I'm sure you've noticed their "Sales Rank" number for each book. My non-fiction works usually stay around 30,000th for a month after their released.

D2L has been between 3,000th and 8,000th for two weeks! And this morning? It was at 2,195th!!! I know it's just a couple hundred books, but it still looks pretty cool.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Reaping

Competent horror flick. Harkens back to some of the ones I regard as classics of the 70s - Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen, even gave me some flashbacks to Deliverance and Southern Comfort with dead things floating around in swampy water. Shows once again what I keep harping on - less is more: not much gore in the whole thing (and what there is isn't even involved in any fatalities, but just kind of an ordinary household item or setting turning all gory, which is more effective and creepy), and not even much of anything happens for the first 45 minutes (pace could've picked up a bit sooner, I'd say, especially since the whole thing clocked in at 99 minute). Two twists at the end, both of which I saw coming, at least as to their general direction, but not disappointing, just kind of confirming. A little humorous how many minutes of the film are spent lovingly, longingly gazing at Ms. Swank's derriere. I guess she's in the gym a lot and wants us to notice, but gratuitous shots always make me snicker. Like how does the director even call that? "Okay, now zoom, hold....hold...that's right....hold...hold...and...hold....and...CUT! That's a wrap!" Oh - and the other thing that makes me laugh sometimes are the previews they show, as they indicate what they must think are the demographics of what they're showing. For this they showed trailers for 28 Weeks Later (horror - looking pretty fine), and In the Land of Women and Lucky You (romantic comedies). So I guess The Reaping was supposed to be a date movie? Funny.

Fortune cookie

I don't like horoscopes, I've never had my palm read or done tarot cards, but I do love fortune cookies. Today's was "All your hard work will soon pay off." Wow. And this after the Stoker Award? There's more on the way? I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Friend Test!!

So narcissistic, yet so fun! Give it a whirl!

Create your own Friend Test here

Another Great Review for GOTLD!

This one on Amazon! I especially like how he puts to rest the canard that "Oh that Paffenroth, he forces his Christian perspective on the poor reader!" That accusation has really irked me, as I try so hard in my writing and teaching not to impose my views on others, but to engage in a dialogue.

Reviewer: Sean Hoade (Tuscaloosa, AL United States) - See all my reviews

Gospel of the Living Dead takes a sharp look at Romero's four zombie films and the 2004 "re-imagining" of Dawn of the Dead, and shows the reader how the impossible and oxymoronic threat of the living dead can shine a light on how we do live and how we might better live. There is interesting theology in the book, but you can read it without worrying you will be bludgeoned with Christian didacticism. The Christian viewpoint is there -- fascinatingly illustrated with ideas from Dante and Milton -- but so is a humanistic viewpoint. Either one by itself would be interesting, but together they make for an unforgettable intellectual experience.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Other Blog You Need

I won't call him "my friend" as he would call me on "bullshit" if I did, for we've only met once, and briefly, but it's one of the few blogs I find myself drawn to:

Always acerbic, usually right, frequently entertaining, never dull.

Monday, April 02, 2007

D2L new review!


Dying to Live takes a different look at the "world overrun by zombies" scenario by concentrating on what happens to the surviving pockets of humanity in that world, what type of society might they form, and what happens when all the old rules fly out the window. Paffenroth takes a thoughtful and intelligent look at the possibilities, while keeping the plot moving, although it would have been interesting to see him elaborate further on other aspects, rituals, and rules that might have developed in Jonah's community. The zombies in the book are slow and mindless, with attributes typical to current zombie literature. They provide a backdrop for some of the action and gore, but are not central to the story. However, the unique twists and turns of Paffernoth's story will satisfy even the most well-read fans of the zombie subgenre. Recommended.

Stoker photo

Except for that guy second from the left, what a swell-looking
bunch of people!

From left: Peter Crowther (Specialty Press); ME! (Non-Fiction); Gary Braunbeck (Fiction Collection); James Young (accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award for Thomas Harris); Joe Lansdale (Anthology, also accepted for Long Fiction for Norm Patridge); Jonathan Maberry (First Novel); Michael Largo (Non-Fiction); Lisa Morton (Short Fiction, also accepted for Anthology for John Skipp).

Thanks to Roberta Lannes for the photo.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stoker!! VICTORY!!

I just got home from Toronto with the Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction!! Thanks to everyone in HWA!! In light of this distinction, I have had to rethink the Top Five Most Amazing Events of My Life:

1) Birth of first child
2) Winning first Stoker Award
3) Attending first Judas Priest concert
4) Attending first Wrestlemania
5) Birth of second child


Triumph of The Walking Dead