Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer of Zombie - Charles Ingersoll guest post

 
Ah yeah.  The heat is rising and the smell of rotting zombie flesh is in the air.  The Summer of Zombie tour has rolled around again and this time I have the pleasure of hosting a guest post from Charles Ingersoll.  Check out his post then go buy his book!

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I have loved zombies since the original George Romero ‘Night of the Living Dead’. What I didn’t realize at that tender age is that I loved them because the stories were never about the monsters, but the monsters and heroes within us all. I loved Rod Sterling’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ in much the same way because he wrote stories to convey the same themes of humanity.

The hook of my undead fervor was firmly set by the time the Nazis created their own monstrous versions of the undead, whether by experimentation or by magic and curses. I watched scenes of SS troopers climbing out of the pristine snow and emerging slowly from the murky waters as unstoppable harbingers of death. All scary as hell and brilliant! And how can one have a cross word to say against the undead when you can find a zombie squaring off against a shark? And who would have ever thought that Zack Synder’s use of a much more nimble and lethal zombie in his ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake would scare us even more than herds of zombies had before?

’28 Days Later’? Check!
‘Shaun of the Dead’? Gotcha!
‘Brain Dead’? Of course!

Serving as background mechanics for drama and action, zombies, zekes and walkers all serve to force the spotlight of storytelling back on the living and breathing man and woman. ‘The Walking Dead’ from Robert Kirkman in the comics and on AMC only solidify the fact that zombies are an important part of popular culture and the current zeitgeist. Now, networks like SyFy and A&E are scrambling to have their own version of the zombie genre produced. It’s all good news for zombie and post-apocalypse lovers such as us.

I am sure I am echoing words that other zombiphiles have thought, spoken or written before me. What is more exciting is that men and women who had previously scoffed or turned their noses up at idea that zombies could be synonymous with good literature (Max Brooks’ ‘World War Z’), good television (AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’) and thought-provoking film (‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Fido’, seriously!) are now slowly converting to the cause. As long as the powers that be continue to develop smart shows, films, and books, zombies can enjoy a long fruitful life unmarred by stigma of glittering skin in the sun or teenage angst. Because though ‘Night of the Living Dead’ is a genre and cult classic, even the Romero name, in my humble opinion, has been diluted by attaching it to the strangeness that was ‘Island of the Dead’. Zombies riding horses instead of eating them?! Yikes! I have my fingers crossed.

I am a lover of most things zombie, although I cannot say that I have watched or read as much as I should. My own development has been a several year labor of love and I have been remiss in keeping up with books from other artists and authors. Maybe I was afraid I would read other people’s work and not have anything original to say. Hell, I still can’t guarantee I am bringing anything epic to the mix. But at least I can say I followed through and produced something I am proud of (in spite of a few scathing reviews – lol). Also the process allowed me to get plenty of weapons training and range time. Points!

I hope the zombie-loving community is kind and allows me to share what I have to offer in storytelling. In the meanwhile, I will add one last epic punctuation to this entry and head to the shooting range. Gunfire and headshots await!

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie


AND so you don't miss any of the posts in June, here's the complete list, updated daily:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sarah Lyon Fleming teaser #SummerofZombie


I am excited to be participating in the 2014 Summer of Zombie tour - a month long extravaganza with 33 zomtastic authors involved.  There are interviews, guest posts, give aways, teasers, and more so make sure you hit the FB page to get the full monty.


Today, I have the pleasure of teasing your little zombie heads off with an except from Sarah Lyon Fleming's Until the End of the WorldI'll quit my yapping and let you get to it!


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Sarah Lyons Fleming
Chapter 1 and excerpt from Until the End of the World

CHAPTER 1


Today is the kind of spring day that used to make me feel like anything was possible. That it would all work out in the end. I used to love days like this. Of course, that was before I started avoiding spring altogether.
It isn’t easy to avoid an entire season, especially one this glorious. But for the past three years I’ve managed it. I close the blinds, stay out of the sunshine and keep to myself, so as not to dredge up memories of that first terrible spring.
But this year feels different. I can’t help but enjoy the breeze that promises summer is coming. It’s the kind of day that puts a spring in your step, where you believe hope does spring eternal.
I dreamt about Adrian last night. But it wasn’t the usual dream, the one that wakes me up in tears with that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. We were sitting on the porch steps of my parents’ cabin. Our legs were stretched out, feet resting on the ground. I was wiggling my toes. There was nothing else. Sure, the bees buzzed among the flowers and the trees whispered in the wind, but that was it. There was just quiet. And peace, the kind of peace that didn’t seem to follow Adrian as much as it was a product of him. When I woke up that feeling stayed with me, and I started thinking that maybe it could be mine again.
My friend Penny’s dark ponytail swings as we pass the brownstones and apartment buildings of our Brooklyn neighborhood on our way to work. I haven’t told her about this feeling, even though I tell her almost everything. I’m like a squirrel with a nut, wanting to hide it away for safekeeping, to turn it over and over and examine it.
Penny glances at my feet. “You wore your new shoes.”
I nod. It’s still too cool, but I wore the delicate straw sandals anyway. I thought they might make me feel feminine and strong. That maybe they would help me to embrace and welcome spring again. Relying on shoes to do all that is pretty dumb, but I need all the help I can get.
Penny raises her face to the sun and sighs with pleasure. She moved here from Puerto Rico when she was ten, after her father died. Even after all these years she still takes winter as a personal affront.
“My mom was called in last night, something to do with the LX virus,” Penny says, and pushes her vintage glasses back up where they belong. “She says there are a lot of cases in New York now.”
Bornavirus LX has spread across the world in the past few days. So far it’s only been found in the Midwest and West. I haven’t been paying much attention because in the spring I never do.
“Did she say how many?”
“No. But she’s pretty certain the quarantine of St. Louis means it’s going to get bad.”
“They quarantined St. Louis?” I’m shocked that it’s come to that.
“Yeah, late last night. Chicago, too. And air traffic is suspended from the West.” We stop at the front door of the Sunset Park Community Center, where we both work. “How do you not know all this? You’re usually the one telling me these things.”
“I’ve been distracted. I didn’t listen to the news this morning.”
I want to tell her more, but I’m not sure what there is to tell. It’s just a mental shift or something, and if it comes to nothing I don’t want to advertise the fact that I’ve failed. Penny glances around and twists her lips.
“James kissed me last night,” she says to the concrete.
“James what?” I yell. She shushes me and I lower my voice. “We just walked all the way to work and you tell me now? At—” I look at the time on my phone, “crap. There’s a meeting. I have to go.”
Penny smiles. She did this on purpose so I wouldn’t bother her about it the whole way to work.
“I knew it!” I say, and narrow my eyes even though I’m grinning. “We’re twenty-eight years old and you still won’t tell me when you like someone! Nelly and I have been waiting for this. You’re gonna tell me later, you know.”
“Gotta go,” she sings out, as I head upstairs.

EXCERPT:


My mouth is stuck closed, and the water I sip does nothing. I strain my eyes and imagine things moving in the dark: a mass of infected like the ones who attacked the looters. Except I’m not safe on my roof right now, with months of food to eat and access to stored water below me. All we’ve got is what’s on our backs. We have two places to go: the Palisades and the upper floor of this building. The Lexers may not be able to make it up, but if there’s no water, all those people will be dead in a week, if not days, trapped up there.
After what seems like forever, one of the radios carries a warning. “We have approximately one hundred Lexers heading our way. ETA of two minutes. Be ready, boys.”
The soldiers stand at attention. A figure advances out of the gloom and nears the fence. It’s followed by another and another. The outside lights blaze to life, and I gasp at the sight.
The main road is full of infected, of Lexers. They stumble their way over the grass and into the lot. The guns and soldiers make no impression on them, except to draw them closer.
Shots ring out. A man with no lower jaw falls after the top of his head is blown off. A woman wearing a bright purple wrap dress drops to the ground with a well-placed shot. A little boy, who can’t be more than nine, limps to the fence. His mouth hangs open and his baseball cap has slid down over one eye, giving him a rakish look. His parents must be so worried about him. His parents might have been the ones who did this to him, I realize, and my mouth goes even drier.
My legs grow weak. These people are dead. They’re dead, and they’re not. If I think about it too much I might go crazy, so I push the thought to the back of my mind. I watch the little boy stagger from a head shot, and it’s only when he drops to the ground, face-first, that I see his shirt wasn’t always brown. Before all the blood, it had been white.
There’s an older woman who looks like an office worker, a doctor still wearing his white coat, a couple of men wearing orange road worker vests. They all fall, but the tide continues as they veer off the road.
There are so many of them. They make it to the fence, where they push and pull and yank. I can hear them through the window, even over the gunshots. It’s a cacophony of low, rasping cries and drawn-out moans. It sounds like hunger, and we’re the food. I fight the urge to cover my ears with my hands and use them to clench my pistol. The gate swings alarmingly, but it holds.
A flash of light out by the main road illuminates the room. The explosion makes us jump. For a few minutes they’re killed as fast as they come. But then Rodriguez points out the window and shouts. I visibly follow his finger, and the sight forces the air out of my lungs. I tighten my sweaty hold on my gun.
A gigantic throng of infected follows the first. They trip and swarm over the road barricades they’ve knocked to the ground. All the noise must have attracted them.

*   *   *   *   *

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

Monday, May 26, 2014

#DirtyGoggles - Judges Choice




Rachael & Larry have spoken!  

Before I get started handing out prizes, I want to say thank you to both of our guest judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to read our entries. Please make sure to show them both some love by liking, buying, and reviewing their work. ^.^

And now for the fun stuffs.  Both of our judges told me the same thing the Dirty Goggles Crew found - WOW.  It was extremely tough to choose just one winner.  So be proud Dirty Ink Slingers; you all blew the gaskets off the storymill.

For the Steam category, Rachael narrowed down her choice to three entries: His Little Bumblebee by Lisa Shambrook, Nurse to the Dead by Eric Martell, and Stolen by Alex Brightsmith.  But I made her pick just one so she gave the top prize to  -

Stolen by Alex Brightsmith

Congrats!!  You win a copy of Rachael's book The Ugly Tin Orrery.
The Ugly Tin Orrery 

Larry had just as hard of a time with the Diesel category.  He was stuck between Tending the Trees by Beth Avery and Dutiful Farewells by Bryan Taylor.  But again, I said he could only choose one so his top pick went to:

Tending the Trees by Beth Avery

Congrats!! You win a copy of Dieselpunk: An Anthology.

Please PM one of the Dirty Goggles Crew via FB or Twitter with an email address to claim your prize.

Thanks again to everyone for making this year's Dirty Goggle Hop a great success.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let's Get this Party Started - #DirtyGoggles Winners

Dirty Goggles was a smashing success with a large turn out and excellent stories. Huge Thank Yous to everyone who pimped, inked, and read this year!!

 Each story was amazing and held a different punkish gem from the others.  The Dirty Goggles Crew spent days reading and re-reading the entries.  We wanted to give prizes to everyone - the stories were just that good.  But alas, we are writers and thus limited in our prize granting abilities.  Plus, it's fun to win. ^.^

I have the distinct pleasure of announcing the Amazon Gift Card winners.  Later, Ruth will pass out the Fan Fave title and on Monday we will close things out with our guest judge top picks and book winners.

Prizes:
  • $25 Amazon Card – Best Steampunk – best captures the spirit of Steampunk
  • $25 Amazon Card – Best Dieselpunk – best captures the spirit of Dieselpunk
  • Fan Favorite Bragging Rights – Best Technical – best use of technology to create alternate reality
  • BOOK: The Ugly Tin Orrery – Steampunk Guest Judge Favorite
  • BOOK: Dieselpunk: An Anthology – Dieselpunk  Guest Judge Favorite
Again, every entry was wonderful - THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO JOINED IN.

The race was close in both categories.  After reading (multiple times) all the entries, the Crew used a group rating system to decide the winners and without further delays they are:


STEAM:
Nurse to the Dead – Eric Martell @drmagoo  
DIESEL:
The Silencer - Freya @Freyathewriter 

YAY!!! \^.^/  Congrats to you both.  We will need an email addy in order to deliver the gift cards.  Please PM someone in the Crew to claim your prize. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ready, Set, GO! - #DirtyGoggles


It's time to WRITE! Yep, Dirty Goggles has officially kicked off.  Ruth has whipped up another Linky Thing for us and this week I'll share definitions, my own stories, and maybe an inspiration read or two.  Plus, I've promised Ruth & Steven I would take a Dieselpunk hat selfie so keep checking in if for no other reason than to laugh. ^.^

Prizes:
  • BOOK: The Ugly Tin Orrery – Steampunk Guest Judge Favorite
  • BOOK: Dieselpunk: An Anthology – Dieselpunk  Guest Judge Favorite
  • $25 Amazon Card – Best Steampunk – best captures the spirit of Steampunk
  • $25 Amazon Card – Best Dieselpunk – best captures the spirit of Dieselpunk
  • Fan Favorite Bragging Rights – Best Technical – best use of technology to create alternate reality



What:      Flash contest featuring Steampunk or Dieselpunk themes
Hosts:     Ruth, Steven & myself  
When:     May 5 - May 18; we will begin at Midnight Eastern time on the 5th and close up shop at 11:59 pm Pacific time on the 18th
Hashtag:  #DirtyGoggles  
Rules:     You may enter two flash pieces, one for steampunk and one for dieselpunk.  Length should be between 500-800 wordsEach piece should begin with the following - 
Title
Word Count
Name or Twitter Handle
Category (Steam or Diesel)

Inspiration:
Pinterest
  • Dirty Goggles Board
  • Bullish's Steampunk Board: Corsets and Clockworks
  • Bullish's Dieselpunk Board: Dirigibles and Dollfaces
Spotify
Steampunk playlist
Dieselpunk playlist 


The Linky Thing:


Saturday, May 3, 2014

#DirtyGoggles - Dieselpunk Dazzlements



Yesterday, we revealed our steampunk guest judge, Rachael Acks.  Today we unveil our devilishly piratical dieselpunk guest judge - Larry Atchley Jr.

Larry is an amazing writer that I have had the pleasure of knowing for several years now.  He is a regular contributor to the Heros in Hell series of anthologies and knows a thing or two about the darker side of steam and diesel punk cultures.  He has kindly signed up to read our dieselpunk entries.

His top pick will receive an e-copy of the recently released anthology Dieselpunk: An Anthology - Woot!!  So get those word-planes buzzing, folks.


Dieselpunk Guest Judge Prize:
Dieselpunk: An Anthology from Twit Publishing

 

Author BIO:
Larry Atchley, Jr grew up in Grapevine, Texas, writing stories and poetry since he was a teenager. His first big break as a writer came when authors Janet Morris and Chris Morris invitedhim to collaborate with them on a shared-world anthology for the Heroes in Hell series and asked him to submit a story for the book. The rest, as they say, is history.
You can read his blog, The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat at http://www.larryatchleyjr.wordpress.com. Some of his other interests include co-hosting the internet radio show Dangerous Minds, on www.tmvcafe.com, reading pirate poetry and stories at events with the Seadog Slam crew, Qi-Gong Kung Fu martial arts, public speaking, Steampunk and Dieselpunk culture, traditional archery, fencing, philosophy, mythology, paranormal investigation, photography, role playing games, bicycling, hiking, sharing pithy quotes, and reading and collecting books on all manner of subjects.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Super Late #MWBB - Left of Center

Things have been hectic here in Bohemia, what with moving and working and getting ready for Dirty Goggles.  I don't do hectic well so I've been sitting on this piece for a few weeks until things calmed down and I had a chance to tighten the idea a bit.

The #MWBB song a few weeks back was Left of Center by Suzanne Vega so there were plenty of great entries.  Make sure to check them out!

Here is my extremely late take on the song.

Left of Center
The scuttle of tiny metal legs sounded off to the left as April entered the room.  She swallowed and took a step forward, her eyes darting  back and forth between dark corners.  This place scared her; it always had. She never could shake the feeling of being watched, of being scanned by entities lurking behind boxes and between shelves. April inhaled, trying to calm her nerves. The stale air pumping through the intake lobby didn't help; it smelled ionized beyond just the purification process, tickling her nose with an electronic hum. 

Scotty just had to call in sick today of all days, leaving her with the weekly pick-up for Mr. Morgan. She sighed and kept moving through the intake lobby as quickly as her human legs would carry her.  She was the kitchen technician and very rarely left the Morgan Mansion.  Hell, she very rarely left the kitchen. She had the kitchen code running so smoothly even the automated processes were, well, automated.  The Morgan household could request a meal for one or one hundred with a simple flick of the wrist and have the first course appear on the table within five minutes.  Mr. Morgan praised her skill for Kitchen Interface Management almost daily. But she was still just an employee so here she was, standing in for Scotty picking up Mr. Morgan's weekly doll; her K.I.M. achievements not giving her any reprieve from mundane errand running.

April pressed down on the Com-Call button and waited to interface with the storage room.  Thirty seconds later, a face flickered onto the monitor at the end of the lobby.  The storage attendant didn't even bother to look into the camera as he barked out commands.

"Order number and ID scan," he said.

"Oh, yes. Sorry. I'm not the normal pickup…" It was obvious the attendant didn't care what she had to say.  April waved her wrist over the scanner next to the Com-Call.

"MORGAN-2592? You're not the normal…" the attendant stopped short as his eyes finally shifted from his work to the screen.

"Oh shit," he whispered.

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry. You're just not the normal guy." His eyes never left April's face.  It was creeping her out worse than walking through the lobby.  She would have to talk to Mr. Morgan about never being asked to come to the doll factory again.

"That's what I was trying to tell you earlier," April sighed.  "Is there a problem?"

"No. No.  I'll send your order right out." His eyes stayed glued to her face as he punched the keys in front of him. April looked down at her sneakers to avoid the uncomfortable stare.

The door next to the intake monitor clicked a few times and April heard Mr. Morgan's doll walk into the lobby.  April hated worked with androids but she figured this one would be easy enough to handle.  All dolls were programmed to perform whatever task given, so getting it back to the mansion should be straightforward. Then it would be back to her produce and flour coding.

April looked up from her sneakers to make the necessary eye contact in order to get the doll to follow her commands.  Her stomach dropped as she saw her own blonde hair and an electronic version of her own blue eyes staring back at her.

"Oh shit," she whispered.