Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Photos Related to Shattered World III: China -- Demon Concept Art

This week's photos are the most interesting of the series because it will be dealing with the concept art and ideas that went into developing the Demon Spawn in Shattered World III: China. [WARNING: There are spoilers in this blog post so, if you have not read the book, be forewarned.]

Unfortunately, there is no concept art for The Seamstress (aka Bai) and the decimators; they are a figment of my twisted imagination. I came up with the idea of The Seamstress in Shattered World II: Russia when I wrote the scene in which Dr. Ustagov performs an autopsy on a Golem and tells Jason that it is made up of human body parts. Hopefully the descriptions in the book provide enough imagery to create a clear picture of The Seamstress and her demonic minions.

The giant worms that attack the Demon Hunters during the sandstorm are based on the legend of the Mongolian death worms. I included two additional sets of fangs to make mine more deadly and frightening.
Another version of the Mongolian death worm.
Uwe Jarling's epic interpretation of my vision from the front cover of the novel.

hen I was developing the demons that would guard the portals, I came up with the concept of using Golem, the animated anthropomorphic protectors of Jewish ghettos. However, I wanted mine to be much more intimidating and powerful than the man-sized guardians from Hebrew folklore. To give the Golem a more gruesome appearance, I changed them from being created from inanimate material, such as stone, to being a compilation of human body parts. I stumbled across the above artwork while researching other demons and decided to adopt the basic body design for my own Golem.

Are the flesh eaters zombies? Not in the traditional sense. I liked the concept of hordes of shambling dead roaming through the countryside and attacking the Demon Hunters en masse, but did not want to turn my book into a zombie apocalypse novel. So I created the flesh eaters as the desiccated bodies of those condemned to Hell who come back to wander Earth because this is the realm they know. Yes, they eat human flesh, which is what makes them dangerous, but they do not have the other attributes of a zombie -- they are not rotting away, and being bitten by a flesh eaters does not mean you will die and come back as one.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Photos Related to Shattered World III: China -- Locations

After I published Shattered World I: Paris and Shattered World II: Russia, I posted a series of blog entries providing photos and images that inspired the novel's locations and demons. As with the first two books, I've been fortunate to have visited most of the major locations in Shattered World III: China. To bring Shattered World III: China to life for my readers, every Wednesday for the next two weeks I'll be posting blog spots with photos related to the locations described in the novel and/or concept art about the demons. I hope you enjoy them.

First, pictures of northeast China.

Shattered World III: China takes place in northeast China, a region also referred to as Manchuria, between the cities of Harbin and Shenyang.
Aerial view of Harbin's railway station.
The interior of Harbin's railway station.
The platform of Harbin's railway station.

The illegal steel factory that the Xiongnu used was based on real factories that popped up all over China. I originally read about them in an article in Wired titled "Step Inside China's Hellish, Illicit Steel Factories" (see https://www.wired.com/2016/12/step-inside-chinas-hellish-illicit-steel-factories-kevin-frayer/). I thought the imagery was so stunning I decided to use one in my book.
More photos of the factory.
More photos of the factory.
More photos of the factory. 
Unit 731, the Japanese biological warfare unit in Pingfang that experimented on local citizens and Allied POWs, did exist -- sadly, it was not something I made up. Only a few of the buildings used by Unit 731 remain. This is the smokestacks of the former crematorium where the Demon Hunters set up camp on their first night in Manchuria.

Yours truly at Unit 731 smokestacks in 1999.








Monday, July 13, 2020

Zombie-Con Online Schedule - August 14-16

We're excited to announce the schedule for the weekend on 14-16 August.'

If you haven't already done so, visit the Zombie-Con Online Facebook page (the link is below) and click Sign Up and register. You will receive the Zombie-Con Online Program (a week before the convention) that will feature the schedule, the bios of participating authors, and some short stories from our authors. You will also be given instructions on how to attend each panel.

SCHEDULE 
 
Friday, August 14th 
 
9:00 PM EDT – Zombie Smash
 
Saturday, August 15th 
 
10:00 AM EDT – Ladies of Zombiedom 
12:00 PM EDT – Zombies Forever! 
  2:00 PM EDT – How Do You Like Your Zombies? 
  4:00 PM EDT – Apocalypse of a Different Kind 
  6:00 PM EDT – Meet the Authors 
  8:00 PM EDT – Behind the Rotting Flesh 
10:00 PM EDT – Meet the Authors
 
Sunday, August 16th 
 
10:00 AM EDT – Meet the Authors 
12:00 PM EDT – Gamer Zombies 
  2:00 PM EDT – The Many Flavors of Zombie Fiction 
  4:00 PM EDT – Meet the Authors 
  6:00 PM EDT – Prepping for the ZOMPOC 
  8:00 PM EDT – Zombies Beyond the Written Page 
10:00 PM EDT – Zombies, a History
 
PANEL DESCRIPTIONS:
 
Apocalypse of a Different Kind- Zombies aren’t the only major threat to Earth. From EMPs, pandemics, and nuclear wars to asteroids, solar flares, and volcanic eruptions, plenty of dangerous crises could end the world as we know it. This panel of post-apoc writers will ruminate on a wide array of apocalyptic scenarios that don’t include undead flesh-seekers.
 
Behind the Rotting Flesh- Zompoc authors expend a lot of time, energy, and creativity to bring their characters, settings, and stories to life. This panel will reveal the varied processes and influences that enable these writers to create such immersive, zombie-filled worlds.
 
Gamer Zombies- Inevitably, zombie fiction has inspired a slew of zombie-related video games. This panel of authors will chat about which games they love, which ones they don’t, and how the gaming world has impacted their work.
 
How Do You Like Your Zombies?- Zompoc lovers have debated this question for a long time. What kind of zombies do you prefer? Slow or fast? Infected versus undead? This panel will discuss the varied types of zombies – and which ones are the authors’ favorites.
 
Ladies of Zombiedom- Nowadays, men aren’t the only ones writing popular zompoc fiction. Our amazing panel of female authors will share their process and experience of creating stories within a male-dominated genre. These ladies are killing it… literally and figuratively.
 
The Many Flavors of Zombie Fiction- Not all zombie tales are created the same. There is, in fact, a wide spectrum of sub-genres in zombie fiction, including military, prepper, humor, romance, YA, and LitRPG – and this panel will cover them all.
 
Prepping for the ZOMPOC- This panel will consider the ins and outs of preparing for a zombie apocalypse – or any other type of world-ending event. The authors will address such questions as “How would you prepare?”, “What tools, weapons, and supplies would you amass?”, “Where would you bug out?”, “Who would you take with you?”, and “How would your characters do the same?”
Zombies Beyond the Written Page- Books aren’t the only way to consume engrossing zombie tales. This panel will explore an assortment of other media, including audiobooks, comics, movies, TV shows, video games, even musicals.
 
Zombies Forever!- Although the popularity of zombie fiction, films, and shows has waned at times, the appeal has never faded completely. Over the decades, we’ve witnessed many a resurgence – thanks to crowd-loving books, movies, and TV series. This panel will examine why the zombie genre continues to be so enticing to readers.
 
Zombies, a History- Our fascination with zombies isn’t a recent phenomenon. In fact, it has a long and curious history. This panel will discuss the intriguing evolution of zombies, from ancient times to voodoo practitioners, from films to television, and from George Romero to The Walking Dead – and beyond.
 
Other Gatherings:
 
Meet the Authors- Chat with your favorite zompoc and post-apoc authors and meet some new ones. We’ll offer several sessions of “Meet the Authors” to accommodate readers and writers around the world.
 
Zombie Smash- Kick off the conference by hanging out with many of the participating authors, both in Zoom and on Facebook. We may even host a watch party!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Upcoming Events and Releases

I have a lot of releases and events scheduled for the next few months. Below is what I have so far.

Book releases:

Nurse Alissa vs. the Zombies II: Escape was released on 15 June on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Nurse Alissa III and Nurse Alissa IV are in various stages of the writing process with tentative release dates set for 1 August and 15 September, respectively. Print versions of the series are in the production phase; with luck, the paperback editions of Nurse Alissa vs. the Zombies and Nurse Alissa II will be available before the release of Nurse Alissa III.

Shattered World III: China is also in the final production phase and is scheduled for release 1 July, just in time for holiday reading. For those who didn't know, the Shattered World series was originally published as the Hell Gate saga by Burning Willow Press under my pseudo Josh Matthews. That series was never completed because Burning Willow Press, sadly, had to close its door. With the release of Shattered World III: China, the first three novels in the series will be back in print.

Shattered World IV: Japan and Shattered World V: Hell, tentatively scheduled for 1 September and 15 November, respectively, will conclude the series. This will be the first time both books will be published. I'm excited about this.

Events: 

As we all know, conventions were impacted big time by COVID-19, with most being canceled and only a few having been rescheduled. Remember, though, this is the horror/SciFi/fantasy community so a little thing like a pandemic may slow us down but can't stop us. There are numerous on-line events taking place over the next few months, and I'm fortunate enough to be part of a few  of them.

From 19-28 June, Reading Zombie will be hosting a daily takeover of various zombie writers to help David Simpson fund his movie trailer for Zombie Road. Some of the speakers scheduled so far are Angel Ramon (19 June), Chris Philbrook (23 June), and myself (27 June). Reading Zombie always puts on epic events.

From 14-16 August, I'll also be attending Zombie-Con Online, a virtual reality zombie convention. Presented via Zoom, the event will feature nearly a dozen panel discussions on a variety of relevant topics, from zompoc world building to the female writers of zombiedom. In addition, there will be several “Meet the Authors” sessions, providing the opportunity to chat with some of your favorite zombie writers.

With luck, I'll be attending other cons this fall, especially Salem Horrorfest. I'll let you know as things develop.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Photos Related to Shattered World II: Russia -- Steam Locomotive to Siberia

These photos are of the steam engine used to transport the Demon Hunters to Lake Baikal in Siberia in Shattered World II: Russia.


This photograph of an old Russian truck converted to rail use inspired the idea of General Zhirinovsky converting buses into makeshift steam engines to travel to and from Moscow.
 
The 1950s Soviet-built LV locomotive that Major Svetlana Krayevsky used to transport the Demon Hunters to Lake Baikal.

The dining car that Svetlana converted into her command car.
 
Jason's quarters on the train.

While researching Shattered World II: Russia, I discovered this image of a German armored train from World War II. It gave me the idea to have an armored LV locomotive lead the rail convoy to Siberia.

The routes for the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I'll Be Taking Over the Written Undead Facebook Page 10 April


This Friday, 10 April, from 8 to 10PM EST, I will be taking over the Written Undead page on Facebook. We're going to have a good time. There will be some fun contests and, yes, a few giveaways. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Photos Related to Shattered World II: Russia -- Red Square and Lenin's Tomb

These photos are of Red Square and Lenin's Tomb where the battle to close the first portal occurred in Shattered World II: Russia.

St. Basil's Cathedral (left) and Savior Tower (right), the major entrance to the Kremlin, on the southern border of Red Square.

The State Historical Museum on the northern border of Red Square. This is the building in front of which the portal opened.

GUM Department store.

Inside GUM Department store.

Lenin's Tomb.

Inside the main vault of Lenin's Tomb.

Close-up of the sarcophagus with Lenin inside.

The portable nuclear device used by General Budenny's forces in Red Square.