I suppose I ought to write something here. I wouldn't want you to think that I was an enormous, sentient computer from the Andromeda galaxy merely masquerading as a human to lull your suspicions until the time when my armada of conquering robot arachno-weasels reach Earth. No, that wouldn't do at all.

So. The basics. I'm a mid-forties, tall-looming, book-reading, cat-serving, Michigan-living, cheese-eating, beard-lacking data warehouse analyst and fiction writer--see my website, GaryWOlson.com for more information on the 'writer' part, and for news about my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light.

In addition to posting (and reblogging) pictures and items I find amusing, I also have entries from my blog on my main site crossposted here. I'm also on Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and heaps and heaps of other places. See any page of my site on the right-side column under the "Me on the Intertubes" heading.

I am not a taco.

 

These Books Made Me Weird(er) [Brutal Light]

Brutal Light

I originally wrote this in December 2011 as part of my Brutal Light blog promo tour. As the blog it originally appeared on no longer exists, I’m reposting it here. Yay?

One of the things I’m frequently asked about are my influences. As someone who’s read a lot, in a lot of genres, that’s a topic I can go on about for quite a while—the list of authors range from Stephen King to Terry Pratchett to Michael Connelly to Clive Barker to… well, you get the idea. But even within this list, there are certain books I can pick out that exerted great influence on both my reading choices and my storytelling style. I can’t rightly say how much any particular one of these examples influenced me when it came to writing my debut dark fantasy novel Brutal Light, but collectively, I think it’s safe to say they left their mark. Here are seven books that made me, and my writing, weird(er):

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

This was not my first introduction to Lovecraft—that had been the wonderfully-titled Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, a collection of some of his short fiction—but it was the one that left the deepest impression on me. The deliberate, atmospheric pacing of this journey into the ruins of a lost civilization had me on edge the first time I read it, and it excited my mind around the details of what would later become the Mythos the way it had not quite been before.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

This one took a while to win me over—at first I didn’t know what to think of the careening strangeness of the narrative and the hyperbolic mix of what I assume is every conspiracy theory out there up to the point of the novel’s publication. Then at some point, maybe a hundred pages in, it started gelling, and from that point I was hooked. It’s lost a little of its lustre over the years—the conspiracy stuff is a bit dated, and some passages seem more juvenile than provocative—but overall it’s still a hell of a trip.

Valis by Philip K. Dick

Valis was my introduction to Philip K. Dick’s strange and addictive works. Probably it wasn’t the best one to start with; it came at a point late in his career and life where he was evidently not too concerned with being ‘accessible.’ It’s a bizarre story to begin with, with its main character, Horselover Fat, contacted directly by God via a mysterious pink laser. Then it gets stranger, as Horselover seeks to understand his experience, with esoteric theories and crackpot paranoia continually throwing the events of his life into newer and weirder lights. I just recently re-read this one, and its as baffling and entertaining as I remember.

Dead Boys, Dead Girls, Dead Things by Richard Calder

By the time I got to this book, I’d read my share of cyberpunk science fiction, and had my head spun around by the likes of Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson. I thought I was ready. But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the convoluted, paranoid, utterly perverse, high-voltage trip that is the Dead trilogy. The first book, Dead Boys, makes at least a passing attempt at a standardized story structure, but the next two sail off into rampaging, obsessive apocalyptic madness. This one left my head spinning for weeks. I really wish Calder’s publisher would get his books into e-format; I’d buy them all in a heartbeat.

God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Now, I’d taken the first three books in the Dune series in stride. They were fine, weird beasts in and of themselves, full of complex ideas and strange events. But this one trumped them all. It took me a long time to really come to terms with Leto’s merger with a sandworm and his transformation into a near-immortal, unstable tyrant, and to appreciate the paradoxical depths of the philosophical discussions within. It’s a flawed book, certainly, but unlike anything I had read to that point (the mid-eighties, when I was an impressionable lad). One of these days I’ll have to read it again, just to see if it stands up to my memories of it.

Zod Wallop by William Browning Spencer

While the idea of a book as a doorway into another world is hardly new, I was unprepared for how this book would affect me. The action takes place both in the ‘real’ world, where ex-children’s book author Harry Gainesborough has escaped the institution where he was being treated for depression following the death of his daughter, and the world of Zod Wallop, the fantasy world of the books he wrote with said daughter as the central character. The transitions between worlds are seamless, and the climax is as emotionally stunning as I’ve ever read. It’s a strange and amazing journey.

Imajica by Clive Barker

This was my introduction to Clive Barker. You might as well have dropped a bus on me. Barker’s framework of a hidden world behind the superficial façade of this one completely drew me in with the depth of its obsessive detailing, the complicated story threads, and the sheer power of its metaphysical invention. It’s a beautiful, perverse, and terrifying work—still my favorite of Barker’s, and one that undoubtedly left its mark on my writing since.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

The Body in Motion (a science fiction horror short story) [e-stories | writing]

The Body in Motion

On an apocalyptic future Earth, the remains of humanity engage in endless virtual reality battles to determine who will get food—and who will become food. One of these remnants, Vel, attracts the attention of All, the A.I. that manages the battles. Reeling from the death of his lover, Vel is drawn into her plans for fulfilling her ancient directive to save humanity… plans he may not survive.

I originally wrote The Body in Motion in 1999, and it was a departure from the science fiction I’d attempted to write at that point. I’d recently read Harlan Ellison’s short fiction collection Deathbird Stories and was in a mood to write something that really pushed my boundaries and skills of the time. It came out of my fingers quick and hot, the way stories for me all too rarely do, and ended up being my third story sale, appearing in Outer Darkness's spring 2001 issue.

I put the story through a vigorous re-editing, mainly to improve the prose by curbing my then-tendency to use sentence fragments to excess. And now, it’s the second short story I’ve self-published (the first being Something You Should Know early in 2012). It still stands up, I think, but if your tastes run to horror and science fiction and you’re inclined to take a look, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The Body in Motion, a 99-cent science fiction horror short story, is available for download as an ebook from Amazon (Kindle) and Smashwords (.mobi, .epub, .pdf, .pdb), with availability for iTunes (iPad, iPhone), BarnesAndNoble.com (Nook), and assorted other vendors of fine e-consumables coming soon.

Here’s an excerpt of the start of the story:

Vel watched through the translucent leaves of the meat-pod, hoping and fearing a glimpse. She had once passed close, but had not stopped to take him. He had known her at once—unlike the others, she was identical to her image in Eden, with decay-green skin, glowing eyes, fanged teeth, and meat to spare on her bones. Small bones were tangled in her wild black hair, and Vel could never escape the thought that one day, one of his would be among them.

He had been unable tell her destination. Possibly she hunted her Bond, or sought to elude a pursuer by taking an unused pod for a new residence. The sloping ground in this sliver of the World was spattered with clumps of them, some waiting with hungry leaves down, others containing moldering remains, a few sustaining life. The miasma caught the scant light provided by the machines far above.

A furtive creature with wide eyes and a skeletal torso skittered into view. The human’s nostrils flared, and Vel realized it was tracking a life. It glistened with desperation. He considered his own body, starved despite the pod’s nutrient-feed, and wondered if he would behave in this way if he once more won a day of Downtime.

His heart did not pound; his blood did not race. The pod regulated his spindly body, keeping him just alive and just sane, giving him air and water while removing his wastes and toxins with uncaring efficiency. He could not break free, though he well knew the leaves could be ripped open from the outside.

The human moved on, disappearing in the tangle of pods beyond the periphery of his sight. Minutes were left in the Downtime, scant time before his day of fear would end. He thought of Lana, and how her flesh would be his if he won the next combat and she did not. He contemplated the reverse. She was somewhere near, perhaps only a pod or two distant. Their dance was almost—

The green-skinned woman appeared again, scarlet distorting her face and chest, her body the sated predator. She stopped before his pod, sixty meters away, visible between two dead-bearing pods, and tilted her head. He was prevented from panicking. Only minutes to go.

(continued…)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. The Body in Motion cover art: feoris/Bigstock.com.

Links are linkin’, pants are pantin’ [links]

LinksThe good news is that I’m working on first drafts of not one but two dark fantasy short stories, with the aim of shuffling them off to a couple different anthologies for their editors’ consideration sometime in late February. It’s been a good time since I’ve written at this fast a clip, and it feels pretty damn good.

The other good news is that I’m fixin’ to self-pub one of my older short stories, The Body in Motion, sometime in March. It’s a far far faaaar future science fiction horror story that mixes virtual reality, cannibalism, and creative problem-solving. Good times! It’ll be available on Kindle and from Smashwords initially, and later on for Nook, iTunes, and so on, all for 99 cents.

The bad news is that because of all this busy-ness, I’m fobbing this links post off on you, instead of more considered content. (Yeah, it’s also true we’re living in a world ruled (in both the public and private spheres) by short-sighted, malicious, and moronic meatbags hellbent on grabbing those final tiny bits of power and money they aren’t already squatting over, whilst plotting how to escape the now-inevitable financial, social, and environmental collapse they’ve engineered by using our starvation-plagued bodies as rocket fuel to take them to their secret underground compounds on the moon. But that’s not news anymore, is it?)

Someday, I’m going to have to get one of those new-fangled 3D printers. It turns out you can now print your own life-size robot for under $1,000. Or you can (someday) print yourself a new kidney.

Here’s Charlie Jane Anders with advice on how to write fiction for money without selling out too much. I’m filing this one away for when I find someone’s who’s buying.

Author Chuck Wendig serves up 25 hard truths about writing and publishing. Hard, terrible, monkey-laden, and recommended reading.

There’s a geneticist out there who claims to have sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA. Can’t wait to see what the sterling skeptical minds at the History Channel make of it!

Meanwhile, back in the land where real science kicks the awesome, scientists have developed a Star Trek-like tractor beam. For microscopic objects, mind, but still kickin’ the microscopic awesome.

Finally, here’s a video of Gary Busey explaining things about Hobbits. I… have to go lie down now.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Picture: 3poD/Bigstock.com.

Kathryn Meyer Griffith: Human No Longer (Backstory) [guest blog]

Kathryn Meyer GriffithHuman No Longer Backstory
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Amazon Kindle buy link

Human No Longer. It’s my 17th published book — yeah! — and my fourth vampire novel. First, let me tell you where I got the idea for it. About five years ago, I was still trying to please the agent (who I no longer have) who’d sold four of my earlier paperback novels to Zebra in the 1990’s and, because she didn’t seem to like any of my new potential concepts, I asked her what she would like to see. Out of nowhere, she said, “You know your 1991 Zebra vampire novel, Vampire Blood? I liked that one a lot. The characters. Well, how about writing me a sort of sequel with basically the same cast, but with this premise: A woman, a mother, after being turned into a bloodthirsty vampire, must learn to adapt to the human world and still be a good mother. You know, how would she deal with everything when she had children she loved; didn’t want to hurt or leave them… but still had the need to feed on blood? Still had all the urges and desires of a vampire?

Yikes. I hated the idea but, to please her, I went ahead and begrudgingly wrote the book. I tentatively called it The Vampire’s Children or The Vampire Mother or something like that. I finished it. Not too happy with it. I had never liked writing what other people wanted me to write. Stubborn, I guess.

My agent, in the meantime, had begun her own online erotic (which I don’t much care to write) publishing company and when I’d gotten done with the novel she was too busy to even read the finished book. She handed it off to an apprentice intern. An intern? What? Who didn’t like it at all. Duh. So, disgusted, I tucked the file away on my computer and, fed up with the whole agent thing, returned to writing what I wanted to write. An end of days novel called A Time of Demons and a new vampire novel where the evil vampire wasn’t a mother. In 2010 I went with a new publisher, Kim Richards at Damnation Books/Eternal Press, and she contracted not only those two books but asked me if I’d like to rewrite, update and rerelease all 7 of my older out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks going back to 1984. Heck yes, I said! So for the next 2 years I was busy doing that. Some of those books were over twenty-five years old and very outdated. Their rewriting, editing and rereleasing took a lot of work and time.

Human No LongerThen, in late 2012, I decided to take a very old book of mine (Predator) which was contracted to Zebra Paperbacks in 1993 but, in the end, never actually released, and just for the heck of it, as my 16th novel, self-publish it to Amazon Kindle Direct. Just in ebook form. A kind of grand experiment. The first time I’ve ever tried self-publishing. See how it’d sell. Dinosaur Lake. A story about a hungry mutant dinosaur loose in the waters of Crater Lake that goes on a rampage. Hey, I wrote Dinosaur Lake before Jurassic Park, the book, ever came out! Really. I had my cover artist, Dawne Dominique make a cover for it…and it was stunning with a dinosaur roaring on the front. And I did everything else myself. Editing. Proofing. Formatting. With forty years and endless publishers behind me I felt I was capable. And it’d been selling so well I decided to self-publish another one…and I remembered the mother/vampire book. Hmmm. So I revamped (ha, ha, inside joke), polished, and self-published it, as well. I retitled it Human No Longer. Got my fabulous cover artist, Dawne Dominique, to make me a lovely haunting cover with a troubled-looking woman standing outside a spooky house, with two children behind her in its shadows, on the front and voila! All in all, I don’t think the book turned out half bad. In fact, with the changes I made I think it’s not bad at all. Now I just hope my readers will like it.

So that’s the story of Human No Longer. My 17th published novel.

****

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith…

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.

I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

****

My books: Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forge, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire, Witches, The Nameless One short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away, Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella, In This House short story, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, The Woman in Crimson, The Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction), Dinosaur Lake, 4 Spooky Short Stories, Telling Tales of Terror (I did the chapter on the Putting the Occult into your Fiction), Human No Longer.

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

***

Find Kathryn Meyer Griffith on the web:
MySpace (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)
Bebo
Facebook
AuthorsDen
Goodreads
JacketFlap
ShoutLife
Romance Reader and Writer
Romance Book Junction

***

Blurb:

Jenny and Jeff Sanders on a summer night become the victims of a bizarre crime, leaving Jeff dead and Jenny in a coma. Their attackers aren’t caught.

She returns to her children and her life. With Jeff’s death his business and their income are also gone. Jenny, a novelist, hasn’t written a book in years, so she must move back to her childhood home in Summer Haven, Florida, where years before she and Jeff destroyed a sadistic family of vampires.

At least her brother, Joey, who owns a local diner, is there to help.

But Jenny has no appetite. She’s edgy. Her eyes hurt. Could be trauma from the attack. Grief. Until one night, after they’ve moved into the rundown family farmhouse, she can’t resist the night woods and going out to drink animals’ blood.

Gradually she accepts the truth. Her attackers were vampires. Now she’s becoming what she once hunted and fears she must either kill herself or run. She can’t abandon her children, but promises never to drink human blood; to find a way to live in the human world. It’s not easy. They renovate the farmhouse, which local gossip says is haunted. At night she hunts, and hides what she’s becoming from everyone. She fights to be a good mother and not let the bloodlust overpower her. Gets a job and attempts to fit in.

People, bodies emptied of blood, begin dying. Like years before. With her blackouts, she fears she may be the killer and confides in Joey. While a detective, investigating her husband’s and his daughter’s murders, complicates things.

Jenny suspects it’s her attackers doing the slayings. They’ve found her and demand she join them—or her family will die. When she resists, her children are taken; to save them, she becomes part of the vampires’ killing spree. Becoming a monster like them…until she finds a way to outwit and ultimately destroy them.

In the end it takes supernatural intervention, a ghost, and the help of a childhood friend to set her, and the world, free from the vampires once and for all.

***

Excerpt:

Shutting her eyes, she lingered at the door and listened to the night animals beyond the glass. They were frolicking out there in the autumn murkiness among the crispy leaves and cool dirt covered ground. Little creatures, with nocturne eyes and speedy feet, full of hot blood.

The mother in her fretted over leaving her children alone in the house but the hunger overpowered the mother and she snuck outside into the darkness.

She told herself they’d be fine. She’d be back shortly. That she should reward herself for her self-restraint all day. She hadn’t attacked one living person. Hadn’t gone crazy or hung from the rafters by her feet. She’d done well.

She told herself that killing innocent little animals wasn’t all that creepy, wasn’t all that bad, considering the alternative. It didn’t work. She loved animals and hated having to kill them at all for any reason. Or had. But, she had to keep reminding herself, animals died every minute of the day to fill humans’ stomachs. Right? Was what she did any worse than that? All she wanted was their blood. It was her food.

She felt guilty only until she captured the large fox, humanely snapped its neck to drink the blood (which tasted better than anything she’d ever drank or eaten) and then was too exhilarated to think of anything but further feeding her hunger; not even that she could run faster than she ever had, could see like an owl through the darkness, smell her prey miles away and that her teeth were changing. When she stuck her finger into her mouth she could feel the points. Oh, great. Little fangs. Oh, Lord, could this get any weirder? She thought about those horror movies she’d seen over the years where some unlucky human had been bitten and was slowly turning into god-knows-what and couldn’t believe or accept it. Was in shock. Now she knew exactly how they’d felt.

Though, in the end, she did feel regret for killing the poor fox and the one the night before. But, yes, it was better than feeding off homo sapiens. Damn straight it was.

After ingesting the blood she felt as if there was nothing she couldn’t deal with. No problem she couldn’t solve, no disaster she couldn’t avert. She was superwoman.

This wasn’t so bad, was it? It’d occurred to her perhaps if a good person became a vampire that might be the key. Good person equals good vampire? Bad person equals bad vampire? She could only pray that was the case. Oh, it could be worse. She could lust after human blood and not be able to resist. Now that would be a deal breaker.

She absorbed the night poised beside a towering tree, its limbs shifting in the wind; inhaled the dizzying perfumes of the forest. Her lips on the verge of smiling. She felt better than she had since she’d come out of the coma weeks ago.

Her new world revolved around her in slow motion. The night birds cooed in their nests. The air danced among the dying leaves. Insects skittered between limbs and under bushes. On the breeze there were aromatic wisps of brewing coffee and chocolate (cake she thought), fresh baking bread and as always now, blood. Animal blood in the small bustling creatures hiding out all around her and in the distance the cloying scent of human blood. Her children asleep in their beds. Amazing.

God, the night was beautiful.

That’s when she saw the pale figure hiding between the trees to her left. A tall man dressed in drab clothes watched her.

She merged deeper into the woods among the thicker underbrush but when she looked back, he was still on the fringe observing.

Waves of uneasiness rippled through her and the vertigo was unbalancing. This man stalking her wasn’t her friend. This man was dangerous. If he was a man.

She ran all the way home at a speed she never would have imagined a human capable of. More like flying really. Her feet barely touched the ground, her night eyes so keen she never once collided with a tree or stumbled over a rock.

Within seconds she was inside the farmhouse peeking out the windows; the mysterious stranger nowhere in sight. Thank God.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Human No Longer cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Getting my brain cells all lined up and stuff [events | writing | pictures]

Authors at Schulers

(Left to right: Sidney Ayers, DJ Desmyter, Gary W. Olson (i.e. me), Cindy Spencer Pape, Megan Parker, Roxanne Rhoads, and Nathan Squiers)

A couple weeks ago, I did a couple of signings back-to-back: one at Schulers Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, and one at the public library in Davison, Michigan. They were both multi-author events, as evidenced by the picture above. While they ended up being a bit sparsely attended, I had a great time nonetheless, talking with various readers and fellow authors. The library signing was especially cool for me, as it took place in my hometown’s library, which I observed had changed very little in the twenty-one years since I’d left, and it makes me happy to know that it now has copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous in its system (which means that so does the Genessee District Library system its part of).

The following week was a blur to me, for various personal and family reasons not to be gotten into here. Much of this week was lost to distraction, both due to the recent U.S. election (the results of which pleased me overall) and getting a replacement smartphone (and having to fuss with it to get everything set back up right). But I’m getting back into the swing of writing.

I’m nearly done with the first quarter of my Untitled Mad Science Novel (which I’m tentatively calling This Island Monstrous, until I think of something better). It’s taken me much longer than I anticipated just to get this far, but I’m pleased with how it’s going. Soon, I’ll be switching gears and going back to work on my SF biopunk novella The Morpheist, with a goal of getting it rewritten, edited, polished, and ready to send out somewheres by the end of the year. That’s pretty much it for my rest-of-the-year writing plans; anything I may have blathered on about before (such as rewriting my old Electricity in the Rain serial fiction) is back on the shelf.

As for next year… that remains to be seen. Anytime I plan, it seems, life gets on with the thwarting, so I’m just gonna play it by ear.

Books on Shelves

(Picture from the shelves at Schuler’s, including both Brutal Light and Fading Light.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. First photo: Someone in the audience at Schulers. Second photo: Gary W. Olson.

Reminder: Signings in Lansing today (10/24/12) and Davison tomorrow (10/25/12) [events | brutal light | fading light]

Brutal LightJust a quick reminder for Michigan folks reading this blog, today (Wednesday, October 24th, 2012), at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction, then signing copies of my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous. Then tomorrow, I’ll be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which will also be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing. Addresses for both are on the other end of the links.

Also, congratulations to Jen Lavinski, the commenter who won the PDF copy of Karina Fabian’s Neeta Lyffe 2 that I was raffling off last week!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Karina Fabian: Keeping Zombies Fresh [guest blog]

Good morning! Author Karina Fabian is back on this patch of virtual real estate today, talking about her new book from Damnation Books, Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco (the sequel to her popular Neeta Lyffe: Zombie Exterminator).


I’ll be giving away a free PDF copy of Neeta Lyffe 2 to one randomly chosen commenter on this blog entry! (That is, on my main blog itself, where these missives originate, not on places they are echoed, such as my LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, or Tumblr accounts). Comments must be in by Saturday, October 21st, 2012, 11:59:59 e.d.t.


Karina FabianKeeping Zombies Fresh: guest post by Karina Fabian


Gary asked me to write a blog on “how to keep zombies fresh.” He was probably talking about the genre, but pffth! What fun is that? Instead, I offer you the trials of Josie Gump, who (in Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), mistakenly believed her late Jebadiah, who came back from the grave to plop himself in the easy chair to demand beer and watch Jerry Springer, was somehow still a person, but “life-challenged.” May I present, Mrs. Josie Gump:


I’m a pretty ordinary person, living a quiet, contented life with a loving husband and four great kids. However, I have a brain crowded with characters who live far more interesting lives than I ever will. (Mind you, they also experience a lot more pain and stress, so I am not looking to trade.) I write their stories in order to get them out of my head before it explodes, and because I love their adventures so much, I want to share them.


Well, this is all rather personal, but the Zombies Are People, Too Movement asked me about I was “keeping things fresh” with Jebediah. No one’s ever asked me for my housekeeping tips, before, and well, Jeb didn’t much care about the house as long as the food was ready when he got home, the beer was cold, and the TV screen clean.


Anyways, I have to admit, it has been a challenge. At first, it seemed all right—easier, even. Death has changed him, you see, and while I don’t want to talk bad about nobody, Jeb used to keep tight hold of the money. Now, though—now, I tell him I want a little extra for new curtains or a better broom, and he just grunts his assent. And he did show up kind of dirty from digging himself out of the grave, but he didn’t have any problem with me sweeping him off with the whisk broom. Just so long as I didn’t get between him and the TV, of course.


It’s gotten worse, though. First, that reporter mentioned a smell. I thought he meant the house! I threw him out, even sic’ced Pinky on him. I’m so embarrassed now, because he was right. I’ve kind of run through most of the commercially available products. In desperation, I even tried B to Z FreshAire. I mean, it says “Bathrooms to Zombies.” Jeb did not like that! One spray, and he started groaning, was so mad! I threw it out. Later, I found out, it’s zombie repellant! How horrible is that? I’m so glad for ZAPT; they’re trying to make that poison illegal. Anyway, there’s this expensive stuff called Orange Blaze that gets your house all citrusy, but it’s expensive, so if you can’t afford it, lots of Freedbreezy works.


Another unfortunate problem with the “differently living” is, well, insects. I tried the natural methods—mint, basil, and lavender—but I finally had to break down and get some repellant. I worry about the dogs, but at least my Jeb never leaves his chair. I mean, even if I have to run an errand, he just waits so patiently for his next beer! It’s really a change; he just so gentle now. Of course, I’d be glad for any suggestions. I think there are some creatures making a home inside the chair. I’m so embarrassed. I’d call an exterminator, but they all seem to specialize in zombie extermination, now. I have to think of my Jeb.


In the end, it wasn’t the challenge of keeping Jeb fresh that drove Josie over the edge. She finally turned off the TV in the interest of keeping their marriage “fresh,” whereupon Jeb tried to eat her brains and she realized he’d lied to her again. She went after him with the shotgun, then sold her home, packed up the dogs and became a spokeswoman for “Zombies Are People-NOT!”


Conclusion: While there are probably as many ways to keep zombie stories fresh as there are writers, keeping the zombies themselves fresh is quite a challenge.


***

Neeta Lyffe 2 I Left My Brains in San Francisco Are you the next “Zombie Idol”?


Damnation Books and Karina Fabian are looking for someone to sing the theme song I wrote for I Left My Brains in San Francisco. She has the words and the tune; but they need a singer. They are offering prizes for the best singer, the most creative audition video, and are giving one in ten entries a copy of the e-book. The details are at http://fabianspace.blogspot.com/p/are-you-next-zombie-idol.html.


***


Blurb:


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.


Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.


***


Bio:


If there’s such a thing as ADD of the imagination, Karina Fabian has it—in spades. Craft books, devotionals, serious science fiction, comedic horror and chilling fantasy—she follows her interests and the characters that tell her their stories.


Even before she could write, Karina strung tall tales about everything from making human pyramids in Kindergarten to visiting alien worlds. Her first attempt at novel writing was in fourth grade; she completed her first novel in college. However, her first published work was an anthology of Christian science fiction, Leaps of Faith, an EPPIE finalist for best anthology in 2006. Her next anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God, featured Catholic characters and themes and won the EPPIE for science fiction. The second Infinite Space, Infinite God anthology came out in 2010.


Watching the comedy improv show, Whose Line Is It, Anyway, inspired her noir-style dragon detective, Vern. Vern and his partner, Sister Grace, have solved mysteries and saved the Faerie and Mundane worlds numerous numerous times in the DragonEye, PI stories and novels. Their serial story, World Gathering, won a Mensa Owl; and the novel, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Fabian’s first published novel), won the INDIE for best fantasy in 2010. The second DragonEye book, Live and Let Fly, came out in April 2012.


At a friend’s request, Karina wrote a funny story about a zombie exterminator, which grew into the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator novels. The first, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, won the 2011 Global E-Book award for best horror, and was runner-up in the eFestival of Words for best YA.


She also writes serious science fiction. Her SF novels, Discovery and The Old Man and the Void, are currently under consideration, and she’s working on the next DragonEye novel, a superhero spoof, Gapman.


Karina has a strong faith, which she explored in her devotional, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, which she wrote with her father Steve Lumbert, and which won the 2011 Christian Small Press Publisher Award. She also writes Catholic school calendars and has written three craft books for the Little Flowers/Blue Knights clubs.


Fabian is married to Colonel Robert A. Fabian of the USAF, and they are currently enjoying a long distance relationship while he’s stationed in Iraq. They have four children, an overgrown pup, and a harried cat. When not writing, teaching writing, or chatting about writing, she’s hanging out with her kids or swinging a sword in haidong gumbdo.


***


Excerpt:


Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday.


Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee. Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting. Was it only last Christmas?


He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind. “You want to live! We want to live! That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”


Yeah. Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.


He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.


God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back. Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside. He needed to delete Marley’s old code from it.


He cleared his throat. “Listen up! You want to live! We want to live!”


The exit door clicked.


"That’s impossible!" he declared. The store fell silent.


"Boss?" Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.


"That’s not what I meant! Security team to customer service!"


He reached under the counter for a shotgun. Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw. They had filled them that morning—another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.


The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.


Clint to blasted him with the shotgun. The impact knocked the Marley out the door.


Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot. “He brought friends! Call Nine-One-One. I’m putting this place on shutdown.”


"Screw that! I’ve been prepping all my life for this!" With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door. She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.


Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.


He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1. It’d be too late by the time they got there. All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.


God bless survivors.


***


Find Karina at:


Website: http://fabianspace.com, http://dragoneyepi.net
, http://zombiedeathextreme.com
Blog: http://fabianspace.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/KarinaFabian
Google +: https://plus.google.com/103660024891826015212
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10981939-karina-fabian


Find Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco at:
Damnation Books (.mobi, .pdf, .epub, .pdb): http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727643
Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/Nzm01L (print), http://amzn.to/OBBmkL (Kindle)
More about it at http://zombiedeathextreme.com.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Karina Fabian. Neeta Lyffe 2 cover art: George Silliman.

October Events: Signings in Lansing and Davison [brutal light | fading light | events]

Brutal LightOn Wednesday, October 24th, 2012, at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction. With me will be authors Sidney Ayers, D.J. Desmyter, Bruce Jenvey, Megan Parker, Cindy Spencer Pape, and Nathan Squiers. After that will be the selling and signing of books, including my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous.

After that, I wake up naked in a cornfield outside of Grand Rapids, wondering what happened.

Fading LightOn Thursday, October 25th, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., I’ll also be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which just happens to be my home town! Once again this will be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing, with fellow authors Cindy Spencer Pape, Bruce Jenvey, Roxanne Rhoads, Nathan Squiers, and Megan Parker also on hand.

I once blinded (for a few seconds) Olympic hockey champion Ken Morrow at this library. True story.

So if you’re in either vicinity at those times, save the dates, as I hope to see you there!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique. Fading Light cover art: Jessy Lucero.

Fading Light News Roundup Part Deux [fading light]

Fading LightIt’s been about two weeks now since Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous (which includes my short story “Goldilocks Zone”) dropped on readers like Godzilla on Tokyo, and it seems to be doing pretty well in sales so far. There was an issue with the manufacture of the print version of the books (e-books were not affected) due to some snafu by CreateSpace (the print was riddled with boxes with x’s in them). So if you got this print version via Amazon, you can either return it to Amazon for a refund, or return it to Amazon and get a corrected copy back. In addition, by way of apology (even though the fault was not on their end) Angelic Knight Press will gift you any two books from their library of titles (print or e-book).

There’s a giveaway of a couple of those (corrected) paperback copies going on over on Goodreads. Enter by October 1st for your chance to win one!

Reviews have been coming in for FL, by and large very positive. The Horror Fiction Review gave FL a very good review. Another good one popped up on Fantasy Book Critic. Plus more reader reviews have been coming in for the main volume and the companion on Amazon. Also, Goodreads.

Editor Tim Marquitz was interviewed by Lee Mather on his Livejournal about FL, his upcoming publications from Genius Book Publishing, what’s next in the Blood War trilogy, and more.

On Fantasy Book Review, contributor Gef Fox talks about where the idea for his story, “Where Coyotes Fear to Tread” came from. He also talks about the anthology in general on his own site.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Fading Light cover by Jessy Lucero.

Fading Light Release Day! [fading light]

Fading LightThe day, she has arrived! Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, edited by Tim Marquitz, published by Angelic Knight Press, and including my short story "Goldilocks Zone", is now out and about for your reading pleasure!

Fading Light, for those just tuning in, is an anthology of thirty tales of monsters making their moves on the world of the living. The writing prompt was this:

"The light has failed: the era of man is at its end.

"Born of darkness, the creatures of myth, legend, and nightmare have long called the shadows home. Now, with the cruel touch of the sun fading into memory, they’ve returned to claim their rightful place amidst humanity: as its masters."

From that came an impressive set of stories, diverse in style, tone, genre, and monstrous vision. I read the early review copy a few months ago, and was thrilled to be included with such talented writers and strong tales. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy them as well.

Fading Light is available today in print and for the Kindle from Amazon, and in a variety of e-book formats (.mobi, .pdf, .epub, etc.) from Smashwords. And don’t forget the 99-cent e-book only companion volume, collecting five more monstrous tales (again, from Amazon and Smashwords).

FL already has a couple of good reviews, right here and here.

While I’m here, let me just also throw in some links to additional FL publicity that’s come out in the past week:

The fourth multi-author interview was on the Fantasy Book Critic site: part one and part two.

Contributor Peter Welmerink wrote a guest blog for Fantasy Book Review on writing longform fiction vs. writing short stories.

Contributor Adam Millard wrote a guest blog for This Is Horror on reasons for reading at least one H.P. Lovecraft story.

Contributor Edward M. Erdelac wrote a guest blog for Fantasy Book Review hailing H.P. Lovecraft’s recently passed birthday.

Aaaand… that’s it for now, I think. Hope you enjoy reading the stories in Fading Light as much as the lot of us did writing them!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Cover of Fading Light by Jessy Lucero.