The next big thing – Zombie Bedtime Stories news

I’ve been thinking of my naming scheme. Back when the series was in its infancy the “Locked” theme made sense, but as I expanded the series and the ideas behind it, the limits to which I can effectively use the titles are strained. After Deadlocked, I have one more “Locked” title upcoming, but the rest are all changing. I think it gives me a bigger degree of freedom. The first three stories (The Locked Series) set the stage, and the rest of the stories build on them.

Want to know what the next three stories are?

#4: Bedlam (Formerly Lock and Load)

#5: Cabin Fever (formerly Locked Up)

#6: Inter Inferis (formerly Locked On)

Especially in the case of story #6, the Locked title wasn’t really appropriate to the story. Plus, the new ones sound way cooler.

In writing news: Deadlocked is coming along. I’m getting close to the end. For some reason, Locked Out practically wrote itself, and Deadlocked is much more challenging. I want it completed before NaNoWriMo starts, because I need to take that month off from ZBS, so I can work on something different.

Science fiction.

A new Bite Sized Zombie Story, Zombie Pride is here!

Today was either objectively terrible and great. Terrible because of circumstances entirely out of my control. Great because I had a very productive day with respect to writing.

To cheer myself up, I’ve decided to polish up my latest zombie flash fiction. (with a little help from my friends, of course – get a blog or something so I can properly credit/praise you!) My logic is, if I make somebody smile, I’ll feel good, and to quote the late (and great) Jack Layton:

“My friends: Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.” – Jack Layton

I have to say, those words really inspired me. While I may have no aspirations towards political life, I find these are words to live by. So, even though it feels like my life is falling apart, I know there is hope and I need to stay away from the trap of despair.

But you’re not here to listen to me wax poetic about Jack Layton’s philosophies, or my life. You want some zombies.

Don’t worry, I deliver. This will eventually make its way to Smashwords and Amazon, but I have no cover art as of yet.

Content Warnings: Violence (zombies), mature situations (zombies), may not be suitable for the comedically impaired.

Zombie Pride:

The steering wheel was slick with Rex Parson’s sweat. He was a stout, rotund little man. He wore oversized sunglasses that dominated the upper-half of his face. He was sweating profusely under the hot sun. He was anxious, and excited to do God’s work. He was a preacher in a small town church, and he was known for his strength of faith and conviction that homosexuality could be cured through prayer. As he drove to the city’s first annual Gay Pride parade, he felt a quiver of trepidation in his gut. The blatant immorality had to be stopped, and he was the one who was going to show those vile homosexuals that God was to be feared!

He reflected on the hours he’d spent alone at his computer, researching the complete moral degradation that was present at any Pride event. The images of the men’s perfectly toned, oiled bodies made his heart race, and he’d had trouble looking away from them. He knew the lifestyle was sin, and that it was his place to show the wrongdoers the errors of their ways before they tempted weaker souls. He’d decided to undertake this trip alone. He didn’t want to expose his congregation to this blasphemy. This was his trial, his war against the sordid abyss.

He expected the worst–a celebration of blatant carnality in defiance of God and all his laws. He knew he was the last thing that stood between the average person and acceptance of this abomination. He knew the weak-minded women and children would be easily swayed by the display of rippling, masculine perfection, and they would spread the disease of tolerance and appeasement to the rest of their population. Just as they lead Adam to sin, they would lead society to its secular downfall.

He pulled into an available parking spot about a block from the parade route. He seized his well-worn Bible from the passenger’s seat. He would don the armor of God spiritually, but physically, all he had was the Good Book. He would smite any and all who tried to force temptation upon him! He was the last pure soul.

The harsh sun glistened on his balding head. He saw a woman, her exotic costume’s wings torn and dragging behind her, running from the parade. She didn’t turn to look back. It was a clear sign from God–he was needed here to quell the rampant immortality before more minds fell under the sway of the devil.

He charged to the street corner and looked towards the awesome chaos. Bodies lay trampled in the middle of the streets, and shop windows had been smashed. The bright colors of the parade’s decor were strewn across the ground. Rex stepped over a barely-clothed man’s battered and bloody body. The man grasped at Rex’s leg and Rex kicked his arm away in revulsion as he continued towards the epicenter of the strife. He held his Bible tight against his chest, secure in the belief that God would protect him from evil.

A cacophony of terrorized screams echoed around the buildings, the sounds twisting together to become one harmonic, agonized voice. The symphony of horror was punctuated by ghoulish shrieks and howls. A bloody man wearing only black leather chaps leapt from an alleyway and raced towards Rex. “They’re coming! Run!” the man cried out breathlessly. Rex found himself distracted by the man’s powerful, intimidating physique.

“God will protect me!” Rex uttered with contempt. Clearly, this fear and chaos was divine retribution from God. There was no other explanation.

Rex began walking down the alley. He saw three figures crouched over somebody. Their backs were turned to him and they moved frantically over the fallen man. He knew this was his time. “Sinners! Repent and open your hearts to our Lord, Jesus Christ!” he shouted, speaking with a familiarity gleaned from performing so many prayer sessions for homosexual deviants. He knew exactly what they needed to hear.

The forms stirred in the distance. They turned to face him. They were all women, hair cropped short and dressed in simple jeans and white t-shirts. Under normal circumstances, Rex would have admonished them for abandoning the femininity that was demanded of them, but not this time. As they stood, they revealed the still-twitching body of a man, and they turned their faces, smeared in blood, towards him. They were coated in crimson essence from the neck-down, and it soaked through their t-shirts, which clung to their swaying breasts.

Rex took a step back; his hands trembling as they grasped his heavy Bible. He didn’t know what these demon women were, but he knew it wasn’t of God. “Jesus said:  I am the way, the –” he said, but he was cut off by their infernal howls. He froze. The sound wasn’t natural.

The women ran towards him, leaping over gruesomely disfigured bodies. He raised his Bible; it was the only object he had to defend himself with. One of them pulled ahead of the others. He swung the hefty book, hitting her in the face. She shrieked as she careened into the wall. The others were gaining ground, close behind her. Rex braced himself and readied his Bible for another smite. It had a bloody imprint on it where it hit the first woman’s face.

He swung the book with all his strength, grazing a stocky blonde-haired woman. She leapt for him and her weight knocked them both to the ground. Rex felt his head slam painfully against the pavement, and the impact knocked the wind from his lungs. As he flailed against the formidable strength of his ungodly assailant, his Bible dropped from his left hand. He felt vulnerable and unprotected for the first time in his life.

The second woman, a brunette with large brown eyes dove onto him, immediately sinking her teeth into his exposed throat. Rex tried to scream despite his painfully empty lungs, but he could not. His arms shook, but would not respond to his will. Fear overcame him as the blonde woman shoved her face into his exposed jowls as she tore the flesh from his face. He couldn’t breathe, and the taste of his own blood crept into his mouth through his ruined face. His world turned red with pain, he couldn’t help but ponder: Why has God forsaken me?

 

 

The cycle completes itself – Locked Out is done

But, it’s not here yet. I said Sept 5, and that gives me plenty of time to ruminate on its “doneness.” Plus, I want to read it out loud to myself. It’s a great way to catch stupid typos. I am of the opinion that I need to read everything I want taken seriously aloud, simply because of the proportional relationship between work importance and stupid typos.

In layman’s terms: The more important a document is, the more likely I am to, for instance, write dick instead of disk. I almost turned in a paper with that one. Glad I caught it.

Now that it’s in an almost finished condition, I’m let with the challenge of promoting it. I have some awesome friends who will be thrilled to assist, but I’d love to get some new eyes.

Some of my ideas:

  1. With the monetization of my youtube account, make a video of myself reading Chapter 1. (Yes, it’s long enough to have chapters!)
  2. Post excerpts anywhere that will take them. (This is probably also going to be chapter 1, or part of chapter 2. More would give away parts of the plot.)
  3. Try to get more publicity for both Locked In and Locked Out at once. Build on momentum, or something.
  4. Make more friends. (I’m a likeable girl, this is easy to do.)

It’s hard to call Locked Out a sequel to Locked In, because they have vastly different premises. They share a universe, and the realities are the same. I think they can be read in any order. Right now, I’m telling stories about people who are completely unprepared for the horror that awaits them.

At this time, I have a total of 15 stories planned for Zombie Bedtime Stories. The first two are written, and the third is nearing completion of its first draft. This does not count the Bite Sized Zombies stories I put out occasionally for comic relief.

Trust me, it’s going to be a wild ride. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my list, what you think of the overall premise. I’d even love to hear if you think I’ll finish the series before zombies lose their popularity. (Never!)

Still here, still working!

It’s hard to update when it feels like you’re standing still. I’ve been managing about 400 words/day on Deadlocked. I think it should pick up soon, because it’s approaching what I do best: a bloodbath (or 3, I don’t want to leave my audience unfulfilled.) I’ll just say I have a vivid imagination.

Deadlocked is challenging to write. The character is so jaded, cynical and introspective it’s like writing a villain. I’d compare him to an anti-hero. He’s challenging, complicated and deeply hurt. He wants the world to improve, but knows (even before surprise! zombies!) that it will only get worse.

I think I’ll have the draft done this week. I’m hoping for an early-October release.

I’m also working on another flash-zombie short called Zombie Pride. It continues along the theme of people who deserve to get themselves eaten by zombies in situations that are entirely their fault.

Rolling along again – some new developments

Now that I’ve cleared a backlog of projects, and become considerably more underemployed, I’m free to resume work on what really matters: my writing.

I managed to crank out 800 words on my work in progress, Deadlocked, and I like how the universe is starting to feel. The pre-apocalypse world of Zombie Bedtime Stories is already grim, and each installment adds another shade of grey to the already dark atmosphere. I’ve decided to establish that the series takes place in the not-too-distant future. It begins in June 2035. I wanted technology to be a little more advanced to make some parts of Locked Out and future story arcs more plausible, and I wanted to examine what the world would be like if it were the worst of most worlds. Admittedly, today’s world is already a pretty grim place, but not the worst case scenario by any stretch of the imagination. We also don’t have zombies, which is probably for the best.

I’ve been playing with some horror/bizarre ideas that are not zombie-based. I’m pretty excited with them. I’m contemplating a run of stories that’s based on monsters dredged out of the depths of my subconscious. I want to write something that will make the reader question not only my sanity, but their own, as well.

Cheers, friends!

The Zombie’s Bride – Now on Smashwords!

I got around to cleaning up The Zombie’s Bride, and uploaded it to Smashwords. I’m very fortunate to have a creative and dedicated cover artist. Like my covers? He’s willing to take on work.

Let’s have a look at the picture, both because I really like it, and I want a picture in here.

The Zombie's Bride cover

Isn’t it great?

So, I know you want to read it, you know you want to read it. So read it. It’s free!

I have a few more of these cooking, all featuring protagonists who deserve a zombie apocalypse on their doorstep.

Another day, another draft.

I put in about 7 hours today planning how to implement my mom’s suggestions and edits into my manuscript for Locked Out. Tomorrow I get to spend several more hours inputting it all, but I think the story is that much deeper and more enjoyable because of it.It’s also going to gain at least 1000 words, perhaps closer to 2000.

My struggle against writer’s block met with a small victory. I managed 300 words before burning out, completing the first chapter of Deadlocked. I hope I can feel more inspired tomorrow. Being behind on my arbitrary and made-up deadlines really gets on my nerves.

One thing I’ve noticed is that for every hour of writing, I spend about 3-4 hours editing. In addition to this, contrary to almost anything I’ve read is that I gain words when editing rather than paring a manuscript down. Maybe I’m just really bad at remembering what readers want to know? Locked In went from 4.1k to 6.2k, which is a huge gain.

I’m simultaneously fired and awesome, so that’s all for tonight.

The Zombie Walk and this week’s goals

This is a little late, but life has been too hectic and dramatic for my tastes. Fortunately, it’s calming down.

Goals for this week: 5k words into Deadlocked. If I receive edits for Locked Out, input those and edit more. So far I’m about 100 words into Deadlocked. I need to step up my game. They’re 100 damn good words, though. Deadlocked is where I really begin getting into the back story of the series and begin to develop the universe. I’ve decided on a coherent storyline that goes to about a total of 15 short stories and novellas. It’s going to be a fun, crazy ride. It’s an apocalypse like no other. Let’s just say that.

Today I went for a long bike ride in high humidity and heat-wave level weather. I can feel muscles growing on my muscles. The last few blocks were brutal, I could barely keep moving. I feel strangely refreshed and invigorated, so that’s a good thing.

And here are some pictures from the Montreal Zombie Walk. We have yet to edit the video for YouTube due to drama. Stay tuned.

The Zombie’s Bride – Comedic Zombie Flash Fiction

Today I decided to hammer out that flash fiction I’ve been dreaming of. I’m into the idea of having unlikable people getting eaten by zombies because of their own faults. This flash story exists in the same universe as Zombie Bedtime Stories (a very familiar character from Locked In is mentioned!), but are self-contained and no foreknowledge of the series is needed to enjoy them.

In other news, Locked Out (ZBS2) has been sent off for editing at my super secret editing factory (thanks Mom), and Deadlocked (ZBS3) has been outlined and writing will commence shortly.

And now, for my first installment of Bite Sized Zombies: The Zombie’s Bride:

Content warning: Foul language and gore.

Edit 08/19/2011: I have a version free on Smashwords and Kindle (this one isn’t free, it will be once they auto-price match to Smashwords. I can’t set it to be free directly or I would have!). It is much cleaner than the below version (I cleaned up a lot of the typos and goofs). Check it out if it’s easier for you.

Julia pursed her lips as she stared into the mirror. She couldn’t get her earrings to hang right. She couldn’t believe after how much she’d spent on them that they couldn’t even point down properly. She pouted and turned to her maid of honor, Sarah “Oh my God these earrings are going to ruin my whole wedding!” she said. Julia had spent weeks and more money than her credit cards would allow on this, and it had to be perfect! She had even joined a gym and worked hard so she could squeeze into the largest size her dream wedding gown would come in.

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Everything is going to ruin your wedding. First the cake, then you needed to lose fifty pounds, then the bridesmaids not wanting to wear those hideous blue and turquoise horizontal striped dresses. Get over it already! Ugh.” Sarah was awkward – tall and skinny.

“I want to be the most beautiful girl at my own wedding, is that so much to fucking ask?” Julia snorted, her wide, flat nose flared.

“I want to be able to show people those pictures!”

“Then find a man who will spend more than one night with you and get married you dumb slut.” Julia looked forward to not having to spend as much time with Sarah. She only put up with her because she made her look graceful, and because her first choice had vanished from the face of the Earth.

“You are such a fat cow. I bet he cheats on you within a year.” Sarah stuck out her tongue. Julia lamented having to replace Haley as her maid of honor, but she stopped answering her phone at the last minute. At least her dress fit Sarah. While she hated Haley for being a too-good perfect girl who had the audacity to be good looking and have a handsome boyfriend, at least Haley never called her fat.

“God you are such a bitch, I think -” she began, cut off by her ringing phone. She answered it while Sarah rolled her eyes like a petulance child. “What?” It was her fiancé. He told her there had been a fight at his bachelor party, and he and his friends had been attacked by a crazed person on the street.

“What the fuck is wrong with you! You know it’s bad luck for us to be together or even talk before the wedding! You’re ruining this for me! You’re ruining our marriage and our relationship and how could you be so fucking stupid?” Julia screamed into the phone. She watched as Sarah giggled. Of course she wouldn’t understand real love.

“Well, I thought you might want to know. We need to go to the hospital and -” He said as  he stammered into the phone.

“You are not postponing our wedding after I have worked this hard! You’re not going to ruin this again, I don’t care, you will be there or I will never forgive you!” Julia slammed down the phone. “Can you believe that dick? He wanted to postpone the ceremony because his friend got bitten by a crazy woman.”

Sarah only laughed.

~

The next morning she woke up feeling bloated from all the chocolate she’d eaten to comfort herself. Wedging herself into her dress was an insurmountable challenge. Eventually, she crammed herself into the tight gown and waited while her hair, makeup and other grooming was done to perfection. Even her earrings hung right. She waited for her father to arrive with his Cadillac to take them to the scenic lake they’d reserved for the ceremony. She waited. He arrived on time.

“How could you not be early, Dad? You’re going to ruin it all!” she said, annoyed at how inconsiderate he was.

“Sorry, darling. I know it’s your special day” He said, his voice quiet and thoughtful. He checked the time, and she realized his timing was perfect.

“Oh I’m sorry, Daddy. You know how much I love you, right?”

“Of course I do sweetie.” He returned to driving, and watched the road in silence.

They came up to the lakeside resort. Balloons floated from the fence posts along the way. Julia wasn’t impressed. She remembered asking for foil balloons, not little kid birthday balloons! They turned the corner, and she screamed. “This place is a mess! It’s all ruined!” The decorations had been ripped down, picnic tables and chairs were overturned and the windows of the lodge were broken. “Oh my God Daddy, what happened?”

“I don’t know sweetie. Stay in the car, I’m going to make some calls.” He brought the car to idle by the road and took out his phone. Julia sat and stared out the window. A figure moved, and caught her eye. It was John, her fiancé. He was wearing a white tuxedo, and faced the water. Enraged, she unlocked the door and stepped outside. “Darling, no!” her father said.

“It’s okay Daddy, I see John and I am going to get an explanation for this right now!” She hurried out the door and slammed it shut, jamming her long white dress in the door. “Oh fuck not my dress!” Julia cried as she opened the door and pulled the dress out. A long black grease stain marred the dress’ white silk. She marched towards the lake. Rage emanated from her pores. This was all John’s fault! “John you dumb fucker! You ruined my special day! How could you let it get like this!”

John turned to face her. His face was pale, and blood was smeared all over his face. His beautiful white tuxedo was coated in drying blood, already turning brown. “Oh my God, I told you we are not having a stupid theme wedding. And we have to return that tux! What were you thinking?”

There was no reply, only a loud, inhuman scream. He ran towards her, mouth agape. She took a step back and fell prone onto her back. She rolled from side to side, trying to get traction to right herself. Her dress tore. “You bastard you made me ruin my dress!” Julia screamed as she threw her hands in front of her face.

He crashed into her, mouth wide and teeth bared. He smelled of blood. Chunks of meat were stuck between his teeth. “Daddy help me!” she yelled. Pain overwhelmed her and John tore into her chest just below her collarbone. She tried to push his head away, but her efforts proved futile. He was too strong. She could see the best man running towards them along the beach, like a knight ready to save her. “Help me Sean!”

Sean looked at her and screamed as John ripped another chunk of flesh from her chest. Sean didn’t stop; he pounced on her like an animal. “No! Stop!” she said as she wheezed another breath. The corset wasn’t letting her breathe! She heard her father calling to her in the distance. Sean tore a chunk of flesh from her throat. A spray of blood soaked the sand and her white dress. Her arms went weak.

John leaned in and tore the flesh from her round cheeks. Tears streamed down her face and mixed with the flows of blood from her wounds. She was so dizzy and tired. The mouthfuls of flesh they hewed from her didn’t hurt anymore. The betrayal did.

Before everything went black, her last thoughts were about how John ruined her special day.

I’m a published reviewer!

Subject says it all. A little later on in the month I’ll be getting the print version, but for now some of my content is online.

Check out my review of 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived.

Getting published in print as a reviewer was one of my goals for this year. I’m glad I got there.

Inputting edits on Locked Out. I feel like my eyes are going to melt out of my skull. I want to get that done by sometime tomorrow so I can send it to people who are good at pointing out crap I miss. I also jotted down some notes for some funny zombie flash.