Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blogging A to Z, Q is for Questions about Zombies

By Pembroke Sinclair

As many of you know, I've always been a huge fan of zombies.  I've enjoyed writing short stories, novelettes, and YA novels about them, along with watching films.  I always wanted to write a nonfiction book about them, but I was never sure what I wanted to write about.  It wasn't until I saw World War Z that it became clear what I needed to do.

One of the biggest questions I asked while working on this book was: What are zombies metaphors for?  Well, fears, of course, but fears of what?  In my case, it became the fear of science.  I am so excited to announce that a draft of the main text of my nonfiction zombie has now been completed.  It has been 9 months since I first started, and I'm nearing the finish line.  It's been an amazing ride.

Here are the chapters that hopefully answer the questions I asked:

Chapter 1: Dissecting and Defining Zombies
We know zombies today as reanimated rotting corpses that have come back from the dead to kill and devour the living, but they have existed in various forms throughout history and have come from different cultures. This chapter looks at the history of the zombie and how it has evolved into the creature we know today. This chapter also explains how zombies become a metaphor for our fears and what role science has played in perpetuating those fears and creating the undead.

Chapter 2: Exotic Zombies
Zombies have long been part of Vodou societies. They are recognized, but not necessarily feared. They are not the flesh-eating monsters we know, but corpses that have been taken from the grave to be used as slaves. The only thing to fear about a Vodou zombie is becoming one.

This chapter will explore the history and social significance of Haitian zombies and how those customs and practices instill a sense of fear in Western culture. By looking at films such as White Zombie, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Serpent and the Rainbow, this chapter will look at the human fear of losing control of their own mind and how “exotic” societies and their practices make us uncomfortable and fearful.

Chapter 3: Zombies from Space
Space is still a strange and unknown area. Before the space program kicked off and sent astronauts and probes to discover what was out there, only the limits of the imagination could explain what existed in the vastness. Scary and harmful things could be up there and come to Earth. What if in our explorations we discover something long dormant that wants to kill us? Worse yet, what if those things wake the dead? This chapter will explore the fear of the undead coming from space by looking at films such as Night of the Living Dead and Ghosts of Mars.

Chapter 4: Playing God
Science has given us a lot of advancements. They have worked hard to eradicate disease and improve the quality of life through the foods we eat and the medicine we take. It’s possible they have even searched for a way to defeat death. But are these things science should be messing around with? Should they have the ability to genetically modify food, even if it improves nutrition and sustainability? Is it possible that these advancements will mess with the natural order and create havoc with evolution? This chapter will look at the fears associated with science play God and how frightening it can be if their creations get out of hand.

Chapter 5: Pandemic Zombies
There was a time when plagues would wipe out the vast majority of the population. Until science understood the nature of pathogens, humans were at the mercy of the tiny germs. There are still outbreaks, so is there a chance another pandemic could occur? This chapter will look at the history of deadly outbreaks, how they have been combated, and the various ways an epidemic can infect a population.

Chapter 6: Zombies and Water
Water is vital to the survival of the human race. After oxygen, it is the most important element we need to live. It is also vital to the survival of pathogens, and many of them live and infect the water supply. In an industrialized society, we are fortunate to have treatment plants that ensure clean water always reaches our tap, but what if something goes wrong? Communities have been infected through the water supply before. What happens when society no longer exists? How will we be able to get clean water to survive?

This chapter examines the possibility of the zombie outbreak occurring through the water supply and what can be done to combat it. Using films such as Land of the Dead and the TV series The Walking Dead, this chapter also looks at how our society is “civilized” through treatment plants and what we would need to do to survive if they no longer existed.

Chapter 7: Biological Warfare Zombies
A pandemic outbreak of disease is scary enough, but it’s downright frightening to know someone developed and unleashed the disease on an unsuspecting population. While this type of outbreak hasn’t yet occurred, the threat of it happening is very real. This chapter will look at how science can be responsible for destroying the world with a developed biological disease that is used as a weapon.

Chapter 8: Surviving the Zompocalypse
Using various examples from films, this chapter will look at ways in which humans can survive the zombie uprising.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogging A to Z, P is for Poe


 Blogging A to Z - P is for Edgar Allen Poe

I've always been a big horror fan. I still remember the sound of the pendulum creaking in the movie, The Pit and the Pendulum, which I saw in the theater. (It's still one of the scariest movies I saw and scariest story I ever read.) Or .. The Tell-Tale Heart... (read the stories)

Still a favorite... enjoy! (heh,heh)

(Ooh, did you know there's an Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Virginia? They also have a week-long Young Writer's Conference in June.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blogging A to Z, O is for Mini Zombie Toys

Blogging A to Z  - O is for Mini Zombie Toys

Being a miniatures collector, I'm attracted to anything small.  I found some fun miniature zombie toys that are irresistible!

Zombie Planet has a set of Mini Tiny Zombie Figures- plain and painted... I thought, oh the possibilites since they're only 1.5 inches high! 

and then I found this:

Box O Zombies!  (from Chicago)  ($7.99 a set) They come in a pale purple plastic and a sickly neon green that you can paint. Fun, fun! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blogging A to Z, N is for New Zombie Magazine

Blogging A to Z --- N is for New Zombie Magazine

Okay... somewhat new to me.  I remember hearing of this earlier and lost track...

Zombie Rising is a digital magazine now on its third issue. ($3.99 single issue, $12.99, 12 months on iTunes. See Apple store page.)

With posters, interviews, etc. 

And.... get a free issue download too!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blogging A to Z, M is for Blood Moon, Lunar Eclipse

I got up last night at 1 a.m. and luckily it was a clear night. to watch the first "Blood Moon" Lunar Eclipse. 

So eerie when the earth is passing over the moon's face and it is bright like daylight, the geese were squawking by the lake.

Then it was so dark I couldn't get a better image. It looked like an orange ball in the sky. When I looked at the earlier stage it was a darker orange.  (This pic is highlighted a bit) (Watch the actual event below on Griffith Observatory video)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blogging A to Z, L is for Lovely Sci Fi Book Cover!

Blogging A to Z --- L  is for Lovely Sci Fi Book Cover!

This is truly beautiful and worth a look! 

As I've mentioned before, we all write in different genres. I shared previously about my story, "The Songbird's Search" coming out soon in the anthology, Athena's Daughters, from Silence in the Library.

Interestingly, as part of the Kickstarter funding, original art was commissioned for the print version.

And here it is! Isn't it great??

The cover reflects the beautiful women represented in the various stories.

The art features Athena, (of course!), along with women from all walks of life, including a historical figure like Amelia Earhart and Bee, whose flight suit brings to mind NASA and space travel, reflecting the introduction by former NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Pam Melroy, and the story, "Millie," by author and US Marine Corps Pilot Janine K. Spendlove.

The back cover reflects the steampunk/gothic ladies featured in several stories and Mina from Cynthia Ward's story, "Whoever Fights Monsters."

There is also an Amazonian river goddess from Jean Rabe's story, "Visage" and an older, physically handicapped woman (who happens to be a superhero), representing Sherwood Smith's character in "Commando Bats."

Then there is a contemporary figure resembling an everyday working woman based on Gail Z. Martin's character in "Retribution."

This is the  eBook version, along with the wonderful art portrait of my character Marietta from my story, "The Songbird's Search."  Read an excerpt of my story. 

This is such a great project, with stories from all different genres.  I can't wait to read it! (And even better - for once I'm not listed last because my last name starts with a V! ha!)

(** NOTE: There is an open call to female authors for the  Athena's Daughters II anthology from June 1 to July 1. Stories (sci fi, fantasy, horror and sub-genres) must have a main female character and be 3,000 to 6,000 words. See full guidelines at above link.)  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blogging A to Z, K is for Zombie Killers

Blogging A to Z  - K is for Zombie  Killers 

by Christine Verstraete

If you're going to write about zombies, then you not only can't be squeamish, but you have to figure out how to kill then.

Not a pretty topic, for sure, but a necessary one, especially if your character is in the thick of an apocalyptic situation. You can't leave them defenseless, right?

So, what to use? Many authors like the hack 'em up approach, using knives, machetes and anything that chops and cuts. The bloodier the better.

  My fellow GirlZombieAuthor Karina Fabian's series beginning with NEETA LYFFE, ZOMBIE EXTERMINATOR is pictured with a chainsaw. But Karina also has a way of attacking her subject with humor. I mean zombies, zombie exterminators and a Survivor-like game show? How can you not laugh?

In GIRL Z: MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE, I confess to being much more subtle. As my character Becca is a teenager, she's thrown into the zombie world via an accidental scratch. And because the virus has mutated, she herself turns part-zombie.

That doesn't mean she can't--and won't--do what she can to fight the full Zs (zombies) to protect herself and her family.

But while she does shoot or strike out when needed as protection, she also uses unconventional weapons like poisoned paintballs. My goal was to tell her story, sharing how she adapts and survives, not on making her ultra-violent.

She struggles with being what she is and what they are, at one point even hesitating when confronted with the most unlikely of subjects -- grandma zombie. One of my favorite passages.

Here's the excerpt again from GIRL Z: MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE:

An old lady Z in a ratty housecoat, the puffs of hair left on half of her head still sporting pink curlers, her mouth ringed with blood like she'd missed while applying her lipstick, limped toward us from the opposite direction.

She stumbled along, taking mincing steps in dirty pink slippers. A small plastic handbag dangled from a chain around her arm. I watched her progress, unable to shake the thought of somebody's grandma heading to a tea party before she went missing.

Carm's poke at my arm barely registered, my focus solely on Grandma Z shuffling along. "Bec? You good?" my cousin asked.

I shook my head, but didn't trust myself to answer. My eyes blurred and got a little moist. I'd never expected this sudden stab of emotion. Up until now the Zs hadn't bothered me, but this little old lady was different. She could've been anybody's charming little grandma who unfortunately had somehow become infected.

I couldn't do it. Not this time.

As if she sensed my hesitation, Grandma Z gave another little growl and reached for me with chubby hands, her fingers pocked with rot, bits of bone sticking out. I stared at her and screamed when Carm pushed me aside. "Bec, watch out!"

Carm pumped her gun, the paintballs hitting the senior Z full in the face. She made mewing sounds like a baby and grabbed at her dripping flesh.

It was too much for me. I averted my gaze. The sight of her agony and the reality of her body falling to pieces bothered me like it never had before.