Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Favorite Reads - The Zombie Edition

I've been asked over and over again by fans of the AS THE WORLD DIES series to recommend another zombie series just like mine.  Honestly, I don't know of any zombie novels that are in the same vein as ATWD.  I suspect that is why it's popular.

The other common question I am asked is to recommend other zombie books that I like.  Since I've been working on my zombie novels for almost 7 years on and off, I haven't read as many zombie books as people might assume.  I tend not to read in the genre in which I am writing at the moment.  I usually cram my zombie reading into time periods when I'm writing about other kinds of monsters.  But I have read a few books in the genre that I'd like to recommend.


BREATHERS from S.G. Brown was not only funny, but a story with a great plot, sympathetic characters, and a nice dose of social commentary.  It was so clever and well-written, I could completely understand why Hollywood snapped it up so quickly.

I had the pleasure of meeting S.G. Browne at a convention we were both appearing at.  He is a very nice guy and it was a pleasure meeting him.  I was very excited when I got an autographed copy of his novel.

THE ZOMBIE-WILSON DIARIES by Timothy W. Long is just all sorts of wrong.  It's just wrong!  When I read the original online serial, I busted out laughing too many times to count.  When it was later published by a small press, I had fun helping Tim tidy up the book (but not too much..the publisher wanted it to sound like a real diary), and we had a good time giggling over the cute illustrations his daughter did for each chapter.

Timothy Long does a great job making the obscene, macabre, and profane incredibly funny.

Once the zombie action starts in DEAD CITY, it does not stop.  Literally. I remember staying up all night flipping pages as fast as I could.  Our poor hero didn't get a break to take a breath, and neither did I.  I plowed through to the end of the book in record time.  Seriously, the book never lets up.

I met Joe McKinney a few years ago at a local convention in Austin, TX.  It was a great pleasure to meet him and chat about the zombie genre.  He was very encouraging to talk to and he gave me some of the best advice on my writing career I have ever received.

LAKEWOOD MEMORIAL is a return to the slow shambling zombies of the Romero films, but it is fast-paced and full of action.  The story revolves around a single mother, a nurse at the local hospital, and her two kids on the night the zombies rise from their graves.  The kids are home with the sitter since their mom is at work and a good chunk of the story is about the children trying to reach their mother.

Robert Best and I have a playfully adversarial relationship in real life.  I mock his enormous head and he loves to proudly proclaim how much I suck.  But I have to give him kudos for this book. I stayed up a good chunk of the night reading this book in one fell swoop while attending a convention where he was also appearing.  I could not put it down.


THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is a unique take on the zombie genre.  It takes place a hundred years after the dead took over the world and our young heroine  Mary, lives in a fenced in village controlled by a religious order.  The world building in this novel is incredible and I loved the fenced in pathways and villages that inhabit it.  The idea of walking down a long path with zombies on either side of the fence trying to get to you is just terrifying.  The prose is lyrically beautiful at times, but the zombie action is excellent.  I didn't like the lead character in this book at all, but I loved the book as a whole.  The two sequels are also very good reads, building on the foundation of the first.  The third book in the series, THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES is my favorite of the three.

The author, Carrie Ryan, is one of the first women to write in the genre and she's amazing.

Ann Aguirre is the author of one of my favorite sci-fi book series of all time, the Sirantha Jax series (starts with Grimspace), so when I heard she was writing a dystopian novel with zombies, I was like "WIN!"  This book also takes place long after the zombies have risen after some sort of terrible event and humans have retreated to the world below.  A good chunk of the beginning of the book takes place in the tunnels under a major city as pockets of humans struggle to survive against very fast, very scary zombies.  This is the first book in Aguirre's RAZORLAND series, so it does have that cliffhanger feel to it, but it was definitely a good solid read with lots of action.

Both of these books are Young Adult, but its definitely fare adults can enjoy.

EMPIRE is a very different read, but awesome in every way.  Born online (just like my series) Empire was later acquired by Permuted Press (and later reissued by Simon & Schuster

I'm not going to lie. David Dunwoody is one of my absolute favorite authors.  He's amazing.  Every time I read his work, I wish I had written it.  He's just so good.

The strange thing about this novel is that you don't even need the zombies to make this a great book.  They end up like a bonus to an already awesome premise. Just the idea of a toxic gas rising up out of the ground and killing people is terrifying.  So is the concept of the city being encircled by a wall to keep that gas contained.  Add in a woman looking for her teenage son who has gone into that contaminated city to discover the truth about his father, and you have a killer plot to being with.  Add in zombies and the story just gets epic.

Cherie Priest does a killer job with this novel and I loved the entire premise.  I'm not a big steampunk person, but she really sold me on this world.


This is the second book in the AUTUMN series, but my favorite so far.  The tension, action, and character development are better than the first book.  There are some genuinely unique scenes in this book that gave me the shivers.  The zombies in David Moody's novels are not traditional Romero zombies.  In fact, they don't even eat their victims.  They just really, really, really hate the living.  I like how the humans' greatest enemy is any sound they make, because it will inevitably bring the zombies down on them.

If you don't mind your zombie fare with a twist of something different, this one is for you.

I love this anthology, and not just because I have a short story in it.  I just love the stories in this tome of epic zombiness.  There are some truly unique takes on the zombie genre in this tome.  One or two of the stories gave me nightmares.  This is definitely one of the best compilations of zombie goodness ever.

I have a ton of zombie novels still sitting in a huge stack in my bed room waiting to be read when I'm finally down with the AS THE WORLD DIES series.  I plan to read Jonathan Maberry's DUST AND DECAY very soon.

What are your favorite zombie novels?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Self-Publishing Workshop - Register Now!

The Writers League of Texas has asked me to teach a one day workshop on self-publishing on October 1, 2011 at St. Edward's University.  I'm so excited to help guide writers through the sometimes difficult waters of self-publication to create their own long-term plans to find success.  My goal is for each attendee to have a detailed action plan when they leave the workshop.

This is a one day workshop and it does have a fee.

Here is the class information as it is posted on the Writers League of Texas Website:

Saturday, October 1, 2011
10 AM - 4 PM
Rhiannon Frater
Rhiannon Frater

Self Publishing: How to Do it Right with Rhiannon Frater

Location: St. Edwards University, Trustee Hall 104

Updated Workshop Description
Every day the writing world takes notice of a new self-publishing success story. Today’s writer is empowered by the new media and has many options they can utilize to get their book into the hands of readers. This class will help writers create their own success with a comprehensive look on how self-publishing works from the very first step of honing a novel for publication to how to distribute the finished book to the masses. The class will not only provide an overview of the self-publishing process, but will concentrate on creating a publishing plan for each student.
This one day class will help you:
  • Understand the reality of self-publishing and traditional publishing
  • Create a platform that will connect you to your chosen audience
  • Prepare your book for publication and not go crazy
  • Draw up a marketing campaign that will work for you and fit your budget
  • Determine the cost of doing it yourself and how to get the most bang for your buck
  • Define your own success and make it happen
Rhiannon Frater originally self-published her zombie trilogyAs The World Dies in 2008 and was offered a three-book deal with Tor in 2010. Rhiannon’s career has given her a unique perspective on self-publishing versus traditional publishing. The first book in the series, The First Days, is now in bookstores everywhere. The First Days also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. All her novels (self-published and traditionally published) have been optioned for TV and film. Rhiannon has a writing blog at and awebsite.
Please note: This class was originally a three-part workshop, but it has been rescheduled as a full-day workshop.
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning self-published author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days,Fighting to SurviveSiege,) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the young-adult zombie novelThe Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she self-published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called 'one of the best zombie books of the decade.' She has recently been picked up by a major publisher.
$99 members / $159 nonmembers. Register online with credit card, Paypal or Google checkout. Deadline for registration is September 26, 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The SIEGE Revision is DONE!

Forgive me if this blog is a little meandering and a bit crazy.  I have pulled a week full of all-nighters working on my final pass through the revised version of SIEGE.  I had already been through it three times, but the fourth time through was a real kick in the pants.  It was my final chance to tidy up the book and make it the best it can be.

When you consider that the original word count was around 160,000 and it is now....drum roll please....

I think you can understand how much work I put into this final book.

The biggest challenge, as I had stated before, was making an online serial into an actual novel.  Translating what had been basically a daily writing exercise done for fun into a streamlined and coherent story was a huge challenge.

After reading my revision letter from my editor, at first I felt very worried about how the original ATWD fans would respond.  I mostly felt guilt because I was loathe to cut out stuff the original fans of the story had enjoyed.  I also had to guiltily admit I had modified some of the online story to match fan expectation.  There were a few occasions where I abandoned original concepts to satisfy fan demand.  My editor pointed out that she could "see" where I had tried to make my fans happy, but the challenge before me was to take all those elements and wrestle it into a good book.

That comment completely liberated me. I realized I owed it not only to myself, but to all my fans to make SIEGE the absolute best it could be.

I have to say that I actually gleefully slashed a swath of destruction through the book, eliminating parts that were entries I wrote on particular days because I HAD to write something, excising portions that were written just to make fans happy (like "first day" accounts--which I can turn into Untold Tales), and plot points/sections that did not match my original concept.  At one point, I was so happily cutting sections, I saw the word count dropping fast.

Happily, once I was done slashing, I was able to weave the remaining threads into a tighter, stronger, more coherent story that returned its primary focus to Jenni and Katie.  I was even able to write NEW scenes and draw out certain plot points that enhanced the story.

By the time I finished this morning, I was literally beaming.

Siege is leaner, meaner, and closer to my original vision than ever before.

I now anxiously await my editor's response.  Hopefully, she'll like it, but even if she tosses a few more suggestions at me, I know they'll be good ones.  Seriously, my editor at Tor is amazing.

I'm so proud of my work on SIEGE right now, I could bust!

Now, I'm going to go pass out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Publishers Weekly Review for FIGHTING TO SURVIVE

It's so exciting to see a positive review for Publishers Weekly just as I'm finishing up SIEGE.

It's not a starred review, but it is a very good one.  I really loved the last line.

Fighting to Survive: 

As the World Dies, Book 2
First self-published in 2009, this revised and expanded edition continues the story begun in July’s The First Days. When the world was overrun by zombies, a small group of quick-thinking survivors led by construction worker Travis converted a building site into an ad hoc fortress secure against the ravening hordes. Now overcrowded and pressed for supplies, the survivors must clear and secure the zombie-infested hotel next door while dealing with internal divisions, profound survivor’s guilt, troubled romances, and a heavy-armed, brutally predatory biker gang. Centering on the travails of close friends Jenni and Katie, Frater’s novel explicitly draws from Romero’s works while developing optimistic themes untapped by the pessimistic filmmaker, embracing the possibility of creation even in the face of the end of the world as we know it. (Nov.)
My only beef?  There is no biker gang in the book, just a group of bandits riding around in trucks.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The New Cover For The Tale of The Vampire Bride

I'm so excited to present the new cover for THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE.  As I related in an earlier post, the original cover has received some pretty harsh criticism.  Though I liked the original cover immensely, when I read comments that stated people were not buying the book because of the cover, I realized it was time for a change.  Thanks to Philip Rogers, I have a beautiful new cover to show you.

And the new back cover.

Gorgeous, huh?

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, yet many people do.  Hopefully, this new cover will encourage people to not pass up the story inside.

A Really Awesome Review For THE FIRST DAYS

I'm back from my very belated honeymoon.  The hubby and I weren't able to go on one when we were married, so we finally took the time to celebrate our marriage by going to Las Vegas and having a lovely time at The Venetian/The Palazzo resort.  It's truly a beautiful and romantic place with its version of The Grand Canal.

In the midst of our fun, I received an email from my publicist at Tor  about a review from Dread Central for the new version of THE FIRST DAYS.  She cut and pasted snippets from the review and gave me a link to the actual website.

You can read the entire review here.

Here are the parts my publicist liked:

“Frater brings a female perspective to the zombie genre that we haven't seen before, ever. This is to zombies what Anne Rice was to vampires, plain and simple. It's a revolution. In Jenni and Kate, Frater has created real, human, believable women protagonists who deal with the zombie apocalypse in ways that would escape most men. Facing emotional issues such as motherhood, loneliness, sex, and friendship as a woman is very different when your family is now trying to eat you and anyone else alive.”

“In fact, I like this better than The Walking Dead. There, I said it. Sue me, it's true, book or tv, the world Frater has created is populated with more interesting characters, engaging in more action, facing more entertaining and complicated emotional and real-world challenges.”

“If Frater has more like this in her head, buy this book now so you can say you liked her before she became the Next Big Deal In Horror, because that's where she's headed.”

I read the email aloud to my husband over lunch and he liked it, but warned me to "not get a big head."


I think it's rather impossible to get a big head in this business.  Most writers are neurotic and bundles of anxiety for a reason.   I've had my share of ups and downs as a writer.  Though I'm on the upswing right now, I remember far too well how hard it was to get to this point.  Though I loved the review (and it made me grin), the little writer voice inside my head whispered, "What if you never write anything good again?"  

Hopefully, I can one day shut that little voice up for good, but for now I will continue to write the best books I possibly can.

P.S.  Inspiration hit in Vegas and I have a whole new novel to write!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Quick Update - SIEGE Revision, New Book Release, New Artwork

I haven't been blogging a lot lately due to being neck deep in revisions for SIEGE: AS THE WORLD DIES for Tor and preparing two other books for publication and supervising the creation of a new cover for THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE.

So here is a quickie update on what is going on.

SIEGE Revision
I'm being rather heartless with the revision.  When Tor bought the AS THE WORLD DIES trilogy, I knew right away that SIEGE was going to have to be chopped down.  When the editor's letter said 60,000 must go, I was like, "Well, here we go."

I've had to step back from the story and look at it critically.  Originally, it was written as an online serial.  I was posting on a fairly regular basis for a long time, but then had a rough patch in my life where it was sometimes very hard to get up the urge to write.  On those days, I would post a scene that wasn't going to be very taxing on me emotionally (it was a time of great loss in my life), so these scenes were usually sidesteps out of the main story.  I'm now looking at those scenes with my red pen poised as I wrestle the online serial into an actual novel. I have already slashed about four of these type of scenes and the story has not lost anything at all.

One scene I slashed in half, because I realized the back story that is told in the scene would make a killer short story.  So slice out half a scene, gain a full short story.

Another scene met the red pen of death because it was very similar to another scene. Same two characters, same topic of conversation.  Slash, gone.

Another scene was kind of fun for world building, but I realized a sentence or two somewhere else would give the reader the exact same information.  Slash, gone.

I'm making good headway, but it's slow going.  I have rewritten a few sections and sometimes I linger over sections as I decide what should stay and what should go.

Meanwhile, SIEGE has made its appearance in the TOR catalog for Winter 2012.  It features the original cover of the book that was later dropped for the new cover with Jenni and Katie.
Final concept for Siege Cover
Original concept for SIEGE cover

I am very happy that my editor and I both agreed that the cover had lost some power by not having Jenni and Katie. The original cover was a good zombie cover, but it did not feel like an AS THE WORLD DIES cover.  I really love the final version.

You can now pre-order SIEGE at


I am so pleased that this book is finally out!  I had planned to release it two years ago, but the series was purchased by Tor.  It took a bit of time to finally get the okay to release the short stories I had written to promote the original trilogy.

One of the stories, Vacation of the Undead (Eric's Story), is a work I wrote right before the release of the self published version of THE FIRST DAYS and posted it on Scribd.  It had a very positive response and many fans asked me to release it in paperback.  Though Vacation of the Undead is a long story, it is novella length at around 40,000 words, I felt it was too short to put out as a novel.  To give the fans of the series more bang for their buck, I decided to add two more short stories to round out the book.

I'm so pleased that it is finally out and selling well.

You can order it for most ebook formats here.
You can order the Kindle version here.
You can order the paperback version at my online store (where I get a better royalty).  I has yet to be listed at other online retailers, but should be within two weeks. Disregard the estimated shipping dates. Those are greatly exaggerated.

Original artwork by Detra

The first cover of the TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE was created by Detra.  I had loved the work he had done on the original AS THE WORLD DIES books and since he's Goth like me, I thought he'd do a great job with the cover of my gothic vampire novel.

When I first saw the artwork, I loved its rich colors and gothic atmosphere.  It also had Detra's fabulous touch and I just loved it.

But I have learned since publication is that a cover that does not appeal to your potential readership may end up being your bane.

Tonight, these are the numbers for the book on on Kindle.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Not shabby at all, but I've been getting these sorts of comments in the reviews.

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy cover art, BUT awesome book!August 2, 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let cover throw you off!!!!!!July 26, 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars Cover threw me off, But very impressed with the Story!!May 21, 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its coverMarch 3, 2011

When I first saw this book I thought that's a really lamo cover so I didn't buy it 

I couldn't ignore that.  If people judge a book by its cover and they don't like the cover, they're not going to buy it.  I realized I had to put away my own feelings about the cover and commission new artwork.

Philip Rogers has been doing an amazing job with the new artwork.  He has taken the elements of the old cover and created a beautiful new scene.  Check out the "rough" of the new artwork.
Work in progress-new cover by Philip Rogers
I'm very happy with the artwork and cannot wait to see the finished product.


The sequel to THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE is with the editor and Philip Rogers will soon be working on the cover artwork.  I have already heard from a few of the test readers and I'm very excited to get their feedback.  I believe we are on schedule for a release in late August or early September.  I will keep you posted.

In closing, I'm hard at work and hope to bring you new stories in the very near future.

Friday, August 5, 2011

As The World Dies Untold Tales Volume 1 is Now Available in Paperback

As The World Dies Untold Tales Vol 1 is now available in paperback at my personal estore for $8.95. I make a better royalty by 20% at my estore than if you purchase it from other distributors. Disregard the estimated ship dates on the estore. They are always greatly exaggerated. 

Grab yours today!

To purchase, click here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

As The World Dies Untold Tales Volume 1 is Now Available in Most Ebook Formats!

AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES VOLUME 1 is now for sale at Smashwords in multiple ebook formats.

Here is the description of the book:

THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES introduced Jenni and Katie and their harrowing journey to the makeshift fort in the Texas Hill Country.
But theirs is not the only tale to be told.
In the first volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.
Deep in the Texas Hill Country, a man and his little dog takes refuge in a bed and breakfast located in the hills above a doomed town where an infested rescue center might unleash the hungry undead… 
On a deserted highway slicing through the desolation of West Texas, a woman struggles to survive as she faces the horrifying aftermath of the rise of the zombies…
And finally, discover what happens on the first day to Katie’s beloved wife, Lydia, as the world dies…

The paperback will be available hopefully by the end of the week. Enjoy!

Update:  The Kindle version is now available at