Writer of Horror Fiction

Archive for May, 2010

This stuff is hard

As the world rolls on and I try to “become” an author through all the other processes involved with the translation of writing a book to having a book actually published, I have realized that this stuff is hard.

This belief stems from the fact that I have spent all day today trying to create an introduction to my novel, Comes the Dark because my publisher, the esteemed Dr. Pus, asked me to start putting together all the little things that surround the novel.  I have had the back cover written for a long time, which has undergone a few changes but has remained close to what I originally created back in 2008, which I foolishly believed I had finished the book…the first time.  But its the other little things that I am now focused on: my biography (not just for the back of the book, but to post on Amazon with the book), the introduction, the dedication, an extended description (once again for Amazon)…and various and other sundry things.

You see, a book is not just about getting it accepted by a publisher, getting it sent to an editor to do that voodoo they do so well, having an artist create a cover, and then slapping it all together.  Nooooo, it is far more complicated than that!  I am sure if you are in the biz, you already knew this and are having a nice little giggle under your breath at this point.  But for those out there like me, who are novices, you have to understand what all goes into this, even when you are dealing with a lean and mean publishing house like Library of the Living Dead.

I never gave much thought to the inside of a book.  Now I am not speaking about the actual story itself (duh) but the outline of the book.  The table of contents, the font used, the way it sits on a page…but there is someone handling that little tidbit, and as I have discovered, that person has to deal with all of your mistakes, just as the editor and publisher do.  How you format the manuscript makes a difference as to how they have to deal with the layout of the document.

A manuscript is expected to be in a certain format, whether you are writing a short story or a novel.  The biggies, as I have seen them, are 12 point courier, double spaced, with an indent at the beginning of each paragraph.  But watch out!  Different publishers want different things.  Some want headers, others do not.  The gentleman who does outlining for Doc at the Library does not want the indents set automatically, but manually.  Italics that you use in a story may or may not be acceptable in an manuscript.  Some publishers want you to underline everything that is to be italicized, while others want the story to appear as you want it to be when it comes out as a novel.

In addition to the stuff I have listed above, I have the duty of seeking out blurbs for my book.  What are blurbs you ask.  Blurbs are the comments made by other authors that you want to appear on the cover and inside of your book.  So how do you get these?  Not by being bashful, of course.  You submit a request to the authors (hopefully, you already know them) and provide them with an edited version of your book if they are willing to take a swipe at blurbing your work.  Of course, you have to cross your fingers that they like what you have written and will get you something back before all the formatting and book design occurs.

Yep, this stuff is hard.  It’s fun, so don’t get me wrong, but writing a novel is just the beginning of this process.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention all the promotion and “pimping” I need to do as well…things like getting a Facebook fan site going, an author page on Amazon (both still in the works), promoting the book on this blog and promoting it via other blogs, as well as doing interviews, attending events like Horror Realm, and other stuff that will come about as I continue to move forward.
More on that later.  Right now, I need to keep rocking and rolling with all of this, while I try to find more time to write and read other folks stuff as well, which is something I love doing.  It keeps you busy, that’s for sure!

My review for “Letters from the Dead”

The zombie apocalypse came and wiped out virtually the entire human race. We all know the story because it has been written about time and time again. We hear the stories of those who survive, or at least are able to wander off with the hopes of hiding away from impending death. We’ve heard the stories about the people who were the first victims, torn apart in the city streets, condemned to walk the earth as a mere shadow of who they once were. Now we get the stories of those people who fought and struggled to survive but who lost that fight. For some, putting their final thoughts down on paper was a way to say they were sorry, or a way to curse those who were about to rip through their barricaded doors and destroy them. For others, it was a chance to put things right, at least in their own minds, before they moved on to their final resting place.

This is a unique compilation of around seventy different letters written by people who already know they’re dead. Their last desperate efforts to say something to loved ones or to the world at large. This is a pretty uniquely themed book compared to what we have come to expect either from novels about zombies and the many anthologies out there. The zombies themselves tend to play a minor role in these letters. Instead, we get to see inside the people who are about to die-what is truly important to them. Some have gone mad, while others are sad and filled with regrets for things left undone and that now, will never be done because their world is coming to an abrupt end.

To be fair to any reader of this review, I should let you know that a letter I wrote appears in this book. It is one of seventy, so while I may be a bit biased, I can say with all sincerity that I think that for the zombie fan this is a compelling read. I don’t think anyone else has ever come up with an idea quite like this and the publisher, along with creator and editor, Mark Johnson have come up with something quite fascinating.

Letters From The Dead is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Dead-Mark-M-Johnson/dp/1451583079/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274811490&sr=1-6

Review for T.W. Brown’s “Dead: The Ugly Beginning”

Author T.W. Brown indicates that this will be the first of at least five books in his Dead Saga. All I can say to that is: when is the second volume coming out?

This is the beginning, and so we are introduced to a wide array of characters. It is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, the beginning of the end for the human race, and the beginning of some incredible and wide spanning journeys for characters both big and small. We are provided with two main stories in this book. One is told from the perspective of Steve, a guy living in Portland, Oregon when the infection begins, although he is soon on the road, picking up a neighbor girl on the way as things quickly unravel around him. The other story is of a group of geeks in Norfolk, Virginia who are also attempting to cope with the apocalypse and get on the road almost immediately, to start heading west to an area they hope is lacking enough in population that it will be safe. The author doesn’t stop there with the characters, adding chapters entitled Vignettes, which share the stories of others, both survivors and the not so lucky, as they live and die throughout the country (and in a couple of cases, in other areas of the world). Some of the characters introduced through those chapters will continue to play a role in the upcoming books, or at least the sequel, although many face their doom rather abruptly in this story.

This is a very traditional Romero zombie style story, which means that you shouldn’t expect the zombies to be demonic, speedsters, or intelligent. These are the slow moving, inevitable shamblers that inhabit nightmare not because you can’t run away from them, but because they never stop coming for you, in greater and greater numbers. You have time to pause and consider your fate as they close in, slowly, awkwardly, knowing that they will get through the barricades in time because they will never stop until everyone is devoured and turned into what they have become.

The key to a story like this one is to have compelling characters, which is what Mr. Brown has created. Whether they’re one of the main characters like Steve, Kevin, or Mike, or any of the multitude of more ancillary characters, there are very few “extras” in this tale. Even those who have been bitten in the vignettes that you know almost immediately are about to die are provided with a compelling enough storyline to make it so I cared about them as a reader. There are good and evil people, as there always are in these stories, but more important, the good guys can and do make mistakes, which means that while you are rooting for them, they are still human and still apt to make a monumental mistake that gets someone killed. The author has developed “real” characters, which is why I am looking forward to see where they end up going in this story, even if it is always in doubt as to whether or not any of them will be able to survive until the very end.

Dead: The Ugly Beginning is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Ugly-Beginning-T-Brown/dp/0984537201/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274811322&sr=1-1

Letters from the Dead Now Available!!!

Well, its out on Createspace and will be on Amazon in about a week.

It can be purchased at https://www.createspace.com/3443967

Here is the description:

Defying all logic and reason, the dead returned from death. All over the world, dead human bodies rose and walked the Earth in search of living human flesh to consume. Despite the valiant efforts of the living’s vast armies and superior weapons, the dead won the Zombie War.

Defeated, the surviving governments of the world fled to the safety of their underground bases, leaving the last living survivors to their fate. All alone, trapped, for them there was no last second rescue, no escape. The Dead surrounded them, pounding on their barricaded doors, smashing in their boarded windows. It was their last chance to say goodbye, their last chance to shout out in defiance. It was time to write their final words.

For decades, the dead ruled the Earth unchallenged, but their reign was finite. In time, they returned to the dust from which they came.

When the living survivors emerged from their underground shelters, they would discover hundreds of thousands of tattered decaying messages, the letters left behind by the last to perish in the Zombie Apocalypse.

These are those “Letters From The Dead”.

Update!  Now on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Dead-Mark-M-Johnson/dp/1451583079/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274811102&sr=1-6

Cover for Letters From the Dead revealed!

The first Anthology I will be appearing in.

I am over the moon excited about this, the first anthology from Library of the Living Dead that I will be appearing in.   I don’t have a specific release date as of yet but I am very excited about this.  It should be ready to go very soon!

Letters From The Dead is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Dead-Mark-M-Johnson/dp/1451583079/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274811102&sr=1-6