Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Interview With Living Dead Media

Lori from Living Dead Media was kind enough to interview me about the re-release of THE FIRST DAYS on July 5, 2011 (next Tuesday!)  The interview is now available for your reading pleasure at the Living Dead Media website.

Click here to read the full interview.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Reviews- Love 'em or Hate 'em

As the July 5, 2011 drop date approaches for THE FIRST DAYS, more and more review sites are posting their insights on the first book in the AS THE WORLD DIES ZOMBIE TRILOGY.

Like any writer, I'm hoping for some good, solid positive buzz.  I felt my own personal review season got off to a great start with the Starred Review from Publisher's Weekly.  I am not going to lie.  I wear that sucker as a badge of honor.  I'll probably have it engraved on my tombstone.  When I saw that review, I was speechless.  It was like the publishing gods smiled down at me and acknowledged all my blood, sweat and tears on the road to publication.  Hell, I'm grinning as I'm writing this.

But, of course, for all the good reviews I get, there are always the negative ones that are going to pop up. When I first started on this career path, I read every review and believed them.  A good review made me feel like the world's greatest writer.  A negative review confirmed I was a worthless hack.

It was hard to process the conflicting reviews barreling down on me:  I love the characters in this book!  I hate the characters in this book!  The characters were so real!  The characters were cliche stereotypes!  The plot was amazing!  There was no plot!  I cried I was so emotionally moved!  I threw this book across the room 'cause it was crap!  This is the best writer ever!  This writer sucks!

My moods were easily manipulated by the subjective viewpoints of reviewers online to the point where I had to swear off reading the reviews.  It took me a long time to get a healthy viewpoint on reviews.

Writers are constantly slashed by the sword of the subjective.  One agent may love your writing while another hates it.  A publishing house may declare your book complete drivel, while another plunks down a ton of money because they love it so much.  One review site will pin five stars to your review, while another gives you zero.

Trust me, when you're starting out in this business, that sword of the subjective sucks and sucks the big, ripe one.  It hurts like hell and sometimes that pain is enough to make people quite trying to accomplish their dreams.  But if you keep going and learn to shield yourself against that terrible sword, it does get easier to deal with.

Tonight, my friend (and fellow writer) Kody Boye told me about a particularly negative review THE FIRST DAYS just received.

"Don't read it," he said ominously.

"What did they say?"  I asked.

He told me one or two points.

"Huh?"  I answered.  "Did they read the book?"

"I guess.  Don't worry.  Someone was defending you in the comments."

"Well, at least they're discussing the book!"  I declared, claiming victory.

A part of me wanted to be upset, but I fought that away, reminding myself of the simple truth I came to understand a few years ago.

 Some people will love my books, some will hate my books, and usually for the exact same reasons.

Horror Realm Appearance Confirmed!!

Exciting news!  I will be attending Horror Realm 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pa from September 16 - 18.

According to Dr. Pus, I will have my very own panel on September 17 where I will be discussing my  journey from self-publication to my deal with Tor.  I will also be answering any questions from the audience.

I will be signing books all weekend at my table. I hope to have THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE published by then.

If you are in the area or planning to attend Horror Realm this year, please make sure to stop by my table and say hi.

This is my third year in attendance, and I am very excited.

For more information on the convention, click here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Editor Recommendation for Indie Authors and Small Presses

In the last few months I have had the opportunity to talk on a few panels and interviews about self-publishing, and I am always asked about how to secure a good editor.  Though there are a lot of companies like, and others who offer editorial services, a lot of indie authors or small presses can't afford the prices.

Another concern is the quality of the editorial review.  Several indie authors have gone through multiple editors and still have ended up with a book filled with errors.  The money they paid for the services was quite high, but the result was less than professional.

I made my own mistakes when it came to having my books edited.  But I have to say the editor of my last two novels was extremely good, and I am very pleased with her work.

Her name is Felicia Tiller-Sullivan.  Felicia has edited for several publishing houses including Permuted Press.  She edited my two novels, THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS and THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE.  I was really pleased with her work on both my books.  I love the way she works with the writer's voice and does not try to drastically alter the book in anyway.  She prides herself on taking the story the writer has provided and shaping it into the best book possible while retaining the writer's voice and story.

She is now accepting new clients, so I thought I would post a link to her website for anyone still trying to find a GOOD and AFFORDABLE editor for their independent work.  I also recommend using her if you're trying to fine tune your manuscript for submission to an agent or publisher.

Friday, June 24, 2011

World Building...Texas Style

When I signed with Tor, I knew that the revision process was going to be a learning experience.  The fact that my editor at Tor was going to be Senior Editor Melissa Singer was very exciting, yet a little scary.  But I recognized that if I want to be a professional writer (and a good writer) I would have to embrace the process.    

After working on the revisions for the first two books under Melissa's guidance, I have to say that I have learned a lot.  I won't lie.  I will read books and think, "Melissa, NEVER would have let me get away with THAT."  Also, when working on my newer stories, I ask myself "What would Melissa ask me to do here?" 

But the one area of revision that really floored me was that I had to pay attention to my world building.  I never even thought about world building in the AS THE WORLD DIES novels.  They weren't science fiction or fantasy novels, so why did I have to world build?

The answer came in the first revision letter for THE FIRST DAYS.  

Melissa wanted to know why Jenni and Katie had a magic truck.  

I was perplexed.  I didn't understand what she meant at all at first.  I reread her notes, sat back and thought, "Well, shit, she's not from Texas. She doesn't know."

And that is when I realized I had to do a lot of world building for Texas.

I know my home state is not like the rest of the United States.  It's just not the size of the state that sets us apart, but also our history.   Texans tend to be very proud of our bigger than life heroes and the fact that we were our own country at one point in our history (and some would argue we are still the Republic of Texas).  

I love my state and I love the people.  There is a strong independent spirit in Texas that I feel is accurately reflected in the AS THE WORLD DIES novels.

But how was my editor from New York City supposed to know about our culture?  Our way of life? Our attitude?  Our multi-cultural background?  How was my editor from New York City who has never owned a car supposed to know that in Texas a person's truck is their pride and joy.  How was she supposed to know that most of those trucks are stocked to the brim with items for any contingency?  I asked a friend what he had in his truck.  The list was something like this:  tool chest, cooler, gun, ammunition, maps, GPS, snacks, change of clothing, water, sleeping bag, flashlight, and a hunting jacket.  

Therefore, what seemed like a magic truck to my editor in NYC (meaning it had everything Katie and Jenni needed), was an under-stocked truck in a Texan's eyes.  

As I worked on the revisions for the first two books, I made a serious effort to world build Texas so people who've never been here could get a better idea about the state.  For example, some areas of Texas were originally settled by the German settlers.  Ashley Oaks is in one of these areas.  The Latino population is a presence, but not the majority like it is in places like San Antonio or Corpus Christi.  A lot of towns in that area didn't even have a black population until Hurricane Rita swept onshore and decimated Jefferson County.  Jefferson County has a large black population, but after the storm, many families ended up uprooted and moved to other areas of Texas.  Realizing that I needed to world build Ashley Oaks, Texas, I incorporated all this history into the new versions of the story.  

I was talking to another writer at a conference I attended and we discussed that as Texans we sometimes had to explain certain things in our stories that just didn't make sense to someone who wasn't from Texas.  We had some good laughs over it.  As Texans we're aware that we're pretty nuts, but sometimes we don't realize how different we are until an editor or copy editor are all "WTF?" about something we wrote that seems perfectly normal to us.

In all honesty, the books are better because of the world building I did. But who would have thought I would have to world build TEXAS?

Are we really that nuts?

Oh, yeah.

We are.

Hacked sign in Texas.

AS THE WORLD DIES Wikia Page is Now UP!

I've been contemplating putting up a Wikia for the AS THE WORLD DIES books for sometime now.  I just kept putting it off because I knew it would take a bit of time to set up.  After talking to the gentleman who optioned the TV/Film rights for AS THE WORLD DIES tonight, I remembered I had already a done a lot of the legwork for the Wikia.  Last year I wrote up short character biographies for most of the main characters as well as some of the supporting ones for the producer.

Excited, I went ahead and stared up the Wikia which you can find here.

I already have a few of the biographies up and I will be adding more very soon.

Since I know the fans of AS THE WORLD DIES can be very die-hard about their favorites, please let me know if you think anything else should be added to the character biographies.  I have a few ideas for categories, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Also, feel free to send me any fan art you're willing for me to put up.

Thanks again for all your support and enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS was written specifically for my nieces and nephews after one of them complained there were no zombie books (or movies) for kids.  One of the things I love about my nieces and nephews is how blood-thirsty the little buggers are when it comes to zombies.  We usually have zombie movie marathons when they visit and play zombie-themed video games.  Listening to them plan for the zombocalypse is always fun.

"Dad, if you turn into a zombie, I'm shooting you in the head," my one niece informed my brother.

"Uh, thanks," he answered.

Kids are pretty much without mercy, just so you know.

Anyway, I heard their complaint and wrote THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS for them.  I aimed it squarely at 12 and up, but I think some 10 year olds could handle it if they're already horror fans.  I kept the age group firmly in mind while writing, so there isn't bad language and I kept the gore/violent quotient on the low end on the scale though it still has plenty of thrills, chills and scary stuff.

The book is about kids and written for kids, but a lot of adults have really enjoyed the book.   It takes them back to their own youth and it is a solid, fun zombie story.

But, sadly, because it is written for kids, some of my fans have not picked it up.

A review was posted today on that I really enjoyed.  I want to share it with the fans of my other work because I feel it the reviewer really hit the nail on the head.


5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for young teens...June 23, 2011By
Mr. G. Kelleher "Gerard K" - See all my reviews(REAL NAME)  
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)This review is from: The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters: A Young Adult Zombie Novel (Paperback)I am a great fan of Rhiannon's adult zombie trilogy and as this is currently on a hiatus I thought I would fill the void. Although primarily aged at younger teens I found it to be a fantastic read (I am 40). 
The story follows a group of young kids from the outbreak, their isolation from adults and the loss of loved ones. Through the journey you can see the growth of characters in the face of adversity, the strength of friendship and acceptance. That said, there is plenty of adventure with, of course, attacking zombies, survivalist tree houses, zip lines and a race to safety. So, if you have ever imagined yourself at school, the arrival of zombies, escape, the race to get home only to find that it is not how you left it and then wondering what to do next, then get this book, if you have not, get this book so you know what to do if it ever happens! 
For anyone wondering who is book is suitable for, I would say anyone from age 12 up, it's a child's adventure encompassing all the emotions that I believe younger teens would feel. There is none of the explicit gore associated with some of the books in this genre and no sexual references beyond a growing sweet first love. 
I believe this book would be a great gift, or additional to, any young horror fans library and for younger boys it is probably a relief from the whole vampire girlie love novels that are saturating the book shelves at the movement. If you are an adult and love the zombie genre, you should also read this book as it is a really character driven and a refreshing short break from the normal end of the world scenarios. 
If you would like a taste of sci-fi/horror for a younger audience, I would also highly recommend the free short book, Flesh and Circuits, which is available in the Free Fiction section of the author's website. 
A great read, highly recommended to all. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Rough Draft For THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE is Complete!!

Forgive any typos in this post, but I've been basically writing for over thirteen hours.  I probably wrote over fifty plus pages just now. I'm physically and mentally exhausted, but emotionally bouncing off the walls with joy.

The completed novel in yWriter
The rough draft of the sequel to THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE stands at thirty-five chapters plus an epilogue just like the original. I really love how this novel brought the story of Glynis full circle.  Seriously, how it ended was perfection.

Of course, I'm not done with the manuscript.  I still need to revise it and tidy it up a bit before sending it off to be edited by a friend who happens to also be an editor for Permuted Press.  She's a huge supporter of my work.  Though she is a zombie fiend, she loved the first book in the VAMPIRE BRIDE SAGA.  It was an enormous compliment when she actually enjoyed a book about vampires.

Anyway, I'm about to drag myself off to bed, but I wanted to quickly update the fans of the first book.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Hopefully you will be reading the sequel in the near future.

Happy News! AS THE WORLD DIES SERIES to be Audio Books!!

It appears that my agent received an offer for the audio book versions of the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie series!  I'm so excited.  A lot of fans have asked me if there was going to be audio book versions they could listen to while traveling for work.  Until now, I wasn't able to give them a solid answer.  Once my agent finishes working out all the details, I should have more information for you.

I'm so excited!

Keep the ATWD zombie virus spreading!

UPDATE:  The deal is confirmed!  All three books will be published by!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Revision Tricks

This is a short post that I hope will help other writers during the revision process.  I am almost done with THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and after a week or two I will plunge back into that world to do the first big revision on the novel.  I always make sure to take some time off before revising so I have fresh eyes when I read over the first draft of my work.

Writers will always struggle to revise or self-edit their work simply because we are far too close to the story.  We live and breathe the story for so long we can easily miss simple things.  I have noted that I tend to "see" what I think I have written, not what is really there.  My husband once had me read a sentence three times and each time I read it incorrectly.  Finally, he read it to me and I realized I had left out two words.  Yet, I had "seen" them when reading the sentence aloud.

So how do I try to avoid misreading my own work when I revise?

This is a little trick I learned when revising PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES.  At that time, I found a free nifty text to speech program that allows you to load up text into the reader, pick a voice, and listen.  It's a great way to hear your work as you read along.  It lets you hear where you have unwieldy sentences or wonky structure.

I lost the original program I used when my old desktop computer crashed, so I may invest some money in a better version with better voices.  I personally find it worth my while to listen to my novel out loud.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Owe It All To The Fans...

Being a writer is not always easy.  In fact, sometimes it is downright horrible.

Though inspiration may be the driving force behind starting a story, it is sheer willpower that will get you through to the very end.  Along the way you will hit numerous "writers blocks," get tangled up in plot threads, cuss your characters out, and probably eat way too much chocolate.

The thrill of finishing a story is short-lived when you realize you have to go through and revise your completed manuscript.  Chances are, whereas you may have originally thought the piece you wrote was the best thing evah, you may completely hate it during revisions.

And if you're going the traditional route, you're going to face 1)the submission process 2) your agent's critique 3) your editor's revision notes 4) your copy editor's red pen.

If you're self-publishing, you're still facing 1) your test readers' feedback 2) your editor's revision notes 3) your copy editor's red pen.

It can be exhausting!

So what keeps a writer going through all the hardships of the writing process?  Each writer has their own  trick to keep moving along. But mine is, quite honestly, my readership.  Yeah, yeah, I should say "fans," but I struggle with the words "fan" or "fandom" simply because I feel people who like my stories are more loyal to the books I've written than to me personally. I have readers who love my vampire stories, but refuse to read the zombies and vice versa.  Then I have readers who love everything I write and will even buy the anthologies I am in just so they won't miss one of my original works.  I am grateful to every of my work that is it out there.


Because I owe a huge, massive, gigantic chunk of my success to them.

When I wrote my column ages ago, it was the emails from the readers that gave me validation as a writer.  I had burned out on writing for a long time and those emails really encouraged me to keep going.

Later, while I wrote AS THE WORLD DIES online, it was the followers of the story and their feedback that pushed me to write even when I didn't feel like it.  Their constant encouragement to keep writing the story they loved so much taught me the discipline of writing on a regular basis.  At one point, I faltered due to personal issues, and their emails begging me to finish the project pulled me back to the keyboard.  As I finished the original version of AS THE WORLD DIES, I felt the thrill of accomplishing what most people never do: finish a book.

The constant emails from fans encouraging me to publish AS THE WORLD DIES was the fuel that drove me to self-publication.

It was the rabid word of mouth that pushed the sales figures up on the self-published novels.

I won the Dead Letter Award two years running because the fans called in and voted for my novels.

In the end, it was the fans who kept pushing me further and further along on the track to the success I now have.

Okay, I admit it.  I have fans.  And I love all of you.

Your emails are my inspiration.  Your support is my fuel.  Your rabid love of my characters and novels give me faith that I am a better writer than I often believe myself to be.

There are a lot of factors that have contributed to my success as a writer:  my talent, my husband, luck, and my fans.

It is fifteen days to the publication of THE FIRST DAYS.  July 5, 2011 is just around the corner.  Copies of the Tor version of my epic zombie story may already be hitting the shelves of your local bookstore.  I am finally about to witness a life long dream come true.

And I have complete and utter faith that the book will sell and sell well because if history has taught me anything, is that my fans will spread the zombie love and infect everyone around them.

Again, thank you from the very depths of my heart.

Y'all rock.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

For All You Fans In Denmark...

I got the official offer from a Danish publishing house from my literary agency today and I'm so excited to tell all of you the big news.

Here it is:

THE FIRST DAYS will be published in Danish!

As soon as I sign on the dotted line, I will let you know all the details about the publication of this awesome foreign language version.  I'm so excited.

So as of now, there are two foreign language versions on the way of THE FIRST DAYS:  Danish and Italian!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book giveaway for The First Days (As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy, #1)

Tor is giving away 22 copies of THE FIRST DAYS via a Goodreads book givaway!

Enter to win here!

The contest ends June 20, 2011.