Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chapter 35

Brings us to 86,700 words.

It's a beast! It can't be stopped!!

Kissy Face Stuff!

I just realized, with only a few more chapters to go, there isn't much time for teaser paragraphs! And I liked this one!

"He stared back at her, as steadily as he could with the ringing buzz in his head. Besides having balls, the gal was a looker, you had to say. She looked so damn fine in the dim light coming up from their flashlights, which were still pointed at the ground. Together with the fog of their breath, she looked like some fairy or demon queen an Arthurian knight would think he saw in the mist as he searched for the Grail. So fucking cold and beautiful and intelligent – you couldn’t believe she was real, and you’d let her have your soul, if that’s what she wanted. If this were a film, they’d kiss now. Or hell, if this were a porn movie – well, that’d have a really happy ending. But this wasn’t Malory or Hollywood. This was New Jersey, so they just stood there, cold and tired and hurt."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chapter 34

Brings us to 83,400 words total.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chapter 33

Brings us to 81,300 words total.

Room Temperature Gin

No, no, not what I'm drinking, gentle reader. One of my characters, silly! Funny how we always make our characters get drunk on something nasty, like they never have a bottle of something good sitting around, with some tonic and ice. That's not very nice of us, condemning them to bad booze and hangovers.

I'm remembering the scene with the perpetually smashed teacher in Sarah Langan's The Keeper when he's scrounging around for something to drink. She really hit the tone and perspective just right.

Kim's Opening Some Whoop Ass on Mr Frowny-Sad-Face

Or something like that.

Gonna change some stuff around here.

Don't know how much yet. But I took the first step tonight.

Might be little, might be big, might be un-fuckin'-recognizable when I'm done.

We'll see. You'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chapters 31-32

Bring the total word count to 79,400.

Keeping Chapters Short

So now it's grown to 39.

Plus, when you do alternating POVs, if you add one, you got to add another to keep the alternation even.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chapter 30

Brings us to 75,600 words.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Two main characters in the new novel swear constantly, and man is it fun writing their dialogue!!

Chapter 29

Brings us to 74,400 words.


I'm going to take a page from the marketing playbook of my friend and fellow author, James Roy Daley (and, don't forget - he's a Rockstar!) and run the following contest. Post a review on Amazon (I'm going to limit it to the USA branch) of Dying to Live: Life Sentence, between now and, let's say, my birthday on March 7, 2009, and you'll have a chance to win -

A signed copy of the ultra rare chapbook, Thin Them Out (Creeping Hemlock, 2008), written by me, along with Julia and RJ Sevin.

I'll pick the winner at random, from among the reviews posted in the next two weeks.

Good luck!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Interview with Jodi Lee

Butthurt Report Form

Sorry, more of my juvenile humor.

I don't know if it'll be readable on here, so here's a link:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chapter 28

Brings the word count to 70,400.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chapter 27

Brings the word total to 69k.

Making Out

One of my main POV characters if 15, and, well, fifteen year olds often like to kiss other fifteen year olds. Indeed, I don't think it'd be too realistic if I avoided the activity entirely. But, OTOH, it did feel kinda funny, writing about it. I mean, it brought back fond memories and all, but still. Funny.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chapter 26

Makes 65,300 words.

Setting up for something bad to happen, but hope it's not too much of a teaser. There's a lot of talk of blood, but it's a ghost story, not a zombie or vampire one, so there isn't going to be that much carnage, after all.

63k Words

Not a new chapter yet, but I went back and read the previous chapters really closely for continuity and I added a longish scene earlier on, so a new character wouldn't suddenly pop up in Chapter 27, which would not be a good thing.

And continuity is a pain!! Now I want to add a conversation later on, but I've got to go through the whole thing and make 100% sure they haven't discussed it already (I'm like 95% sure).

Hooking Up?

It just occurred to me how vulgar that phrase is. And I don't even mean anything to do with the morality of casual sex. You can think whatever you want about that. I just mean the aesthetics of how the phrase sounds, and how it makes the act referred to sound.

A tryst
An affair
An amorous liaison

Those sound nice, like something exotic and mysterious. Even more recent ones sound kind of playful and fun at least -

making whoopie
gettin' jiggy wid it

But "hooking up"? Sounds like something I'd do with train cars, or with an ox-cart, something mechanical that I just need to get done as quickly and cheaply as possible. Yuck.

Zombos Closet!

Does a hilarious review of D2L2, in the form of the last episode of The Prisoner!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Zombeatles! The Fab Gore!

More zombie hijinks!

The official ALL YOU NEED IS BRAINS website -

And the latest trailer for the film here -

New Horror Website!

And it's a goody, from the beautiful, elegant, and talented Carole Lanham, purveyor of unbelievably creepy stories that have an oddly sweet tinge to them, sort of like gingerbread.

Way to go, Carole!

Shirley Jackson Awards

As many of you know, there's a new award for horror fiction, the Shirley Jackson Award. The organizers of this award are doing a raffle to win nifty items (signed books and manuscripts, critiques, etc.). So check it out, chances are only $1 each to support the Award.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day!

Come to think of it - what would be a better Valentine's Day present, than this story of undying (ahem, undead) love?

Ah, well, I'll have to remember that for next year. But I still think you all should rush out and buy one for each of the ladies in your life!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chapters 23 and 24

A couple very short chapters brings the word total to 59,500,
though the total number of chapters has now grown to 37.


I started singing "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" in the supermarket.

I may not be allowed back in there. I'll have to grow my own food and become self-sufficient.

So it's really a good thing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Zombie Love

I think that's the only explanation - Valentine's Day! Because for (AFAIK), D2L, D2L2, and History Is Dead are all under 10,000 on Amazon! Lovin' that check at the end of March!!

And enjoy, star-crossed, undead lovers everywhere!!

Chapter 22

And 57,400 words.

Chapter 21

Decided to move some stuff to a later chapter and made this one shorter.

So we're at 55,500 words total.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stoker Weekend 2009

Here's their link and I hope to see some folks there!!

Stoker Weekend 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Teaser Paragraph

Our ghost has gotten angry, and shredded a bunny and splattered it against a church wall:

"The hot mortality steamed in the cold night air, a few thin wisps snaking as far up as the old oak cross. Christoph, however, was utterly focused on the wet, ragged stain itself. For a moment he could not see his shame, but only the awful beauty of the blood."

Two Short Chapters

Bringing us to Chapter 20 and 53,200 words.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lawful Neutral Cleric

I'm afraid that's a frighteningly predictable result for me on the "Which D&D character Are You?" test.

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Human Cleric (6th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Neutral A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs him. Order and organization are paramount to him. He may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or he may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot. However, lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Chapter 18

50,500 words

I need to start writing some shorter chapters, or it's gonna be a 500 page behemoth.

Of course, that seems to be the preferred type of novel now, so perhaps I've finally caught on to how to do it.

Another Review of Thin Them Out

A nice one from Dark Scribe:


I think she will be my favorite literary creation so far. At first, I had liked the kid characters in my novel the most. But now, their slightly evil, mostly misunderstood mother stands out in my mind. Adulterous, vain, calculating, and manipulative. At first, she was kind of a villain w/o much to do in the story (the ghost provides the problems, not her), but now I see more of the story as involving her redemption.

Continuing to Assemble the Wall of Shame!

I love to collect the bad reviews! You click on them later and laugh at what you've been called!

So far I hadn't found an appropriate one for History Is Dead. Some criticized one story, but never the whole thing.

But here you go! The whole thing is awful. The two best are "mediocre" and the rest are barely readable!! It went straight into the trash!!

That's some consistency!!

Permalink on the right. The Wall of Shame grows!

"Oh, I was there, Ace"

"And I doubt if a worthless little chicken-shit like you was even in the same state!"

You know, it's not so much a great movie, as a series of perfectly executed scenes, there in Redemption, AZ.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Doing Your Homework

No, not the fight I have most every night with my son.

But I really get a kick when a reviewer focuses on my grasp of survivalist weapons and tactics, as in a recent Amazon review:

"However, at times the action was engaging and entertaining. If nothing else it seems that the author has an idea of survival weapons and equipment, and it's interesting to read his view on how a zombie apocalypse might turn out."

I really don't know that much about guns and equipment. I've been camping a few times. I've shot a few kinds of guns a few times. Other than that, I just do my research, and usually just enough to get done what needs to be done to advance the plot. So it's nice when someone notices that you've taken the time!

46,400 Words

That's Chapter 17 done.

I haven't done a teaser line lately, so here's one.

The setup is that for the dead who are stuck hanging around, they can have good or bad effects on the living, not even intentionally, but just by thinking of feeling bad thoughts or emotions. The living also have this effect on the dead stuck in limbo. So our ghostly protagonist has been smashed to the ground and nearly engulfed by it, because of some unknown bad thought that his daughter-in-law had about him. He then gets mad at her.

He also has along in his little Purgatory a little prehistoric Indian girl, whom he calls Merla, who is basically a combinatin Virgil/Beatrice character, though definitely more like Virgil most of the time, as in today's line:

Merla’s voice was no longer soft, though it was still matter of fact. “Christoph, I’ve warned you before. Blame is as bad as regret here. You will not think that way, or the next time I’ll help shove you through the floor myself. Do you understand me?”

Real Live Reading

I dread my reading voice myself. I think it sounds kind of nasally and weird.

But, some of you probably don't have that prejudice, so you can check out the recording that was made at last Fall's ZombieFest, with a short reading from D2L:

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Firsthand Confirmation!

Wow! That's a lot of zombie books in the Borders in Poughkeepsie! And now all of mine are even signed!!!

1500 Words

Most of Chapter 17, but now I'm going to go see Coraline.

Ghost Car

Well, not really. It's not like the car's haunted. But I thought for the scene set in the 50s, we should have one with nice big tail fins. So here you go!

Bonus points to identify the make, model, and year, and which horror movie a similar car was featured in. (The last part's pretty easy, Horror fans.)

Amazon Numbers

And yes, I have some vague notion of what they translate into, so I'm not going to go around talking about my "Bestseller." I know that the difference between 100,000th and 10,000th is probably two books sold. But I also know when the book stays at a low number for a long time, that means there are *some* sales trickling in each day.

So that's why I'm shocked that the Amazon numbers are staying as good as they are. I thought it was a Christmas rush, but even in the last two months, this is what I've seen:

D2L2 and History Is Dead bounce around between 10,000th and 30,000th most days, occasionally breaking under 10,000th.

D2L is under 10,000th most every day.

That, plus Borders - the kids can continue their drum and French lessons! Yay!

Friday, February 06, 2009

First Photo Confirmation!!

That my books are in Borders!


Thanks to Kyle for sending in the photo!!

Chapter 16

Hit 43,500 words.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

1500 Words Today

Not so many. Mostly dialogue. Need to think where I want it to go tomorrow.

More Depression Era Cooking

In keeping with yesterday's entry, I'm boiling a big pot of bean soup tonight. I threw in a half a pepper that was leftover. At the end I'll throw in some roasted pork that had been in the freezer. So, I guess I had to buy the beans (2 bucks or so) and a can of tomatoes (a buck).

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hopeful Economic News

This is for MattC, all of whose blog posts are along the lines of "We'll all be living in caves and eating grubs by 2010!" It ain't much, but I just thought of it as I ate my breakfast.

I split the grocery shopping duties with my wife, and I have had MattC moments of panic in the last year, especially when buying meat, or fresh fruit or vegetables (all of which I'd like to continue to buy, but it's getting increasingly difficult), at the unheard of prices and even some shortages. But the other day I felt like eating cereal (it's not really a staple of mine, but I felt like it). And I go down the cereal aisle - and the stuff is dirt cheap! I mean, really - the supermarket versions of all popular brands were between $1.50 and $2.50 for a small box (10.5 - 12 oz), with corn flakes at the low end, rice hexagons (=Chex) in the middle, and oat and almond nuggets (=Honey Bunches of Oats) at the high end. That's some cheap food. Might keep me and the family out of the cave a little longer.

UPDATE: For lunch I ate some peanut butter spread on stale bread I had to cut the mold off of.

Hmm, I think for dinner I better have something a bit more substantial and fit for human consumption.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

37,200 Words!

That's Chapter 14.

It's lookin' good. Nice setup. Gotta do some creepy stuff right around the midpoint of the story, which I should hit in a couple days.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Twisted Tongue Interview

Available as a free download:

With apologies to LOUISE for the "e" getting dropped off her name at some point in the process. Sorry!

The Boss!

Charges a helluva lot for tickets to his show!!

Two tickets, WAAAYY in the back - $479 with taxes and fees!


That would buy a LOT of tickets to see JUDAS PRIEST.

Glad I have a rich benefactor who suggested and is paying for this outing!

Let's see, together with my rich benefactor who sends me a package of all the decent, new zombie comics about twice a year, I got my expensive entertainment habits kind of covered! Yay!

My Little Horn - Blowing It!

When I go over the scenes that I've written, the ones that include the kid characters - they just blow me away. I love those two kids! (Of course, as I always remind people - I don't like other people's children. So these two must be mine! Yay!)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Favorite 1980s Urban Dystopia?

So, got done watching the best one! Which one, you ask?

Mad Max? - NO! Being chased by big dudes in chaps in the burning sun? No, thanks!

Escape from New York? - NO! Same as above, only in a dank underground? And when the big dudes catch me, when they're done doing the obvious, then they kill me and eat me? No thanks!

Starship Troopers? - Oh, HELL NO! Same as above, only with a Fascist police state and bugs the size of Buicks? WTF is wrong with you?

No, I just watched my favorite urban dystopia. (Sigh) In it, I will...

Drive a pristine, 1940s era behemoth of a car. Fire engine red, please!

My favorite weapons will be a turn of the century, lever action carbine, and a sledge hammer!

I will speak in quips worthy of 7th grade male bluster and bravado!

My enemies will be a biker gang who really don't do much worse than smoke cigarettes and break some windows!

In my copious spare time, I'll make love to a soaking-wet, 19 year old Diane Lane, before doing the right thing and sending her back to her wealthy, "safe" boyfriend! Aren't I nice?!

Yup, that'd be it for me. The Elysian Fields. Shangri La. Valhalla. All rolled into one.

Story Taking Over

Writers often talk about how obsessed they get with their characters, till they feel what their characters do, all the time, not just when writing. Maybe writing about zombies and the people who kill them kept that a little bit removed from my writing experience, but in this more realistic tale of regular people, it's hitting me hard. I have the same scraps they have with my family when I leave the computer. I find myself staring at objects and composing elaborate back stories for where the object came from, as they do in the story.

It's scary. I better hurry up and finish this!!

Chapter 13 Makes 34,900 Words

And shows the limits of outlining. I had originally intended just some time killing in this chapter, and to show the first interaction between characters that have been so far separate. Instead, I spent the whole thing on a huge elaborate symbol that just came to me as I was writing.



Triumph of The Walking Dead