Popular Posts

Reacting to Horror and Horror Films

Last week on the Girl Zombie Authors blog that I’m part of (you all knew it existed and read it, right? I talk a lot about zombies on there), Scott commented and asked a question about what I think about the hyper-realistic depiction of cannibalism as it pertains to zombie films and to the new movie Green Inferno that came out. I kind of answered it in the comments, but it got my mental wheels turning, and I feel like it needs more of an explanation.

Here was his comment:

Question re: slasher films.

Are you going to see
Green Inferno? I state up front that my interest in z-poc fiction doesn't lie in the blood and gore part of the genre. Sure, there's that, and there should be, but I don't see it as a fun focus. On the other hand, there's a good deal of it out there, especially in anthologies, where the writers revel in it. So, with that in mind, and since you brought up slasher movies, how do you feel about a hyper-realistic depiction of cannibalism? Honestly...I can't imagine watching it any more than I can imagine watching Human Centipede or HC2. I know there's definitely a cult following of those two movie...not that I understand why, lol. But, thoughts?

He was asking the question in regards to my comment about slasher films. Many of you know that I have written about slasher films in my book Life Lessons from Slasher Films. Like a lot of the films Eli Roth creates, this genre was also condemned and critiqued for being overly gory and violent.

Oddly enough, I don’t believe I have heard the same argument made for zombie films. I’m sure there are people out there who have said it, but there seems to be a bit more acceptance of having gore and cannibalism in zombie films than in other horror.

I will say that when Night of the Living Dead first came out, it showed humans being devoured in gory fashion. Most zombie films before that had Haitian zombies, and they were more slaves than devourers of flesh. Night shocked audiences because of its content, and zombie films have been following its lead ever since—often to the point of pushing the envelope and showing deaths and the consummation of flesh in intricate detail. It’s rare to find a zombie film or TV show that doesn’t have intestines in it.

In my book, Undead Obsessed, I talk a little about cannibalism. Here’s what I say:

Cannibalism is incredibly taboo within our society. We view it as the most abhorrent act one human can do to another. It is primal and barbaric. Only in extreme cases of survival is it viewed as tolerable. Night of the Living Dead takes this notion and portrays it in gory detail, often showing zombies fighting over various body parts of their victims. To add to the horror, the other characters never refer to the zombies as zombies, they are just “them” or “ghouls.” They don’t look like monsters, which makes them incredibly dangerous. This is especially evident near the end of the film when a little girl attacks and kills her parents. She still looks like a child, but behind her innocence is a desire to maim and consume. The girl eats part of her father, and when her mother shows up she knows the creature before her is no longer her daughter, but she can’t act to destroy her child. This leads to her being stabbed repeatedly with a trowel. If the monster doesn’t look different, how do you fight against it?

In most horror films, the basic premise is us versus them, humans versus a monster. In most films, that monster is a creature that looks different. Humans can differentiate themselves from them because they aren’t us. But at one point in time, zombies were us.

In most zombie films and shows, zombies aren’t the only creatures the survivors have to be wary of. They also have to be suspicious and cautious of other survivors. The lines between us versus them become blurred. There’s still a difference between the groups, but not a huge one.

While I haven’t seen the Green Inferno (and yes, I’m intrigued, but I doubt I will see it in the theater), I have a feeling that Eli Roth will portray the cannibalism in horrific and gory fashion. I’m sure his goal is to make the audience walk out of the theater feeling nauseous and uncomfortable. But that’s what he does.

Eli Roth and a few other horror film makers (the creators of Saw come readily to mind) have developed a genre that many refer to as “torture horror” or “torture porn,” and it is condemned for being ridiculously violent and gory for the sake of gore. And these films absolutely push the envelope when it comes to violence.

But they’re not the first. Slasher films used these tactics when they first came out. “Realistic” horror films such as Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes or Wrong Turn also employ this over-the-top violence. And while some people claim it’s just gore for the sake of gore, it’s also used to shock the audience. It’s used to make us feel uncomfortable, to make us squirm in our seats, to heighten our level of disgust and fear.

One of the goals of horror is to bring to the forefront those things that scare society. In the 1950s, that fear was the fear of nuclear war and communism, so the films reflected that. There were such moves as Them! and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

When it came to slasher films, which had their heyday in the 1980s, they reflected the idea of wanting to return to a more conservative time. The 60s and 70s had just happened with teens rising up to change social norms, so slasher killers try to suppress teens and their social change by killing them. They also want them to stop their sexual revolution, which is why most teens get killed during or after some kind of sexual encounter.

I have no doubt that Green Inferno also has some type of social message in it also. Again, I haven’t seen the film, only the trailer, which shows a group of teens who want to go into the rain forest to protest its destruction, and they get captured by a savage, primal tribe. I can only guess that they are tortured and eaten in horrific fashion with a few of them trying to escape—and maybe succeeding, but only after going through a horrific ordeal.

But, again, I don’t know because I haven’t seen the film yet.

My point is that horror has always and will always continue to push the boundaries of what makes an audience uncomfortable. There will always been an us versus them and a fear of the unknown—because that’s what continues to scare the American population.

It continues to be said that we have become sensitized to violence, and a lot of the blame lies in horror movies, but in some cases, it’s just real life. How much violence do we see on our news channels? How many reports do we read about people being killed by gunmen? What about the war? Violence is something we can’t and don’t get away from in our daily lives. We may not see it in all of its gory detail on the news like we do in horror movies, but it’s still present.

Horror movies have a certain freedom when it comes to depicting violence on film because the audience knows it’s fake. The audience may not like it or condone the violence, but we know no one really got hurt. The same can’t be said about what we see on the news. There is no fantasy or separation from reality there.

And we should be uncomfortable with the violence—both in the movies and in the news. We shouldn’t appreciate that bad things happen or become numb to it, and I think that’s where horror movies become important. By pushing the envelope and by making the audience queasy, it reminds us that we should react to violence. We should be horrified by what we see, and that should make us want to change.

However, on the other side, these are just films created to be entertaining and allow the audience to escape for a while. So, if that’s how you approach watching them, so be it. You are allowed to enjoy them.

So, to answer Scott’s questions, I think that hyper-realistic depictions of cannibalism and violence in horror films have their place, and I think it’s a safe place that allows audiences to confront the horror, know it’s fake, and then decide the best way to react to it. I think it allows us to look at what is happening in the real world and realize that something has to be done.

And to his other question about the Human Centipede and its sequel, I have never seen either film and don’t plan on seeing either film, but I believe that like other horror films they speak to the depravity of the human condition and what some are willing to do to others and the reaction they get should be one of disgust; however, if it’s something an audience enjoys, they can.

The Joys of Conferences

I love conferences. There’s something so magical about hanging out with a bunch of like-minded people and having conversations about our passions and obsessions. It’s so amazing to have some time to just geek out.

While it’s possible to talk about my passions and obsessions with my friends, family, and coworkers, it’s different doing it at a conference. There’s a different energy and feel about it. And I’m not kidding when I say we “geek out.” I’m fairly certain that people who overhear our conversations in public think we are so weird. And I’m totally fine with that!

Last Friday and Saturday, I was asked to present at the Casper College Literary Conference. I did my Women and Slasher Film presentation, and it was so much fun!

I was really nervous when I first started. I got there 10 minutes before my presentation was supposed to start (poor planning on my driving part), and being late is a source of anxiety for me, so I was aaaaaaaaah! before I even started. I sped through my presentation a bit because I had so much nervous energy, but by the end I had calmed down somewhat and was feeling a touch more confident.

I had a good crowd. One of the English teachers at the community college had offered her students extra credit to attend, so there were quite a few students there. There were also adults (friends of mine came to see me; hi, Kara! Hi, Sarah! Thanks for coming!), along with the other presenters for the conference. All in all, I think it went really well.

The rest of the conference was just as amazing. I attended several other panels and a workshop to make a wreath out of about-to-be-recycled books. I am not a crafty person, but I still had a good time, and I don’t think it turned out horrible. 

I met some new, amazing people, and I’m looking forward to conversing with them further. Conferences are great for networking, and that’s part of the reason I really enjoy going—along with finding inspiration.

After this conference, I’m really looking forward to the others I have coming up. I’m excited to meet more amazing people and for the inspiration to continue. It’s going to be fun!

Rockin' Reads Blog Hop and Giveaways!

rockin reads

Everyone needs a Rockin' Read! Stop by Sept 23rd to 30th and find out which reads have rocked 2015 for us! There will be a giveaway on each blog, so don't forget to visit them all! You can visit the main blog post here.

My Rockin' Read so far this year was The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey.

A friend on Facebook recommended this to me, so I went to Amazon to check it out. Mystery surrounds what the book is about, and the description is vague yet intriguing. Here’s what it says:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

Even in the reviews there’s this desire to keep the story a bit of a secret. I understand why. It makes it more intriguing, but at the same time, I bought it knowing it was a zombie novel (and now you know too), and I don’t think knowing that took anything away from the thrill of the book.

There are several other twists and surprises throughout the story, but I won’t reveal what those are. They have to be experienced first-hand to truly be appreciated.

What I will say is that this story was amazing! The author did an awesome job of creating a post-apocalyptic world that I haven’t seen before. He developed characters that I cared about and became emotionally attached to. By the end of it, I was smiling and pleased with the outcome. I got chills because the book made such an impact and impression on me.

There were a few stereotypes in the story, especially when it came to how science and scientists or the zombies were portrayed, but that was expected. There are certain tropes that exist within the genre, and I fully expected them to be there. However, I was pleasantly surprised that he undermines a few of those expectations later in the story.

If you’re looking for gore, this may not be the book for you. There’s some, but it’s not over the top—which often occurs in zombie books and films. There’s violence, but it’s not horrific. And if you’re reading a zombie book, you expect it to be there anyway.

I would definitely recommend this book, even if you aren’t a hardcore zombie fan. It deals much more with the human side of the zombie situation and focuses on my favorite question: What does it mean to be human?

To celebrate this Rockin' Read, I'm going to giveaway ecopies of my nonfiction zombie book Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies.  You can enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Can See the Finish Line

I am this close to having the biography done. I can’t tell you how amazing that feels. I was trying to figure out the other day how long I’ve been working on it, and I couldn’t remember. That either means it’s been a really long time or I just blocked it out.

Last week, I worked on the works cited and the bibliography. That’s an involved process, but it’s almost done. I just have to tweak a few references. After that’s done, I have to input the introduction—it’s already written, I just have to type it—and the acknowledgements page. I have a few questions for Dale, but then the text is done.

The fun part is going to be picking out photos. I’m really looking forward to that. My husband and I made a trip to Rock River and McFadden this weekend to take some modern-day photos of the area. That was a nice way to spend the afternoon. The ranch is still there even though Dale doesn’t own it anymore, and it’s lovely.

It’s going to be awesome once this book is done. There’s always a sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a project. After that, it’s back to zombies.

Sometimes It’s Hard to See the Positive

My blog post on Monday was an exercise in positive thinking. When I get down on myself or upset about writing, it’s hard to see the good side. That’s especially true if the measure of my success is supposed to be how many books I’ve sold.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s an important measure. It’s a tangible measure. It’s a measure you can show to other people and say, “See! I’m making it! I’m a real author!” It’s what agents and big publishers use to decide if I’m worth taking a chance on. But when I don’t have any sales, it’s really hard to say that. It’s really hard to believe I’m a real author.

I have to remind myself that there is so much more that goes into being an author and so many other measures I should use to convince myself I’m doing well. Sometimes I’m successful with it, and sometimes I’m not. It all depends on my mood.

When I feel less than worthy and think I need to give up, that’s when I re-evaluate what it means to be successful, and that was why I wrote that post on Monday. I may not sell a ton of books, but I’m out there connecting with people. I’m sharing my passions. I hope that somewhere down the road those encounters will turn into sales, but if they don’t, at least I get to meet some really cool people.

It’s not always easy to see the positive side of things. I have dreams of being a world-famous author and being able to quit my job to focus solely on creating books, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Without dreams, I wouldn’t push myself to try. I wouldn’t continue to write books. Yes, it’s incredibly discouraging when it looks like those dreams won’t come true or reality knocks me down a peg, but that’s when positive thinking becomes important.

The world doesn’t care if I succeed or fail. It will stand in my way if I let it. Every so often it pushes me down and wrecks my self-esteem. But I get to decide if I let it hold me down or if I’m going to rise above. I choose to rise above, but sometimes it takes a little work to get there.

There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel

This summer was terrible for my writing confidence. Sales were awful. One month I didn’t sell any books. NONE! How does that even happen? I got to the point where I would hesitate opening me email when I received a sales statement because I was terrified to see how horrible they were.

I received rejection after rejection for the biography I’m working on. It gave me heartburn to think about sending out more queries. It seemed like an exercise in futility.

I struggled getting answers out of people over the summer. I’m not going to go into details, but I was frustrated and irritated because email was the only way I had to communicate with these individuals, and they weren’t responding.

I wondered for the eight hundred billionth time why I was wasting my time writing. It obviously wasn’t getting me anywhere.

But then, there in the distance, was a beacon of hope; moments that reminded me writing and the publishing world wasn’t always so dark.

I read several blogs and posts from other authors that talked about how dismal their sales were this summer also. Some postulated that the reason for the summer slump was because people were outside enjoying the nice weather and spending time with family rather than sitting inside and reading. I know for a fact that was how most of my summer went. I had very little time for relaxing and reading—although I would squeeze it in whenever I got the chance. I’m sure others did the same, and I couldn’t blame them for wanting to enjoy life.

I released the third book in the Road to Salvation series, Good Intentions, in July, and for a few weeks, it had a low ranking on Amazon. It never made it to the best seller list or the top 100, but it had the highest ranking any of my books have ever had, and that made me incredibly happy—especially if you consider no one was buying books over the summer!

My proposals were accepted for THREE different conferences—two this year and one next year. And I have an outstanding one that I’m still awaiting a response for. In the last two years, I’ve only submitted one other proposal, and it was rejected, so to have the next THREE accepted, that was pretty amazing and incredibly exciting.

I scheduled multiple workshops/presentations later this fall around the state of Wyoming. I honestly can’t tell you how magical it is to get an email or a call from a librarian asking me to come visit their libraries. It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it!

And it seems like right when I need it the most, an amazingly wonderful reader will post a review about one of my books. And love it or hate it, they still took the time to read it and comment, and that makes me so very happy.

And that leads to the characters in my head trusting me to write their stories. Whenever my confidence takes a hit, I always think that I’ll never have another story idea—ever! The characters will grow silent and believe the other voices in my head—that I’m a hack and should just give up.

But they don’t. They talk over the naysayers and tell me about their adventures, and I’m compelled to write them down. I’m reminded that writing is fun and that no one can tell these stories but me. It makes me feel special.

When it comes to the rejections, sending out queries was an exercise in futility. I didn’t have to send them out; I already have a publisher that’s interested in the book and said they would publish it for me. For some reason, I thought I needed to shop it around. I thought someone else deserved a chance at publishing it. It didn’t work out. Oh, well.

My point is that there are always ups and downs for an author. There will always be doubt. There will always be irritations and frustrations. Hell, that’s life. But I can’t let them get me down. I can’t let those moments control my decisions. Times may get dark, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always those moments that will lift me back up, and those are what I need to hang onto.

Whenever I think about those things, this song from the Rocky Horror Picture Show comes into my mind and reminds me that everything is going to be all right.

Rafting with Kids

I was going through my folders over the weekend to clean them out, and I came across this article I had written for Wyoming Elements.  It came out in their 2012 issue, but I can't link to the site because it seems the magazine is no longer in existence.

Either way, rereading it made me think of that day, and I laughed.  It seems like ages ago when this trip happened, and so much has changed since then.  We no longer have the raft, and I can't tell you the last time we went camping.  The boys have gone, but we haven't.  Still, it was fun to take a trip down memory lane.

Rafting with Kids

My husband and I have always enjoyed the outdoors. We spent our honeymoon camping at Rob Roy. Whenever we had the desire to get out of town for a while, we threw some clothes in a bag, loaded the cooler with whatever was in the freezer, and grabbed the camping gear. It didn’t take long to get ready to get out of town. If we forgot something, we lived without it or made do with what we had.

As time went on, and we got careers, it became more and more difficult to get out of town. Then, we got pregnant with our first child. We tried not to let it hold us back. If we wanted to get out, we’d still get out. But those times got fewer and farther between. I wasn’t particularly fond of having to get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, especially in a tent. My in-laws offered to let us use their camper, but setting it up seemed like such a hassle. Our oldest was just reaching the age when I felt comfortable taking him out when I got pregnant with our second. Again, it put our outdoor adventures on hiatus.

One of my husband’s and I’s favorite past time is floating the river. We had an old raft that was inherited from my husband’s dad, and we outfitted it with a new frame and oars. The floor leaked, it had different colored patches on the pontoons. It didn’t look like much, but it did the job. I even did some fly fishing from the stern seat. Not a lot, mind you, as I enjoyed just taking in the scenery and being very lazy. Occasionally, I would take the oars so my husband could fish, but that didn’t happen often, either. Most of the time, I didn’t do it right.

Like camping, our float trips were put off for a while until the boys got bigger. If I was nervous taking them into a tent or camper, it was ten times worse taking them on the boat. There was no protection from the sun. They couldn’t lay down if they got tired, and they definitely didn’t make life jackets that small.

A few years ago, my husband got a new raft, made specially for him. He had the company paint the entire thing black. It has a self-bailing floor, and no patches on the pontoons. We even had a bow seat put in, so now everyone who goes can be comfortable. It was a year before I got out onto the new raft. Mainly because someone had to stay home and watch the boys.

Now, my children are 3 and 5. The youngest started camping when he was 18 months. That was a real treat. He had just learned to walk, so he wasn’t quite steady on his feet, and he hated to get his hands dirty. I’m sure he thought camping was a form of torture. Every time he fell over, he freaked out. The trip wasn’t exactly relaxing.

Packing for an outdoor adventure is no longer a quick task, either. It takes me at least 2 hours to make sure I have everything we need. Sunscreen, extra clothes, snacks, drinks. All of it has to go into a bag, or several bags, as I found out. Recently, we went for a float down the North Platte River up by Alcova. “The Reef” my husband tells me it’s called.

The weather was ridiculous hot. In the upper 90s with very little wind. There was a small breeze, and it was wonderful. The boys had been on the raft one time before, but it was only a short trip. This was my first trip out, and the longest for the boys. It was going to be interesting. By this point, though, they had life jackets they could fit into, and both of them had swim lessons, so I didn’t worry too much. Besides, I wasn’t going to let anything happen to them.

I started packing for the trip the night before. I made sure we had plenty of water, pop, snacks, chips, sunscreen, hats, and clothes in case the ones the boys had on got wet or if the weather suddenly took a turn for the worst. We didn’t have everything we needed, so we stopped at the store before we left town to get sunglasses and fishing poles. We made it to the drop in spot a little later than anticipated, and it took longer to get the supplies in the boat. There was a lot more than we normally take. Cooler, fishing poles, dry bag, bag with snacks, everything we needed, and some stuff we didn’t, all had to go in. My husband even commented about how much stuff we had, but we had an entire day, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

The trip started out great. The boys were excited to be on the water, although a little nervous at first. I’m sure they were just picking up on my vibes, though. Once we were on the river, everyone just relaxed. The current wasn’t flowing quickly, about 3500 cfs, so the trip was going to take us several hours. I was okay with that. When I’m on the boat, I want to enjoy it for as long as I can. The boys, however, were a different story.

Immediately after getting on the water, they wanted their fishing poles. I had the 5 year old in the stern with me, while the 3 year old was in the middle with Dad. Several times, he attempted to cast the line himself. He swung it back as far as he could, and I watched the hook arc through the air, coming dangerously close to Daddy’s head. I had visions of the hook anchoring itself in my husband’s face, so I had to take matters into my own hands. I helped the 5 year old cast and he reeled in his line. He was determined to catch a fish, and he was going to keep it up until he did. The 3 year old felt the same way. His Spongebob fishing pole was going to land him a big one.

After half an hour to 45 minutes on the water, we decided to pull over for lunch. We found a public spot and pulled up to the bank. The husband and I ate, the boys didn’t. After all, they’d already filled up on chips and granola bars before getting in the boat. They decided to wade into the water and fish. They stayed fairly close to the boat, but we also tried to keep enough distance between the two of them so they didn’t hook each other. At one point, they drifted closer to the boat and to each other. The next thing we hear is a blood-curdling, ear piercing scream echoing across the landscape. The 3 year old hooked the 5 year old.

From the way he reacted, I thought for sure he had gotten him in the eye or the ear. They were closest to my husband, so he picked up the 5 year old, and I had the 3 year old come to me. By this point, both of them were crying. Upon examination of the 5 year, it became apparent he was hooked in the meaty part of his shoulder.

Normally, I don’t handle crises situations very well. I’m apt to panic and my panic causes everyone else to panic. But in this situation, I wasn’t worried. The hook was buried in his skin up to the bend, but he wasn’t going to lose anything vital. That’s not what the 5 year old thought, though. In fact, he was pretty sure his young life had come to an end. He was screaming and crying and shaking. He didn’t want Daddy to touch it, but it had to come out. I told him take deep breaths, and he did, calming him down slightly.

After a few minutes and having to cut his t-shirt with a knife, my husband was able to get the hook out. I was being slightly insensitive and trying not to laugh. Seriously, another boat drifted by at the beginning of the debacle, and I’m sure they thought someone was dying. The 5 year old’s scream was that terrifying. Once the hook was out, he headed toward me on the boat, and I cleaned it off with water. Of all the things we packed on the boat, we forgot the First Aid kit. It was fine, though, since I had tissues, so we stopped the bleeding, the very minuscule bit there actually was.

“I hate fishing!” the 5 year old declared loudly. “I’m never going to do it again!”

“Oh, come on now,” I soothed. “You’ll do it again. You’ll just have to wait until you’re a little older.”

He sniffed a few times. “Yeah. I’ll do it when I’m older.”

The 5 year old was, of course, very mad at his brother. His brother, also, was mad because we told them they were done fishing for the day. They might have been fine, and no one else might have gotten hooked, but we weren’t going to take the chance. That made the rest of the trip tedious. Since the boys didn’t have anything to keep them occupied, they got bored. We had brought squirt guns, but those were only so fun. The whining started. It was hot. They were bored. So Daddy suggested the next best thing: hanging off the side of the boat and dipping their feet in the water.

Oh, I was thrilled. I had visions of the boys slipping into the water and I’d have to jump in after them. So, I made them come right next to me so I could hold onto their arms. Unfortunately, their life jackets didn’t have handles on the back. That would have been nice, on many different levels, but we made it work. The boys were happy and not bored, which stayed the whining, but I wasn’t relaxing. It was a small sacrifice to make to ensure the kids’ happiness.

My husband and I still enjoying getting out as much as we can, but we’ve discovered it’s completely different games taking the boys. It’s always an adventure. We figure out new things we need to add to our list of things to take. One day, I’m sure we’ll have a trip that doesn’t involve any crying or something bleeding. Until then, we’ll just make the best of the trip we can and hope to instill the love of nature into our children.

I Have the Best Ideas When I’m Half Awake

I know I’m not the only one this happens to. I know there are several of you out there who have made this same comment before. You’re in between deep sleep and waking up, but your mind is going a mile a minute. Ideas are rushing through your head at lightning speed, and you’re doing your best to hang onto them. This happens to me, too.

Sometimes I can hang onto them, and sometimes I can’t. But one thing I noticed is that most of them aren’t as good as I thought they were when I get up. And then I’m annoyed that I couldn’t sleep.

I am not a morning person. I never have been and I probably never will be. Ask my family. They’ll tell you what a treat I am in the morning. But the crazy thing about that is that I have to get up early. Between the kids and the dogs, sleeping in is incredibly rare. And during the week days, I’m up before 5:00 am four days a week so I can work out.

Granted, the boys are getting old enough now that they can keep themselves entertained and get their own breakfasts, so I don’t have to worry about them as much. But the dogs, they’re a different story. They can’t let themselves out or get their own food.

I feel like I’m getting a little better about being up in the morning. As long as no one talks to me unless I talk to them first, we’re good. And since I know I have to be up, I pep talk myself that it’s going to be an amazing day. I try to be tolerable in the morning. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

My days start early, and I’ve tried to adapt. But some days start even earlier with my brain working overtime. I’ve gotten some great story ideas when my brain does this, but more often than not, the ideas it comes up with are terrible. They’ll be fantastic at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, but when I’m fully awake and think them through, they’re awful.

There have been a few times when I thought I had a fantastic idea for a story that portrayed itself so vividly in my brain. All the details were there, how the words will form on the page, the opening lines. Then I wake up and think about them and realize the idea was my brain re-enacting a movie I watched or another story I had read that day. That’s really disappointing.

I’ll have hilarious ideas for Tweets to post the next day, but when I wake up, they’re not so funny. In fact, some of them are just confusing, and I question my unconscious brain. Does it really have that bad of a sense of humor?

But then there are other times when it works out in my favor. Life After the Undead was created after a moment like this. Ideas for promotion have come to me in my half-awake brain. I appreciate that my mind is constantly working and helping me become better, but sometimes I wish it would do it when I was awake.

Zombie T-shirts Anyone?


My amazing and talented friend created the following for me.

And I’m putting it on t-shirts. There are two ways to get one:

1. Purchase it outright for the low price of $18 (includes shipping within the U.S. International will be more and will depend on where it needs to be shipped to—contact me for details).

The order form is on the right. Fill out all required information and send payment for the shirt.

2. Purchase one of my zombie books and show me proof of purchase. Email a photo of you and the book (electronic or print) to pembrokesinclair at hotmail dot com

Easy peasy. Now, who wants a shirt?

I will be taking orders until September 13th so that I can get them printed and out by the end of the month. Sooooo share with your friends and be part of the cool club!