Archive for the ‘zombies’ Tag

Monday’s Friend: Karina Fabian

Today I am pleased to welcome author Karina Fabian to the blog, as part of her month-long blog tour. Karina writes about zombie exterminator Neeta Lyff, who has been described as being to zombies what Buffy is to vampires. Well, I’ll let her tell you all about it. Welcome to Imaginary Friends, Karina!

Slider-ilmbiSF-audio-tour (2)

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

KF: I was standing before a mountain lake. It was early, and a light fog drifted across the water. I couldn’t stop gazing at it. I was filled with inexplicable anticipation.

Then a woman’s hand rose from the water, bearing a keyboard, and a voice said, “By this tool, you shall entertain the masses.”

Actually, it sounded more like, “Blub, burble, burble,” because her head was underwater…

I don’t think I’ve ever felt “destined” to be a writer. I love writing, and I love telling stories. I have since I was a child. It tickles me to no end that people enjoy reading them.

NeetaLyffe_ZombieExterminator_300dpi_eBook - CopySJT: Who would you cite as your influences?

KF: As far as authors: Madeleine L’Engle, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Mercedes Lackey…in varying degrees and depending on the book I’m writing. As far as living people: my editors and my readers, plus the cast of Whose Line is It, Anyway? because they make me want to write funny. For the Neeta Lyffe books, all the people on Facebook who meme; people who are publically stupid enough to end up in the news (including politicians), my brother-in-law for the idea for I Left My Brains in San Francisco, and the writers of Total Drama Island.

SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

KF: Advice I’d give a new writer: Get in the chair and write the book. While you’re at it, figure out your target audience and learn to market to them.

I got plenty of advice as a new writer. I wish I’d had a mentor, though.

SJT: Your Neeta Lyffe series is described as ‘zombie satire.’ Tell us a more about it.

KF: It’s the 2040s, and the Zombie Apocalypse turned out to be the Zombie Not-pocalypse. Spine severing and public safety campaigns have reduced zombies from pestilence to pest, and a new breed of exterminator has risen to handle the problem. Neeta Lyffe is one such exterminator. She’ll spray for ants and behead that shambling corpse in your backyard – all part of the job.

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: The Zombie “Apocalypse” Meets Reality TV!
I Left My Brains in San Francisco: The Zombie “Apocalypse” Meets Radical Environmentalism!
(Coming Soon) Shambling in a Winter Wonderland: Zombies on Skis!

NeetaLyffe_ILeftMyBrainsinSanFrancisco_audio_MEDSJT: So. Zombies. Why do you think they have such long-lasting appeal?

KF: They certainly keep going past their shelf life.

SJT: What would be your personal weapon of choice during the Zombocalypse?

KF: Common sense, which seems to be lacking in most zombocalypses I’ve seen.

SJT: When you’re not fighting zombies (in your writing, of course), what else do you like to do to pass the time?

KF: Write about dragons or psychics or spaceships. Clean house. Play D&D. Hang out with my kids. Drive my Miata. Write some more.

Blurb for I LEFT MY BRAINS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator–but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.

Learn more about the book from Damnation Books, Amazon (paperback and Kindle) and at Zombie Death Extreme.

karinachainsaw2AUTHOR BIO

Winner of the Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky tales that keep her–and her fans–amused. Zombie exterminators to snarky dragons, things get a little silly in her brain. When she’s not pretending to be an insane psychic or a politically correct corpsicle for a story, she writes product reviews for TopTenReviews.com and takes care of her husband, four kids and two dogs. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars online. Learn more about her by visiting her website.

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Cover Reveal: The Whispering Death

FINAL COVER

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

It’s time to unveil the cover for my forthcoming horror novel THE WHISPERING DEATH!

This one is being released by British horror publisher Kensington Gore in the Autumn. The e-book version may, in fact, be available in a few weeks. The print version will follow in a couple of months. I am hoping to be able to launch it at FantasyCon in Nottingham in October but I am awaiting confirmation on that.

This is the scariest novel I have written in a while, and it’s not for the faint-hearted as it has rather a lot of gruesome scenes. It also has a lot of references to LARP, to D&D, to Resident Evil and is an homage to geekiness in general. Oh, and it has zombies, too.

I am very excited about the release of this book. For those of you in the UK and not going to FantasyCon, I’m endeavouring to arrange another launch, in the South of England, to offer another opportunity to attend. As always, watch this space for further info.

In the meantime, here’s a teaser in the form of a blurb for the novel.

Blurb for THE WHISPERING DEATH

Death comes to us all; life is the name of the game and everyone has a role to play.

When a group of live action role-players perform a ritual as part of a game, they unwittingly unleash an ancient evil that tears their world apart. The reanimated corpse of a long-dead magic user, corrupted by powerful dark magic, offers a promise of unlimited power, but at a terrible price. Having helped open this Pandora’s box, Mark and Elizabeth must race against time to close it again – before it’s too late.

THE WHISPERING DEATH Finds a Home

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I am pleased to be able to announce that my new horror novel, THE WHISPERING DEATH, has sold to British small press horror publisher Kensington Gore. There’s an exciting announcement about it over on their website.

THE WHISPERING DEATH is about a group of live action role-players who unwittingly release an ancient evil loose upon the world during a game. I am particularly fond of this novel because it is effectively about a group of geeks, and I was able to incorporate all the geeky things I love into the novel. LRP. Dungeons & Dragons. Video games. Zombie films. And it’s got a kick-ass heroine who’s also a geek girl. I had such a good time writing about her.

And it’s a novel that at one point I lost faith in. It had gone through several rewrites when I first started subbing it, last year. After getting fairly consistent feedback along with the rejections I decided it needed rewriting. But the rewrite took it to a place where the ending I wanted wasn’t going to work and I got quite depressed about it.

But it just goes to show you should never give up. Have faith and keep collecting those rejections. Eventually, acceptance will come. And sometimes you have to believe in your own writing, even when it seems no one else does.

THE WHISPERING DEATH is scheduled for release later this year, which means I am expecting edits to come my way very soon. And this one will be out in paperback as well as electronic format. Yay!

WIP Update – March 2013

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Time for an update on current Works in Progress.

I’ve got several things going on at the moment. The most progressed WIP is the horror novel. It’s been to beta readers, I’ve had feedback, and I have recently started work on Draft 4.

This novel, in summary, is about a group of live action roleplayers who unwittingly unleash a lich on the world during a game. Said lich wields powerful dark magic, and leaves death and destruction in its wake. And it sets about raising an army of zombies, as sort of a sub-plot. Anyway, on the whole the feedback was fairly positive. All my women beta readers love my main female character – she’s a crack shot with a shot gun, she’s ace with Resident Evil, she takes out many of the real-life zombies and she saves the boy.

There are some plot holes, and some characterisation issues, and these I am working to fix in the current draft. But I’m feeling pretty confident about this one. This one will be finished before the end of this year. In fact, I’m aiming to have it out on sub before 2014 dawns.

In the meantime, there’s a second project – a collaboration with Hubby. Now, he’s not a writer. But after more than 25 years of running D&D games, he’s pretty good at plotting. And he’s a musician. This new project is a crime thriller featuring a young female bass player, against the backdrop of the music scene in the late 1960s. We start her off at the Monterey Festival in 1967, and then bring her to London. This project is at an early stage. We’ve been doing a lot of the plotting together. And I have started doing some of the writing. But there’s a long way to go yet, and since I’ve never collaborated with my life partner on a writing project before, it’s somewhat uncharted territory.

And what of Shara 2? Well, that one’s still languishing in a drawer. I got a bit discouraged after the crit session. Every time I get it out and review how much work there still is to do on it, I get depressed and put it away again. And DEATH SCENE has not exactly been flying off the cyber-shelves, so it’s not as if I have a long queue of fans impatiently waiting for the further adventures of Shara Summers.

Nevertheless, she has one or two fans. And I would rather like to get this one finished. So perhaps I’ll finish it for you. You know who you are.

This does make three WIPs on the go at once, however. And talking about them doesn’t make them any closer to being finished. It’s time to get back to the writing.

Rewrite

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I have just started draft 3 of my horror WIP. Like SUFFER THE CHILDREN, this is another novel about a mythical supernatural creature picking off citizens, with a select group of main characters being the only one to stop it. This time, my Big Bad is a magic user of old who was messing with some seriously dark magic, and finds a way to have himself brought back from the dead. Of course there is a price to pay for such power.

I’ve been working on this novel a year now, and I was rather hoping to be further along than I was. Generally I present draft 2 to beta readers. Not this time. I wasn’t too happy with draft 2. It seemed that my main characters spent far too much time talking about what this creature was, and how they had to stop it, without actually going out and doing anything about it. My logical brain always wants to put in scenes about research and investigation, when it comes to stopping the Big Bad. But these things don’t always move the plot along. There needs to be more action.

So, about halfway through draft 2 I decided that perhaps the Big Bad needs minions, and should work on raising an army. What kind of army would an undead wizard want to command? The answer, it seemed to me, was that my WIP was crying out for zombie hordes.

So I am now rewriting draft 3, adding a sub-plot where corpses are rising from graves and gathering under the thrall of my Big Bad, as he gathers his undead army for a final show-down. Much as I like blasting zombies in video games, I’ve never tried writing them into a story before.

I’m planning on sending the MS to beta readers once I’ve finished draft 3. Then I might find out that I really have no business writing about zombies and I’ve got it completely wrong. But I am having fun with it, and zombies are hot property right now. Hopefully, they still will be by the time I finish this novel.

Autumn Brings Zombies?

My obsession with ‘Resident Evil 4’ has been well documented. This is a game I keep returning to, over and over again. I’m not actually very good at computer games that require target skills. I am a lousy shot and have poor manual dexterity. So I keep playing this game over and over again, firstly because I do really enjoy it, and secondly, when I play a game knowing what’s coming next, perhaps I can improve on my previous score. And you never know when the ability to take out a zombie with one shot might come in handy…

I have played this game so many times, I am intimately familiar with all the scenarios. The game begins with the main character Leon alone in a remote village somewhere in Spain. Something’s wrong with the locals – they have red eyes, they lumber about, and they keep attacking Leon. And they don’t stay dead unless they’re hit with a direct head shot.

Screen shot of RE4 from IGN.com


It’s clearly Autumn when the adventure begins. The sky is grey, the bare trees look skeletal and there are brown leaves piled up on the forest floor. Creepy looking crows caw from sign posts. I’ve always thought crows were creepy birds. They’ve got a history of being associated with horror films.

Perhaps the attached image demonstrates the autumnal feel of the game (I couldn’t find one that included the crows).

The scene outside my house at present looks very much like the opening scenes from RE4. The sky is grey, the trees are bare and skeletal looking, and brown leaves scatter the ground. We even have creepy-looking crows lurking around, emitting their ominous ‘caws’. I don’t like Autumn at the best of times. I like it even less when stepping outside my house makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a Resident Evil game. I shall be watching the neighbours very carefully over the next few weeks, alert for any sign of zombie-like behaviour.

Roll on Spring. There are never any zombie films or games set in the cheerful bloom of springtime. We shall all be safe then.

How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

I was quite amused by this article that appeared on the BBC News website recently, where Leicester City Council admitted to being “unprepared for a zombie attack”, following a letter from “a concerned citizen”.

I thnk perhaps the person that wrote the letter was being facetious, but you never know. The thing about being a geek who watches zombie films is that intellectually you know zombies don’t exist, but there’s some small part of you that keeps insisting, “but what if they do?”.

However, if zombies do attack then a geek is best person to know, because we’ve watched all the films and played all the games and we’re subsequently the best prepared for zombie attack.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about how to survive a zombie attack.

1. Zombies traditionally move slowly. Learn how to run fast, or better yet, use transport and you can out-run them. Unfortunately zombies in contemporary zombie films seem to move much quicker. So this might not necessarily be a hard and fast rule.

2. The only way to kill a zombie is to get it in the head. Preferably with a big gun. A hit to any other part of the zombie’s body will be ineffective.

3. Anyone who gets bitten by a zombie will turn into one. Don’t listen to the infected person’s desperate relatives who plead to spare them. The infected person will inevitably turn into a zombie and go rampaging through your hideout. Chuck them out into the zombie horde the minute you find out they’ve been bitten. There’s no room for sentiment when it’s a matter of survival.

4. Zombies aren’t very bright and it takes them a while to figure out how to get through locks. Make sure your hideout is well secured. Preferably several storeys up. Zombies often seem to have trouble with stairs.

5. If you’ve found yourself a nice secure hideout on the fifteenth floor, and you’ve got plenty of food and water supplies to last you, then stay there. Don’t be persuaded by the fellow survivors who turn up at your hideout and try to convince you that the best thing to do is to leave and head south/north/east/west, because they know that there are other survivors there. Whenever that happens it films, it never ends well.

6. Get yourself a weapon. Preferably a big gun (see point 2). This is more difficult in the UK than in the US, because we have stricter gun laws. But since all the shops will be abandoned, you could plan a raid on the nearest gun shop. According to Resident Evil games, shotguns are most effective. Or rocket launchers.

Of course, being able to play zombie games doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be any good in a real zombie apocalypse. When I die playing Resident Evil 4, I can restart the game and try again. I am, even playing games, a terrible shot, and it’s only through repeated practice that I can kill any zombies at all. And there’s a difference between sitting in one’s living room shooting with a games console and shooting a real gun. I have tried this, and I’m an even worse shot with the real thing.

And I feel I should point out that this is all hypothetical anyway. I don’t really believe that there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse. At least I don’t most of the time… 🙂

Musings on Zombies

“The Walking Dead” has been serialised on British TV since early November (no doubt it was ages ago in America – we’re a bit behind on our US TV shows), but we’ve been recording it, and only got the opportunity to watch the first episode recently.

And I have to say I am enjoying it. I do like a good old-fashioned zombie bash. “The Walking Dead” is particularly good as a zombie movie. It has well-drawn, sympathetic characters, good production, exceptional attention to detail with regard to set dressing, and most importantly, it conforms to the expectations of zombie fans. The zombies move slowly, they don’t speak, they have generous amounts of rotting flesh falling off bones, thus reminding us that zombies are, literally, walking corpses (kudos to the special effects in this regard), and they can be taken out by a bullet to the brain.

When you are an imaginative geek, you do find yourself wondering, every once in a while, what would happen if the world really was gripped by a plague that turned people in flesh-eating zombies. It’s rather like time travel – intellectually you know it’s not possible but you wonder nonetheless. At times like these, I reassure myself that all those hours wasted playing “Resident Evil 4” are actually hours well spent after all. If a zombie attack happened for real, at least I would have a fighting chance of knowing how to defeat them…

In the meantime, though, I look forward to the next episode of “The Walking Dead”. The series has started well, and I hope it continues in the same vein. But if you’ve already seen it – no spoilers, please!

Zombies in 3D

Over the weekend, hubby and I went to see “Resident Evil After Life” in 3D. It’s been a long time since we went to the cinema, and in checking the listings I was rather surprised by the number of films currently showing in 3D. Perhaps the movie industry feels the need to offer something different these days to attract people into movie theatres – after all, when you can have a 50″ flat screen TV with surround sound and HD movie channels in your living room, and the comfort of your own sofa, why would you need to trek across town and pay an exorbitant fee to see a film?

3D technology isn’t new, of course. It was around in the 1980s. For some reason it never really took off then. Now the special effects are a lot more impressive, and the 3D glasses are a big improvement (remember those cardboard things with one red lense and one blue lense? Happily now a thing of the past). It remains to be seen whether the whole 3D movie experience thing is here to stay, or whether it is once again a passing fad. One of the problems with any movie filmed specifically for 3D – as with any other movie with a huge budget for special effects – is that quite often it’s style over substance.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy “Resident Evil Afterlife”. It’s very much a ‘switch-off-brain-and-enjoy-mindless-violence’ sort of film. But I enjoy a good zombie bash as much as the next horror geek, and zombies in 3D made the experience all the better. I would say that you have to be a fan of the games to enjoy the Resident Evil movies, but as I am, I enjoyed all the “Resident Evil 4” references in the film. Some of the characters from the games – including brother and sister team Claire and Chris Redfield – made an appearance in the film. Sadly, there was no Leon. Shame. But I am not convinced any flesh-and-blood actor could be quite as tasty as the virtual character.

I did particularly enjoy a scene where the two lead female characters, Alice and Claire, take down an uber-zombie with a seriously scary weapon (an end-of-level boss monster if ever I saw one) by themselves, with no help from the boys. Yay for the kick-ass girlies!

I ended up with a killer headache later in the evening, and I suspect that sitting watching an hour and a half of 3D effects might have been a contributing factor. Apparently the old-style 3D films of the 70s and 80s were fairly notorious in giving people headaches. Perhaps that’s one reason why the whole 3D thing never took off then – along with the silly glasses.

At least the effects are better than the old-style 3D films. When Claire and Alice threw the huge battle axe directly at the camera, to take out the uber-zombie, I think I actually ducked.

I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone who wants a plot that makes sense. Or doesn’t like zombies. Or computer games. But if you’re a games fan with a penchant for a bit of zombie slaying, there are worse ways of spending an hour and a half.