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Fast Zombies vs. Slow Zombies

There’s a debate that occurs among zombies fans about whether the undead creatures should be portrayed as fast or slow moving.

The purists claim that since zombies are corpses that have risen from the dead, they can’t move fast. Their bodies are slowly deteriorating, so it’s impossible for them to move with ease or quickness. The danger from these zombies comes from the fact that they are vast in number and have a habit of surrounding their victims.

These zombies are often referred to as “Romero zombies” because they were first introduced in 1968 with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Since then, they have become the standard for the undead. Those on the slow side of the debate claim that the only true zombies are the Romero zombies.

Fast zombies were first introduced in 2002 in the movie 28 Days Later. They were thought to be more terrifying because they were harder to get away from. But there are some that claim they aren’t true zombies.

Fast zombies gained more popularity with the release of World War Z in 2013. Again, purists claim that these aren’t true zombies.

Honestly, I can see where the argument comes from. After all, in both of these films, they never claim that these creatures are actually dead; they have just become infected with a virus.  If the most simple definition of a zombie is a corpse that has been reanimated, they probably don’t fall into the zombie category.

However, part of the reason a zombie is a zombie is because they lose their ability to think and make their own decisions; they are often driven by primal instincts.  In the case of most zombie films, that instinct in the desire to feed.  Whether that is caused by a virus or space radiation doesn’t really matter.

Personally, I like both the fast zombie and the slow zombie. They both have their place in the zombie narrative, and they both function to scare the crap out of us. However, in my zombie books Life After the Undead and Death to the Undead (coming in February), I stay true to the Romero zombies and make mine slow.

Do you have a preference on whether or not your zombies are fast or slow?

I’m on Winter Break!

Before I get into my post, business first. Here are the winners of the Christmas Treats Giveaway Hop: everyone who commented. Thank you so much for participating! I’m glad you could be part of the fun!

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m off all week on vacation. It’s one of the wonderful things about my job. I have so many plans for this week, including writing, painting the inside of my house, and general laziness.

It’s possible that some, all, or none of these things will get done in the next few days. But I’m okay with that. I’m happy to just go with the flow and see how things work out.

Christmas was great. We spent a lot of time with family and friends and ate some amazing food. I have to say, though, I’m not sad that it’s over. It’s a stressful time for me (as it is for a lot of people), so I really look forward to just being done with it. The boys were happy and thrilled to be able to open their presents. Seeing their excitement and wonder makes it worth it.

At some point this week, the kids want to get out and have some fun, so we’ll make time for that. We got tickets to see the new Star Wars movie, so we’ll be going on New Year’s Day to check that out.

I’m really looking forward to some downtime. I’m hoping to de-stress and make a plan for 2016. I have high hopes for this next year. Not that 2015 was bad--it was a year--but I’m excited to see what the future holds.

What about the rest of you? How were your holidays? Do you get any time off?

More Zombies Are Coming...

Did you read Life After the Undead? Did you find yourself thinking, What? This can’t be over. There’s so many questions that need answered!

Well, don’t fret. The answers are coming. On February 16, 2016.

Death to the Undead.

Seventeen-year-old Krista has already proven she can survive the zombie hordes.

After moving to North Platte with her distant cousin General Liet to help build a wall that will keep the zombies in the West, it becomes apparent that the zombies aren’t the biggest threat—some survivors are far more dangerous than Krista had ever imagined.

With the help of Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, they free the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet. But there is a bigger battle to fight.

The Families who rule Florida and use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their territory want Krista and Quinn captured, the zombies want to devour them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught between powerful forces, will they survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action? Or will they self-destruct?

Find out in book two of this thrilling apocalyptic series by author Pembroke Sinclair.

And if you haven’t read Life After the Undead, what are you waiting for?

"A must read for those looking for a fun and different read in the world of zombie fiction." --Eric S. Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Kaiju Apocalypse

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she's going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they're migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren't the only creatures she has to be cautious of--the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear--her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

You Have to Work…Hard

The other weekend, I was laying in bed trying to wake up from a nap, and my oldest was on the floor petting one of the dogs. I was getting ready to do a Facebook takeover for one of my books, and he looks at me and says, “I don’t get it. We write books, why aren’t we famous?”

Oh, wouldn’t that be nice? That just creating something and putting it into the world made you famous? It would certainly make things easier.

I explained to him that just because something exists doesn’t mean that people know about it and to be famous they have to know about it and like it. Perhaps even buy it.

He still didn’t get it. He still believed we should be famous.

If there’s one thing I try to instill in my boys it’s a work ethic and the idea that nothing in life comes easy, nothing gets handed to them. I tell them that they have to work for everything they get, but with that comes a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Don’t get me wrong, if there was an easy way to do things, I would totally take it. It’s exhausting working hard. And more often than not, the hard work doesn’t pay off. There’s a lot of frustration and irritation. The world tries to stand in my way. People try to stand in my way. I stand in my way.

There have been days when I’ve wished for an easy way and cursed the world when I didn’t get it. I’ve stamped my feet and threw a temper tantrum, said it wasn’t fair, and cried tears of frustration. I felt better after venting, but I also knew that there was only one person who could change the situation…me.

I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at in life and as an author. I’ve been knocked down and had my self-confidence fail. I’ve become jaded and angry about my path. I’ve wondered if any of it was worth it. I’ve blamed others for my short comings.

I’m not special. I’m just an average Jane trying to make a name for myself. I have a family and a full-time job and people who count on me to be there. They all have visions of who I should be, and I have a vision of what I think I should be too—and often, those visions aren’t the same.

But I’ve discovered that I can be one thing AND another. I’m not just a mother or an editor or a writer or a whatever-other-label can be applied. I’m all of those things. And to make them balance harmoniously, it takes work. Lots and lots of exhausting, hard work.

The road is long and often filled with disappointment, but those moments when things work out and I accomplish what I wanted to accomplish—those are amazing! They push me forward and help me believe that maybe my dreams aren’t crazy. And they totally make me feel accomplished.

I told my son that if we keep working and putting ourselves out there, then maybe one day we will be famous. But there’s no guarantees. All we can do is try.

Christmas Treats Giveaway Hop

What are our favorite Christmas Treats? Books, of course! Stop by each blog for a chance to win fabulous books and gifties for the Holidays!

I'm really looking forward to curling up with some good zombie books over the holiday season. I know it doesn't seem "Christmas-y," but they are what I like to read and what makes me happy. 

What types of books make you happy?

If it's young adult zombie books, I have one that I'm giving away.  For a chance to win an ecopy of Life After the Undead, please comment below and let me know!  Please don't forget to leave your email address so I can get a hold of you.

Maybe zombies aren't your thing.  Maybe you prefer demons.  If so, I'm happily giving away ecopies of the Road to Salvation series (three books: The Appeal of Evil, Dealing with Devils, and Good Intentions).  Let me know if this is your preference!  Again, leave a comment below with a way for me to get a hold of you.

I hope you all have an amazing holiday!

Right Around the Corner

Is it just me, or is anyone else amazed that Christmas is next week? Seriously, where did the time go? This year has just flown by!

I’m really looking forward to the time off I get at the holidays. I have a lot of stuff that needs to be done, but I also need a chance to recharge. It’s been a bit crazy lately—and not always in a good way. Being able to step back and take some time to reflect is really what I need.

I’m also looking forward to spending time with the family. That always helps sooth the soul.

I hope that the rest of you are planning on having an amazing holiday. This time of year can be incredibly stressful and emotionally draining, but I hope you can find some moments of peace and happiness. Hang onto those and let them fill you and sustain you. And take the time to slow down. I know I really need that, and I’m really looking forward to being able to breathe again.

Holiday Movies

So last week, my coworkers/friends and I got into a discussion about holiday movies. They were giving me crap because I prefer to watch movies like A Christmas Horror Story (if you’re interested, you can read my review of this movie here) as opposed to something happy and uplifting, but as we talked about it, we realized that the vast majority of holiday movies are actually pretty dark or involve some kind of supernatural creature. Even the classics.

Let’s break them down.

It’s a Wonderful Life: this movie is about a guy who is contemplating committing suicide. Sure, he gets talked about of it by some helpful spirits (an angel), but that’s still pretty dark.

A Christmas Carol: a man is visited by three ghosts who show him the errors of his ways and give him a chance to redeem himself. You have to admit that Death or the Spirit of Christmas Future is pretty dang creepy.

Home Alone: a young kid gets left home alone when his family rushes out to meet their flight, then he has to fight against burglars. What they go through is pretty violent, especially at the hands of a child.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: I feel like this one is self-explanatory.

The Grinch (both the cartoon and the Jim Carrey movie): the Grinch is trying to figure out how to ruin Christmas for the Whos and breaks into their houses to steal their presents. Ummmm, cruel much?

These are just a few examples. I’m sure there are more. And they aren’t even horror films. I can give you a list of those, including Black Christmas, Gremlins, and a series of films called Silent Night—just to name a few.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some feel-good Christmas movies out there, but they still have some dark elements. Even in A Charlie Brown Christmas the other kids make fun of him because of his tree. 

However, I think the point is that we have to look at how bad things can be to be thankful for the good.

And you know what genre does that really well? Horror. They focus on things getting really bad. Horror films definitely know how to make you appreciate the good.

What types of films do you prefer this time of year? Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

Behind the Story: Life After the Undead

Life After the Undead is still ranking on the Amazon charts—which is completely mind blowing—so I thought I would share how the book came about.

I am fascinated with zombies—obsessed, if you will—and I have been since the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead many, many years ago. When I get really stressed out, I often dream of the undead and have to find ways to fight against them. That is where the inspiration for Life After the Undead came from.

The dream occurred several years ago, and while I don’t remember the exact details, I recall that my spouse and I were hiding in a small town while all of the zombies were migrating through. They were heading West so the humidity didn’t cause them to deteriorate faster. I woke up and thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” So I fleshed out the story.

It started out as a short story focusing on one small snippet in time. That story was published somewhere (I can’t remember and it’s no longer linked on my blog), and then I decided to expand it into a novel.

The first attempt was an adult novel. I’m fairly certain there were some cuss words in it and a bit more carnage. I decided to send out queries for the story to agents. For the first round, I sent it to 31 agents, all of which rejected it, except one who suggested I turn it into a young adult novel and then resubmit.

So I did. This required me to clean up the language a bit, take out some of the gore (although it still has its fair share), and make my main character a bit more na├»ve. I believe I also changed it from third person to first person. I sent it back in, feeling pretty good, and then she rejected it. But that didn’t discourage me. I sent it out again as a young adult novel.

For the second round, I queried 28 agents, all of whom rejected it. After that, I sent it to a few indie publishers, and one of them picked it up. I met a book cover designer online who painted (honest to goodness painted!) covers, so I commissioned him to create the cover.

The way the deal worked was that he would send the cover idea, then it was up to the publishing company to put on the title and my byline, which they did. The artist was then free to sell the original painting, which he did. However, I decided that I liked it so much I wanted one for my collection, so I asked him to create me another with my title and byline on it. It wasn’t something he normally did, but he did it for me. The painting proudly hangs in my house.

Life After the Undead is one of my favorite stories. One of the things I like so much about zombies is that they allow me to explore the question of what it means to be human. That’s a theme that runs through a lot of my books. Plus, I just really like zombies.

As the years went by, I wanted to breathe some life back into the story (pun intended), so I decided to republish with another publishing house. This allowed me to go back and make edits, expand the story and take out some things that bothered me, and I got a new cover. 

It was a lot of fun to go back and reread the story and make changes. I’m feeling pretty good about the story, and I think it’s closer to my vision of how I originally imagined it. Every time I reread it, I find a new aspect that makes me enjoy the story all over again. I would have imagined that after all this time and changes the story would get old, but it hasn’t. It’s still one of my favorites.

Dog Worms

One of the best things about living in the same town as my family is that we don’t have to travel very far for the holidays. We also don’t have to worry about the dogs—either taking them or boarding them. They get to hang out at home.

Every so often, I get this idea in my head that the Corgis don’t want to be in the box of shame (aka their kennels) and they should have a chance to stretch their stubby legs. I’ll put up a gate at the end of the hall, close all the doors to our bedrooms and the bathroom, and let them roam. I don’t know why I feel like they need to do this. I mean, Floki is an escape artist, so more often than not, he’ll either climb over the gate or plow his way through it.

Well, Thanksgiving was one of those times I decided they could be in the hallway. For the morning, they were fine. They stayed behind the gate and seemed to have a great time. When I checked on them that afternoon and let them out to go potty, all was well. That wasn’t true when we got home.

By that time, Floki had decided he was done being in the hallway and wanted to see how much mayhem and destruction he could cause in the rest of the house. He plowed through the gate and got into what he could. In the scheme of his destruction, he didn’t make an overly huge mess, but it was big enough.

As I was feeding them that night, I noticed that Floki wasn’t falling face first into his food like he normally does. I pointed at him and asked, “Did you eat something that upset your tummy?”

He just looked at me with his adorableness and went for his food.

I didn’t think more of it until later that night when he threw up. It was a huge mess! Seriously, it didn’t seem physically possible that he could have that much stuff in him. The pile was twice his size. On the plus side, though, he puked in the kitchen, so that made cleaning it up easier.

While I was taking care of the mess, I happened to notice pretzel bits in it. Pretzels, I thought. Where did he get pretzels?

And then it hit me: we had a bag of white chocolate covered pretzels that was now missing.

Yeah, I freaked. Chocolate is poison for dogs, and it was obvious he wasn’t exactly being his normal self. I grabbed my phone and typed “dogs and white chocolate” into Google.

Did you know there’s a poison control hotline for dogs? Well, there is. I didn’t wind up calling it because from everything I’d read, it didn’t appear that white chocolate would hurt him. I needed to keep my eye on him, which I planned on doing anyway, but it seemed he would make a full recovery.

Over the weekend, he would throw up sporadically, but he wasn’t acting like he was sick. He would still run around and play, and he was back to scarfing down his food at mealtimes. Still, I was a bit concerned, and I decided if he wasn’t better by Monday, I would take him to the vet.

Monday came and went, and he didn’t get sick again. I was beginning to think we were in the clear. Then, Tuesday morning, at about 3:45 a.m., I heard him in the living room. He had thrown up again. That was it. He was going to the vet. I knew that they would probably want a sample, so I grabbed a baggie and a plastic spoon and set to work to collect it.

And that’s when I saw it: a round, pink worm.

At first, I wasn’t sure I had seen it correctly. It was extremely early in the morning and I didn’t have my glasses on, so maybe it was something else. And dear god! Did it just move?

I put the sample on the counter so I wouldn’t forget it, then went to let the dogs outside. Then, I climbed back into bed and resolved to call the vet at 7:30 when they opened.

Right before I was ready to call them, the boys found another pile of vomit, and this one had an even bigger worm in it. There’s was no way to deny Floki was infected. It was freaking disgusting! I made an appointment for all three dogs to go in that afternoon. If one had worms, more than likely the rest did too.

If you’ve never had the experience of taking three dogs (one of which is a 93.5-pound black lab who is terrible on a leash), a 6 year old, and an 8 year old to the vet, you’re not missing anything. Seriously, I’m convinced it’s a level of Hell. The boys did their best, and I’m really glad they were there to help, but it’s chaos no matter how you slice or dice it.

It started before we even left the house. Floki and Ryder both had collars and leashes, but months earlier, Floki had chewed up Siggy’s harness, and I never got a new one, so she didn’t have one. I figured my youngest could just hold her in the Jeep, then I would grab a leash once we got to the vet.

Well, he couldn’t open the door to the vehicle to climb inside, so he set Siggy on the ground. She, of course, ran off, and she doesn’t come when called. I had to run inside to get her kennel, and once we finally caught her, we had to shove her inside. She’s right on the verge of not fitting into that travel kennel anymore.

Once we got to the vet, the dogs were hyper and bounding around because Weeee! Someplace with lots of smells! Then, when they brought out a dog another customer was picking up from boarding, they lost their minds. The vet’s waiting room has tile floors, so it echoes—loudly. With three dogs barking and an 8 year old yelling at them to be quiet, it was shocking that my ears weren’t bleeding by the time we left.

The dogs were administered their dewormers, which the Corgis ate heartily—pretty sure they didn’t chew the bone-shaped medicine—and then we headed home. Which was much less eventful—thank goodness!

Long story short, Floki picked up roundworms from something in the environment. While it’s fairly common for dogs to get them, it’s still an incredibly disgusting and worrisome endeavor. They can also be transmitted to humans. From the research I did, it sounds like we actually have to ingest them to be infected by them, but I’m keeping a close eye on everyone.

At least now I know why my fur baby was so sick. I worry about them so much, and want to do all I can to keep them safe and to keep them around for a long time—which means Floki and Siggy will be kept in the boxes of shame. No more hall for them.

My Challenges as an Author

One of the biggest challenges I face as an author is marketing myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love talking about myself and my work. I love talking about things that I’m passionate about, whether that be my family, my dogs, horror and zombies, or writing. The problem comes in when I try to turn those passions into sales.

To be honest, having a book sale isn’t the be all end all. However, sales are a tangible number that shows exactly what kind of impact my PR campaign had. For some people, it’s the only number that actually counts. There are some who believe that you aren’t a real author unless you have a certain amount of sales. And maybe it’s true. Maybe that is the true benchmark of “making it,” but maybe it’s not. Personally, I believe that we have to set our own standards and measure against those. This is something that is taking me a long time to learn.

When I do my presentations, I don’t even take books to sell. That’s not the reason I’m there. I’m there to have fun and talk about topics I enjoy talking about and maybe teach my audience something they didn’t know.

In some cases, I definitely could have made sales. While at MAPACA, there were several attendees at my panel that wanted copies of my books. They asked if I had any extras, and I didn’t. I even told them flat out that wasn’t my goal. I told them that I was there to meet cool people and geek out. One of them responded with, “You’ve done that, and now I’m missing out on a book that I have to have.”

The sentiment was sweet, and I really appreciated it, but it didn’t change the fact that I hadn’t brought any books to sell. Did they get online later and order my books? Maybe. It’s hard to say. I hope so, but without asking directly, there’s no way I can know for sure.

While I’m not necessarily the best at marketing myself, that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try. In addition to my presentations and workshops, I also do blog tours and look for reviewers. I write guest blog posts and I’ve done radio shows. I’ve set up at holiday craft fairs to sell my paperbacks. I’m always trying to brainstorm ideas of how to get my work into the world.

Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes I’m not. And the unsuccessful times can be frustrating and disheartening.

I’m not an optimistic person. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I’m pretty cynical and pessimistic. More often than not, I’ll look at the negative side of things just so I’m not disappointed when things don’t work out well. It’s a way for me to protect myself.

When a marketing campaign doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to, I tell myself that it was to be expected. At times, I even ask myself what I did in a past life to have this kind of karma, then I say, “Past life? It was probably this one.” I let the irritation and disappointment settle into a bitter little ball in my chest, and then I attempt to let it go.

I allow myself to recognize that the situation didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and I allow myself to be upset, but then I try not to dwell on it. I try to look for the good things that happen. After all, the bad can’t happen without the good and vice versa. I live and learn and move on to the next endeavor.

I’m still looking for that magic bullet that is going to catapult me into superstardom and make me a famous author. I keep plugging away through the frustrations, disappointments, and small victories because I know that one day, I’ll be able to look back and laugh, saying, “Remember when this marketing campaign failed? Well, look at me now!”

Even if that never happens, that’s okay, because I’m not going to stop trying. Facing challenges only makes me stronger, and the way I’m going, I’m going to be an incredibly strong person. I hope you can say the same.

A Fantastic Thanksgiving

First of all, I can’t believe that November is almost over. That means that Christmas is next, and then the New Year. Where did all the time go?

Secondly, I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving. We did. We had a wonderful time with family and friends and ate until we were silly. What’s better than a holiday that’s centered around food? Mmmmmmm.

Now, on to business. I have the winners of the Thankful for You Blog Hop that I participated in.

The ebook winners are: 

The print book winners are: 

Thank you to everyone who participated! Again, it’s you wonderful readers that make it possible for me to do what I do.

Apparently, Amazon is taking 30% off print books, but the sale ends today. You can find the pertinent information here. The code can only be applied to one book, but if you need some ideas of which one to get, I will happily recommend any of mine.  Or I can tell you some of my favorites from other authors.

At the end of last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a craft fair where I attempted to sell my books. I have some copies left over, so if you’re interested in signed paperbacks for gifts (for yourself or someone special), let me know. I’m more than happy to sign them and send them (open to U.S. shipping only).

The books I have available are:

The Appeal of Evil - $13.95
Dealing with Devils - $12.95
Good Intentions - 13.95
(you can get all three of these books for $20)

The Ifs - $9.95
The Ifs Return - $9.95
(you can get this set for $15)

Life After the Undead (bestseller in the Dystopian category on Amazon) - $15.95

Undead Obsessed (nonfiction zombies) - $13.95

Finding Eden (zombie novella) - $8.50

Coming from Nowhere - $9.95

Mr. Chocolate and the Magic Js (children’s book) - $9.50

There’s a Monster in Mommy’s Tummy (children’s book) – this one comes with a free plush monster - $9.50

All prices are set by the publisher, but I’m not charging shipping. If you’re interested, please let me know (you can either email me or use the contact from on the side of this blog). I can take payments through Paypal.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s going to be a long week. Working 5 whole days? What’s up with that? However, I believe it’s going to be amazing. I hope your week is amazing too.

There's So Much to be Thankful For!

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and I can’t wait! I love spending time with friends and family and eating ridiculous amounts of food.

While you’re recovery from your food hangover, why not relax with a good book…or several! The special pricing from Booktrope is still going on, so get some great reads now!

And don’t forget that the Thankful for You Blog Hop is also still going on, so try for your chances to win some amazing prizes! Including some from me!

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with happiness and laughter and tons of turkey.

I Can’t Help Myself!

Normally, I’m not the type of person to check my Amazon book pages. Sure, every so often I head over there and see if there’s a new review or where I’m at in the rankings, but it’s not something I’d do religiously or with any type of frequency.

But ever since Life After the Undead has been ranking in the top 100 in certain categories, I’m obsessed!

Seriously, I check it multiple times a day and I hold my breath as I scroll down to the numbers, afraid that I may have fallen off the charts. It’s exhilarating and scary all at the same time. It’s even more fantastic to find myself still ranking in the top 100.

As of 8:30 MST on November 23, 2015, these were my rankings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,898 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#29 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Scary Stories

When I first started ranking, I also took photos of where I was on the list, just so no one could say it was a fluke (and to prove to myself it wasn't a fluke).  These are older pictures, but they are still amazing.

Then, over the weekend, my book manager (hi, Pam!) found this page. I didn’t even know it existed! How freaking cool is this?

This photo shows me ranking as #6 in Hot New Releases in Children's Dystopian Sci-Fi Books on Amazon.  I have since fallen off this chart, but it was cool while it lasted.

I’ve had to limit myself to how many times I check my page. Otherwise, I would be there all day just hitting refresh. I seriously can’t help myself. I’ve never been in this position before, and it’s amazing!

I’m well aware that this probably won’t last forever, and I know one day I will scroll down and find myself off the charts, but until then, I’m going to ride the wave!

Thank you to all you wonderful readers who made this happen. YOU’RE THE BEST!

Thankful for You Blog Hop

This week we're letting everyone know just what we're thankful for. And that includes...YOU! There's a new giveaway at every single stop, so be sure to hop around and visit your favorite blogs and find a few new ones to follow too!

Without you wonderful and amazing readers, there's no point in writing.  You're the ones who make it worthwhile, and you're the ones who encourage me to keep creating.  I love that you enjoy reading my work, and I enjoy creating it for you.  Thank you.

Now let's give away some books!  Leave a comment on this post, along with your email address so I can contact you and which book you want (you can find them in the tabs above), and I will pick three random winners to receive ebook copies and three random winners to win print copies (open to U.S. shipping only).

I moderate my comments, so they won't pop up immediately, but be rest assured that I will get them up.

Thanks for playing!

Let's Play a Zombie Survival Game

It’ll be easy, don’t worry—and there are no right or wrong answers. Using the list of supplies on the left, decide which three are the most important for surviving the situation on the right. Post your choices and why you picked those three things in the comments, and I’ll enter you for a chance to win an ebook copy of Life After the Undead.

The game will run until Sunday at 12:00 p.m. MST.  Please make sure to post a way for me to contact you in case you’re a winner!

  • You have the 3 most important things: water, food, and shelter. 
  • The zombies are traditional creatures, meaning they move slowly but are vast in number.

Handgun with ammunition 
(1 box)
Scenario:  You live in a third-floor apartment in the middle of a large city.  You have to leave to find medicine for a sick family member.

What items will you need to find the medicine?


Rifle with ammunition 
(1 box)
Metal match (flint and steel)
Long-sleeved Shirt and Pants
Running shoes
Steel Toe Boots
Camping Stove
First Aid kit
4-Wheel Drive Truck
Container of Fuel
Duct Tape
Pocket Knife

Now THIS Was a Conference!

I had the opportunity to go to the MAPACA conference at the beginning of November. I was giving my Women and Slasher Films presentation on Saturday, so that gave me all day on Friday to attend panels and soak in what people were researching and working on. I wasn’t disappointed.

There were so many different panels I had the opportunity to attend. I went to one where the panelists talked about different things from WWII. One presentation was about some sculptures in Greece that were tributes to the Greek soldiers and the victims of German brutality. That was incredibly fascinating.

Another panelist talked about the accessibility of WWII photos online and how that is both good and bad, while another panelist talked about women’s roles in the war and how they were portrayed by Hollywood. I didn’t get to see the end of that presentation because it ran over and I had to get to my next panel, but the part I saw was incredibly fascinating.

There was also a panelist that talked about journalists during the Civil War and how they impacted and changed reporting during times of war. It was something I had never even thought about previously, so I learned something new.

There were quite a few horror panels that I had the opportunity to attend. The overarching theme of one was how the familiar becomes frightening, so the panelists talked about The X Files and representations of the South; the vampire Lestat in both books and film; and Pet Semetary, the book more than the movie. They were fascinating.

Another horror panel I went to had panelists that talked about Nazi zombie movies, and the presenter pointed out how surprised she was at how many existed and how many of them weren’t very good. The other presenter talked about the color of horror and how films use color or lack thereof to create mood and atmosphere. Both of those were also incredibly interesting.

I’m not diving into too much detail about each presentation because I could go on and on about how fantastic they were—and they really were. I learned a lot listening to all of these presenters, and I was amazed at what people chose to study. I love how passionate they were about their subjects. I get the same way in my research, and it’s always wonderful to hang out with like-minded people and bounce ideas and passions off one another.

This was exactly what I enjoy most about conferences. It’s a group of intellectual people getting together and sharing ideas and inspiring others. Not that Long Beach didn’t have intellectual people, it did, the format was just different.

MAPACA was what I expect conferences to be like. It had a registration table, I got a badge and a schedule, and I decided which talks/presentations sounded interesting and attended them. There were discussions afterward, and the attendees were able to ask questions. There was also networking that occurred, and friendships were formed.

I did this conference on my own; my mom didn’t go with me like she went to Long Beach. It was incredibly nerve-wracking, but it turned out fine. The day I drove to the airport, I was incredibly anxious, and I spent all morning taking deep breaths and convincing myself that I could do it.

My stomach was in knots, and the voice in my head was screaming that I should just stay home. The weather wasn’t cooperating. It had snowed the night before, so part of the highway I had to travel on had black ice and snow pack, and the speed limit was 45 mph.

Still, I trudged on. I knew that once I got there, everything would be fine.

For the most part, it was. I was still nervous when I got to the airport because I hate flying, but I had helpers if I needed them. On the way out, I actually didn’t need them. I was pretty proud of myself. The flight home was a different story. Nothing bad happened, but I was leaving early and my nerves were in overdrive. I couldn’t keep the anxiety down, so I had a little help.

I didn’t do any sightseeing or touristy stuff while in Philly, mainly because I didn’t have a lot of time—I wanted to be at the conference—but also because I’m not an overly adventurous person, especially when I’m by myself. I figured I needed to ease myself into the experience. Maybe next time I’ll do something fun and check out the sights.

All in all, I was really pleased with how the experience turned out. It was more in line with what I thought a conference should be, and I was inspired and excited to be there. I was asked to come back next year and do some more panels, and I’m seriously considering it. It’s in Atlantic City, so that will be a new adventure. I’m also thinking I can convince others to go with me—not to the conference, but to take in the other sights.

Collecting My Thoughts

I'm going to do a post about my most recent conference experience, but I need to get my thoughts together.  I'm still pretty exhausted after getting back, and I'm trying to get caught up.  Thanks for being patient!

In the meantime, I have to tell you how excited I am about the promotion Booktrope is doing.  The response has been amazing and overwhelming, and the exposure has placed my books on the charts.  I can't even believe that.  It is seriously mind blowing.

Thank you, to all you fabulous readers out there.  I hope you enjoy the books!

It’s Bigger and More Exciting!

Remember last week when I told you Booktrope was having a special and 200+ Kindle books were on sale for $2.99? Well, it gets even better. From November 9 to 14, they are FREE! Can you even believe it? Now is absolutely the time to load up on some books.

For a list of the free books that are available from Booktrope, check out their link here.

Life after the Undead and The Appeal of Evil are part of this amazing giveaway. If you’ve ever wanted to check out my books, do it now! All you have to do is invest a little time.

Katie wants to invest her heart and soul in love, but she may lose both to Hell. Katie, a senior in high school, is torn between loving the “good” guy, her childhood friend Wes who makes promises he doesn't keep and abandons her when she needs him the most, and the “bad” guy, the new kid at school Josh who is also a real demon from Hell. Katie wants someone who pays attention to her and puts her first, but what is she willing to give up to find him?

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she's going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they're migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

Something Big is Going Down

Authors and publishers are always looking for ways to promote themselves and get their works in front of readers. Oftentimes, that means offering them at a discounted. Next week, Booktrope will be offering several of their titles for $2.99. They’re calling it the PreFunk Holiday Promotion.

I’m so excited to be part of this event. Life After the Undead and The Appeal of Evil both have this special pricing. So, if you’ve been wanting to check out some of my books but hesitant because of the price, now is the time! And if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can already get both ebooks for free.

I’ve perused the list of books, and they are amazing! Something for everyone. Check it out! See if you can find a book. I’m confident you’ll find something you’ll like.

One More to Go

Holy crap, folks! October has been a ridiculously busy month. I was traveling so much to promote myself and my works, I didn’t have a free weekend—until Halloween!

I love getting out and doing presentations and workshops and meeting new people, but it’s also incredibly exhausting. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I get incredibly anxious when I travel, so this entire month has threatened to push me into panic mode. I’ve overcome, though, and had some amazing adventures.

I have one more conference to go to this year, and I’ll be in Philadelphia at the end of this week for the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association conference. I will be speaking about Women and Slasher films and also doing a 5-minute presentation about being undead obsessed and finding meaning in zombies.

I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. I think I’m handling this trip better than the Long Beach trip—I had nightmares for 2 weeks before that trip. I had a nightmare a few weeks ago and one last night, so maybe? I’ll let you know how it goes.

In addition to this exciting adventure that’s coming up, I also had an outstanding weekend.

Because our sleds are new, we had to take them out for a break-in ride. There wasn’t a ton of snow, but we found enough to ride in. I hadn’t realized how much I missed riding until I got out. There’s something so magical about not having anything to worry about except cruising through the snow. It was incredibly therapeutic.

Zed (my sled; zombie + sled = Zed; plus, it pays homage to so many zombie films) did awesome! I’m looking forward to more snow so I can see exactly what she can do.

While we’re in the hills, we don’t have any cell service, so I turned off my phone for a while. When I got back into town, I turned it back on and saw that I had an email from my amazing book manager (hi, Pam!).

Apparently, Life After the Undead was in the top 100 for certain categories. According to the email, here was the breakdown:

#73,634 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#94 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Science Fiction > Dystopian

#95 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Action & Adventure > Survival Stories

#143 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Scary Stories

What?! It was freaking insane! I wanted to scream and cry and happy dance all at the same time. None of my books have ever ranked that high, so it was incredibly exciting. I’m still floating on air from the experience.

There’s a lot of really exciting things happening. I’m giddy. I’m going to ride this wave of amazement for as long as I can. I hope that you all are having a fabulous time as well.

Life After the Undead Has Been Re-released

Yesterday, Life After the Undead was re-released into the world. It has a new cover and I made some changes to the text. All in all, it’s not a new story, but it’s an improved one.

This zombie novel is one of my favorites. It was so much fun to write. I was happy with it when it came out, but I’m delighted with it now. It’s not often that I get the chance to make corrections to a story, but I’m so happy I had the opportunity to edit it.

If you get the chance, check it out. If you’ve read it before, I would love to hear what you think of the changes.

You can find it on Amazon.

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she's going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they're migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

If I Was Braver

If I was braver, I would quit my job and completely immerse myself in writing.

It’s not that I hate my job; I don’t. I rather like the people I work with and it gives me a chance to use my degree. In fact, I get paid to write, and that’s awesome, but it’s not what I want to write; they’re assignments. Sure, I have some freedom in deciding topics, and I usually learn something new and fascinating with each assignment, but there’s also a rigidity to it.

To be able to write what I want to write when I want to write it and have it pay would be amazing. To be able to pay my bills with this type of writing would be phenomenal. At the moment, with a full-time job and a family to take care of, I squeeze writing in when I can. It’s not a terrible way to live my life, I still get my writing done, but I’m curious what I would be capable of doing if writing for enjoyment was my sole focus.

If I was braver, I would travel more, get myself out to more of the world.

In addition to throwing myself completely into writing, I would also dedicate more time to promotion. I do what I can now, as my schedule permits, but I would love to be able to do so much more. I would love to share my ideas with more people, and I would love to be inspired by their ideas and thoughts. I love doing workshops and presentations and attending conferences, and if I had time, I would do more.

If I was braver, I would spend more time helping out my fellow writers.

I love editing. It’s part of my professional expertise. I love being able to help other writers make their stories better. I also love being able to read stories that the vast majority of the world hasn’t seen yet. It’s magical.

I read articles all the time about how great authors—Piers Anthony, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, to name a few—were willing and able to give up security to follow their dreams. I’ve read about their hardships and struggles and how they were on the verge of destitution before finally making it big, and I both envy them and question why they did it.

I’m too afraid to take that leap. I worry too much about what my kids won’t have if I give up my steady, paying job. It scares me to think we’d be living on the street and not in comfort, that we might not know where our next meal is coming from, and that stops me from taking that next step.

It frightens me to think that I will never reach the fame and notoriety that these other authors have achieved, and that it could be because I wasn’t willing to try. At the same time, I also think that the world is saturated with writers, and I am just one among many. How could I possibly hope to stand out? That thought stops me from trying.

I already make sacrifices to make achievements in my writing, and I know that it takes hard work and determination to achieve my dreams, but I always wonder what more I could accomplish if I gave up more.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I would do with my life if I wasn’t so afraid, and the thoughts are both encouraging and distressing. I am nothing without my dreams, and those help keep me moving, but there comes a point when I have to be willing and able to do more. I have to continue to push my boundaries and try new things. I may not always be successful, but I can learn from the failure.

However, I have found that there are only so many boundaries I’m willing to push. I absolutely use my fear as an excuse, and I will continue to do so. I may never find my bravery, and that scares me too.

Floki Is Seriously Weird

I love my Corgi. He is the sweetest, most even-tempered dog I have ever had. But he’s a little odd.

He’s still a puppy, so it’s not surprising that he likes to chew on things. The other day, he got out of his enclosure and proceeded to shred various things on the floor. 

Compared to what he’s done before, this is a small mess. Although still incredibly annoying.

While I was cleaning this up, I noticed a blue lid in the mix. I picked it up to throw it away, and realized it came from the Tums jar. Crrrrraaaaaap! Upon further inspection, I found the empty container. He had eaten the Tums.

There hadn’t been many left, but it was still cause for concern. I immediately placed a call to the vet, who reassured me that everything would be all right. Apparently, there’s nothing poisonous in Tums (thank goodness!), but the extra calcium could cause constipation. I was supposed to keep on eye on him.

Turns out, he’s fine. No adverse effects from ingesting the tummy meds. However, he has to be put in a kennel for his own safety. As I told him as I was leaving, “Naughty dogs get put in the box.” And he just stared at me with all his adorableness.

In addition to shredding anything and everything he can find, Floki also has a strange habit of stealing the soap out of the shower. He hasn’t done it in a few days, but why he would do it at all is mind boggling. I mean, it has to taste disgusting. It’s soap! But he’s fascinated with it.

He also has a strange habit of licking the couch. I’m pretty sure he does this because it smells like food. I have kids, so no doubt there are crumbs all over the place. It’s still really annoying, though. It sucks sitting in the wet spots.

If given a chance, Floki would eat homework. Seriously. On several occasions I have had to take paper away from him, and the times he’s gotten out, he’s found some graded assignment to shred. I can only imagine how happy the boys would be if he ate their homework.

Despite his quirks, Floki is a wonderful dog. I’m so glad he’s part of our family, and—honestly—I’m curious to see what weird thing he’ll do next.

The Conference Adventure Continues

Part 1 of my conference adventure can be read here.

As one would expect from the title Long Beach Indie Film Festival, a lot of movies are played. They started on Wednesday and went through Sunday.

We did not take part in all of those events. My mom and I showed up on Thursday night (well, technically, very early Friday morning), then left Sunday morning. I would have enjoyed staying the entire time, but my work schedule and pocketbook couldn’t handle it.

My registration fee gave me the option of going to the films, and I’m sure they were amazing, but I decided I wanted to explore the area instead. I’d never been to Long Beach, so I wanted to do some touristy stuff.

My mom and I were both up early the next day, only because we have been conditioned to be early risers (thank you so much, kids and dogs!). However, the view from the window made it all worth it. We headed down for breakfast and sat on the veranda, and when we finished, I saw a dolphin playing in the water (I couldn’t get a picture of it; it was too unpredictable). I love dolphins. They are such amazing animals, so seeing one started my day out right.

This was the view from our hotel room.

This was the view we had every morning from the veranda while we ate breakfast.

My mom got online to check out what our touristy options were, and we decided to go see the Queen Mary and the aquarium. As luck would have it, we were able to buy combo tickets that got us into both places. We decided to check out the Queen Mary first.

I’m not gonna lie, the size of the ship was incredibly surprising to me. It was like a freaking floating city! We had the options of doing a guided tour, a recorded tour, or a ghosts and legends tour. Guess which one I picked. 

Yep! Ghosts and legends. You know me and horror. I can’t pass it up.

The tour didn’t start until 11:00, and we had some time to kill, so we headed onto the ship to check things out. We didn’t do much, just sat around waiting for the tour to start, assuming they would let us know. As 11:00 ticked by, I became concerned. We decided to ask what was going on, and we discovered we had been waiting in the wrong area!

I was devastated. We tried to find the tour group, but I had no idea where they had gone. I went back to the check in and told them we couldn’t find them. I wanted to cry. I was looking so forward to the tour. The woman behind the counter was so nice. She changed our tickets so we could go on the 12:00 tour, and we made sure we were in the right spot when that started.

We weren’t expecting much. In fact, we were expecting it to be like a haunted house, and that’s exactly what we got. Mom and I laughed practically through the whole thing. I won’t lie, I did get a little scared. It was so dark at the bottom of the ship, I thought for sure I was going to trip on something. Thankfully, I didn’t.

At one point, while going through a dark hallway, I fought back the urge to freak out the rest of the tourists. My mom and I were at the head of the group, and we were traveling pretty fast, and I wanted to start screaming like a banshee just to worry them, but I refrained.

After that tour ended, we explored the ship a little more, got lost for a while (which is surprising since it’s a freaking ship and there’s only so many places we could go, but we accomplished it), then headed back to the aquarium.

I have pretty high standards when it comes to aquariums. I’ve been to the one in Denver multiple times, and it’s awesome. It sets the standards for how aquariums should be. I must say, the Aquarium of the Pacific held its own. It was fantastic!

We learned about jelly fish, saw a sea lion show, I pet some sharks, and so much more. The entire time I kept saying, “The boys would love this!” And they totally would have. It was so cool.

This was a giant stingray in the shark tank.  I did not pet it.

These were some sharks in the shark tank.  I didn't pet them, either.

Stingrays and bonnet heads in the shark petting pool.  I touched one of the bonnet heads.

Zebra shark in the shark petting pool.  I touched this one, too.

We finally called it a day and got back to the hotel after 4:00. We were both exhausted at this point, so after a power nap, we had dinner, sat by a fire on the beach, then headed up to bed. I waited for 9:00 to roll around, then fell asleep.

The Conference

On Saturday, my plan was to spend the entire day at the conference. We got to the convention center a little after 9:00. We asked one of the employees where we were supposed to go, and they directed us to the far side of the building, so we headed down.

The email I had received earlier in the week said I needed to check in, so I was looking for a check-in table. I couldn’t find one, so we consulted the email again. It said registration was supposed to take place outside the ballroom, which was located upstairs, so we headed up. There were tables up there and a person behind them, but they weren’t part of the conference. They were set up for a funeral. That was no help.

On the way in, I had noticed a sign outside that said something about the conference, so we decided to check it out. That wasn’t any help either. It was just directing traffic for parking. We headed back in, and I asked another employee where I was supposed to go.

“You’re here,” he said. “This is where it’s at.”

“Is there a registration table somewhere?” I asked, trying to keep the panic/anger/frustration out of my voice.

“That I don’t know. I’m just security.”

I had seen some people in one of the rooms earlier, so I headed in to ask if they were part of the conference. Thankfully, they were, and they informed me that they hadn’t checked in but let the organizer know they were there. I asked who that was, and they pointed him out. After saying hello and asking what I needed to do (which was nothing), I took a seat and waited for things to start.

The first panel was at 10:30. Three graduate students were going to talk about children’s television, and I was interested, so I headed in. By 11:00, the audience had arrived. It was mainly middle school and early high school kids, but the panel did their presentations. I wondered if they changed their presentations to cater to the audience, but I never asked, and they did a great job.

After that was lunch. I met my mom at the end of the convention center where they had a little food stand and we had Panini’s. After that, it was time for me to get ready. I headed to my room to prepare.

Each room was supposed to be equipped with a projector and a computer, but ours was missing the computer. We let someone know, but as time ticked closer to 1:00 and he hadn’t returned, I was brainstorming different ways to show my movie clips. I didn’t have a solution, so I figured I wouldn’t be able to show them. A computer showed up in the nick of time.

As was the theme of the day, we didn’t start at 1:00. We didn’t start until about 1:20. There were supposed to be three panelists, but one cancelled. I went first, and my presentation went awesome! The audience was engaged and seemed genuinely interested. We had some great discussions, and they asked wonderful questions. The audio didn’t work for my movie clips, but it didn’t matter; there wasn’t much to hear anyway.

I was grateful that there were only two of us because my presentation went a little long. I was allotted 15 minutes, but I think I took 30. It was worth it, though. I had a blast!

After the second panelist did her presentation, I went to one more demonstration, then Mom and I headed back to the hotel. By that point in time, I had a raging headache and just wanted to relax. We had an early dinner, then called it an early night.

The next day, we were headed back home. Our flight didn’t leave on time, but it wasn’t 3 hours late. Mom and I were picked for the TSA pre-check—which was amazing!—and we had planned ahead, so we had some time to kill in the airport. By the time we finally boarded, I was done. I just wanted to get in the car and see my babies—the furry ones and the human ones. I got home that night about 8:00.

The trip was an adventure. There were some amazingly bright spots, and that made it worthwhile. It will be interesting to see how the conference in Philadelphia goes…

Laughing Vixen Lounge Attack of the 14 Night of Halloween Giveaway

Halloween is just around the corner and it's time for the 4th annual Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway from Laughing Vixen Lounge. 7 wickedly fun shops have come together to create one spooktalcular Prize Pack ($225+) full of Jewelry, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories and more! All shops are offering Gift Cards or your choice of item(s) so there will be something for everyone. Many of the shops have items perfect for any book lover along with lots of other unique, handcrafted and custom designs. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below or visit the Main Giveaway Page on the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog HERE.

Join us daily on the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog during the giveaway for our Halloween Movie Marathon featuring the Guess the Movie Game and our Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt. Each event will get you daily entries in the giveaway plus a special giveaway for the Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt. Find full details for these events HERE.

October is the perfect time for watching spooky movies. Along with the Halloween Movie Marathon each of our participating shops, and many of our blog sponsors, will be sharing some of their favorite movie choices with you.

The giveaway runs October 18th - November 1st and is open worldwide. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack and 1 winner will win the Scavenger Hunt Prize Pack. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. Please visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog HERE to see the full prize list, participating shops and daily giveaway events.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway