Posts Tagged ‘zombie books’

Ho, ho, ho-ley crap!

Thanksgiving and the Christmas season are upon us already!

Man, this year has flown by! It’s hard to believe that December is just a few days away.

I have been wanting to write a seasonal series of stories for a couple years now, but have never seemed to find the time.

Well, I chose to buckle down and use the spirit of NaNoWriMo this year and finally get to work!

I’ve known for a while the series title, North Pole Zombies, and the basic plot line:

Santa’s elves turn into zombies and Santa’s got to put them all down.

But in this past year, I really pinned down the story and it came to life in these past few frantic NaNoWriMo weeks.

And I got to say:

It’s freaking awesome.

It has been so much fun to write and to craft this story’s world and characters.

Oh man, the characters.

One of my favorite things about writing is when you fall in love with a character that you thought was just a supportive role, but turns out to be such an intregal part of the story.

I’m super excited about a character for Part 2 of the series, but I won’t dive too deep into him, because, you know, spoilers…

So, North Pole Zombies is being released this Black Friday. (You can pre-order it now, though.)

If I could describe it simply, it’s like a mix between DOOM, The Evil Dead, and those claymation Christmas specials that come on ABC Family, or whatever that channel is called nowadays. You know the one.

It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s action-packed. 

And mostly, it’s just fun.

It was refreshing to just be kind of silly and write this outlandish short story. To take a break from the bleakness of the world and just have fun with it.

The story follows Nicholas Klaus, the Bringer of Gifts, as he prepares for the Christmas season. After visiting “down South” he returns to the North Pole to find out a mysterious sickness has overcome the elf population. What follows throws Klaus back into a life he had long put behind him…

If you need something to read while you’re standing in line this Black Friday, or just want to read something fun to start getting into the Christmas spirit, check out North Pole Zombies! 

Click the cover above and it will take you directly to the Amazon page.

Happy Holidays everyone,

Josh Vasquez

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Alright, so I may be posting this a little late in order to promote the book signing, but the whole thing kind of just materialized out of nowhere anyways.

So, October totally snuck up on me this year.

I knew it was October. I knew Halloween was coming, because me and my daughter have been planning on being Darth Vader and Princess Leia for the longest time now. But the fact that it was October and that it’s been 4 years since I first released A New Death into the wilds of the internet, that completely slipped my mind.

4 years.

Isn’t it crazy how time just flies by?

4 years ago and I just had this silly idea of self-publishing a zombie e-book amongst a sea of zombie e-books.

Silly, silly Joshua.

Anyways, as I often do, I got somewhat reflective and nostalgic about the past 4 years. My cousin played a small part in it as well, as he is in the process of writing his first novel and asked me a few questions the other day.

Which led to the above video.

I recorded this the day before the book signing, so my apologies for not telling you sooner.

But you can still listen in on the five (now six) things I wish I knew before I published my first novel. These are completely subjective and were really the first things that came to mind when I asked myself the question of what would I have done differently.

1. I wish I would have taken it a little slower at the beginning.

I remember finishing the first draft and the sense of relief and accomplishment I felt. I also remember feeling the impending doom of “Okay, now what?” I knew there was editing, formatting for Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, and promoting to be done, but how? When? But mostly, how? I had no idea what I was doing and just kind of kept putting one foot out in front of the other, hoping that there would be ground underneath, sighing a breath of relief whenever there was.

So, the whole publishing process went fast, maybe too fast. Looking back on it now, I wish I had slowed down and stopped to think about where I was heading with this whole author/publisher thing, but looking back on it now, I’m just reminded of a clip from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Night:

 

2. I would have launched the books differently. (read: better)

When I first released A New Death, I launched it just as an e-book. That was the extent of what I planned on doing, as I had no idea that printing options were available. Again, see above gif. So I launched A New Death in the Amazon Kindle ecosystem and into the cold, shallow waters of the Nook. I spent more time with the Kindle, as it was A.) more user friendly and B.) the more popular of the two.

Knowing what I know now, I would have liked to publish both the e-book and the paperback at the same time, so if you’re still waiting for A New Daybreak, know that you’re going to have to wait for me to finish both now. (Sorry.)

 

3. I would have liked to finish the trilogy before I published them.

Okay, so this one is debatable. And it comes solely from the perspective of me trying to sell and market my books. (Spoilers: I like getting paid for my work.) But my thinking behind this point is this:

People are more apt to dive into a series that they know they can finish and not wait on the author to finish writing them. (Looking at you George R. R. Martin…)

Again, I’m still personally up in the air about this one, but hey, there it is.

 

4. I wouldn’t have wasted time on e-readers other than the Amazon Kindle.

Remember when I mentioned the Barnes & Noble Nook earlier?

I think I can count on both my hands how many copies I sold on that thing. (That’s less than ten for all my fellow public school kids.)

And the Kobo? Aww jeez, Rick.

Amazon is the Pickle Rick of the e-reader world.

 

5. I would have spent more time on the print books.

When I first started, print wasn’t even on the radar. I thought that was only something you could get from an actual publisher or one of those vanity publishers, which I knew to stay well clear of.

But there was Amazon, goading me onwards, deeper into the jungles of the self-publishing world.

“Hey, you’ve done e-books with us. Have you met our friend CreateSpace?”

“Why, no Amazon, I haven’t. Nice to meet you, CreateSpace.”

It was something like that, I think. It gets kinda fuzzy after a few years.

Anyways, the paperback versions of my books have been great for making small waves here in Savannah. I’ve been able to do book signings and get my books into some cool local shops, something I would never be able to do with an e-book. This all goes back to me slowing down in the beginning and actually doing some research into self-publishing outside of e-books.

 

6. I would have treated this more like a job.

There was a shift somewhere, where this stopped being “just some cool thing I could do” and turned into “Man, I would really like to do this for the rest of my life.” I’m not 100% sure when that happened; I think maybe in between CJ’s Story and A New Darkness, or maybe it was there somewhere all along.

I knew eventually though, that I should have been treating it more professionally and more like a job, but still, for some reason I just wasn’t all in. I don’t know.

But I do know now, that I’m stuck in between the rock and hard place of: having a good, well-paying, providing job that sucks the life out of me everyday, but I do it because I love my family and want to take care of them OR this author job, which grants me fulfillment and I enjoying doing, but the financial side of it is, um, questionable.

Knowing now, what I wish I had known then was, if I had slowed down, and thought about this a little bit more than just publishing some e-book, if I had thought about it as a potential career, and then treated it like one, where could I have been now?

But like they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

Can’t say that I would change anything though. It’s been a long ride, and I could have made it a little easier on myself, but to think about all I’ve learned, I think the journey was worth it.

So if you’re just starting out, take my advice, or don’t. You’ll get there eventually and I’ll be there waiting to tell you what I’ve learned in the meantime.

 

Josh Vasquez

 

Hey.

Yep, that’s me.

Watch the above video if you want to know things like:

  1. When is book 3 in the Savannah Zombie Novel series coming out?
  2. What has Josh Vasquez been up to?
  3. And what does he have planned for the Savannah Zombie Novel universe?

All these things and more, in video format, so you don’t have to read!

Which is kind of weird when you think about, because you’re most likely here because you like to read…

Hmm… I guess I didn’t think this all the way through…

 

Anyways, enjoy the video and don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know what you think, either here or on YouTube!

 

Josh Vasquez

Here’s the first part of  A New Death: CJ’s Story, the audiobook version. You can read along with the free ebook available here.

This short story set in the Savannah Zombie Novel universe takes place at the same time as the first entry, A New Death. It focuses in on thirteen year old CJ and his family, who appear in A New Darkness. This story bridges books 1 and 2.

Huh?

What’s this?

A preview of A New Daybreak‘s  prologue?

 

SAY WHAT?!?

Okay, enough joshing around, (See what I did there?) here it is:

 

Prologue

I am walking down a dark road.
It is nighttime and there is blood on my hands.
Not figuratively.
I look down and my hands are slick with blood.
whose blood
I… I cannot remember.
It is fresh, warm. It smells of rot and there is a metallic taste in my mouth.
Like the taste of a copper penny.
Something dribbles from the corner of my mouth, but I do not care.
I am dead.

But I am not at the same time.

I look down again and I see that my legs are moving. My feet shuffle awkwardly, as if asleep.
wake up feet wake up
I giggle at this, but the air escapes my mouth in an arid gasp.
A moan follows it. A groaning I feel escape from deep within my gut.
I am hungry.
so fucking hungry
I remember eating recently. Something tough shifts between my dry gums. I work my jaw in an effort to free whatever is in my mouth. It touches my cracked tongue.
meat
The feeling of the HUNGER surges throughout my body. It fills every ounce of me, my very essence one of desire and bloodlust. I must feed.
Soon.
I beg my feet to pick up their pace. They are resistant at first, but the HUNGER reaches them as well and they soon stumble into a light jog.
I feel every snapping tendon. Every dry grinding joint. For some reason, I think I should be feeling something, but again, I cannot remember. Some kind of bodily warning that I am harming myself, some indicator of distress.
what is the word what is the word what is the word
I hear a snap.
My hip wobbles and I tumble forward, the ground rushing up to stop my face. My left arm flies up to slow my fall, but I hear another crack.
My wrist breaks and my face slams into the concrete. The fall would have broken my nose.
If I had one.
It is missing. It was taken from me by… I cannot remember.
The HUNGER ripples throughout my veins. It rides on the coagulated sludge that once was my blood.
I slowly push my way up using the stump of arm where my hand dangles freely. A strand of rubbery flesh tethers it to my wrist, swinging back and forth, back and forth.
I giggle again and again it comes forth as a moan.
must feed must feed must feed
The HUNGER does not take long to remind me of the emptiness in my stomach. As if I forgot. I look down and notice a gaping hole in my abdomen. Something long and slippery sways from the opening. It reminds me of
meat meat meat
Minutes pass, but the HUNGER makes them feel like hours. Every creaking of bone a ticking of the second hand.
tick tick tick eat eat eat
I black out.
I come to. I am still walking. My hand has fallen off somewhere. I do not care.
While I was out, my body had been busy marching towards the smell of food. A breeze carried the scent of burnt wood and warm flesh.
I am getting close.
I pass through trees and come into a small clearing. The pale orb in the sky lights the grove.
A triangular shape sits in the middle of the grove and smoke rises from a smoldering pile of ash.
The HUNGER aches within me as I make my way towards the tent.
I tremble with joy as I look inside and see a man asleep.
He has not heard me.
He is dressed in orange. Black markings across his back.
I cannot read them. I do not remember how.
I fall forward onto him. He wakes, but his struggle is futile as my jagged teeth tear into his cheek.
I feel pure glee as his hot blood fills my mouth.
He is screaming, but I do not care. My teeth open for another bite, but then stop.
not right not right not right
Something is wrong.
He tastes different.
Not like the others.
oh no oh no oh no
In my hesitation, the man shoves me back and I fall through the opening. I hit the ground hard, laying there for a minute looking up at the twinkling lights above me.
“What have you done?!” The man bellows.
He is now standing over me, his massive frame towering over me.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
I roll to my side in an attempt to escape, but something hits me hard in the back and I begin to tumble across the ground. As I circle around, I see the bottom of the man’s foot where my back was.
I have attacked other men before this one. Normally they came at me with sharp metal objects, or in some cases, their hands held a tool that made the sound of thunder.
That’s it.
That was why I have the hole in my stomach.
This man held nothing.
His hands were bare just like mine.
just like you just like you
“I’m not like the others you’ve eaten…”
He holds his hand up to the bite wound I left on his face.
He smiles.
“They did something to us. Something… wrong.”
I try to get up and leave again, but quickly he is on top of me. His fists begin to pummel my face. I hear the skull fragmenting inside my head. Bone splinters, my already piss-poor vision becoming blurrier.
He stops and backs off, clutching at his side. He yells in pain and his muscles begin to bulge through his orange jumpsuit. The fabric begins to tear as his flesh contorts. His eyes blaze red.
Something is inside me. I look down to see the man’s hands deep into my belly, pulling the opening wider and allowing for more of my guts to spill onto the ground.
oh well
The man yanks out the remains of my insides and steps back again, this time admiring his handiwork. The muscles in his neck continue to grow, his skin splitting and cracking at the pressure.
“You see deadhead,” the man continues, his voice now deeper and coarser. “I was already dead before you entered the tent.”
And with that, he slammed his fist into my head and my skull finally gave way.
I welcomed the darkness.

 

 

 

So, what did you think? Let me know in the comments! Now to go finish the rest of the book!

 

Josh

Hey, I finally got around to finishing all three parts of A New Death: CJ’s Story audiobook! Here’s all three parts! Enjoy!

Josh

In my final semester of high school, when I should have been more focused on graduating, I was planning on making a low-budget zombie movie with my friend. We considered ourselves zombie film buffs and very knowledgeable to all things undead. We had studied the greats: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and 28 Days Later. We’d even gorged ourselves on lesser quality flicks, my personal favorite being the redneck-infused Hide and Creep. It was this last movie which made us go, “Hey, we can make a movie this good.”

hide-and-creep-dvd

(Here’s the DVD cover. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.)

And so, we set out to make movie history.

But, we didn’t.

We didn’t even get close.

I have several loose pieces of notebook paper scribbled with our conversations, a progress report with a failing grade on one side and marketing notes written on the other, two different story outlines, several pages of script, and one short story. All of these documents prove that we had dreams.

Dreams that were crushed by the little thing we like to call:

Life.

I’m being dramatic. (I am a writer after all.) We could never really work up the funds to buy any kind of equipment, we graduated, I went to seminary (another story in itself), and well, time got the best of us.

So, our little zombie movie went into a three ring binder and dissolved into the past.

Flash forward five years: It’s Christmas and all I want is an iPad. (I already had my two front teeth.) I knew it was a long shot. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but those things are freaking expensive!

I open my gift from my wife: A Kindle.

I wasn’t let down, because like I said, the iPad was a long shot. I love reading, so while I couldn’t do all the fun stuff an iPad could do, I could at least read a lot of books. That’s a win. This was nowhere near the disappointment I felt the year we received a Nintendo Wii. (To a hardcore gamer like me, this was the human equivalent of the cone of shame.)

I take to my Kindle like a librarian takes to the Dewey Decimal System. (That means I liked it.) One of the things I fall in love with is that there are tons of free books.

Did you hear what I just said?

Free books.

Free books are like crack for bibliophiles. So I began downloading tons of free stuff. In the beginning, most of it was classic theological studies, but after some time, my love of the living dead brought me to free zombie books. But I didn’t read much of them because I came across something much more profound than free zombie books. (Yes, you heard me right.)

You could publish your own books to Kindle.

I had written stories all my life. (I wasn’t so good at finishing them, but whatever.) Of course I had dreamed of writing a book one day and having it published, but I just never thought it would be possible. What did I know about getting a book published? Yeah, I could string together a decent story, but was my prose up to par to be printed on paper? (See all those p’s? That’s alliteration. Boo yah.)

I made the mistake of downloading the publishing guide for Kindle Direct Publishing. Big mistake. It was a mistake because I realized how easy it was to publish an ebook to Amazon. (I say “easy,” but anyone who has done it knows it can be a lot of work. “Do-able” is a better word.)

So, now that I knew it could be done, what would I write? The Doom fan-fiction I wrote in high school was never finished and I knew I’d run into copyright issues. Other than that, what stories did I have to tell?

Well, in the same notebook of my Doom rough draft, I had the outline for a low-budget zombie movie that never got made…

Tune in next week for the rest of the story!