Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Do I Read?

A few people have asked me what sort of books I read. Frankly, I'm a bit eclectic in my choices at times, but lately I've broken my ban on zombie novels and read a few.

If you're interested in what I am reading, check out my profile at Goodreads.

Please feel free to friend me if you have an account.

Saturday, April 18, 2009 Sales Rank: #3,987 in Books


That is the lowest I rank one of my books has had. When you consider there are millions of books on and Indie Authors are aiming to break into the ranks below one million, I'm ecstatic!

Thanks, everyone!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Exhaustion Be Thy Name!!

As the World Dies: Siege is rough going right now. The world is bleaker, harder and more heart-wrenching than the other two books. The zombie action is ratcheted up and fierce. Nothing feels safe anymore for the characters and their world is bleak and gray.

It makes for a killer zombie novel, but I'm emotionally exhausted!

There will be new sections in the book. Not quite as numerous as book 2, but more than book 1. Again, it is missing scenes that I thought were there, but alas, were not.

Siege is a very hard book for me to write. The first draft was written after the brutal death of a family member a few years ago and it was one of the most difficult times of my life. Though I knew what came next in the story, I had yet to write what has become the third part in the trilogy. I almost gave up on writing the story altogether because I was so devastated by the death in my family. It was the emails from fans that spurred me to keep going.

It was hard at that time to write about death, especially when four months later another family member died. The death count in Siege is very high and the deaths of my characters was something that was not easy to write. But I felt I owed it to the fans of the story to finish the story they were so dedicated to.

Now I as I work on this draft of Siege I find myself haunted by that time period. I could not immediately figure out why I was feeling so depressed whenever I opened the novel, but then it came to me in a flash that I was being reminded of a very hard time in my life. Just realizing that has made working on the novel easier.

A few people have complained over the years that my characters don't give into despair but keep living their lives despite the terrible world around them. They say it is not realistic. But it is. I have done that very thing myself. I have lost people I loved (friends and family) and still kept living my life. The world feels a little emptier and a lot scarier, but to give up my life when they have lost theirs feels like blasphemy.

I think that is why so many people love ATWD so much. It doesn't focus wholly on the horrible aspects of the zombie outbreak, but shows humanity struggling to make a good life for the few who have survived.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Recently I received what I'm calling a "gimped" shipment of As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive. Createspace has rectified the issue that caused the books to arrive without page numbers and headers to the mini-chapters. All the zombie goodness is still intact, the story is all there, the cover looks amazing, but they have those two small flaws.

I don't feel right selling these at an upcoming convention, so I thought I would hold a contest for them. If you win, you will get an autographed copy of the "gimped" book AND a special sneak preview to As The World Dies: Siege. So if you can survive not having page numbers or the mini-chapter headers, send me a short paragraph explaining who is your favorite ATWD character and why.

The winning entries will be read on the Library of the Living Dead Podcast with the infamous undead doc himself, Dr. Pus.

Send your entry to gothgoddessrhia at and make sure you label it "Contest."

The winners will be selected by the end of April.

Good luck!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Zombology is OUT!!!

The Library of the Living Dead Press has just released Zombology. It came out earlier this week, so apologies to Dr. Pus that I didn't get this posted as quickly as I should have.

This book is full of zombie delight by authors you know and others you have yet to discover. I'm very excited to be included in such a fantastic collection of authors.

Check out the line up:

"Suzy Polenski's Panties" ~ D. L. Snell
"The Fear Monger Calls it a Night" ~ Eric S. Brown
"April's Ministrations" ~ Robert R. Best
"Rule Hard, Or Die Free" ~ Tel Williams
"Clockwork"~ David Dunwoody
"Unnatural Selection ~ John Grover
"Stop Requested" ~ Rhiannon Frater
"Every Rose" ~ Michelle McCrary
"One of Many" ~ Mark M. Johnson
"Your Turn" ~ Derek Gunn
"Zombie Cola ~ T. Patrick Rooney
"The Beginning of the End" ~ Robert Cordray
"Happy Ending" ~ Kody Boy
"6 Feet Above The Grave" ~ Pascal van dem Beemd
"Good Intentions" ~ Don Newberry
"Undead Overpass" ~ Gregory Michaels
"Same as You" ~ R. Thomas Riley
"Halloween Treats" - Mike Steele
"Children of Landford's Towers" ~ Brad Zipprich
"Zombie Germs" - Shane Sullivan
"The Letter" ~ Rob Fox
"Z Day is Here" (excerpt) ~ Rob Fox

Buy your copy today!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Joys and Terrors of Writing a Series or Trilogy

How I Ended Up Writing a Trilogy
As most of you know, when I originally wrote the first scene of As The World Dies: The First Days it was supposed to be a short story. If someone had said to me, "Hey, that short story you wrote, the one called 'Tiny Fingers', is gonna end up a zombie trilogy" I would have told them they were nuts. My first love was vampires and I thought that my foray into writing about zombies was a flash in the pan.

I was wrong, of course.

When I gave in to the zombie muse, I decided to just have fun with As The World Dies and enjoy the ride through the deadlands. I enjoyed posting the story online and having immediate feedback and I fell deeply in love with all the characters. When the story wrapped up, I was in awe at the grand scope of it.

And then the demands for publication came pouring into my email, loud and strong.

As I stated before, when I actually compiled the story into manuscript form, I was shocked to find myself staring at 1,600 pages filled with close to 400,000 words of of zombie goodness. The average novel is around 70,000 words long. There was no way I could release the story in one book. Since I'm using POD to make the books available to the readers, I have to obey their guidelines and deal with their limitations. I could have made the font super tiny and tried to squeeze it into a tome of around 1000 pages long, but the price would have been ridiculously high, close to 50 dollars. It would also not allow me to expand on the world at all. If anything, I would be slicing the story down dramatically.

I had no choice but to split the story apart. I was amazed to find natural ending spots in the story that made it easy to cut it up into three sections. I could have probably done four books, but the third book would have ended on such a down note, I couldn't do that to the readers.

And that is how my zombie story became a zombie trilogy.

The Agony of the Expanded World

Reading through the original story, I was horrified to see how many things I had accidentally left out. Plot points and character development that were clear in my head never made it into the story. Therefore, I found myself not only editing and revising what was already in the story, but adding entirely new sections. The second book ended up with nearly a third of it being new material.

As I revised and edited the story, I also realized that the three new books had very different themes. The first book was all about surviving the first days and trying to establish a foothold in the dead world for the living. It had themes about friendship and love while establishing the terror of the first days. The second book became about not only surviving, but building an enclave for the living in the dead world. It was about moving on and letting go of the old world. It was also about the growing pains of establishing a new society. The third book was obviously about choice and sacrifice. The three books all had a very different energy to them.

This made me worry. Would readers embrace this or hate it?

The Favorite Child

Though people say they do not have a favorite child, oftentimes the oldest is the one that has gained the most attention. That is the child with the most pictures in the photo album and is the testing ground for parenting skills that may slack off on the younger ones. Parents tend to be harder on the eldest and have higher expectations.

I found myself dealing with the first book in this way. It was our litmus test for everything that was to come. From the cover artwork to editing, it was put through the wringer. Some things worked, some didn't. But the first book taught us a lot about the publishing process and opened our eyes to the problems we could anticipate. Even pricing the book was a headache. We wanted the price to be affordable, especially because it is now a trilogy. We finally figured out a price that allowed us enough profit to continue our publishing endeavors, but low enough to satisfy our customers.

By the time As The World Dies: The First Days came out, I was exhausted, but thoroughly happy with our "first born."

Empire Strikes Back or Matrix: Reloaded

Putting out the second book was easier, yet harder. A massive rewrite delayed publication and then we had major formatting issues. Yet, everything else about the book was made easier due to our experience with the first book.

My major fear for the second book is that the energy of the book is much different from its predecessor. Whereas in the first book the energy is high and frantic, the second book has a more relaxed, yet tense tone. The major threat in the first book was the zombies. In the second, the zombies are still a threat, but other humans become an issue within and without the fort's walls.

In the world of movie sequels, I loved the Empire Strikes Back and loathed Matrix: Reloaded. Both had a very different energy from the first movie, but one worked for me, the other didn't. I wanted to have an Empire Strikes Back. A darker look at the main characters and the fort as a whole. I was so angst ridden, I sent the novel off to a few hardcore zombie fans to get their input. All of them loved it.

Personally, I love the second book. I feel it expands the world and takes the characters closer to the hard choices they make in the last book, but I still fear that readers want that same frantic energy of the first one.

But I know that a story cannot stay in the same groove. If it does, it becomes predictable and repetitive. Like Matrix: Reloaded.

The Last Hurrah

The final book is under revision right now. Siege is not easy to write. It has some very hard moments in it and being as attached as I am to the characters, I do shed tears as they fall. The death toll is high.

Going into the final book, I have kept in mind that I have created a very specific world and have set certain plots in motion. I cannot alter the course now, but embrace it. Hopefully, the readers will enjoy the book as much as they did the first and second novels.

Finishing off the series, is not easy. One fan asked me to keep going, but I don't see that happening. I could be wrong. Right now, the As The World Dies Trilogy feels complete and solid.

It has been very stressful putting out these books because I don't want to disappoint. I do not want to let down the readers who have come to love the characters and the world that were born out of my twisted imagination.

Siege is going to be a massive book and I will try very hard to keep the cost down, but it may end up being twice the size of the other two books.

The Reward

What I have enjoyed immensely about writing such a long story was the ability to stay with the characters through all the action and see them develop. I loved the characters of this story so much that when some of them died, I cried my eyes out. But it was joy writing their words and their adventure.

Final Thoughts

Most authors now days seem to be writing series instead of stand alone offerings. I tend to want to write more than one book per world I create, but the trilogy has taught me a lot about the joys and terrors of writing in the same world for more than one book. I have vowed that I will not push a series beyond its expiration date and will try to remain fresh with my ideas if I venture into the same world twice.

As The World Dies: Siege WILL be out this year. I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, as I work on the revision, be assured I am doing my best to deliver a kick ass ending that will not disappoint.

(A Side Note to the naysayer who said my books are overpriced: You have no idea what we have done to make these books into a quality purchase for the fans. The artwork itself is a huge expense, but important in the presentation of the book. Compare the price to other books in the genre of the same print size and page count and it is not overpriced at all. Plus, I am an Indie Author and we pay out of pocket for everything.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two Things I Love-Zombies and Shoes!!

Yes, I bought them. Yes, I'm excited.

And TOTALLY worth every penny (or UK currency...since I ordered them from there).