Monday, September 30, 2013

Don't be a zombie - review that book!

 Yes, it's the thing we all love and/or hate to get - reviews.

Why care? Well, they help other readers decide; they help with ranking on Amazon.

I'm grateful for the good ones that readers so far have given to GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie...

Of course, I know there are lots more people who read the book, who said they liked it, and haven't gotten around to doing their reviews, so a gentle reminder! (If you're not a zombie, please do yes do review it!. haaa!)

** Here are the links to review at:  Goodreads --- --- Amazon UK  ---- B & N  (See? Easy! And thank you!) **

(* Download the prologue and chapter 1)

Okay.... so, what are the readers saying?  Some tid-bits:

"..I really enjoyed this story by Ms. Verstraete because it is so different from so many other zombie stories which look at a more serious form of the disease...dead people walking around trying to eat the living and the living trying to kill the walking dead. this story we see a teenager living with a disease that is not fully understood and also trying to be just a teenager..." - Denise on Goodreads and Amazon (5 stars!)

"...GIRL Z is a different type of zombie apocalypse story, especially recommended for fans of the genre!" - Midwest Book Review. * Read the rest - Fantasy/SciFi Shelf, Small Press Bookwatch   (Book also included in the Cengage Learning-Gale interactive CD-ROM series “Book Review Index” )

"I found this book to be very interesting and well written. It kept my interest until the very last page...   I enjoyed how it showed what Becca was feeling and thinking. You could really tell how she was feeling about being a zombie and how it was changing her on the inside and outside." - Emily, age 16, at LitPicks - 5 stars

  " ...If you've read as many zombie books as I have (I believe I'm up to about 60 now) you may be getting that "been there, done that" feeling. I can guarantee that you will NOT have those feelings with this book. If you're looking for a fresh, fun, and fast-paced New zombie book, download, Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie! I firmly believe you will not be sorry you did so..."  - Reader Joline on Amazon
"GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie brings teenaged angst to an entirely new level when 16-year-old Becca is infected with a zombie virus and becomes one of the living dead...
   "Still sentient and able to control the whole flesh-eating cravings, Becca struggles to find her place in a world where some of the dead eat the living while others try to fit into their old lives, only to be met by hostility and fear from former friends and family.
    "Written from Becca's point of view, we get a narrow and very realistic view of this chaotic new world from a self-absorbed teenager's tunnel vision. A very fun and readable introduction to a new series!"  --Dana Fredsti, author of Plague Town & Plague Nation, sword fighter, and actress in Army of Darkness.

“...You can actually look at this story as a parable about the teenage condition. An orderly life is upended by forces and urges that are difficult to control. People you trust can turn on you, and sometimes you feel like you’re going to die. Yep, that’s being a teenager.
  “...Verstraete, whose background runs from journalism to designing one-twelfth scale dollhouse rooms, has come up with a clever way of telling her story from a zombie point of view without sinking to the “Hungry…eat…BRAIINNSSS!” level.... With Girl Z, Verstraete has shuffled to the head of the zombie-lit horde...” – Terrance Mc Arthur, Kings River Life Magazine,

"....The story is well written and the timing throughout the story is just right.  As a fan of anything ZOMBIE related, I can truly say that this novel is a much needed “Breath of fresh air”! - Dina B. Reed, "zombie" actress,  One Last Sunset

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Zombie Gifts for Animal Lovers

Something for everyone! Some fun things I came across... I'm cracking up as except for the flamingo, I've never seen the others. So funny!!!

 * Lawn look bare? How about a Zombie Flamingo? haaa! Love it!

 * You know those fake parrots you see at the Ren Faire?
Well, now you can beat that with yes, a zombie parrot!

* Even funnier! Oh, this is great.
You know those dressed-up geese sitting on someone's front step?
 Well, how about this zombie goose! No outfit needed either!

Friday, September 27, 2013

With Deepest Apologies

I am so sorry for not being able to put up a zombie post this week.  These edits are my entire existence right now.  Every spare moment is spent getting this manuscript ready for publication.  I should be done by this weekend, then I can get back to my normal schedule.

One more week, I promise!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five Facebook Pages for the Zombie Afficionado

Facebook and Zombies!  No, I don't mean that undead state we achieve while clicking on "likes" while viewing photos of people's lunches or yet another video of sleeping walruses.  I'm talking about facebook pages where you can get your fill of zombie art and literature, jokes, and even serious science.  It's not just girl zombie authors who get a little...obsessed?...about their topic, after all.  These guys are serious--and a lot of fun:

ZNN:  ZNN stands for Zombie Newz Network. Where you can find like minded people who love zombie culture! Survival to funny pictures we're you're one stop shop!  Lots of pictures, survival tips, weapons of choice.  I'm always amused when it pops up on my news feed.

Zombies:  Visit us @ - Zombify Yourself @ - Add or promote your own products @ This site is more entertainment oriented--books and movies, products and comics.

Zombie Research Society:  Show your support for the Zombie Research Society, because what you don't know can eat you! This page supports a company that sells, yep, ZRS stuff.  (If you want to trick out your car with stickers for zombie hunting, they have them.)  You can count on this page for zombie videos, pictures, etc., and they have contests and give-aways of their merchandise as well.

Carter Reid:  Carter is a zombie artist and cartoonist and has a bizarre sense of humor, as you might expect.  I enjoy his status updates, and he reminds you when his latest Zombie Nation cartoon is up.

Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse - Catastrophes and Human Behavior: 
Zombies invade Michigan State University in the groundbreaking course “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse – Catastrophes and Human Behavior"
  Yep, it's a college course about zombies!  Well, not quite.  It's more about how humans behave in a crisis.  However, the students post videos about their own survival experiences.

So, if you don't have enough to waste your time (did I say that out loud?), check out these sites.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Horror Magazines

There seem to be a bunch of new horror magazines coming out. A couple aren't new, but new to me. With short fiction and interviews, there's some good reading, so be sure to check them out! Happy, er, Horrific Reading!!

 Horrified Press of London has two publications - Nightmare Illustrated and Schlock Bi-Monthly.

 (I have a flash story, "Lunch in Dry Gulch" coming out soon in Schlock.)
 * Facebook   * Blog 

*  Dark Discoveries Magazine from Journalstone Publishing has some great interviews and fiction.  Jonathan Maberry is doing a column for them.
 * Nightmare Magazine (online) has fiction and other features. 
Sanitarium Magazine - verse and dark fiction  -  * Blog 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blur (Night Roamers) Excerpt

Although I love writing about zombies, I also have a vampire series (Night Roamers). The first book, Blur, is free and available all over the internet. Here is a steamy excerpt - 

Nathan’s laughter echoed through the darkness. I watched as the guys stepped away from the cabin and headed over to the garage.
“Nothing to be afraid of,” I murmured to myself, staring towards the dark woods.
An owl hooted and I was reminded of some of the scary movies I’d watched with Nathan. An owl hoots and then something sinister usually happens in the next scene. I knew it was just cinema, but I felt a chill in my veins just the same.
My eyes darted quickly from one side of the yard to the other, and my breath caught in my throat as I saw a shadow move across the grass. I looked up into the sky, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.
“Nikki,” whispered a deep masculine voice behind me.
I turned around, but found myself alone. I stood up and backed away from the table, frightened beyond belief. Hot breath brushed against the back of my neck and I whirled around again, this time seeing a blurry haze of movement.
“Oh, my God… Nathan!” I screamed, running into my bedroom. I ran downstairs and threw the front door open. “Nathan!” I yelled, again.
Nathan and Duncan rushed out of the garage towards me.
“What’s wrong?” called Nathan.
“Someone… was… on the balcony,” I gasped, out of breath.
He looked behind me. “Who?”   
I shook my head. “I don’t know. I heard my name and then I felt someone breathing against the back of my neck.”
“Someone’s in the cabin?” Nathan swore, and then rushed past me and towards the house.
Duncan could tell I was pretty shook up and put his arms around me. He stared down into my eyes. “Are you okay?”
I nodded and leaned into him, closing my eyes.
Suddenly, he was ripped from my arms and thrown backwards.
“Duncan!” I screamed as he landed on the ground.
“I’m fine,” he answered with an incredulous look on his face. He got up and began walking back towards me.
There was a flash of movement and he went flying through the air again, much farther this time. As I rushed towards him, I felt something pick me up, and then we were moving like the wind.
“Help!” I screamed in terror. We were going so fast that my head was spinning. The next thing I knew I was lying on the ground and a pair of steely blue eyes held mine.
“We meet again,” whispered Ethan, trailing a cool finger down my cheek.
I was paralyzed as his eyes burned into mine. A familiar yearning spread through my veins and suddenly I wanted him fiercely.
“Sweet Nikki,” he whispered with a small smile. He then licked his lips and lowered them to mine. Suddenly, we were kissing and I felt an urgent need to wrap my legs around him; to surrender myself to whatever he demanded.
“Oh,” I breathed when he removed his mouth and began a hot trail down my neck with his tongue. My entire body was trembling with desire. “Oh, God.”
He chuckled softly against my skin. “Not quite.” 

Monday, September 23, 2013

World War Z Movie Review

Finally got the chance to see the World War Z movie...

Verdict? Yes!

While it did have some slow parts in the beginning, was an obvious vehicle for Brad Pitt, and has nothing to do with the Max Brooks book except in name, (who didn't seem to like it at first), it was nevertheless a decent movie.

Lately, there's been a slew of movies that must've been made for either 1. the actress's/actor's ego 2. or just for a paycheck. You know, those movies that look good in clips and ads on TV and then are BO-RING or just really suck when you watch them at home.

This isn't one of those.

The story isn't bad and there's a couple questionable parts like why all those people are singing in Israel when the zombies are milling outside,(?) but it has some good parts, too. The zombies, in this case, are freaky-creepy-scary and super lightning fast! I definitely will take the traditional, slow, shambling zombie any day!

Most surprising was the "cure" they came up with. I won't say what if you didn't see it yet. Could it work? Maybe, but it still was a different idea to stop, or at least stall, the infection rate.

* Your thoughts? What did you think of the movie?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Festival and Zombies!

Don't forget to stop by the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha if you're in the dairy state today!

I'm on two panels today at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books
1:30 p.m. - Genre in Young Adult Science Fiction
4:30 p.m. - Zombies! with comic book artist Mike Norton

Download a pdf program on this page.

* I'll share news later when I get back!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Zombie Weekend

I finally have a break between editing jobs, so I'm spending the weekend working on the nonfiction book!  I will start it off with a trip to the water treatment plant on Saturday, details to follow next week, then I'll get a section typed up.

At some point, I'm going to watch some movies.  Didn't World War Z come out recently?

It's going to be so very awesome!  Hope you have a great weekend too!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Author Spotlight: Alisha Adkins

Today, we're spotlighting horror writer Alisha Adkins.  Alisha  is the author of Flesh Eaters, Making the Best of the Zombie Apocalypse, Daydreams of Seppuku, and Twisted Tales for Twisted Minds. She is a native of New Orleans and has also lived in Dallas, San Francisco, and Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. Alisha holds a master's degree in education and worked as a secondary English and history teacher for ten years before escaping the profession. She has also worked as a bartender, owned and operated an eBay Powerseller store, acted as a forum moderator for a popular online game, and worked as an educational consultant for a major publishing company. She says she is currently pursuing her dream of writing and quietly starving to death.  Read more about her and her works at

 In New Orleans, the outbreak brings with it carnival carnage, Mardi Gras mayhem, and zombies on parade. Zombie Gras follows the lives of three survivors: a tourist who may never go home, an elderly shopkeeper trying to wait out the zombie apocalypse as if it were another hurricane, and a young man and his girlfriend who conduct volunteer rescues around the city. In this novelette prequel to Flesh Eaters, Alisha Adkins delivers a darkly humorous tale that also serves as a parable, chillingly paralleling the strife wrought by Hurricane Katrina and recognizing the resilience of New Orleans' spirit.

Why write about zombies? 

              I've always been drawn to zombies.  As an archetype, to me they represent loss, defiled memories, and the struggle for survival. 
              But what is most interesting is how people react to them. Their presence strains human relationships, forces characters to adapt to adverse situations, and reveals how easily people can accept formerly taboo behaviors. 
              Zombies are dangerous, but although they may kill you, it won't be with any special cruelty or malice.  Their motivations are basic and transparent.  They're just hungry.  It's the very base of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; you can hardly even blame them for trying to eat us.  The living, on the other hand, are far more devious.  What people are capable of can be truly terrifying.   

It's a human eat human world out there. Adrienne awakens one day to find herself inexplicably thrown into a world populated by the undead and soon learns that, in order to survive, she must adapt by eating the dead -- before they eat her. Assuming the role of protector of an abandoned young boy whom she befriends, Adrienne embarks on a hunt for both survival and meaning, struggling to keep them both alive, remain sane, and to preserve her humanity. Flesh Eaters is an irreverent tale of zombies, cannibalism, and self-consumption. Mixing survival horror with smatterings of postmodernism, existentialism, black humor, and nihilism, Alisha Adkins, in this debut novella, weaves a graphic and disturbing story while also making a stark statement about humanity.

Extreme circumstances dictate extreme behaviors. Nathan cares for his incapacitated zombie mother. Tempest runs dangerous jobs for black market agents while trying to keep ahead of her past. Meeting at a support group for apocalypse survivors, they discover that each may have what the other needs.

What else do you write?  What’s next for you? 
              I write mostly supernatural and psychological horror.  My most recently published book is Twisted Tales for Twisted Minds, which is a collection of short stories.
              My current project, Shadow Schism, is a novel I'm rolling out in serialized form.  It's based around Jungian psychology.  In it, the collective unconscious is dying, and rifts are forming between physical reality and the shadow world.  Shadows are leaking through the cracks, invading our world.  Nick, our protagonist, is an unlikely, and not altogether willing, hero, but when psychoids begin to appear  to him in the form of animal totems, he has no real choice but to listen to them.  He needs to find a way to close the rift between worlds before it's too late.