Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Wrap Up!

In some ways, kind of a holding pattern.

Finished VALLEY OF THE DEAD, which was published as a limited edition to some positive reviews, but waiting on reaching a bigger audience next year with the regular TPB.

Published THE WORLD IS DEAD, again to mostly positive reviews.

Finished writing my first non-zombie novel, CLOSES AT DUSK. Still shopping it.

10 pages to go on the third installment in the DYING TO LIVE saga. Pretty psyched about that.

Got the contract for editing THE PRISONER AND PHILOSOPHY and psyched about that.

Signed the contract for the Pocket Books edition of DYING TO LIVE.

The German edition of the first DYING TO LIVE was postponed until early 2010.

The reprint of ORPHEUS AND THE PEARL will be published next year by Belfire Press.

Was queried by two production companies about film rights, but it didn't get past, "Are the film rights available?" - "Yes." - "Okay, we'll be in touch."

Finished AUGUSTINE AND PHILOSOPHY which will be out next year.

Saw a bunch of great concerts - AC/DC being the best.

Went to a bunch of great cons - I'd say FANEXPO was the best for that.

I already have tenure, and it's not my turn to chair the department, so not much new happening at the day job.

So, waiting on the big break coming, but steady as she goes, as a bunch of projects work their way through the pipeline to publication next year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


78,700 words with three chapters to go!

12/31/09 - 80,300 with two chapters to go!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of American Empire?

I've believed for the last few years that we're well past the tipping point of that, and we're not going to be a global empire or even a superpower anymore. Which is fine. I just thought we'd kind of settle down to a comfortable, post-Empire retirement, like England or Spain. Nothing wrong with that. The two jeremiads I'm reading now have much darker predictions - and though often based on the same observations, paint two quite distinct if different ends for us.

Empire of Illusion, by Chris Hedges, has us degenerating into a morally, intellectually, and economically bankrupt principality, sealed off and xenophobic, our citizens living in illiterate serfdom. In other words, we're turning into Albania.

The University in Chains, by Henry A. Giroux, has us continuing our military expansion, subjugating and exploiting the rest of the world as we keep our own citizens under surveillance and terror, occasionally entertained by banal or immoral spectacles. In other words, we're turning into Nazi Germany.

Well, neither one seems very nice, though I suppose the radical difference in conclusions should make my more calm prediction seem less than impossible.

Monday, December 28, 2009

D2L3 Update

77,200 words.

Four chapters to go!

Mini Outline

Left myself a mini outline of the chapter I'm working on now, with just the verbs I'll need:

"Name, lick, confess, apologize, kill."

Sounds like some demented, horror author MadLib!

Odds and Ends Clearance Sale

I was going through some boxes of books, and also thinking how I won' t be going to nearly as many cons in 2010 as I did 2008-09, and I thought I should "Thin Them Out" (so to speak, ha!). Now, I'm not really looking to open a mail order business, but these would be the miscellaneous things that I'd rather get rid of my stock of, especially since new editions of some of them are coming out and it'd be nice to make room. Here's what I can offer you.

VALLEY OF THE DEAD - signed, limited edition (Cargo Cult Press) with art work by Alex McVey. I'll have to charge full price on this - $50. It's signed and numbered, but of course can be personalized. Only two remaining.

"Thin Them Out" chapbook (Creeping Hemlock), co-authored with Julia and RJ Sevin. Original price $6
Orpheus and the Pearl chapbook (Magus Press). Original price $10
Shroud Magazine, with my story "Buddha in the Box." Original price $7
The Truth Is Out There (Baker Books), nonfiction examination of some of my favorite SF TV shows - The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Dr. Who, The X-Files, Babylon 5, and The Prisoner. Original price $19

TOTAL MSRP - $42 (plus S&H)

Take these four for $30 including S&H! Any and all can be signed and personalized.

SPECIAL! - Take VALLEY and the MISCELLANY Package for $75 total!!

Email me if interested in either! - kimpaffenroth at msn dot com

Sunday, December 27, 2009


74,700 words

Five chapters to go!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

D2L3 Update

73,300 words

Six chapters to go!!

Christmas Dinner

(Not much to report on the presents - when you're grown up you don't get much, and there's nothing you HAVE to have, like when you were little. I was a little disappointed that I asked for a pot [see previous entries on burning foods that have to be simmered for hours] and was given a frying pan. But we'll exchange that and be GTG.)

But the dinner! I have never had everything turn out perfectly as it did last night. I mean, no room for improvement. The star was definitely the ham. Usually I buy a small (2.5 lb) boneless ham like thing, because no one likes ham except me and my daughter. But at the supermarket on Thursday, those were $10 and a real ham was on sale for $6, so I went for it. AndI didn't do anything except stick it in the oven. So many tastes! The outside was a bit burnt, so it had that blackened taste like bacon. Then further inside the meat was so intense, crumbly. Then finally, next to the bone, it was moist and so sweet, like a pork loin dipped in butter. Wow.

The pickled garlic that I put up at Thanksgiving was different than I expected - kind of sweet, which was nice, when you didn't expect it to be.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

D2L3 Update

Word count hits 71,300. Seven chapters to go!

Not a Good Idea at All

Pope Pius XII "heroic"? No, not a good idea at all, to call him that.

(No, not saying I'd have behaved any better under the circumstances, just that if I did, I wouldn't want or expect to be called "heroic.")

Words mean what they mean, not what you say they mean.

Oh Canada!

Why do I not have an apartment in Toronto, that I could pop up to whenever I feel like it (like now)? I F'IN LOVE THAT PLACE!!

The scene of my THIRD highest ranking life experience (Stoker Award)!

And some fun hijinks since (FanExpo 2008 and 2009)! And one American Academy of Religion Conference thrown in there somewhere.

And my second favorite Ethiopian Restaurant of all time! (The first in Grand Rapids, MI, of all places, where I'd also like an apartment, though I don't think I'd use it as much.)

Need to make this happen, people! Get to it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chapter 32

Finished a short one. Got momentum.

Revised total word count now = 70,200 words

Chapter 30

1600 words
67,600 words total

Whew - so many allusions to Genesis Chapter 2! They just wrote themselves right in!

EDIT: Revised word count = 69,400 words total

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kick Ass Hit-Girl Trailer

(Kick Ass is the name of the movie, not an adjective I'm apending.)

I dunno - I liked the comic book, but there's something so 80s Schwarzenegger about quipping as you shoot people in the face or decapitate them or cut their arms off. I'm not feeling it with this one. And it also doesn't fit the Femme Nikita vibe they're trying to get from this either. But hey - it's not a remake of anything, so I guess we all should be happy!

Chapter 28

1200 words
66,000 words total

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Edited Volume

No, no zombies this time! Check it out!

Call for Chapters for The Prisoner & Philosophy: It Takes a Village (Open Court)
Ed. Jason Lee and Kim Paffenroth

This edited collection examines the new series of The Prisoner (2009) and the original. Both instantiations of the story raise important philosophical issues, and act as touchstones in current debates. We therefore seek work from scholars who work in many fields, including, but not exclusively, Philosophy, English, Theology, Political Science, Psychology, and Film and Television Studies. Rachel Ray writing in The Telegraph claims the new series is better than the original, and asks the fundamental question “Are you part of the solution, or the problem?” Regardless of the relative merits or values of the two versions, the new one is clearly working on building a “thicker” mythos, as well as most likely reaching a much larger audience. Comparison between old and new will therefore be especially relevant.

Send your 250 word abstract and 50 word bio-note to both editors:
Jason Lee
Kim Paffenroth

Due date MARCH 1, 2010 for proposals.

Visit the blog for more details and updates:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chapter 26

D2L3 Chapter 26 = 2100 words
64,800 words total

It took that many words to describe a lady buying a purse? Dayum!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

End of the Year Jeremiads

While awaiting the coming of the Prince of Peace, I seemed to have slipped into a bit of a craving for Old Testament-ish screeds that our society is a sick, empty shell of its former self and God is gonna be pissed. So I started with Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges, recommended by my good pal MattC. I blew through half of that in one sitting, however, so I'm gonna order University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex, by Henry Giroux.

Zombie Eucharist

You'll notice the use of this imagery in this horrible scene, which is coming up soon in D2L3:

"Lucy drew out her hand, clutching a stringy piece of flesh between her thumb and two fingers. It was tough, sinewy. She rolled it between her fingers till it was a knotty lump, which she placed on the palm of her other hand as she considered it a moment. This was hell, when even pleasure was revolting.
"Lucy chewed the piece, the flood of energy from it so fleeting compared to the slowly building, diseased simmer it started in her belly. This simultaneously burned and froze her guts, as it compacted and wrenched her soul. As she swallowed, Lucy leaned her head back and looked at one bright star above her. She focused all her mind on that bright spot as she let out a howl that others – living or dead – might mistake for the climax of desire, but which was filled only with her despair at her forsakenness."

Also Dantean, if Hell = pleasure seen for how disgusting it really is. Also (to tip the hand a bit) - the crucifixion, with the mention of "forsaken."

ZOMG - changed the wording to get the wordplay with "revolting"!

Chapter 24

1300 words
62,700 words total

Bangkok Thai and Zitoune Moroccan Restaurants

Great restaurants, both of them - Bangkok and Zitoune. Both very reasonable and incredible food and service. Zitoune a little fancier.

I'm starting to think they need to exclude some of their other customers, however. Bangkok had the brattiest kid in the universe climbing over the tables to annoy me. Same damn kid in there - TWICE! A few months ago, Zitoune had a couple sitting next to me where the dude was loudly - and ENDLESSLY - trying to get pity sex from the gal (not actually in the restaurant, but he was too obviously trying to set the stage for later and it was pathetic). And then last week, the cast of Golden Girls was at the table next to mine, gabbing about their sex lives. Sorry, Bea Arthur, TMI!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chapter 22

1400 words
61,400 words total

My brilliant parody of the cult of celebrityhood - or celebrityness, or even just celebrity - whatever the right word would be!

And my two naughty betas have convinced me to really dislike my one main character, so now I'm just deliberately making her into a shallow, self-centered, conniving bitch, so it doesn't just happen by accident!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Concert

First, no, I'm not one of those Christians who bitches about Christmas being hijacked or murdered or whatever ridiculous rhetoric they use.

BUT - I'm the much rarer breed of someone who's observant and likes to consider how we handle deeply-held beliefs (and virtues, and vices, and prejudices) in a pluralistic society. To me, it is the most interesting, challenging and potentially ennobling thing about our American experiment in pluralism, tolerance, and respect. So here goes!

There seems to have been a shift in the ethos of how our town's public school handles the Winter Concert. (I have no idea if there were problems or a change in personnel.) In previous years, their strategy seemed to be to have to perform mostly Christmas songs (mostly of a decidedly secular nature - Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, etc., and not Ave Maria or Silent Night), one of which would be in Spanish; a couple Hanukkah songs (again, pretty secular - I think every one I remember was about dreadles); and a Kwanzaa song. Perfectly fine with me, in the kind of eclectic, "buffet" model of pluralism. Their "solution" this year struck me as a little less satisfactory. It was only a couple Christmas songs (in those annoying medley forms), and then most everything else had nothing to do with anything related to the winter solstice. One song was about winter winds; one was in Spanish but wasn't Christmas themed, that I could tell. It felt odd, listening to mangled versions of jazz and those generic songs like we used to play in marching band, with titles like "Aztec Gold."

So, tentatively, I guess I'd say I like pluralism better when it celebrates (some of) the various traditions that go into the mix, rather than a bland attempt to ignore anything that might be deemed too specific to one group.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Z. A. Recht

The parents of zombie author Z. A. Recht, who died last week, have set up a memorial scholarship fund set up in his name. For any who would like to contribute, here is the info:

P O Box 193
Bunker Hill, WV 25413

The Dark Ethic of Corporatism

And my good buddy Hank thought I was down on the USA - check out this brilliant article.

Like all Jeremiads, it has some of the chicken little quality - like did things really turn to shit in 1919, as opposed to 1819 or 1865 or 1957 or any number of other dates we could pick? Or do things cycle slowly through periods of downturn and renaissance?

But, some trenchant analysis and some awesome quotations, such as:

"Education in the United States has become vocational. ... Why? Because the Humanities ask the kind of broad questions of meaning that those systems that prize above all else vocational workers do not want to ask. "

"The liberal church has failed us, and they've failed us on two levels. (First), they have defined spirituality as 'How is it with me,' which is a form of narcissism.... And secondly, they have failed us because they did not stand up to the Christian right."

Ha! He even calls Christopher Hitchens "repugnant"! Anybody who hates the Christian right AND Christopher Hitchens is okay in my book!

ZOMG he even references "Notes from Underground"!! This guy's my NBFF!!

And this quotation from the end is right out of Kim's blog on many an occasion:

"God is a human concept. God has been given by various theological systems – our own and others – numerous attributes, some of which are morally repugnant. But the reality of the transcendent is something that artists and religious thinkers — who of course in early history were fused into one — have struggled to document."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yellow Submarine Remake?

I read somewhere a few weeks ago that one was being discussed, didn't I? Or did I imagine that?

Well, my subconscious seems to have run with the idea, as I dreamed they made a live action remake of it and cast Samuel L Jackson as Old Fred. Bold choice from my subconscious!

"There are MF meanies on this MF submarine, MFs!!!"

I'm kinda warming to the idea. It's sort of a remake, the way sushi is a remake of fish and chips - both are great, and you can see where they both started with some similar material, but went in completely different directions!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Zombie Princesses!

I almost never say this about gals done up as zombies, but this particular lineup just strikes me this morning as HAWT!

Strange World

I heard earlier today that someone I met once, Z. A. Recht, had died. He seemed nice. Very nice. I blogged about it. So did lots of other people who'd met him once. Some went overboard (to my taste).

By now most of us have blogged about other things. We've moved on.

Are we cold and heartless? Or emotionally empty or shallow? Maybe. But even just a few years ago, we never would've met so many people as we have today. We wouldn't have felt anything for someone who died a thousand miles away, because we wouldn't have known about it. Even a hundred years ago, we probably wouldn't have heard of someone who died 10 miles away.

So are we heartless, or just exposed to way more people than we can possibly express real remorse for? So I'll try to say it again, and maybe if I'm really diligent in the days to come I'll say it a few more times: Zach, I wish I'd known you better.

What a strange world. Good night, and I hope I can interact with you tomorrow, so we can hash this (and other things) out better.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chapter 20

Backtracked to pick this one up.

1400 words
60k words total

Also thought of two really simple, gruesome ways to tie up loose ends in later chapters!

Author Z. A. Recht Dies

Permuted Press has just announced the untimely death of Z. A. Recht, author of zombie novels Plague of the Dead and Thunder and Ashes.

I only met Zach briefly, but he was memorable for how quiet, polite, and self-effacing he was. I would've liked to get to know him better.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chapter 33

1600 words
58,600 words total

zombie Christ figure comes more into focus!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Chapter 29

Skipped ahead to pick up another, awesomely gory Lucy chapter!!

1600 words
57,000 words total

The Living Dead 2

Awesome cover! Should be a great anthology, and the way Borders and Barnes and Nobles has been prominently displaying the first it should do great! Go zombies!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

When Fandoms Collide!

Health Care Reform?

No, let the Free Market do it all! It's magic! Good magic! (Claims fellow Harvard person!)

Now, with all due respect, her argument seems to boil down to this: Brits have bad acne and bad teeth, so we better not go that way. (The references to cancer are noticeably vague, making no specific reference to rates or what countries to which she's comparing Britain.)

Well, let's turn that around. If the grand free market provides us with the most effective acne medicine humankind has ever known, and sparkly white teeth, and never-ending, adamantine-hard boners - well, that's all nice, of course, and we pay for all those things over the counter, as insurance wouldn't cover any of those things under any circumstances. So yes, the free market can provide expensive, cutting-edge cures to non-lethal conditions. Is that our priority, as a society? Is that all we really want to be known for - Pepsi, Viagra, and Twinkies? And I'm really quite sure that the pharmaceuticals will go right on making all their expensive stuff, even while basic care is paid for (partly) by a government program.

D2L3 Progress

I might be able to add some to this volume in the next couple days, but then the avalanche of exams and papers comes in, and I'll be out of commission for a while. Hopefully pick it back up before Christmas and go-go-go through New Year's and finish!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dante and Zombies!

Gave a talk at Villanova University on that topic, and I thought it went really well and I'd love to reuse the lecture notes. So if you know anyone in a university (or even high school) setting that'd like a talk on that given to students, drop me a line!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sniff the Glove!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Zombie Ven Diagram

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Zombie Reagan!

Black Quill Award!


Triumph of The Walking Dead