Friday, January 31, 2014

Shambling Along

Last weekend, I finished chapter 4 of the nonfiction zombie book.  I now have chapters 1-4 and chapter 6 done.  It feels really good.

The next section of the book I need to work on is the part I've kind of been dreading.  It's the part about pandemics and the nature of bacteria and viruses.  I'm sure it will be fine once I get going, but I have to do some research before I can move forward.  I've already started, and I will keep going, but it will slow things down a bit.  I'm thinking I need to change the chapter layout.

This book is really starting to take shape.  I'm excited about the progress I've made, but I still have a lot of work left to do.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zombie New Year's Resolutions

post by Karina Fabian*

1. I will pamper myself.  I will eat more brains.
2. I'll strive to excel.  I will increase my shambling speed.
3. I'll protect myself.  I will learn to duck that chainsaw.
4. I'll care for the environment.  If I drop a body part, I will stop to pick it up.
5. I'll stive to communicate.  Half a jaw is no excuse to not enunciate.
6. I'll improve my intellect.  I'll try to remember more words than "brains" and "aaargh."
7. Humans are friends, not food. 
8. I will pay attention to my appearance.  I'll do my hair each day...until my scalp comes off.
9. I am the next phase of Darwinism.  I'll be more selective of my victims.
10. I will learn to accept myself.  I am undead, but I am beautiful.

*Sorry about my absence lately. I got a new job writing for, and I'm still getting into the swing of a full time job, a near full-time writing career, and blogging!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Let the Zombies get them because...

Nothing like a dumb criminal or someone doing something dumb to get the morning going.

So I offer....

Let the zombies get them since they're too dumb to live because....

Two men  were taken to the hospital with (luckily) minor injuries after pouring gas on a wood burning-stove! Yup, that'll do it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Flash Horror Story coming in The Sirens Call, Women in Horror issue

  Great news! A new flash fiction story, "The Perfect Gifts" will be published in the Feb. Women in Horror issue of The Sirens Call Ezine.

It's a little zombie horror story featuring Spence, the cousin who infected Becca in my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie...

A little tale about how he could be faring, post-zombie....

I just love being able to share a tid-bit and a tiny touch of the macabre in a short little story. These are so much fun to write.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Zombie Plague at Sea?

   It sounds like a fiction nightmare that could become real.

Imagine a huge former cruise ship abandoned and floating out at sea for nearly a year, occupied only by hungry, starving.... rats. Tons of rats. Rats so hungry they begin eating each other.

Now imagine that ship possibly reaching land.. and unleashing its deadly cargo.

Sounds like a Michael Crichton thriller, right?

Well... it could be real, if this story about a ghost ship is actually true. The Soviet-era ship is supposedly floating off the coast of Scotland. It also got reported on CBS News. But... The Smithsonian site, however, says the ship has not yet been sighted and it's not known if any rats are actually aboard. There is a link to a tracker, too.

Not only is the idea of crazed rats coming ashore frightening, but think of the possibilities of the fleas, then actual plague, that could be unleashed.

Now who says truth isn't stranger than fiction? And if anything, it sure would make a heck of  a story.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gospel of the Living Dead

My research has led me to my friend Kim Paffentroth's book, Gospel of the Living Dead.

In it, he uses theology and Dante's Inferno to critique George Romero's zombie films.  It's incredibly fascinating.  So far, the thought that has stuck with me is this:

"It is not bad enough for our band of survivors that they are surrounded by walking corpses who will never go away until they have torn the humans limb from limb and eaten them alive, for on top of this threat, the humans constantly fight amongst themselves.  Without heroic qualities or virtues, our human protagonists are as much a threat to one another as the living dead are to them." (pg. 32).

He is referring to Night of the Living Dead in this passage, but it really applies to any zombie film.  I've always had a vague notion of how the characters interact with one another in the films, constantly fighting both themselves and the zombies, but it never really occurred to me how prominent the in-fighting was until after reading this.  It's almost ridiculous how the humans interact with one another.  And it's not just in Romero's films.  A lot of other zombie flicks also employ this technique.

Now, I realize that humans don't always get along with one another.  But at the same time, a crisis or disaster usually brings out the best in people.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, bombings, they all bring people together to work for a cause and help our fellow human beings.  Yet when it comes to zombies, we are ready to tear each other's throats out.  It's interesting.

Granted, the point of the films is to show how destructive we humans are and how we aren't that much different from the walking dead.  There is a thin line between us and the undead.  We are primal and driven by base desires.  The only difference between us and the zombies is that we have the ability to make a conscious choice not to act like that.  But how often do we make it?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New GIRL Z: Teenage Zombie Interview-Giveaway

Today I'm over at The Cover Contessa blog with an interview and ecopy giveaway of GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. Check it out!

AKC Dog Fiction Contest Deadline

For something different  - if you love dogs and short fiction, the deadline is approaching for the annual AKC Dog Fiction Writing Contest. (No, no zombies likely as these are usually family-oriented, "heartwarming" type stories.)

The story, up to 2,000 words, must feature a purebred or mixed breed dog. (Check the American Kennel Club - AKC site for various breeds you can use.)

Stories have to be - yes,  snail-mailed - and postmarked by Jan. 31.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Great WalkerStalker Con News! Coverage coming soon!

I'm excited to share that I've gotten press credentials for the upcoming WalkerStalker Con in Chicago, March 14-16 in Rosemont, Ill.!!!!

I hope to pre-schedule some interviews and provide coverage while I'm there so stay tuned!

Check out the great guest list so far! (I'm disappointed Scott Wilson (Herschel) had to cancel as he's one of my favorite characters!) It'll still be fun to see who I can talk with, if even for a few minutes!

** Got any burning Walking Dead or other questions, please sub them to me here in the comments or email me via my website

 This is going to be fun!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vote for GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie Cover!

 A cover contest begins today to January 27 at - Cover Contest Poll

 GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie is #2 space in the poll. Vote and see covers here. (covers are on bottom)

You can see the other covers here (my cover is on page 2)
 ( I have to admit that if I wasn't partial to mine, there is one cover that is really breathtaking. A great design.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fun find - mini Book of Dead or Recently Deceased

Thought I'd share something a bit different today.

You may know that I collect dollhouse miniatures, but even if they don't interest you, 
I thought this was a great find - a miniature "Handbook for the Recently Deceased" a la Beetlejuice from Little Things of Interest on Etsy. Printed pages too. It has 12 pages and measures 3/4 inch x 1/2 inch. Isn't that a riot?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie in Top 10 of P&E Poll


Thanks to all who voted!
(See details - reviews)

was #7 of the top 10 best young adult books

1. The One: Children of Destiny, Paul Copeland, J. Ellington Ashton
 2. Morris Mansion, Rita Dear, Eutopian Press
3. Hidden Wings, Cameo Renae, Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
4. Stopped Cold, Gail Pallotta, CreateSpace Independent publishing platform
5. Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback, Michael Thal, Solstice Publishing
6. Justice, Rebecca Royce, Decadent Publishing
7. The Wrong One, K.C. Sprayberry, Solstice Publishing
7. Enchanted Skean, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Mockingbird Lane Press
7. GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, C.A. Verstraete, Intrigue Publishing, [link][comments]

Friday, January 17, 2014

"The Appeal of Evil" Release Day!

Wooooot!  It's not a zombie novel, but it is paranormal.  My newest YA novel is now available for purchase.  You can find it on Amazon here.  In celebration, there are blog tours and a giveaway.  Please check out my blog for more details.  It's going to be an awesome celebration!  Come celebrate with me!

Katie wants to invest her heart and soul in love, but she may lose both to Hell. 

Katie, a senior in high school, is torn between loving the “good” guy, her childhood friend Wes who makes promises he doesn't keep and abandons her when she needs him the most, and the “bad” guy, the new kid at school Josh who is also a real demon from Hell. Katie wants someone who pays attention to her and puts her first, but what is she willing to give up to find him?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Zombie Fish?

There are some seriously strange and frightening creatures on this planet. Many, for whatever reason, seem to come from tropical and hot climates.

Bad enough fish  (like the crazy Asian Carp) jump out of the water, right? Now here's a horror movie fish  - the African Tigerfish - that has scary long fangs and weird feeding habits. I'd say it qualifies as being labeled a zombie fish since it feeds on live birds. Yes, birds. Check out the video. Really freaky!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Talking with Eva Gordon's Witch in Apocalyptic Moon

Today we're talking with Dora from Eva Gordon's zombie-werewolf and witch book, APOCALYPTIC MOON (After the Bane) and the recently released book two, RAVEN MOON (After the Bane.)

About Apocalyptic Moon: 
Dr. Dora Adler's life has been in disarray since the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, but when she gets bitten by one of the undead, her whole world is turned upside down. Held captive in a secret underground lab, the tall, muscular hunk in the next cell is her only hope for salvation. Unfortunately, he claims to be a werewolf. Yeah, and she's supposedly a witch.

Dirk Gunderson is an alpha Arbor pack werewolf. Captured and collared, he's sold to the zombie lab in hopes his blood serum can create a vaccine. He needs to escape, but not without the hot little brunette witch. In the midst of enemy werewolves and the hordes of undead, Dirk and Dora's sexual tension ignites a blaze hotter than the desert highway. Along their journey, they battle the inevitable: a werewolf must never take a witch as a mate. - from

About Raven Moon: 

In a world ravished by zombies, animal shifters vow to save human survivors and combat zombie hordes. Ravenna, princess of the northern raven conclave, joins forces with witch Dora Adler and the Fenrir werewolf pack. On a mission for a vaccine against Z-phage, Rave and her team fly to a remote biological research facility. They battle a new breed of zombie, faster and stronger than the human variety, and with an appetite for shifters.

Benandanti Templar Maddox seeks revenge against the Kindred leader who killed his team. He rescues a trapped woman, Ravenna destroyer of the Benandanti bloodstone. His wolf longs to claim and protect the sexy raven shifter. His Benandanti faith commands she stand trial.

While facing zombies, merciless tankers, and zealous Benandanti werewolves, Rave and Maddox struggle against their forbidden passion. They must set aside their conflicts and strike at the new zombie threat before the new virus spreads.  - from


What do you want from life?
Survive the zombie hordes, and reach California to find my brother and his daughter. Escaping with a werewolf is a definite plus, however, a pack of enemy werewolves want me dead for being a witch. And, here I thought my only worry would be billions of zombies

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
A cure for the Z-phage, Peets brewed coffee, and place where I can practice medicine again.

What three things would you take to a Desert Island?
A sailboat for easy escape. Since Z-phage has reached even desert islands, I would bring along my weapons and my hot badass zombie-fighting werewolf along.  

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?
Over a long period, however, on seeing Dirk, the alpha werewolf for the first time, I immediately fell in lust?

How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? With this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
I used to be more trusting, but since the Z-phage pandemic, people are in survival mode and will kill for a tank of gas. My trust in humanity dropped to level zero after kept in an underground lab by a mad scientist determined to find out why I am immune to Z-phage.

What's the worst thing you've ever done? Why?
Killing zombies. As a doctor, I want to heal the diseased but when your patient sees you as their favorite subway sandwich that’s where I draw the line.

What are you most afraid of?
Apparently because I’m a witch, something I just recently learned, I’m immune to becoming a zombie. My biggest fear is being eaten while I’m still alive.

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
Scared and always on survival mode. I would go back in time and find the source for Z-phage and then nip it at the bud.

What makes you laugh out loud?
Falling in love in the middle of the zombie apocalypse with a werewolf. A werewolf who is forbidden to take a witch as a mate and one with a mate waiting for him when he returns to his pack.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Surviving this long. Call me in another week.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Finding the cure for Z-phage. I also fantasize about being with Dirk, but I know that’s not possible. A girl can still dream, right?

What is your current state of mind?
I’m experiencing a constant dose of an adrenalin high.

What is your greatest fear?
I fear the impossibility of stopping the billions of zombies. They exhibit some sort of herd behavior as they leave the cities in search of the living.  On a more personal level, I fear finding out my brother and niece have turned.

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, humor, and I’m starting to appreciate a man who can turn Hollywood Horror movie werewolf to combat zombies.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I’m a Star Trek nerd, so I tend to overuse Star Trek quotes. Only when I’m stressed, though, which is pretty much all the time.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Learn more about my emerging witch powers. Maybe I can use this new gift to save the world.

Which living person do you most despise?
Dr. Mansfield who experimented on me.

What is your biggest regret?
Besides paying most of my student loans? If I’d known the zombie apocalypse was coming I would have gone to Paris, instead. On a more serious note, not doing my residency near my family.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
It breaks my heart to see zombie children.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My stubborn mind that doubts I’m a witch with powers.

How would you like to die?
Of old age, in the arms of, okay, this is wishful thinking; in my sleep with Dirk at my side.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
The same person since I am apparently a witch, immune to Z-phage. Unfortunately, as a witch I’m hunted by the Benandanti werewolves. Fortunately, Dirk’s pack is more accepting. I think?

Witches are executed by the Benandanti pack when her powers awaken at age 27 years. I would go back in time and stop my mother from being murdered. She could have taught me more and maybe we could have stopped the Z-phage. Wait! Shhh. I heard something outside the door...

  About Eva Gordon: 

Eva has a BS in Zoology and graduate studies in Biology. She once taught high school Biology, Environmental Science and Anatomy/Physiology. 

* See her on Facebook or her blog.

When not in her den writing, she can be found at steampunk conventions, zombie runs, at work at the raptor rehabilitation center, wolf sanctuaries, or to satisfy her inner Hemingway on some global eco-adventure. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My new vampire series....

I recently released a short story related to my Night Roamers series, called Venom. It basically takes place in Shore Lake, introducing some new characters but also revisiting some old. This 20,000 word introduction can be found in the book, Dark Dreams, which also includes two other stories, The Eternals (written by my good friend and emerging author, Kristie Shafer) and Blur.

The main character, eighteen-year-old Chelsey Fairfax, learns that her cousin Melody has gone missing, after a concert at Club Nightshade. Although she isn't particularly concerned that Melody, a notorious partier,  has gotten into any real harm, she decides to sneak in with her friend, Susan Fields (a waitress at Ruth's Diner) to get information and check out the club. There, she meets Slade, the lead singer of Venom, who takes her breath away and makes her soon forget about Melody...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bullying--from a Zombie Point of View

Bullying seems to be all the talk today, kids getting bullied or being bullies. Even big strong football players supposedly being bullied to "toughen up."

Where there is one person who thinks they are: better - stronger - prettier - cuter - smarter - thinner - better dressed - you name it - than another, there will be bullying. It's gone on for decades, maybe even centuries. (Surely, you don't think that little guy Napoleon didn't get picked on at some point in his life?)

I remember my mother telling me how she and her sister got picked on, and how they were called ugly names for various reasons. And that was in the 1920s growing up!

Sadly today, some kids don't think there is a way out and pay the ultimate price by killing themselves, which is never an answer.

In actuality, I don't think there are too many people who haven't been picked on at some point in their lives except for maybe those in the "cliques" - the cheerleaders, the football stars, the athletes, whoever was in the group at the top of the pack. But I'll just bet many of them suffered some kind of problems, too; they just took their self-hatred or other problems out on others or looked down on others, not that that is any excuse for such behavior.

No one is perfect --  or they are too egotistical and are kidding themselves.

Bullying is one of the themes that came out in my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. After all, what can be worse than ending up as what many would say is a "freak" - a mix of human and zombie. Becca is infected with the Z virus and becomes a part-zombie with odd quirks and traits no teenage girl wants to be noticed for.

And sadly, she gets picked on, ridiculed and insulted even by adults who should clearly know better.

 The message? She survives.

She has bigger battles to fight like finding her and her cousin's missing mothers, and figuring how to keep her family safe while hoping for a cure for herself. Is her life perfect? Far from it. But she finds hope and purpose in helping her family, in working to protect them, in looking outside herself and beyond her problems. She has her cousin to think of and others who care about her.  And maybe there is even a hot guy in her life, something she never expects to happen.

That is how she survives--and how others facing this same situation can too.

  Excerpt from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

From Chapter 11:

My mind barely registered on Carm's chatter as we drove down the side streets and headed for Windale High. It didn't even bother me when she shoved me and my eye twirled. Not even the sight of several military Jeeps out front and Guardsmen stationed around the school put me as on edge. This was more nerve-wracking than going to school the first day as a freshman. What would my old friends say once I showed up? Who'd be here?
Who would be different, like me?
Once inside, we waited for what started as a pretty boring half-hour in the main office while my aunt met with the principal. To my surprise, I saw quite a few other kids who'd been changed by the virus, actually more than I expected. I shrank back and watched, my uneasiness growing as some of the usual teasing turned meaner. Only a security guard interfering got several of the boys going their separate ways.
Carm and I glanced at each other when one of the men behind the desk turned and glared at us. Another woman's muttering made it clear she wasn't happy either about the changes, namely, kids like me. The bad vibes in the room grew stronger. I'd almost considered acting sick so we could leave when Tia's voice interrupted my observations. "Okay, girls, you're all set. Here are your schedules. I'll pick you up at two-thirty. Bec, if something isn't going right, or you need to come home, the principal is making allowances. You should tell your teacher and they'll let you go to the office. They told me that, uh, special students are being classified under federal disability guidelines, so you'll get more consideration if anything is wrong. Have a good day, honey. I'll see you both later."
Carm gave me a shove, (I didn't need to ask why), before she unfolded her schedule for us to compare. "We'll be fine, right? Looks like we have several classes together, English and—."
We both noticed the difference in our schedules at the same time—mine had a big red Z on the top. It wasn't until we turned the corner that we noticed something else new: guards at the end of the hall, metal gates behind them cutting off what used to be the art and band rooms. The guards checked schedules, directing most of the students down the other hall.
My cousin drew a lot of admiring glances, which didn't surprise me, but I stared at the floor when a group of guys laughed and threw crude comments my way. Carm glared at them and pulled my arm, urging me to pick up my pace.
As if everything else wasn't bad enough, since my transformation, I'd started walking sometimes in this weird, loping gait, which, every now and then, left me an embarrassing few steps behind everyone else. I'd become the female version of the Wolfman slinking along on his hairy tiptoes.
Carm pulled my arm again. "Cuz, c'mon, hurry up, ignore them. Ignorant pigs. Don't let them bother you."
We found my locker. My back to the hall, I pretended to fiddle with the lock as a couple other guys passed and stared at us. "Carm, this is harder than I thought. I don't know if I can do it."
I zoned in on a spot across the hall as one of the geeky guys who used to sit behind me in chemistry wheeled around and stared, his face a stomach-turning road map of acne and Z scars. Ugh. I tried not to gag. The Z virus had only made things worse for him.
Carm whispered while she fiddled with her locker. "Bec, don't worry. Things'll get better. It won't be bad. Honest."
I shook my head, feeling even worse when I saw Jimmy Churlin stagger down the hall, heading our way. Holy cow, the virus seemed to have done a number on the guys around here.
Jimmy made one ugly being, all drool, and even fewer manners than before.
Grimacing, I watched him make a rude comment to one of the girls who sashayed by, hips wiggling in an attention-getting tight skirt. I'd have thought the virus would have toned down some of his less desirable traits. Day by day, I'd noticed most of my deadened senses had returned even though they stayed at more muted levels. Like I could taste food again (sometimes), but it usually didn't taste like it once did (or stay with me) for long.
Sure I had the wandering eye problem and tripped over my own feet, but so far, most of my problems were somewhat tolerable, considering everything. Not so for most male Zs, I saw. Carm and I exchanged horrified glances as we watched the rude, obnoxious way several of them acted, hoping it was a rare occurrence. Hardly.
The main thing on most teenage Z's brains (the little they had left, of course) these days was food, followed by sex, a horrific combination.
The virus amplified the endless eating cycle teenage boys usually had. Even with all the protein drinks, I watched several stagger down the hall slobbering over packages of raw meat when they weren't slobbering over girls. Ugh. I wanted to laugh, and would've, if it wasn't so revolting.
"You'd think they would've put those guys by themselves," I whispered to Carm.
She glanced down the hall and nodded. "I know, they're so gross. Maybe Principal Thomas got scared he'd be sued?"
I shrugged. "There're more parents with non-infected kids. If he's watching, and I bet he is, once he sees what's going on he'll have the guys reorganized this afternoon. I don't know how that'll affect the few girls I've seen like me."
"All right, get moving," a security guard ordered several guy Zs. "You there, let's go."

Another guard moved in and hurried the other Z boys along towards the end of the hall. A teacher peeked out from behind one of the doors, grimaced, and seeing me watching, gave a hateful glare before she ducked back into her room.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

This Week's Reason Why Zombies Exist

Many zombie books (like GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie) have their own reasons as to why zombies exist - namely viruses, bacteria, infection, etc.

This week's brutal winter weather and polar vortex provides the real reason for zombies --- no one could move, being utterly, totally frozen.  (Hey it's been horrid - have to find humor where you can get it!)

Hope you managed to survive it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Science of Zombies: Nonfiction Update

I started working on this book in August.  It doesn't seem like it, but it was a long time ago.  Six months to be exact.  Considering the vast amount of research I have to do (and the fact that I keep getting pulled off this project to work on other things), I think I've made really good progress.  I have four chapters done (well, almost done--the fourth chapter is about 3/4 done).  They aren't consecutive, but they don't have to be.  One doesn't build off the other.  They can be stand alones.

The chapters I have done include:  Chapter 1:  Defining and Dissecting Zombies; Chapter 3:  Exotic Zombies; Chapter 4:  Playing God; and an unnumbered chapter called Zombies and Water (I'm not quite sure where this one is going to fit into the book just yet).

My goal (and what I've said in my proposal) is that I will have the book done by July.  When I first conceived of the book, that gave me an entire year to work on it.  I believe that I will still make that goal, but half of my time is already gone.  It's time to focus and get down to business.

I feel so lucky to live in a town with a university.  It's even more awesome that I work for the university, so I have connections to professors and experts in certain fields.  I love being able to walk onto campus and get information from them for this book.  Even though the vast majority of them aren't zombie fans (which I find really, really weird), they are all so supportive and willing to talk to me.  My acknowledgment section is going to be huge!

I would love to give you more details about the book, but it's still in a draft phase.  I have four chapters done, but they aren't done done.  Please stay tuned, my pretties, you'll get the scoop soon enough!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

First Chicago Walking Dead Convention - Walker-Stalker Con!

The first Walking Dead Convention hits the Chicago area this March!

The first Walker-Stalker Con comes to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Friday to Sunday, March 14-16 in Rosemont, Ill.

Celebrity guests include Walking Dead author Jay Bansaninga; the Governor's ex-henchmen; Eylyn Womble, the lady behind the WD costumes; Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene); Addy Miller (pilot zombie girl) and more....See guest list.

Tickets: (General admission: Friday or Sunday only, $35; Saturday only, $45; Saturday-Sunday, $69; Weekend - 3 days, $99; 3 day VIP pass, $199)

* Can't attend in Chicago? There's an Atlanta Walker-Stalker Con, Oct. 17-19.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Athena's Daughters Sci fi Anthol Kickstarter-Last Chance!

Today is the LAST DAY to get in on the amazing stretch goals for the ATHENA'S DAUGHTERS Sci-Fi Anthology. The Kickstarter Ends Today!
Check out some new stuff below to whet your appetite!

Act fast so you don't miss some incredible fiction, ebooks, original art--and more!!!

What's next? Well...  
Next big goals are $35K,  - two authors added to the companion volume, Apollo's Daughters - Joshua Palmatier and Donald J. Bingle. - At $38K  - ApD comes out in hardcover too. - At $44K, Athena's Daughters 2 will come out - with open submissions!

* Check out the podcast on Athena's Daughters at

* Another story summary and excerpt - Lunar Camp - Having to spend her summer break at Camp on the Moon is more (and in some ways less) than thirteen-year-old, botany-loving Bee bargained for.  Excerpt:

* Below: Here's a preview of my story and the accompanying art (and I can't wait to write someone into the story who paid to be "Tuckerized." How fun!)

This is a beautifully illustrated anthology, with art by Autumn Frederickson. And Meet Marietta! Here's the gorgeous art for my story.

The Songbird's Search

No one could remember the last soul who came to Devil’s Gulch and made such an impression. When she stepped through the doors of the Black Fiddle Tavern that day, all conversation stopped and silence fell like a heavy winter snow.
Everyone took notice because the woman just didn’t seem to fit in either the brass-embellished tavern or the burgeoning town. Miss Marietta Parsons was as plain as could be.
Marietta knew that everyone considered her plain, homely. But she didn't care. Nor did she take insult at the look of regret that flashed across the painted face of the striking bar owner Luella, who had posted an opening for a songstress and thereby lured Marietta to the tavern.
Marietta nodded a simple greeting to Luella.
Conversations rose, glasses raised in toasts, and coins were tossed on the tables of the card players. From outside came the clatter of a wagon trundling by.
Marietta walked to the piano man, and pointed to the sheet of music he had in front of him. As his fingers danced over the keys, she loosed a stream of notes so beautiful the whole room quieted. Not a coin or glass clinked.
And when the last note faded and the din resumed, Marietta saw how eager Luella was to sign up the plain 'lil songstress before someone else did.
“Lookin’ for work, sugar?” Luella asked. "I surely could use a songbird like you, brighten the place up a little."
"Could be." The singer stepped to the bar and gave a small smile as she took a loud sip of the sarsaparilla Luella placed before her. "How about a whiskey instead while we discuss terms?"
Luella nodded. "What I like, a woman who knows her mind. A shot of my best whiskey. Here you go. Now come on back to my office and we'll sort it out."
A nibble of excitement stirred in Marietta's stomach as she followed the other woman to the small back room. Everything was going along as she'd hoped.
A half-hour later, a small advance on her salary in her faded tapestry valise, Marietta followed the tall barman Hank up the narrow rickety stairs to the second floor. He opened the door, and she noted his slight flicker of interest. That was a good sign since she suspected he thought her staying here was wasted space better used for paying customers. Still, he remained respectful. She liked that.
"Here you are, Miss." He set down her worn travel trunk and cleared his throat, his voice a bit gravelly from one too many cigars. "Let me know if you need anything. Any problems, you come to me. I'll set things right."
Marietta reached out and gave the old barman's gnarled hand a squeeze and offered a coy smile, watching the pleased expression on his face blossom.
"Thank you, Hank. I'll be sure to do that."
Her small room held simple furnishings—an iron bedstead, a bureau, its top dinged and dented with age, and a sturdy nightstand. The furniture sat against a faded bouquet of blue flowered paper on the walls. Nice, but not too frilly. She felt at home.
Humming, Marietta slipped out of the repressive, prim clothing, reveling in the feel of the cool air against her skin. She lowered herself into the tin tub already filled with warm water; it was just as she'd requested. She poured in the Epsom Salts and let down the strands of wavy hair that shone and glittered like heaven's stars. Leaning back, she let the bath plump and enrich her skin's thirsty cells. She could feel the water doing its work to her parched skin.
Ah, yes, this tavern, this room, this town, was just what she needed.
During the next few days Marietta noticed that when she went out the townswomen avoided her, giving her a wide berth when they passed on the worn, wooden sidewalks. She knew being employed and living at the bar made the righteous biddies uneasy, probably considered her a whore. She cared not a whit what they thought.
The men interested her far more.
Several nights a week she donned one of her fancier dresses, nothing as revealing or flouncy as what the showgirls wore, but decent just the same. Marietta didn’t give her wardrobe a second more consideration than necessary, but she also knew the importance of appearance. She chose the soft blue and peach silks for how they brightened her sallow complexion. A touch of rouge to pinken her lips and cheeks, a few curls to her hair, and a dab of perfume made her presentable.
But it was her smile and voice that made her so appealing.
Once in the saloon, she stood by the piano and sang her set, then sat down to a few whiskeys and polite conversation. She’d rise to finish her last tune, and an audible low sigh of disappointment followed the final note. The tavern patrons always wanted more.
Luella tsked-tsked and raised an eyebrow as she slid glasses of beer across the scarred bar. "Don't know how you do it, sugar. You got them eatin' out of your hand. You can have the pick of the crop, you know."
Marietta knew. It was her music.

** More coming in the anthology, ATHENA'S DAUGHTERS from Silence in the Library.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get the entire series in one ebook!

The first book in the Zombie Games series, Origins, is always free and you can download it from most ebook sites. The rest of the books are available for purchase, individually and now as a set!
I want to thank Regina Wamba of Mae I Design for creating my beautiful covers and modeling for them as well.
Here is an excerpt from Zombie Games (Origins).

“Thank God!” I cried, standing face to face with my best friend. Although it was obvious that Paige was relieved to see me, the haunted expression in her eyes spoke volumes. She collapsed into my arms and sobbed.
 “Paige, where’s Allie?” I asked, trying to look beyond her into the safe-room. Unfortunately, she appeared to be alone.
She shook her head as the tears streamed down her face. “I…I don’t know!” she cried.
I wanted to shake her but instead forced myself to remain calm; we’d all been through our own kind of hell the last few hours. “What do you mean?” I asked slowly.
“I don’t know! Allie and Kylie ran away. They were going to try and get help,” she cried through her tears. “I don’t even know where my mom is!”
“Okay, calm down and start from the beginning. What happened?”
Her light green eyes grew large. “It was my stepdad, Dan. He turned into some kind of freak! He tried to fucking bite me. Then my mom…she whacked him with a frying pan. But he…he kept coming towards me with these…horrible red eyes. Mom told me to run, so I did! I ran away and have been hiding here ever since. God, I’m so scared!” she sobbed.
“Paige, I didn’t see anyone else in the house.”
“Well, where’s my mom? She just wouldn’t leave me. They’ve just got to be here somewhere!”
“Paige, it’s okay. We’ll find them, somehow,” I replied softly. “Listen, do you have anything to drink? I could really use some caffeine.” I’d been up for almost twenty-four hours and was finally feeling the effects.
She pulled me inside. The hidden room was larger than my entire bedroom. It held a black leather sectional, an arsenal of electronic equipment, and a fully-stocked refrigerator. I grabbed a soda and walked over to the surveillance cameras.
“Do these things work?” I asked.
“No, I’ve already tried. They hadn’t finished installing them yet.
I sighed. “Well, at least you’ve got the generator, and didn’t have to sit in the dark.”
She nodded and then stared vacantly. “What should we do?”
“Well, do you have any weapons?” I asked.
“What…what do you mean?”
I pulled out the Beretta I had tucked behind my back. “Well, I lost my sectional staff when I was searching your house, but I still have this. You’re going to need something to defend yourself, too, just in case.”
Her eyes narrowed. “From…Dan?”
Crap. She didn’t know about the zombies.


“Paige?” I’d just recounted my last few hours to her. The expression on her face was unreadable. “Are you okay?”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” she finally said. “That’s just plain nuts.”
“Believe me, I wish I was. Do you really think I’d make something like that up?”
Paige shook her head but I could tell she was still having major doubts. It was crazy for me to imagine and I’d lived through it.
I shrugged. “Well, you’ll find out soon enough. Do you have a baseball bat or something you can hit zombies with?”
She looked at me like I’d lost my mind.
“In my room,” she muttered.
We grabbed a second flashlight and hurried to Paige’s bedroom. She took out a metal baseball bat and two softball helmets, one pink and one black.
Great idea!” I said, putting on the black helmet. “Okay, now stay close to me. I haven’t seen any zombies in your house but there’s a ton of walking dead on the streets.”
She put on the pink helmet and I handed her the bat.
“Wow, I love your nails,” she said suddenly, grabbing my left hand.
I looked down. “Yeah, they look really sexy when I’m shooting at a zombie,” I replied dryly.
Her jaw dropped. “Oh, my God…you really had to use the gun?”
My cell phone started to ring. It was Sara again.
I sighed. “Hi, Sara.”
“It’s Bryce. Where are you at?” he demanded.
I was racked with so many emotions that my knees gave out. I sank to the ground. “Oh, thank God!” I gasped. “I…I didn’t know what happened to you.”
“I’m fine,” he replied sternly. “Stay where you are and I’ll come get you. Are you still at Paige’s?”
Before I had a chance to respond, Paige gasped in horror and backed into me.
“What?” I turned and dropped the phone.
Two zombies stood at the entrance of her bedroom. The smell emitting from them rose like a wave of rotting garbage.
“Holy crap,” said Paige in a strangled voice.
The moon was shining through her bedroom window, giving us a pretty good view of the zombies. One of them, a skinny half-naked man with white curly hair, made an ugly gurgling noise and then curled its lower lip, as if smiling. There was blood dripping from his rotting face and he held what looked the remains of someone’s arm. He tossed it to the ground and staggered towards us.
The next thing I knew, Paige let out some kind of ferocious battle cry, then lifted the metal bat and swung high, bashing the zombie smack in the middle of its skull. Before I could react, she raised it again, this time hitting a solid home run on the creature’s head. It dropped to the ground with a loud, sickening thud.
The other zombie, a muscular bald guy with skull tattoos all over his head, growled at us.
 I raised my gun to shoot him, but the Berretta jammed. “For the love of God,” I mumbled trying repeatedly to shoot it.
“Hold on!” Paige snapped as she tried to dislodge the bat from the other zombie.
But skull-head just couldn’t wait; he staggered eagerly towards me, white froth foaming from his mouth. Fortunately for me he was terribly slow, with very little coordination. I stepped out of his line of attack and he fell to the ground. When he finally lifted himself back up, I jumped into the air and did a hard side kick; my foot catching him in the throat. He fell backward onto Paige’s jewelry box and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Paige’s face turned red and she screamed in fury. “Get your ugly ass off of my grandmother’s jewelry box, you piece of dead rotting meat!!!” Then she kicked the zombie onto the floor and stomped the sharp heel of her new Jimmy Choo boot onto its face until it was just a bloody mass of gore.
I stared at her in shock as she wiped the perspiration off of her forehead, then grabbed a towel and began cleaning off her boot.
When I finally found my voice, I said, "So, I guess you believe me now?"