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

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