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Queries: A Necessary Evil

Every writer who's submitted a novel to an agent or publisher endured writing a query. Is it fun? No. Is it easy? I wish! But it's something that has to be done. It is the first impression the agent/publisher gets of your work. It gives them an idea of whether or not they want to read the rest of your book.

I don't know any writer who enjoys writing queries. It's not my favorite, but there are worse things. Like writing a synopsis. *shudder* I think we've all been tempted at one point to fall into the gimmicks. You know, like making our query letter so totally unconventional that an agent will have to pay attention. Like this guy. But the reason we don't is because we know better.

Writing is a business. Whether or not you think of it that way, it is. You have a service, and you're trying to sell it to someone else. You want to be taken seriously, so you act like a professional. Sadly, I think crazy queries work every so often (there is always an exception to the rule), which is why people keep trying them. However, in this business, it's always best to rely on professionalism, not gimmicks. Sure, the agent might remember you as the author that threatened to kidnap his child, but I don't think that's the reputation you want.

No matter how you look at it, you have to work for your art. And you have to write. I don't just mean your stories or books, but the little things in between, including the dreaded query. But that's okay, because writing is what you enjoy doing!

Zombies and Vampires

The spouse and I watched a show last night called "Love Lust and the Undead." Before you get all a twitter, it wasn't one of those movies, it was a documentary about zombies and vampires in our culture. It's a series on the Sundance Channel.

It was very intriguing. The major focus was on vampires and how they've evolved through literature and film. A small amount of time was devoted to zombies and how Romero changed the genre with his film. With both creatures, the discussion focused on how social issues influenced the fads and how they go in cycles.

The series was right up my alley. I love watching horror and I love picking movies apart. I enjoy looking at social issues and how they influenced films. Zombie and vampire films have been examined to death (pun intended), so I don't focus on them (although I enjoy watching them), I prefer to look at lesser-known monsters. The series was still fascinating, though, and we're recording the other episodes.

It made me wish my book was out. I highly doubt I'll see the popularity of "Twilight" or "Interview With the Vampire" or The Sookie Stackhouse series, but at least people will be able to read it. It's doing me no good being in "formatting."

But I digress. My only point is I think it's kind of cool to be part of the trend. I know it won't last, but I can enjoy the ride. (Maybe. The book needs to come out first!) I enjoy looking at social issues through the lens of horror fiction. I hope I do the genre justice. If you have the opportunity and enjoy vampires and zombies, you should check out this series.

Tough Question Tuesday

If you could be any mythological creaure (including vampires, werewolves, and zombies), what would you be?

I would be a fairy. People think they are so cute and nice, it would be easy for me to suck them in and trap them in my fairy ring FOREVER! Mwahahahaha!

Either that or a mermaid. I really enjoy being in the water. Although, I'm not too fond of the ocean and the scary creatures that might eat me, so I'd have the ability to switch from fins to legs so I could still come on land. I'm still undecided if I'll be mean or actually save people. I suppose it will depend on my mood!

Movie Review Monday

It's that time of year where our regular shows have ended and we're caught up with our recorded back log. Because of that, we watch a lot of movies. I have two reviews for you today.

Dead Snow (2009)

I loved this movie! LOVED IT! I remember seeing the trailer for it a while ago, but I never got around to watching it. It's been on my Instant list forever, so we watched it this weekend.

It's a Norwegian zombie film that tells the story of a group of kids who go to a secluded cabin in the mountains for Easter break. While there, they are attacked by Nazi zombies. NAZI ZOMBIES! Does it get any better?

I'm sure some of you are furrowing your brow and wrinkling your nose, but it was a very entertaining film. It had a lot of humor and pretty good special effects. It was very gory and bloody. My kind of film! The Evil Dead movies and Army of Darkness had a big influence on this film, which was fabulous because those are some of my favorite films.

I highly recommend this film, especially if you are a fan of the zombie genre. It's only an hour and a half, but it's time well spent!

Black Death (2010)

This film we picked randomly off the Instant play list. As you can infer from the title, it was about the bubonic plague.

The movie was about a priest who leaves the monastery to help some of the Bishop's soldiers find a village that hasn't been ravaged by the pestilence. There are rumors of witchery and necromancy, so they are going to put a stop to it. Along the way, he is changed by the journey.

The movie wasn't bad. It highlighted the ideals of Christianity and how destructive it could be and how unwavering people were in their beliefs. It also examined human frailty and what people become if they are pushed too far.

I would recommend this film. It was slow in some parts and a little cliche in others, but overall it was worth it.

This Week in Writing

I finished my read through and edit of the "romance" story I told you I was working on last week. It's not bad. It might be a little boring, but I didn't feel nauseous after reading it. I sent it to some readers, so I will see what their reactions are.

I finished chapter 4 of the sequel and started chapter 5. That's coming along pretty well, which is exciting. I feel like once I get this out of the way, I can move on to other things. Technically, I can work on other things right now, but then I feel guilty for not finishing this. Why? I don't know. I mean, the first one isn't even out. I guess it's just a quirk! My goal is to have it done by the end of the year. Keep your fingers crossed that it happens!

I also finished my article on serial killers and slasher films. I have a few more edits to make, then it's out of my hands. There's no guarantee that the people will accept it, but at least it will be done!

Phew! I've been busy this week! I felt like I was slacking, but when I lay it all out, I accomplished quite a bit. That makes me feel pretty good!

I have no funny story involving my kids for you this week. Their schedule was messed up because of family being in town, so they were very tired. Hopefully they'll do something cute in the future! I hope you all have a great weekend!


As I mentioned yesterday, the past couple of weeks have been screwy. Because of this, I find I have misplaced motivation. I want to write, I want to get my story out, but I want to do it at work. (I know, I know. Who actually wants to work at work?) But it's difficult to do because I actually have things to do at work. By the time I get home, I have no desire to create anything. It's a vicious cycle.

The weather is finally getting nice, too, which means that staying in a house with no air conditioning is difficult. Yet, the mosquitoes are so bad, me and the kids get eaten alive in 2 minutes. It's another no win situation.

I'm hoping that once I get back to my regular schedule, things will fall back into place. I'll write at night when I'm supposed to and I'll be able to focus at work (yeah, right). Sigh. But my schedule probably isn't going to be back to normal until August.

Support System

It's been a bizarre couple of weeks. My schedule has been screwy because we've had family visiting (I've enjoyed hanging out with them, but you know how I am with my schedule), and there has been some very emotional occurrences going on around me. They haven't affected me directly, but they've been situations where I feel so bad for the other person, I wish I could do something to help ease the pain, but there's nothing I can do.

Due to these happenings, I haven't felt like myself. I haven't been sleeping very well at night, and I'm quick to get angry. As you can imagine, it's been ever so pleasant in my household! The kids will definitely have something to talk to the psychiatrist about!

Yesterday, I had a bit of a meltdown. All the stress and irritation came to a head, and I decided I was going to take it out on my publisher. I've told you guys the story: the waiting, waiting, waiting to hear something about when my book is going to be released and the waiting, waiting, waiting to get a reply to emails. Well, I drafted an email that I was going to send to her. I tried to make it as nice and professional as possible, but given my attitude, it came across as an ultimatum.

Before I emailed it to the publisher, I sent it to my spouse and my friend for their opinion. Thank goodness Tamara and my spouse are so level headed! They understood my frustration, but they also pointed out the downside of sending that email. It could have possibly labeled me as a "difficult author" (which I try not to be, but I'm sure I am) or I could have lost the publisher, neither of which I really wanted. I decided to wait a little longer, take some deep breaths, work on some other projects, and hope things work out. I saved the email, however. I still might need to send it.

Despite the craziness that has been going on, it was really nice to know that I still had people I could go to, people who could give me an honest opinion and keep me from doing something stupid. We all get mixed up with our emotions. When it comes to my writing, I get very defensive about it, so I tend to have knee-jerk reactions to things. I need to learn how to take a step back and look at things from all angles, but I'm working on being happy, so that will have to wait. One thing at a time. My head might explode otherwise!

Easy Question Tuesday

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

I used to think I was a dog person, but there have been a couple of canines in my life that have cured me of that. The first was my mom's dalmation, Bo. Man, what an idiot that dog was! He ate everything, including batteries, bath oils, and my grandpa's hearing aid (no, he wasn't wearing it at the time).

The second is the dog we own right now, Riddick. He is a Springer spaniel/lab mix. He looks like a chocolate lab but has a docked tail. He's extremely hyper and believes he's higher than me on the totem. He doesn't listen very well, and he likes to chew on anything made of plastic. He's great with the kids, so that's really his only saving grace.

So, I guess that makes me a cat person. I love their independence and aloofness. I've had two kitties, one of which I had to put down last year. She was a sweetie, but she was part Siamese so she meowed all the time. That got a little old. My second is a shelter kitty. She's so sweet. Even though my spouse picked her out, she's all mine. She sits on my lap, she sleeps at my feet, and follows me around the house. She knows who loves her the most!

Movie Review Monday

No Strings Attached (2011)

This movie was somewhere in the middle of the road. I've seen worse, and I've seen better. Maybe I was just tired.

The story is about Emma and Adam, two people who met when they were 14 at a summer camp. They've had some chance encounters for the next few years, then the finally become "friends with benefits." They lay certain ground rules, but break them. I'm not ruining anything by telling you that by the end of the film, they get together (if you didn't already know this, you have no idea how formulas in genres work).

It was a romantic comedy without the comedy. I chuckled at a few things, but it wasn't overly funny. Emma's character was very emotionally distant, and it took her longer to fall in love with Adam, who was a very nice guy and prone to his emotions. It basically reversed the role of men and women. I would say that was refreshing, but it wasn't. They fell back into their respective stereotypes by the end.

If you're into romantic comedies, you'll probably like this movie. It's not really my genre, but I do like to watch them for a change of pace. If you really have nothing else to kill 2 hours with, watch this movie. If you have an older film that you enjoy, you might watch that instead!

This Week in Writing

I finished a draft of a new story. It was an experiment for me. After finishing my Paranormal Romance, I wanted to see if I could do another kind of romantic story. This one is written in first-person perspective, and it's told from the man's perspective. I haven't had a chance to read it from beginning to end, so I'm not sure how it sounds. I'll let you know next week how I feel about it.

I received a rejection from the Hellology anthology. No biggie. I'm just trying to find another home for that story. I'll let you know what happens there.

I'm still waiting to hear from the Code Z anthology. I have no idea how long it's going to take, or if they even got my submission, but I'll let you know when/if I hear!

This week, the boys went camping with my in-laws. They were close enough to town that my spouse and I were able to head up after work and have dinner with them. The first night, it was really, really windy (and I was really, really grumpy), so we spent the majority of the time in the camper. The next night, the sky was black and threatening to rain. It did for a short while, then there was a nice lull before the next storm. We were able to light a fire and make s'mores.

The 4 year old was so excited to have a campfire. He and his brother were throwing in sticks and pine cones and other various things they could find. The 2 year old ate marshmallows straight out of the bag, he didn't want to waste time roasting them, while the 4 year old was all about roasting them. He wasn't so much about eating them, he just enjoyed the act of putting them in the flames. (Which was a shame because he toasted it to a lovely golden brown. I would've eaten it, but he threw it on the ground.)

It was so fun the watch them. They had a great time hanging out and camping, but the epitome was being able to have a fire. It's just not camping without a fire. It was one of those little things that just brought joy to everyone involved.

I hope this weekend you find something little that brings you happiness and you take the time to savor it!

It's the Little Things

As part of my newest revelations, one of the things I'm trying to do is focus on the positive. I've been working on it for a while, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. I still have my slips (it's hard to undo 20 years of negativity), but I can pull myself out of the mindset easier. I wanted to share with you a recent little thing that made my day.

I was poking around on eTreasures website the other day, and happened to click on their Top Sellers link. Imagine my surprise when I saw my book on there. I couldn't believe it. It is very exciting and humbling. I have all you wonderful readers to thank for it.

In honor of my status, I'm going to do a little marketing. It's been a while since I've pimped Coming from Nowhere, so here ya go! If you haven't gotten your copy of it yet, you can purchase it here, here, or on Kindle here.

JD does not have a past--at least not one that she can remember--and that makes living life on Mars challenging.

With nowhere to go, she is sent to the local military academy where she is trained to become a member of the elite secret police. While there, she becomes a pawn in Roger’s struggle for military dominance and Chris’s rebellion to overthrow the military regime.

She supposedly holds a secret that will change the face of the soldier, but, unfortunately, she doesn’t know what that secret is. Her only desire is to find the truth of her existence, and finds herself thrust into a realm where the truth of her past and present is more horrific than she ever imagined.

Soul Searching Revelations

As I mentioned last Friday, I was going to spend the weekend figuring things out. Here's the conclusions I came to.

1) I need to exercise more.

I don't need to loose weight, goodness no, but I do need a healthy way to relieve stress. It's been about 4 years since I've done anything, and it's starting to take it's toll. It's no longer enough to chase my kids around. I don't have a lot of time, so getting a gym membership is out of the question (though I would like to start swimming again if I ever have the time. I'm petitioning for them to extend the day by 2 hours, but nothing's happened yet). My only other option is riding my bike.

My spouse bought me a very nice bike several months ago. Part of the reason I haven't been riding it is because the weather has sucked, but the other part is laziness. Sore muscles suck. Everyone knows that. I decided that instead of having sore muscles, I just wouldn't ride my bike. I took the easy way out.

For people who know me, they know I have a lot of pent up rage and stress. Things haven't been getting better recently, so something had to change. After watching my child overcome his fears with the pool, I decided to give it a go. It's only been a week, so I can't say if it's working, but my legs hurt so bad I don't focus on my anger as much (there is still some there, and there probably always will be, but instead of lashing out, I'm trying to focus it into my pedaling. Which comes in handy in the wind!).

2) I need to get back into a writing schedule.

I decided a few weeks ago that I want to be a professional writer. To be one, I have to act like one. That means I need to start taking myself seriously, I need to have faith in my work, and I need to get paid for it.

For-the-love markets are not bad markets, it's how and where I started, and I'm not discounting them, but I'm going to limit my submissions to them. I don't need to be paid outright, I'm fine with royalties, but I need to see some kind of return on my work. I don't edit at my job for free, and I'm considered a professional there, so I shouldn't settle for nothing when I work so hard on my stories.

Professional writers also dedicate time to their craft. I used to have a schedule, but things have been so hectic lately. It's all right to take a break every once in a while, but I have to think of it like a vacation. I have to go back. I have to push the distractions aside and just write. I have to overcome being tired and just write. There have been many times I've gone to my jobs exhausted, but I'm still expected to work, so the same has to be done with my writing.

Those are the things I came up with this weekend. I'm sure it doesn't sound like much, but baby steps are the key. Once I master these little things, everything (hopefully) will fall into place!

Did you do your soul searching this weekend?

Not-So-Tough Question Tuesday

Do you have any phobias?

I have acrophobia and chiroptophobia. I'm sure there are others, but these are the most prominent.

My fear of heights isn't crippling. I know people who can't even go up a step ladder they are so afraid. I can climb rocks and venture around mountain tops, but I hate getting close to the edge. I have visions of rocks slipping away and me going with them or the protective fencing just crumpling. As long as I'm far enough away from the edge, I'm all right and can enjoy the view from a reserved distance.

My fear of bats was instilled by my grandmother. As kids, we used to love playing with sparklers at her house, which attracted bugs. With prey comes predators. Bats would swoop in and feed. They would get close, but not overly. My grandmother would tell us that the creatures were going to get tangled in our hair and bite our heads. When you're 7, that is a very scary prospect. I've never liked bats since.

(Would they really have gotten tangled in my hair? Probably not. They are a lot smarter than that, and they knew I was a lot bigger. Still, who's willing to take that chance?)

Movie Review Monday

Centurion (2010)

My spouse picked this one. I'd never even heard about it until it arrived in the mail. We were both a little hesitant about watching it, and it took a week and a half before we put it in. Thankfully, it wasn't that bad.

The story is about Quintas Dias, who is the sole survivor after the Picts attack his Roman outpost. He escapes their grasp, only to almost be captured again, but he is saved by the Ninth Legion, who was ordered to eradicate the Picts. A lot of blood and fighting occurs, and the Ninth Legion is wiped out. There are a few survivors, and they have to find their way from behind enemy lines to get home.

I like Roman stories. The whole Roman Era is my romantic era. It's so fascinating and filled with drama. There were a few parts that dragged or were a little cliche, but I liked the movie as a whole. At the beginning of the film, there was a lot of blood, but that tapered as the show went on. It was an interesting study in how people react in survival situations.

The scenery was stunning, and the different cultures were portrayed well. I found myself Googling the Picts because I didn't know a lot about them, and I couldn't remember if they became the Scottish or Irish (Scottish, in case you were wondering). The characters themselves were a little flat and occasionally cliched, but it didn't bother me. Any movie that makes me look up further information has my interest.

I probably wouldn't watch the film again, but I do recommend it. If you like Roman stories and blood and battles, it's worth the time. Things slow down in the second half of the film, but there is a good final confrontation.

This Week In Writing

I didn't do any writing this week. I was taking a short break after finishing my nonfiction article. Plus, I had strep again, so I didn't have motivation/energy to do anything. My readers were kind enough to get edits on the article back to me yesterday, so I plan on working on rewriting it this weekend.

I received a contract for my novelette this morning. It's called "The Weeping Bride" and it's the Paranormal Romance I was telling you about a while ago. It is tentatively scheduled for release in September. As always, I will keep you informed!

The 4 year old started swim lessons this week. He's had them before, but it was a year ago. When he first started, he really enjoyed the water and showed no fear. Sometime between then and now, something scared him and he doesn't feel comfortable in the water. You could tell on Tuesday he was really nervous about being in the pool. He didn't want to dunk his head under, and he was hesitant about listening to the teacher.

When he got out of the water, I asked if he had fun. Shaking uncontrollably, he shook his head no. I didn't feel very well, so I told him if he didn't like it, then he wouldn't go back. He said he wanted to, so I told him we would work on his bubbles (blowing air out of his nose so water doesn't get up it).

We practiced later that night and the next day. By Thursday, he was ready for lessons again. There was a huge difference in his comfort level. He would duck his head under, and he looked like he was having fun. There were a few things that made him nervous, but he still tried them, assuming the teacher was right there holding onto him. I asked him if he had fun, and shaking uncontrollably, he said "Yes!"

I couldn't help but feel proud of him. He could've given up. He could've said it was too hard and scary and he didn't want to do it. But he didn't. He trusted me enough to teach him how to blow bubbles, then used it to get back in the water. Even though he was still scared, he knew he'd be all right.

It was really inspiring. It made me look at some of the things in my life that scare me, perhaps hold me back a little, and re-evaluate. I have a support system around me, so if I fall, they'll be there to help me back up. I have people to teach me how to blow bubbles, so I should trust them and learn from them. I'm going to do some soul searching this weekend. If you have a moment, you should do the same, and have a fabulous weekend!


I love to read. I spend the majority of my day reading, whether its blogs, the news, reports I'm editing, stories (mine or other people's), or novels for book club/enjoyment.

As an author, I like to talk to others about their reading habits. You never know when you'll find a potential fan/reader. More than you'd think, people give me excuses of why they don't read. I've compiled a list of some of my favorites.

1. I'm a slow reader.
Compared to what? Is there some test out there that times how long it takes you to read a certain book and then compares it to every other person whose ever read that book? I didn't know there was some unspoken race on how fast you need to get through a book. I must be a slow reader, too, because I've never won a prize for finishing a book quickly. Just enjoy it! Who cares how long it takes?

2. Reading makes me fall asleep.
Reading is supposed to be relaxing. However, if you find yourself constantly falling asleep when you pick up a book, A) you might have a medical condition or B) you might be reading something boring. Try something new. There has been many a times when I've been exhausted, ready to drop where I stand, but I decide to pick up a book, let my mind relax, and I get sucked in. I tell myself, "One more chapter," and then 2 hours have gone by. If you've never experienced this, you need to expand your horizons. Have you been in a book store? There are thousands of stories to choose from. Pick something you'd never think you'd enjoy. If you still find yourself falling asleep, make a doctor's appointment.

3. I don't have time.
This one I actually take as a real excuse. There have been many moments in my life when I barely had time to blow my nose let alone pick up a book, so I sympathize.

In the end, what it boils down to, is I think these people just don't like to read. And that's fine. There are plenty of things out there that I don't like to do, so I don't do them. You don't have to make up excuses (not for me anyway), you can just tell me that you don't like to read, and I'll quit pedaling my wares to you.

Have you heard any good excuses of why people don't read?

"Lucky Stiff" by Tonia Brown

I've never read Erotica. I've only read one Romance novel from cover to cover in my life. It's not a comment on either genre, it's just not what I prefer. I'll admit it, I blushed when I read the first sex scene in Chapter 1, and I'm far from a prude. After I got over my initial shock, I was able to make it through the book.

Here is the blurb:

Meet Peter Lyles, a young man unremarkable in life but unforgettable in un-death. After he accidentally overdoses while on spring break, Peter's friends do him the dubious favor of bringing him back to life. Or rather, they turn him into a zombie with the help of a little old fashioned Voodoo. Peter's journey through the unlife takes him from the homebrewed sex magic of a mysterious swamp-dwelling Madam, to bouncing from bedroom to bedroom all across the globe, and finally leaving him with a career as the hottest gigolo not alive. All the while, he must deny his hunger for human flesh while sating his passion for, well, human flesh. At turns humorous, at times touching, but always sexy, sexy, sexy. "Lucky Stiff" will leave you wanting more Peter. He's just that good.

The story was intriguing. It was completely different from the zombie novels I usually read and write, but it was enjoyable. As I mentioned on Monday, I like pretty much all things zombie, and I like to experience new things, so this was fun.

The only problem I had with the story was the time frame. Ms. Brown stretches the story out over 15 years, and I thought that was a little long. It could have been condensed into 5 years and still had the same meaning, but it worked. I just pushed time out of my mind and enjoyed the ride (yes, pun was intended).

Aside from the sex, the book was a great coming-of-age story. Tonia did a great job of catching a 19-year-old boy's voice and showing how he "grows up." The writing was full of feeling and wit (a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes), and it pulled you along from beginning to end. I really enjoyed Lucky Stiff, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something different.

As with the other authors, Tonia was kind enough to answer some questions for me.

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
When working on the erotic horror novella THE BLOOMING, I had to decide if the zombies were going to be involved in sex scenes. I’ve read others attempts at it and it’s always disturbing. I decided against it for that novella, but it got me thinking: Could someone write a story with zombie sex and it not be skin crawlingly disgusting? LUCKY STIFF is the answer of yes. Or, at least I hope it is.

Q) How long did it take you to write the book?
Not long, considering the length. I dropped 97k words in 56 days. In perspective, my novel THE COLD BENEATH took almost three months and its only 79k long. Writing Peter’s life story was more like taking dictation and less like writing a novel.

Q) Can you talk about the book's evolution and publishing history?
I originally wanted to submit Peter’s torrid tale to Ravenous Romance, because they had displayed interest in zombie erotica around the time I was writing it. But I overshot their word count pretty early on so I had to scrap that idea. After I finished the first draft, I started to worry about where to submit it; the tale isn’t strictly horror, and it’s a little gruesome in some places for just the label of romance.

By then I had appeared in a few Library of the Living Dead anthologies, and through their forum I found the most excellent editor (and now wonderful friend!) Stephanie Kincaid. With her help I got it in shape, presented it to the head of the LOTLD, and he accepted it for publication. I decided to take a stab at formatting the book myself, and was able to snag the very talented Philip Rogers for the cover and interior artwork.

Overall it was an amazingly smooth process. Granted I took on a lot of the work myself (out of desire, not obligation) but I found I liked having so much creative control over the publishing process.

Q) What are you trying to get across or understand as you write?
Usually I don’t try to make a point beyond trying to weave a good story. I really just try to write something I think folks will enjoy reading. If something preachy slips in—like Peter singing the praises of monogamous relationships in LUCKY STIFF—then it’s a byproduct of the story telling, not a deliberate attempt at social commentary. No soapboxes here.

Q) Why do you write?
Because I enjoy it. When it ceases to be fun, I shall cease to do it.

Q) What other kinds of genres do you write?
Steampunk, horror, humor, erotica. (And everything in between.)

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I recently signed with Books of the Dead for my zombie road trip novel SOUL SEARCHING. It’s written in the vein of the old “Road To…” movies. (You remember those don’t you? The ones with Bing and Bob?) Only this one features a geek, a stripper and a zombie. Oh, and Satan, of course.

I’ve also been working with an agent to get my steampunk horror novel THE COLD BENEATH ready for publication. It’s set in post Civil War America, and centers on a disastrous mission to reach the North Pole by means of air. I don’t want to spoil it, so let’s just say it involves airships and zombies. Nice!

Meanwhile, you can catch my ongoing steampunk weird western webserial RAILROAD! It’s a fast paced tale of gunplay, gadgets and grit, featuring a train that lays her own tracks and a crew unlike anything you’ve ever seen. I update it every Monday morning, and the story will go on as long as there are folks interested in reading it. (And yeah, there might be a zombie aboard!)

Q) Will there be any more stories from Peter?
I get asked that a lot and I can only say perhaps. There might be a short story or two, but I don’t think there is another novel. Peter has told his tale.

Tough Question Tuesday

What ONE movie are you excited to see in the theater this summer?

You can go to several, but I'm sure there is one movie that you are just dying to see. Mine is The Green Lantern. I just hope it's as good as my mind has already made it out to be!

Movie Review Monday

The Hangover: Part II (2011)

When the first one came out, I wasn't sure I wanted to watch it. I thought it was going to be a woman-bashing, marriage-hating, guys-need-to-stick-together movie. Boy, was I surprised. It was hilarious!

The second one wasn't terrible, but I didn't think it was as funny as the first. Sadly, most of the funny parts are shown on the previews (I HATE when they do that!), but there is one twist they didn't show that was very funny.

The story follows Phil, Stu, and Alan as they celebrate Stu's bachelor party. No one wants to invite Alan to the wedding because of what he did the last time, but, due to pressure from wives, they give in and bring him along. As expected, he drugs them, again, and they can't remember the night before. Soooo, they spend the next two days trying to figure out what the hell happened and find their friend.

I recently read that they are making a Part III, which I'm a little confused about. Is it going to be Alan's bachelor party now? I supposed you need to milk the franchise for all it's worth, but unless they do something drastically different, I can't imagine it's going to be that great. The premise was pretty close to playing itself out with this film.

I would recommend seeing this movie if you like these kinds of films. We saw it in the theater, but I would have been just as content to watch in on DVD.

Aah! Zombies! (2007)

My list on Netflix was getting low, and there weren't a bunch of new releases I wanted to see, so I started putting old films on. This was in recommendations, so I clicked it. You know me, I like anything with zombies.

The movie follows 4 kids and an army private who are turned into zombies by a goo developed by the military. They think they are normal and everyone else has been infected. When they find out the truth, they decide to escape civilization and develop their own zombie community.

The idea of the film was intriguing. It was done from the zombie perspective, which is different from so many other films out there. The presentation had a little to be desired. It felt like a college film (which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Many a stars got their start that way), the acting bordered on really bad, and the effects were cheesy (not SyFy channel cheesy, they were actually a bit better than that!).

Despite this, I did find myself chuckling a few times, and I watched the entire movie. I would only recommend the film if you're looking for cheesy and a B-movie. At least you can say you experienced it!

This Week in Writing

I finished chapter 3 of my second zombie novel. I need to think of a name to refer to it as. Maybe just "the sequel." That works. This one seemed to come with some difficulty. I'm not sure why. I got some stuff on paper, but I know I will have to fix it later! At least it gave me a bit of momentum. I was struggling with what was going to happen in the story (still am), but I have a slightly better idea now.

I'm also working on an article for Midnight Marquee Press. You may or may not remember that this was one of the companies that had an interest in my book. I didn't go with them, but I still talk to the editor. The article is about slasher films, but it's not from my book. My hope is that it will drum up some interest and people will like my writing so I will get some followers. It's a marketing plan. We shall see how it works out!

As I mentioned earlier this week, my schedule has been thrown off so I've been out of sorts. Apparently, I'm not the only one. The boys have been having a hard time getting up and getting ready, too. The other morning, they were sitting at the table eating breakfast, and I heard the 4 year old whimpering. I asked him what was wrong.

"My brother is looking at me! He won't stop," he tells me.

Normally, I would tell him to get over it or move (I'm pretty sure I just rolled my eyes and told him to figure it out), but I completely sympathized with him. Some days you just don't want anyone looking at you. Some days you just want to be left alone to live inside your head and enjoy the voices, incoherent as they may be. I know I've been like that recently.

Hopefully after resting this weekend and getting back on schedule will fix that for next week! Hopefully people will be able to look at me again. (It won't change my desire to live inside my head, though. The voices get angry if I don't converse with them for at least an hour a day!) Have a great weekend!


I was reading an interesting blog yesterday about book marketing. The notion of having a group of people working together to promote each other's works is a great idea. I've been trying to employ that recently.

If you haven't noticed, I've been doing book reviews and interviews for my friends' books. I've done two so far, but I plan on doing more in the future. (Presently, I'm reading my friend Tonia's novel.) There are a ton of indie authors out there who have great stories, so I'm doing my part to help them out. With a little luck, they'll help me too!

Author's never used to have to promote themselves. There was a time where all they did was write and left it up to the publishers or PR people to schedule appearances or market. Those day's don't exist anymore. Authors are expected to take an active role in marketing their books. Some people are all right with that, others are not. I'm one of those people who is OK with it. I'm OCD and a control freak, so I like to be in charge of my own marketing. I'm not overly outgoing, but I'm not shy either, so I have no issues talking about my work. I also enjoy working with a group, so a "Board of Directors" is an intriguing idea to me. It's nice to have a support system.

There are several different things I do to market. I've had fliers and key chains made, and I try to set up guest blogs and radio shows. I also approach reviewers and try to have a presence on the web. I've set up some personal appearances in my hometown, but those haven't worked out very well. Maybe with this next book it will. I'm sure I could do more, but time is definitely a factor. I do what I can!

What kinds of things do you do for book promotion? (Yes, I'm trying to harvest ideas!)


I'm not a big fan of 3-day weekends. If I'm actually able to go on vacation, it's wonderful. Otherwise, it's just another day I have to clean. Plus, things get crazy at work because you have one less day to get things done.

I am a schedule person, and when my schedule gets messed up, I get anxious. I try not to let it bother me, and I'm getting better (believe it or not), but it's still exhausting. I also hate daylight savings time. It throws me off for weeks.

I'm not trying to make today a whine session, but it seems like everything is off this week, and I'm not sure how to get back on track. I did have some points to make, but they're gone. I'm having issues with insurance and several people have been in to talk to me this morning, so I lost my thought process. (Yet another downside to a short week!) Maybe I'll just ride the rest of the week through and hope next week will be better. It can only go up, right?