Friday, January 29, 2016

A Weekend of Relaxation and Horror

It has been a crazy week.  My youngest was sick for two days, then I had an appointment on Thursday, so that threw my entire week off.  I'm a bit of a schedule person, so when it gets messed up, I get discombobulated.  I made it through, though, so I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

On my list of things to do this weekend is watch some horror movies.  They've been on said list for a while, so I'm looking forward to seeing them.  Whether or not that actually happens is another story, but here's to hoping!  Here are the films I'm hoping to watch:

Rare Exports:

And the Troll Hunter:

Do you have any big plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pre-order Walking Dead #Zombie Coloring Book

This I  had to share! Now you can color in your favorite show, too! (Stock up on red!)

Pre-order is up for the new The Walking Dead Coloring Book - out May 10. Paper-sized (8.5"x 11") with 96 pages... See a couple other interior images at link.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bram Stoker #Horror Award Prelim Ballot - #zombie too!

Wanted to say congratulations to all those listed for the preliminary ballot of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Assn. Voting next determines the finalists and then winners in the various categories.

I won't list all the names, but of special note to this blog is a zombie title on the list, an apocalypse title and a few familiar names.

* Superior Achievement in a First Novel:

Thom Erb (foreword by Joe McKinney) -   Heaven, Hell, or Houston: A Zombie Thriller (Severed Press) - a Texas Ranger unknowingly heads towards two disasters - a monster-prison escapee who hears voices and a coming zombie virus. 

* Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel:

Jennifer Brozek, Never Let Me Sleep (The Melissa Allen Trilogy Book 1) (Permuted Press) - Melissa Allen discovers everyone is dead and with only a voice on the phone, must stop what's happening before the monsters find her.

* Superior Achievement in Short Fiction:

John Palisano (author of Dust of the Dead) for his story, "Happy Joe's Rest Stop" in 18 Wheels of Horror: A Trailer Full of Trucking Terrors (Big Time Books) - 18 chilling tales of horror featuring highways and truckers, plus storms, monsters, and some undead, too. 

* Superior Achievement in an Anthology:

Christopher Golden, Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror (Gallery Books) - Anthology of "old-school" vampire fiction, includes Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michael Kortya, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, David Wellington, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Lebbon.

Jonathan Maberry, X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing) - New investigations in to the weird, strange and mysterious. Includes stories by Heather Graham and others, plus "Claire de Lune" by authors W.D Gagliani and David Benton, who've been here on the blog.

Jeani Rector, Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine (Post Mortem Press) -  New fiction from assorted authors, including "Center Stage Sideshow" from fellow Wisconsin author Christian A. Larsen (author of Saving Touch).

* Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection:

John Everson, Sacrificing Virgins  (Samhain Publishing) - Collection of 25 dark tales, from smiling pumpkins to erotic tales.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Talking #Mystery #Zombie #Fantasy #Audiobooks

As I mentioned on Monday, I wanted to explore the topic of audio books and asked some authors about their experiences. The consensus was favorable.

Author Belinda Frisch decided to get into the audio book market with her first zombie book, Cure: A Strandville Zombie Novel #1 in the Strandville series, and the first book of her her medical mystery series, Fatal Reaction (Paramedic Anneliese Ashmore Mysteries Book 1). She recently published book 2, Fatal Intentions: Paramedic Anneliese Ashmore Mysteries.  


(The audio books are: Fatal Reaction: Paramedic Anneliese Ashmore Mystery, Book 1 and Cure: Strandville Zombie, Book 1 - Afterbirth: A Strandville Zombie, Book 2 - See links for free samples.)

Audio books, she says, were something she wanted to try since "they were an up and coming thing, and I was down for diversifying."

Even better is that in the slow months, they provided extra income.

She recommends getting a good narrator/producer, who will do more than "read" the books - they will act them with voices, inflection, tone, and more. You post a script and seek producers to audition. Books can be done with a 50/50 royalty split, with no up-front costs to the author. See info at Amazon and at  

When choosing a producer, quality counts.  Good to know: "The biggest consideration is does the producer have their own equipment and a quiet room," she says. "If they don't, their quality will be low and ACX will reject it."

(Most of her audio books were done by Cerny American, a large firm.  Her medical romance, The Missing Year, was narrated by Julia Knippen.)

 Both she says, were "excellent, professional and met deadlines with an excellent product."

Mystery author Peg Herring also did her audio books with Cerny American and says it has been a good experience for her. 
There have been mixed results, however, with her cozy mysteries doing much better than the other series or books. She's sold over 2,200 audio books and thinks that for her, one genre works better than the other. 

Her audio books include: The Sleuth Sisters, 3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder: A Sleuth Sisters Mystery: The Sleuth Sisters, Volume 2 and Murder in the Boonies: The Sleuth Sisters Mysteries, Volume 3.

"The Sleuth Sisters series (written under the name Maggie Pill) sells really well," she says. "The others, not so much and I don't get why. I think maybe the audience for audio is  more cozy-oriented."

She also likes how easy it is for an author to get their books into audio. (See top comments) She says price might be one factor in how well a book does, (audio books are over $15) though authors don't have much choice in that.  But she says those with Amazon Prime membership likely get a better deal.

Roy Mauritsen, author of Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder and a short story prequel to the book, "Syrenka" at CD Baby (one hour long compared to 16 1/2 hours), 
 thinks the market for audio books is the perfect opportunity for authors. (* Check out his samples which come with music and sound effects! Warning: the beginning of the story is a little graphic.)

"I think the market for audio books is broader now than ever. This I attribute to the digital nature of media these days, which makes distribution, media format accessibility and ease of technology that make experiencing an audio book much easier for potential readers to
try out.  The digital aspect and technology makes it even easier to create an audio book. 

"Narrators are more accessible thanks to visibility and accessibility via the internet. The process of recording and creating an audio book  is now much more affordable for authors and narrators, and  that means that for many more authors this is now become an
affordable option."

What he did was to have his books produced with a more "cinematic" experience. He uses the same narrator (Christopher Crosby Morris is also recording the next novel in the series), but also had the books mixed and mastered with music and sound effects. 

"You'll hear the birds and the wind in the trees if there is a scene that takes place in the forest. Arrows whiz by your head from left to right," he says. "There will be an underscore of music during a dramatic scene, the ring of sword clashes and the growl of monsters, footsteps that echo down a dungeon corridor. I was amazed as I began to mix this all together that a story I knew so well could be taken to another level. At points it transcended
the words on the page. I could tell more of the story in a scene by filling it in with sound and music. But my situation is somewhat unique and this process works for the type
of stories I do."

The full effects are something he feels will be seen more and more, though he knows how to mix and edit the sound and music himself though he admits that the narrating is best done by other professionals. He says that this type of book is probably still cost prohibitive for many and is available only from the larger and known audio book publishing houses. 

"As someone who works in television (part of my day job it's not as glamorous as it sounds) I am familiar with how to do this and I feel that my story actually benefits from it. I expect to see more of this sort of thing as software and technology makes it more viable to do and listener sophistication for this sort of thing grows. It's not for everybody to do and not everyone appreciates listening to it. 

"It's a very different experience. I love it though it's as close as I can get to make a movie. It does take time to create put this all together, choosing and finding the right music  and 
which sound effect would work best. I can spend a weekend or weeks putting together one chapter- so it's a bit of a labor of love, but the flip-side is that it costs me very little to produce."

So, there you have it. I listened to several samples, which gave me a taste of the story and the narrators' abilities to make the words come alive. I do admit that the musical/sound effects version is quite interesting and a unique experience in itself. --Christine Verstraete

Monday, January 18, 2016

Food for Thought - Audio Books

Today I was thinking about a topic I don't have much experience with - audio books.

I admit not listening to them though I can see the appeal for those long, boring car trips or when you are doing something and want to read without holding a book or tablet.

Anyone stopping by - do you use them? What's your favorite genre? When do you use them? What do you like about them - or even dislike?

I'll be asking some authors their thoughts and sharing what they have to say about audio books on Wednesday so be sure to come on back! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Z Nation on SyFy

I’m a little slow getting to the party, but I’ve recently started watching Z Nation—and I love it! In my defense, we’ve been recording the most recent season on DVR, and I’ve watched a few of those, but I wanted—needed—to start at the beginning. I had to know who the characters were and why they are in their particular situation.

I’m really enjoying the series so far. There is so much to like: zombies, death, destruction, and humor. Of course there is the necessary survivor stories that come with the zombie apocalypse and the struggle of living from day to day, along with the necessary drama and tension and the obligatory undead (hey, it’s not a zombie show without zombies!).

What I like about this series so far is the sense of hope. Sure, life sucks and this is 3 years after the dead have risen and the characters don’t have much choice but to make the best of their situation and move on, but I appreciate that it isn’t always dark. It’s not always drama, drama, drama, there are moments of humanity.

Those are the parts I like the best. There will be nefarious and underhanded characters who are out for themselves and try to exert power over others, but I really enjoy how the main characters have a sense of morality and a desire to help others. They show “mercy.” It could possibly come back and bite them, but that feels real to me. I truly believe that in crises and hard times, we humans have the capacity to work together, and we often do. 

The underhanded/smarmy characters have to be there for the tension. I mean, it’s not enough that there are undead roaming the earth, there has to be undesirable humans, too. But that’s the point of zombie shows and films: to show how bad humanity can be. There is supposed to be a fine line between the zombies and the humans, and the audience is supposed to question who is worse.

I haven’t made it very far in the series yet, but I’m hooked. Who else is a Z Nation fan?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Upcoming #Horror #Zombie Books 2016

Some interesting reads coming up or just released, including:

* Horror: 

 W.D. Gagliani adds to his Nick Lupo werewolf series with book six -Wolf's Blind (Nick Lupo), where a wounded Lupo can't shift back to his wolf form, making him unable to heal, and now he's being hunted by a cruel Mafia boss out for revenge...


Christian Larsen, author of Losing Touch, has gone to the dark side with an intriguing new book (out Feb. 16).  The Blackening of Flesh centers around a house that was the site of a Capone massacre. Then people start acting strangely, and it's up to Jared to keep the past from creeping into the present... 

* Zombie:

There are only a handful of new books coming up on Amazon. so far. But this caught my eye:

Romero and Juliet: A Tragic Tale of Love and Zombies - the cover intrigued me. 

Speaking of zombies.... Wow!!

 Jonathan Maberry has a "gotta get it" project coming up! He's teaming up with none other than Night of the Living Dead director George Romero to edit a new anthology tentatively titled, HORROR OF THE LIVING DEAD. 

Set in the 48 hours surrounding the original movie, the anthology will have stories by 17 top authors including Maberry, Romero and: 

 Brad Thor, NY Times bestselling author; Brian Keene (The Rising); Chuck Wendig, (Star Wars: Aftermath); Craig Engler, (Z Nation); David Wellington, (Monster Island); Isaac Marion, (Warm Bodies); Jay Bonansinga, (Walking Dead novels); Joe Lansdale,(Bram Stoker Award-winning short story, On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks, was included in the first-ever zombie anthology, Book of the Dead); Joe McKinney(Dead City, The Savage Dead); John Russo, co-screenwriter of Night of the Living Dead, and author of the first-ever zombie novels Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead.
  Keith R.A. DeCandido, (Resident Evil and tie-in novels for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Sleepy Hollow, V-Wars);Mike Carey, (Hellblazer comics, the Felix Castor series); Mira Grant, (Seanan McGuire, Newsflesh series); Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman: (Neal is a National Book Award winner and a bestselling author collaborating with his son and filmmaker Brandon.); Sandra Brown & Ryan Brown: (Sandra is a bestselling author of over 70 novels; Ryan wrote the zombie sports novel Play Dead).

* Mystery - Thriller: 

And... on the somewhat lighter side.... Jaime Johnesee and Christine Sutton have a lighter spin-off of their Revelations series (Book 1 is Cast In Blood: A Paranormal Urban Fantasy Novel: Revelations Series). The new upcoming book is more lighthearted with a cute cover! Coming soon...

Armand Rosamilia's new thriller, Dirty Deeds, which was accepted into the Kindle Scout program, is now up for pre-order. A twist on that hit man saga... "For a fee, I'll take care of it. A big fee. Only I'm not going to save you from them... I'm going to save them from you."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Authors Supporting Our Troops 2016 #ASOT Book Drive

 A new year means a new start for the Authors Supporting Our Troops (ASOT) Book Drive for Soldiers

Launched by author Armand Rosamilia, the drive sends signed print books from authors to soldiers serving overseas. (See more information or Facebook page.)

Over 3,000 books were sent to soldiers in 2014.  For 2016, Rosamilia hopes to top last year's total of 3,500 books.

Contact him at his website to get info on where to send the books.  You can also buy a T-shirt to help defray shipping costs.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Looking for Readers

Hello, friends and fellow zombie lovers!

Next month, I will be re-releasing my young adult zombie novel Death to the Undead. This is the second book in the Life After the Undead series (Life After the Undead is the first), and we’re looking for ARC reviewers. Are you interested? Here’s the blurb to entice you further:

Seventeen-year-old Krista has already proven she can survive the zombie hordes.

After moving to North Platte with her distant cousin General Liet to help build a wall that will keep the zombies in the West, it becomes apparent that the zombies aren’t the biggest threat—some survivors are far more dangerous than Krista had ever imagined.

With the help of Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, they free the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet. But there is a bigger battle to fight.

The Families who rule Florida and use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their territory want Krista and Quinn captured, the zombies want to devour them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught between powerful forces, will they survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action? Or will they self-destruct?

Find out in book two of this thrilling apocalyptic series by author Pembroke Sinclair.

What does it mean to be an ARC reviewer?

An ARC reviewer is anyone who wants to read my book before it is released to the general public. You don’t have to be an official book reviewer, you can just be an average reader. The only stipulation is that you have to post a review to Amazon, Goodreads, a bathroom stall at a gas station—wherever!

You don’t even have to like the book. I mean, I would prefer if you did, but I’m not in the business of censoring readers or reviewers, and your opinion—whether good or bad—is valid. I’m just happy that people want to read my work!

Please let me know if you’re interested. You can comment here (sometimes it takes me a bit to notice there are comments on here—sorry!) or email me at pembrokesinclair[at]hotmail[dot]com, replacing the [at] with an @ and the [dot] with a .

If you haven’t read the first, which you need to to understand what’s happening in the second, I’m more than happy to send both. Just let me know!

"A must read for those looking for a fun and different read in the world of zombie fiction." --Eric S. Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Kaiju Apocalypse

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she's going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they're migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren't the only creatures she has to be cautious of--the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear--her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#1LineWed - #zombies and #mystery

If you don't know what #1LineWed means - it's One Line Wednesday.

I'm going to share a line from my story, "Puppy Love and Zombies" in the anthology, Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers & Swashbucklers 

In the story, Becca, my part-zombie girl from my book,  Girl Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie, faces her fear of dogs and solves a mystery when her German Shepherd pup-and other dogs--go missing.  Yes, it has a couple zombie scenes in it, too...

Here's a line from the story:  

The two came at me, low moans coming from what remained of their decayed lips.

Does she make it out? Alive? Um, I mean half-alive? 

I loved writing it.  Be sure to check both books out! See more at my website. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

#Mystery Authors Talk Writing in 2016

Since it's a new year, what better time to talk writing new stories and new ideas. But... what happens when those stories and ideas get kind of well, stuck, or just aren't working?

I asked a few of my fellow writer friends what they do when this happens. See what they have to say (and check out their latest works if you haven't!). Some good advice from some pros!

Margot Justes, author of the romantic suspense A Hotel in...  series, including the latest, A Hotel In Venice, had this to say about getting written into a corner:

"What usually works for me when I'm stuck and write myself into a corner, is to walk away, and work on another project," she says. "I usually work on two or three projects. I'm still mulling things over, but it seems to be less frustrating, and eventually I realize that all the arrows pointed in the right direction.

"I'm not a plotter, and I think that makes it a bit more difficult, but at the same time more enjoyable. I was shocked when I realized how A Hotel in Venice would end-had no clue who the murderer was going to be. So much frustrating fun, and the ending is terrific.

"I'm currently working on A Hotel in Barcelona, continuing with the series. I've grown to love the characters, and because I love to travel, the settings give me a great of pleasure, and of course I have to visit the places I write about. I'm also working on a novella set in Chicago that ties the hotel series-and is a sequel to A Fire Within-the characters have become a family to me."

Terrie Farley Moran is 
author of the Read 'Em and Eat Mysteries: Well Read, Then Dead and the latest,Caught Read-Handed, and the upcoming, Read to Death, as well as co-author of Parchment and Old Lace by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran.  (See her latest short fiction "Inquiry and Assistance" in hte January Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.)

She is that author who takes the sometimes scary ride to getting a book written: 

"I am a pantser so I get stuck a lot, in the sense that much of the time I have no idea where the  story is going," she says, "That is, I may know how the story is going to end but I have no idea how I am going to get there. When ever that happens I go for a walk or a bike ride and 'talk' to the characters. Eventually the story comes together."

And when it's not working.... she has good advice.  "When I realize some part of a story doesn't work and a solution doesn't immediately come to mind, I write past it. When it is time to edit, I look at it again, either I fix it or delete it. I don't agonize. Quite often I find that if a part of a story doesn't work, it really doesn't belong."

What inspires her to go on (besides that editor breathing down her neck?)

"Ha-ha-ha. Inspiration? Writing is hard work and I sort of roll from one project to another. I have had extremely tight deadlines for the past few years. When I finish a project due this month (Crepe Factor by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran) I have a slight hole in my schedule. When I realized that was happening the first thing I did was pull up the short story I abandoned when that first deadline hit three years ago. I can revisit and finish it right after this deadline. As an aside it is the only thing I ever started and didn't complete but deadlines for two other projects interfered and then new deadlines and, well, you know the drill."

Jean Rabe, multi-published author, including the latest - Pockets of Darkness about a thief of antiquities who also picks up a Sumerian demon  - (she actually has three latest novels in different genres) fittingly has her own method to keeping the non-writing monster at bay: 

"I don't usually have a problem with writer's block, or being 'stuck' on something with a novel-in-progress. I have two approaches to defeating tht monster:

"I switch to my other project, because I ALWAYS have at least one more project going...whether it is a short story or something I am tasked with editing. I figure if I can't work on my novel, I'll make sure I work on something. Then I'll go back to the novel the next day."

In other cases, she admits doing the thing writers would rather NOT do… “I do something I detest, like scrub the kitchen or bathroom floor. Hands and knees scrubbing, which gets a floor nice and clean, and which is onerous. Every minute I spend scrubbing, I tell myself I should be writing instead. So if I want to stop scrubbing, I go back to typing.

“I'm the sort who has to be doing "something." I've always had a problem with sitting still and doing nothing. A constant twitcher! That's it, I'm a twitcher, and so I might as well twitch away at the keyboard.”

Christine Verstraete, author of Girl Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie and her latest, a short mystery featuring her zombie girl character and some missing dogs, in Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers & Swashbucklers, says the real problem is not the writing. She writes all the time and has a number of projects in the works. 

"My problem is not getting stuck - I usually can get past that by keeping the writing going - but I skip to other projects too often. I have several projects in the works. My goal is now to finish those and get them out there this year. As the old saying goes, if not now, then when?"