Saturday, October 31, 2009

Three Level 80s

A little embarrassing for a grown man, I suppose!

Blood and honor!!

Chapter 23

And another fun character! Here's his best line:

“What? Give me that!” He looked at the contradictory evidence on the page, his face going crimson. “No! Trenton’s not the capital of New Jersey! I was born in New Jersey! It’s Paterson!”

2500 words
43,700 words total

BON JOVI at New Meadowlands!

Even got the Saturday show, and w/o resorting to Stub Hub or one of the other online scalpers. Just regular Ticketmaster reaming with their service charge and convenience charge and delivery charge - WTF?! But two C notes for decent seats is what I'd expected to pay. Should be fun!

Any Sightings?

As stated on Thursday, VALLEY OF THE DEAD has shipped. Any sightings of it in people's mailboxes? I'd love to know how it looks and feels and stuff. (No, I do NOT have my copies yet.) And maybe hear that people are happy with the finished product. That would make all the waiting worthwhile. Maybe a JPEG of you opening the box? I'd post it!

Friday, October 30, 2009

This Book Continues to be Great!

I got a few more pages into The Logic of the Heart, and he's really spelling out what I tried to do with my earlier nonfiction (like In Praise of Wisdom or The Heart Set Free), or what I now try to do with my fiction writing. Here's another great sentence (among many):

"Through metaphor, the poetic utterance has the power to evoke in us a feeling recognition of the wrongfulness of betraying one's parents. [He's using the example of King Lear.] Such a feeling recognition fuses heart and intellect in such a way that to divorce the component of cognitive judgment from our affections would be to distort the essential character of that very recognition." (p. 26)

Shipping Confirmation

Yesterday, one loyal fan emailed me a copy of his shipping notice, that VALLEY OF THE DEAD has left the building and is on its way to him, so keep checking your mailboxes for something that looks like this! The mottled cover and haggard Dante portrait add to the mystery and antique look and I think you'll be happy with the product. I apologize again for the delays.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chapter 19

Boy, not much happens in it, but it's a cool chapter for double entendres, plus the tuckerization below!

1900 words
41,200 words total

Post Apocalyptic Literature - Cool Chart!

Cool chart and analysis of post-apocalyptic lit for the last 130 years or so.

And I agree with her analysis that we're moving away from "disaster porn" and toward stories (good old fashioned stories with characters and plot and suspense and symbols and stuff!) that are set AFTER the (unspecified) end of civilization.


The key to the identity is in the line "I can't abide zombies. They ruin everything." (In an earlier scene, he slaps a table, red faced and angry; couldn't quite fit in "Kruschev-like" as I don't know how many people younger than ourselves would even get that reference.)

“Now, don’t get me wrong, Dalia,” Doctor Jack continued, turning his attention to Truman. “I still hate ’em, deep down. No sir, I can’t abide zombies. They ruin everything. There used to be so many different kinds of people: young ones, old ones, black, white – all wanting different stuff.” He pointed an accusatory finger at Truman. “Then they just turned into this. Can’t buy stuff. Can’t do anything. Heck – teach ’em a few tricks is the best I can do, to bring in some folks and their money.” He brought down his finger, then raised his hand to run it across his bald head and through his thinning hair. He sighed so long and deep that Truman could almost feel sorry for him, if he hadn’t just tried to heap all his shortcomings and disappointments on Truman. “Some days it doesn’t hardly seem worth it. Just should go try a new line of work.”


That was my horoscope yesterday: I will be reconciled with an estranged friend. So all you people from whom I'm estranged - here's your chance! The stars are aligned. And it didn't say the responsibility was on me, so I figure you need to get crackin'! Make it up to me, whatever you miscreants out there did wrong!

In fact, why don't we make it simple: whatever you did wrong - cheating ex-girlfriend, so-called "friend" who spread rumors behind my back, whatever it is - just come by this afternoon with a LARGE (has to be large) bowl of frozen yogurt from Pinkberry and we'll call it even. No toppings, just the frogurt. The closest store is in Manhattan, so you better drive fast and not hit any traffic. If it's too melted it doesn't count. Call me when you're close and I'll meet you at the curb to make sure you pass the test. KTHNXBY.

Anyway, it was much more optimistic, though less funny, than my fortune cookie, which read, "The glass isn't half full - it's two times too big!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Great Review

Someone I met at the Stoker Weekend (it took me a second to figure out who it was, from the blog) posted a great D2L2 review. Very detailed, no spoilers, really "gets" what I was trying to say with Zoey and Truman.

Can't wait to see what she thinks when it's Lucy as the main character!

Starting Out as a Great Book!

I'm reviewing this book and it's started out great! Just the kind of stuff I like to read, decrying modernity AND post-modernity! Check out this great line:

"In different ways, both modernity and postmodernity have succumbed to the lure of autonomy. Modernity's vision of autonomy fosters the distorted conception of the self-governing, ahistorical, nonsectarian, rational self.... postmodernism... has succeeded in unmasking the incoherence of the modern notions of pure rational objectivity and liberal individualism only to foist on us an even more virulent addiction to autonomous self-creation." (p. 15)

This is how academic books should be written, esp if I'm off busy writing zombie novels!!

Slightly Critical

A somewhat critical review of THE WORLD IS DEAD over at Atomjack. But it rightly singles out what I agree are the four strongest stories - Lanham, Onspaugh, Johnson, and Morgan. Go team!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheap Ass Razors

I really like shaving with a razor, in the shower. Never liked electrics. But the quality of the disposables seems so wildly uneven (even though I'd think it was technology that'd be pretty basic by now). Whatever you do - DON'T BUY THEM IN THE DOLLAR STORE! You might as well drag a nickel across your face. I did like CVS generic twin blades (they came with a large turqoise and white handle, which was weird). But I think they changed their manufacture, or when I go to the store they're out. So the last batch was Target generic twin blades (with traditional blue handles like Schick). And at $2.29/dozen - a way to fight this economy! Awesome on the first try. Let's see if they hold up!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chapters 43 and 44

Turned the proverbial lemons into the nectar of lemonade, as the saying goes, and channeled all my hoary, mossy old moroseness into a couple short chapters at the end that are full of a hopeful kind of sadness. Also crammed full of allusions - Melville, Dostoevsky, and a nod to Voltaire! Oh - Dante and Kierkegaard, too, with the inadequacy of Reason!!

Sigh. There I go again - as soon as I wrote down what the allusions were, I dreamed of St John's, where I first read those books, and Villanova, where I first taught them, and made myself all maudlin and depressed again.

But - huzzah, nonetheless!

Word counts

Chapter 43 - 1100 words
Chapter 44 - 800 words

39,300 word total

Pre-Halloween Sigh

It's never about the terror, the adrenaline, the jump scare, you know?

It's the slow burn, the paranoia, the anxiety, the dread. You know?

Way, way down tonight. Feeling pretty bad.


*No, I haven't been diagnosed with anything or fired from my job. And I'm not typing this on a laptop in the garage with the car running. Just feeling middle aged and useless.

EDIT: regaining some perspective this afternoon. Maybe a little writing, a little nap, and see how things go!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chapter 15

Skipped forward to another chapter that follows our intrepid zombie Truman through his trials with the living.

2100 words
37,400 words total

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writing More Zombie Sex

Woo-boy. I didn't throw up in my mouth, but I'm feeling a little dizzy and gross. I mean, the scene fits impeccably, and it's actually inspired by a circus freak whom St. Augustine describes (the one who can swallow multiple objects, then regurgitate them individually based on the crowd's selection - I forget where he describes that), so it's fun to write... but a bit draining on the head.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Summer Plans?

Borders - Scarsdale, NY

The branch of Borders in Scarsdale, NY now has ALL their copies of Kim Paffenroth zombie books signed, just in time for gift giving in Westchester! These include D2L2, History Is Dead, and tonight I just signed The World Is Dead! (They seem to be sold out of D2L!) Let's go people!!


The D2L reviews on Amazon hit 100 (even though the last one was a stinker - what can you do?!), so I've randomly picked a winner, and it's Bruce Micucci! Congratulations!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Making Money Is NOT the Purpose of Human Existence!!

In case you were wondering. I'll go out on a limb and claim that. And even though Socrates and the Buddha and Jesus all claimed the same thing, they're all dead (according to some) and died with the least number of toys, so it seems not many people today are inclined to listen to them, and certainly not to little, bourgeois me.

And that's how I'd summarize this essay by Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard. She argues that making money is NOT the sole or primary purpose of education, and that it has poisoned our culture, within and beyond academia.

Among her points, she quotes from another critic:

"George Fallis, a former dean at York University in Toronto, deplores the growing dominance of economic justifications for universities. They conflict, he argues, “with other parts of the multiversity’s mission, with . . . narratives of liberal learning, disinterested scholarship and social citizenship.” University leaders, he observes, have embraced a market model of university purpose to justify themselves to the society that supports them with philanthropy and tax dollars. Higher education, Fallis insists, has the responsibility to serve not just as a source of economic growth, but as society’s critic and conscience. Universities are meant to be producers not just of knowledge but also of (often inconvenient) doubt. They are creative and unruly places, homes to a polyphony of voices. But at this moment in our history, universities might well ask if they have in fact done enough to raise the deep and unsettling questions necessary to any society. "

Eternal things. Intangible things. Meaningful things. Life and eduation are about those. Nothing wrong with having some money along the way - and no reason to think the LACK of money is especially pleasant or revelatory (it ain't - ask any poor person). But don't mistake a happy coincidence for the purpose of your life.

EDIT: In good tag team fashion, MattC sent me another link when I sent him the link to this essay:

The internet's good for all kinds of learnin' and stuff!

And my favorite quotation from the Atlantic article (which overall debunks the idea that "management" is "scientific" or is even a worthy topic of study per se):

"The tragedy, for those who value their reading time, is that Rousseau and Shakespeare said it all much, much better. In the 5,200 years since the Sumerians first etched their pictograms on clay tablets, come to think of it, human beings have produced an astonishing wealth of creative expression on the topics of reason, passion, and living with other people. In books, poems, plays, music, works of art, and plain old graffiti, they have explored what it means to struggle against adversity, to apply their extraordinary faculty of reason to the world, and to confront the naked truth about what motivates their fellow human animals. These works are every bit as relevant to the dilemmas faced by managers in their quest to make the world a more productive place as any of the management literature. "

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Health Care Reform?

I've always backed it in principal, of course, but I just looked at my paycheck in detail, so I could back up my vague assertions.

I pay about $5k/year for health insurance; my employer kicks in another $15k/year. So between us - $20k/year. Wow. And I'm supposedly lucky, because this plan might actually cover stuff if it happens. (They should, since they've pocketed $20k/year each year that all four of us have been healthy!) And this makes sense to someone other than the insurance companies, as a good way to run things?

Zombie Vs Shark!

Ha! I actually managed to reference this infamous scene in Chapter 11!

I've got to give the stuntman props - he's weighted in such a way that when he crouches and moves on the bottom, his movements are very fluid. And there's almost no bubbles from his breathing (since zombies don't breathe). But what editor/director could be so sloppy as to have the shirt sleeve intact, after the arm's supposedly torn off?!

Word count = 2600
Total = 35,300 words

Friday, October 16, 2009


Like a six year old hiding in the attic while his parents pull some publicity stunt outside! (Except the snacks here aren't as good, I bet.)

Still sending queries and subs for the one novel. (If you're a publisher - here's your chance to snatch up a Paffenroth original!)

Still waiting on news of a possible nonfiction project.

Still waiting on other news related to the original D2L.

So, waiting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chapter 10

Skipped back to do this one, so I finally have something to send the betas!

1400 words
32,700 words total

I also skipped forward to reread the death scene, and now I'm sitting here bawling. It's embarrassing! Does this happen to "real" horror authors?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zombie Sex!

We cracked the audience up with our discussion of it the other night at the SFSNNJ meeting, and here it is again as part of a (fairly colorful and varied) sex advice column (scroll down to second letter).

Fiddler on the Roof

If you remember the most popular song from it, you'll know how to use the subjunctive mood correctly in English, so you'll have it right

like this ad from Universal Studios

and not wrong like this thread from Shocklines.

See also this guide on its usage.

JackH will still be the "Grammar Hammer" but perhaps I can be known as the "Subjunctive Mood Dude"!

Capt. Lou Albano

College Daze

Let me channel Allan Bloom for a moment. As the fall weather is upon us, and I was driving into work today, it made me think of my own college experience (again), of what made it different. A little nostalgia. A little bemused anger (look back to find my rants about not getting a job there if you want to see where that comes from). So here goes.

The professors (traditionally and affectionately known as tutors at St John's College): they were so much more colorful than I and my colleagues elsewhere. Maybe that's why I was turned down. We had one guy who was about 6'6", a hunchback, who'd survived persecution in some Eastern Bloc nation (Hungary or Romania, I forget), who (at his request) had his office in the belltower at the top of the oldest campus building. Another tutor did tai chi in the fog on the field at 7am. One lady tutor had translated a lot of captured Nazi documents after WWII. Another was a brilliant scholar, but her English was not colloquial, so any idioms or current pop culture references had to be explained to her, and she still wouldn't quite get them. All colorful.

The students: We weren't too far behind on colorfulness. We'd pull a prank on Mortimer Adler every year when he'd come to give an (interminably long) lecture. We'd stay up till dawn, talking Nietzsche and Socrates, Kant and Virgil. We'd build a 20' tall Trojan horse on the quad. We'd pull the freshmen out of class once/year and get them drunk. We put a big ball on top of the observatory and dressed the whole structure in a grey suit, so it'd look like one of the tutors (who was very short and round himself).

Were we smarter than my current batch of students - mostly commuters, most working full time while going to school? Maybe a few of us (certainly not me). Were we members of an intellectual elite, educated to do great things? Judging by how most all of us have gone on to crashingly ordinary lives of 9-5 jobs, paying mortgages, and raising kids - I don't see how.

But what I think we had, what I remember most about those days, and which I have kept since, and which I don't see very much in young people today: I had a sense of wonder instilled in me there - at ideas, and words, and images, and people. Maybe I had that when I was very young, but I think by the time I'd gotten to college, I'd lost a lot of it, but it all came back, and with a new awareness and a new ability to articulate and analyze that wonder. I don't know if my students have that. And if I were to pity them for anything, or feel superior to them in some way, it'd be that.

EDIT: Looks like my friend, fellow teacher, and fellow writer Matt Cardin, reflected on similar issues - using quotations from famous people, rather than anecdotes, but to the same point.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Road

Check out the new, longer (longer than the ones I've seen) trailer for THE ROAD.

I've always said The Road made zombie movies more acceptable, as it is so close in theme and content.

I'm a little worried at how prominent they make the mom in this trailer (only present in a couple flashbacks, as I recall, in the novel). And how they make it look more like an action film (which it definitely wasn't). I didn't imagine the psychos with southern drawls, and I think that detracts from it, by making it too specific. (As far as I could tell in the novel, you were never 100% sure they were even located in the USA, let alone the south.)

And isn't that the tunnel from the one sequence in the video game LEFT4DEAD?

That being said, Viggo looks spot on, as does the kid. I think even a competent rendering of such a shattering novel would be the high point of the year cinematically. Take that together with Zombieland, and I don't see how anyone could say zombies are through. (Since WWZ hasn't even come out yet!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chapter 25

Skipped ahead to do this one.

2100 words
31,300 words total

It might be time to double back and pick up the other arcs. I could theoretically do one more with this arc before it collides with the others, but I think I'd like to see how the other characters are doing in an undead world!

So interesting how things develop in ways you don't expect, even if you have it outlined in some detail. I hadn't known exactly with whom Lucy was going to interact. Then I thought of some bad men for her to meet. But then I added some nicer, female characters, and the whole effect is much more nuanced. Or, at least, that's my intent. We'll see!

Mike and Ike's

The last box I had was way better than I remember them being.

And the Tangy, or Tropical, or whatever other versions they have - good idea!

But don't buy them at the Dollar Store. Woo-boy are they stale!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Zombie Research Society

Back from Albacon

Nice panels. I especially like S. C. Butler, whom I've met at a couple cons. Seems like a smart guy.

Met a nice PhD student from SUNY who bought GOTLD for his research. We traded tales of woe about graduate school, probably even worse for him now in this economy.

Then a quick drive down to NJ to see Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated. Pretty neat piece of work, with the soundtrack of the original laid out with new animation. Then a really long panel. Got home late!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Zombies in the News!

Big First Half of the Weekend Plans

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Zombies FTW!

Two to Go!

98 reviews of D2L on Amazon! (Though the 98th was kinda lame - same review posted to a dozen books!)

But check out Bruce's review of THE WORLD IS DEAD! I think there'll be many more like it, based on the quality between those covers.

So that means when just TWO more reviews of D2L are posted, the contest will end and the prize awarded! Once again, here are the rules -

1) Post a review on Amazon of ANY of my books.

2) Send an email to claiming your review.

3) When D2L hits 100 reviews, I'll pick a winner, who will be able to choose either of the two rare chapbooks (of which I only have a couple copies left) - Orpheus and the Pearl, or Thin Them Out.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Free Rice!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chapter 21

Whew! A little too big!

3300 words
29,200 total

Ah, the Kill!

It does come out sounding nice, doesn't it?

"As the first hideous thing fell to the side, Lucy remembered that, try as you might to dress it up before or after, and call it honor or rightness or necessity, killing finally came down to that glorious moment of power, when you took away someone’s last bit of energy and let it flood into you, as though it would fill you with everything you ever needed or wanted, in one rapturous burst."


I still want to know what these accomplish. I "get" what the Nigerian bank scam (or dead relative, or Iraqi vet who's discovered a room full of gold, or whatever) is intending. But what does a message like this seek to do?

"Friend be very sure - But when I grudge the strength Ye gave I'll grudge their food to those."

It's kinda catchy, I'll grant you. Like the way you sing along to a song when you don't really know the words. But what is it trying to get me to do? Send money? It doesn't even ask for that. Clink on the link that follows? It doesn't ask that either.

Literary Horror

First - VAULT OF HORROR compiles a list of Top 30 pieces of Horror Fiction! I think three of my pics made the top 10.

Pretty neat!

It inspired me to go back the CANONICAL LIST where I went to school. Four years of seminar readings in the Western canon. How many of those could be classified as "horror"? Not just "including horror elements" - but more like "books I read and scared me and I still think of years later and they creep me out a little." (Bear in mind, the list is heavily weighted toward philosophy, only secondarily toward literature.) Here goes!

Euripides, Bacchae (I'm serious; I almost included Homer's Odyssey for the eye-gouging scene, but that's not the main point - but with Euripides, I think a lot of his point is to shock and appal)

Dante, Inferno

Shakespeare, Macbeth

Flannery O'Connor, Selected Stories (depends on what they read this year, but plenty would qualify)

Not a lot - but if I had to name my horror influences, I think those would be up there, way ahead of anything more recent.

An Enforced Obedience of Planetary Influence!

That's what I'm talking about!

Today's Horoscope!

"This has been a year of change, especially with work and business matters. You are entering a powerful career and financial phase, which will give you new opportunities to make your dreams a reality. With many options available, the most important thing to keep in mind is to follow your heart and stay focused on your highest level of priority."

So listen up, editors and publishers! The stars have spoken!!

Monday, October 05, 2009


Canned bacon with ten year shelf life!

Beats spam for the zombocalypse!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Think Pictures

Best SNL Gag in a While!

Like spray your drink out your nose type funny.

Mr. and Mrs. Ahmadinejad. She talks nonstop, he smiles and nods. The jokes are coming fast and furious before the real money shot at 3:30 on the tape:

When she says "Don't be afraid of him! He looks like a hairy little hobbit who got a part on Miami Vice!" OMG I laughed!

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid...

Actually, when it comes down to it, I think a giant fly trying to fuck you to death would be preferable to the things reported and analyzed by Rolling Stone columnist and blogger Matt Taibbi.

Check out his reporting on the financial crisis, teabagging, and health care reform. It's not as intentionally funny as Moore, but it's more thorough and frightening - nay, terrifying. I've always known we were being fucked by corporate America, but the extent and depth and breadth of it is astonishing. You know all those things the Nazis thought the Masons were capable of? Just multiply that by ten, and have it out in the open, and have no one doing a G-damned thing about it because everyone's on the take anyway, and you've got some inkling of how fucked we really are.

And speaking of which: man does he use the F word to good effect. Just enough to make his point, but not so much that it's overdone. Good job, sir.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

New Zombie Blog!

Please visit our new friends at

Zombie Living Blog!!

It could shape up to be some more interesting undead fun!

Light Imagery

It's funny, but since VALLEY OF THE DEAD, I've been using it more (since it's one of Dante's favorite symbols). But I take Dante's standard equation (God = light) and try to play around with it, in what I see as the "standard" universe - i.e. a universe where God is silent and not visibly present. In such a universe, darkness might actually be the preferable state, as it would indicate the mystery, hiddenness, and silence where God might be lurking. On the other hand, light could just as easily be twisted to something negative, especially if one starts using (male) sexualized language for it like piercing, penetrating, harsh, stabbing, etc. Light would then be that which tries to usurp God's prerogatives with false illumination and enlightenment.

So - fun, fun, fun!

Chapter 17

Jumped forward to do Chapter 17. Had to deal with some of the nauseating aspects of the possibility of zombie S-E-X. Glad that's over. But I think it was necessary for the plot, as they say!

2300 words
25,800 total

Top 20 Zombie Films


Great movie! Seriously!

Not Citizen Kane type great, but totally Shaun of the Dead great!

If you think that people getting shot in the face can be (under the right circumstances, with the right lead-in) the funniest thing you ever saw - GO SEE THIS!

And what I think sets it (and Shaun of the Dead) apart - besides the shot-in-the-face laughs, there are some real human, regular gags (e.g. the perfume), and when our protagonists are in danger - you really feel suspense and fear for them. That makes it extra special and shows it's engaging the audience on several levels. Just the best money I've spent at the movies since Public Enemies!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Royalties Statement

Got one of my academic ones - indeed, one of the most generous, by their meager standards. (Most of the presses that have published my academic books don't even bother sending a statement, as they assume I know I'm due no monies. They probably figure [rightly] that I don't really like being reminded of this fact, either!) I earned $14 this year! But since they don't cut checks for less than $25, I've got to hope I do as phenomenally well next year, so maybe I can take the family to dinner at the Chateau Blanc!!! Woohoo!

Zombies, I again thank your undead souls! I don't know what I would've done w/o you!

University Prepares for Undead Attack!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Top 10!!!

Kim Is Now LIVE!


Triumph of The Walking Dead