Saturday, November 30, 2013

Get a Zombie Book - Amazon Sale

Just a note - Amazon has a print book sale to Dec. 1 - 30% off print books, excludes Kindle and audio. Put promo code BOOKDEAL in at checkout.

  How about a good zombie book for Christmas? GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie is a good read any time of year! (See this link for details on book.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Zombie Evolution

Zombies, like other movie monsters, have changed over time to reflect society’s fears and to become more scary.  It’s fascinating to see their transformation. 

In the beginning, they were created by a crazy witch doctor who needed to get rid of some enemies or just possess someone who didn’t belong to him.  Then, George Romero brought us walking corpses that completely changed how we viewed zombies.

 The shamblers dominated the zombie moviescape for years.  When 28 Days Later came out, it changed zombies from slow-moving flesh eaters into fast hunters, which terrified audiences.  It also opened up a debate about what really made a zombie.  Sides were taken, arguments were made, but no resolution was found.  Some believe that zombies can’t be fast, so claim that these creatures couldn’t be considered zombies.

 Warm Bodies further changed how zombies were portrayed by making them conscious of what they are.  They may not know that they are zombies, but they know that they are different from the humans and the Bonies and desire to change.  And they do.  They figure out how to become human again.

What’s next for zombies?  Can they evolve into anything else?  What zombie is your favorite zombie?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving, Zombie Style

For those in the US--Happy Thanksgiving!  Eat brains!

If you're looking for some Thanksgiving-style zombie fun, check out Brainsgiving.  Lots of great zombiefied memes to share with your friends today.  In the meantime, let me just say that I'm thankful for the readers here and for my fellow contributors.  This has been a terrific blog to write for.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Zombie Thanksgiving Poem

A Very Zombie Thanksgiving

The Zombie family gathered - Ma, Dad, Gramps and little Joe
Looking for just the right meal, you know...
But that didn't mean it would be easy, the family soon learned, 
but Grandpa mumbled, nothing'll keep me away, I'll be durned!
He reached out and tried to pull out a chair;
Oops! He left several fingers lying there.
Ma Z tsk-tsked and set out the meal,
rolls, turkey, and brains - oh what a deal!
The kids yelled and fought, like most kids do,
Dad said, get to the table,
 and wouldn't you know, no one was able.
Legs wobbled, toes cracked,
Oh heck, Dad yelled; I think I broke my back!
But the Zombie family finally got in close, happy at last,
It was Thanksgiving! Time to let all their gripes be past.
Ma smiled and yelled, pass the brains and gravy; give me some turkey, too.
C'mon all let's eat!
And with that everyone picked out their favorite treat.
So enjoy the pumpkin pie, the sweet taters, the desserts, and the meat,
No matter what you're eating - may your holiday be just as tasty and sweet!

Hey, I never guaranteed high art - but at least you smiled!
A Very Happy Thanksgiving to You!

Stay tuned as we'll have some special posts coming up next week after Thanksgiving!

* More zombie fun in

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zombie Games Five - End Zone

The last book in the Zombie Games series, End Zone, is on sale now for only $.99. The price will go up on December 1st, so if you are looking to read the final installment, get it before it goes up to $2.99.

Sneak Peak - Unedited

The rain died down, but I was still chilled to the bone. I figured that if I wasn’t killed by the people in the truck, I’d probably die of pneumonia if I didn’t get out of my wet clothes soon and into something dry soon. I decided that the first thing I’d do if I escaped, was to break into a vehicle and search for clothing or a blanket. For now, however, I had to bear the cold and as usual, hope that I’d survive whatever lay ahead of me. It was obvious that I’d made another dumb decision without thinking it through, and now I’d be paying for it somehow. 
At least my friends were safe.
But Bryce, he had to be just furious with me again. If I didn’t watch myself, he’d change his mind on marrying me. That thought made my heart ache. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it if he dumped me. I wouldn’t necessarily blame him if he did, but I’d rather die than lose him; which was why I had to survive, get back to him, and prove that I could stay out of trouble. Or at least try a little harder.
I stared down at my ring and felt tears burning in the back of my eyes. I didn’t want to die, not without getting married to the big lug. Heck, we still needed time to get to know each other. I knew which foot he preferred to kick with and that he had a helluva right hook, but I had no idea what his favorite color was, how he liked his eggs, or what his favorite food even was.
My God, did he even like pickles?
I closed my eyes and tried to picture his face. Thankfully, it came easily and not surprisingly, he was scowling at me.
I smiled.
Damn, I loved his scowl. I loved everything about my karate man. But then my thoughts drifted from him to my sister and my smile fell.
Allie, she must be terrified.
I hoped that Billie snapped out of whatever was happening to him and brought her back to my grandparent’s house. That’s what I hoped, but something inside told me that wasn’t going to happen. That something much more sinister was going on. Something also told me that I was going to be there when it went down. I hoped that I was wrong. I prayed that she and Kylie were safe and would stay that way.
When the pickup veered off of the highway near MOA’s exited, I couldn’t believe it. Here I’d been kidnapped, but taken to the one place I really wanted to be. If I hadn’t felt so much hate for the bastard driving the truck, I’d have offered him gas money.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas decorating - zombie style!

Since the stores are really pushing the holidays this year - and it is not even Thanksgiving yet, here are a few interesting decorating choices to make yours a very Zombie Christmas! (And no, I like my holidays traditional - and one at a time - not weeks ahead. ha!)

* haaa! How about a Zombie Gingerbread Ornament?

* Or a zombie Green Bay Packers ornament?
 (Some may say what's unusual about that?)

** Ewww! Well, how about this Misle-toe ornament? haaa! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Classic Zombies

Over the weekend, as part of my research, I rewatched White Zombie and watched I Walked With a Zombie for the first time.  They both had their moments.  The stories were interesting and said a lot about the time frame they were made in. 

Some of the cuts and transitions in White Zombie were weird.  I’m fairly certain they cut out a part that they didn’t mean to cut out.  Or maybe that just happened when the film was transferred onto Netflix.  The sound had some issues too, but this film was from 1932, I wasn’t expecting perfection.

 (Interesting footnote: author Stephen Sullivan recently completed a new White Zombie novelization and script based on the original film. )

I Walked With a Zombie was fairly interesting.  It amazed me that in 10 years, film quality could improve so much.  Again, the film dealt with Haitian zombies and people being turned against their will. 

For the research I’m doing, both of these films are incredibly important, but they’re also important for the zombie genre on the whole.  It’s fun to see how zombies evolve through time and how our fears of them change.  If you’ve never seen these movies, I recommend giving them a try.  White Zombie is only an hour long, and I Walked With a Zombie a little over an hour, so you’re not giving up too much of your time. 

Like I said, I enjoyed them for what they are, and I have a weird crush on Bela Lugosi, but only when he has a goatee!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Excerpt from *I Left My Brains in San Francisco*

There aren't any zombies in this scene, but it's in my zombie book, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: I Left My Brains in San Francisco, and when I saw this photo in a blog on 31 building mistakes, I had to share!

They were coming up on the I-80 Bay Bridge.  Neeta followed Ted's pointing finger to the blocked-off exit beside the original bridge.  Beyond it was a beautiful and abandoned stretch of highway that ended abruptly to start again, closer to San Francisco. 
"Hey!  That's where I'm supposed to make my appearance for Zehedron Hummers!  That's kind of weird."  Neeta said.
Ted switched the radio to the GPS-Guided Tours station.
"If you look to your right, you will see the famous Broken Bridge.  The Broken Bridge was started in 2037, a joint cooperative between the State of California and the Cities of San Francisco and Richmond.  Federal highway monies were allocated to the state, which in turn divided it between the cities.  Each city hired its own contractor to complete its half of the bridge.  Part of the Commission of Highway Expenditures And Programs Initiative, the plan would have saved the governments hundreds of thousands of dollars, except that fifteen months into construction, it was discovered that the two halves of the bridge would not meet, but in fact miss each other at a height difference of over sixty feet.  Two months later, an agreement was reached with the Roadbuilder's Union to halt construction with only one hundred and two feet of linear distance left to connect the two halves.
"Currently, the Supreme Court is trying to unravel the myriad of suits and counter-suits as both cities, the state, the companies, and the Roadbuilder's Union, plus the Association for the Prevention of Stupid Government Spending, sue each other over the errors.  In the meantime, the bridge has become an important cultural and events center, with the cities of Richmond and San Francisco renting out their respective halves of the bridge in order to recoup some of their financial losses and legal fees.
"Designed to withstand even a 9.8 earthquake, the Broken Bridge would have been a marvel of engineering, had it been completed.  It is visible to east-bound traffic on I-80, as well as accessible for westbound traffic in San Francisco.  We hope you will return later to admire this testimony to the Ingenuity of Man." 

Find Neeta Lyffe: I Left My Brains in San Francisco on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Horror Sci-Fi Artist-Author Lori R Lopez Talks Art and Inspiration

I invited artist and author Lori R. Lopez to share a bit about the inspiration for her unique cover drawings and her work. Read on for an excerpt and some insight into her writing and her latest short story (19 pages), Sleep Of Fools. (Her best cover, I think.)

In the sci-fi bizzaro story, SLEEP OF FOOLS, two residents of a certain town become aware they are nightly shuttled to the bottom of their world to sleep-work for a mysterious corporation that literally runs things. Their lives are the stuff of daydreams and nightmares, of continuous toil, and nothing seems to make sense.

What is your writing inspiration?

I like to weave wackiness and quirks into a lot of my stuff like elements of Bizarro, yet I had never tried an actual bizarro work. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to do one for an anthology. I mixed in science fiction along with dabs of humor and horror and voilĂ .

My manner of writing often breaks rules, defying convention, but in the plot I tend to be compulsive about details adding up. It wasn’t easy for me to abandon credibility for certain aspects of this story. I had to step out of my comfort zone just a little. It was great fun, however, since I do love to be weird.

I didn’t get accepted for the anthology, but I didn’t mind. They received a ton of submissions, and I knew mine was not as far out there as they wanted. I could have done something more peculiar, but I had to stay true to the story I came up with. I approach such things as a good excuse to write something new. The idea for “Sleep Of Fools” stemmed from a love of timepieces, and an interest in dystopian cities.

Tell us about your art work and how you got into doing your own art.

I’ve been doing art even longer than I’ve been writing. I didn’t know how to write at first, of course. Yet it all begins as images in my head, whether rendered by words or artwork or both. I love being able to combine the talents in my publishing.

 I’ve always done the two together. I was penning short stories, plays, novels and poems since childhood, along with drawing. For school, any chance I had to embellish reports or other projects with artwork made it much more interesting to me.

An art teacher wanted to help me get a college scholarship. My parents signed me up for the military instead. My father would always say that artists and writers are a dime a dozen. I was a journalist for a while in the U.S. Navy and then with several editorial columns for local papers. I did art for those too, and I was offered a position at one of the newspapers. I turned it down, saying I really wanted to write creatively.

How do you compose your art?
I had been composing songs and a nonfiction project for years, but my true love is fiction. I had already written and illustrated a pair of children’s storybooks, THE MUDPUPPY and THE FOX TROT, based on childhood experiences. I had also written a screenplay that would become my novel, DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS. The heroes are based on my sons.

Fifteen years ago I wrote the original drafts of two Young Adult novels, THE FAIRY FLY and TRICK OR TREAT. I finished and illustrated FAIRY FLY this year. I’m currently doing a final draft for TRICK OR TREAT: THE REAPER, to be followed by illustrations.

 I’ve been self-publishing for  5 1/2 years, and that’s how long I’ve been doing my artwork on the computer, although the initial covers were sketched with pencil and scanned, then finished on the computer. For three years I’ve been getting stories in anthologies with other authors too, published by small presses. While I don’t have many readers yet, I do have some loyal fans.

The children’s books were done with acrylic paint and pastel chalk. Most of my covers and interior art are done in computer graphics now, with a mouse; recently, using a stylus and drawing tablet. It took about 20 years to be able to take the pictures for MUDPUPPY, lacking a professional camera. It’s so much easier to do things directly on a computer.

I do drawing and painting on paper and canvas, and plan to get back to that when I have the space and time. Or the time and space, whichever comes first. I think that my style of art is as different as my writing style, whether poetry or prose. I feel I am telling the tale more fully with words and pictures, whether I do just a cover or add interior illustrations. It’s my vision.

Excerpt from The Sleep of Fools:

Chrono frowned and slowed his gait as he listened to the words. Music was for elevators. It buffered the anxiety of being confined in a tight space, occupying your mind and helping pass the time while nerves screamed at the social proximity and awkwardness of the situation. Who would be singing? It wasn’t done. Children were punished for it, for even pursing their lips to whistle. Nobody sang. Nobody. The tune was haunting, uncanny. He felt immense relief when it stopped in an abrupt manner.

Nearing a corner station . . . someone dropped a tool with a clatter and Chrono froze, gray eyes involuntarily beholding a young woman’s. Hers were green, he apprehended, and large. A spindly screwdriver trundled from her cubicle to bump his right shoe. Each instant was recorded in vivid detail, a phenomenon of sorts. Most of his life up to then had been a blur.

Hesitant, he compulsively reached for the rulebook in his jacket, but found himself squatting by instinct to retrieve the tool. She knelt with him, intending to recover it herself. They stared eye to eye, hers like the lushest forest, the tangle of trees etched on his wall, for his mind had described the hues the mural would contain if he could paint it with vibrant pigments. Trees did not exist, yet if they did they would resemble the greenness of her luminous orbs. Chrono was captivated.

“Thank you, I’ve got it,” she whispered.

“I’ve got it too,” he mumbled. He couldn’t let go.

She yanked it away and they straightened, practically nose to nose.

“I like your hair,” she remarked.

Was that a compliment? “Um, thanks. I meant for it to be messy,” blurted Chrono. Good grief! He hadn’t meant to say that. It was a blatant untruth! Her haircut approximated his, and everyone else’s for that matter. Except that hers and everyone’s but his laid flat.

“Thank you. But you should go!” she hissed.

“Your eyes. They’re beautiful. Magnificent,” he stammered.

“Forgot my gray lenses. What color are yours? Really?” she asked.

“Blue,” he replied.

“I’d love to see them.”

“It’s forbidden.”

“Yes, I know.” Her eyes lowered. “You won’t tell on me?” She looked up again.

“No.” He could get in trouble for keeping quiet, failing to expose an infraction. They were supposed to report unruliness, or anything suspicious. “I won’t tell.”

Sleep of Fools links:

Lori R. Lopez's Works Include:

Lori has written three short story collections, a poetry book and -- 23! short stories released as ebooks. She's now planning a graphic novel version of one of her novels.

Children's Storybooks:
The Mudpuppy, The Foxtrot

First Ebook:
Chocolate-Covered Eyes

An Ill Wind Blows (Illustrated novel)

Young Adult Novels:
The Fairy Fly
Trick-or-Treat: The Reaper (in progress)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Early Scares on TV

  In the "ancient days" long before there was such a thing as DVR and even DVD's, watching TV was a family event... especially if you liked getting scared.

And oh, there were some great programs to get scared by. Stuff that made you crawl in bed with your head under the covers - and don't let your feet hang over the edge. (Never!)

Funny thing is, years later, who would've thought you'd want to go back and watch those old programs again? If you don't catch them on TV,  you can of course now get the whole set of DVDs.

Like... The Night Gallery - remember that one? They always had the spookiest stories! (The DVD first season set has all 20 episodes from 1969-71 including the pilot movie.

Or how about this goodie - remember The Night Stalker, the reporter who focused on the supernatural ? (1972) I don't remember a lot of it but know it was a good one to watch when I could. Apparently it ran for 20 episodes.

Or how about the creepy crypt keeper in Tales from the Crypt! The series had it all - the crypt keeper and his creepy/funny puns and some great tales!  Here's the complete first season, 2005.

Going back even further, The Twilight Zone (1959) continues to be a creepy favorite with great storylines and creepy twists. It's always fun to see someone you might recognize or didn't realize was in one of the episodes. So now you can get the first season and thrill yourself to death again!

I'm sure I've missed some other great programs, so share yours. Which show did you like the best and why?

Monday, November 18, 2013

What's a part-zombie girl supposed to do the rest of her life?

It's not every day you get infected with the Z virus and turn into a part-zombie. Yeah, human and zombie, with all kinds of freaky quirks and a weird diet. (No, not that.)  Ugh. So, what's a 16-year-old girl supposed to do?

If you're Becca, you try to cope, but sometimes... Well, sometimes it's a bit too much to take in.

Here's another little tid-bit from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

* Print and Kindle - US - UK
* Barnes and Noble  - print 

From Chapter 8:

Frustration churned inside like a milk shake machine. It wasn't FAIR! I jumped to my feet and paced back and forth across the worn carpet.

My anger mounted. I stared again at my arms, better with the makeup but far from perfect if someone studied me too close.

It wasn't fair. It was SO NOT FAIR!

I swept my arm across the top of my desk sending the books and several of my Dia de los Muertos scenes to the floor. The small pieces scattered. The chips flew like snowflakes. Tiny cups and a vase of flowers, a skeleton in a dress broken off at the base, and a chair lay on the floor as if a mini hurricane had hit.

My eye twirled; I tripped over my own feet. Disgusted, I gathered everything up and dumped it in a box—a perfect example of my life: broken.

Let's face it, now I'd never have a real relationship, or get engaged, or get married. Not unless some new medicine or something came out.

But what if it didn't? W-would I always be like this?


Wow, I couldn't even imagine that long.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Zombie books for the dollhouse

 Even miniature people need to read! No secret that my other passion is collecting and creating dollhouse miniatures.

Thanks to some other great authors -- (Karina Fabian (Neeta Lyffe Zombie Exterminator, Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco); Belinda Frisch (Cure, Aftermath); Kristen Middleton (Zombie Games series); Pembroke Sinclair, (Life After the Undead, Death to the Undead) -- I've added some get miniature dollhouse "printies" so you can set that favorite zombie book (like GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie) in that miniature house or scene!

See the link (miniature book printies) on the miniatures page at my website - there is a PDF link to download a sheet to print out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ten Things Zombies are Thankful For

Folks on Facebook are doing the 30 days of thankfulness.  What would zombies be thankful for?  I've asked Undead Fred to help me out.

1.  That my legs are still attached.  Fingers would be nice, too, but you can't eat brains unless you can catch the felling human.

2.  That my sense of smell has disappeared.  Yes, I'm aware I smell of filth, disease and decay, but it now, I can live with it.  No...wait...

3.  I am no longer worried about my appearance.  It's so freeing to no longer have concern about body image.  Of course, the irony is I can eat as much as I want and never get fat now, either.

4.  Life is simpler now.  Shamble, groan, chase, eat.  I don't even need my cell phone...though I do miss Angry Birds sometimes.

5.  Still being able to vote.  Come on, doesn't that explain a lot?

6.  I don't have to work anymore.  Yep.  If I want to spend a day laying in the sun, decomposing, I can do it.  No boss, no deadlines, no meeting where I felt half-zombie anyway.  Just me, the warm sun, and the occasional rat or crow.  And maggots.  Maggots are a nuisance, but not every paradise is perfect, right?

7.  No more debates!  No more discussing politics, worrying about defending my religious choices...  Yeah, I still get a look of revulsion, but that comes with the territory, and a good long groan and a shamble in the person's direction usually takes care of the problem.

8.  I no longer have to worry about taxes.  Or death for that matter.

9. I never catch a cold or worry about my allergies anymore.

10.  Braaaaains!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cultured brains...

  Okay, we're going a little "high-brow" today - I'm going to share a link to the New Yorker Magazine appropriately called "This is your Brain on Cartoons."

Enjoy the cartoons and some info from the mag's cartoonists. Who can't use a little chuckle or two?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Death by...

Just read an interesting post about a murder trial where the men could not determine how the victim died as they could not line up her... corset. Yes, her corset. This murder trial describing a shooting in 1872 is quite interesting, especially for writers.

Reading historical records such as old newspapers, crime reports and magazines is a good way to not only get a feel for a certain time period, but you can get new ideas for stories in current settings. How about coming up with a murder or crime using a historical item?

Yes, even a zombie plague can be set in historic times, or maybe use historic items as props or clues. (I am working on a zombie book using a historical figure. I won't say who just yet.)

Or how about old photos? Vintage police mug shots especially can give you a real look at the criminals of the past, providing a real life view of expressions, mannerisms, clothing and more.

Some sources:

* Classic - The National Police Gazette, photos and stories

* 1930s mug shots- Britain

* Police record crime scene photo, Australia

* Photos, 1920s female inmates

* Interesting history on Victorian prisons in the UK  - with prison illustrations

* Organized crime and crime stats, 1920s 

* Prison records -  Prison Search (genealogical, historic)

* Free vintage clip art 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Two more great new reviews of GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

I'm off at a dollhouse show this weekend....

Got two more great reviews for GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie  I wanted to share -- 

From Brandy:  "...I loved every word of this book, it had everything: zombies, gore, violence, friendship, and even a little romance thrown in to equal out the mix. The story flowed easily, the characters were believable, just an all around great story! Can't wait to read more from this author!!!"

From Janet:  "Christine is an accomplished author her books bring you to the edge of your seat and throws you into the story as if you’re a character reading about yourself. Girl Z is a fantastic book for all ages."

Thank you ladies!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Walking Dead

As I progress further into my research for the nonfiction zombie book, I can’t procrastinate watching The Walking Dead anymore.  I attempted to watch the series when it first came out and got maybe halfway through season 2 before I stopped.  I couldn’t stand the characters.  How did such idiots survive the zombie apocalypse?  Why were they still surviving?

The scene where Lori goes into the field to pee on a pregnancy test instead of going into the bathroom and locking the door sealed it for me.  It also drove me insane that Dale insisted on keeping his camper, which was held together with duct tape and luck, because it held sentimental value.  I’m pretty sure when survival is at stake, sentimental value goes out the window.  Park it in your driveway and make it your goal to come back to it one day.  Until then, get something reliable that’s actually going to help your cause.

As I come back and watch the series now, I’m convinced the characters are insufferable for a reason.  This is a very emotional time.  The world has just ended, corpses are walking around on the streets.  The survivors are trying to figure out what’s going on, but they are also trying to hold on to their humanity.

Zombies bear a striking resemblance to us, but they lack emotions.  And that’s the point.  They are supposed to make us reflect on our lives and figure out what it is about us that makes us human.  The Walking Dead attempts to do that.  It shows us the characters overreacting to situations, being extremely emotional, because they are different from the flesh-eating, unfeeling corpses hunting them. 

There is also a sense that the characters are common and therefore flawed.  It’s very easy for me to yell at the TV screen about how I would do things differently, but I’ve never been in that situation before.  I don’t really know how I would react.  Not everyone in the world is going to have the skill set to be rugged survivalist, but the point is they don’t have to be.  Each character in the series brings something helpful and maybe unexpected to the group to ensure survival.   

The most important thing to look at while I’m watching The Walking Dead is how do the characters grow?  Every character has to grow and change, it’s part of their story.  If they can’t or don't, that’s when they end up dead.  While I still cringe slightly when I think about watching the series, I’m also excited to look at it through different eyes. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Digging up a zombie

Winter's a-coming, and soon, we'll be seeing snow.  Last year, I started a story about zombies on skis.  Real life got in the way, and I didn't get it finished, though it's on my list.  (You know the list I'm talking about, right?)  Anyway, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite scenes, where a hunting dog finds the prize of a lifetime.

Hambone bounded through the snow, the wide pads of his stubby legs leaving heavy footprints.  He struggled up the snowdrift and paused, mouth open and panting, his breath making tiny clouds.  His ears dragged in the snow, and he shook them, annoyed at the cold tips.  He could hear his owner calling his name, but he ignored it.  There was a smell!

He raised his head, seeking the strongest scent.  The air stung his nose.  Cold air brought the best smells, and this one was strong and new.  What could it be?  It was kind of people and kind of rotten hamburger…  Oh, he had to know. 

He stretched out his nose.  It was close, maybe even under the snow, close.  He moved further up the hill, sniffing, ignoring the exasperated cries of his master.  He always came back, and usually with something new and interesting to present.  The Master would put it on the Connie’s desk and laugh while she shrieked.  The more she shrieked, the better Hambone’s reward.  He’d get something grand this time, for sure!

He heard another sound, a low moan.  Aha!  Found it!  He tilted his head back, baying, and was rewarded by a sharp, commanding call of his name.  Now the Master knew.  He ignored the call but galumphed toward the other sound.  The smell came from that direction.  The snow moved.  He paused, head tilted, then perked.  Something blue was under it.  Blue and moving.  Toy! 
With scurrying legs, he dug up the prize and grasped it with his teeth.  It resisted at first.  

Tug-of-war!  Hambone loved tug-of-war.  He braced his legs and pulled.  The toy’s groaning turned to growls, and he growled back.  Mine, mine!

A rip and a wafting of spoiled hamburger smell, and it was his.  Just in time, too—the gentle snowfall had started to get icy.  Now that he had solved the mystery of the smell and won his prize for the Master, he wanted to curl up in front of the warm fire and get belly rubs.  He turned his back on the groaning, spread his legs, and piddled so all the world would know of his victorious presence.

He trotted back toward his master, his mouth full of his prize—a partly rotted arm in a blue jacket sleeve, its blue-gloved fingers curled with the middle one extended in a universal symbol of anger and defiance.  

Wouldn’t his master be proud?