Friday, June 21, 2013

New Characters Appearing in Zombie Ascension Two (Dream Cast)

Queen of the Dead (Zombie Ascension 2)

Release Date: August 2013 

Although the characters in the first novel were thematically... "corrupt," for a lack of a better word, it was my intention to go a different route with the redemption concept in the second book. The fans have asked for "good" characters, and here are a few of them:

Father Joe Martinez
A former boxer who killed a man in his last fight, Father Joe's faith is absolute, and so is his belief that he must always redeem himself for the mistake he made. His personal championship fight with his past turns him into a selfish man who never breaks a promise. Benicio Del Toro would bring the priest's charm and strength to the screen that would make this hero stand out above the rest of the cast.

Jack Mender
Jack is a drummer for a heavy metal band that his brother, Jerry, has engineered; Jack has no sense of self-worth because he's been Jerry's punching bag. Jack wants to feel like he can be of worth to somebody; he lived in his mother's basement while taking care of her as a debilitating mental condition wore her down. It would be nice to see Seth Rogen in a more humbling role where he can use a more diverse emotional range, which he's capable of doing.

Agent Rose
A seductive assassin who was "built" and trained for more personal encounters with men and women, Rose is the former pupil of Jim Traverse, the madman who's still running lose in Michigan. Their relationship went beyond the student-mentor realm, and since he left her for his last mission in Egypt, she's done everything she can to put him out of her mind. At last, she's been called in to apprehend Jim, though she fears he's become a dreadful monster that she won't recognize. Emile Clarke could play the love struck assassin convincingly enough to make her a sympathetic character the audience might want to cheer one… whether they want her to reunite with her serial-killer lover or not.

Sergeant John Charles
A man dedicated to do whatever it takes to serve his country; the sole survivor of Crater's team, John is a soldier to the bone, whose willingness to sacrifice for his country caused him to lose his family early in his career. His country is all he has left. Sam Worthington would play the dedicated patriot with the steely-eyed determination that makes John an endearing character.

General Masters
This homeless man is convinced he's an ex-soldier who was once a key player in the Vietnam conflict, until he decided that the only way to win was to train soldiers Colonel Kurtz style. He's been hanging around a liquor store in Detroit to make sure the family that runs it is always "safe," and we learn this crooked-tooth mystery man isn't very squeamish, nor has his dedication to America wavered. He seems to know more than the others about what might be behind the zombie epidemic. It would be nice to see Carl Weathers return in an action role… because it's Carl Weathers!


Blood runs through the streets of Detroit and into the gutters of nearby cities. Monsters, both human and zombie alike, have brought civil order to its knees. The haunted mercenary, Vega, must confront this apocalypse head-on with survivors who have their own versions of morality; she’s joined by Father Joe, a pious man who will do everything in his power to save a single life, no matter how many others have to die…
Jim Traverse, the sociopath who has decided the apocalypse will be “beautiful,” has nearly completed his genocidal masterpiece. Jim races against Vega’s company to reach Selfridge Air Base, where they’ll fight for control of the woman who has ascended over life and death, a woman whose relationship with an infernal intelligence gives her power over the walking dead. 

One woman can save the world, or destroy it: The Queen of the Dead

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: Apocalyptic Organ Grinder-William Todd Rose

Apocalyptic Organ Grinder
By: William Todd Rose

150 years after the fall of civilization:

Enter a post-apocalyptic word where the cities of man are crumbling necropolises left to the ravages of time and nature, burgeoning settlements cling to life, and the remnants of humanity exist as two disparate cultures locked in a waltz of survival and death. Into this world comes Tanner Kline, a man charged with protecting his community from Spewers, a primitive tribe whose bloodline carries the vestiges of the virus which pushed mankind to the brink of extinction. On what should have been a routine patrol, his path crosses with Lila, a proud huntress whose heart simmers with resentment for the men who killed her husband. Men like Tanner Kline. Together, they spiral onto a collision with an uncertain future where their individual destinies and the fates of their respective cultures hang in the balance. 

After finishing this amazing work of art from William Todd Rose, I'm still reeling from the maddening conclusion.

A work of speculative-fiction,  Apocalyptic Organ Grinder has less to do with the apocalypse than it does with the human species and our monstrous ability to classify and subdivide groups of people until we can create an acceptable standard. If written in the 1950s or '60s, this book would have been hailed as a masterpiece: pitting two different variations of the human species—one infected with a world-ending, flesh scarring virus, and the other the pure-skinned standard—this book makes you choose a side, and it's a choice you don't want to make.

Who is right, and who is wrong? Who are the true "savages" in this story. We all know the answer, of course, but Rose explores the depths of human depravity and societal fractures, a timeless weakness of the human race.
We are introduced to Tanner Kline, a Sweeper whose job it is to find and eliminate the Spewers, who have been infected with the Gabriel Virus. Tanner believes he is purifying his world from the taint of these "filthy people" for the sake of his daughter's future, but his ability to dehumanize the Spewers is paralleled by the introduction of Lila, a Spewer whose family has been destroyed by Sweepers.

What's the difference between the two races? What separates them? Not very much. Rose includes narrative interludes that explain the history behind the disease and the division of these two peoples, though we realize that the "apocalypse" was made possible by human frailty and savagery rather than the virus's ability to depopulate the species.

The symbolic "organ grinder" doesn't seem to make an impact on the novel until more than three-quarters into the story, and there aren't very many other characters to help illustrate the complex themes. However, the conflict between the two groups is illustrated aptly through the eyes of Tanner and Lila—additional characters might muddy the plot.

The tension between the two perspectives is relentless, and there are two heart-pounding moments in this work, including the shocking conclusion, that will leave you breathless with conflicting emotions. While a chase scene does get bogged down by a little too much detail, the majority of the story is fast-paced and riveting.

Apocalyptic Organ Grinder is an excellent allegory for any generation. While the book is certainly a genre work, it's easy to ignore any preconceived notions of fiction categories—a lesson that will help us better understand this book's most important themes. You could easily write a dissertation on the varying concepts that Rose explores.

Highly recommended. 

Amazon Stars: 5/5

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: They Might Be Demons by Max Booth III

No one likes tourists, especially when tourists are demons from the underworld with a penchant for torturing and killing all humans.

When people say, "All hell broke loose", they probably weren't talking about They Might Be Demons. Although Hell doesn't exactly "break loose" in this book, it does take a little vacation. Destination? Earth. And while that may sound like a bummer as it is, just wait until you discover they've chosen YOUR town as the primary get-together spot. Oh crap, SPOILER ALERT!
Sorry for ruining the big surprise. But yeah, you're pretty much boned.
Have fun!




The best satirical novels use the failings of a particular phenomenon in pop culture as the backdrop for a story; you'll often discover a touch of humanity to complement the witticisms--and criticisms--that are wrapped in the complicated Pandora's box which reveals truths and habits about our world we're not prepared to leave behind. Using the horror genre as his vehicle, Max Booth III deconstructs our fascination with destroying ourselves in compulsory fashion. If the creators of South Park decided to write a book about the horror industry, they wouldn't be able to write a more honest commentary about the sorrowful expectations of an entire race, depicted through the tragedies and failings of individual people.

Readers should be aware that this book doesn't ask you to think beyond the pages; woven within the surface level of this "collection" are stories that are entertaining as fragments of nightmare and humor. When this book arrived at my doorstep, I cracked it open like I normally might and glanced at the pages; I read a short story or chapter and found that I didn't need the rest of the book. Let's just say I started with a story that featured alligators. You can also read the book from cover to cover and you'll find a well-written, semi-coherent narrative. This is bizarro fiction, after all, so if you're looking for mass market drivel you can find it on the shelves of Wal-Mart...

Speaking of Wal-Mart, this book has a lot to offer if you're willing to explore the depths of its madness. I could probably argue with the author that this book is about zombies, not demons; or maybe the book is about nothing at all. I put aside all the other books I had already committed myself to because Booth gave me an opportunity to think what I wanted to think, even if it wouldn't make sense to anybody but myself. This is one of those rare books that inspire me to write a dissertation; I felt like I was speaking to the author while reading this book and some of the words seemed like my own. Booth has presented us with harsh truths and it's likely he had no intention of doing anything but writing a bunch of words about dinosaurs and clams. Booth is one of those authors who included blue curtains in the scene just because he wanted blue curtains, but in those curtains we can find reflections of our own twisted lives.

The book's structure shifts several times, and I might be able to explore further to see if there's a discernible pattern, or if the author let the story compose itself. There seemed to be an entire section where the emotions in the stories jarred me back to reality before sending me back into the surreal. The contrasting styles and voices in They Might Be Demons leaves us wondering who, or what, the demons are; the composition is just as important, if not more so, than the content.

I had two problems with this book. First, this book is not for sensitive people; the content is unapologetic and some readers will be turned off by its brutal honesty, which includes the way people speak. My other concern was that the book ended.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Author Spotlight: Armand Rosamilia

Writer, publisher, and heavy metal guru; Armand Rosamilia is an author who explores the dynamics of people who're forced to survive harrowing scenarios—Armand is not afraid to push his characters over the edge, especially in his zombie novels. To celebrate the latest episode in his popular Dying Days series, Armand stopped by the blog to share his thoughts about zombies and his beloved protagonist, Darlene Bobich, while showing us a glimpse of his maniacal imagination…  

Synopsis for Dying Days 3: 

Flagler Beach Florida is a wasteland of ruin and gore, looted and picked clean of supplies… and now, Darlene Bobich and the other survivors have an even bigger problem…

What could be worse than a mindless zombie horde? They are about to find out. 

Continuing the zombie series, "Dying Days"… extreme situations, extreme violence, extreme undead




VINCENZO: The fans love Darlene Bobich from your Dying Days books; what makes her stand out from other zombie fiction protagonists? What makes her interesting to you? Was there a specific character or person who helped inspire Darlene's creation?

ARMAND: I love writing about Darlene Bobich because she isn't superhuman. She is just a normal woman, late twenties, pretty but not a model, a little overweight and a bit emotional at times. She is pretty cool. After writing the first stories with her I realized she'd be pretty cool to hang out with, with or without the zombie apocalypse. She wasn't based on anyone I know but I guess as she progressed in later stories she became a woman I would like to be friends with, if that makes sense… and isn't too creepy…

The Dying Days series offers readers a chance to see the long-term effects of characters who survive for an extended period of time. What kind of role does the setting play in the stories development? 

Darlene is from Maine, so this is a totally different place for her. Even the characters native to Florida are not used to living like this, and some of them clearly handle it better than others. I enjoyed keeping each character's motivations intact even as the world changed around them, some adapting and some keeping focus (right or wrong). Just because the world goes to hell doesn't mean bad people suddenly become good. Or good people don't suddenly breakdown and act like selfish jerks. 

How often do you think about your characters? 

I am constantly 'writing' in my head, every time I meet a new person. I am at the point where something will hit me and I can see Darlene or John or Tosha doing that or saying that, and I make a mental note for later. A writer never stops writing, even when they aren't in front of a computer screen. 

Why won't you tone down the gore of your Dying Days series? There seems to be a lot of it…

I'm not interested in writing a happy or toned-down zombie story unless it's organic when I write it. I don't actually have too much gore and craziness, but I imply it quite a bit. I can only think of once or twice where I actually mention the zombies sexually violating someone, and it happened in the beginning of the Highway To Hell novella, the story that Dying Days really evolved from. 

How do you envision the evolution of your series? 

I have no reason to believe Dying Days will end anytime soon, because I have so many major and minor characters to tell their story about. For instance, the next release will be Dying Days: Origins, which tells the prequel tale of Tosha Shorb and then David Monsour (both featured in Dying Days 2). There are plenty of stories still left to tell. 

What was the most memorable moment you have, as a writer, while working on Dying Days Three? 

I remember about halfway through it I was stuck on a part during a beach scene and knew I had to move the story along and give the reader something interesting and move the story forward another notch. I took a break and when I checked my e-mail I saw the cover art Ash Areceneaux had put together and I loved it. A female zombie underwater, with one arm and her nose missing. I immediately knew it had to be incorporated into the story, and it's one of my favorite scenes. 

What's the craziest experience you've had with a fan? 

I had a fan send me a vodka skull, big boxes of M&Ms and TicTacs, and a bunch of other cool stuff. I became great online friends with her and help her with her own writing career. I've also had a couple of propositions for them to fly to Florida and get a room overlooking the beach and… yeah, I have had a few wild and crazy events because of this career. 

Are you reading any independent authors? If so, who? 

I mostly read independents. Bryan Hall, Tim Baker, Robert Chazz Chute, Mark Tufo… I could list another dozen. I am constantly finding new authors to read and getting recommendations from friends I trust. 

Which zombie movie is your favorite? Why?

My absolute favorite is the Dawn of the Dead remake. The fast zombies don't bother me. I love Ving Rhames in this, and anytime I see it on TV I will watch no matter what part it is on. I'm also a big fan of Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later. 

What's the biggest difference/challenge between writing a series and a standalone story?

With a series you have the freedom to really dive fully into the background of the character(s), and take your time telling their story. You can ease into what makes them do the things they do, and not have to worry about cutting scenes and quirks because you have to neatly fit it into one story. I have several characters in Dying Days that drop in and out like in real life. Some of these character threads might never be closed. And I'm OK with it. 

Describe the moment you discovered you enjoyed writing.

I knew at 12 I wanted to write, and write horror. It sounds cliché but it was always my career choice and nothing else. I just had no idea how to go about doing it, and 30 years ago the rules were so different. It was just a pipe dream of a pre-teen. Even in my twenties it was very hard to get published and get help. But I've always wanted to be a horror author. You can thank Dean Koontz for that. 

In your opinion, why is zombie literature a relevant genre?

The fan base gives it relevancy. There is a solid, small rabid fan base for zombie literature. After The Walking Dead and World War Z has come and gone, there will still be fans of zombies out there, and they will keep finding the better releases and word of mouth will keep certain authors writing and selling their work. 

As an editor at Rymfire Books, what has been the most rewarding part of the experience?

Meeting so many great writers and getting to publish some of their first stories, and then months and years later seeing them move up and get noticed and grow into an even more amazing writer. Mark Tufo comes to mind. To be able to publish his short, "My Name Is Riley," in Undead Tales and then see his career explode soon after was great. 

The world is ending, and the pantheon of music gods have sent three bands down from the heavens to Earth to put on one last concert the human race. Who're the bands?

Original lineup of Slayer, "Kill 'Em All" version of Metallica, and Steel Panther (as long as the chicks are with them).

You're standing on top of a hill and you're surrounded by zombies. You're the last person alive, and you have a weapon in your hands and a pair of headphones in your ears. What's your weapon? What're you listening to?

I have a five-pound bag of M&M's and I hope eating it will induce a heart attack, while listening to "I Hate, Therefore I Am" by Cyclone Temple (one of the greatest Thrash Metal albums of all time to me)

I have a feeling you'll survive… 

Your non-fiction projects are interesting; why is the "Metal Queens Monthly" series such an interesting project for you?  

I like writing not only horror, but expand my writing as much as possible. I'm a Metalhead and I've always been fascinated to find and hear new bands, and talk with fellow Metal fans. And I'm a guy, so I've always been attracted to women who also like Metal. I decided to combine my love of Metal, writing, and women into one neat package. I interview each female about their love of Metal, and there are plenty of pictures. 

Armand, you've got thirty seconds to tell us anything else about Dying Days we might have missed… 

I was getting tired of reading about stereotypical characters trapped in a building together fighting a zombie horde. I decided to write my own, and to set it in an odd place for zombie fiction: the beach. Plenty of sunshine, lots of sand and cool breezes and gore. After over two years of the Dying Days series being out, I think I'm still doing it right. Readers seem to think so. I hope you'll take a second to read the sample of one of my books on Amazon or Smashwords or Nook or Kobo, and decide to read the rest. And then get in contact and let me know what you loved and/or hated about it, because I love meeting new people. And eventually killing them in a future story. 


Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he's not watching zombie movies, the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music...

Besides the "Miami Spy Games" zombie spy thriller series, he has the "Keyport Cthulhu" horror series, several horror novellas and shorts to date, as well as the "Dying Days" series:
Highway To Hell... Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer... Dying Days... Dying Days 2... Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days... Dying Days: The Siege of European Village... and many more coming in 2013.

He is also an editor for Rymfire Books, helping with several horror anthologies, including "Vermin" and the "State of Horror" series, as well as the creator and energy behind Carnifex Metal Books, putting out the "Metal Queens Monthly" series of non-fiction books about females into Metal...

You can find him at
and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal:


Saturday, June 1, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Sirens by Kurt Reichenbaugh

Just another Saturday night, sometime in the middle of that decade we call the 70's, when Disco was queen and shows like Charlie's Angels and Happy Days reigned on television. But there are no angels, happy days or dancing queens for four bored friends, Kevin, Brad, Nick and Otto, who go looking for action on a sweltering Saturday night and instead get themselves involved in murder. A murder that spins them into a twisted web of vengeful rednecks, psychotic cheerleaders, a missing flying saucer, a hybrid creature on four legs, a sadistic ghoul or two, and one lethal bad-ass babe in a leopard-skin bikini who just might give our friends more action then they'd ever dreamed of. Take a sweltering mix of swamp noir, drive-in grind house, sex and rock n' roll seventies style, and you've got what SIRENS is all about.


Amazon Stars 5/5

I've never been to a drive-in movie, but I like to think Sirens belongs on a big screen with grainy video footage and audio that cuts out every few minutes. This book is a "throwback" in every sense of the word; a story that leaves you wondering how the "real" world could shatter so much innocence. Horror, as it relates to the inclusion of teenage characters, takes us on a ride through the nightmare-adventures we envisioned conquering; our need to feel empowered by realizing our greatest fantasies is a theme of our own young lives, and a concept Reichenbaugh uses to chilling effect to make his book come alive.

Fantasy is within reach, however; just as we can read the book and escape into the past with Reichenbaugh's well-crafted, concise sentences and subtle humor, the characters in this adventure flirt with their wildest dreams. The group of teenage boys who're forever ripped from their version of reality by a horrific event turn to an interesting young man who helps solely because he wishes to become like the fictional characters he idolizes; Otto is a stark contrast to the lustful dreams of his friends. The narrative is held together by the mystery behind the eerie powers and savage desires of Suzie and her companions.

Besides Otto, the boys seems fairly generic; I often had a difficult time distinguishing between the characters, but their desires helped me identify them as the story progressed. Reichenbaugh has a knack for creating an engaging setting with "evil" characters who're better written and more interesting than the "good guys." More details were used to distinguish Suzie and her twisted "friends;" I wanted to know more about them, and thankfully, some of the chapters ended quickly so I could get right back into the heads of the more twisted characters, or, specifically, Otto. The fast-pace of the chapters kept the story moving forward, while the author continued to leave a trail of breadcrumbs by allowing the characters to figure out what was happening--we're discovering the horror right beside them.

Mystery, innocence, and evocative antagonists infuse Sirens with the vitality of an endearing story that reminds us reading can be a fun experience--you'll keep turning the pages as if you're a hero from one of Otto's favorite pulp tales; eager to solve a puzzling question that leads to an unforgettable thrill-ride. There's enough here for an intelligent reader to respect and admire Reichenbaugh for his storytelling craftsmanship, and there's an entertaining story that left me eagerly awaiting the author's next book.