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Movie Review Wednesday

I know, I know. I don't normally do this, but with the blog blitz starting tomorrow, I won't have a chance to tell you about Conan. I'm bending the rules.

I would also like to let you know that Life After the Undead ebook goes on sale tomorrow. I will pop in really quick to give you the link. Squee! I can barely contain my excitement!

Now, without further delay...

Conan (2011)

When I was a kid, my dad let me watch Conan The Destroyer (1984). That's the one with the princess and the journey with the monster Conan kills by breaking the mirror. Yeah, the bad one. Despite its shortcomings, I fell in love with the movie. The swordplay, the magic, the guys with really big muscles. What wasn't to like?

When I got older, I was allowed to watch Conan The Barbarian (1982). Wow. What a difference in movies! I fell in love all over again. The swordplay, the magic, the guys with really big muscles. But add into it a revenge tale. Again, so much to like.

I have to admit, I didn't have high hopes going into the film. Most remakes/re-imaginings fall short of the ideal. But I'm happy to report that was not the case with this film. Wow. What a different movie! I LOVED it!

The basic story line is there: Conan wants to get revenge for the death of his family, but then it changes. He's not fighting against a snake lord, and he isn't taken into slavery. He's still battling against evil and magic, and he's driven by hatred. There isn't a kick-butt Valeria, but the new girl can hold her own.

The movie had everything: explosions, great fight sequences, half-naked people, a horse chase, and a plot. My kind of film. The one thing that bothered me was it was in 3D and some of the fight sequences were so fast, they were blurry. However, when I buy it on DVD, I'll be able to watch them in all their glory!

If you enjoy fantasy movies and action, I definitely recommend this movie. I didn't think it was as good as the first Conan (maybe because I have nostalgic feelings toward it that I don't have toward this film...yet!), but waaaay better than the second. I would watch it again. And I will!

Tough Question Tuesday

Have you seen my trailer for Life After the Undead?

It was created by SD Hintz, who is the CEO of KHP Publishers. You can check out his websites here and here. I was really excited when it showed up in my inbox, I hope you enjoy it too!

I also wanted to let you know that I'll be doing a month-long blog tour beginning September 1st. It highlights a bunch of YA authors, so I won't have my normal postings. It's going to be fun! And I hope you meet a bunch of new authors who have wonderful stories!

Movie Review Monday

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

We've had our house for sale for a few weeks now, and we're living with the bare minimums, and that includes movies. The 4 year old is entertained by this, and that's all that matters.

On the whole, the movie has a good message. It examines the importance of family. It doesn't matter what that family consists of, whether or not it's a rat as a father, as long the love is there, you'll grow up to be a contributing member of society, even if you're a mutated turtle. If there isn't love, such as with Shredder and his band of roving misfits, you'll grow up to be a thug who gambles and drinks.

It's interesting to note that this whole movie took place on the streets of New York. It made me wonder if there was a huge gang/teenage problem back in the day. I'm going to look that up later...

There's also a journey/growing up phase the turtles have to go through. They have to learn how to work together to find Splinter and defeat a common foe. It's all very touching.

I remember enjoying this movie as a child. It was fun and funny. It's not the same as an adult. Maybe it was my frame of mind, but it was more annoying and predictable than anything. The muppets brought back some nostalgia.

The 4 year old really enjoys the movie. He likes it when the turtles fight and dance, and I'm sure the catchphrases amuse him. It keeps him busy so I can get things done. I sat down and watched it and didn't have the urge to gouge my eyes out, so it wasn't terrible.

This Week in Writing

I finished the edits to Life After the Undead and sent them to the publisher. Last night, I received my galley, so I'll be spending the weekend going through the story one more time.

I started a new zombie story. My goal is to submit it to another anthology. The deadline isn't until November 15th, but I know they've already accepted some stories (I'm friends with them on Facebook). After I'm done with the novel, I'll be ready to create something new! I'll keep you informed of the progress!

Really, I haven't been doing more than that. Editing takes a lot of time. Almost done, almost done!

Last week, I ended my post telling you about my boys' bad habits. Well, I have

More Bad Habits of Little Boys

Earlier this week, we went to Wendy's for dinner. Since the students are back, the line was very long, and we had to wait to order our food. The 4 year old was in one of his moods, and as we're sitting there, he says, "What the f*ck is taking so long?"

I whipped around to tell him that was a naughty word and he shouldn't say it. All the while refraining from bursting into laughter.

Monday night was bath night. Things went as they normally do, with water being splashed all over the place and me fighting with the boys to get them out of the tub. After everyone was out and dried off, the 2 year old and I were the last ones in the bathroom. I walked out first, with him behind me, and he ran right into the back of my leg and blew his nose into my shorts. He laughed his butt off! I tried not to throw up.

The other night, the boys were running around the back yard, and they thought it would be fun to be naked from the waist down. I didn't care, our yard is fenced. Later, as the kids were getting ready for bed, I told the 4 year old to go to the bathroom.

He scoffed. "Uh, I already went."

"You did?" I asked.

"Yeah, when I was outside. I peed on the fence."

Hope you have a great weekend!


A while ago, I read an article about a study that was conducted to find the most annoying sound in the world. No, it was not Jim Carrey sitting in a van screeching. The test was conducted by having people sit in a room and perform simple math equations. A sound would be played, and the subjects would be rated on how many problems they got wrong.

The sounds ranged from a table saw to a baby crying to a child whining. So what was the conclusion? Whining children are the most annoying sound in the world. And, boy, do I know that more than anything!

I can be in a good mood, happy, laughing, then one on my boys will start whining for whatever reason, and I'm instantly grumpy. Seriously, within the blink of an eye, I will go from smiling to homicidal. It ruins my entire day.

I was having a pretty good week until my children woke up whiny and evil this morning. I know they don't do it on purpose, I know they have no other outlet for their feelings. But for crying out loud! They need to figure something out quick!

I'm sure my parents would say it's payback for how I acted as a child. All I can say is: I'm sorry. I didn't know what I was doing. If I could take it all back, I would!

There's a story in there somewhere. A story about how government officials use subliminal whining on their soldiers to make them more aggressive killers. Trust me, just putting up with it for a few hours would be enough for them to take out an entire country!

One Step Closer

A few months ago, I signed up for a blog tour featuring YA authors. I thought it would be a great way to meet new people and get my book out to different/more readers. The tour starts in September. Last week, I panicked. September was only 2 weeks away, and I didn't have a book yet. Aaaaahhhh!

I sent an email to the publisher and her assistant, letting them know my predicament. They assured me I would have a book. On Saturday, "Life After the Undead" showed up in my inbox. I had some edits to do, so I got right to work. I emailed them back last night.

The publisher told me it would take 24 hours to format after I sent the final. I'm hoping to have it back by Thursday (fingers crossed) and spend the weekend doing my final read through. With any luck, it will be available by September.

It's taken a long time to get to this point, and now that it's here, I don't know how I feel. I'm excited and nervous. I'm having that "I'm not a good writer and I should just give up" issue. But it will be fine, just fine.

I'll keep you updated!

Tough Question Tuesday

Do you believe in ghosts?

C'mon! You knew this question was coming, you should have spent all day yesterday thinking of a response!

I've had some strange things happen to me before. At an ex's apartment, there was a strange shadow that used to crouch by the bed or hang out in front of the bedroom door. It looked just like a human, but without defining features. I always had nightmares when I stayed over there, and I hated it! We heard stories that the place was haunted, but I don't know if anyone ever verified it. All I know is that it scared the crap out of me!

I'm still on the fence about ghosts. I think most of the time stuff can be explained logically, but I don't discount anyone else's stories. I would love for nothing more than to see irrefutable proof of a specter!

Paranormal Activity

Some of you may or may not remember that I went on a ghost hunt on Saturday. The Cowboy State Paranormal Investigations hosted it. It was fun, but dear god! I can't stay up that late. I was soooo tired yesterday. I'm still recovering today.

We explored the Laramie Plains Civic Center. It was built in 1878, but it's had renovations done and it houses several different offices right now. The theater still puts on plays. There are a few areas that are closed off to the public, such as the basement with the swimming pool, but we had access to pretty much everything.

Our night started at 5:50. Well, it was supposed to, but people can't show up on time, so we didn't actually start until 6:30. We set up cameras. We had some technical difficulties and couldn't record, but the cameras were set up! After that, we went dark and the two teams split up.

As we did our investigation, we had some other issues. Kids broke into the building. Most of the people went on a hunt to find them. Terry (a team member) and I had to figure out why a camera was down, so we continued to investigate. It was fun.

I'm sure you're wondering: did we find anything? Well, that is to be debated. Some strange things happened, such as when Terry, Amber (another guest), and I went into the pool area to switch out a camera. Larry (another team member) followed us down, and we wondered why he was there. He had the other walkie, so he needed to be upstairs to tell us if the camera angle was correct.

He headed back up, and I heard a crashing sound. I thought for sure he tripped over something and hurt himself. About that same time, Amber saw a shadow in the doorway. She thought it was one of our spouses, but no one came in. Unexplainable.

When Terry and I went to check on the camera, we got some strange EMF spikes. We followed them down the hall, but we couldn't ever pinpoint exactly where they came from. While examining the camera, my spouse found and joined us. As he stood there, he felt a cool breeze on the back of his neck, like someone blew on it. Unexplainable.

While everyone else talked to the cops about the intruders, my spouse, Larry, and I went into the theater. My spouse decided to play some notes on the piano, and when he finished, there was a sound like a footstep followed by a dragging. We only heard it once, and he thought it was me, but I didn't move. We decided to sit in the seats and do an EVP. I spearheaded the questioning, and as we sat there, a shadow moved across the back of the stage. I thought it was the light from Larry's camera and my spouse's flashlight, but they both saw it too. Unexplainable.

It's hard to say exactly what we experienced. I'm skeptical, so I'm inclined to explain it as other things. Plus, the building wasn't locked down, so people came in and out all hours of the night to get to their offices. My guess would be some of the sounds we heard was from them. Maybe the shadow at the back of the stage was an animal. Who knows? If we're lucky, they caught something on tape.

All in all, it was a really enjoyable night. I surprised myself. I thought for sure I would freak out, but I didn't. I stayed calm and level headed. I had a great time, and I would definitely do it again. They are exploring the Territorial Prison this weekend, and I would love to do it, but I can't. I need my sleep and someone to watch the kids! I took some pictures to document the evening. The first one is us setting up, and the last two are of the creepy pool area.

This Week in Writing

Edits, edits, and more edits. I finally finished the novella I was working on, then moved onto a novelette. After that, I'm hoping to be done for a while, but the editor for the nonfiction book is hoping to have his edits to me by next week. I might take a little break and work on a short story. We shall see!

To take you into your weekend, I normally share a story about my children. Today, I'm going to share:

Bad Habits of Little Boys

Last weekend, we went to a friend's house. The boys were being a little shy, and they asked if they could go outside and play. I said yes, and they went out back. A few minutes later I went to the window to check on them, and the 4 year old was peeing in the window well.

The 2 year old picks his nose and eats is.

The 4 year old gets incredibly grumpy right before dinner. He throws fits and freaks out about everything. The other night, he was being very special, and he told me I didn't make his chicken nuggets right. How do you mess up a nugget? Unless it's on fire, you can't mess it up.

The 2 year old gets eczema pretty bad. His bottom has been itchy lately, so he's been scratching constantly. His grandma thought she would help relieve some of the irritation by putting Vaseline on his bottom. I watched him stick his hand down his diaper, cover it with Vaseline, then he brought it to his nose and sniffed it.

On the way to daycare yesterday, I told you we ran into a group of students coming back. What I didn't tell you was that a few of them irritated me, so I called them a**holes.

The 4 year old immediately repeats, "Yeah, a**holes! We have places we have to be!"

I told him not to say that word, so the 2 year old decides he can say it. Good times were had by all!

I hope you have a great weekend!

As Summer Ends

The one thing I really love about the town I live in is the summers. They are pretty mild, peaking at a balmy 85 degrees (which, really, is a little hot for me, but it's better than 102!), and we have very low humidity. I also really enjoy the fact that this town empties out.

I live in a college town. When school is in session, there are close to 40,000 people here (I'm not exactly sure about this number. I looked at city-data.com, and it said there were over 27,000 people in July). Some of you scoff, since that's still a small town, but for us, it's a lot. When summer rolls around, half of the town is gone. It's fabulous!

This morning, while taking the kids to daycare, I drove by the dorms. A line of cars wrapped around the block. It was depressing. The students are coming back. That means 1) the summer is almost over, 2) there are going to be ridiculous amounts of parties this weekend, and 3) traffic is going to be awful.

After the first month or so, things calm down as the students get into their schedules, so the chaos doesn't last forever. It just makes me sad to think another year is flying by. *Sigh* Where does the time go?

Pity Party

I had a pity party for myself on Monday. I would have invited you, but you probably wouldn't have come. The stress from the last couple weeks crushed me. I hadn't slept very well over the weekend, so I couldn't keep my emotions in check. The spouse and I had a nice gripe session that night (not directed at each other, we were just venting about everything that was going on).

Yesterday, I pulled my head out of my butt. I thought about everything that was going on and realized I had no control over it. What was the point in getting worked up? Getting angry wasn't going to fix anything, it was just wasting my energy. So, I took a deep breath and focused on the positive. The world was still irritating, but it wasn't filled with doom and gloom.

It's not always easy seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Even now, it's just a small dot on the horizon, but it's there. I've noticed that being happy, or attempting to be, is a lot less exhausting than carrying around anger. I can be more productive, which is good since I have a lot to do right now. I still slide back into my negative attitude every now and again, but it's getting easier to pull myself out. Eventually, I'm hoping all this positive energy will bring good things!

Tough Question Tuesday

Which parent do you most take after?

I'm a pretty even mixture of my mom and dad: I have my dad's neurosis and my mom's temper.

I don't like to leave my house, and I get panicky when my schedule is changed. Those lovely qualities come from my dad. If I have anything to look forward to, it's that it will get worse as I get older!

I'm quick to anger and yell a lot. When I get really stressed out, I shut down and prefer to be alone. Destroying things helps, like chucking rocks across a dirt road or smashing CDs with a hammer. I have my mom to thank for that. If she is any indication, things will get better as I get older, and I will eventually mellow out.

Movie Review Monday

The boys and I went to visit their grandparents this weekend, so we didn't watch any movies. My schedule has been so screwed up lately. Eventually, though, things will get back on track and I'll post reviews. I just need some time to sit down!

The new Conan comes out this weekend, and I'm hoping to see it in the theater. I'm really looking forward to that. I won't be able to see it this weekend since we'll be doing our ghost hunt, but I will make time for it.

Are you excited to see any movies this summer?

This Week In Writing

I haven't been able to create anything new. I've been working on edits for a couple of different stories. It was frustrating at first, but then I decided to look at it from a different perspective: This can only make the stories better! That made them easier to do!

Other than that, I've told you about the other exciting stuff that's going on. Hopefully things will calm down a little in the next few weeks and I will find time to get some work done.

The 4 year old is not a morning person. He's usually grumpy and quick to temper. Yes, he gets that from me. The other day, I told him he needed to eat his breakfast.

"I don't want to," he whines.

"You're going to be hungry if you don't," I say calmly.

"Uh, no I won't. Daycare gives us snacks."

How can you argue with that logic? All I could say was, "Well, I hope you can last long enough before they give you one. It's nice to know someone feeds you."

He went to the table and ate his waffle.

I hope you find someone to feed you this weekend. Have a good one!

Nefarious Update

The authors of the stolen book have received word from the publisher. I would like to print his email, word for word. There are some swear words in there, so if you are sensitive, please read no further. Here it is:

"I have been getting a lot of bullshit over this book being on Amazon, and NONE of you have any reason to be harrassing me, because I have full permissions from you in my email archives to use these stories, and the email attachment versions of the stories as well. I am sick of all of this harassment and defmatory comments and lies being spread about me, and if you don't want your story in there, you should have not sent it to begin with.

But since you are going to be assholes about this, I will gladly contact Amazon to have them take it down.

Want some friendly advice? Next time you call yourselves "professional writers," take a better look in the mirror first, okay?"

Need I say more?

Patch of Bad Luck

Man, I seem to be having some issues lately. It all started last Friday with the rejection, followed by the story thief. The release of my novel was pushed back yet again. After that, I received another round of edits for my religious zombie novella. This is the third time it's come back. Yesterday, while working on said edits, I lost the document. The entire document! I didn't think it was possible, but it was nowhere to be found. I spent an hour on those things.

I'm not letting the misfortune get me down, though. Yes, it's frustrating and I wanted to break down and cry or maybe scream at something, but what was that going to accomplish? It's not going to bring back the document, it's not going to get my book out faster. I sucked it up and moved on. I redid the edits. I'm attempting to wait patiently for the publisher to get it together. Things will work out the way they are supposed to.

That's been my mantra lately. It's the only thing that keeps me sane. Plus, it covers all bases, even if things work out the opposite of what I expect!

Reader's Reactions

Last week didn't end on a happy note. On Friday, I received a rejection for a story. They said it had too much passive writing. I know that I'm a passive writer, but I thought I could recognize it in editing. Apparently, I was wrong. Later that night, I received two emails about the publisher stealing my story. I was feeling pretty low about my writing.

My depression didn't last for long, however. One of my Facebook friends and fan (hi, Gary!) just happened to read my blog about the nefarious publisher and sent me some messages. He wanted to make sure he didn't own any books produced by the guy, but then he also told me how much he and his wife enjoyed my writing. He said he couldn't wait until my next novel to come out (sadly, he's going to have to since the deadline has been pushed back AGAIN!).

It totally made my day. It reminded me of why I write. I'm not perfect, and I know that I have to work to get my stories in tip-top shape, but at least they are appreciated. I stopped having the pity party for myself and got right back to work.

He also mentioned that he reads the books I recommend on my blog, and he's been really impressed so far. That made me feel good, too. My goal for reviewing my friends' books and stories was so others would read them, and it might be working.

Coincidence amazes me. It reminds me that I'm on the right path, and even though it's sometimes tough, I shouldn't give up. Thank you to all of you out there who read and appreciate my stories, and to those who let me read theirs. Thank you to those who continue to look out for my best interests and make sure I'm protected as a writer. I couldn't survive without your support!

Tough Question Tuesday

Who is your favorite Looney Tune?

Cartoon Network has revamped this cartoon. So far, it's the only TV cartoon I've heard the 4 year old laugh at (he's laughed at movies before, just not cartoon series). Normally, he stares at the TV, his eyes wide and jaw slack. The cartoon is pretty close to the original, it's just modernized. That and the Wile E. Coyote cartoon is computer generated.

But I digress. There are several characters that I like, including Sylvester and Pepe Le Pew, but my favorite is Daffy. His personality is pretty close to mine, and I'm a little crazy. Do you remember the old cartoons where he would get excited and bounce around saying, "Woo hoo! Woo hoo!"? Yep, that's me!

Movie Review Monday

We decluttered our house this weekend, so there was no time to watch a movie. None. I would've loved to sit on my butt and do it, but it wasn't an option.

I'm still trying to recover from the overly busy weekend and the shock of jerks stealing my work, so I'm keep it short today. I'll get back into the swing of things tomorrow!

Happy Monday!

The Last Hope

As promised, here is the story the publisher stole for the anthology. You can also read Martin's story here. Enjoy!

The Last Hope

From: computergenius01@email.net
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 4:44 PM
To: Undisclosed recipients
Subject: Is anyone out there?

This is it. My final, last-ditch effort to find other survivors. I don’t even know if it will work. I created a program, a spam program, to send this message to random recipients. I can’t send it to those in my address book. They’re dead. I know they’re all dead. They are the type of people who live on their computers. The only time they move from in front of their screens is to go to the bathroom. If they don’t reply to an email or IM in 5 minutes, something is seriously wrong. I hope this reaches someone. Anyone.

My name is Dillon, and I live in Denver. It has been 3 days since the attacks began. I have been in my basement the whole time. I was actually down here when the attacks started. I work from home and have an office here. I’m not worried about them getting into my house, they can’t. I live just a few blocks away from downtown, so I have bars over my doors and windows. I’m safe. I have food and water, but it won’t last forever.

When the attacks first started, to be honest, I just thought it was a typical day. I heard screams from the neighborhood and police sirens. I didn’t think anything of it until I took a break and clicked on the local news. There was a report about how the recently dead were returning to life and attacking humans. At first, I thought it was a joke, but the more I poked around on the internet, the more information I found. It was happening worldwide. No one knew how it started. Does anyone reading this have a clue?

After a while, I mustered up some bravery and headed upstairs. I kept my back to the wall, my gun in my hand. I could still hear the screams and sirens outside. When I made it to the front window, I took a breath before parting the curtains. I couldn’t believe the destruction. Black smoke was curling from Republic Plaza. Bodies were laying in the middle of the street, covered in their own congealing blood. In the neighbor’s lawn across the street, the 86 year old woman I said good afternoon to when I checked the mail was being devoured by two people with yellowed skin and deep sunken eyes. There were people running down the streets, some carrying weapons and others with suitcases and kids.

I ducked back inside my house. My stomach had cramped and dots were dancing in front of my eyes. I sunk to the ground, taking deep breaths and swallowing thickly. It all seemed like a dream, like I was watching a movie. Someone or something clomped onto my porch and rattled the storm door. I jumped to my feet and headed back to the basement, locking the door behind me. I didn’t know if it was a zombie or a looter, but I knew I didn’t want to run into either.

I only ventured up one other time to get food and water. I remember being shocked by the silence. There were no more screams. No more sirens. There wasn’t even a cricket chirping. Just my own breath and the squeak of my shoes on the linoleum floor. It was unnerving. I saw the destruction, the death, and I can only hope that I am not the only one left. Although, I wouldn’t really be surprised. If there is someone else out there, I hope and pray that you will get this message.


From: computergenius01@email.net
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 9:37 PM
To: Undisclosed recipients
Subject: Is anyone out there?

It has been 5 hours, and I have not received a reply to my first email. I generated another spam list, as well as resending it to the people on the first list, in the hopes that this reaches someone. The zombies have been pounding at my door for nearly 2 hours now. From the basement, it sounds like a soft thumping. I was able to ignore it for the first hour, but like a leaky sink in the middle of the night, it’s starting to grate on my nerves. I hope someone answers this soon, but I’m beginning to think no one will. Maybe this was a stupid idea. Who checks their email during the apocalypse?

From: sasha@cdc.email
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 10:15 PM
To: computergenius01@email.net
Subject: RE: Is anyone out there?


My name is Sasha, and I want to reassure you that you are not alone. There aren’t many of us, but there are survivors. It must be fate that I even got these. Normally, as you mentioned at the end of your email, checking my email would be the last thing on my mind. I only did so because my husband recently sent me a photo of our daughter, and I needed to look at it. Imagine my surprise when I found new messages in my inbox.

I read both of your emails, and I completely sympathize with your situation. We are in Windsor, so we are close, but Denver is a hot zone, which means attempting a rescue mission is suicide. Here is what’s happening:
For lack of a better term, zombies have taken started attacking. The plague, if you will, started somewhere in the Middle East. The insurgents were experimenting with biological weapons and discovered a virus that would reanimate the brain and turn the corpse into a killing machine. It took 24 hours for the virus to reanimate the body. At first, the effects would only last a few hours and would only work on the recently killed/dead (recently being within the past 12 hours), then the virus would die. The terrorists would inject the bodies of freshly killed soldiers, knowing they would be stored on base until they could be shipped home. They were hoping to thin our ranks. For all intents and purposes, it worked.

The military tried to keep it quiet, they didn’t want to start a panic, but the tactic got out of hand. The insurgents figured that if it worked this well on the soldiers, it was bound to be devastating to the U.S. population. They coordinated attacks of the major cities. I don’t know how they smuggled the virus onto the planes, but they did. From what we understand, they then targeted the homeless. They murdered them, injected them, then set them back out on the streets. They planned it perfectly. The only thing they didn’t plan on was the virus mutating. Instead of the virus dying within a few hours, it learned how to sustain and could be passed to a living host. Now, the only way to destroy the virus is to destroy the brain of the host.

I’m sure you’re reading this and wondering how I know all of this. I was there, Dillon, in Iraq when this first started. I’m not a soldier, I work for the CDC. I know it sounds crazy, but from what we understand, they have been working on this virus for months now. It has only been recently that they found a strain that works. I don’t know why they weren’t stopped or why we weren’t warned, but it’s too late to worry about that now. I was called over about a week ago to figure out what was going on. While the terrorists were trying to perfect the virus, they would inject anyone they could find. The bodies littered the streets. The military knew it was some kind of weapon, but they didn’t know how to stop it. It was only a few days after I arrived that the first zombie attacked. The virus works fast and efficiently.

The original plan was to take out the U.S., but the virus has spread worldwide. We are working on understanding it better and developing a way to cure it, but it evolves too fast for us to get a handle on it.

We have a safe haven, a place where survivors can group together, and we will come get you and anyone else who has survived, but it might take a while. I need you to remain patient and strong, Dillon. We are doing the best we can.


From: computergenius01@email.net
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 10:20 PM
To: sasha@cdc.email
Subject: RE: Is anyone out there?


You have no idea how thrilled I was to receive your reply. I cried when I read it--I hate to admit that, considering I’m a grown man, but given the circumstances, I’m entitled to a little emotion.

I am so happy to hear there are others who made it. I’m sure it goes without saying that I’m pissed at how the virus was created. Of course, there’s nothing that can be done now. With any luck, the insurgents have been taken care of and are burning in Hell.

I assume that since you were going to your computer to look at a picture of your daughter that she is not with you. I can only hope that she is some place safe and not dead, but given the circumstances, I must assume the worst. I am sorry for your loss. My dad died a couple of years ago from emphysema, and my mother is in a home with advanced Alzheimer’s. I never married. Human relationships are actually kind of a mystery to me. I’m like my friends. All my relationships are through the computer. The one person I really had contact with was my neighbor across the street. When I saw her dead body, it suddenly became very clear to me how alone I really am.

The pounding has stopped, and I am enjoying a moment of silence. I am anxiously awaiting rescue. Please let me know what I need to do.

Ecstatic to know I’m not the only one,


From: sasha@cdc.email
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 10:22 PM
To: computergenius01@email.net
Subject: RE: Is anyone out there?


Thank you for your concern about my daughter. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s happened to her. Her and her father are in Georgia, and I have no way to contact them. If there was some way I could get them to get on the computer, I could talk to them through email or maybe even the video camera. What I would give to see their faces one more time.

I’m sorry to hear about your family. Despite what you’re feeling, you are not alone. You have me, and you are going to get through this. Everything will be fine. I’m here, and I’m listening.


From: computergenius01@email.net
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 10:28 PM
To: sasha@cdc.email
Subject: RE: Is anyone out there?

There is a way that I can hack into your husband’s computer and turn on the camera, assuming his computer is on. They won’t necessarily know that I’m looking at them, but you’ll be able to see if they’re all right. I might be able to write a program also, a computer virus actually, that would make their email pop up without them opening it. Again, the computer would have to be on and you would have to give me their address, but it’s possible. I’ve been working on it here, trying to send it out with some of my messages, hoping to get a hold of other survivors, but so far it hasn’t worked. I’m still working out some kinks. But since I have nothing but time right now, it shouldn’t take too long to fix.

I appreciate knowing that I’m not alone and that I can talk to you about anything. You have no idea how much that means to me. I would definitely like to continue this conversation later, but it is getting late, and I am going to try and get some rest. I haven’t slept a wink in 3 days, and it is starting to takes its toll. I hope you are still there when I wake up.


From: sasha@cdc.email
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 6:08 AM
To: computergenius01@email.net
Subject: RE: Is anyone out there?


I just received word that they will be sending in helicopters to search for survivors in the Denver area. If you can make it to your roof, be up there in 1 hour with a white sheet. It is very important that you have the sheet. Do not wave it in the air. Lay it on the roof and sit in the upper left hand corner. This will set you apart from others who may be waving sheets for visibility. This will let the rescue team know that you have been in contact with me and you are not infected. You will be brought directly to our safe haven instead of going through quarantine. I need your computer skills, so please follow these instructions closely. I hope to see you in the next few hours.


From: computergenius01@email.net
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:28 PM
To: Undisclosed recipients
Subject: Keep the faith

I don’t know if anyone will get this message, but an email saved me, so I have to try. There are survivors. The zombies have not destroyed everyone, nor will they. The military is working tirelessly to set up camps and shelter for those who are left alive. Right now, there is one outside of Denver, near Windsor. I will send information about other cities when I receive it. Helicopters will be doing flybys of the cities and towns, so please try to be on your roofs and visible. They are not all military; private citizens and news crews have volunteered their craft and time to help the rescue effort. If you see anything in the sky, try to flag them down. They will rescue you if they can.

Until then, there are a few simple rules to make sure you survive the outbreak. First, and most importantly, if you know or have someone near you who has been bitten, kill them. If you cannot bring yourself to do that, get them as far away as possible. Even if it’s a loved one, they WILL kill you. Right now, there is no cure for this virus. It is much kinder to put the victim out of their misery now. DON’T let them suffer as the undead. To kill them, you must destroy the brain. Beheading them will NOT do the trick. They still have the ability to bite even without their body. Smash their skulls, put a bullet into their brain, anything.

Know that the CDC and the military are working very hard to find a cure. Unfortunately, it won’t be anytime soon, and our safety is more important than thinking loved ones or friends can be saved. Please, do NOT think that you can save your friends or family members. Even if they find a cure, those who have been infected will never be human again. The cure will only work to protect us survivors.

Even though things look bleak, have faith. If you receive this, please email me back. Tell me your location. Tell me your story. Sometimes the best way to get through a difficult situation is knowing there is someone else out there who has been through the same ordeal. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to talk to. You will be saved; one way or another.

I hope to hear from you soon,



I don't normally post on Saturdays, but I thought today was a good exception. I didn't spend a lot of time on the Internet yesterday, but when I finally checked my email, I had two messages waiting for me. They both informed me that a certain publisher printed an anthology with one of my stories in it. He didn't have my permission.

I used to work with this guy. I used to think he was on the up and up. Last November, he sent me an email and asked if I wanted to be in the anthology. I was flattered. I wrote him a story, then I found out that he was a plagiarist and stole the cover art to my novella. I told him to withdraw my submission immediately, which he said he did. Well, here were are 8 months later.

He's trying to profit off other people. He didn't contact any of the authors in that book to let them know he was printing it. Just because he credits the stories to them, that doesn't make it right. He wants all the money for himself. If you want further information, please check out this blog. You can also read all about the weasel here.

Here's what I'm asking you to do: please don't buy this book. I've already posted the story I wrote on my blog, and I'm going to repost it tomorrow. I haven't told you what book it is because I don't want to inadvertently cause traffic to the site. Trust me, I ALWAYS pimp my books here and tell you which ones to buy. If you see something with my story and think, "Hey, Pembroke didn't tell me about that!" That's probably the book.

Feel free to email me with more questions if you desire. We need to shut this guy down!

This Week In Writing

Man! I can't believe it's Friday all ready. This week has flown by. It helps that I've been busy at work and going through a life-changing experience. However, that's left very little time for writing.

I signed and mailed the contract for the Code Z anthology. My story is entitled "Anticipating Death." I'm not sure when the book is supposed to come out, but you know I will let you know. I'm very excited about this collection. There are a lot of wonderful authors, and I get to be in a collection with Eric S. Brown. Very exciting stuff!

I wrote two beginning sentences for a new short story. It's been knocking around my head since Launch Pad, so I thought I'd take a bit of time and write it down. I should've been working on the serial killer article, and I did do a little research, I just haven't written anything. After the craziness dies down this weekend, I'll be able to get back on track next week. I'll have to. It will be the only thing that keeps me sane!

The boys went back to daycare on their regular schedule this week, which means they've been more tired than normal. And grumpier. One day, after picking them up, the 4 year old was in a particularly special mood, and he asked me what was for dinner. I told him (I don't remember what it was).

"I don't like that," he tells me. "I want something else."

"I'm not offering something else," I said. "If you don't like what I make, you don't have to eat it."

"Fine," he retorts. "You're fired. Do you know what that means? It means you don't get your job back, ever!"

How do you respond to that? I replied the only way I could think of: "Good. I'm glad I'm fired. Now you can make your own dinner."

"Well...maybe you can have your job back."

I guess the prospect of making his own dinner was more than he could handle. Or maybe he just realized I'm a little more important than he originally imagined.

I hope this weekend someone discovers your importance and let's you know! Have a good one!

Dealing With Disappointment

Every author, publisher, and editor will tell you that as a writer, you will get rejections. They tell you not to let it get you down and to keep persevering, but they don't tell you how.

One or two rejections are fine, they aren't overly bothersome. But what happens when you get 50 or 100? No matter how thick your skin is, it starts to wear on you. It makes you question why you're writing and makes you wonder if you're any good. I know, I've been there.

So what do you do? How do you push back the self doubt and silence the inner critics? How do you prove that you're not a hack?

Sadly, there isn't a definitive answer. For me, after a slew of rejections, I re-evaluate the story. I'll rewrite it or, in some cases, I'll just put it away. Not all stories are worthy of being published. If the publisher/editor is kind enough to send notes, I take them into consideration.

I also keep writing. Just because one story doesn't flip anyone's switch, that doesn't mean another won't. I constantly have ideas swarming around my head, so I write them down. That's the perseverance part.

Sometimes, though, you just have to be upset. Sometimes it's OK to throw a little fit, cuss some, and be angry that your story has been rejected 80 thousand times. It's healthy. But don't dwell on it. Give it a little time, mourn it, then let it go. Move onto the next project.

This technique also works when dealing with publishers that don't meet deadlines. Yeah, they picked up your story and want to put it out, but it's taking them forever and they keep pushing the publishing date back. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do here. There is usually a clause in your contract that gives them a year to put the story out.

Sending angry emails doesn't help. Even if it makes you feel better, it's not the best approach. You're just going to piss the publisher off. You just have to be angry about it, mourn it, then move on. Eventually, things will work out. (That's my positive attitude trying to make it all right. It's only kinda working!)

Do you have any special techniques you use to deal with disappointment?

"Daddy of 'Em All"

I've lived in Wyoming my entire life, and never once have I been to a rodeo. Believe it or not, it's not actually a requirement to live here. And yes, we have running water, electricity, and cars. We also have cities.

Rodeo is a subculture, a fairly large one, but a subculture nonetheless. It embodies the ideals of the Old West: wild horses, mean bulls, and cowboys proving their grit. I've never been a part of that culture, and I'm not about to buy a cowboy hat and boots, but I did enjoy the experience.

So much more goes on at a rodeo than just bull riding. There's also calf roping, steer wrestling, bronc riding (both saddle and bareback), barrel racing, and a wild horse race. There's also a lot of beer drinking. Pretty much all of the events have some practical application to living on a ranch. A rodeo is a place for cowboys to gather and show off their skills. It's only slightly different from watching football or basketball. (The difference is the animals.) Each cowboy is an athlete and better than someone else (especially me) at his skill.

I was pretty lucky that on my first rodeo we had amazing seats. Six rows up from the chutes. Some "dirt" clods hit us, and we were in the sun all day, but it was worth it. Being that close to the action was exhilarating!

I'm trying to break out of my protective bubble and try new things. The rodeo might not seem like much, but I wouldn't trade the experience. If you get the chance, you should try something different too. I have some pictures to share, so I hope you enjoy!

Tough Question Tuesday

What is your favorite dinosaur?

I think every kid (boys and girls) go through a phase where they are fascinated by dinosaurs. What's not to find intriguing? I don't remember a specific dinosaur I liked as a child, but my friend was really into Stegosaurus, so I'm sure I liked it too. I read Jurassic Park when I as in high school, and I remember being totally creeped out by the Procompsognathus. Little scavengers scared the crap out of me!

My 4 year old is really into them right now, and his favorite is Tyrannosaurs Rex (of course). We've been watching a lot of shows about them, and I've discovered new creatures that I didn't know existed. Call it my dinosaur species bubble. There were some pretty scary and awesome dinosaurs, like the Terror Bird, which was a direct descendant of Tyrannosaur. There was also a Spinosaurus, which was probably pretty bad ass. There's a lot to choose from, and I don't know which one is the best!

Movie Review Monday

Thundercats: Season Premiere (2011)

It was a busy weekend. We didn't have time to watch a movie. We caught up on recorded TV and watched this cartoon. I was excited.

I looooved Thundercats when I was a kid. I attempted to rewatch it several years ago, but it doesn't translate into adulthood. The lines are cheesy, the characters are flat, but it does have a lesson in each episode. You know, all that stuff that appeals to developing minds.

The new show had a bit of cheesiness to it. I think (hope) it was done on purpose, but then it took on a darker tone. There were indications of tyrannical oppression, and Thundera is destroyed by the oppressed. Mumm-Ra was originally thought to be a legend, but he comes back to make the cats pay.

I really enjoyed the reboot. Unlike the original, the cats are young, teenagers, so it has a coming-of-age feel to it. It totally appeals to my fantasy-loving dork side. There is magic and superpowers and the cats are alien creatures. How could a sci fi/fantasy nerd not enjoy that?

Plus, it brings back memories of when I was a kid. My spouse was really excited to see the new series, too, but ended up not liking it. Mainly it's because he's not a dork like I am. He's never really been a sci fi/fantasy fan, and he doesn't like to let his inner child come out and play. Oh, well. He doesn't have to watch it with me! And, yes, I will be recording and watching the season!