Friday, May 26, 2017

Giving World War Z (the book) a Second Chance

Years ago, I attempted to read the book World War Z.

I had previously read The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks and loved it. I assumed I would also love his other book.  (** Read Chris' interview with Max Brooks HERE.)

I didn’t hate it, exactly, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the other.

I loved the movie. But as you can imagine, the book and the movie are two very different things.
One day at work, I got into a discussion about zombies with a coworker and commented about how I didn’t really enjoy the book World War Z. I read about half to three-fourths of the book before putting it down. He recommended I check out the audiobook. He told me there is a whole cast of characters that really bring the story to life.

I was slightly skeptical, but I was going to be driving for a ridiculous amount of time, so I decided to check it out.

I have no regrets about my decision. I didn’t finish the entire book while in the car, but I’m still engaged and still listening. It’s my unwind before I go to bed story at the moment. The different character voices really add to the story, and I think the audio version was the way the story was intended to be told.

Max Brooks does an amazing job of showing the human side of the zombie outbreak. Most films touch on this in their narrative and try to show how humans fight to survive the undead and how there is a thin line between us and them, but Brooks takes it to a degree of realism. He shows us how policies, laws, and a new way of life can be created with the rising of the dead. He does this through personal stories that range from politicians to soldiers to random survivors and shows us how they’ve changed and how the world has changed.

I feel like when I first read the story, I wasn’t aware of what Brooks was attempting to do. I get it now, and it’s brilliant. The book still has its fair share of zombie carnage and gore, but the realism of surviving is just amazing. He constructed his story well.

If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend listening to the World War Z audiobook.

Has anyone else read or listened to the book? What are you thoughts?

Before I go, because it’s still May, I’m giving away another zombie book. This one is my nonfiction book, Undead Obsessed. Enter now for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Writing is Not for the Meek, #1LineWed

As I'm working on my latest project, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River, and looking at the latest set of notes/suggestions from another reader got me thinking - writing is not for the meek.

And since it's also #1LineWed - 1 Line Wednesday - here's a sample line from the upcoming Dr. Bowen story:

"A dream. A bad dream, that's all it was. Just a dream." --Dr. Seabury Bowen

Now, back to writing.... you thought it was easy? haaaaa! Well, for me, nonfiction is easier since that's my background training and many years of newspaper writing. It doesn't mean it always goes smoothly, it's just my first experience.

Fiction is harder. If you are curious about the process, (well, for me), read on. Otherwise you might find this rather boring.

The saying is you write and then you rewrite and rewrite and... add about x times more. (I'm a serial re-reader and re-writer. So probably 20 times??) Very true.

I wrote the novella, revising as I go. Rereading quite a few times and revising some more. My writer's group got a short read of the very beginning. As it's short, two of the group read it and gave minor suggestions. Another fellow writer/editor read it - different suggestions.

Edited it. Edited it again.

Last reader/editor gave some other suggestions. Good ones, too, as they all see different things. Funny thing is how you can read something several times and you still don't see or miss certain things. But that's what pre-readers and beta readers are for.

So, I'll do some other changes, not major ones, which is good. Then it should be ready. Will I miss some things? Maybe. But it'll be the best I can make it right now. You simply do your best.

The main thing: others like the story. I like the story. And I think you will, too.

I really had fun with this one, melding the past and distant past, and adding different spooky elements and some mysteries to Lizzie Borden's hometown. And Lizzie also has an influence in this since, after all, the doctor was among the first on the scene of the Borden murders....

So stayed (See? That's why you have readers and editors. ha!) tuned for more details! I'll share the back cover copy and the cover soon!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sneak Peek. #Mystery Cover in Progress!

A Sneak Peek!

The cover for the novella set in Lizzie Borden's hometown is making progress!

Here's a tiny sneak peek - deciding on which color looks better. 

What do you pick?

 ** One winner will get a Kindle copy when it's done so post your preference!
 (Be sure to include an email to contact you.)

-- Christine Verstraete

Friday, May 19, 2017

Zombie Awareness Month

Half of May is already over, but did you know that it’s Zombie Awareness Month?

May was chosen because, apparently, a lot of zombie films are set in this month, including George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

Personally, I’m always aware of zombies and plan ways to defeat them.  It pays to be constantly vigilant.  My plan is to get out of town and into an area with terrain that is difficult for zombies to navigate or that makes it easy to see zombies coming from a long way away.  If possible, I don’t plan on being around them at all.

Do you have a zombie plan?  I would love to hear what it is!

I’m also celebrating Zombie Awareness Month by giving away zombie books.  This time, it’s my religious zombie novella Finding Eden.  For a chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

Drunk womanizer Duke, spends his life selfishly taking care of himself and screw the rest of the world. After one particular black-out alcoholic binge, he wakes to find the world changed the dead are rising from their graves.

Lonely, guilt-ridden Hank is someone who minds his own business, and sympathetic but strong-willed Lana is on the receiving end of harassment by other students. Forced together for survival, the three misfits must confront their world gone strange. God said the people of Earth would be punished for their sins, and so the end has come.

Duke, Hank, and Lana must walk their own paths to salvation, but they also must depend on each other. Will their salvation lie in Finding Eden?

A zombie story with inspirational elements.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

#1LineWed - 1LineWednesday - The Haunting of Dr. Bowen #mystery #spooky

 #1LineWed  - I'ts 1 Line Wednesday!

Getting excited! Working on finalizing the Dr. Bowen novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen: A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River)  - a spooky mystery and love story set in Lizzie's hometown. 

It's a companion story to my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, from the point of view of Lizzie's neighbor and family doctor. I've really had fun writing this!

Here's one line: 

Can he discover who, or what, is shattering the peace before Fall River runs red?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lizzie Borden - 125th Anniversary of Borden Murders #horror

I'm doing sporadic new and older posts about Lizzie Borden in honor of the 125th anniversary this year of the Borden murders.

Yes, it is nothing to "celebrate," but the murders of Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby Durfee Borden have become part of history and folklore. Who hasn't heard that little ditty... Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother 40 whacks...

The real crime that August 4th morning of 1892 is no less horrific, even if the rhyme has the numbers wrong. See Borden autopsy reports

Though Lizzie Borden, the younger spinster daughter/stepdaughter, was charged with the crimes, the jury declared her not guilty of the crimes on June 20, 1893.  

Did she do it? What do you say? 

Let's hear what the fictional Lizzie, based on my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, has to say for herself:

What are you doing now?

Reading. I found a rather unusual book of poetry recently published called The shadow of death: poems, songs, and sonnets written by Eric Stenbock. Given recent turns of events, it fit my mood rather well.

 What keeps you awake at night?
Not what you think.

 Are you a glass half empty or half full person?
I would say half full. I’ve learned there are things you can’t control in your life, so it’s best to look forward.

What is it about Fall River that keeps you here?
I was born here and prefer to die here. No matter what others think of me, this is my home and always will be.

If you could have a five-minute conversation with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
I would ask my father one question: Why?
--Christine Verstraete

Amazon link - all countries

About LizzieBorden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete:

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Another May Reading List

Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time for Beach Reads!

Or, conversely, if you don’t have a beach to visit, just regular reading. Whatever your plans, I’ve compiled a list of books that are on my To Read list or Have Been Recently Read list that I recommend to others.

We’ll start with the zombie books.

The Girl with All the Gifts

Great new take on the zombie genre. I really enjoyed the book, and the movie wasn’t terrible either.

After the Cure

Another really fascinating new take on the zombie genre. I haven’t read the others in the series yet, but I will attempt to get to them at some point.

The Cold Beneath

This was written by one of my indie-author friends. Fantastic mix of steam punk and zombies and a little mystery. I really enjoyed it.

Non-zombie Books

Jurassic Park

I just finished reading this book to my boys. It’s been about 20 years since I last read it, and I apparently did not remember what happened in the story, so it was great to be reminded and surprised.

Aliens: Bug Hunt

This is my current read. I love pretty much anything that has to do with the Alien world, so I was thrilled when this book came out. I’ll let you know how it is.


In addition to all my other nerdish leanings, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I just finished rereading the Thrawn trilogy recently—I should actually clarify that I relistened to it. I got the books on audio, but it’s just like rereading. I had originally read them several years ago, and I remembered better what happened in these books, but it was still fun to revisit them. I’m excited to see what happens in this book.

What books are on your list?

Also, if anyone is interested, May is Zombie Awareness Month, so I’m celebrating by giving away signed paper backs. This week I’m giving away Life After the Undead and Death to the Undead. Sign up for your chance to win some copies below!