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Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway

Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway published on 2 Comments on Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway

David Monette has written our guest post this week. More about him and his latest work at the bottom of this post. Also, a giveaway of his books. YES!

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Which seven stock characters would you keep around you in order to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Now that is an interesting question. As the author of the zombie trilogy, In the Time of the Dead, I’ve had to answer a ton of zombie-related questions, and I can truly say that I’ve never had such a query put to me.

Thanks, Galleywampus scribes, for your originality!

Seal Patrol 72dpiSo… my first thought when I read both the question and then the list of examples I was shown was: how can I pick from this massive assortment of characters? I mean, there was everything from the Reluctant Hero (a person who doesn’t seek adventure or the opportunity to do good, and often doubts his or her abilities to rise to heroism. However, circumstances result in the character’s becoming a true hero) to the Girl Next Door (an average girl with wholesome conduct). Then I thought, “Wait a minute. Go through this slowly, look at it seriously. Who out of that list would you want around you if something like a zombie apocalypse were to occur?”

With that in mind, I looked through the list again. And here is what I found…

Crow and Hand BW72dpi1.- The first one I would choose would be the Absent-Minded Professor character (a scientific genius). The reason I would choose such an individual would be because I think it’s smart to have really smart people around me, even absent-minded ones, and even in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and especially when no one else can think of a way to make that flamethrower you really, really need.

2.- Keeping that in mind, I then thought, “Yeah, I’m going to need another smart guy around to keep a lid on the absent-mindedness of that first guy.” So that is why my next choice was a regular Professor, a “non-scientific genius” person, a doctor who is pretty smart and can remember that the flame thrower doesn’t need to be strapped to the user with a complicated array of belts and harnesses that serve no purpose other than look impressive, and who can also do something useful like slap a splint on my broken arm.

3.- Now, having a couple of pretty smart guys around me is great, but I’m really going to need someone, maybe a lot of someones, who can really kick butt. That leads me to my next four selections, starting with the Action Hero (a film hero protagonist with unrealistic resistance and fighting capabilities). Because who can’t use a guy like that to carry the flamethrower into battle with the zombies?

4.- That selection would be followed closely by a Conanesque character (a character inspired by Conan the Barbarian) and…

5.- the Super Soldier! (a soldier who operates beyond human limits or abilities) both of whom would, you know, charge into the fight at the side or in front of the Action Hero, doing action hero-ey type things… wait… aren’t those the same thing? Doesn’t matter. I choose all of them.

6.- And next, just to keep them in line, I would choose the Elderly Martial Arts Master who would look upon my broken arm with pity and hang back to protect me while the two fighter types charge in with the flamethrower and assorted blades and/or guns.

7.- Finally, I would chose the Hardboiled Detective (a gruff, tough and streetwise detective) because he would know the best place to hole-up and rest after we burnt through that nasty mess of zombies so that my poor arm could heal.

Sasha Climbing Wall 72dpiWhat an awesome crew, huh? The only thing to figure out would be why the heck such an impressive array of characters would want a bloke like me around, what with my broken arm and all. Oh, yeah! They’d need someone around to witness their antics and tell the story!

Whew.

That was fun! If you want to pick your own 7 Stock Characters, head to this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stock_characters It’s where I got the titles and the descriptions for mine.
Enjoy!

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About the Book

Eternal-Undead-cover 72dpiSmaller

They thought they had escaped.

The battle for Washington DC is behind them, and the last remnants of the human race have fled from their undead enemies to a remote Caribbean island where they try to salvage what is left of humanity. But even here, the zombies have come. Led by the architect of the holocaust, an invading army wreaks havoc trying to acquire the one thing that can stop them, and the one thing a small contingent of soldiers knows they must never get.

Join with Sasha, Terrance, Virgil, and the little girl, Max, in an all or nothing gamble as they fight down the road to either salvation or horrible defeat in the thrilling conclusion of this series.

About the Author

authorpicDavid Monette was born and raised in the cold rural hinterlands of upstate New York. As a typical kid in a typical community, life for him was pretty… typical. He liked to draw creatures and contraptions but as the second born of four sons, such ability was merely a convenient way of standing out from the crowd. As he inexpertly stumbled through high school, his talent for capturing the images in his head onto paper was noticed and encouraged by both teachers and family members.

Without any other idea of what to do with himself after graduation, besides a vague idea of doing something art oriented, he decided to attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he received his associate’s degree in Advertising Design and Production. Acting on excellent advice from his teachers at this institution, he went on to Syracuse University where he learned a great deal about art and eventually wound up with a bachelor’s degree in Illustration.

With a disturbingly large amount of student debt and a decent portfolio, he learned what it was to be a starving artist. Namely, he found that artists don’t starve; they simply pick up an endless series of part time work to pay the rent while continuing to plug away at their true passion. This was essentially what he did until he received his first illustration job and from that point on, he didn’t look back. As an illustrator, his highly detailed fantasy and science fiction work has appeared in many books, magazines, board games, and collectible card games for such varied publishers as Dell Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, and Atlas Games. Initially, he had completed these diverse projects utilizing oil and acrylic paints as well as pen and inks.

As digital technology continued to improve, however, he decided it was time to tackle the arduous task of mastering the computer and eventually figured out a way to adapt his style to a digital format. With this knowledge and experience, he went back to school and received his master’s degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford. While there, his instructors reviewed his written work and had strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.

And hence, an author was born.

Author Links

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Tourwide Giveaway

1 prize containing all 3 ebooks of the trilogy

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Guest Post: Who Doesn’t Love Clowns, Eh? by James Walley

Guest Post: Who Doesn’t Love Clowns, Eh? by James Walley published on

clown-tragique-1911Who doesn’t love clowns, eh?

Anyone? No? Not even you at the back? Come on, they’re wonderful. The way their painted, mask like faces grin with the gleaming insanity of a serial killer. Or the when you’re home alone, late at night and you hear a high pitched giggle from somewhere in the dark downstairs. Delightful.

As it turns out, a small demographic of people known as the human race seem to find these traits, well, downright terrifying, and as a result, clowns have become the stuff of nightmares. Or at the very least, not something that you’d have at a children’s party, which is ironic, really.

With that in mind, it really was a no brainer to have these juggling demons inhabit the dreamscapes of The Forty First Wink, where they are free to slink around in dark recesses, and generally remind us that in every nightmare, there is a pair of bulging eyes, a toothy grin, and a pair of brightly coloured pantaloons in every murky alleyway, basement, or giant, revolving bouncy house. Okay, maybe that last one is just Marty’s dream, but you get the general idea.

And what better way to give face to the brightly painted denizens of your nightmares than to have the daddy of all clowns chase our protagonist through the streets of his own dreamspace? Mr Peepers is the alpha clown, the Godjester, the greasepainted Grim Reaper. Basically, if you pull up to this guy’s drive-thru, you’re likely to come away with an Unhappy Meal.

Put simply, clowns are the perfect nightmare fuel. There are even experts on the subject, probably scarred as children by some jibbering madman who sneaked up on them, holding a bunch of balloons.

“It is the fear of the mask, the fact that it doesn’t change and is relentlessly comical.”

This is another reason why I chose clowns as my antagonists for The Forty First Wink. Their raison d’etre is comedy, but are viewed as anything but. Wink is a work of funny fiction. For that to work, I wanted to present a world that was warped, demented, and ever so slightly larger than life. Funny and scary can work so well together, especially if you include something that is supposed to be one, but ends up being the other. We can all laugh at clowns, uneasily and casting furtive glances towards the nearest exit, but the fear is still there, and it grows, even within the comforting surrounds of a comedic romp through someone’s dreamspace.

clowns-skula-and-yeroshka-1914_jpg!BlogWhen a bunch of clowns come cartwheeling into a scene, all bets are off. We don’t know if they’re going to make an amusing balloon animal, or rip your face off and wear it like a hat. They’re unpredictable, and that’s what makes them so deliciously creepy.

The Forty First Wink: The Fathom Flies Again, book two in the Wink trilogy, is due to come out soon, and in its pages, the clowns crank it up a notch. They slither out of the darkness to drag away unsuspecting innocents. They assemble, chanting nursery rhymes outside of the local police station. Warped and twisted abominations, magnified to the power of hell no, and set loose on an unsuspecting town. Released from the constraints of nightmare, and unleashed upon the real world.

Of course, not everything in this garden has a shiny red nose. Clowns and clowns alone are so book one, and what is a sequel if not a reason to dial up the shenanigans to eleven?

Coming in hot on the heels of clowns as things nobody wants anything to do with, ever, is the unseen thing under the bed. We have all leapt under our covers as children, being especially careful not to leave limbs exposed or, heaven forbid, hanging over the edge of the bed. That would be way too inviting for the monsters which dwell mere inches beneath us in the darkness, wouldn’t it?

Beneath that blanket, you felt safe, didn’t you? So long as you didn’t make a move, or a sound, the thing hiding in the shadows couldn’t get you. And for some reason, even as adults, on dark and stormy nights, we still remember this, and pull the covers up tightly around us. Because it’s still there, hiding, waiting. Perhaps hoping that the door between reality and dreams might be left open, just a crack, and they can come oozing through, mingling with the shadows and grasping at that stray pinkie toe which peeps out over the edge of the bed.
Of course, they can’t hurt us really. We tell ourselves over and over, as the bedside light flickers, and the shadows close in. It’s just a dream, right? Right?

We may not all have a monster under our bed, or a clown waiting in our closet, but it would be nice to have a crew of miniature toy pirates to watch our back, wouldn’t it? Just to be on the safe side.

About the Author

8291459Hailing from the mystical isle of Great Britain, James Walley is an author who prefers his reality banana shaped.

His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, released through Ragnarok Publications in 2014 scuttles gleefully into this bracket, with a blend of humour, fantasy and the unusual. (It’s really, really, really good. Seriously, buy it).

A clutch of follow up work, both short and long (including books two and three in the Wink trilogy) are in the offing, and have a similar demented flavour.

When not writing, James is partial to a spot of singing, the odd horror movie or ten, and is a circus trained juggler.

Author Links

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Guest Post by Dallas Mullican: Horror Fan vs. Horror Aficionado

Guest Post by Dallas Mullican: Horror Fan vs. Horror Aficionado published on

Two kinds of people enjoy horror, whether movies, books, or music—horror fans and horror aficionados. The horror fan will know Michael, Freddy, and Jason, Dracula and Frankenstein, keeping primarily to the popular and well-known titles. The horror aficionado immerses themselves in collecting and discussing, reading and watching, the popular in the genre, but also the cult classics and hidden gems. They will exalt the aforementioned, but also Pinhead and Leatherface, Martin and Dagon. The aficionado can discuss Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Thomas Harris, but also Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, and Edward Lee.

The horror fan delights in the adrenaline rush of a fright, the momentary thrill of experiencing danger in a safe setting. They relate to the victims’ with dread of impending death and doom, while clinging to the security nothing truly lurks under the bed, no killer waits outside the door. The aficionado relates to the monster, the killer. This is not to suggest they harbor homicidal tendencies on which they might act, but more so, as Nietzsche described it, a will to power. The monster knows complete and absolute freedom without limit or boundary. It does not ponder questions of morality; right and wrong do not exist, only desire and instinct. To free the mind, allow evil a place, inspires depths of imagination the squeamish cannot know.

The fan glimpses evil and retreats a safe distance into security, leaving behind abstract terror, and ignoring the fear agitated deep within. The aficionado relishes the meeting with the heinous and horrible. They touch the darkness with a claw-tipped finger and lick the black ichor with a forked tongue past dripping fans. For them, horror stimulates the imagination, creating realms of terrible beauty—a chest peeled open in flowered petals, drops fall like crimson rain onto glistening exposed muscle—-a thousand worlds revealed in the ominous night.

The fan will forget the fear in a moment, but the aficionado will swim in the terror, take it in and turn it to creation. A new universe will rise from every encounter birthing hordes of the impossible. Monsters, unnatural killers, forbidding landscapes open the mind to the unseen and force a reckoning of spirit. To know the evil lurking behind every fleshy mask is to understand the nature of humankind and the essence of imagination. When the horror fan peeks into the abyss, they recoil and flee to the assurances of reality. When the aficionado stares into the abyss, the abyss stares aback, and the aficionado greets it; “Hello old friend, do come in.”

About the Author

a1ZK62kFAfter spending twenty years as the lead singer of a progressive metal band, Dallas Mullican turned his creative impulses toward writing. Raised on King, Barker, and McCammon, he moved on to Poe and Lovecraft, enamored with the macabre. During his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he received degrees in English and Philosophy, Dallas developed a love for the Existentialists, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and many more great authors and thinkers. Incorporating this wide array of influences, he entices the reader to fear the bump in the night, think about the nature of reality, and question the motives of their fellow humans.

A pariah of the Deep South, Dallas doesn’t understand NASCAR, hates Southern rock and country music, and believes the great outdoors consists of walking to the mailbox and back. He remains a metalhead at heart, and can be easily recognized by his bald head and Iron Maiden t-shirt.

His first novel, A Coin for Charon (Marlowe Gentry Book 1) was released by Winlock Press on September 10, 2015.

Buy it at Amazon HERE or at your favorite book retailer.

About his book

26379964Gabriel isn’t murdering anyone―he’s saving them.

The media has dubbed him the Seraphim Killer. He believes the gods have charged him to release the chosen, those for whom life has become an unbearable torment. Gabriel feels their suffering—his hands burn, his skull thunders, his stomach clenches. Once they are free, he places coins on their eyes to pay Charon for passage into paradise.

Detective Marlowe Gentry has spent the past two years on the edge. The last serial killer he hunted murdered his wife before his eyes and left his young daughter a mute shell. Whenever she looks at him, her dead eyes push him farther into a downward spiral of pain and regret. He sees the Seraphim as an opportunity for revenge, a chance to forgive himself―or die trying.

Gabriel performs the gods’ work with increasing confidence, freeing the chosen from their misery. One day, the gods withdraw the blessing―a victim he was certain yearned for release still holds the spark of life. Stunned, he retreats into the night, questioning why the gods have abandoned a loyal servant. Without his calling, Gabriel is insignificant to the world around him.

He will do anything to keep that from happening.

Author’s Links

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How SciFi and Fantasy Can Help Us Re-imagine the Lives of the Disabled

How SciFi and Fantasy Can Help Us Re-imagine the Lives of the Disabled published on 2 Comments on How SciFi and Fantasy Can Help Us Re-imagine the Lives of the Disabled

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An accident before birth leaves Miles Vorkosigan deformed and rejected by his society and culture, though he proves himself a military genius.

Raistlin Majere, the greatest sorcerer ever to live in Krynn, performs his magics from within a shattered body that suffers chronic pain and fatigue.

Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever fights half-handed for the health of the Land, but on Earth, he is reviled as a leper.

River Tam, aboard Serenity, is possibly one of the smartest (and also most lethal) people in the ‘verse, though her mind is torn by post-traumatic stress.

Some of these characters are heroes; others, anti-heroes or trickster figures. What they share in common is that they are not Conan. Scifi and fantasy have often glorified the supremely able, the man of great sinews and strength who can stand against a thousand with his axe one-handed, with his ray-gun or phaser, or with his donkey’s jawbone.

But almost as often, scifi and fantasy have opened doors to looking at the least able in our own society. SF imagines the technologies that improve the lives of the disabled, and fantastic fiction grows the mental and heart muscles we use to place ourselves in the shoes of others – even in the shoes of those we don’t consider to be much like us. These are stories that bring us into inevitable collision with difference, and that demand, implicitly, that we face the extent to which we “other” others and create lepers in our communities.

Most of all, speculative fiction celebrates the potential of the human imagination. If you can imagine a thing, Miles Vorkosigan insists, you can do a thing. He drives his more able comrades to great deeds with the gleeful words, “If I can do it, you can do it!” Our ability to imagine – an ability to the able and the less able share alike — is actually the greatest ability, these genres suggest. Imagination takes us to the stars, permits us to solve problems, and, most importantly, sparks our empathy with those who do not look like us or cannot do some of the things we do or who do them differently.

This is something very important to me personally, as the father of two daughters, River and Inara, both of them intelligent and fiercely imaginative, but one of them physically disabled. My little Inara was born with crippling seizures that took some considerable medical panache to bring under control; these have left her with cortical blindness and delays in speech, motor function, and physical growth. Often in supermarkets or bookstores we are stopped by well-meaning bystanders who tell us how sorry they are for us, Inara’s parents.

We are not sorry. We are, every day, impressed. We see Inara paint amazing canvasses with her toes and glorious oil colors, painting all the poems she cannot write. We see her solving obstacles with a degree of ingenuity the more physically able are never required to develop. We see her reach out to other adults and children with deep empathy and kindness, though she must do so without words.

When I wrote my one-armed character Koach in my fantasy epic No Lasting Burial, and wrote of his compassion and heroic defense of others who suffer, I found him speaking these words in that novel’s pages: “The only lasting impediments are those we shore up within our own hearts.”
To us – writers and readers alike – speculative fiction throws down the gauntlet of imagination, calling us into a duel with the least tolerant and accepting versions of ourselves, provoking us to questions like these:

  • Is ableism only a paucity of imagination? When our technology – a prosthetic, or a feat of genetic engineering – can serve as an equalizer, how significantly should we actually treat the line of division between the “able” and the “unable”? To a soldier in a full metal power-suit, everyone else – you and me included – are unable, less able.
  • How sensible is it to judge the people around us based on physical or mental ability when we might find ourselves tomorrow in the midst of a universe populated by sentient species with a stunning diversity of degrees and types of physical and mental ability? If the most breathtaking art in the galaxy is created by Lilliputians, then what does height mean as a standard of an individual’s merit? If we encounter an alien race with brains three times the size of our own, how do we then judge or measure our own intellect?

20100717223134!Frontispiece_to_Frankenstein_1831Often, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been labeled the first work of “science fiction,” and it is the memorable and horrific tale of a ‘monster,’ a physically strong yet physically disfigured individual who initially has little command of language and is outcast from society. In Mary Shelley’s deft storytelling, the Creature learns language and confronts his parent, who was the first to exile him. As readers, we are caught, mesmerized, listening to the voice of that other who has been driven out. We recognize and then admire—perhaps to our shock, at first—the magnificence of his intellect and the depth of his yearning for human companionship.

From Victor Frankenstein’s creation to Jaxom’s time-traveling white dragon Ruth to Miles Vorkosigan’s crooked-legged dance across the stars, speculative fiction is uniquely able to help us imagine, re-imagine, what it means to be able. We learn in the pages of these stories that everyone we meet, regardless of their most immediately apparent level of ability, may have strengths and characteristics that we don’t expect but that might enlarge our own lives and our own experience of our world, if we only allow our first response to be curiosity and interest rather than violence or shunning, if we only take the time to get to know them, listen to them, or love them.

About the Author

 

Enjoy this post? Follow this Link to Stant Litore’s Patreon page. Gain access to his books, interact with the author, and provide patronage. He is passionate about his writing, as well as about this topic in particular.

Also, if you’re interested, hear Stant talk about Patreon (and where your contribution goes) in the video below.

Guest Post: Why is a straight white middle-aged man writing about a mixed race lesbian teenager?

Guest Post: Why is a straight white middle-aged man writing about a mixed race lesbian teenager? published on

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A primary goal for me as a writer (and as a reader) is the inclusion of diversity in my books. I’ve written one book along those lines. At the time of writing this, I’m running a Kickstarter for its sequel. And for the foreseeable future, I plan on continuing to write and read those sorts of books. So I’d like to make a case for why this is important.

This is mainly targeted toward people in positions of privilege. The straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied, and/or male people who don’t think this is an issue. I could talk about hard numbers about how little diverse representation there is. I could make an emotional appeal about how valuable it is for people of marginalized groups to be able to see themselves in media. But other people have written about that much better than I could ever hope to do. So instead, I’m going to appeal to your own self-interest.

First, here’s a little bit about myself and how I got here.

Several years ago, I realized that many of the characters I wrote were very much like me: straight, white, cisgender, 30something men. And with that realization came another one: so are a lot of characters in fiction. “Straight white dude* saves the world” is hardly a novel narrative element.

If you don’t believe me, check out the movies showing at your local multi-cinema theater. I don’t mean your local arthouse theater that is doing a marathon of 60s Swedish New Wave Cinema (assuming that’s even a thing). No, I mean your mainstream theater with sixteen screens of whatever is big and popular. If you want to get really drunk, really fast, you can even make a drinking game out of it: for every movie poster, take a shot each time a character featured there is one of the following:

  • Straight
  • Cisgender
  • White
  • Male
  • Lacks visible disability

Growing up in predominantly white middle class suburbs, I didn’t question it for a long time. Because growing up in that environment, surrounded by it even at an early age, it was the only world I knew. And it became something of a default assumption for me. When you are so immersed in it, it’s hard to realize that there is any other way to look at it?

But when I decided to push my limits as a writer, and tried to find out how to not screw it up, I began to realize how pervasive and systemic the problem is. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more it is assumed to be a “default mode,” the more people base their media consumption off of that.

So why should you care? It’s like one of those two-dimensional optical illusions. So long as you only look at it from one point of view, it seems realistic. But as soon as you take a few steps away, the illusion falls apart. If you want to actually understand the world, instead of just some story you’ve grown up with, you need diverse media.

Straight white cisgender men only make up a third of the U.S. population, and a little more than a tenth of the world population. If you do not read authors different from yourself, especially if you are a straight white man, then you will not understand the world. You cannot understand the world through the lens of a single point of view. You’re the proverbial blind man groping an elephant. It’s great if you can find media that features diverse characters. It’s even better if you can find media created by diverse authors.

And this should be a sincere attempt to understand other points of view. Don’t half-ass it with something like “I read this one author and I hated it so I gave up after a chapter and never tried again” or “I read this one author that totally agrees with me so totally know what’s up.” Read someone you disagree with. Try to understand why they feel that way.

What’s in it for you? You will have a deeper understanding of the world. And if there’s more diverse media available, you have greater potential to understand it. We live in an amazing time where the Internet is breaking down barriers and allowing access to a wide range of media. And yet there are people who will still try to shut down voices different from their own.

If you choose to only surround yourself with the stories of people like you, then you are making a conscious choice to be ignorant of ninety percent of the world. You’re welcome to choose that, but you’ll put yourself at a disadvantage.

*I use “straight white dude” a lot in this because it’s short and punchy. It is not intended to exclude other marginalized groups. I hope you can forgive me this creative license.

Jeremy Zimmerman is the author of the young adult superhero novel, Kensei.

zimmermanwowThe Love of Danger is a sequel to Zimmerman’s first book, Kensei, and is active on Kickstarter until Friday, September 4th at 9:00 PM PDT. The Love of Danger will be delivered in November, 2015, while Kensei can be downloaded immediately.

These books feature Jamie Hattori, a teenage superhero who has the ability to talk to the spirits of items and places. It is set in the shared world setting of Cobalt City, created by Nathan Crowder.

Consider contributing to the project. Even the $3 pledge will get you an e-book copy of both Kensei and The Love of Danger. That’s a heck of a deal!

Of course, there are also numerous great items and perks further down that pledge tree.

Be sure to check out the updates for some inside information about the topic, including a fascinating look at the origins of the title The Love of Danger.

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