Monday, July 30, 2007


No zombies. In fact, I don't believe I've ever had a dream with zombies in it. But I did have one last night with two of the most frequently recurring images in my dreams. (The other most often recurring are my mom, and being trapped either inside or outside a building, especially the house I lived in when I was a kid.) These were my 1990 Toyota Corona wagon, all rusty and smelly and puttering around in it just like old times. And then it was snowing and I was trying to get to class at good ol' St. John's College. So, pleasant dreams.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Simpsons Movie

Not much of a tie-in to my zombie theme, though there's a brief allusion to Night of the Living Dead in the movie. The good news is that it was laugh out loud funny throughout. I suppose the complaint would be that it's really all and only about Homer. The rest of the family doesn't do much, and the rest of the town, besides Flanders, does almost nothing. And while Homer's lack of self-control but basic goodness is probably the most fertile element in the series, a more inventive, varied interaction between characters would've been more fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Diary of the Dead

From George's MySpace page:

DIARY OF THE DEAD to have World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival
Chosen as Midnight Madness lead title...
DIARY OF THE DEAD George A. Romero, USAIn his first independently produced zombie film in over two decades, George A. Romero returns to ground zero in the history of the living dead. When a group of film students making a horror movie in the woods discovers that the dead have begun to revive, they turn their cameras on the real-life horrors that suddenly confront them, creating a first person diary of their bloody encounters and the disintegration of everything they hold dear. Told with Romero's pitch-black humor and an unflinching eye on our post-Katrina world, DIARY OF THE DEAD marks the noted filmmaker's return to his roots. Starring Michelle Morgan, Josh Close, Shawn Roberts, Scott Wentworth, Amy Lalonde and Joe Dinicol. An Artfire Films/Romero-Grunwald Production produced by PeterGrunwald, Artur Spigel, Sam Englebardt and Ara Katz. Executive Producers are Dan Fireman, John Harrison and Steve Barnett.

Narrative Techniques

There's a trick I've noticed lately in some horror novels (it has to be a novel for the trick to work, as it takes some time to set it up and wouldn't fit in a short story). It's taken to Wagnerian excess in Tarantino's Grindhouse entry (taking up a full third of his time, whereas it normaly plays out as prelude), but here's the basic idea. For the first chapter of your novel, you get the reader emotionally involved in a character. Lot of background info, lot of empathy, lot of loose threads that have you wondering how they'll turn out. And then you splatter said character all over the last page of chapter one. I don't know if I like that. I admit how effective it is. Part of the challenge in this genre is surprising people, and this way of telling the story certainly lulls people to expect one thing - when they get all this info on a character, they compeltely assume s/he's the main character and they don't expect what happens. But I wonder about it. It seems especially it could backfire, once every author starts doing it: then any regular horror reader would just assume that the first character you meet in the story is going to die. And I do wonder about the effect that's created, if it goes beyond shock. Certainly at some point in the novel you'll meet characters you like and care about, and who stick around, then if they get hurt or killed, the effect is not just shock, but real empathy and loss. This technique seems to be toying with that. But I don't know.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Carnival - of the DEAD!

Well, actually, the one we just went to was just the regular, living kind of carnival. But it did get me to thinking. All evening, teenagers would bump into me. No "Excuse me," not even a flinch or a glance. It wasn't just the rudeness that was getting to me (I totally assume teens will be as rude as humanly possible), it was that they didn't seem to notice my existence, like I wasn't there as far as they were concerned. And it reminded me of ghost movies, like A Christmas Carol, where people ignore the ghost and walk right by him/her. So I realized that being around teens was like being dead! I realized that as you grow older, young people ignore you more and more, until you die, and then they ignore you completely. Unless you're a zombie. Then they really can't afford to ignore you, can they? Because you'll kill them and eat their liver. I like that.

Horror Reader

Thanks to the good folks at Horror Reader for another great review!

And, you know, I'm far enough into the sequel to say, "Just you wait and see. This is not your typical zombie story."

A Reality TV show I'd Watch

All the time.

My gosh that is a funny concept.

Slipping! Rally!

D2L has slipped to 11,000th on Amazon. (Though it's still 18 weeks in the top 12,000.) Let's rally! Get on there and buy some! Birthdays, bar mitzvahs, showers, anniversaries - there's practically no occasion it's NOT appropriate for! Makes great beach reading, too!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Guitar Hero - Rocks the 80s

Just came in the mail today.

I have two words:


It's out of control. I tell ya.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Withersin Interview

Thanks to the good folks over at Withersin Magazine! Not a huge source of publicity, but the price was right (free) and they did ask some fun questions:

Monday, July 23, 2007

More reviews!

From something called ReaderViews (who try to sell you on some very pricey, "deluxe" promotion packages, but who will eventually review the book free of charge):

It's posted on Amazon, where there are two snarky ones as well, one of which I thought made a good enough criticism for me to humbly acknowledge it over there.

And whoever Venessa Laporte is, thanks for sticking up for me! I try hard to keep the fans happy!

Seventeen Weeks

We would've passed the 17 week mark on Amazon, with D2L between 2,000th and 12,000th, while I was away. It's holding around 5,000th right now.

Back from NECON!

And what a swell bunch. Tomo, MarySanG, Michael Knost, LokiLokust (sorry, I'm already lapsing back into using only screen names!), Meteornotes, and Constantine Markopoulous were some of the new people I met. And then there were the perennially nice people I've met before, like Brian Keene, Weston Ochse, and Fran Friel. Everyone made me feel very welcome, and I will definitely be attending in the future. Had a nice time at the Newport beaches with the family, too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Off to NECON

My next little con, to get some much needed pointers and shmooze, is NECON:

Leaving tomorrow, as we're going to spend the week in Newport and on the beach, since the family likes the beach.

Harry Potter Movie

Very good indeed. Maybe my favorite one so far, though I didn't see Prisoner of Azkaban, and I only started reading the books with Half-Blood Prince. But the plots, at least as they come out in the movies, need a little complicating:

1) a comic villain causes mischief at Hogwarts
2) Dumbledore (though seemingly omnipotent) does not stop said mischief (we find out later, in order to draw out He Who Shall Not Be Named)
3) the comic villain is easily disposed of
4) He Who Shall Not Be Named finally appears and has a fight with Harry for some Object of Great Power
5) Someone other than Harry dies in the fight
6) Harry wins, because Love Is Strong

It's a lovely message, but times six it's getting a little too pat. And the cast is getting too big: Draco doesn't even have any lines this time out, Hagrid shows up just long enough to provide a Plot Device, Luna and Neville just moon about, and there's even a girl who stands next to Neville in every shot who isn't (so far as I could tell) identified.

BUT - don't take all this quibbling too far. Compared to typical Hollywood crap, it's gold, and the Comic Villain is the best one ever! A cross between June Cleaver and Nurse Ratchet - it was inspired!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Got Myself a Little Sniffly

By writing a really emotional passage in D2L2. Can't tell you more than that. Well, I can tell you that the things "typically" associated with zombie novels - eviscerations, decapitations, head-shots - wouldn't make me sniffly. So I guess I wrote something out of the ordinary for the genre. Yay me!

Friday, July 13, 2007


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Live Free or DIE HARD!!!

I'll be brief.

* Not 1/10th as bad as I thought it would be.
* More preposterous than Grindhouse.
* More explosions than Miami Vice.
* Maybe not *quite* a big enough cast of baddies to be shot, blown up, pushed into wood chippers, or thrown down elevator shafts. Felt a little low on the body count.
* Continues the Hollywood tradition that only yuppies and Asians may be depicted as unregenerately evil. I'm waiting for that to wear off, as it's a bit predictable.
* Hits on the rather workable and funny buddy flick pairing of PC and Mac.
* "I tried to find more Nixon" might be one of the funnier lines I've heard in a while.

Solid B+.

It's Like Being a Member of Congress!

Because I'm always campaigning!

Three months after taking the Stoker home, and right after GOTLD was announced as a finalist for the IHG award, now D2L has gotten its first recommendations for this year's Stoker Award for First Novel. Now, let's be honest, this time I don't think I have a chance, but I'm still willing to send some free copies and get a few votes, maybe get on the final ballot. That'd be cool.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Zombies on Mania

A great little write-up on this review site:

I like it when they give real, specific criticisms, as it helps me with my future writing. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More on Zombies and Religion

Fellow SF evangelist and blogger Gabriel McKee muses on my favorite topic, drawing on different zombie works:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Review and Spike!

From the Midwest Book Review:

Written by Kim Paffenroth, Bram Stoker award-nominated author of "Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romer's Visions of Hell on Earth", Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead is a post-apocalyptic novel about the few human refugees struggling to survive in a zombie-infested world. Living in a museum-turned-compound, they are led by Jack, a practical and efficient military man, and Milton, an odd prophet with an inexplicable power over the dead. Yet their island community suffers a deadly clash with another group of survivors, underscoring that the living dead are far from their only threats to survival. At times shockingly and gruesomely violent, Dying to Live springs off the page as starkly vivid as any zombie movie ever made, with a decisive twist to its ending. Highly recommended especially for zombie and horror film buffs.

This was also posted on Amazon, where D2L spiked to 1661st on sales rank.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back from ReaderCon

The panels weren't as relevant to what I'm writing as at WHC or IAFA, so I'll have to rethink which cons I can go to next year.

Got back to two reviews. A great one in Apex:

I like that one *almost* as much as the other one I got today, when the mother of my children finally gave in and read one of my stories. Her review: "Oh, I thought it was just about zombies killing people, but it's a 'real' story, just with zombies in it." I'm glad it made it all the way up to "real." And I'm glad she's thought for the last year that I spend ten hours a day writing about people being killed. That would explain a lot around here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


That bastion of knowledgeable factoids now has an entry on moi:

Stop by and add more interesting facts to it. (Permuted did the basic outline, and I just added some bio.)

Library Copies?

No, you're supposed to BUY THEM!!!

I just got an email from the Iona College library. It seems they've been inundated with inter-library loan requests for my novel D2L. So much that they want me to donate another copy to the library (?!). People - if you're not going to buy it for yourself, at least go to your local library and ask that they buy a copy!!

Charlie - Defeated!

I finally beat the little punk at one song on Guitar Hero, and it was even Boston's "More than a Feeling," which makes it extra sweet.

A little rivalry is good. I'll keep practicing "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" until I get that one down!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Zombie Related News

Read the article carefully:

Read down to see the important zombie detail, besides the unfortunately all-too-common "mom's psycho boyfriend wigs out and gets on the News."

In much happier developments, D2L is at 2633th on Amazon, after 15 weeks.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Reviews

Came home to some new D2L reviews. One has gender confusion and thinks it starts slow, which is a fair criticism.



Back from Cornerstone

And what a fine bunch of people. I think "Christian rockers" may be my target demographic I was missing: they're young, they like horror movies, they're not averse to a Christian message, they're kind of set for my analysis. And at least their moms and dads have some cash, even if the next generation doesn't always.

I thought I'd give my quick rundown of the highlights of the trip, for anyone journeying across this fair land of ours.

Idlewild Amusement Park (Ligonier, PA) This is what parks like Dorney or Hershey or Rye used to be like when I was little, and I always look forward to stopping by whenever we drive west.

United States Air Force Museum (Dayton, OH) For military aircraft, a better collection than the Smithsonian. They've moved to much nicer digs than when I was a kid, so the planes are nicely protected and displayed in air conditioned comfort, but they have tried to display more "regular" planes - e.g. I know when I was there before, their Me 262 on display sported a 50mm gun, and now it's the regular configuration of 4 x 30mm cannons. But they still have such incomparable oddities as a B36 and a XF85 "Goblin."

Dining in Macomb, IL As often happens when trying new restaurants, surprises abound. Macomb's steakhouse was average, and the most expensive place in town. The mexican was maybe a cut above average, and reasonably priced. But best of all, for quality or price, was Vitale's Italian. Half what I would pay around here, and the pesto and Alfredo were about the best I've ever had.

The Imaginarium at Cornerstone Elvis, zombies, robots, pod people, and the Christians who love and/or are fascinated by them. Nice folks.

Bazbeaux Pizza (Indianapolis, IN) The last time we went there, our daughter wasn't born yet, and they were serving pizzas in a tiny, vividly colored little shack. Now they're a huge, upscale restaurant, but still incredible for thin crust.

Quaker Steak and Lube (Sharon, PA) They claim "Best Wings USA" and they back it up (and I don't usually like wings that much but wow, these were good).

The Winner Outlet Store (Sharon, PA) Check this out. Three stories of ladies clothes in what must've been the biggest department store for miles when it was a regular store. But here's the fun part. On the first floor there's a door that says "Men's Lounge." And when you go in there, there's a beat-up old sofa, a color TV, and a tap that dispenses free, ice-cold beer (it tastes like some awful Lite, but it is definitely beer, and cold, and free).

And now, fireworks, then I'm off to ReaderCon.


Triumph of The Walking Dead