December 3, 2014

Jane Austen Cover to Cover: For the Austen Fan Near You!

Tee-hee!! I am a lifelong Jane Austen fan. Did you know?

I mean...I love my Stephen King and my Neil Gaiman and my Robert Kirkman, too, but really, Jane Austen's been with me a long, long time.

I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time when I was in middle school, and I was captivated by the accounts of fancy dresses and fancier manners. It struck me as so different, so other from the life I was used to...I couldn't put it down.

High school found me, in my infrequent spare time, working my way through the rest of Austen's opus. Emma. Sense & Sensibility. Northanger Abbey. Persuasion.  I read them all.

And while the initial draw was the fancy dresses and other-ness, what kept me coming back was the comedy. Austen was a sharp satirist. She was a critic of the sterile manners and crusty classism of Victorian England, and she used her wit to poke fun at the parties, the frivolity, the seeming insanity of her world.

The results are often hilarious, and that's kept me coming back to these books year after year after year. 

Especially Pride & Prejudice. Hands down, that one's my favorite. I've had the same paperback copy since high school. It's starting to fall apart, but who cares.

So yeah. Jane Austen. I know!


When my friends at Quirk Books told me they were publishing a new retrospective on Jane Austen, called Jane Austen Cover to Cover, I was all over it. Of course I wanted to learn more about her, and about the images/bindings that have made up the covers to her awesome books through the years.

Why wouldn't I?

Especially with Quirk behind it - because, as you may or may not know, Quirk Books are the publishers of the great literary classic, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies! Clearly they love Austen as much as I do. 

Written/compiled by Margaret C. Sullivan, this book is gorgeous and fun. Sullivan is obviously a fan herself, and she seems to have fun talking about not only the covers, but the history behind each publication.

Like...did you know Austen only ever sold the rights to Pride & Prejudice? All her other books were published in such a way as to allow her to keep her rights, and to receive commission. Sound familiar? Oh yes. It's how some small presses work these days, and it's a lot like self-publishing.

And did you know that on some of the earliest covers, Jane Austen's name wasn't even included? Nope. It was thrown out in favor of displaying the name of the more well-known illustrators. 

I know, right?!

So, there's interesting history, and gorgeous pictures of old books. Really old books. I have no idea how she found all these images, but it's impressive. First editions of British and American printings, rare, illustrated editions...Sullivan's found them all. 

It's an awesome book, assuming you're a Jane Austen fan. I mean, if you're not, it's still lovely, but it probably won't be your thing. 

That said, it is definitely MY thing. If it's YOUR thing, too, I highly suggest you ask Santa to slip a copy under your tree this year. And maybe, if you're as nerdy as me, you'll find the page with a picture of your very own old, tattered paperback cover....and you'll of course have to snap a shot of it and post it on your blog. :)

Yep. I'm a dork. Deal with it. :)

November 24, 2014

Bundle up for winter, Zombie Fans!

Hi everyone! I know I've been quiet lately - been dealing with some deadlines, and still have a couple more big ones to meet - but today I have news! I tweeted about this last week, but here's some exciting information about the entire Undead America series!!

My publisher and I decided that, now that the series is released in its entirety, we could bundle all three books together and sell the series as one! It's sort of like a box set, only in eBook form! Check it out!

Isn't it pretty? 

It's available for pre-order now (links below) for the bargain basement price of $3.99. The price'll go up after the holidays. This would make a GREAT Christmas present on a zombie fan's Kindle or Nook, and it's a great way to purchase the series if you haven't already!

So please! Tell your friends! Your families! Your...BOOK CLUBS!! Undead America, the series....coming soon to an e-reader near you!!

November 13, 2014

Friday night at the Windjammer - Help Save a Life!

Hey you guys!

I don't often advertise events here on the blog, unless I'm directly associated with them. You've heard all about rUNdead, sure, and now Atomacon, but this is something different. I won't be at this event, but I wish I could be. 

You see, a friend of mine is trying to help a friend of HIS, a friend who's battled cancer not once, but THREE TIMES! And I want to help him spread the word! Because cancer sucks and it's stupid how much it costs to treat it, and far too many people in this world have their lives turned upside down by that awful disease.

So yes! Let's help!

My friend Tyler Boone is a singer/songwriter here in Charleston. His friend, Dan Rainey, is a musician with a bunch of local bands, including Tyler's. This guy Dan has already had three cancerous tumors, and now he needs chemotherapy. Medical bills have already piled up, and are threatening to get completely out of hand. 

So now, the Charleston music community is ready to help. If you can, head out to The Windjammer Friday night for the concert event, A Little Help from my Friends!

This line-up is pretty awesome. If you're local and you listen to The Bridge at 105.5, you'll know a lot of the music. Also, Box from the Box & Kelly morning show will be performing with some of the bands. Since I already know Box plays a mean air guitar, I imagine the results will be epic.

For more information, check out this page at the Coast Records web site.

The Charleston music community is small and tight. They're all good people. If Tyler says Dan needs help, then we should all help. Cancer sucks. 

If you are free Friday, you should definitely check out this show. All proceeds will benefit Dan directly, helping to pay down his medical bills. If I were free Friday, I'd be there - for the music, sure, but more importantly for the cause.

Fuck you, Cancer. The Charleston music community is coming for you.

November 10, 2014

Atomacon 2014: Where I'll Be

This is new! I've never had to do this before! But I'm a guest at this year's Atomacon in North Charleston, South Carolina, and as a guest....I have a SCHEDULE!

Yes, that's right! I'll be taking part in a generous handful of panels, talking about books, zombies, and publishing, and I hope to see YOU there!

And if you're asking, "What's Atomacon?" I have an answer! It's the Low Country's first Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Science and Technology, AND Gaming convention. There will be panels! Vendors! Cosplay! And MORE!

Here's info about how you can get in, and here's the full schedule (there are all sorts of different "tracks" to follow, and all kinds of awesome guests besides me), so do check it out.

And if you'll be there, here's where you can find me:


6:00 p.m. Local Author Spotlight

7:00 p.m. Diversity in Literature panel

10:00 p.m. The Walking Dead panel (featuring Greg French and Mike Mundy, two Walking Dead walkers)


8:00 p.m. Pen and Sword panel (using weapons in your writing)


1:00 p.m. Zombie Survival Guide panel (talking about what YOU need to survive the apocalypse)

November 5, 2014

This I believe

Someone on Twitter yesterday made some comments about how he voted, then said something to the effect of, "I guess that shows how left-wing liberal I am. If that offends you, then I'm not sure how or why you're still following me."

Of course he went on to add, "Right-wingers are welcome here, no doubt, but if my beliefs don't work for you, you should probably look elsewhere..."

These aren't direct quotes - not at all - but they did make me think... did seeing a lot more support of the GOP on my Facebook feed than I expected, and since (in my mind) the GOP has done so much more harm than good lately, it surprised me.

So here I am. I am going to lay my beliefs on the line in this blog post. If you disagree with them to a point where they make your skin crawl, well, then, I'm not sure why you're still following me.

That said, you're still welcome here. Because I believe in the right of everyone to have their own long as their opinions don't start influencing my life.

But anyway, in no particular order, here's my belief system. I think it's important you know where I stand if you plan to continue reading this blog:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe two people in love should be allowed to marry, and to have that marriage recognized by our state and federal governments. I don't believe you can force a church/religious group to accept same-sex marriage, but if I were gay and wanted to marry and my church told me I couldn't...I'd find a different church.

I love the new Pope. Even though I'm a Jew, I love his progressive views, and his vision for Catholicism of the future.

I believe I am the only person who has the right to make decisions that affect my body. I believe in access to multiple forms of birth control, as decided upon by my doctor and me. I don't believe the government has a right to tell me what I can or cannot do to my body.

I believe in safe access to abortions for women who need it. I believe if we make abortion illegal, it will go back to being done in filthy rooms with inadequate tools, and I believe women will die.

I do not, however, believe in abortion as birth control. It's a serious decision, and while I understand mistakes happen, I also understand you have to learn from your mistakes.

I believe I will never figure out how I feel about the death penalty. My entire being rails against the idea that one human can tell another they deserve to die...but I also understand the burden of lifetime jail sentences, and I also believe that some people are truly evil.

I believe my chosen faith (strains of Judaism mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism) is mine to choose. I don't believe there's any single right answer to who or what God is or is not. I believe any God above would welcome a person who questions, who wonders, and who does not accept blindly all that is told to him or her.

I believe there are as many good people who practice the Islamic faith as there are Christians and Jews. I also believe there are as many bad people who practice Christianity and Judaism as who practice Islam. I believe religion has caused most of the wars we've ever seen, and thus I remain skeptical about organized religion as a whole.

I believe President Obama is a good man who took on the toughest job in the world. I believe in the ideals he set forth during both campaigns. I believe that when he's changed his mind on issues (i.e. gay marriage), he's done so with much thought and research and introspection, and not simply due to the changing of the national tide. I believe our Congress is currently doing more harm than good, on both sides of the political aisle.

I believe in taking care of our neighbors, of the sick, of the poor. I don't mind paying more taxes if it means the people most in danger in our society can get a little more help when they need it.

I support Obamacare, as it's given many more people access to affordable health care.

I believe we have a responsibility to educate children.

I support charities that provide funding to children, to animals, to cancer and AIDS research.

I believe that, one day, humanity will win. We'll all come together, and it'll be like this video a friend just sent me.

I believe everyone has a right to believe what they think is correct. If you disagree with any of my beliefs, that's fine with me. If you comment with negativity and vitriol, I believe I will delete your comment.

And now I believe it's time for me to get back to work.

November 2, 2014

Winter of Zombie Blog Tour: Spotlight on Jack Wallen

Every few months or so, I'm happy to open up this blog space to fellow-zombie author Armand Rosamilia and his <Season> of Zombie Blog Tours.

Today, as the air in South Carolina has taken a turn for the decidedly-wintery, I'm happy to take part in the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour. Please welcome author Jack Wallen to the blog today! I'm sure you'll enjoy his interview!

Your name:

Jack Wallen

Why zombies?

Because they taste like chicken … albeit rotten chicken. Seriously though, I enjoy zombies because they make for a perfect metaphor for humankind. I get to turn the mirror on humanity and show who the monster really is.

Plus, Hollywood has yet to make zombies sparkle – so they’re still somwhat pure.

What is your latest zombie release?

Cry Zombie Cry

Quick description of it:

With the Guignol Gang fully armed and prepared to defend the castle, Bethany and company are off to see the Wizard of Odd.

The long-awaited entry to the I Zombie series has arrived.

And it’s ready to rock.

Bethany Nitshimi is back and ready to crush the Zero Day Collective with a wall of sound. Together with the metal band Unsun, Bethany will have the undead horde banging their heads until brain runs thick in the streets.

If it’s too loud, you’re too old…or dead.

Something unique about it:

Cry Zombie Cry is, like Rob Halford of Judas Priest, made of metal. At the center of the story there’s a metal concert which serves as a backdrop for a rather epic battle of good vs. evil. Rock and zombies go hand in hand, so anyone prone to throw the horns \m/ will enjoy this ride.

Links for people to buy it:


Your promo links:

Your short Bio:

Jack Wallen is a seeker of truth and a writer of words. Although he resides in the unlikely city of Louisville, Kentucky, he likes to think of himself more as an interplanetary soul ... or so he tells the reflection in the mirror. Jack is the author of numerous tales of dark, twisty fiction including the I Zombie series, the Fringe Killer series, Shero, The Nameless Saga, and much more.


The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

AND so you don't miss any of the posts in November, here's the complete list, updated daily.

October 31, 2014

Undead America 3: Jenna's War!

Wow, you guys. Jenna's War, the third and final book in my Undead America series, releases today. It's already live at my publisher, and will go live at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble throughout the next day or two. I'll update this post with links as soon as I can.


It's weird.

Three Halloweens in a row, I've released books in this series. Next year, there won't be one. I'm done. It's over. My days of writing about Jenna and Sam and Will and Rosie and Lola are complete. Of course, that's not to say I'm finished with writing. With one book already complete (a straight-up sci-fi) and one mostly written (a historical fiction), I'm not stopping in this life-post-zombies phase. I still have more stories to tell.

Just none about Jenna...

I'm going to miss her.

So yeah. I'm feeling a little loopy today. A little conflicted. Not much in the way of euphoric. But that's okay. I'll just take it all in stride, and no matter what, I hope you all love the series finale. 

Jenna's War is out TODAY!

Here's an excerpt, narrated by Sam:

“Would you two shut up and shoot?” said Jenna. “They’re everywhere!”

And so they were. Filtering out of the trees on either side of us, appearing from around a curve in the road nearby. There was one clear path, just to my left. A huge tree lay, uprooted, blocking the zombies who couldn’t figure out how to get around it.

“Should we run for it?” I shouted.

“Not yet,” she said. “We’ll never make it.”

I nodded, though I knew she couldn’t see me, and turned my attention back to the matter at hand: the approaching beast of an undead man.


He’d begun to move quicker as he zoned in on me for the kill. He was less than five yards away, and I was his intended target. His stink was powerful enough to knock me over. Raw, rotten meat, paired with human excrement.

He must’ve shit himself before he died.

I retched, but only a little.

I pulled my shotgun tighter into my shoulder. The chin wouldn’t work; I knew that. I aimed for the knees.

As soon as I pulled the trigger, the creature’s legs exploded in a wash of black zombie blood. It sprayed my lower legs, the chill of dead blood sending a shudder through my body. The beast before me fell, collapsing atop his now-shattered legs, the weight of his massive body shaking the ground beneath my feet. Or maybe it was all in my head, the shaking. Or all in my knees. The was no way to tell.

But still he came, that massive monster that wanted to eat me. The scrape of his homegrown armor against the blacktop permeated the sounds of battle around me, cutting through my eardrums with a splitting, shrill agony. I had to stop it.

“I’m stepping out,” I shouted, as though in some strange world I was headed to the store to buy a loaf of bread or maybe some milk. “I gotta handle this one.”

“No,” said Jenna, but she didn’t move. There was too much for her to do, too many creatures for her to kill, and she knew it. “Don’t leave your wingman!”

“I have to!”

I reached down and picked up her slugger – she never minded loaning it out – and took the first step away from the warmth and companionship of my partners in battle. The screech of metal against pavement was enough to make me wince. I walked to it.

The zombie’s wasted hand reached out for me, desperate and hungry. I let him grasp my foot, his fingers closing in a vice-grip that would, I knew, leave a bruise for me to deal with after the battle. He pulled himself closer to me, his mouth gaping wide behind the riot mask, revealing rotted teeth and a tongue barely hanging on by several stretching, dripping tendons. I let him come.

The mask hit my first foot, and the zombie smashed his face against it, his tongue making wet, sloshing noises as it slurped against the bulletproof shield. My foot was safe, blocked by the very piece of industrial-strength plastic that had kept me from being able to kill him. The helmet, held in place by a chin-strap that was giving way with age, moved off kilter, exposing the back of the zombie’s neck.

That was all the space I needed.

I raised Jenna’s Slugger, graying with age, black in part with ancient zombie blood, and brought it down on the exposed flesh with all the strength I could muster. It was, I must admit, considerable. The creature’s head detached from it’s body, the hand suddenly going slack around my foot. I flexed my toes with appreciation, even as the mouth below me continued to slurp and stretch, trying to bite me. I nudged it away with the toe of my boot, and it rolled end over end, the neck encrusting itself with debris from the road, before coming to a rest a few feet away. The opening of the neck pointed at me, wet and sparkling with glass shards and pebbles. The zombie’s jaw flapped, open and closed, open and closed. I aimed at the wet spot.

That should work.

I pulled the trigger.

The mask, once filthy but still transparent, was instantly covered with sticky black muck. The jaw could no longer open and close, because the jaw was no longer there, destroyed by the scattered shot from my weapon. The beast of a zombie was dead.

Sorry, friend. I admired your preparation. Wish you could’ve held out. I probably would’ve liked traveling with you.

But the thought was fleeting. Jenna’s voice cut through the noise around me. “Sam! Quit fucking around with that thing. We’ve got to go.”

A hand gripped me from behind – warm, this time, and small, Rosie’s hand – and pulled me along toward the closing gap in the herd of zombies. Soon, all I knew was running and running and running.



Jenna's War at Barnes & Noble