2015 is here, and I’m back

2014 was a long year. Fortunately, it’s over now, and it can’t bother me anymore.

This means 2015 will be the year of awesome. Thanks for sticking with me!

Here’s what’s cooking:

Zombie Bedtime Stories:

I’m hoping to release at least two of these in 2015. I’ve already started work on part 5.

The ABACUS Protocol:

At long last, the first book (re-named to The ABACUS Protocol) is now live! I’m hoping to release parts 2 (already written) and 3 later this year.

A new project: Reunion!

Fellow Zombie author Jack Wallen and I have started a new collaborative project: Reunion. Part 1 was released last week. This will be a serial novella, with new parts released every 2-3 months.

I’ll be posing more about each of these projects in the upcoming week. Stay tuned!

Breaking up with my publisher, and getting back on track

I did it. Sanity Vacuum’s rights have reverted to me, after the expiration of my publishing contract. This is alright with me, for a number of reasons.

 

  1. I like the control of being indie. The Zombie Bedtime Stories have always been self-published. It’s crazy fun, I love the independence and the fact that I’m the one who gets the final say. I say when it’s done, when it’s good enough, and when another human being can read it.
  2. Publishing with a publisher makes sense for some people. However, I have a good job and can front the production and marketing costs of a book.
  3. Vision. I have a very clear idea of where my stories are going, and what elements I will include or exclude. I seldom (never) appreciate input that I don’t ask for in the creation process.

To me, these are all very good reasons. The final severing still felt like a bit of a breakup. I knew it was what I wanted (okay, needed), but the transition from “published” to “formerly published” was still there. I got over it in a day, though. My internal monologue told me to get over it and get back to work. Very helpful, isn’t it? Still got my street cred, for however long that’s meaningful for.

So, what does this mean for The ABACUS Protocol?

I’m re-releasing Sanity Vacuum, hopefully by mid-November. I’m giving it a final pass now that the remastering project is finally finished. There are a few things I wanted to polish up. A bit more universe detail, and improving the overall descriptiveness of the text are on the agenda. There’s also an amazing new cover, but I’m not quite ready to show it to the world just yet.

It’s going to be Sanity Vacuum, the way it was intended to be. Next up will be The Pandora Machine. It’s all written, I just need to clean it up before sending it to an editor.

But, I need your help. I’m having a blog tour in November, and I really need hosts! Please consider signing up to be a host with this nifty form I made.

Want to know when the re-release is? Members of my mailing list always get it first! (Spoilers: be on the lookout for a print version of the Zombie Bedtime Stories! Coming by popular demand.)

Announcing Bedlam’s release: Meet Samantha Henderson (character interview)

Bedlam is finally available for purchase at Amazon and Smashwords. Happy day! Thank you to my editor, proofreader, army of awesome beta readers, and my awesome boyfriend for making it happen. I’d also like to thank my cats, because they’re fuzzy and cute. I’m also getting great feedback on the cover art. James at Go On Write does my covers now, and he’s amazing. I’d also like to thank my day job, because they’re so great and supportive of this whole writing thing I do.

I’ve decided to interview Samantha “Sammie” Henderson, the protagonist of Bedlam. She’s got quite the story to tell. One thing I’ve noticed is that we’re all the heroes of our own stories. Samantha is no exception.

Thea: Tell us about your job. Why would you want to put down riots for a living?
Samantha: Well, I specialize in Compliance Studies. Is this going to get back to the Captain?
Thea: I won’t tell him if you don’t.
Samantha: Hmm. Well, we do put down riots. But, we do a lot of good and protect lots of innocent people! Before all this craziness began, I was looking for lost kids during a school evacuation. Rioters like to take hostages in schools, you know. So we do more than just look scary and spray down crowds with pacification chemicals.
I always wanted to protect people. You know during the Second Revolt of 2025, about a decade ago? My parents were lost during that. I don’t want to let that happen to anyone else. That’s why I do what I do.
Thea: Why not do something else?
Samantha: It’s not like I could get into art school with no parents or family to act as collateral. You know how it is, your family needs money if you want to go to school at all. Plus, I don’t want to do the mandatory genetic augmentation the rest of the military has. I don’t want to stop being me. So, that left retail or the Peacemakers. Let’s just say I have a face for radio and leave it at that.

Thea: What do you do when you’re not in duty?

Samantha: I run. It sounds silly, I guess, but the world makes sense when I’m out there. Our base is quite large, and I know all the trails. I’m not sure what happened to my bunk mates, but we used to do movie night and hang out. I really miss them.

Thea: There were many missing people after that. How did you survive that first terrible day?

Samantha: I’m honestly not sure. I just stuck to my training and improvised when necessary. Just good luck. I don’t really want to talk about it again.

Thea: What worries you the most about what happened?

Samantha: The rioters were crazy! Nobody should be capable of quartering a grown man with their bare hands, right? I don’t think it’s happening just here, either. I tried calling my brother, and he doesn’t answer. I left him so many messages, at least until I used up my credits. I hope he finds a way to get in touch. The phones are dead now, so it’s like the outside world just vanished.

Thea: If you could do anything, what would it be?

Samantha: I’d paint, I think. I liked art in high school. I definitely wouldn’t be a model or a basketball player.

Thea: How do you get through the day?

Samantha: I just take it one day at a time. My contract is up in three years, so I’ll see where that takes me. If there’s a world left to go back to, at least. Maybe it could even be better than the one we had, once we’re done cleaning it up.

As for surviving, I just listen to my training, and keep myself and my comrades safe. I hope we can rescue some people soon. At least I have a giant stone wall to live behind. They have nothing!
So, that’s Samantha. She kicks zombie butt and takes zombie names. Pick up the Zombie Bedtime Stories if you love zombies, and stories about the people surviving them.
Now, get yourself back to the Indie Block Party:
Indie block party small

Introducing the latest Zombie Bedtime Story: Bedlam #IndieBP

I have a very special project that I’d like to share with you. My most advanced work in progress is named Bedlam. It’s the fourth part of my bloody and unique Zombie Bedtime Stories. It’s been almost two years in the making, and it finally is making its debut on August 22, 2013. That’s in 3 days.

Let’s roll that cover:

Bedlam cover

Bedlam cover

The idea for Bedlam came to me when I was fleshing out the overall plotline of the Zombie Bedtime Stories. I didn’t just want to write a ton of random zombie shorts. I wanted a persistent, shared universe with recurring characters and a beginning, end and middle point. I mostly pants the stories, with unexpected (and hilarious) results. I know one or two things that have to happen, and I make the rest up as I go along. I’ve tried making outlines, but I ignore them because I’m a force of chaos.

Bedlam marks the end of the beginning. It’s the last story where a new character is introduced, and contains the last pieces of worldbuilding. Now, the stage has been set and we know (or have heard of) all the players. There are 8 total stories planned for ZBS, and a novel to finish it off. I’m hoping to have it all wrapped up sometime during 2015.

I always try give something of myself to my writing. In this case, Samantha was bullied mercilessly as a child, much like I was. We share a love of running, and both want to do what’s right. The story itself is as much about Samantha’s inner struggles and doubts as it is about the zombies. I wanted to put a human angle into a character in an inhuman, savage situation.

Now, for the blurb:

Corporal Samantha Henderson is a member of the Peacemakers—an organization devoted to putting down the riots that plague their nation’s cities. When what starts out as routine guard duty at an elementary school quickly turns bizarre and bloody, Samantha finds that her life is turned upside down.

Citizens have gone into a berserk killing frenzy, dismembering her comrades with ease. Samantha is the only soldier who makes it back to base alive. With her friends missing and only Captain Remus McIntyre for guidance, can Samantha survive the zombie apocalypse? More importantly, can she protect the weak from their enemies—human or otherwise?

Want more? I’ve got a first paragraph for you, too!

“I want my Mommy.” The girl clinging to Corporal Samantha Henderson’s hand choked back sobs, and looked up at her. She couldn’t be more than seven, and her pale blue eyes were bloodshot and brimming with tears. Samantha had been part of a squad assigned to evacuate this large inner city elementary school. She didn’t know if they were going to escape before the rioters closed in, but Samantha was determined to do her duty and get as many kids out as possible. The school was a decaying, squalid building—a leftover relic of the baby boom nearly a century before. The grey hallway dragged on ahead of them, only punctuated by the shadows of closed classroom doors and the occasional splash of children’s art projects. Samantha sucked in a deep breath as she enjoyed hearing the pounding of her boots on the cold granite floor. The echoes gave her the illusion of power and control, when in reality her stomach gnawed around the chill of uncertainty.

#Zombie Bedtime Stories: Bedlam excerpt!

Hello world! I’ve been working diligently on polishing my latest offering — Bedlam. I’m very excited to finally be ready to share a short excerpt. If you like what you read, please consider joining my mailing list. I’ll be sharing members-only coupons, promotions, contests, and (especially) first dibs on my works post-release. Let’s roll the cover again:

Bedlam cover

Bedlam cover

 

“I want my Mommy.” The girl clinging to Corporal Samantha Henderson’s hand choked back sobs, and looked up at her. She couldn’t be more than seven, and her pale blue eyes were bloodshot and brimming with tears. Samantha had been part of a squad assigned to evacuate this large inner city elementary school. She didn’t know if they were going to escape before the rioters closed in, but Samantha was determined to do her duty and get as many kids out as possible. The school was a decaying, squalid building—a leftover relic of the baby boom nearly a century before. The grey hallway dragged on ahead of them, only punctuated by the shadows of closed classroom doors and the occasional splash of children’s art projects. Samantha sucked in a deep breath as she enjoyed hearing the pounding of her boots on the cold granite floor. The echoes gave her the illusion of power and control, when in reality her stomach gnawed around the chill of uncertainty.

 

Like it? Want another teaser? Let me know in the comments. Your command is my wish, dear reader!

I’m back! #Zombie Bedtime Stories: Bedlam cover reveal!

Greetings! I have returned from the dead. What a year it’s been! I finished my degree (physics), got my driver’s license, worked two jobs and still made time to trudge through edits. Expect to see a great deal more of me in the upcoming weeks! I have a great deal more free time. I’m cleaning up Sanity Vacuum for an October re-release, soon to be followed by The Pandora Machine.

Now, for some news! Bedlam (Zombie Bedtime Stories #4) is with my crack team of proofreaders and beta-readers. What does this mean? Well… hopefully, by mid-August, you’ll have a fresh zombie story. Bedlam is the story of Corporal Samantha Henderson. The story is action-packed, and by far my best work to date.

Here’s a little lead-up to the story. Stay tuned for the excerpt!

Corporal Samantha Henderson takes her job as one of the Peacemakers—riot control specialists—very seriously. When she’s asked to search an elementary school for lost kids by her commander, Captain Remus McIntyre, she does so with a smile. The situation is unclear, but her faith in the Captain is unwavering. He’ll find a solution, and this riot will soon be over…

Bedlam cover

Bedlam cover

Want to be the first to know what Bedlam hits the shelves? Sign up for my brand-spanking new email newsletter, and find out before everyone else! All of the cool kids are doing it.

Sanity, Pandora, Zombies and You (me)

It’s been a while, and I figured that when in doubt, give updates!
Sanity Vacuum (if that will be its final name. Probably, I can’t think of anything better) is getting its final facelift before being shipped back to the editor. I am starting to feel really proud of my scifi bundle of madness. The characters have a fascinating dynamic. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say it’s so me. quIRKy, weird and maybe a little thought-provoking. I’m allowed to have a deeper meaning to it all mixed in somewhere, right?

Moving right along, as my 8th and 9th grade math teacher would say.

Sanity Vacuum has a baby sequel! Junior, titled The Pandora Machine, currently weighs in at almost 52000 words. It’s decidedly dark–that’s how I like it–and the characters get taken for a wild ride. They face betrayal, deceit, conceit, unlikely allies and it only makes them stronger. I’m almost done the skeleton first draft. Then, I’ll add a few chapters here, give a character or two a sex change there, make sure their names are spelled properly. You’ll see, it will be nice. I’m glad I’m still editing Sanity Vacuum while I write this, I like adding my forwards and backwards foreshadowing, Easter eggs and other fun.

Lastly:

You want zombies? I got your zombies, right here! Bedlam is written, and as soon as Sanity Vacuum gets out of edits, the latest Zombie Bedtime Story goes under my knife. It’s the most gruesome and dark piece I’ve written to date. (Well, it might be tied with The Pandora Machine. I’m not quite sure. They’re both depraved, in different ways.) Zombies, a crisis of morality. The choice between duty and your own humanity.