As the release of Comes The Dark gets closer, I want to provide just a few introductory chapters for you, the reader of this humble little blog. I have already posted Chapter 1, so if you haven’t read it yet, please dig around and you’ll find it here in June’s postings.
I am posting Chapter 2 here, to continue providing you a taste of what the book is about. My intention is to post Chapter 3 in a few more weeks and then wrap it up in time for the release of the book, which is going to be here faster than I could have ever imagined. September, in time for Horror Realm, is still the objective release time frame, but as things roll along, my guess is that it will be sooner.
So, without further ado, here is Chapter 2 of Comes The Dark. Enjoy:
Ten minutes later Jeff was in the kitchen, stuffing the remnants of his dwindling food supply into his son’s backpack. There wasn’t much left, just some half-eaten boxes of cereal and dry noodles to gnaw on. That was what it had come to. It was why he had left the house to search for supplies. Jeff blinked as he suddenly realized his family had died for a few cans of beans and some crackers.
He angrily jammed the last of his meager rations into the bag and ran toward the steps leading to the second floor. From the back of the house came the sound of more glass shattering. He had covered the big picture window with plywood and it was holding for the moment. The wood vibrated under a barrage of hammering fists but stayed in place. He rushed up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Glad to get away from the stench of infection filtering through the windows and doors, he took a right into his office, trying his best to ignore the shattered door on the left side of the hallway and the carnage that lay beyond it.
Rummaging through one of his bookshelves he found a souvenir mug and dumped its contents on the desk. Sifting through the coins, bits of paper, and other faint memories, Jeff spotted a tiny key. Grabbing it, he went to the top of the bookshelf and pulled down a lock box. Unlocking it quickly he spotted the gun. The tiny pewter weapon with the black grip was still in its original box. Jeff looked at the etched wording on the barrel: MODEL RAVEN CAL-.25 AUTO. He picked up the small clip sitting next to it and slid it into the gun. He nearly laughed. It was a pea-shooter that carried a meager six bullets in the clip. Shoving it in his pocket, he promptly forgot about it.
Moving to the other side of the desk he began to rifle through it. After grabbing a pocket knife and the Mag-Lite, Jeff looked around his office. That was it. He sighed and shook his head. He was no survivalist but a baseball bat, a purse gun, and heavy flashlight probably weren’t going to get him very far.
As he turned to leave he spied something else on one of the book shelves and stared at it for a moment. It was the photo of Ellen and the kids on their last vacation at the lake. Jeff remembered taking the picture. It had been early, maybe about six a.m. Ellen had been trying to drag the kids out of bed for ten minutes. They didn’t want to go out on the boat and didn’t want to swim. They just wanted to sleep. She started tickling them and after a couple of minutes the three were wrestling in a tangle of sheets, screaming and giggling. Taking the picture had been spontaneous; Jeff had grabbed the camera out of his bag without thinking. They were smiling, laughing, their eyes lost in a moment of pure bliss. When he showed Ellen the picture she hated it. Her hair was a mess and she had no makeup on. When he put it on display in his office she was angry until he explained. “Everything that matters to me is in that picture. It’s you and the kids, happy. That’s all I care about.” She never said another word about it.
Jeff’s fingers quivered as he traced the outline of their faces. Another angry scream filtered from below and he tore his eyes away from the picture. Cramming it into his pocket, he headed back downstairs.
It’s time to go.
The urgent thought beat out a staccato rhythm inside his head as he made it back to the main floor. Rushing into the garage he could hear the roar outside. They were actually starting to throw their bodies against the side door now. The sound of them crashing against the house was nearly overwhelming but Jeff ignored it and tossed his small amount of supplies into the minivan. Snatching up the baseball bat he ran back inside.
He was out of breath as he got to the front door. Bending at the knees, he tried sucking in as much air as possible and tried to settle down. The noise at the front of the house wasn’t nearly as bad. The mob had not spread to the front door yet, which worked well with his hastily cobbled together plan. Bending over, he snatched up the hammer dropped there a few minutes before and started prying at the two by four nailed across the door.
It took some effort but within a couple of minutes the board was down and the only thing that stood between Jeff and the outside world was a deadbolt.
Digging into another pocket he pulled out the key to the car sitting in the driveway. Palming the dark plastic key fob, he pressed the red alarm button. Suddenly, an urgent honking cut through the tumult of screams and howls that had nearly driven Jeff’s family mad over the past few weeks. For a moment it seemed as if this new noise, so shocking and ordinary, would overpower all others. But it was not to be. A tide of rage carried the volume of his neighbors above that of the horn as they began attacking the car.
“Stupid mother-fuckers,” he snorted with disdain. After listening for a few more seconds he pressed the red button again and the alarm cut off, replaced with the sound of wet slaps on the hood of the Impala. Glass shattered and Jeff could imagine a thick press of bodies trying to get at whoever had been honking the horn.
He strained to hear as much as possible. There was frustration and rage, but more importantly, he heard no one on the porch ready to punch a hole through the front door. Taking a deep breath, he slowly let it out as he scooped up the baseball bat and put his hand on the deadbolt. Turning his head, Jeff took one last look around the house. He wanted to remember it as it had once been and not what it was about to become. Nodding to assure himself, he tried to keep his breathing steady as he turned to face the door.
Flipping the dead bolt, he tensed as his hand slipped down to the knob.
“Well, here goes nothing.”
Jeff opened his front door.
This past Saturday, I ventured up to Columbus and the Origins Gaming Convention, where my friend Ben Rogers and his wonderful PR Queen, Beth LaFond, had a table set up and were promoting Ben’s book, Faith and The Undead. This was the first experience of book signing for Ben, and was for me as well. I consider it something that will allow both of us to lay the groundwork for future cons, and more specifically, conventions that are more targeted toward the audience we are selling to.
Origins is what I suppose is a typical gaming convention, with a huge array of colorful characters walking around in costumes that consist of armor, spandex, leather, and a wide assortment of other materials that perhaps are not what you would typically see on the street these days. It was entertaining watching so many people dressed up as their favorite fantasy characters, although the Ghost Busters crew was also interesting. I can’t deny that the corsets and woman dressed in the naughty nurse outfit weren’t just a tad bit distracting, but some of the apparel was also highly amusing. But hey, I figure a convention like this gives folks a chance to let loose and have fun. My guess is that when I attend Horror Realm in September, chances are that I will be garbed like a zombie at least for one night, so who am I to judge?
Since I was only there on Saturday, I did get a taste of the convention experience, but I am sure that Ben and Beth are worn out after being their Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, where as I only had to show up and chat with some folks who came by the booth to see what Ben’s book was all about for a few hours. I don’t think either of them were thrilled with how the convention managers set up the authors (there were four that were supposed to have tables, I believe, but only a couple of them were there, and typically only for an hour or two, with very little product to promote to the convention goers). Ben had the table decorated and had quite a few books ready to sell to interested conventioneers. It was nice hearing him and Beth describe the book and give the audience an understand of what it is all about. What was also interesting was going to Ben’s reading of his book that afternoon. He actually read a few chapters and then some short stories and poems in the hour he had. He did an excellent job. I myself have been giving presentations my entire career, but somehow the idea of reading things of my own creation instead of speaking about some manufacturers new product or a new solution for a customer makes me feel like when my time comes, there will be plenty of butterflies.
Overall, I would have to say the experience was a blast. Given that we writers tend to live in our own worlds part of the time (that is inside our heads), and our connections to other members of the writing community tend to consist of message boards and on occasion Skype conference sessions late at night, it was terrific meeting a couple of people who I have not interacted with previously on a face to face basis. I feel like I am definitely part of a bigger thing than myself when we are all trying to get together and help one another to promote our books and “pimp” our stuff. There is a cohesion there because of our shared passion and that makes all the difference. As you may or may not have surmised, I do not spend my days and nights with other people who like zombies or give them much thought. The same goes with horror…science fiction and fantasy has been a bit more prevalent in my life, since I grew up with friends who enjoyed those genres immensely…but even with that, much of the interaction with others of a like mind is with people not in my own physical world. I am sure I could find a community of zombie fans here in Cincinnati, and my understanding is that Horror Hound is a convention occurring here probably in August that might be interesting to attend, but it was almost surreal having several people to chat with, face to face, about zombies and seeing that there passion is as great as mine on the subject. That was new, and probably the most exciting part of being at this convention.
Great experience and I can’t wait for my next convention…hopefully after my book comes out so I have something of my own to promote alongside Ben and whoever else I am with.
As the date of the release of my book, Comes The Dark, gets closer, I am working to do what I can to promote it as much as possible. That includes creating a flier that I can pass out at events like a convention I am going to this weekend to help out a fellow author to promote his recently released book. Since I’ve gotten a rough draft of the cover of my book, I can add few images to the brochure to add a little punch. Here is the text of the piece. Big thanks to Tim Long, another fellow author, who showed a flier that he had created for his book, The Zombie-Wilson Diaries, on The Library of the Living Dead message boards. I essentially copied exactly what he did. I think it will help tremendously.
Well, here it is:
The end came with a whimper, not a bang. The mysterious virus came out of nowhere and engulfed the world in a matter of days. Everyone who was infected seemed to die…and then rise again. Governments collapsed, armies disappeared, and entire civilizations turned to dust as the human race tore itself to pieces.
Jeff Blaine had a good life: a beautiful wife, adorable children, and a nice house in the suburbs. He liked his job, loved his family, and spent his lazy suburban Sundays out on the deck, barbecuing with the neighbors. Things were perfect until everything fell apart. And no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not spare his family from the horrors scratching at the door.
Now, with his family gone, his life in ruins, the only thing left is raw anger and pain. As the world continues to sink into darkness, Jeff does as well. So he ventures out into the desolation with no better plan than to destroy as many of the monsters that stole his life away before they destroy him as well.
But soon Jeff will discover other survivors unwilling to give up. They will force him to decide whether or not to succumb to the venom that gnaws at his soul. Should he continue to fight to survive, or succumb to the things that come with the dark?
Patrick S. D’Orazio
Patrick D’Orazio resides in southwestern Ohio with his wife, Michele, two children, Alexandra and Zachary, and three spastic dogs. He has been writing since he was a teenager but only recently clued into the fact that unless he attempted to get published, no one else would really care.
Several of his short stories appear in various anthologies from Library of the Living Dead, including “The Moron’s Guide to the Inevitable Zombocalypse,” “The Zombist,” “Night of the Giving Dead,” “Zombidays,” and “Letters from the Dead.” He will also be appearing in May December’s “Eyewitness: Zombie” anthology and Pill Hill Press’ “Daily Bites of Flesh 2011.”
Comes The Dark, the first book of a trilogy, is Patrick’s first novel and is being released by The Library of the Living Dead Press this September.
Undead Praise for Comes The Dark
Comes the Dark is well-written, relentless, fast-paced horror. Be ready for blood, carnage and a wild ride in this tale of the Zompocalypse! –Stephen A. North, author of Dead Tide and Dead Tide Rising
A tense apocalyptic survival tale with a powerful heart at its center. -David Dunwoody, author of EMPIRE and UNBOUND & OTHER TALES
COMES THE DARK by Patrick D’Orazio is a high speed adrenaline ride through the madness and insanity of the zombie apocalypse. From beginning to end you question your own sanity and strength through the eyes of the characters. Can’t wait to get my copy! – Benjamin Rogers, author of FAITH & THE UNDEAD.
Excerpt from Chapter 1
Jeff bit his lip as he tried to maintain a grip on the aluminum baseball bat in his sweaty hands. He splashed through a slick puddle of blood as he continued running down the sidewalk.
The backpack jounced up and down and he slipped his hand around the strap to make sure it stayed in place. The tin cans and boxes of crackers thumped in time to his footsteps. Increasing his speed, he tried to suck in another lungful of air.
The howls of rage had grown distant but slowing down wasn’t an option. Not until he was safely back inside. As he crested the hill a smile tugged at Jeff’s lips—there were only a few more houses to pass and he would be home free.
Pulling tighter on the frayed strap hanging over his shoulder, he moved onto the grass to avoid hearing his own footsteps. Eyes darting back and forth, he spied no movement as his house came into view. It was hard to believe it had only been an hour since he had crept out to go on a hunt for food. He spotted the dark brown side door, which stood in stark contrast to the light beige siding that surrounded it.
Skidding to a halt in front of the door, Jeff’s eyes narrowed. There was a smudge near the knob. A rusty red finger-shaped outline caused his heart to skip a beat.
Feeling a rush of white hot terror flooding his system, Jeff looked around, eyes shifting to the bushes at the back of his neighbor’s house. He could feel his heart racing and pulse accelerate as he tried to keep his breathing normal. Turning quickly, he looked across the street at the other houses, scanning for movement among the shadows. Ignoring the moans and howls off in the distance, he tried to reassure himself no one was watching or waiting to pounce. Taking a deep breath, he tried to tell himself that everything was going to be okay.
The smudge had not been there before. He recalled staring at the door after shutting it earlier and wondering if leaving, even if for a little while, was such a good idea. There had been no scratches and certainly no blood on the door when he left. That was not something the detail oriented man would have missed.
Jeff dug into his pocket and curled his fingers around the house key. Regardless of whoever…or whatever…had left the mark on the door all that mattered now was getting back inside before he was discovered out here.
As the key touched the knob and the door moved slightly, Jeff’s eyes widened and his hand began to quiver. The door was already unlocked. Worse, it wasn’t even shut. He began to shake his head and whisper “no” over and over. It couldn’t be.
Jeff knew he had locked the door when he left. He had hugged Ellen, told Frankie and Mary to behave for mommy, and then…
A cold, stark fear for his family’s safety overrode the slow itch of terror in Jeff’s gut as he slammed his fist into the door and burst into the garage. Staring into the darkened space, he nearly stumbled but somehow his watery legs managed to hold him up.
Mark, his next door neighbor, was bent over Ellen, teeth buried in her neck. A wide pool of bright red fluid gushed from where he gnawed at her torn flesh.
Jeff froze in the doorway as he desperately tried to comprehend what he was seeing. The guy he had shared a few beers with over discussions about politics, baseball, and the Horton’s Rottweiler crapping in their yards was tearing into his wife’s throat. Jeff couldn’t quite see Ellen’s face because Mark’s blood-drenched hand was clasped over her eyes and nose, but it was definitely her. There was a faint scent of jasmine in the air mixed in with the rich coppery scent of blood. It was that perfume she always wore. The tenth anniversary diamond ring he had given her a year before sparkled in a splash of sunlight as her arm flopped to the side. Jeff’s eyes gravitated to the ring but it was hard to catch more than a brief glimpse of it as his wife’s fingers twitched violently in response to the tearing motion of Mark’s teeth.
For more info on the book, head over to http://www.patrickdorazio.com
My good friend Ben Rogers will be signing copies of his recent release ‘Faith and The Undead’, this weekend at the Origins Game Fair at the Columbus, Ohio Convention Center Friday (10-6), Saturday (10-6), and Sunday (10-4) and I will be in attendance along with Ben’s publicist and another good friend, Beth LaFond. I can only be there on Saturday, but am really looking forward to the opportunity. I am very excited about helping out a friend while he promotes his book and because it will be a learning experience for all of us. This is Ben’s first show and mine as well. Given that my book is not released yet, I will get the chance to ‘pimp’ Ben’s book and learn from the experience.
Having been to trade shows on numerous occasions in the past for various jobs I’ve had, I have a inkling of what something like this will be like, although I am guessing it will be a lot more fun and passionate audience than you typically get at a Security & Alarm or telecom industry trade show. Getting the chance to meet up with die hard fans of multiple genres like horror, science fiction, and fantasy should be a real blast. I want to really help Ben and Beth make this show a success for them and learn some tips on how to grab people’s attention at events like this one.
Since my book isn’t out yet, I’ve created a flyer that I can hand out to people who take look at Ben’s book. I have also created some business cards as well, which will give me the chance to promote Ben and give folks a little reminder of my stuff, since they are already checking out an excellent zombie novel from a fellow author. This trip will be all about Ben though, and I am there to support him and get his message across. He is a great guy with a tremendous novel and I’m excited to do my little part to help his book get the attention it so richly deserves.
I picked up the Bizarro Starter kit, both Blue and Orange, at the recommendation of a friend who has written bizarro and felt that these two books were excellent primers on this genre. I have not read the orange yet but am looking forward to it. I have read one full length bizarro novel by Andre Duza and another short story by Carlton Melick III, both related to zombies, but little else. I have read a wide array of unique and strange fiction throughout my life, but bizarro is certainly in a class by itself.
A definition, or rather, definitions of bizarro appear at the beginning of this book, so I won’t attempt to expand on them. What I can say is that based on the ten different authors, all with very unique stories, is that bizarro is not just the genre of the weird-it is a genre that allows us to step alternately into worlds of the surreal, humorous, and horrific, sometimes all at the same time. Every story in this book was stylistically different than the rest-there was no solidifying theme running through the book. They challenged me as a reader to keep up with what the author was creating at every step. It seems that in a bizarro story, things can turn dramatically on a single sentence, even when some elements are used repetitively to bring a point across. This is not a genre to hop into assuming that you will be able to relax and casually blur over certain passages and retain full comprehension of what is going on.
I won’t lie and say that I “got” it with every story written here, but I was entertained by most of these efforts, amused, repulsed, and intrigued, which means that these stories kept my interest, even if I wasn’t sure of the exact path that I was being led down by each author.
For Immediate Release:
Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated Screening and Panel at Comic-Con
Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated ( http://www.notldr.com ) has proven itself to be one of the most experimental projects to hit the horror genre in recent memory. Taking the existing film, Night of the Living Dead (1968), gallery curator/ experimental animator, Mike Schneider, extended the invitation for anyone in the horror community to take scenes from this seminal work and respond to them through their art. As Schneider explains, ‘We, as fans, accept the film as an absolute. Changes would be alienating and copying would be pointless. Instead, what we have done is what artists have always done.. responded to the world around us and offered others the chance to see it as we do.’
With nearly 150 artists and animators taking up the cause, thousands of pieces of art and segments of animation were created through media ranging from oil paintings to comic illustrations and digital animation to sock puppets. Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated forgoes the dubious comforts that a singular style may provide for the chance to showcase the wide spectrum of visual media. The resulting collection was then hung directly on top of the original film leaving the its audio track and story completely unmodified.
Since it first screened in September 2009, Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated has shown in venues including film festivals, theaters, colleges, cinema bars, museums, horror conventions, and even in virtual spaces like the Facebook Comic-Con and in the Phantasmagoria Theater (a virtual movie theater build within the MMORPG, Second Life). Perhaps most notably, Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated has quickly become a favorite amongst TV and web based horror hosts with many of them presenting it to their local audiences via streaming and public access shows. As the project finally nears its long awaited DVD release ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003GUGB8G ), Neoflux Productions is pleased to announce Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated will be screening this year at San Diego Comic-Con ( http://www.comic-con.org/cci/ ).
Join a panel of contributing artists as they screen Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated on Thursday July 22nd at 9:30pm in Room 5AB at Comic-Con. Directly following the screening, the contributing artists will hold a panel discussion covering their varied media and involvement in NOTLD:R. They will also be taking questions and signing autographs. Confirmed panelists include : John Chesnut and Josh Barnett ( claymation and cut-out animation), Jacquelyn Bond ( watercolor paintings ), Grant Fuhst (mixed-media artwork ), Sean Williams ( hand drawn animation ), Zina Lahr ( toy modification/ experimental animation ), Brad Uyeda ( stop-motion animation ), Anthony Amos ( digital animation ), and Eric Schock ( comic book illustration ).
What Comic-Con event would be complete without swag to giveaway?
The giveaways at the screening/ panel include:
– Pre-Release Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated DVD’s by Wild Eye Releasing ( http://www.wildeyereleasing.com )**
– DVD’s of Monster Madhouse presents NOTLD:R ( http://www.monstermadhouse.com )
– DVD’s of Friday Night – Fright Night presents NOTLD:R ( http://www.fridaynight-frightnight.com )
– DVD’s of World of Weird Monster Show presents NOTLD:R ( http://wowmonstershow.com/ )
– Special Edition (SDCC Exclusive Cover) Comic: ‘Sick as a Dog’ Mike Schneider/ Terry Callen
– Buttons, Pins, Keychains, and other NOTLD:R materials provided by contributing artists
Please note, many of these giveaways are in strict limited editions so get there early and stay alert as they will be given away throughout the event. So remember, the Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated Screening and Panel is Thursday, July 22nd at 9:30pm in Room 5AB at San Diego Comic-Con.
**Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated
Produced by Neoflux Productions
Released by Wild Eye Releasing
Release Date: 7/27/2010
Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated is a collaborative artistic mash-up of George Romero’s cult classic. Nearly 150 International artists and animators chose their favorite scenes and re-envisioned them through their own artwork, with no restrictions on style, media or process – resulting in an eclectic ‘art show’ interpretation of the seminal 1968 film, all placed over the original’s audio. With work ranging from oil paintings to comic illustrations and sock puppets to CGI and stop-motion – NOTLD:R not only pays the respect due to this most important work in horror history, but encourages viewers to experience the film in a brand new light that bursts with the humor and horror of a new generation of artists. Art is dead…yeah, it’s all messed up.
DVD Special Features:
– DVD Cover Art by Mike Schneider
– DVD Label – Functioning Phenakistoscope ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenakistoscope )
Layout: Mike Schneider Animation: Calum MacAskill
– Liner Notes by Peter Gutierrez ( Rue Morgue )
– DVD Hosted by Legendary Horror Host, Count Gore De Vol ( http://www.countgore.com )
– Commentary 1: With Guests Peter Gutierrez and Stoker Award winning author, Jonathan Maberry ( http://jonathanmaberry.com/ ) ( Patient Zero; Zombie CSU; Marvel Zombies Return )
– Commentary 2: With Guest Corpse S. Chris ( http://www.horrorhostgraveyard.com )
– Documentary about the various PD releases of Night of the Living Dead entitled ‘Boxart of the Dead’ by Rob Hauschild
– Surreal Animated Short, ‘Silo’ by Anthony Amos
– Zombie Cartoon, ‘ Ape of the Dead’ by Andres Silva
– Pacman Parody, ‘ Night of the Gaming Dead’ by Voodoo Velvet
– Demonstrated Animation Processes by Calum MacAskill, Mike Boas, and Ryan Sigg
– Zombie Encounter Panel with horror authors including Jonathan Maberry and Dr. Kim Paffenroth ( Gospel of the Living Dead )
– Artist Slide Gallery
– Call-In Messages from 28 of the Contributing NOTLD:R Artists
– Select Uncut Scenes
– Short Horror Comics (by NOTLD:R artists)
– and more…
Contact email@example.com for interview, questions, or review copies.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the NOTLD:R DVD.
Contact email@example.com to setup a screening near you.
A few of my fellow authors have taken the time to look at Comes The Dark and had some impressive comments for it. I am honored that these guys are impressed with my story, when I am so impressed by the work they’ve all done.
I can’t help but get excited as things continue to progress with the book-I have seen a few drawings for the cover art thus far and it is coming along fantastically well, the formatting is going to begin soon, and it seems like everything is coming together.
So here they are, without further ado…blurbs for Comes the Dark:
Comes the Dark is well-written, relentless, fast-paced horror. Be ready for blood, carnage and a wild ride in this tale of the Zompocalypse!
Stephen A. North, author of Dead Tide and Dead Tide Rising
“A tense apocalyptic survival tale with a powerful heart at its center.”
-David Dunwoody, author of EMPIRE and UNBOUND & OTHER TALES
COMES THE DARK by Patrick D’Orazio is a high speed adrenaline ride through the madness and insanity of the zombie apocalypse. From beginning to end you question your own sanity and strength through the eyes of the characters. Can’t wait to get my copy! – Benjamin Rogers – Author of FAITH & THE UNDEAD.