December 30, 2013

Ins and outs

I'm starting to feel like I'm cursed.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big curse. Or, well, maybe it is. But no matter what, it's a curse and it sucks.

Here's the thing. You know I'm a Jersey girl, right? And that I live in South Carolina now? 

I still love my home state, though, and all the friends and family I left behind. And I miss the hell out of New York. The city, of course. I miss the smells (chestnuts, pretzels, a touch of smog). I miss the sounds (honking, shouting, cursing, sirens). I miss wandering the halls of the Met, losing myself in the Degas hall (I'm not a dancer, but his paintings make me want to dance). I miss walking the streets at night, when the city shows no sign of rest. 

I just miss it.

I haven't been to New York since before Zoe was born, and I haven't been home to Jersey in a few years either. Because every time I plan a trip...something happens.

First it was a road trip, planned for Charles, Zoe and me at the end of last summer. After a nasty flair-up of my insomnia (I don't think I slept more than two hours for about five nights straight), I was nervous about a 12 hour drive and a crazy, chaotic week of visiting friends. I canceled that trip myself, making the decision to take care of my body instead of partying like a rock star (a rock star with a four-year-old but who's counting). That kind of sucked, but just a little.

So I planned a trip for later in the fall. We'd leave on a Friday, fly up, and come home Monday. It would be busy and hectic, but it would just be a few nights. I'd survive, even if I didn't sleep.

The Tuesday before we were supposed to leave, Hurricane Sandy hit. Much of my hometown was underwater, and most of the state was without power. Clearly that trip was canceled.

That sucked on a whole new level.

Now.

We were supposed to leave Thursday for a trip to the city. This time we'd stay IN the city, in a hotel. We'd DO the city. FAO Schwartz. The Museum of Natural History. Maybe even a Broadway show, if TKTS cooperated.

But then.

Last week, we noticed our Dalmatian, Molly, was getting thin. She's old, almost fourteen, so it wasn't entirely unexpected or surprising. But still, it was concerning, and when she couldn't eat without getting sick, well...

Today I took her to the vet. I found out her liver and her pancreas are failing. She's probably only got a few days or a week to live.

Clearly we're not headed north. I doubt we'll even leave the house much over the course of the next few days.

Molly is Charles's girl, but I love her dearly too. She's a sweet dog (except for that time she tried to eat our neighbor's little boy...but that's a story for another day). Very loving and always happy to see us. Even through yesterday, sometimes she still acted like a puppy. To look at her wasn't to see an old, tired dog. It was to see a vibrant, alive creature, always excited to see what the day would bring. 

I'm not ready to lose her. None of us are. Tonight we sent Zoe to sleep at a friend's house because we didn't know what the evening would bring. Tonight Charles and I are sleeping downstairs, near Molly, because we don't know what the night will bring. It may be days...it may even be weeks if the fluids and meds she's taken help her rally...but our time is running short.

I'm sad to miss New York and New Jersey yet again. I'm angry that we can't refund our tickets.

But those thoughts pale in comparison to how much I'm going to miss our Molly. 

So I might be cursed. I'm certainly not going to plan another trip north anytime soon. Third time was definitely not the charm, and I'd hate to see what another attempt could bring. I'm not ready to lose anyone else.

Maybe that's the horror writer in me talking. Curses. Bah. I'm probably crazy. But who cares. 

Tonight I'm going to lay here (insomnia rearing its ugly head of course) and listen to everyone in the house breathe. The ins and outs of each breath. Charles is the loudest, but I have good ears. I can hear them all. Molly's quiet, slightly-labored snore. The snuffles of our other dog, Quentin. The soft sounds of our cats, Doozer and Owen. We're all here, in the living room. 

Tomorrow night is New Year's Eve. I imagine tomorrow night will find us doing the same, with the wild, thrashing breaths of Zoe thrown into the mix. 

I'm going to listen all night to the ins and outs of everyone's breaths. Because at this point? I don't know what else to do.

Left to right: Quentin, Zoe, Molly

December 12, 2013

A big fat THANK YOU: Phillip Phillips, The Bridge at 105.5 and Truphonic Recording Studio

Let me tell you a little story.

This past spring and summer, when Zoe and I were together all day, every day, during our homeschooling experiment, we listened to a LOT of music. Anytime we were in the car (which was often, since I'm not good at staying home all the time), our radio was on, and it was almost always tuned into my favorite local station: The Bridge at 105.5. We got to know the DJs (Box and Laura, Nikki, the Critic. And, more importantly, we got to know the music. A LOT of the music.

Certain bands came on all the time. Fun. The Lumineers. Of Monsters and Men. Phillip Phillips.

Yep. I said Phillip Phillips. As in, "that guy from American Idol." And you know what? His song, "Home," the one that won the show for him, was a favorite of ours. Whenever it came on we'd drop what we were doing and sing. Zoe and me. Together.

Fast forward six months. Zoe's been in kindergarten for a while, and I've been doing the "full time writer" thing for a while, too. We don't listen to music as much together anymore, but still. When it's just the two of us in the car (to and from school, mostly, but also when running errands and going places on weekends), we listen to The Bridge. New songs have become favorites, often by the same bands. Phillip Phillips' "Gone, Gone, Gone," and "Where We Came From" are on our rotation these days, and I'll be honest...every time I hear "Gone, Gone, Gone," I sing it to Zoe in my head. It makes me think of her, no matter where I am.

So when, on Monday, we were running after school errands, and I heard the Critic was going to give away tickets to a small, private recording session at Truphonic Recording Studio with Phillip Phillips later in the week, Zoe and I tuned in. We listened carefully for the cue to call, and when it came on, somehow I won tickets.

I'll be honest. I won them for her. I couldn't imagine going to the show with anyone else.

So the show was today, and - rebel mom that I am - I let her stay home from school for the full day. We made a gingerbread house this morning, then got ready to go.

We went to the radio station around 11, and from the start it was cool. Zoe was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people around, but everyone at the station - the DJs, the staff - was super-gentle and sweet to her. She wasn't the youngest (there was a baby there!!), but she was definitely the only kid her age, and no one seemed to mind.

We took the "Cool Bus" to Truphonic, which was trippy. It's a tricked out bus whose walls have been graffitied by countless other riders, and for the first time I wished Zoe couldn't read.

"Um, don't read those words, ok?" I said at one point, noting a bunch of F-bombs and, quite literally, a note which said, "For a good time call..." Hilarious, and nothing worse than a New York City kid would see on a subway wall every day, but still. Um. I wish she hadn't read all that.

The Truphonic Recording Studio is like a little secret, all tucked away behind a liquor store here in West Ashley. The people there were super-cool, too. I chatted with an intern and his wife about mission work (she just got back from Nicaragua) and writing. Then I met Box, from the Box and Laura Show, and also (almost) Laura. They were so sweet and fun.

The show with Phillip Phillips was amazing. He sat with another guitar player named Errol Cooney and they talked and joked (very self-deprecating, that fella is), and he played two songs: "Gone, Gone, Gone," and "Where We Came From." He sounds as good in person as he does on the radio, which made me happy, and Zoe sat on my lap and together we listened to the songs we've loved together, and it was a fantastic thing. She was definitely shy and quiet, still, but she loved the music. So much.

After the show, we all lined up to get our pictures with Phillip Phillips (I can't call him Phil...we're not quite on a nickname basis, you know?), and again, Zoe was shy, but he was SO gentle with her. He asked her name, thanked her for coming, and even told her she looked pretty (she wore her Christmas dress - I thought about trying to convince her to wear her normal jeans and Chucks, but it would have been like arguing with a wall. She was determined to look "fancy."). Then we got a signed photo to take home, to remember our little journey.

This was a great experience. A fun experience. For me, and for my kid. I can't thank the people at The Bridge, Truphonics, and especially Phillip Phillips enough for all they did today. For some people I'm sure it was just a cool celebrity sighting. But for Zoe and me, it was about getting to listen to songs that mean something to us, in a cool setting, with very awesome people. So thanks, you guys! I won't ever forget it!

Phillip Phillips, sounding mighty awesome

Us!!! It was dark in the studio, and no flashes allowed, but still!!
Photo credit: Box!! :)

Zoe and her photo. She insisted I take this picture. 

December 10, 2013

Learning to read

I saw a piece on CBS's Sunday Morning program (I LOVE that show. So much.) about an 80-something year old WWII vet who only recently - within the last year - learned to read. For the first time, he was able to pick up a book. For the first time, he found himself strolling through the aisles of his local library (children's section) to find as many books as he could read in the twilight years of his life.

It was pretty incredible.

I thought about all the books I've read in my life - some great, some mediocre, some that have made me throw them across the room, never to be seen again (the ending of Atonement made me so angry I still refuse to speak of it). I thought about falling in love with characters, with settings, myths and legends and so many monsters. I thought about how much I love to read, and how I can't imagine a life without books. 

A few months back, Zoe and I were home together for the summer, and I worked with her on learning to read almost every day. It was hard for her, and though I didn't push, she still grew frustrated. One day she exclaimed, "I don't ever want to learn to read."

And I wrote about it here because it almost broke my heart.

I realized very quickly, though, that reading was frustrating to her, but she still loved books. We still read together every night, working our way through Junie B. Jones and Charlotte's Web and dozens of Cam Jansen mysteries. She loved the stories; the act of reading was just still a difficult thing.

Now? Well, though she still doesn't love reading on her own, these days she LOVES to read to me. She's doing better and better every day, and willingly picks up a book and settles down beside me at night to practice. I still read to her, too, of course, and will for as long as she'll let me, but she's reading now, fairly fluently, and it's been exciting for the whole family.

She loves mysteries - something I never did, and something I now find very interesting to watch in her. Even the first two Harry Potter movies were, to her, nothing more than good mysteries. "I'm glad they tell you who did it before the end," she said. "I like that they don't leave you wondering." It had never occurred to me before that they were mysteries, but once she pointed it out there it was, staring me in the face. I love when she opens my eyes to a new perspective.

So now I lose myself in daydreams sometimes, thinking about all the books she has yet to read. All the amazing stories out there she's yet to discover. I try not to push her toward any particular books too much - finding the stories you love, for yourself, is one of the best parts of reading in my opinion - and she's definitely finding her own path. Like I said, if it's a mystery, she'll locate it on the deepest shelves of the library. She's also finding trickier books - chapter books - and having fun pushing herself to her reading limits.

I can't imagine not knowing how to read, and all the doors that would suddenly open upon learning, but with my wild and crazy five-year-old by my side, I almost get to relive the experience of discovering books a second time around. And that is...wow...it's just pretty awesome, don't you think?

December 3, 2013

Book Birthday! The Geek's Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

Eric Smith is a geek. I know this because we've been Twitter-friends for a couple years now, and I've seen him tweet about such nerdy topics as video games, their systems, movies, books, and just about anything else. If it's geeky, chances are he's had an opinion about it.

Thus, it's PERFECT that his first book, which releases today, is THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO DATING, via Quirk Books (for whom he's also Media Guy Extraordinaire).

I had a chance to read GEEK'S GUIDE prior to its release today, and let me tell you - it made me giggle.

Now look, I'm not on the market. I'm happily married, and am not planning on being on the market ever again. But still...this book was funny and charming and it was wholly entertaining to see myself (and my husband, ahem) represented in this new and quirky and funny way.

In my house, we're geeks, for sure. Charles is a Comic Book Fan, a Gamer, and an Internet Geek, at least according to Eric's definitions. I, on the other hand, am a Social Media Geek and a Book Geek. We're both Politics Geeks and Apple Geeks. So...there's common ground. Who knew?


The book is full of pop culture references - most of which I knew, but some of which had me completely baffled. I guess I'm not quite as much of a geek as I thought. So while you're reading the advice of one (not so) single (anymore, I think) nerd to another, you'll be kept on your toes with references to Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Magic The Gathering, and just about anything else in Geekdom. There are even Doctor Who references! *swoon*

It's also adorable, visually speaking. Old video game graphics, all pixelated and fun, deck the pages and make you smile. It's the kind of book you love to hold and leaf through, you know?

As for the advice itself...well, again, I'm decidedly not single, and I haven't been single in many, MANY moons, so I can't say if it's good advice or not. I mean, it seems pretty solid (like: don't stare creepily at a girl before asking her out at your local comic book shop), don't get me wrong. As for the effectiveness...well, you'll have to give it a shot for yourself.

(Also, the advice is mostly tailored for those of you with a Y chromosome - yes, men, you - and though Eric argues it's mostly universal...ladies, don't listen to his fashion advice!!)

So. Do you want a laugh, at yourself or your geek-ish friends? Do you want to learn how to dress like Han Solo for your hot first date? And do you want to pick up that hot chick/dude at your local indie bookstore? Go there and 0ick up this book, now.

And since I'm nice and it's Eric's book birthday, let's celebrate with a giveaway!! I'll send my beautiful copy of THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO DATING to a fellow nerd who needs a leg up on the dating scene. All you have to do is leave a comment, tell me why you want it, and make me laugh. Assuming people play, I'll pick my favorite one!! So, ready...set...GO! Why do YOU need THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO DATING? (Must be in the US or Canada to play.)

November 18, 2013

RIP, Junie B.

Hearing about the death of Barbara Park this weekend almost broke my heart. 

Earlier this year, when Zoe and I were getting ready to embark on our six months of "home-schooling" (in quotes because I had no idea what I was doing...and since it was Pre-K we were pretty flexible), one of her teachers handed me a list of books she loved reading aloud with kids. The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park topped it.

I tucked the list away for a rainy day and instead we started out with Charlotte's Web. I read it to her for hours on end, snuggled up under blankets on the couch. Zoe listened, wide-eyed and attentive, but very passive.

Since the late spring and early summer turned out to be an especially rainy one here in Charleston, and we spent a lot of time inside, that rainy-day list of books came to mind one day, and Zoe and I headed to the library. 

We borrowed the first book in the Junie B. Jones series - Junie B. Jones and the Stupid, Smelly Bus - and even the title made us both laugh. Almost immediately, I noticed a difference while I read to Zoe. Instead of passively listening, she was giggling. Interrupting to ask questions...and often to pass judgment on the behavior or little Miss Junie B. 

We went back to the library for more Junie B. books later that week. She received most of the first half of the series from relatives for her birthday. We read them and re-read them and read them some more, giggling together the whole time.

I know there are plenty of critics of these books. Junie B. is by no means a model citizen, and her slang speech and bad grammar make plenty of teachers cringe. I understand that.

But I don't agree. Because if they get kids reading...there's nothing better than that, in my opinion.

These were the first books Zoe would ask to read, over and over. When she started reading, they were the first books she tried to read aloud back to me. They became our books, the ones we always read together.

They still are.

I haven't told Zoe yet that Barbara Park died this weekend. I'm not sure how she'll react. Recent history says she'll ask some practical question and move on pretty quickly, but if there's one thing I've learned about parenting it's that recent history often means nothing when something strikes a child as particularly sad. 

So I may not tell her, yet. I may ask Santa and the Hanukkah Fairy to round out her collection, to keep our own story going. Barbara Park may be gone, but for Zoe and me, Junie B. Jones still has a lot more to teach us.

Zoe made this picture on the Junie B. Jones web site.
Zoe and Junie B. Perfect together.

November 12, 2013

Some thoughts on volunteering

Every so often I laugh at myself. (Ok, in all honesty I do it a lot.) Here I am, trying to make it as a horror/sci-fi writer, and my blog posts are so often about my family and friends and the random stuff that happens in life. Ah well. If you've come here for blood and guts and gore, try one of my books instead please.

Tee hee.

Anyway, this thought was too long for a Facebook post or a Tweet, so I had to come here to share it. Hi blogging world!

Here's the thing...

I spend about an hour a week at Zoe's school. I go down to her classroom, pull aside a few kids, and play games with them. That's it.

Sure, the games are all letter-recognition- and sight-word-related, but really, that's it. My volunteer role involves playing games. 

And the thing is...I love it. I love it so much. Like, really, really, REALLY love it. I'm working with the children who are struggling a bit, but every week I get to see some growth. A month ago we couldn't have done anything with sight words...we were just working on knowing A is A and B is B!! Today they were reading words like "the" and "up" and "can," and it was amazing.

I worked with three little girls for the first 15 minutes of "center time," and when it was time to switch centers, all three of them begged to stay with me! All to practice sight words.

Kind of crazy.

So then, as part of my volunteering, I help them all get ready for lunch, walk with them to the cafeteria, and hang out with Zoe while she eats. Then I'm done.

But before I go, I get to say goodbye to all my little babies. Some of them come over and hug me. Some high-five. Others fist-bump. But all of them wave as I walk away, and all of them call, "Goodbye! Goodbye!" Just like they're the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz.

It's really quite possibly the best hour of my week. I feel helpful, I feel worthy, and I feel loved.

It's funny. As a writer, I spend an inordinate amount of time doubting myself. "Is this story any good?" "Am I where I think I should be in my career?" "Will my books ever amount to anything?"

And as a mom and a wife and I daughter, I'm plagued by similar doubts. "Am I good enough?" "Do I say 'I love you' enough?" "Is my house as clean as it should be?"

Stupid, stupid stuff, I'm sure, but those are my issues plain and simple and I worry about them all the time.

Except for during that one hour every week. For that hour, I know I'm doing the best I can, and I'm making tiny little impacts on tiny little lives, and I wouldn't trade that hour for anything in the world.

So if you're like me....plagued with doubts and fears and worries that you'll never be good enough...go find a place to volunteer. Even if it's just for an hour a week. I promise you, that hour will make a difference.

November 5, 2013

Guest Post: S.K. Falls and the books that inspired her write

Ok, friends. Say it with me. What's my favorite part of being a writer? 

It's talking to other writers! I love love love to hang out with other people who write. I love to hear what they say. I love to dig into what makes them tick.

And I love to open up my blog to them so they can fill it up with random delightfulness.

To that end, today I welcome my good friend, S.K. Falls, who I'm lucky enough to know in real life. She's a fabulous writer, and her Fevered Souls serial is full of action, drama, and all kinds of awesomeness.  She sat down to talk about the three books that inspired her to write...which leads me to ask....what books inspire YOU, dear readers? Let us both know in the comments!!


Here's S.K.'s response, to get the conversation going:

There are so many books I’ve read and thought, “I wish I could suck all the talent out of that writer and infuse my mind with it!” But if I had to pick only three books that really inspired me to be a writer, I’d pick (in no particular order):

1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I am an unrepentant Hemingway fangirl. I love the way he can say, in a sentence, what it would take most people (me included) ten pages. And he says it better, to boot. The man was amazing.

2. Any of Jodi Picoult’s books. She’s a fantastic writer, and I’ll be a diehard fan for life. When I picked up the first book I’d ever read by her, it felt like a transcendental experience. So THIS was what good writing, writing that really touches the heart, was all about! By the end of my career, if I’m half as good as her, I’ll be really thrilled.

3. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. The first full-length book I ever wrote was a chick-lit, and it was unabashedly inspired by this book. I love Sophie Kinsella’s humor, and wholly credit her for inspiring me to finish that first novel.

So now it's your turn! 

November 4, 2013

On writing like a child

Here's a fact for those uninitiated into the Writing World: November is an important month to writers all over the country (and dare I say...the world?). Known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short...though I can never say that without smirking because it sounds REALLY WEIRD DOESN'T IT??), November is the time when writers throw caution to the wind and commit to writing an entire book in a single month (goal: 50,000 words, or about 1500 per day).

It may sound impossible, but it's really rather accomplishable, as evidenced by the growing number of participants each year. Some people do it year after year, and the results of this mad dash of writing can be found all over the place.

I wrote most of the first draft of what eventually became Zombie Days, Campfire Nights during NaNoWriMo 2010. Only for me, it was more like "Write 60,000 words in about six weeks and then spend the next six months turning them into something even vaguely resembling a real book." But I was new to the scene, and it was my first attempt. 

What NaNoWriMo provides, at its most basic level, is a sense of community. A sense of, "Well, if my friends are doing it, maybe I can, too." A framework for putting your ideas into long-form fiction, regardless of consequences, and seeing if they pan out like you want them to.

I love the idea of NaNoWriMo. I think it does awesome things for awesome people. But no...I don't think I'll ever do it again. I'm much to much of a "slow and steady" kind of girl when I write these days...

But last night I was thinking about it, and I decided to offer out these words of friendly advice to all my friends participating this year, in hopes that maybe I can help keep you guys inspired.

So...here's a little story for you...

****

Last week, I picked up Zoe from school in our Jeep. I knew Charles would be driving the Jeep the next day, and the gas tank was almost on E, so I decided to be sweet and fill it up. Zoe and I headed from school to the gas station.

Now, this was the day of her end-of-season soccer party, and she was super-pumped for it. I was super-pumped for her to FINISH HER HOMEWORK (yes, there's homework in kindergarten) before the party so we could go and have a good time and not worry about it. So we both had big plans for getting home on time and getting stuff done. 

Alas, it was not meant to be. For while I was stopped at the gas tank, I set the gas cap on the Jeep's rear tire. I do this every time I fill the tank. But I had an overly-excited, overly-chatty five-year-old in the back seat, one who kept saying, "Mom, Mom, Mom," and I let myself get distracted.

I left the gas cap on the tire...and promptly ran over it as I pulled away, smashing it to bits.

Oops.

Well, I couldn't exactly leave our gas tank gaping wide and expect Charles to drive it the next day. So thus began a journey to find a new one. With an increasingly grouch five-year-old in the back seat, mad at Mommy for having done something that screwed up our afternoon plans.

(Wondering where the writing part is? Don't worry...I'm about to get there!)

There's an Auto Zone about 10 minutes from where the gas cap lay smashed on the ground. When I told Zoe we were going there, she turned on the Epic Pout Face, and there's not much that drives me crazier than the Epic Pout Face.

I started to get mad. Why couldn't she just understand that these things happen? That sometimes plans change, and sometimes Mommy doesn't have a snack or a drink in the car, and sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.

Oh, right, I remembered. She's five. No way will she understand it.

So I shifted gears (ha!!! The Jeep's a stick!!!), and looked at Pouty Zoe in the rear-view mirror. "Ok, babe," I said, forcing myself to smile. "Let's pretend....um....I know! Let's pretend we have to find the super-magic part to save the Jeep...and save the world!"

Her eyes lit UP.

"What are we saving the world from, Mommy," she said, tension and excitement suddenly palpable in her voice.

"Um..." I said. "Ummm...."

Zoe to the rescue! "I know!! I know!! There's a bomb, and we have to stop it! And we need the part to plug into the bomb and that'll keep it from exploding over...over....New York City!! Drive faster, Mommy! We need to get that part!!!"

She was bouncing in her seat, and, even better, her imagination was off to the races.

We spent the next thirty minutes saving the world from various dangers of her imagining. There were giant bunnies descending upon London...we needed to throw a bus across the Atlantic to stop those things from wreaking havoc on the London Bridge. There were trains running off the tracks over giant ravines. There were underwater creatures swimming up on the shores of New Jersey.

At some point in our adventures, we DID manage to buy a new gas cap for the Jeep, but by then it was clearly secondary.

We saved the world, over and over again, and we had a fabulous time pretending together.

And it made me think....how fun would it be to see a full story told from a child's imagination? I mean, a grown-up would have to write it...but can you imagine if he/she let a child dictate where the story goes? Because why can't there be giant bunnies attacking London? And why can't it be possible to throw something across an ocean to save the day? Isn't that what writing spec fiction is all about? Making the impossible....suddenly possible?

So...to those of you participating in NaNoWriMo (and for those of you writing in any other format this month...or next...or the one after that)...I say this: write like a child. Imagine with reckless abandon. Because I can think of no better way to throw curveballs into your stories that may jet you off in directions you never even imagined.

October 31, 2013

No Angels Release Day!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen...the time has come for the release of Undead America: No Angels!!


cue bells, whistles and a really loud kazoo

I'm super-thrilled to share this book with you...and also super-nervous. I think there's ground for controversy, and I'm curious to see what you all think!!

Be that as it may - if you want to read No Angels, here's how you can get it.

1. If you want it TODAY...order direct from my MuseItUp Publishing. Here's the link. Remember...you can order it in a format to work with any e-reader. Just choose your option when you order, and all will be well.

***NOTE: If you pre-ordered, I believe your files will be emailed to you later today. If you don't get them, let me know!! I will make sure you do!****

2. If you're a loyal Amazon/Barnes & Noble/other retailer consumer and would like to wait, No Angels will be popping up in those locations in upcoming days/weeks. Amazon should be up by early next week; Barnes & Noble and other retailers may take a little longer. I'll post links here, on Twitter, and on my Facebook page as they arrive.

Regardless, like I said...I'm really excited. I can't thank you all enough for all the love and support and friendship you show me day in and day out. A book is only as cool as it's readers, and I truly believe I've got the world's coolest readers.

So...someone pop the champagne! It's time for a mimosa!!!

October 27, 2013

rUNdead Recap

Yesterday was a good day. A VERY good day.

It started with Zoe's final soccer game of the fall season, and it was a nail-biter! Didn't help that I was a great big bundle of stress and nerves, but seriously - the game was tied until two final-minute goals by Zoe's team clinched the win...and their winning season.

So I got to be a VERY proud mom.

Then Zoe went home with my parents and aunt, and Charles and I rushed away to pack up the car and drive to North Charleston for the rUNdead 5k race, where I, for the first time EVER, was a vendor. I was to sell (and hopefully sign) some paperback copies of Zombie Days, Campfire Nights.

Whew, I was nervous. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, this wasn't a life and death situation or anything. If no one bought any books, I'd have survived. But still. I was nervous. I'm socially awkward at best, and talking about my book makes me tongue-tied, so this was almost a recipe for disaster.

Almost.

But you know what? It was AMAZING!

This is me, at my both. I think the table looked SO cute!
And the weather was amazing...60s and sunny.

This is Charles, my lovely assistant. He was amazing.
He helped set everything up, handled all the money,
and was supportive and wonderful
all through the day

My good friend Marissa Virtuoso came by and hung out.
Not only is she a great writer (buy her book - The Indigo Bunting)
but she had a great idea. She took copies of Zombie Days
around to a handful of zombies and took their picture!




The day only got better from there. 

More friends came by to hang out and be amazingly supportive. Some brought snacks, many brought children. The kids all ran around and played at the Kid Center and stared at zombies and generally had fun. I felt SO loved, I can't even tell you how awesome it was.

My parents and aunt were there. They hung out, played with Zoe, took her home, and it was fabulous to be able to have them there.

And....you'll never believe it....but people bought books! All the ones I brought, in fact!! And I got to sign them, and a few people even asked to get their picture taken with me! 

Now THAT was trippy. Me? You want your picture with ME??? So odd, and I only hope I didn't break their cameras...I'm not exactly photogenic. So...fingers crossed they're pleased with the results. 

I also got to meet some new friends - the owners of a food truck here in Charleston, Little Star of the Caribbean, follow me on Twitter, and Elizabeth came by to say hi. It was SO nice to meet her and chat for a while. 

We got to watch the race start (yay runners!) and the race end, and let me tell you - as a runner, it was HARD to not run!! But still. SUCH a great event.

I have to say... Ben-Jamin Toy and the other people of On Purpose Adventures really know how to put on a fantastic event. I'm happy to be able to call Ben a friend by now, and look forward to what the next year brings.

So to my friends and family who came out and supported me yesterday - thank you SO MUCH. You're amazing.

To the new friends I made - so nice to meet you! 

And to everyone who bought a copy of my book yesterday - THANK YOU. I really, truly hope you love it, and I hope to hear from you again!

October 21, 2013

rUNdead 5k This Weekend!!!!

Y'all! The rUNdead Charleston 5k zombie race is THIS WEEKEND! Saturday night, to be exact! And I will be there, selling paperback copies of Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights, and signing just about anything anyone might want signed! (Except private bits. Please. No private bits. This is a family friendly event.)

BUT....here's the skinny on the race, for those interested in attending.
  • The rUNdead Charleston 5k race will take place at the beautiful Wannamaker Park in North Charleston on Saturday, October 26th. "Gates" for the race will open around 2 (though the park's open all day), and the race will start at 5:00.
  • The race itself is a 5k (3.1 miles) over semi-rugged terrain, with zombies on the course to steal runners' flags. Runners get three flags to start. If they finish with a flag, they're eligible for timed awards; if all their flags are taken, they're not. Runners can get an additional flag with the contribution of some canned goods.
  • The race will benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank, which is about as good as it gets, cause-wise. 
  • There will be a "spectator fee" of $5 for those who want to watch, but if you bring 2 canned goods, that fee is waived. 
  • There's a zombie-station to fulfill your dreams of getting zombie-fied. I think they charge $5 for zombie-fication. Other costumes are also welcomed and encouraged.
  • For more info on the race itself, check out the Quarantine Protocol on the rUNdead web site.
AND...here's the skinny on my participation at the race, for those interested in hanging out with me.
  • I will have a booth set up at which I'll be selling my books, giving away post cards and bookmarks, and generally having fun. Some friends may stop by with their own books if they like, which would be VERY cool. I may also have yummy treats up for grabs...I DO love to bake!
  • I'll be there early (probably around 2) and do plan to stay late. Please drop by and say hi!
  • I won't be zombie-fied...not this time. Maybe next time. This time I want to meet people as myself, if that makes sense.
  • Zoe will be there, zombie-fied, and she'll hopefully be scaring up some business. Hahahahaha. I kill me.
OH! And after the race, they'll be showing World War Z on the big Cinebarre blow-up screen. We plan to stick around for that, too, so I hope to see you there!! Don't worry - we're sending Zoe home with her grandparents before the movie. :)

P.S. It looks like it's going to be chilly that night, so don't forget to bundle up!

P.S.S. The final installment of my rUNdead Origins piece on their blog will be up later this week! Don't forget to check it out!!

P.S.S. S. Hope to see you Saturday night! 

October 16, 2013

Undead America: No Angels Release Date

Guess what! We have a release date for Undead America: No Angels!!

I've been purposely vague about the date as we've been working through final edits, file formatting and such, and now...I'm happy to announce...in a move sure to keep things moving along in a lovely, balancing way....

The release date of Undead America: No Angels is....

HALLOWEEN, 2013!!

So on October 31st (a little over 2 weeks from now) Undead America: No Angels will be available for download directly from MuseItUp Publishing! Soon after that it'll be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.  Remember: all e-reader formats are available at MuseItUp, and if you pre-order No Angels, you get a little discount. 

For those of you who tell me you've been waiting for part 2, I hope this is exciting news!! And when you read it, I hope you love it. And until then, thank you all so much for your continued support!!


October 14, 2013

Feast of the Dead Anthology

Gah, I feel like this blog is all ME ME ME lately, and I apologize. There's just been...news? Lately? Sure, let's go with that. I'm not actually always a self-centered narcissist. 

BUT, while I was all busy working on Undead America, I was also writing short stories and occasionally sending them out to publishers. Turns out, one of my stories (another zombie one, but I SWEAR I write about other stuff, too!!) was picked up to be used in an anthology of the undead. Such an fun thing to see my name on a Table of Contents page, I have to say!

Feast of the Dead was released by Source Point Press earlier this month, and it's chock-full of zombie tales for lovers of the walking, chomping, biting ones. If you have a hankering for more blood, guts, and gore, please do check it out. My story is called The Beginning and...well, it was a little hard to write.  A sad one. Maybe even a heartbreaker.

If you read it, let me know what you think! I'd love to hear!

And anyway...with a cover like this....you can't go wrong, right? Isn't it beautiful? (Ick!!!)

October 11, 2013

Cover Reveal: World of Ash by Shauna Granger

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again and again). One of my favorite parts of being a writer has been getting to know other writers. There are amazing communities out there for us, and it's been my experience that most writers truly want to help each other. And most writers? Yeah, they're pretty cool.

Shauna Granger is no exception. We met after a mutual friend introduced us in an internet-y way, and now we blog together, we tweet together, and I'm so glad for it. Shauna was a participant in my recent cover reveal for Undead America: No Angels, and today I'm so excited to return the favor! Her new book, World of Ash, is coming soon, and trust me...it's a way-fun read! And the cover? Well, the cover speaks for itself, doesn't it?


Isn't it pretty?

So...here's what this book is all about:

There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.


And here's what Shauna's all about: 

Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started work on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, staring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.

Feel free to say hi to Shauna at any of these fine locations:





Cover Reveal Organized by:

October 9, 2013

Book Day & Giveaway!! Undead America in print NOW!

Wow, you guys. Just wow. You know that feeling you had as a kid on Christmas Eve (or the day of the first night of Hanukkah, too, if you lived in my house)? When you know something big is coming and you can barely stand it?

That was me today.

Because I knew...ALL DAY...that it was coming! That's right! Zombie Days, Campfire Nights was delivered to my house TODAY, just a little over an hour ago, and I knew it was coming and I was way super crazy excited all day!

Ok, ok, I'm a little dramatic today, it's true. But I'm giving myself a pass. Because honestly, I think it's ok. Today's quite literally the day when a three-year-long journey comes to a head. This crazy little book I started on a whim - that met with awesomely fun reader feedback when it released as an ebook last year - became, today, something I can hold in my hands. I can touch the cover. I can turn the pages. I can dog-ear them if I so choose. Because it's a physical, real, paperback book, and it is mine.

Ok, I know I look really calm.
Trust me. I'm not.

Heh. I feel a little Dr. Frankenstein-y. "It's alive! It's alive!" Here I go with the dramatics again, but remember: I gave myself a pass.

I'm so utterly grateful that today is here.

And so to share my gratitude with YOU, the family/friends/faithful readers who've already shared so much of this journey with me...a little contest. A fun one. Why not! And in this fun world of crowd-sourcing, I'm going to let the winner decide the prize.

Here are the rules:

1. Comment on this post. That's all. At the end of the day on Sunday, October 13th, I'll pick a winner. A random winner. Here's how I do this -- I assign everyone a number, and ask Zoe to pick a number within the range. That's it.

2. The winner gets to choose a prize from these three options:
  • A beautiful paperback copy of Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights - I'll sign it and mail it to you.
  • Your name gets used for a character in Book 3 (not yet written or titled) in the Undead America series.
  • A preview e-copy of Undead America: No Angels, to be delivered at least a week before the release date.
That's it. You tell me. We're celebrating here, so let's have some fun!!

*****

Sunday Night Update

And the winner is....Pat Frame!! Zoe picked number 3! So let me know what prize you want and I'll make it so! Thank you all so much for playing!!! Yippeeeee!

October 4, 2013

Zombie Girl Finally Saw World War Z...

....and holy good God, it was insane!!!

Ok, yeah, I just started a blog post in the title, AND I spoke about myself using a weird third-person persona. Sue me.

Anyway, Zoe's over at my mother-in-law's, Charles has a new Playstation to make up for the one that exploded two weeks ago, and we have the house to ourselves. So of course, we watched a zombie flick.

Of course.

And I have to say....overall, 100%, it just might displace Dawn of the Dead as my all-time favorite zombie movie! I...I just can't believe it.


To be fair, not all of it was believable (and I approach all zombie entertainment with a great many grains of salt). Brad Pitt is beautiful as the One Fella Who Can Save Them All, but some of his escapes are a bit much even for me. Jerusalem in particular was a pain point for me - why is everyone risking everything for HIM? (Other than his obviously amazing Brad Pitt-ness?) 

There was also a distinct lack of animals that surprised me. I, of the zombie cows, expected at least a few animal interactions. German shepherds patrolling city gates, chocolate Labs sniffing airline passengers, whatever. Just something to add a little more depth. I guess I'm just not satisfied with wiping out humanity....I want to see what happens to the animal kingdom as well. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.

But on to the good stuff.

The opening scenes with Brad (ok, Gerry, but he's just so Brad in the movie, it's hard to call him anything else...)...the opening scenes with Gerry desperate to save his wife and two girls absolutely killed me. They ripped out my soul, stomped on it about a thousand times, and left it there, a withered-up, rippling pile of goo on the floor at my feet. Seriously. Ever since Zoe was born, I have a MUCH harder time watching bad things happening to little girls. It's only natural, I suppose. I can't help but imagine what I would do if it were Charles, Zoe and me in those scenes. Would I be able to save her? Keep her safe? Get her out of Jersey? God only knows, and it's that exact unknown that gets me. 

I cried as the initial cities fell. 

Yes. Total dork. That's me.

The pace of WWZ was what I like to call "an anxiety attack on a silver platter." I don't think my heart-rate ever dropped. But I like that. It's the constant assault on my senses that takes me so completely out of my world and drops me right into their's. 

I love that the movie diverges completely from the book, really only sharing a title with Max Brooks' bestseller. Between you and me, I didn't like the book. My friend Charlie is probably going to argue with me - he and I have gotten into it over the book before - but the lack of an overarching character-anchored storyline in the novel was something I couldn't overcome. It's a matter of taste, that's all. I prefer to know my characters, to move with them through time and space to see how they all come out in the end. In that respect the book had too many characters in too many directions. I was never connected to anyone.

So having a family to root for - and then a random bad-ass girl soldier from Jerusalem - was key for me to making the movie a success. 

And finally, I learned something very important about myself tonight. I...like having control of the action. I like creating my own little worlds, and manipulating them how I want. It's part of why I write....it's a great way to gain control over my fears, to put them to bed with a single well-placed swing of a Louisville slugger. 

World War Z might be the first zombie movie I've watched since writing the first Undead America novel. Relinquishing control over a world so similar to the one I've inhabited for months at a time wasn't easy. But after a while - once the girls were safe and I could focus on Brad Pitt - Gerry - most of the time, I was able to let it sweep me away. To frighten me. To carry me on its back through hell and back again. 

And I liked it.

P.S. Thanks to a freak case of viral meningitis when I was six weeks old, I now feel immune to the zombie apocalypse. Watch the movie to find out why.

September 30, 2013

The Kicks: Reading with Zoe

As Zoe gets older and starts reading independently, I'm afraid we're going to lose out on something special. She'll want to read on her own; sitting down with me for hours on end to work our way through chapter books may become a thing of the past.

I'll be sad when that happens. Right now, whenever we're tired or frustrated with each other, we can still find the energy/patience/stamina to read. We've read a lot of books in the past few months - Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, endless episodes of the Junie B. Jones series - and it's been great. 

And I know it'll work out okay, even when she dosen't want me to read to her. I remember my mother reading every Babysitter's Club I brought into the house, and I loved that she did. We had stuff to talk about. "Can you believe what Claudia did?" "Why can't Stacey eat candy?" "I wish MaryAnn would just grow a pair already!"

So it'll be okay for Zoe and me, too.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy every minute of reading together. While I do, I thought it might be fun to share our books with you from time to time. They maybe won't be about scary things and zombies and such, but then, you never know. It may be close to time to introduce her to Goosebumps! Until then...well, here are some books we've enjoyed.

****

Zoe loves soccer. So do Charles and I. We're a soccer house. We have a pop-up goal for the backyard, and about a half-dozen soccer balls always at the ready. Zoe plays with the "big girls" this season - six and seven-year-olds, even though she's only five. This week, there was even a nine-year-old on one of the teams she played! And she loved it. 

So Zoe and I were VERY excited on a recent trip to the bookstore when we saw a book with a group of girls and a soccer ball on the cover. Bright colors, fun graphics, the cover was what caught our eye.

And then, when I looked closer and saw it was written by Alex Morgan of the United States Women's Soccer team...well, I was sold. Why not give it a shot? My soccer fiend kiddo would love it!

As it turned out, we had so much fun reading that as soon as we finished the first book, we bought the second one too!


The books are cute - middle grade fun about a group of seventh- and eighth-graders who try to bring their soccer team (called the Kicks) back from various points of reality-based disaster. Ever had a coach who doesn't...coach? The Kicks have, and they can tell you what to do about it. Ever had another team try to stir up trouble on yours? Yep, the Kicks have faced that too.

Lead by a pink-headband wearing, number 13-touting girl named Devin, who's almost certainly Alex Morgan's own alter-ego, there's nothing the Kicks can't do...so long as they work together. They always pull through in the end.

The Kicks are sweet. Lovable. My child hung on every word as we followed Devin and her team's shenanigans (there's even a Zoe on the team...a forward who's little and zippy and not unlike my own Zoe). She begged me to read just one more page each and every night...and day...and night again. 

She loved them, and, frankly, so did I. If you have a soccer star in the making, definitely give her these books. They're wholesome, they're fun, and seriously - read them aloud with your kid. You'll have as much fun as we did!

This is Zoe and her suggested "cover art" for Sabotage Season

September 27, 2013

This is my life...

Last night was kind of weird. I had adventures and heard entertaining things. I thought it might be fun to share them...

****

It all started with Zoe. I guess it always starts with Zoe. She and I sat on the back patio after dinner, she eating ice cream and me spending time with her before I went to a play. It was very relaxing and cozy as Zoe goofed around with our two dogs, Molly and Quentin.

Suddenly she turned to me, gesturing over her shoulder with her half-finished ice cream cone. "See that dog?" she said. "That's my dog, Sniffer. He's brown. He died, a long time ago."

I almost choked. "I'm so sorry to hear that," I managed, not knowing what else to say. "How'd that happen?"

And suddenly, slipping into a character reminiscent of the student-soldiers in Red Dawn, she told me a story. There was once a war, you see, and it happened in our back yard. Some people climbed our fence, looking for trouble, and they found it. Sniffer was killed in the war. He was shot through the heart. Zoe, Molly, and Quentin were all shot too.

"They were protecting me," she said, her voice deep and calm, her eyes distant. "But it didn't work. We were all shot in the tummy, and it broke our hearts. They took us to the hospital, and they mostly fixed us, but you know what? We were all left with a sickness from it. I'm still sick today."

At this point, I was blown away, part horrified and also utterly impressed by both her acting and her imagination. I was also suppressing that nervous laughter that plagues me whenever I'm feeling conflicted. So I blurted out, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

She cast her eyes down, and I swear to you they filled with tears. "No," she said, still looking away. "There's nothing you can do. We just have to hope for the best."

The story carried on for another ten minutes, with Zoe remaining fully in character. Finally I had to leave. She switched back into goofy, bubbly Zoe. "Yay," she said. "Now I can go do my homework with dad!"

****

So then I headed downtown for the play. Ordinarily, I try to park in the street, not really feeling the whole walking-into-a-dark-parking-garage-alone-at-night thing. But last night I couldn't find a spot on the street.

Near the theater was a parking deck that proudly displayed Visa and MasterCard signs, which was ideal since I almost never carry cash. I pulled in, drove up and around and up and around until I finally found a spot on the fourth floor, and then I took the stairs down.

The stairwell spit me out on a random, creepy alley, populated only by a bunch of bloody-looking towels, so I hurried to the theater. Once there, I made plans with my brother to call him after the show - he's on West Coast time right now, so I knew he'd be awake, and it seemed like a good idea to have someone to chat with while navigating the dark alley.

And it was, even though I found a way into the deck without going back through that creepy alley. The show let out a little after ten, and within about five minutes of chatting with my brother I had found my car, right there on the fourth floor.

So I got in and drove around and around and down until I reached the gate. It was unattended, but they had an automated pay system. Unfortunately, beside the automated pay system was a sign. "Cash only," it screamed in blood-red letters. "No cards."

Here's where I turned into a trucker. "Fuck me," I said, and my brother laughed. Poor guy, all he wanted to do was eat his sushi, but there I sat, cursing in his ear.

"What's wrong?"

"This...this fucking thing....oh, gawd, I have to go back up and park. It says there's an ATM in the hotel lobby across the street."

So, still on the phone with my brother (don't lecture me about driving and talking...this was keeping me SAFER, darnit!!) I drove up and around and up and around until I found a parking spot on the third floor this time. A stickler for rules, I refused to park in the closer "reserved for hotel clientele" spots even though I knew I'd only be there for a few minutes. 

I marched back down the stairs and across the street, cursing and spewing irritated vitriol the whole way. Luckily my brother knows me well, and didn't seem to mind.  I found the ATM. I paid the $4 surcharge to withdraw $40 (just to be safe...$20 didn't feel like quite enough). On the way out I found out my fantasy football quarterback wasn't playing well - yes, I stopped at the bar to ask when I saw the game on the TVs - and so I cursed and spewed some more.

I marched back up the stairs and found my car on the third floor. It was still dark and relatively scary in there, by the way, but by then I was too mad to notice. I got back in the car. I drove down and around, down and around, until I found myself back at the gate.

"Well, what the fuck," I said. There was no way for it to read my little card, to tell me what I owed. Finally I figured out it was just a blanket charge of $7. I grabbed one of my two hard-earned twenties, and I stuck it into the machine.

The machine spat it back out.

I flipped it and stuck it back in.

The machine spat it back out.

"Motherfucker," I said, and I meant it. I started to panic. "I think I have to call the police," I said. "I can't get out of here."

"Try the other twenty," my brother said.

So I did.

And it took it this time! And I wanted to throw a party.

Until I realized..."Oh, shit, Daniel, this thing's gonna give me $13 in those little gold dollar coins. I'm gonna have to carry them everywhere."

"Well, that's..."

He never finished what he was going to say. Because the machine started spitting out my change....in... "Oh...my...god. It's in quarters. Daniel, it's in quarters."

So. In the end I got out of the Parking Garage of Doom, carrying 52 quarters in the cupholder of my car. 52. My pockets will be jingle-jangling for months.

So here's the moral of this story: carry cash. In small bills. And when in doubt, call your brother and it'll turn any mishap into an entertaining adventure.

September 23, 2013

Undead America: No Angels - Cover Reveal!

Hi there, friends and family and readers and anyone else who happens by! So nice to see you!

Today, I'm thrilled to share with you the cover for the upcoming sequel to Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights. Called No Angels, this book covers the months following Jenna and her family's jailbreak from the New Orleans prison camp...and...well, let me just tell you about the book:

Jenna, Sam and Lola were lucky to survive the horrors of a zombie-filled New Orleans, but they still have a lot to learn about living in Undead America.


First, you can never let your guard down. Even when you think you're safe, dangers lurk around every corner. Sometimes the dangers are from the undead, but more often they're from the living.

Next, it's easier to inspire a group to fight for their lives than to lead them through everyday hardship. For Jenna, the pressure of managing an ever-growing group of survivors may be too much to survive.

And finally, in Undead America, no one is quite what they seem. Everyone has something to hide. 

From the bowels of a rundown farmhouse to the plains of Nebraska, from a leather-clad human monster to the tiniest of child zombies, there are truly no angels.


And now...without further ado....the latest in tremendously amazing covers from the ever-talented artist, Marion Sipe!


Undead America: No Angels will hit all your favorite e-retailers this October!  I'm happy to be working with MuseItUp Publishing again, and can't wait for y'all to see the finished product!

So what do you think? Feel free to drop me a line in the comments - I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Thanks! :D

September 16, 2013

Goings on: Undead America style

Hi friends!!

It's been a busy week or two in the world of Undead America, and I have some news/events/goings on to report. So mark your calendars, or do whatever you do to remember dates you want to remember, and feel free to share this info to your friends and family! I'll love it if you do! :-D

(Yes, I just put a smiley face in an official blog post. That's just the kind of girl I am!)

****

Get ready! Monday, September 23rd, is the Great Cover Reveal for Undead America: No Angels, the sequel to Zombie Days, Campfire Nights! I'm so excited to share this cover with you, you guys! Marion Sipe, the cover artist for both novels, did an amazing job!! I'll post the cover here, and a few of my favorite bloggers will also be posting. Participating blogs/bloggers are (in no particular order): 

Lauren Spieller: Lauren is a super-talented emerging author, literary agent intern, and up-and-coming editor. 

SK Falls: SK is author of bestselling novel World of Shell and Bone, among many, many other cool books.

Jocelyn Rish: Jocelyn is a storyteller and screenwriter. Her short film Saying Goodbye has won awards around the country. 

Shauna Granger: Shauna is the prolific author of the Elemental series, and co-founder of the beautiful Spellbound Scribes blog.

Thank you, ladies, for hosting me, and I can't WAIT for everyone to see this cover!

****

And EEEEEEEEP!! It seems like everything is coming together, and I'm going to have PRINT COPIES of Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights, just in time for the second annual rUNdead Charleston 5k Zombie Race on October 26!  The guys at rUNdead have agreed to let me have a table to sell some books and do my first official book signing, so I hope I get to see you there! 

And while there, you can get made up like a zombie, or you can even participate in the race itself. I won't be running this year (I hope to be busy!!), but I did it last year and it was a blast. Seriously. Even if you're not a runner, it's a great chance to get out in the wilderness (well, the wilderness of Wannamaker Park in North Charleston, anyway) and run from some zombies. Soooo fun!

The race itself will benefit Lowcountry Food Bank, with all proceeds going to that amazing cause. If you want to skip the $5 spectator charge, bring at least two non-perishable food items and you can get in for free!

I really, really, REALLY hope to see you there!

And in the meantime, check out the rUNdead blog for some original, short zombie fiction, too! I've had fun playing around over there!


I think that's it, for now, but really...it's enough, right? I'm so excited! Once I have official release dates for the print copy of Zombie Days and the ebook copy of No Angels, I'll let you know. In the meantime, happy zombie day!!!