Monday, December 28, 2015

Apocalypse Monday

Let's go classic apocalypse today. This piece of apocalyptic artwork is Beyond the Black Horizon by Ed Valigursky, which adorned the cover of Fantastic Science Fiction in June 1955.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my fans and friends. I'm thankful for every one of you. This year I should have some new and exciting stories to share with you all.

As always, I can't let the holiday go by without posting my favorite apocalyptic Christmas song (in fact, I think it's the only apocalyptic Christmas song). So grab your favorite holiday drink laced (heavily) with your favorite alcoholic beverage, put this on in the background, and spend all day playing Fallout 4

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Vampire Hunters Trilogy Is No Longer in Print

The bad news is that, as of this week, The Vampire Hunters trilogy is no longer in print. After several discussions with the publisher about the rapidly changing nature of the industry, we came to the mutual and amicable decision that it was no longer beneficial for either party to distribute the books. Emby Press and I departed on excellent terms, and I thank them for the opportunity to be associated with the company. It has been one of the great pleasures of my career.

The good news is that the trilogy, like any good vampire, will come back from the dead. I intend to self publish all three books this summer, so they will be available again fairly soon. More on this as events develop.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Blast from This Monster Kid's Past

The other day I was checking out one of my favorite Facebook pages (Famous Monsters of Filmland) and stumbled across this opening sequence for WPIX New York's Chiller Theater. It brought back so many memories.

As a Monster Kid, Saturdays were a treat. Me, my dad, and my grandfather would go for an early morning breakfast and then hit Cal's News on Central Avenue in Lynn in search of the latest edition of Famous Monsters of Filmland, or Don Elder's in Chelsea to pick up the latest release of Castle Film's 8mm renditions of classic Sci-Fi and horror movies (they were silent and only twelve minutes long, but this was in the days before VCRs, so it was the only way to have our favorite movies at our disposal whenever we wanted to watch them). In the afternoon, I would get my weekly dose of monsters from WLVI Channel 56's Creature Double Feature (the opening sequence is also included below), which was usually about some giant monster or invading alien destroying the planet, and ended the day with Chiller Theater.

As an adult (or at least as an old dude who pretends to do adulty things), I sometimes miss the innocence of those childhood days.



Monday, December 14, 2015

Apocalypse Monday

Apocalypse Monday -- Last night I saw the movie preview for The 5th Wave, which showed London getting wiped out in a giant tsunami. So I figured I would continue with that theme today.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Apocalypse Monday

I've been playing Fallout 4 this weekend, so I thought this image was appropriate for life after the apocalypse. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Congratulations to the Goodreads Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Goodreads giveaway of ten autographed copies of Rotter Apocalypse.

- Jane Cross

- Natasha Oldfield

- Michelle Williams

- Aaron Robbins

- Danielle Williams

- Chris Whiteman

- Joel Burdick

- Jilian Ding

- John Naylor

- Diane Meyer

Your books are in the mail. I hope you enjoy them. If you do, please leave a review on Amazon so I won't always be a starving writer. Thank you.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An Open Letter to AMC and the Writers of The Walking Dead: Please Stop Taking Your Viewers for Granted

I never bad mouth writers in social media. It's not professional. If I don't like a story, or if I disagree with how the plot plays out or the characters behave, that is a matter of personal preference on the writer's part and should not be criticized by a colleague. I don't even give a bad review on Amazon unless the book is so grammatically unstructured and tedious to read that I feel the need to warn readers not to waste their time and money, and that has happened only twice. However, recently the writers on The Walking Dead have shown a dreadful sloppiness in their craft that I want to bitch about... er, I mean address.

Let me preface this by saying that I think The Walking Dead has some of the best writing on television. My favorite episode from a writing perspective was the mid-season finale for Season 2 ("Pretty Much Dead Already") when Shane, in  a show of bravado, opens up the barn on Hershel's farm to release the walkers and discovers that Sophia has been turned into one of the living dead. That scene is brilliantly crafted, with each character having a nuanced reason for his/her response. For example, Glenn looks to Maggie for permission to join in the killing of the barn walkers, showing that he is torn between his loyalty to his group and his love for Maggie, and Maggie grants that permission, indicating she is coming around to the hard reality of the world. It is one of the most emotional episodes from all six seasons. That brilliance has been slipping the past two years.

For me, the flawed writing began at the beginning of Season Five. When we last saw Rick at the end of Season Four, he and his people were trapped in a rail car at Terminus, and Rick issued the warning that the Termites were screwing with the wrong people. Season Five opens ("No Sanctuary") with Rick, Daryl, and Glenn (the baddest asses in the group), tied up and bent over a trough, about to Neganized for food. A good writer never makes a plot promise he can't keep. The only reason Rick and his group survived was because Carol showed up in the nick of time and had terminus look at the flowers.

Jump to the mid-season finale of Season Five ("Coda") and the death of Beth. There was nothing about the situation in the final moments of the episode that would logically lead to Beth's death. Beth was not a violent person and Dawn knew that, which was why Dawn still had her gun holstered when Beth approached. Beth's attack on Dawn, stabbing her in the shoulders with a pair of scissors, was entirely out of character. Beth would never have hurt anyone out of anger, and if she intended to kill Dawn, she knew to aim for the heart or the eyes. Rather than follow logic, the writers had Beth perform a random act of uncharacteristic violence, and suddenly Dawn 's weapon is miraculously unholstered and she reflexively shoots Beth in the head. Beth's death was poorly contrived by The Walking Dead's writers to create a highly-emotional "Holy Shit" moment to end the mid-season. They succeeded, but at the expense of good writing.

Which brings me to Season Six and the main point of my diatribe. I'm all for being creative as long as you keep the plot steady and strong, but this season the writers' attempts seem amateurish. They have allowed too many major plot flaws to seep into their scripts. If I or any other writer had done the same thing in our novels, we would be savaged on Amazon more brutally than Nicholas was by walkers, and rightfully so. Let me cite the three most glaring examples.

The I'm So Glad Everything Fell Into Place Perfectly Device. There was a lot to criticize in "Always Accountable" (S6E6), but I'm referring to the last three minutes after Dwight and Sherry steal Daryl's crossbow and motorcycle and abandon him in the woods. How fortunate for Daryl that he happened to stumble across a well-hidden gas truck that happened to be working, and that he drove his fortunate find to the nearby town where he happened to track down Abraham and Sasha on the first try (who earlier had happened to stumble across several rocket launchers), and now they're all driving back to an Alexandria invaded by walkers. Why do I have a feeling that the gas truck and rocket launchers will be critical to resolving the walker crisis in the latter half of season six?

The Build Your Own Plot Device. At the end of S6E3 ("Thank You"), Rick is trapped in a stalled RV after having gunned down members of the Wolves, and is surrounded by a horde of walkers. At the beginning of S6E5 ("Now"), Rick is running toward Alexandria with the same horde of walkers on his tail yelling for someone to open the gate. This is one of the most pivotal scenes in the plot line and an episode cliff hanger, and somehow The Waking Dead's writers left its resolution out of the script?

The Let's Break Up the Action for a Contemplative Moment Device. I admit that "Here's Not Here" (S6E4) is brilliant writing and beautifully tied together all of Morgan's loose plot points and fleshed out the character, and that this episode sets up the inevitable and awesome confrontation between Morgan and Carol. However, there was no justification for placing that episode in the middle of a multi-episode action sequence and interrupting the flow of the action when it could just as easily been placed after Rick's return to Alexandria. That's Writing 101.

Please don't get me wrong. It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback (or, in my case, a  late Sunday night ghost writer). I'm critical of The Walking Dead writers because they are excellent at their craft and have produced some brilliant episodes in the past, and as such they should know better. These are the mistakes a first time writer would make.

What concerns me is that the lapses in writing are merely symptomatic of a much deeper criticism I have with the franchise as a whole. I've watched AMC turn The Walking Dead from a TV phenomenon and cult icon into a cash cow to be milked. In my opinion, AMC created Fear the Walking Dead in the hopes of doubling their profits/viewership, which would be acceptable if the show was of the same quality as The Walking Dead. I am not a fan of Fear the Walking Dead. I think the plot is tedious, the story line drags, and the characters are unlikable. If it was an indie film I had downloaded from Netflix, I never would have sat through it as long as I did. I also think the franchise is taking gross advantage of the fans through the Walker Stalker Conventions. Some of the prices they charge to meet the actors are outrageous. In Atlanta earlier this year, the convention was charging $250 for a photograph with the original TWD cast. At Spooky Empire in Orlando, some of the actors signing autographs were charging $25 for a selfie. What I'm afraid of is that the merchandising of The Walking Dead is taking priority over producing a consistently high quality show.

I really do hope I'm wrong and that these lapses are merely the writers being overworked (how many writers, including myself, have gone back and read one of our own books, and wondered what the Hell we were thinking putting that scene in there). In either case, I urge AMC and The Walking Dead to stop taking the fans for granted. You'll wind up butchering your cash cow, and the fans will wind up losing something very dear to us.

Winter of Zombie 2015 Spotlighted Writers, Week Four

Below are the spotlight segments for the fourth and final weeks of writers on Armand Rosamilia's Winter of Zombie 2015 blog tour. I want to thank Armand for all the hard work he put into gathering so many zombie writers together and giving us the opportunity to reach out to readers and hopefully make new fans. For all my fans, I hope you have found some great new writers to follow.
This week was a few guest posts but mostly teasers for the the writers' books. To read them, click on the links below.

Gerald Rice

Sami Sands' short story "Haitian Holiday"

Mike Evans: Time   

Jessica Gomez' Infected   

Mark Tufo's Zombie Fallout 10   

Ricky Cooper's Designated: Quarantined  

Jamie Johnesee's Bob Meets Sam  

Rhonda Hopkins' Survival   

Jack Wallen's Fry Zombie Fry 

Russell James' Q Island   

Peter Meredith's The Apocalypse Crusade   

Mike Evans' Zombies and Chainsaws: The Dead Rise 

Peter Welmerink's Transport: Uncivil War   

P.M. Barnes' Zombie Seed II: Conception  

P. Mark DeBryan's Family Reunion 

Joseph A. Coley's Six Feet From Hell series

Anthony Renfro's A Zombie Holiday Trilogy 

Scott M. Baker's Rotter Nation 

G.G. Silverman's Vegan Teenage Zombie Huntress   

Jamie Friesen's Zombie Night in Canada: First Period   

Eric A. Shelman's Middletown Apocalypse 

Phillip Tomasso's Damn the Dead    

Dion Winton-Polak's Sunny, With a Chance of Zombies   

Kathy Dinisi's Hell Bound  

Rebecca Besser's and Courtney Rene's Zombies Inside   

Armand Rosmailia's Highway to Hell 2   

Greg P. Ferrell's Humanity's Hope   

Larry Weiner's Paradise Rot 

Dunne brothers' Tales of the Nothing Man   

Edward P. Cardillo's The Creeping Dead   

Scott Lefebvre's The Middle of Nowhere   

Mikhail Lerma's Z Plan trilogy 

Zach Bohannon's Empty Bodies  

Rhonda Hopkins' Survival   

Duncan P. Bradshaw's Class Four: Those Who Survive   

J.L. Koszarek's and Thad David's Divide Then Conquer: Book One of The Zombie Company Crusade series.

Steven Pajak's Regeneration: Book Three of the Mad Swine series

Derek Ailes' "Zombie Twister" from Zombie Command: A Horror Anthology 

Nerys Wheatley's Mutation

Michael Robertson's The Alpha Plague

Heath Stallcup's Caldera

John O'Brien's A New World: Untold Stories 2 

Rob E. Boley's That Scary Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White and Zombies