Book Review: Bad Ass Zombie Road Trip by Tonia Brown

•September 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 

Badass Zombie Road Trip by Tonia Brown

Jonah Benton lives a relatively quiet life in a small American town. He had a dead end job and despite being smart and intelligent, lives constantly in the shadow of his best friend, Dale, who is dumb, obnoxious and attracts members of the opposite sex like flies to an overflowing litter tray. When they embark on a trip to play a gig in Reno, Jonah takes a detour into California to reunite Dale with his estranged father, and it’s at this point that events take a turn for the worse. Jonah is forced to make a deal with Satan to save his best friends soul, putting his own on the line in the process. Jonah, the newly zombiefied Dale and a stripper called Candy, must travel across the United states to find Dale’s missing soul, while being pursued by the Police and the Mafia. However Satan is not going to make things easy for them.
I will admit that I am sick of zombies. There are only so many books or movies that I can get through that involves a small group of survivors holding out against the threat of a zombie horde, so I started reading this with a little trepidation. I need not have worried. Badass Zombie Road Trip is a very different book from the usual zombie fare. For one thing, it’s absolutely hilarious. Horror comedy is not an easy thing to pull off, but this book delivers it in spades. The banter between Jonah and Dale is natural and highly amusing, but things really pick up once Dale’s soul is taken and the pair have to start dealing with Dales new state of existence. Such as his hunger for living human flesh and the fact that he has begun to rot. The scene where they try to cope with the stench by gluing feminine hygiene products to the indignant Dale is absolute genius, as is a section where Dales attempt to obtain some food results in his intended target (a small yappy dog) stealing one of his body parts and burying it in a back yard.
There are not many scares in this book, and despite the subject matter it is very firmly on the comedy side of the fence. That’s not to say that there is not plenty of tension and once I started the book, I found it to be a real page turner.
Overall, Badass Zombie Road Trip does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a funny, sometimes moving, sometimes gross and always entertaining road novel, which happens to have a zombie as one of the protagonists.
If this sounds like your sort of thing, then you could do a lot worse than picking up this novel.
8/10

You can buy Bad Ass Zombie Road Trip by clicking on the link below

Badass Zombie Road Trip

Wolf Girls Blog Tour: From Idea to Book by Nu Yang

•August 1, 2012 • 1 Comment

Today, we are joined by author Nu Yang as part of the Wolf Girl’s Anthology Blog Tour, where she talks about the creative process behind her excellent story “A Good Mate is Hard to Find.”

From Idea to Book by Nu Yang

“Where do you get your ideas?”

Probably the number one question writers get asked. Well, you’re about to find out.

When I sat down to brainstorm an idea for WOLF GIRLS, I knew I wanted it to be dark and horrifying. I mean, come on, an entire anthology about female werewolves—how kickass is that? It didn’t take long for me to start scribbling notes, and soon, my female werewolf Grace Santos came to life.

I love writing opening scenes and they usually come to me pretty quickly. Writing tip: Opening scenes should always set up a person/place/problem. Here, I had Grace walking alone in a park at night (a pretty straight-forward set-up for any horror story), but my twist was that she was the stalker. She’s looking for a mate, and in this case, it’s the serial killer on the loose. Yes, you caught me. My horror story is really a love story. A werewolf’s perfect mate is what else–a killer.

It was an idea I wanted to explore, and it certainly fit into the dark tone I wanted for the story. As you can see in my notes, the outline came to me easily, and I usually don’t like to outline. Having a word count helped because I knew that by this certain number, I had to hit this certain plot point.

But you can still see my scribbles.

One of my earlier ideas included Grace finding out the identity of the killer Jeremy after watching him abduct a girl, but it felt too cold and callous to just have her watch and not do anything. A critique partner who read the story also agreed. Instead, I had Grace’s wolf side find Jeremy by sniffing out his scent and tracking him down. It turned out much better.

I don’t want to give away too many story spoilers, but Grace does find the perfect mate, and it’s not who you expect—such is real life. Too bad about Jeremy, although I did enjoy writing their “break-up” scene. You’ll have to read the story to see for yourself.

Now that I have the actual book in my hands, it’s amazing to see an idea that formed in my head, scribbled down in a notebook and typed on my computer, end up in such a fine collection of stories.

And if you’re wondering about titles, sometimes they’re easy and sometimes they’re hard for me. For “A Good Mate is Hard to Find,” I was inspired by Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

Nu Yang is a resident of Southern California, where she is an associate editor. She is a 2006 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and a June 2009 graduate of the Writing Popular Fiction master’s program at Seton Hill University. Find her online at nuyangwriter.wordpress.com.

The Wolf Girls anthology is available now. Check it out at the link below. From the stories I’ve read so far, its a great addition to any werewolf fan’s bookshelf.

Wolf-Girls: Dark Tales of Teeth, Claws and Lycogyny

High Moor is free for the next 48 hours

•July 12, 2012 • 3 Comments

Yes, you read that right. I’m giving away the Kindle version of High Moor for nothing for the next two days. Don’t have a Kindle? You can read it on your smartphone or PC by downloading the free Kindle application, so now there is no excuse.

Why am I being so generous? Well, from what I can gather, free promotions translate into a bump in real life sales, as long as I can get enough free downloads. I could also do with a few more reviews on the Amazon and Goodreads sites, so if you do grab the book then please take five minutes out to leave a review.

Still undecided? Then check out some of the reviews below, or in the review column on the right hand side of this sites page, then follow the links below.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Ripe for a film or TV adaptation and left open for a sequel, High Moor is an excellent example of great British writing that deserves to be read. – Starburst Magazine. 9/10

 

If you’re craving some good werewolf action with well-developed characters and a fantastic plot, skip the Hollywood films and go straight for this electrifying novel, which is far more entertaining. – Hellnotes.com

 

I truly loved this book. Once I started to really read it, I finished the novel in a day and a half. Whenever I put it down, I found myself coming back to it almost impulsively. I haven’t been this addicted to something since I downloaded Angry Birds. Recommended without reservation to anyone who is a fan of horror or anyone that wants to be. High Moor is the kind of book that will make converts of us all. – Brett J Talley, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of That Which Should Not Be and The Void

 

I wouldn’t dream of revealing any plot details but I do suggest it is certainly worth your while finding out. High Moor is a worthy addition to any self respecting werewolf fan’s library. -The Eloquent Page Blog

 

Overall, High Moor is an accomplished first novel. The writing is well-paced and enjoyable, the characters engaging and the ending intriguing (and definitely points to a sequel). – SheWolf Manchester Blog

I pretty much fair to say that I enjoyed this book a lot. If I like a story I can sit for hours and finish a book in a few days and take the story in, even wish that it continues and this book did manage to hook me like that – Pissed Off Geek Blog

 

Graeme Reynolds has written a captivating, action packed, this-should-be-a-movie werewolf novel in High Moor and if this is going to be a series of some sort, count me in for the ride. It should be a fun one. – Horrortalk.com

 This is an action filled horror novel that also has fully realized characters; the fact that Reynolds brings the characters to life so well just adds to the terror you feel as a reader. – The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog

 

It takes a writer of tremendous skill to imbue a  an action packed novel  with as much depth, as is displayed here.  This book was a joy to read, not just for its ability to transport me back to a time gone by, but also because it is so well written.  If this is the level of writing Graeme is capable of producing in a début novel, then I for one cannot wait for his next novel.  – Gingernuts of Horror

 

Interview on the ‘Summer 150 Blog Tour”

•June 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Alan Dale has taken a huge challenge upon himself. During June he is interviewing 150 up and coming author’s as part of the Summer 150 blog tour.

You can read his interview with me by following the link below.

http://werzombiespress.com/2012/06/14/from-the-eyes-of-graeme-reynolds-breaks-stuff-creates-more/

Guest Blog: Ben Larken – The Creature from the Black Cliché

•June 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The Creature from the Black Cliché
By Ben Larken
http://www.larkenbooks.com

My horror thriller Pillar’s Fall is about a detective playing a lethal cat-and-mouse game with a demon-possessed boy on a rampage. I wanted it to be disturbing, visceral, and relentless—and I wanted to avoid the pitfalls of cheesiness that many of these kinds of stories fall prey to.

One area where cheesiness often abounds is in that category of Bad Guy Origins. I’ve read my share of cliché horror novels and seen plenty of B-movies, and it’s that explanation of how the bad guy got into the story that usually requires the biggest suspension of disbelief. Either the maniac just broke out of prison or the realtor forgot to mention they live on an Indian burial ground or nuclear radiation had an undesired effect on the animal kingdom. Now we’ve all seen or read versions of these premises that not only made them sound convincing but did it in a cool and intriguing way. But for every one that gets it right there are dozens that don’t, and the quickest way to lose your audience is to introduce the antagonist in a lame way.
In my case, I wanted to unleash a demon. And I think anytime you deal with the subject matter of a demon-possessed child you are contractually obligated to pay homage to William Peter Blatty’s masterwork The Exorcist. Everyone remembers that awesome hypnosis moment from the film, when the demon breaks up a session with a game of Ball-Crusher. I thought it’d be fun to do my own therapy session and play with hypnosis in a slightly different way.
I’ll leave it for you to decide if I steered clear of the cheese…

Dave Morrissey sat on the periphery of the proceedings, watching through glassy eyes. There were four of them altogether—the counselor, the hypnotist, himself, and of course Seth. Seth was the reason for this assembly of minds. Dave watched his twelve-year-old son on the opposite end of the office, slumped in the big easy chair, the boy’s eyes carrying a different kind of glassy look. As the hypnotist—a puffy, bald Brit named Dr. Pandor—talked, Seth’s eyes slipped farther into the distance, and Dave could only guess what the boy’s mind was doing.
Dr. Pandor’s silky voice rose. “I’m taking you back now, Seth, back to November 11. Do you see that day, Seth? Are you there?”
Seth’s voice came in a drunken mumble. “Yes.”
“Tell me what you see.”
“Blood,” he replied, his voice neither rising nor lowering. “It’s coming from under the bathroom door. It’s soaking through the carpet.”
“And what are you doing?” Pandor continued. “What is your reaction when you see the blood?”
Seth’s fists clenched in his lap. The bushy-haired redhead trembled slightly. “I’m calling the police. My back’s against the hallway wall, and I’m squatting. Mom’s just having a bad morning. That’s what I tell the lady on the phone. Mom’s always kinda whacked-out in the morning. But the blood’s coming at me. It’s working through the carpet, fanning out like . . . like grape juice through a paper towel. I mumble to the operator. She’s got to get someone here now. Mom’s never been this whacked-out before. I wanna run outside and wait for them, but I’m stuck. And I know—I know when the blood reaches me, I’m gonna die.”
“The police came, though,” Pandor interjected. “Did they get there before the blood reached you?”
Seth’s small frame shivered. “No.”
Dave felt a gigantic urge to weep. He should have been there. He had discussed all this with his girlfriend. But all her support didn’t take him away from the fact that part of this was his fault. Maybe Mary had been a manic-depressive, but Dave never tried to help her through it. He was too busy helping himself with other things. Meanwhile, Mary had slipped further and further into a state of mental blackness. The final stage of that blackness occurred the moment Mary brought home the grocery bag with two items inside: a bottle of vodka and a knife. She consumed half the bottle, and then the knife consumed her. He remembered talking to the first officer on the scene. The officer found Seth in the hallway, curled up like a baby on the floor. Half of Seth’s clothes had been soaked in the blood puddle. Seth was conscious, but the officer could tell the boy was in shock. He picked Seth up to move him, and the officer said the boy remained frozen the entire time. Carrying him felt like hoisting a bag of bowling balls, the officer said.
“I want you to return to the present.” Pandor said. “Return to the present and tell me how you feel now.”
“I feel dead,” Seth replied, his breath picking up speed. “I feel as dead as my mother. I wish I were dead . . . so I could go with her.”
“You think death would be preferable to your life as it is now?”
“Yes.”
“Even though your father is still here and he loves you?”
“He cheated on my mother. He’s the reason she killed herself.”
Dave coughed, and the tears came. He couldn’t hold them any longer. They streamed down his face as his shoulders took off on a shaking spree. He knew this was coming. Still, this was the first time the words came from his son’s mouth. And they hurt. God, they hurt.
“Okay,” Pandor ventured. “That sounds reasonable. Why don’t you try it right now?”
A jolt passed through Dave. What did that guy say? He reached impulsively to Lanville, who must have seen the reaction coming. He held up a calming hand toward Dave, his eyes condescending and obnoxious.
“Yes,” the hypnotist continued. “Let’s try it now. Leave your body for a moment. But don’t turn it off. Let your body continue to function. Leave the engine running, so to speak, but step out of the car. Go to your mother and then come right back. Tell me what you see.”
Seth’s voice passed into a whisper. “Okay…”
The boy closed his eyes, and Dave couldn’t hold back any longer.
“What the hell are you doing?” he demanded, his nasally voice turning high-pitched. “This isn’t what I pay you for. I want you to heal him, not send him deeper into suicidal fantasy land.”
Lanville threw out his best white-toothed smile, ready for his close-up. “We are trying to heal him, Mr. Morrissey,” he whispered confidently. “What do you think this is going to do? It’s going to end his curiosity about death. If he looks at it through his mind’s eye he won’t want to see it in real life.”
“Yes, but you have to admit this is a little extre—Seth!”
Dave jumped out of his chair, his eyes locked on the twelve-year-old boy who had started convulsing wildly. Lanville grabbed Dave before he could move forward, and Dave turned and saw something that absolutely horrified him. He saw a glint of fear in the young psychologist’s eyes. Mr. Close-Up hadn’t expected this. And when he turned to Pandor, he saw an even larger look of surprise.
“Seth, listen to me,” the hypnotist commanded in a strained calm. “Stop your journey and come back. Talk to me now.”
The convulsing continued, and when a jet of spittle shot from the boy’s mouth, Dave lost all pretense of control. “Seth!” he screamed, running to the boy and grabbing him by the shoulders. “Seth, wake up! Don’t listen to him. Just wake up!”
“Seth?” Lanville offered. “Can you hear me? This is Dr. Lanville. Can you hear me?”
The convulsing quickened, becoming a sharp jitter. The boy’s bones shook so fast in Dave’s hands that he nearly lost his grip. Seth was going to die any second. He was losing his only son and there was nothing anyone could do. How do you get into a mind that’s already started shutting itself down? “Oh God, Seth, no,” Dave moaned. “Please come back, son. Please come back.”
The convulsing abruptly stopped. Seth went slack in the chair, and for a heart-stopping moment Dave was sure his son was gone. But then Seth inhaled a long breath, and a sly smile quietly spread across his face.
“I’m back,” he said, almost sounding amused.
The hypnotist puffed a sigh of relief and gave the boy a double glance, as if he wasn’t completely sure the boy had truly been hypnotized. “Okay,” he replied, regaining full composure. “What did you see?”
“I saw Mom,” Seth answered, his tone almost conversational. “I saw her waving at me in the shadows. There were lots of shadows. They covered everything, and they moved constantly. They were like actual beings, even though they were empty and shapeless. So many shadows.”
Pandor arched an eyebrow, exchanging a confused glance with Lanville. “So is that really a place you want to return to?”
The boy chuckled, a low guttural sound that creeped the hell out of Dave. “Oh no,” Seth answered. “I’m never going back there again.”

Some more reviews and a quick update

•May 30, 2012 • 3 Comments

OK, I’m sorry. I know that I’ve not updated this blog for a little while now. Its not even been that I don’t have anything to write about. Its more been that the crushing weight of day to day life got the better of me for a while and I pretty much curled up into a ball and waited for the storm to pass. Which it has.

I’m going to be a fair bit more active in the coming weeks, not least because I’m going to be working away for a few months in lovely Manchester, and will have a lot of time to fill in the evenings. Most of that time, some of you will be glad to know, will involve me finishing High Moor 2: Moonstruck, but I’ll also be updating this blog more often with my musings and the odd short story.

In the couple of months since I last posted, I’ve had a few more reviews of High Moor. One of them from an actual expert in werewolf literature, and another from Starburst Magazine, which is the longest running genre mag on the planet. Very exciting stuff. Links to the reviews are below:

Review on the HorrificallyHorrifyingHorrorBlog
http://thehorrificallyhorrifyinghorrorblog.com/2012/05/19/high-moor/

Review on Shewolf Manc’s Blog
http://www.shewolf-manchester.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/review-graeme-reynolds-high-moor.html

Review in Starburst Magazine
http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/book-reviews-latest-literary-releases/2493-book-review-high-moor

And lastly, I’ve started a Pinterest board for High Moor 2, which contains some images I’m using for locations and inspiration. It might give you a couple of hints as to where I’m going with the sequel. Feel free to check it out.

http://pinterest.com/graemer71/high-moor-2-locations/

That’s all for now.

You don’t like us and we don’t care.

•March 23, 2012 • 4 Comments

I woke up this morning to find a mini uproar on one of the facebook groups that I frequent, because yet another traditionally published author had taken a massive swipe at the self published. There was a blog post that rattled on about how he regretted self publishing one of his own books because now he’d been stained with the communal shit of the self publishing world. There was also a series of well considered, thoughtful comments on Twitter, such as ” Self-published authors, go fuck yourselves! You all suck ass!” and ” All you self-published Kindle/Smashwords writers! You suck! Cut it out! You’re wrecking a good thing!”
Hmm, such a wordsmith. Your eloquent prose is making me want to rush out and buy your traditionally published zombie novel /dog training manual.
Unfortunately, this walking, talking arse-biscuit is not alone in this view. I’ve heard very similar comments from writers that I like and respect. Even traditionally published writers that I’ve met and get on with have made comments like this. There was a panel at Fantasycon 2011 that basically degenerated into a very well known publisher and a very well known agent slagging off anyone who would dare to self publish their work because it is, without exception, crap that would not be touched by any self respecting publisher. That panel, and the shit attitudes of the people on it was the turning point where I decided to self publish my own book.
So, what exactly is the problem that these people have with us? I mean, even the worst self published book in the world is still a book that someone has poured hours of their time into creating. That is an achievement in itself. It’s something that most people will never do, and like it or not, it is the one thing that all of us writers, from Stephen King down to the guy who sold 10 copies of his self published book on Amazon last year, have in common.
Well, there are a few things that the traditional publishing crowd have against us. The first and main thing is the quality of the product. And they have a point in many cases.
I find it astonishing that someone will spend years writing a novel, tweak it a bit and then upload it straight to Amazon with a cover they knocked up in 10 minutes on Photoshop. I mean, why put all that time and effort into something, only to screw it up by doing a rush job at the end? I realise that it’s expensive to hire an editor, but the fact is that it’s something self published authors should be planning for from the second they write the first word in their book. Cut down on the booze and fags, or buy a few less DVD’s or video games and save up for it. By self publishing, you are going into business for yourselves and if you don’t do a proper job then the business is going to fall flat on its arse. All told, it cost me about £1000 to get High Moor published. 4 months after its release, and I’m not very far at all from making that money back, and the reason for it is that is mostly that I had it properly edited and refused to rush its release until it was ready. It’s not fucking rocket science.
Saying that, self publishing is not the only source of crappy books. Traditionally published books can be just as bad. The number of terrible movie or video game tie-in novels that I’ve had to read lately is astonishing. I imagine that these are only as bad as they are because they were written in a very short time, then published with minimal editing to coincide with the release of the movie/game they are based on, to maximise revenue. Basically the same thing that self published authors are criticised for.
So, is that the only problem that advocates of traditional publishing have with self publishing?
Nope. Not by a long shot.
If you take a look at the Amazon US site’s Kindle Horror books, then within the top 100, there are very few traditionally published novels. I’ve not counted, but it certainly looks like the trad published books account for less than 40% of the top 100.
Why is that?
Mostly, it’s down to pricing and the ability to react to the market more quickly.
The big publishers sell their ebooks at a premium – in some instances their ebooks go for as much as the hardbacks. If asked, they will say that the cost of producing the book is no different to physical copies, and it needs to be priced accordingly so that their authors get paid a decent wage for their work.
Which is all very well on the surface of things, but when you look at it in the cold light of day, you realise that it’s a load of old bollocks. With ebooks there are no printing costs, distribution or warehousing costs. The editing, proof reading, typesetting and cover design cost money, but these are one off expenses. Once that ebook file is built, there are no more costs going forward. And if the royalties paid to their authors on ebooks were more generous, then they’d still get a decent wage if the price was dropped.
On the other hand, the self published author does not have these massive overheads to contend with. If done properly, there are fixed costs, but it means that the books can be priced at a competitive rate and I still make more per copy sold than most trad published authors. If my sales rank nose-dives then I can do a 24 hour sale and get a big rank boost, which translates into more full priced sales going forward. Big publishers do not have this flexibility. Sure, there are people who give their book away for nothing, or have it set at a permanent $0.99 price point, which means that no matter how successful their book may be, they are making no money from it. Pricing is a tool, and some people will use that tool well, others won’t.
However, the success of many self published authors is a huge threat to the status quo. It’s eating into traditional publishers profits and so instead of adapting to the changing market, the default action seems to be to stick their heads in the sand and start a smear campaign it. With the possible exception of those who already had traditional deals and have gone down that route. That, apparently is acceptable.
Self published author’s need to start to take some pride in their work, do it properly and stop giving ammunition to the traditional publishing crowd. It makes more commercial sense, if nothing else. You are not going to be the next Stephen King by publishing your first draft straight up to KDP. If you at least get it properly edited, by a real editor (as opposed to your Auntie Joan, who got a grade C in her GCSE english) then you at least stand a chance of being successful.
By the same token, the traditional publishing world needs to take its head out of its arse and stop slinging shite. Self publishing isn’t going to go away, and while there will always be people who publish crap, there are a growing number of independent authors who produce high quality, well edited work that is just as good as anything else out there. I could recommend a few to get you started, such as pretty much anything by Iain Rob Wright. Hell, I’ll even throw down the gauntlet and offer any traditionally published author a free copy of my own book in the electronic format of your choice. Just drop me a mail or IM and I’ll get one right out to you, so you can make up your own mind.