Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Book Shipment Got Eaten by Zombies

Hey everyone,

This week has been nuts. My book shipment did not arrive on time and it took until this morning to finally hear back from the publisher about where my books are! Apparently, they are in Dallas and won’t be here until Monday! There is a three to four week delay right now (probably because of Ike), in getting out book orders and I just found out about it this morning.

So what does that mean for the book signing? I will still be there! I will have a nice coupon for the discount toward the purchase of As The World Dies: The First Days if you buy it at Secret Oktober or at my online store. I will have a sneak peak at two of my books and a glimpse at the new artwork for my vampire novel that will be released in October. There will be some yummy Halloween candy to get you ready for the spooky season and a yummy beverage.

If you are curious about my writing and/or about my life as an Independent Author and would like a nice little discount toward the purchase of the book, please come on down to Secret Oktober in South Austin.

--Rhiannon Frater

Secret Oktober
1905 South 1st Street
Suite b
Austin, Texas 78704

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Terror and Joy That Are Reviews

Most of the authors I know love to hear that people appreciate all their hard work and adore their writing. It validates all your time and effort and salves some of your anxiety over whether or not your story is any good.

In all honesty, I write what I want to read. A sudden inspiration will spring up in a dream or a odd moment during the day and I will want to follow that train of thought to the end of the line. Sometimes I find a really cool story I want to share with other people and sometimes I realize that the flash of inspiration was all there was.

The As The World Dies Trilogy was a moment of inspiration based on a dream. It came to me in a flash and I quickly wrote it down. I posted it on a forum on impulse and it was the reviews that inspired me to write out the epic story.

Now, some of the reviews were harsh. I read those along with the positive ones. I wanted to see if there was a kernel of truth in the reviews that were taking aim at the story (and oftentimes, me). If there was something valid in the critique, I learned from it. If not, I dismissed it.
I also learned, in the time span that As The World Dies was online, that sometimes people are hateful just because they want to be. Nothing you write will ever make them happy and they will always pick at you. I still remember this one person saying that Jenni and Katie were so shallow, you could change them into men and no one would know the difference. I read that to my husband and he just shook his head.

The one strength of the story is that the leads are women and view things from a totally different perspective. Jenni, as a mother, has suffered a severe loss of her children and this sends her over the edge in a very strange, yet endearing way. Katie, a bisexual woman, has suffered the loss of her beloved wife and is a nurturer and protector at heart. The need to keep Jenni alive (and later Jason), is what keeps Katie motivated to live. The two of them form a strong bond that they probably would not have made otherwise and become sisters in a new family they create.

Of course, if some of my critics had their choices, Jenni and Katie would have spent most of their time having lesbian sex, had some big strong military type come and take care of them, they never would have found a gun store (c'mon..its freaking Texas!) and the fort would have been overrun immediately by zombies despite the survivors actually having a freaking brain in their head and fighting back.

If I had made all the changes my naysayers had urged, I wouldn't have written my story, but theirs. And that was the biggest lesson I learned during the whole process. Being true to the world, characters, and premise I had created. Happily, other people (the apparent majority) agreed with my view on the story.

Which brings me to my newest reviews...on Amazon! Before, the reviews were a litmus test of how well I was doing with the story, but now I'm trying to build my readership and get the word out about the novel. Every good review is extremely helpful. Of course, at some point, someone is going to hate my book. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for that. But right now, I would like to appeal to those of you who do like the book and feel its a good read you would recommend to other zombie fans, please write an Amazon review. I would love to hear what you liked about the novel, but also, what you say about the story may encourage someone else to visit the world you love and get to know Katie and Jenni.

Reviews have served a definite purpose in my life. They have encouraged me, taught me, vexed me, and helped promote my book.

Meanwhile, the first review of the brand new first chapter of the second book is in. I handed it off to a co-worker who is also a fan. He loved it! So, I definitely feel I am on the right track.
One more thing, check out this awesome new flyer for Bitefest.

I'm totally in love with it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Word Is In From Dr. Pus!!!!

I posted recently about my correspondence with Dr. Pus of The Library of the Living Dead podcast. There was a good chance he would spend some time on As The World Dies: The First Days. In what capacity was unclear, but tonight, he posted on my promotional thread on the Permuted Press forum.

This is what he wrote:

And this just in ......

"As The World Dies" will be presented on the "Library of the Living Dead" podcast with voice actors, f/x and music. I'm gonna do this one up right.

It's one helluva story folks!!!! I love it bunches.

Yer ole Dr. Pus ain't never lied to you about purchasing a book, or even NOT purchasing a book.

This one's a real winner. BUY A COPY TODAY!!!

You rock my undead world Rhiannon!!

Undead love,


I'm bouncing off the walls with excitement. I can't really even express how happy I am in this moment. I'm so very excited!!!

As I get more information, I'll pass it on to you!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Brits Sure Do Love Zombies

I absolutely loved Shaun of the Dead. I thought it was beyond brilliant. It made me laugh, it made me squirm, it made me cry, and it made me look up Spaced with Simon Pegg, which was also freaking amazing.

And of course, I loved 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. If you haven't checked out the short films associated with the release of the second movie, check them out:

Welcome to London

Jealous Rage

77 Days Later

Saturday Afternoon

28 Seconds Later

The End is Extremely F**king Nigh

Of course, I know people argue constantly about if the infected are zombies or not, but the way I see it, they destroy civilization just as effectively, so they count in the genre.

I found two new zombie nuggets by the Brits with much more traditional Romeroesque zombies.

First, check out this great short film called "I Ran From A Zombie." It had some seriously funny moments and I laughed out loud more than once. I adore the zombies in this short. They're awesome.

Next up is this great trailer for "Dead Set". It's a weird little spin on reality TV as the Big Brother house in England becomes the safest place to be when the zombies rise. It looks really good and I'm hoping we'll be able to see it on this end side of the pond.

Enjoy some British zombie goodness! Yum!

Edited: Kody Boye directed me to something the Aussie's did. It's really great. Check out I love Sarah Jane.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Kindle Update

Well, it's official. Putting up As The World Dies: The First Days in the Kindle format was a good idea. We sold one book today and it has only been available since around noon. I'm not going to get rich off my Kindle sales, that's for damn sure, but it makes me feel good that readers that prefer to read on their Kindles have an option of buying my book.

After all, isn't that what being a writer is all about? Sharing you stories with others?

I admit that I would like to make enough money to continue to hire Detra to do my covers and pay for some of the expenses that come with publishing, but I am very pleased with my one little Kindle sale.

It means someone is reading my book!


Yeah, yeah. I'm pretty easy to please.

So, as I turn in tonight, I feel pretty good about how things are progressing.

Kindle, My Mad Crush, and General Insanity

It shouldn't be too long now, but soon As The World Dies: The First Days will be available for the Kindle. We were not going to go this route at first, but after several conversations with Indie Authors and hearing about the good response to this format, we went ahead and dove in. It was a total bitch to format, but thanks to April Hamilton's wonderful pdf on the subject, we sorted out the issues. We loaded it up last night and hopefully it will be available for any Kindle owners out there shortly.

Update: The Kindle version of the book is now for sale! Yay!!!

Back in April, I wrote about my mad crush on Morris Rosenthal. He wrote a very good book about self-publishing and has a very informative blog as well. I make sure to read it every week and it always gives me a lot to think about. Yesterday, he gave me a little shout out on his blog, which I thought was very cute. Of course, I just write about vampires, I'm not one myself (thank God! I'm Italian! I need my garlic!), but it was pretty damn funny. It actually made my day. Yeah, yeah, I'm easy to amuse. I'm low maintenance that way.

I have to say that both April Hamilton and Morris Rosenthal had a huge impact on me when I decided to go Independent and I am grateful for the advice they doll out on a regular basis to writers who want to see their words in print, but have battered themselves bloody against the gatekeepers of the publishing industry.

Today I was speaking with a colleague from one of our Dallas office and he was very intrigued with the news of my decision to be an Independent Author. He spoke of how he knows many musicians who spent years and years sending out demo tapes to recording companies. Now, they don't give a damn about the recording companies and are doing it on their own terms thanks to the new media. The Internet opened a gateway to a new form of success and many musicans have grabbed onto it.

Authors have been a little slower to adapt to the new media. My colleague even said, during our conversation, that many of the writers he knows have given up on their dreams of publication. "They gave up. They got too beaten down."

I was recently talking to Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, a very successful Independent Author, via Myspace. We had spoken years ago when I was supposed to be polished by a small publishing house. Kody Boye had brought her up in a conversation and I remembered her almost instantly. I touched base with her again about her Twisted Dreams magazine and one of the things she said to me was that she was back to being an Independent Author after working with publishing houses the last two years. It was a reminder, once more, that the path I have chosen is a good one and it's up to me to make it work.

Meanwhile, promotion and the Kindle formatting nightmare has consumed a lot of my recent time, but I am making progress on the rewrite of As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive. The tangled mess is untangling slowly, but surely. It does feel good to be writing new scenes with my old familiar characters. Jenni had me giggling out loud the other night. Calhoun amuses me to no end.

In fact, I have come to realize Calhoun really does know where the zombies came from. He's just so batshit crazy, the way he describes things muddles it all up. But he knows far more than anyone around him realizes and that is much more to him than meets the eye.

Anyway, progress is progress...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Update!! What Am I Up To? Hrmmm....

On to the fun stuff...

I was pretty disappointed in not having a convention to attend this October, but a good friend of mine directed me in the direction of this all day event. I spoke with the organizer, a very nice woman named Rose, and I am booked for the event! I think its going to be a ton of fun and if you visit the Myspace page for Excentric Vision you'll see the have a love of da zombies, too. They have a great black and white slideshow of some very scary, yet sexy zombie femme fatales.

I've placed it below for your viewing pleasure.

Also, it looks like As The World Dies: The First Days may be appearing very soon on Dr. Pus Presents "Library of the Living Dead". If you haven't been paying attention to this really fun podcast, I recommend that you check it out. It is definitely a great way to check out what's new in the zombie genre. I've been exchanging emails with Dr. Pus and he said some very kind things to say about the novel. He seemed especially pleased that the book had a strong female lead (well, actually two). Once I confirm this is going to happen, I'll post the details here. But honestly, even if he was not going to cover my book, I would still recommend this awesome podcast.

Now a little more news on my interview with AngelLesa on October 13, 2008. It will start at 7pm Central and you will be able to call in and ask me questions. The number to call is 347-945-7025. I would love it if you called in, but just don't spoil the remaining trilogy if you read it online. I'm more than willing to answer any questions you may have. Just follow this link the night of the interview and check it out.

Meanwhile, I'm contacting reviewers to see if they would be interested in taking a look at As The World Dies: The First Days and selecting conventions in 2009 to attend to promote that book and the ones that will follow.

I'll be honest. All the promotion of the book seems to take up so much time, I often feel like I can't get any writing done. But this is the way it is and I just have to get used to it. But thank you AGAIN to anyone who is posting about the book on their blogs or forums out there. It is highly appreciated.

Now, back to writing on the second book...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's Sorta Like the Zombie Infection...Spreading

Word is getting around about As the World Dies: The First Days. I've done a little bit of promoting, but most of the word of mouth is from fans of the story. I've seen some postings on various forums and came across this on wikipedia. I have to admit when I saw the book listed with all those other zombie titles, I did a little scream of joy and a little dance.

Today I sent out some information to the local paper about my book signing and contacted a few websites. I am hoping that the zombie fans out there who have not heard of the story will get the heads up and check it out.

Thank you to anyone who has posted about the story on the forums and are telling their friends about it. One reader has lent his copy to about three people so far. I love that! It is so rewarding to know people are reading the novel and enjoying it!

The most rewarding thing about being a writer is having people not only read your stories, but love them. It is the most incredible feeling.

Thank you again for all your support!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True Blood! True Ike! True Writer's Block, but not really

I saw True Blood this week. I don't have HBO, but I managed to see it on I love youtube. If not for youtube, I would miss out on a lot of cool shows from overseas, and in this case, a show from a channel I refuse to subscribe to. (Seriously, why can't they let you just order one show?)

I've been jonesing to see True Blood since I first heard about the series based on Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire novels. I thought Anna Paquin as Sookie was a great choice when I heard the news and after seeing the show, I definitely think she is perfect casting. So is the actor who plays the vampire named Bill (his name cracks me up as much as it does Sookie). He looks almost exactly how I imagined Bill when I read the novel. The show is uncanny in its representation of the locations in the book because it almost matches my imagination perfectly. I am impressed. And now I have to find a friend who has HBO so I can continue to watch the series or hope youtube will save me again.

What I really enjoyed about the show was that the characters, sets, and vibe were so much like the books. It made me wonder what As The World Dies would be like as a show or mini-series (pipe dream, yep, I know..but a girl can dream). I remember some of the fans offering up their ideas for actors for the characters. Nathan Fillion and Clive Owen were suggested for Travis. Mira Furlan (of Lost and Babylon 5) and Helen Mirren were suggested for Nerit. Kristina Loken (the Terminator in T:3) was tossed out there for Katie. Jennifer Connelly was often mentioned for Jenni. And though I saw Juan as looking more like the tall, handsome Robert Rodriguez (the Austin-based director who I have seen in real life), people suggested John Leguizamo. I'm not saying any of these interpretations of the characters are wrong. They don't exactly match my idea, but it makes me wonder how fans of the story would cast a series or mini-series.

I admit I have my own personal "casting" in my head, but I won't share it here. I'd rather people have their own ideas.

Meanwhile, I have mapped out the bungled mess that sits in Fighting to Survive (I have tossed out the Struggling to Survive title). I have it all sorted out and now...err...I have writer's block. Not really bad, but just enough to make me moody. I have managed to write a few pages on the bus in the morning, but its not as much as it should be. My proof readers are waiting for the novel and I know I need to punch through. I hope I can this weekend.

If Ike doesn't blow us all away...

Ike is going to hit Texas and it's going to affect Austin one way or the other. One scenario has it coming over Austin as a tropical storm, but that seems unlikely. We will have massive storms and high winds even if it does hit further down the coast, so I hope the electricity stays on and lets me get more work done.

Oh, yes. Fearfest is canceled until February. I will be at the show in February and as soon as the details are released, I'll post them here. The Zombie Ball did not work out for me like I hoped. A sponsor is a publisher, so..bah. But my books may make it into the gift bags they are putting together for winners of the contest. I hope to attend and hand out flyers with the book info if that is cool with the organizer.

I also plan to make two appearances at Nightmare on Grayson, the big haunted house festival in downtown San Antonio. I'll be at the Creepy Classics booth and that will be a ton of fun. I always enjoy seeing the monsters out on the street terrifying the people waiting to enter the haunted house. One year a group of teenage boys (probably around age 16) ran screaming past our booth. I looked up to see Michael Meyers walking calmly behind them. It was hilarious. Not so funny are the scary clowns. One year a teenage girl fainted dead away in the tent when she turned and saw one of those evil suckers right behind her. Ugh! I hate clowns!!! Anyway, when I confirm the dates I'll be there, I'll post the information.

Edit: I would love to hear who you would cast as your favorite characters in the novel. The first comment on this post mentioned Gillian Anderson as Katie. I had never even thought of her!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Slightly Insane

Word is out that FearFest 3 is being canceled. Ugh! My first convention is going to be delayed until February. I'll wait until there is a formal announcement on the website before I take off the links and information. I'm kind of hoping that it still happens, though a delay until February would mean I would have more time to get promotional materials ready and the second book would be on sale.

Meanwhile, I'm working on untangling the mess I made in book two. I'm sorting it out slowly and it will be fine. I have a feeling someone reading the book as it is now, would not see the big ol' knot in the works that I do, but I know how it should have been written, so it makes me a little nuts. When I wrote this part in the story a lot of negative things were happening in my life and I think I rushed through this section. But it will be okay and better than ever when I get done. I promise.

I have other news as well. AngelLesa will be interviewing me on her blogtalkradio show on October 13, 2008. You can check out her myspace here. She has a great show were she interviews a variety of artists and showcases their latest works. You should check out her show (and not just when I'm being interviewed).

One more thing, I have received heads up that several fans of As The World Dies has been spreading the word about the book on different forums. I want to say THANK YOU!! Your support of the book means the world to me and its exciting to see the fans giving the novel a shout out. Thank you so much.

Monday, September 1, 2008

As The World Dies Gets Longer

I'm deep into the second novel now. Splitting the original story into three books was something that was hard to do, but needed to be done. The sheer length of the original online story stunned me when I downloaded it and compiled it (someone told me they thought it was only 300 pages

The average novel is between 70,000 and 100,000 words. As The World Dies clocked in at almost 400,000. It was 1,600 pages long. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I tried to chop it into two books, but that didn't work. I ended up having to separate it into three books. I was surprised to find two naturally occurring breaks in the story, which made it easier to figure out where the books ended.

I know a few people complained that the whole story should have been one massive book, but the page count of the original is not available with the PoD I'm using. I'm reading a trade paperback right now that is about the size As The World Dies would have been in its entirety. It's unwieldy and annoying in size and the spine is already trying to tear apart. I can understand why Createspace has limits on page count.

As I was reviewing the original manuscript, I realized that I had three stories sitting right in front of me with very different themes for each part.

As The World Dies: The First Days deals with the first months of the outbreak and the desperation to build a safe place to live as the zombies take control of the world.

As The World Dies: Struggling to Survive (which I am working on now) examines how the survivors face new difficulties as their numbers increase and they try to build a new society in their safe haven. The threats from within become more obvious as the human bandits join the zombies as threats from without. This one is definitely heavy on the character development as the new society in the fort struggles to find its way. The action is still really good and I'm actually adding more to it.

As The World Dies: Siege is the darkest novel and the longest. The scope expands to include other survivors, threats from high places, and the themes of sacrifice and redemption comes into play.

As I work on the second novel, I'm wincing as I see plot lines getting all tangled up and needing some serious straightening out. I remember when I was writing this part of the story there was a lot going on in my personal life that kept me from writing as regularly as I had been. I can see where I screwed some things up royally. A whole chunk of plot never made it into the story though it had been in my head. I have just reached that point and I'm going to have to untangle the threads and weave the new scenes in. I felt a little frustrated when I realized how much I had screwed this segment up, but at least I can fix it now. That is one consolation of releasing the story as a trilogy, I can work on each novel separately and keep to the theme of that particular section.

By the time I'm done with the rewrites and revision of all three books, As The World Dies: The Complete Story is going to be even longer.

How do I know this? The first three chapters of As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive is all new material.