Interview with a Zombie

51aVfDU7BlL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Okay, so he’s not really a zombie, but he did get cast as a zombie for a yet-to-be-released film. He’s also a new writer, whose first book is one all readers of zombie fiction will enjoy. Even those who don’t read zombie fiction might enjoy this story, as it is about more than flesh-eating creatures. Read on to meet P. Mark DeBryan and to learn more about Family Reunion.

First of all, thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to answer my questions.
You are quite welcome, Sara.

Please tell a little about your book, Family Reunion.
Well, the book began its life as a short story. It was created for John O’Brien and published in his book Untold Stories, which was a companion book to his series A NEW WORLD. He then allowed me to extend the story to a full length novel. It begins with our main character, Ryan, stuck on a ferry boat in the Puget Sound when the zombie apocalypse starts. In all honesty, they are not zombies, as they aren’t undead, but they prey on the living as a food source so they get lumped into the zombie genre. The book follows the entire Brant family as they are headed to a long overdue family reunion. Each group is coming from a different location in the USA and their goal is to survive and see if they can’t locate the others in the family. Some are driving, some are flying, and one is even in a luxury motor-coach.

How did you get into writing? Who are your inspirations?
As stated above, it was a contest of sorts; John O’Brien asked his fans to write short story based in his world. As far as inspirations? I would have to say Stephen King introduced me to the post-apocalypse genre, but John O was the one that got me going.

How is Family Reunion different than other zombie stories?
It is about family and the strength the characters get from each other to go on. The hope of reuniting and the different ways the crisis affects each member of the family. They are not trained soldiers, and most are just average people facing a completely devastating situation.

Can you give your readers a little glimpse into what Ryan and his gang of survivors will face in the next book?
Hmm … that would be cheating, but just between you and me, Sara? Ryan sets out with Maddie and Harry and a few others to go look for the ones they left behind at home. They travel in the Marathon Coach, which is a luxury RV with many prepper amenities. The story will follow them and also keep the reader abreast of what is happening back on Whidbey Island and those that stayed on there to begin clearing the place for use as a new freak-free sanctuary. Look for some major twists right off the bat; it should get interesting very quickly.

I know your family has been very supportive of your writing. I also know many of the characters are based on real-life family members. What do they think of being used as zombie-story material?
Some are mad at me for killing them off in the first story, more are mad that I killed their wives, daughters, husbands and such. Minor spoiler coming … my best friend in real life was the first to die. I did it in self- defense. I mean, who in the family can complain when I took out my best friend first, right? When I say they are mad at me, it is an exaggeration. They all are thrilled to be immortalized in the story, or so I tell myself.

Have you ever been a zombie?
As a matter of fact, yes. I just got home from the set of a new movie called My Uncle John is a Zombie. It was written and co-directed by John Russo, who co-wrote the original The Night of the Living Dead. I am a zombie in the movie, and it was a blast to be involved in the film. Several actors from the original movie are also in this one, with many new faces too. Gary Lee Vincent, who plays Oscar in the movie has become a close friend and was instrumental in getting me cast as an extra. My wife, Jonie, is in it also. We had so much fun that we may decide to run off to Hollywood together soon.

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Zombified Zombie Author

The movie is a Zom-Comedy, where John Russo’s character from The Night of the Living Dead escapes alive—or I should say not killed again from the sheriff’s wrath in the original—and is rescued by his niece and hid in her basement. She protects him and teaches him to be more selective in who he eats and the whole movie goes insane when he becomes a modern day celebrity.

I am seen wandering while chewing on an unidentified bit of intestine, and then again when I attack another character and end his career. (I will include a picture of me as the “Dude Zombie” for your pleasure.) If you would like to help the movie get distributed, you can help by donating at http://www.MyUncleJohnisaZombie.com, as it is an independent film just like us independent authors.

In a real-life zombie apocalypse, how long do you think you’d survive? Do you have a plan?
I have a plan, but I need more slow people to join me, as that is my plan. I don’t really think I would last long, as I have been told I am a sweet guy, and what zombie could resist that?

If you could see one non-zombie TV series get thrown into a zompoc scenario, which would you choose and why?
Hmm, let me think. Oh, I know. Survivor! Could you imagine the hilarity that would ensue as the zombies chase the cute blond girl down the beach, or a horde shows up to the immunity challenge. Oh yeah, that would be good TV there. The tribe has spoken/groaned, it’s time for you to go!

List five things about yourself that your readers probably don’t know.
– I went to seminary for two years to become a Baptist Preacher.
– I had a crepe restaurant when I was seventeen called DeBo’s Place.
– My nickname throughout my Coast Guard career was Breezly.
– The Pirate Parrot was a friend of mine.
– I was an honorary member of Jeff Gordon’s pit crew at his last race in NASCAR … Don’t tell Jeff, somebody might get fired!

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Jeff Gordon’s honorary pit crew member.

Visit Mark’s website. He’s got a fun blog going there. Author P. Mark DeBryan

National Novel Writing Month & Me, Part 2

NaNo-2015-Participant-BannerI mentioned in a previous post that I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. I also mentioned that I am using the time to re-work a novel in progress—one I started over a year ago and put aside as editing jobs and homeschooling and life pulled me away.

I’ve been doing as planned, which is pretty much re-writing it. I’ve removed large chunks of unnecessary text. I added a character. Changed the character. Brought back a character I had decided to cut.

Things are going pretty well.

But I’m having trouble with the whole 50K word count thing. I’m spending a lot of my time deconstructing my story, then reconstructing it into what I’m trying to have it become. It’s hard to keep track of actual “words written” when doing this.

The NaNoWriMo’s 50K word count goal is a great motivator for many, and I include myself in this statement. I didn’t hit the 50K word goal last year and I didn’t mind. I wrote 33,000 words and I was proud of it. It would be an amazing feat for me to make it this year. And if I don’t, I’ll be okay with that too.

It’s not a matter of giving up. It’s a matter of being who I am. I can’t toss words onto a blank screen just for the sake of word count. I’ve heard the advice that writers should just write. Write and don’t worry about fixing it until you finish.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong by writing some, evaluating it, fixing what I don’t like, and then moving on. But for now, it’s a method I’m comfortable with.

I mentioned in my last NaNoWriMo update that I have a title for my book—finally! Since you’ve read this long, I’m going to assume you might be a little interested to know what it is. And even if you skipped most of the above and landed on this paragraph, you may take a peek.

Here you go:

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Cover by https://thurifut.wordpress.com/ The artist offered his/her services for free to NaNoWriMo authors. I’m not sure it will be the final cover since I already have another artist in mind, but I like it.

Here’s a synopsis, which is subject to change:

The world watched the aftermath of strategically placed terrorist attacks with a small amount of relief; it could have been worse. At least, that’s how it seemed. A week later, the world would know differently. With the release of the bombs’ biological agent, the death toll rose. And so did the dead.

In an attempt to keep one step ahead of the unrest, Kate and her niece, Finn, flee to the only sanctuary Kate has ever known: a small town in the mountains north of San Diego.

Their relative safety is put in jeopardy when drought-fueled wildfires spread across southern California, driving the hordes into the valley below. It’s only a matter of time before the dead act on instinct and seek their own shelter on the mountain. And when they do, where will Kate and Finn go? Is any place safe in a world of unrest?

Now it’s back to writing and re-writing. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

My First Comic-Con

Authors A.R. Shaw, Doug Bornemann, me, David Forsythe, and Kathy Porter
Authors A.R. Shaw, Doug Bornemann, me, David Forsyth, and Kathy Porter (not shown: Dan Williams)

Last weekend, I had the honor of representing some of the fabulous authors who are a part of Monique Happy Editorial Services at the Long Beach ComicCon. Even though I live in San Diego, where ComicCon is HUGE, I’ve never been to one. I’m so glad I got to attend!

Shawn Chesser and W.J. Lundy sent some promotional goodies to pass out and they were snatched up quickly! The attendees were a lot of fun and I got to talk with lots of zombie fiction and horror fans. My goal was to introduce fans of zombies and shows like The Walking Dead to some of the amazing zombie fiction authors (like Chesser and Lundy).

I only started reading zombie fiction when I went through The Walking Dead withdrawals. When I shared this with people, they laughed and said they understood the feeling. Many fans seemed very interested in checking out zombie literature, so hopefully they will!

The best part of the weekend was getting to meet some great writers. They were very generous with their advice and encouragement. As a new author, I appreciate the time they spent talking with me.

If I’m given the opportunity, I will definitely do this again. I’m not a salesperson and tend to be a bit shy about talking to people I don’t know. I surprised myself, though– turns out I’m pretty good at promoting people and things I truly like.

Now that I know what to expect, there are a few things I will change for the next time I go. I want to have actual books available for purchase. Hopefully, I will have a few of my own by then. People in that environment seemed excited to purchase autographed books from authors they could meet and talk with in person. I will also come with some sort of graphic to catch the attention of people passing the booth. Most people didn’t stop until I asked if they like zombies*. I want people to know right away what the authors I am representing are all about.

*The most common answer: “Who doesn’t like zombies?!”

In all, Comic-Con was a blast! The people were friendly and happy to be there. It was a people-watcher’s paradise. My husband took pictures while I worked the booth. Below are just a few of the amazing costumes we saw.

Many thanks to David Forsythe, author of The Sovereign Spirit Saga books and Sedulity, for arranging everything, setting up the ApocaCon booth, and inviting others to take part in this great opportunity!ii gg

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storm

Z is for Zombies

Z

Z is for Zombies
Zombie Books

As I mentioned in this February 24th post, I recently discovered the fun of Zombie Apocalypse books. That post mentioned some fun Zombie books and some great authors of the genre. Read the post, if you’re interested in what I had to say back then. I don’t want to repeat all that.

I’m actually going to take a break from the Zombie genre for a bit and read a couple non-zombie books… just to keep my mind fresh.

Before I do that, though, I can’t write about the letter Z without writing about zombies. So here is a list of Zombie fiction authors I recommend… for those who are interested.

Shawn Chesser Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse series

James Cook Surviving the Dead series

D.J. Molles The Remaining series

Tony Baker Survivors of the Dead: From the Ashes

Mark Tufo Zombie Fallout series

Jack Flacco Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse **I just started reading this– so far, so good!

**I saved my favorite for last… the “zombies” in his books are technically not zombies, but close enough to include in this list:

John O’Brien A New World series

What I’ve discovered is many of these authors are really nice, down-to-earth people. As “indie” authors, they do a lot of their marketing via Facebook and word-of-mouth. Reviews are very important to their success, so if you do read any of these books, be sure to leave a fair review!

I know there are many other good ZA authors out there. I just haven’t read all of them. If you enjoy this genre, which authors do you like? Who am I missing?

My Guilty Pleasure

There was a time I would have been embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t care anymore.  I’m just going to come out and say this:  I love Zombie fiction*!

It all started with “The Walking Dead”, the insanely popular TV show.  I heard about how great it is and thought I’d give it a try.  At first, I was horrified.  I mean- yuck!  Then I started to see there was a story line in the middle of all that gore.  I got to know the characters (the living ones, that is) and I was hooked.

The problem is, whenever the show ended for the season, I went through a grieving process.  I don’t like to wait for anything, even television shows.  So what did I do to fill the Zombie void?  I turned to Amazon.  Lo and behold, there are all sorts of Zombie-related books available.  I purchased my first Zombie fiction* book for my Kindle in June of 2013.  I read it secretly, hoping nobody would find out that I had strayed from more mainstream literature.

To my surprise, I enjoyed the book immensely!  The book was Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Louriero. This story takes place in Spain and was, in fact, written for a Spanish audience.  Fortunately, it was translated into English before I tried to read it.  I have since read the sequel to this one and enjoyed it just as much.

From there, I read Scott Nicholson’s After: The Shock.  I don’t remember much about this one, other than the “zombies” are the result of a solar flare.  I just purchased his second in this series, After: The Echo, so I’m sure the story-line will come back to me quickly when I start reading it.

After my first two enjoyable ventures into Zombie fiction*, I purchased the first book in a series called The Remaining, by D.J. Molles.  This was my first introduction to Zombie fiction* with a strong militaristic leaning.  I discovered I like having main characters who know how to shoot machine guns, throw grenades effectively, and are able to take on zombie hordes with military precision.  I ended up purchasing and reading the rest of the books in the series that were available at the time.

The next author I discovered was James Cook.  Like the others, his books come in a series.  The first in his series is called No Easy Hope- Surviving the Dead: Book One. Cook’s books combine military with martial arts as a way to deal with the the undead.  I like martial arts, so this was a bonus.  I like the main characters in these books- they are flawed and endearing.  Fortunately, I was able to read the other two books in the series without having to wait, since they had already been published.  I like when books come in a series… the fun can continue until the author decides it’s time to end it.  Hopefully, Cook has a few more books in this series planned.

After the Surviving the Dead series, I floundered around a bit, trying to find a series that would be as good as Molles’ and Cook’s books.  It was hit-and-miss for a while. Some of the Zombie fiction* out there is really not that great.  Since most of the writers of this genre are “indies”, the editing sometimes lacks professionalism.  Some of the story-writing is poor and juvenile.  But, I persevered and came across a series that quickly became my favorite.

John O’Brien is the writer of a series called A New World.  As of this post, he has nine books in his series.  His are my favorite of this genre because he tells a great story and does so with skill and professionalism.  O’Brien’s books are somewhat militaristic, but they include a “human” element, as well. The characters are likable and realistic.  The zombies in this story are different than the zombies in any of the other books I’ve read. I hope to see a lot more from this author, even after he ends this particular series.

If you enjoy some humor with your zombies, Mark Tufo is the author for you.  He is hilarious!  His books maintain the yuck and fright factor, but there are moments when I find myself literally laughing out loud.  Tufo has written quite a few books, but his zombie series is called Zombie Fallout. There are currently seven books in the series and he is working on his eighth.

So, there it is.  I love reading Zombie fiction*.  My guilty pleasure.  And it sure is a fun one!

*Zombie fiction- Isn’t that a bit redundant?  I mean, zombies are the epitome of fiction, right?  If zombies ever stop being fiction, we’re in all kinds of trouble.