Friday, January 18, 2013

REVIEW: META-HORDE by Sean T. Page and John McQuaig

Brought to you by the Ministry of Zombies!


The year 2020 was a good one for the walking dead. The initial reports of a mysterious plague reanimating corpses caused unbridled chaos and as the world descended into hell, nations turned on each other in the battle to survive. Europe is devastated. The remnants of NATO managed to create safe zones within their cities that still had the protection of medieval built stone walls. Once again, these ancient bastions were a sanctuary from invaders, keeping back the dead legions. The rest of the continent was a dead - zone populated by hundreds of millions of walking corpses. The medieval fortress-city Carcassonne, in Southern France, became the headquarters of the living but as the last pockets of human survivors rebuilt the fragile framework of a new society, one man discovers a terrifying secret. So far, what has happened is only the beginning. Humanity now faces a true extinction level event. The dead are clustering in massive numbers. Mere walls can't defend against the overwhelming force of the meta-horde.



Amazon Stars: 5/5 

Beware the Horde

This novel from the Ministry of Zombies hits you right in the face with action that never stops. From the moment you open the cover, you can tell the authors took their topic very seriously; with a foreword written by a reputable doctor, the tone is established: what would zombie behaviors consist of? This is an extremely well-written novel that is both thought-provoking and adrenaline-pumping.

As someone who believes that society operates with the intelligence and purpose of a "superorganism," I found the horde concept to be extremely fascinating and altogether terrifying because the terror is grounded in scientific research. As our heroes race again time—and the odds—to overcome impending doom, we are given all of the elements of both a good action and zombie story combined into one potent mixture of entertainment. Impossible odds, a twisted, villainous organization, harda$$ commandos, and zombies!

The emergence of the adversarial humans nearly halfway through the book utilized a shocking philosophy that I won't spoil for you, but the metaphorical implications were very interesting. A zombie book should always provide some subtle social commentary, and I didn't have to look too hard to find it here—the stampeding, flesh-hungry corpses will always serve as great symbols for the mass-ignorance inherent in the crowd mentality, but humanity's opponents in this riveting story provide another sick variation of ignorance…

I would have personally preferred a little more character development as a substitute for all the action, because there are a lot of characters exchanging bullets in between snippets of clever and naturalistic conversation. If you like your zombie novels to highlight military bravery with mankind's last few bullets, and the souls of courageous soldiers, pitted against apocalyptic goals and corrupt organizations, then your zombie-book-buying dollar will find an excellent value here. 

Author Interview: William Todd Rose

When I was given the opportunity to speak to horror author William Todd Rose about his work, I couldn't resist. His recent novel, published by the fine folks at Permuted Press, has proven to be an excellent entry into the zombie-fiction genre. If you love zombies, horror, or science-fiction---heck, if you love to read a good story, The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is highly recommended. 

Synopsis for The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People: 

Bosley Couglin can travel through time. And the future does not look good.
Through a heady cocktail of drugs and the occult, Bosley slips through time and space and glimpses The End. Cities lay in ruins, and those who still cling to life hide in the rubble like frightened animals. Walking carcasses shamble through the debris exacting a horrible fate upon any living they find.
This horrific future is the only world fourteen year old Ocean has ever known. Starving and alone, she struggles for even the most basic of necessities: food, water, shelter, love…
In the present, Bosley stumbles across Clarice Hudson and soon realizes that she is much more than a simple shop girl. One by one, she displays the seven symptoms of the contagion that will bring Bosley's world to an end and create the nightmare Ocean calls home. Clarice may hold the key to stopping the coming apocalypse and sparing Ocean from the atrocities of mankind's imminent future… but only if Coughlin is willing to push beyond every notions he's ever held about right and wrong. 


VB: Your work tends to straddle the line between horror and science-fiction, often blending both genres seamlessly. Why did you choose horror? More specifically, what interests you about writing in the zombie sub-genre?

WTR: I’ve always had a fascination with horror in general.  Ever since I can remember, I was enthralled with ghost stories and those creepy urban legends we all grew up with.  So when I began writing my own stuff, it was just a natural extension of this interest.  So I guess I didn’t exactly choose dark fiction… it was just kind of there all along.

The zombie subgenre fascinates me for a couple different reasons.  For quite some time I’ve been intrigued with the psychological and sociological ramifications of a single, shared event… in this case, the collapse of civilization as we know it.  How individual people would cope with this collective tragedy would undoubtedly be as varied as the personalities involved.  Of course, I could explore apocalyptic scenarios in ways other than the walking dead (such as I did in Cry Havoc and Apocalyptic Organ Grinder);  but zombies can be a lot of fun.  There’s the obvious metaphors of facing one’s own mortality and the whole preternatural aspect of living corpses, but damn it I like monsters!  Always have.  And zombies, in my opinion, are the perfect monsters.  Werewolves only change by the light of the full moon;  vampires must seek refuge during daylight:  but a zombie isn’t bound by any of that.  A zombie will just keep coming after you until either you kill it or it kills you.  But the best thing about reanimates is they plunge humanity back down to the bottom of the food chain.  It’s not enough that our infrastructure lays in ruins.  It’s not enough that PTSD runs amok from the initial shock and awe campaign of an undead uprising. Zombies completely outnumber the living and put us back to a place we haven’t been for a very, very long time.  We become prey, plain and simple.

The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People offers a unique reading experience because it is often surreal, while showcasing characters whose emotions and struggles are both contemporary and emotional. Tell us a little about one of your characters, and how you think their conflicts are relevant to readers.

Ocean is a young girl, around fourteen years old or so, who has grown up in the apocalyptic wastelands of the United States.  She’s never known any other world than the one she was born into.  Her reality consists of hiding and evasion, of desperately struggling to survive in an inhospitable environment.  When she was very young, the already crippled remnants of society were further torn apart by Food Wars.  In these wars, gangs fought one another, and massacred innocents, in an attempt to seize as much food and as many weapons as they could. When it was all over, there were no more supplies to be had, further pushing mankind toward extinction.  The people of her world aren’t survivors… they’re refugees.  In fact, when we first meet Ocean she is emaciated to the point that most of her hair has fallen out and is trapping flies in her mouth just for a bit of sustenance.  She’s almost more animal than human, sniffing at the air to detect the scent of nearby zombies, scurrying through warrens and tunnels of debris.
But even though she lives in a world so very unlike our own, human nature still asserts itself.  Like all children, she plays.  Kids in our world look at the clouds and amuse themselves by forming pictures from the shapes they see… Ocean does the same thing with the Rorschach-like bloodstains that color her world.  Eventually she feels the pangs of first love, the confusion of adolescence.  In a lot of ways, her portion of The Seven Habits is a coming of age story set against a very desolate and horrible backdrop. 

Is the protagonist of Seven Habits, Bosely Coughlin, the kind of guy a girl would be comfortable bringing home to meet Daddy? He seems like the kind of guy who could easily be misunderstood…

Bosley definitely isn’t a “meet the parents” type of guy.  To begin with, he possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the occult.  Combing arcane rites with a steady drug regimen, he hopes to totally erase his own ego so he can rebuild it from the ground up, tailor made to his specifications.  He’s extremely intelligent with a particular interest in science, but can also be a condescending ass at times.  He’s pretty much given up on personal hygiene and his circle of acquaintances include drug dealers and prostitutes.  He’s probably most parents’ worst nightmare. So, as you can see, he’s not exactly your typical “hero”.  But he’s actually a good person at heart.  You just have to get to know the dude.

Seven Habits features a very fresh take on the zombie genre. Like most of your work, this book warps both the metaphysical and physical worlds. How does a creative mind like yours work? What is your writing environment like? Was there a specific type of process or mood you relied on while writing this novel?

I’m not exactly sure how my mind works.  These characters and situations just kind of pop unbidden into my head.  As far as my writing environment, it’s pretty simplistic.  Just a desk, chair, my computer, a few favorite toys, and lots of scraps of paper with snippets of prose and dialogue jotted down.  Though I almost always do have music playing as I write.  I usually try to match the style of music to the atmosphere I’m trying to capture.  For The Seven Habits, the soundtrack to my writing featured predominantly goth and darkwave bands.  I was trying to set a tone of brooding melancholy and menace, so these songs fit pretty well in my opinion.  As far as the process goes, The Seven Habits was something of an anomaly.  I generally write in a very sequential order.  Chapter one is followed by chapter two and the plot unfolds in a linear manner.  When writing this book, however, I was kind of all over the place.  Much like Bosley being pulled back and forth through time and space, I would find myself working on things that happened near the end of the book and then going back to work on earlier events before returning, once again, to later plot developments.  It was such a different way for me to work that I was kind of surprised there was actually a consistent story arc.  Everything eventually got put in chronological order (at least as much as possible when time travel is an element in your tale), but it was a very scattered method of writing that I don’t know if I could do again if I tried.

Has there ever been a sequence or an event in one of your novels that you found difficult to write because it was disturbing, or is there a scene that you consider to be particularly horrifying now?

There’s never really been anything which has been difficult to write.  This might be because I have a pretty sick and twisted imagination, as well as sense of humor.  Sometimes when I’m working on something really horrific, I’ll be sitting there cackling like a madman with twisted glee.  The funny thing is it’s not graphic scenes that eventually get to me.  It’s usually subtle things.  The last sentence in the short story “Cooking with Grace” (from Box of Darkness) is a good example.  That sentence gives me chills when I go back and read it.  And that’s the way it usually is for me.  It’s the subtext which creeps me out.

What do you look for when you sit down to read a horror story? What was the last good book you've read?

I like something that’s different.  I don’t want a cookie-cutter knockoff of the current bestseller.  I don’t want to read an author who writes the same book over and over and over.  I don’t want predictable.  I haven’t been reading as much as I used to, but the last good book I read was Neuromancer by William Gibson.  Again.  I never get tired of that novel and have actually lost count of how many times I’ve read it.  If I refine your question to the last good book I’ve read that I hadn’t read before, then the answer would be Blood Legacy by Carl Hose.

Finally, what advice can you give to other writers?

My advice to writers is short and simple: be true to your own voice. Don’t try to be Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or HP Lovecraft. Just be yourself.


Named by the Google+ Insider's Guide as one of their top 32 authors to follow, William Todd Rose writes dark, speculative fiction which often lends itself to the bizarre and macabre.  With short stories appearing in various magazines and anthologies, his body of work also includes the novels Cry Havoc, Shut The Fuck Up and Die!, The Dead and Dying, and The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People, as well as the short story collection Sex in the Time of Zombies.  For more information on the author, including links to free fiction, please visit him online at

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nightmare Reflections

Alternate History Civil War Zombie Fiction Walking Dead
While writing Nightmare of the Dead, there were several moments where I actually had to step away from the keyboard and consider whether or not I'd gone too far.
            In fact, I did go too far while writing Dr. Saul's back story, which is the section of the novel I feel is the most horrific. Dr. Saul is a rather tragic figure, and I truly believe the environment can dramatically affect the psychosis of a young mind. Saul might be considered a "villainous" man, but the other characters involved in the melodrama are just as profoundly disturbed as he is. Hence the nightmare that readers delve into.
            There is a lot of potential in the zombie genre; I thought I could explore the depths of human depravity and the dark subconscious savagery the zombies themselves represent. When we consider zombies as the antagonists in any medium, we're hardly interested in why they might crave human flesh, or how they could possibly digest their meals, considering that they're "undead." If these monsters operate on some primal level—as a lot of zombie fiction suggests—then what does that say about the living?
            The Civil War has been called one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. With the advent of mechanized warfare, battlefield medicine was still too far behind to deal with the horrific wounds that were inflicted upon the young men who fought for either the Union or the Confederacy. War itself often provides ample opportunity for the disintegration of ethics and the demoralization of the human spirit, thus it serves as the perfect backdrop for the most depraved characters I could imagine. Of course, the war provides another thematic parallel for character conflict, but I won't spoil it for you…
            The protagonist, Neasa Bannan, is hardly an angelic figure, yet her own experience is rather horrific without zombies or war; imagine finding yourself on a train and your identity has been completely wiped away. You don't know who you are, but everybody else seems to have some idea who you might be. This certainly provides an opportunity for thematic development in the story, as we venture to discover what she is just as much as who she is. This is just as important when we realize that she was already questioning her identity before it was taken from her. Love will do that to a person.
            After finishing Nightmare of the Dead, I almost wondered if the book would fall into the splatterpunk category. I've always believed there is a lot of room for horror to be both thematic and entertaining. As an avid reader of classic literature, I've read books that are far scarier than most of the books that are considered "horror" classics. I truly think that an exploration of horror can unlock the secrets of the human soul, as it seems to do for the characters in my novel.
            Readers looking for historical fiction will be disappointed, because I don't venture into the Civil War as often as someone might like, and I really don't discuss the philosophies or rationale behind the conflict. The second book will include a historic battle, as will the third, and of course we’ll have plenty of zombies. I only write what I see, and I don't have a whole lot of control over the characters. I'm telling the story that follows me into the realm of nightmare and shadow…

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Author Spotlight: Raebeth McGee-Buda

RaeBeth McGee-Buda is the author of one soon to be published book within the young adult/suspense genre. She loves blogging, reading, and above all spending time with her daughter and husband. She’s normally quiet until she gets to know you and then the talking gates open.

Synopsis of Silenced:

Amber Brown spent her entire existence believing Dave was her father. When her mother reveals this is untrue, she goes through an emotional spiral with depression. It's hard for her to believe her mother had lied to her all this time.

A move to a new home and town causes Amber to be consumed by her "darkness" and reverts to cutting to free herself from her pain.

When Casey, her new friend enters her life, she introduces Amber to parties, drugs, and Amber's new boyfriend Landon. The secret of cutting begins to take affect on Amber as she tries to hide it from her friends and family. In the mist of everything, Amber has the desire to find out who           her biological father is.

Follow Amber through her trials of depression and cutting, along with the discovery of love. 


Without giving too much away, can you tell us how does the title of your book, Silenced, connects to your book's themes?

The title Silenced  connects to the theme because my protagonist uses cutting to silence her feelings of depression, along with the need to cut.

If you were to compare your protagonist, Amber, to any popular film or book characters, who would you choose? Why?

I would say Amber would partly compare to Emily Osment in Cyberbully. She plays the main character, Taylor that fell victim to online bullying. Although my character deals with bullies in school and not on the internet, it still makes the characters feel the same way. Taylor is well aware of her social status in school like Amber does. Although their looks vary, I believe they play a close part.

Why do you think Amber's internal conflict might be interesting to readers?

I feel that readers who are depressed and dealing with self harm can relate. When a person reads Silenced, they can feel her pain and see her world through her eyes, which I feel is important. I think Silenced can not only have those who are depressed relate but help those who aren’t understand what’s going on in the mind of a person who may be dealing with the same issues.

Your book depicts a high school experience that is hardly idyllic. In your opinion, what are some factors in school that could contribute to a teenager's negative self-image?

There are many factors that could play a part. I’m not a psychologist and therefore can not tell of the exact reasons. But I can tell you from experience and from my own research. Several people I’ve interviewed for Silenced felt that school was a popular contest. Not all teens fit in. This could lead to a bad self image and low self esteem.

Who might be interested in reading Silenced? (This question is asking you to mention the names of popular books readers might have read before picking up your book, and it's also asking if readers might be interested in a specific concept in the book they can relate to ).

If one has read Cut by Patricia McCormick, I believe they will love Silenced. Although the plots are a bit different I think they have about the same feel to them. I think those who would be most interested are people who enjoy suspense, understand self harm and depression, and anyone wanting a great read.

Do you often follow a process when you create one of your stories? Did you do anything differently with Silenced?

I normally sit down at my computer and let my finger go away at the keys. I don’t follow a plotline or anything of the sort. I think if I tried doing that I’d end up going off track any way. When I first come up with an idea I start writing but by the time I’m at the end... the entire story is completely different then the original thought.

What inspired you to write Silenced?

There’s a lot of inspiration. First, I suffered from depression and it sort of bothered me when others made comments about it when they didn’t fully understand what I was going through. I know several people who self harm and feel there’s no end to it. Silenced is here to give hope to those who suffer from depression and understanding to those who want to understand. If I can help one person understand or give hope to one person... then the mission for Silenced was accomplished.

Finally, do you have any advice for new writers?

Never give up and don’t let anyone say you can’t. You can!!! The process is trying and you may find discouragement along the way but don’t let it stop you. Even if you have the little voice in your head saying you can’t. Grab some tape, place it over that little voice, and continue on. In the end, you’ll be excited and happy that you didn’t give up.

Relevant Links:

Find out more about me at my website here:


RaeBeth McGee-Buda was born in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1987, the second daughter of Rachel Yost and Arthur Curtis McGee. RaeBeth grew up loving to read and write poetry, as well as short stories. Her childhood dream was to become a teacher. Rae Beth's dream of writing was created in her eleventh grade literature class where writing became her passion.

RaeBeth married in August 2012 to her husband, Gregory Stephen Buda Jr. and resides in a small Pennsylvania town of Fairchance. RaeBeth is a full time mother of one and is expecting her second.

She graduated from American Intercontinental University with her associates in business administration. She enjoys spending her time writing and feels that connecting with readers is her main goal.

RaeBeth published Silenced under her maiden name but plans to continue writing under her married name with any other works.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Zombie and Horror Fiction in 2013

Zombie Fiction in Detroit Japanese Werewolves
 The year 2013 will see ambitious plans come to fruition.

            January will see the release of Necropolis Now, which is the first book in an action-oriented zombie series. It's my intention to release the second book during the summer or fall. You can read all about Necropolis Now here on my blog, and you can also check out the amazing cover by Russell Dickerson. 
            I will be launching up to three new serials that will have nearly a dozen episodes each. The first is called Japanese Werewolf Apocalypse. I have always found Japanese culture to be extremely fascinating, and in this series, I have the opportunity to work with elements of Japanese aesthetics and mythological concepts; needless to say, this requires a ton of research, which has proved to be daunting and rewarding. I like to think this series has a bit of everything. It’s designed to appeal to fans of Japanese media with werewolf sorcery and mythological elements, and it will include plenty of gore for the werewolf / horror fans. The drive behind this story is my own love for Japanese culture, in particular, Japanese spirituality and art. This type of literature provides an opportunity to be deep and meaningful in a more subtle fashion; I was very taken by the story of the country's crown jewels, and you can bet one of them will play a significant role in this series.
            The next serial will feature zombies, and I'm very confident we'll see some outer-space action. I know it's been done before, but everything has been done before. I'm not looking to use the universe as any kind of metaphor for the human race. I want to develop a visceral, horrifying experience that takes place in the darkest corners of the known (and unknown) universe. I think this is the perfect time to blend science-fiction and horror; as our society gears up for the idea of space tourism while Mars is being mapped out, I strongly believe science-fiction is making a return. One of my favorite films, the first Alien movie, has heavily influenced my imagination.      
            My dream project is a story set in the Alien universe. I actually have the story outlined, and it would be a complete return to the horror elements from the first film. However, it's nothing more than fan fiction, as there really isn't a place to publish it. With that said, I'm going to write about zombies in space because I can, and because it will provide yet another unique challenge.
            I admire science-fiction and fantasy authors because they have to create complex government systems, races, languages, and technology that doesn't exist, although it might have a realistic counterpart. How many of today's technological gadgets were envisioned by pioneers in the field of science fiction? Quite a lot, and many themes from some of the great works still resonate today. I don't think science-fiction authors are appreciated enough because they often take on the role of an inventor who has to describe how the technology works! Again, a daunting task…
            Last but not least, I intend to release the sequel to Nightmare of the Dead. The next book, Season of Evil, is going to introduce zombies to an important, historic battle in the Civil War. I think the first book explored the characters and their motivations, and the second one was always designed to focus on the Civil War itself. While the first book served as a psycho-analytical exploration of murder, the motivation for the creation of the zombies was established; so the second book will be all about this terrifying "weapon" that will be unleashed upon the Union. I should also mention that Neasa Bannan will be back, along with her nemesis, Dr. Saul Lynch. Neasa will be getting some help from a certain tribe…
            That's a lot for 2013, and that doesn't include two other projects I've started. It will be quite an exciting, and challenging, year.