Tag Archives: zombies

Some teaser fun.

I’m fast approaching a time where new fiction has to take a back seat to promotion. I always try to target the Halloween season, so this may seem weird to see in August. It really does no good to release a book on Halloween. The season is over, and there isn’t enough time for people to find it for their seasonal enjoyment. My goal is to have the new book out in mid September, thus a few advance teasers.

Here’s how they work. Look at the graphic. Listen to the music (It’s pretty awesome stuff), then ponder what the heck I’m up to now. If I can schedule this correctly, it will lead up to a cover reveal and a shiny new book. I’ll try to run one of these out every week. Feel free to ponder in the comments.

You collectors are welcome to snag the new Lisa Burton posters along the way. They make great Pinterest pins.

 

Lisa Burton

What is headed your way for the Halloween season?

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The Idea Mill #36

It’s been about six months since we visited the old Idea Mill. I’ve save a few articles over that time, but they don’t seem to be showing up as fast as they used to. Then there’s the other fact: I’ve been busy. It’s time to put some of the fun things back into this blog, so we’re returning to the Idea Mill today.

My basis for posting these is that I write speculative fiction. I know many of you do too. This kind of fiction always requires a leap of faith. Because of that, it’s important to base much of what we do on fact. It makes that leap easier to make for our readers. These articles are to kick your Muse, but also ground your story elements in a bit of reality.

Our first one involves how muggles used to protect themselves from witches. They looked upon their homes as defensible spaces. I guess if you were out shopping you were on your own. They did this by building various items into their homes, behind walls, under the threshold, that kind of thing. They hid worn out shoes, which includes an interesting theory about the devil. Desiccated animals were popular, cats being a major target. There is even a tutorial about making your own witch bottle. Hint: Drink a lot of coffee before you start. Read the article here.

You could make a neat character who is kind of an anti-witch. He or she makes things to protect against witchcraft. Of course, eventually, someone figures out this is also witchcraft and turns people against your heroine. I still have those con artists who sell curses and counter curses on the back burner somewhere. They are actually a married couple and work to get people spending with them. They might fit into a future volume of Lanternfish now that I think about it.

Our next article is about an archeological site that is a graveyard of sorts. There are a couple of intriguing graves, including one that appears to have been buried with live horses still harnessed to a chariot. The most interesting one is a young warrior who appears to have died of natural causes. However, he was “killed” again before burial by stabbing him repeatedly and bashing his head in. Here is the link.

I’m sure we can come up with all kinds of undead stories for the young warrior. Maybe he did pass from natural causes, but rose from his grave as something else requiring the re-killing.

The charioteer is just as interesting. What if he volunteered to go to the other side and wage war against the zombie hoard, or vampire uprising?

Obviously, these monster tales take a leap of faith, but it’s cool knowing about the real burial practices that could fit into your story.

Finally, we have the world’s first 3-D printed human heart from the donor’s own genetic material. We’ve known this was coming for a long time. It seem to me I posted once before about this, and it was based upon growing the heart muscle on a framework of spider silk. This one is tiny, but it proves a lot of the science to make it a real thing. Read the article here.

This one screams science fiction, particularly that ten-minutes-into-the-future kind I love. It makes some neat scenery for your Dr. McCoy kind of characters.

I like the idea of people being people, and may be able to work with this to a degree myself. We stop taking care of ourselves, because insurance allows us to grow our own spare parts and store them at the hospital. Go ahead and destroy your liver, there’s a brand new one when you need it. Lung cancer, Ha! I already have the cure in the freezer. Maybe every teenage sports star has a jar of replacement ulnar collateral ligaments in dad’s freezer.

I like to make up my own corny outline for these posts, so here goes nothing:

A young soldier returns from Afghanistan, but dies suddenly of natural causes. He rises from the grave as a vampire and starts giving all the local girls hickeys.

Terrified townies start dehydrating their cats and making witch bottles from a YouTube tutorial to keep him out of their homes. They’re safe, but don’t dare go outside. Resources are running out.

A hero arises, and volunteers to fight the vampire in the netherworld. To do this, he has to die and be buried with the weapons he needs on the other side. The only way to bring him back after the battle is by placing a fresh beating heart in his chest. Fortunately, he has good insurance and one is waiting for him at the hospital.

They bury him alive, but instead of a living horse, he gets a Humvee with the motor running, and a .50 caliber machine-gun.

The only way the locals can tell if the job is finished is to watch the vampire’s body for signs of damage. Once he’s thoroughly mangled in the afterlife, they plant him, dig up the hero and stitch in his brand new heart. Happy ever after with some kind of diatribe about how growing the heart was covered, replacing it wasn’t covered, medical bankruptcy etc.

***

I hope something here inspired you with a new story idea, some kind of setting, or scenery you can make use of.

I gave the Idea Mill posts their own category to make for simple surfing. Lookit, right over there in the sidebar.

All you have to do is click the Idea Mill category and the posts will filter down to more of these.

I’d love to hear from you guys. What would you do with one (or more) of these? Have I given you any ideas for your stories. Maybe a line for your notebooks somewhere for future use? Talk to me.

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1400 words today

I turned my attention back to the group story that still needs a name. Lizzie and the hat took care of a bunch of zombies, but the main focus was on Clovis and Gina.

They had to clear out a building where the virus is being loaded into vaccines. I probably need to go back through and ramp up the creepiness factor, but I like how it came out.

My favorite part was when they all got back together. The hat was absolutely manic, and laughing himself silly. I liked the part where he said, “If I had a bladder, I’d wet my pants.”

My heroes were forced to torch the building holding the virus, leaving one contaminated person inside. Since he’d never survive the virus, it was a bit easier for them.

I also revealed the big bad for the first time. This is the paranormal entity that’s behind all these shenanigans. She got away this time.

Still 1400 words isn’t too bad.

I also spent a big part of my morning monitoring that Facebook lounge post about Lisa Burton. It cut into my writing time, but all in all it was a good day. A good weekend for that matter.

Tomorrow, I have to go back to the job that actually pays me. I think I’ll call it a weekend and goof off this afternoon.

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Tolerable productivity

It was another good day, but doesn’t compare to yesterday. Yesterday was one of the rare ones.

My goal was to work on edits to the Serang story. After I got off the phone with my parents, I didn’t feel like it. I accomplished a lot of procrastination today. Editing is one of my least favorite things.

I caved and added to the nameless project. It isn’t as much as yesterday, but it was a good day. It came to about a half chapter, maybe a bit more.

This section involved rescuing our heroes by using Gina’s backup plan. This top secret spirit of vengeance made a mess of the zombies, and that was before the bad guys pissed him off.

Hint: this one includes a lot of my previous characters. This one seemed to be a fan favorite at one time. Hint #2: the voodoo ritual took place beside a lake.

These guys are heroes, but against 75 to a hundred slobbering smelly zombies they needed a bit of help. Plus Lisa is out of commission.

Lizzie and the hat rushed the crane that manipulates the electro-magnet. It was operated by a type-one zombie. These are more Voodoo centric and aren’t the same thing Walking Dead fans might be thinking about.

They reached him about the time the “spirit of vengeance” arrived on the scene. This required some ducking for cover. Eventually, they got to the crane and we had adventures in operating the most complicated piece of equipment in existence. Typical Lizzie and the hat banter accompanied this scene, but their friends didn’t get crushed by an old Impala. A few zombies did.

Lisa is still out of it, but the extinguishing of the magnet will allow her to start on the road back. (She’s going to be so pissed at me when she gets back to work.)

Gupta got shot during the firefight, and Lizzie and the hat popped him to their secret cabin for some first aid. I’m now debating what kind of archaic old weaponry Lizzie’s ancestors might have stored there. This really is for a humorous scene involving Lisa (Still out of it), but I don’t know whether to include it or not.

We looked at my open browser windows a week ago, and that was kind of fun. Here’s what’s open right now:

  • Entertaining Stories. (Naturally)
  • Two different pages for that online convention. I did sign up for it, but have no idea what I’m doing.
  • Oils in Witchcraft and Hoodoo.
  • Hoodoo candle magic.
  • The Gutenberg Bible.
  • Psalms and Verses in Hoodoo.
  • Grumman F2F airplane. (Oops, another hint.)
  • Stinger missiles.
  • Photographs of crane interiors.
  • Coban medical wrap.
  • Injection vials.

This could only be one of my stories, right? I was particularly happy with my Voodoo/Hoodoo ritual. The secret to these is to do some research, then make it all up anyway – but based upon that research.

I did move on to the Serang edits. I worked through two of three critiques. These need to be done, but I also needed some whiny time. I could have moved the team-up story further down the line. I could have dealt with the last Serang critique. A little of both isn’t bad, but I’m left with that feeling of not getting something off my list.

No idea what I’ll do tomorrow. The same projects are still on my list. It might be smart to slow down the team-up story. It’s at around 35,000 words right now. I don’t want to bring it in under 50K.

There will be some words dedicated to the wrap-up. Gina promised the participants rewards, plus we need to see the positive result of their effort. Quarantines need to be ended even if it’s just a blurb on the television. Gina and Gupta aren’t “contractors” in this tale. They don’t get rewards.

I’m thinking about doing a self imposed quarantine at the mansion for all the characters. This means they’re going to get exposed to one of the viruses.

Lisa and Jason Fogg seem to be immune to everything, and the dog gets a free pass. Would a brief section of being too close for comfort and bickering be hard for readers to digest? I haven’t seen this done at the end of the story before. It’s usually a getting acquainted section at the beginning. I could trickle in knowledge that their efforts paid off. What do you guys think? You’re all readers.

There is a risk in dragging this part out. I have a lot of characters, and only the main ones will get focus in this part of the story. I’ll probably limit this to Lizzie and the hat, Lisa Burton, and briefly Clovis.

For this reason, maybe my best bet is to shift over to Serang tomorrow.

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Some days I hate to stop

Today was a writing day. When I have the place to myself, dogs excepted, it’s usually a decent writing day. Today was no exception.

I decided to work on my nameless team-up adventure. It feels like about 4000 words today, and I hate to stop. Old What’s Her Face will be home soon, and that stops it anyway, so it’s time to blog.

My characters did some spying with a drone, discovered that the bad guys raised the stakes with what amounts to a biological weapon, then identified a likely place to investigate further.

The new site is swarming with zombies, and the team was beaten back. A couple of the girls commented on Jason’s bare butt as he tried to help them avoid getting killed.

Lisa Burton was taken out of action by a huge electro-magnet. Computers and magnets don’t get along too well.

Gina decided it was time to fight fire (undead) with fire (undead). This led to a fun Voodoo ritual, and the game changed directions for a bit. That’s right at the point where I stopped, and there is a lot more to this part.

Clovis had to face a small bit of his past, in the form of zombies that he’d already made dead once before. He isn’t phased by much, so I doubt it will slow him down. I probably need to beef this part up a little.

Like I said, sometimes I hate to stop. It makes for a good place to pick it back up again.

Sundays I call my parents, so a lot of my quality time goes into that. This makes late morning a great time to address some of those Serang edits I need to get to. I’ve decided to do this in two parts. First, fix all the grammatical things, then go back to paragraph one and edit for content. To do this, I’m going to identify the key points, do word count between them, then assess if the between parts get beefed up or cut back.

Serang has been a little tougher to write, but it’s a great experience. It’s kind of a fictional biography, and there are some things from Lanternfish that cannot be changed. I’m enjoying the challenge of this one, but they are different challenges than the other story.

I’m off Monday too, so I’ll probably leap the team-up story ahead some more. At least that’s my goal.

I started my day with some sourdough toast, and it was great. I’m having a meatloaf sandwich now, and it’s great too. All in all, it’s been a great day. Hope yours is too.

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Pulling back the veil

I wanted to hold some of this back, but I find myself lacking for things to blog about. I have some goals that are kind of opposed to each other for the year, and I’m going to have to make a small change.

Lisa BurtonOne of my goals was to include more posts from the writing cabin. This is where my robotic assistant and I plan out the day, and write the stories. This is hard to do when she isn’t there, and that’s the big problem.

I’ve started writing a book that includes Lisa Burton. That plays into my year of sequels, and it’s kind of a crazy idea, because it’s a sequel to multiple books. It makes for a fun learning experience, because I have to live with character histories. I also have to make it stand alone if someone hasn’t read a previous book. Actually, it’s a wonderful goal.

Here are the players in this story:

  • The Playground – Gina Greybill, Mohan Gupta, Justine, and Clovis.
  • The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack 1 & 2 – Lisa Burton, and Jason Fogg.
  • Wild Concept – Lisa Burton
  • The Hat – Lizzie and the hat

There are going to be some minor characters who appear too. Others will be a nod within the story, like The Enhanced League. I have a surprise or two along the way that I’ll keep close to the vest for now.

I had a fun teaser idea where I would post some old blues video and a Lisa Burton poster, then stay quiet about the whole thing. Invite followers to guess as to what’s happening. I think that would have worked well, and I can still do it without the guessing.

Part of the fun is making sure everyone gets their moment to shine. At this point, it’s coming out very well, without a whole lot of backstory to clog it up.

Aside from the goal of “Entertaining Stories” there could be some additional benefit here too. Some people love Lisa, Clovis, the hat. Here is their chance to revisit them. Hopefully, the line will work both ways. Maybe someone reads this book, then decides to learn more about Lizzie and the hat, or Jason Fogg.

Best of all, I’m having a good time. If there isn’t any money in this business, fun is all that remains. Fun also translates to the page and makes the books better.

Right now, I’m fast approaching 25K words. So far, Lisa gets along with everyone. Clovis and the hat seem to be finding common ground. Lizzie is fine with Lisa and Gina. Jason is a bit standoffish, but he always was.

Today, Clovis broke off from the group, because he’s like that. He gathered evidence in a way that only Clovis can. After depositing the bodies, he and the dog went out for hotdogs.

When I stopped for the day, the group compared Clovis’ findings with Lisa’s web searches to get closer to an answer. Right now the clues are organized crime, pharmaceuticals, and two kinds of zombies. At the end of this writing day, someone mentioned the word wraith.

I mention this, so you can see how Gina, Lizzie, and the hat might tie in. Gina is a doctor who fights paranormal evils. Lizzie and the hat use a kind of symbiosis to become a paranormal avenger… and to play rockabilly music in a band.

I’m making Lizzie and the hat kind of the lead into the story, but others will have their moments to shine. I’m going to include some fun graphics like I did in The Hat, and even have an alternate ending worked out. I’m going to include this after my author section kind of like the end of a Marvel Comics based movie, because it’s fun, and because I can.

At the same time, I’ve also been writing a book called Serang. This one is a stand alone story, but is previous to Voyage of the Lanternfish. Serang is a neat character from Lanternfish, and she wanted me to tell her story. I’ve taken her from childhood to teenager. The last bit I worked on has her talking to an ethereal dragon. She hates dragons, but might wind up finding some peace with them. It’s also in the 25K word count area.

Not too bad for a weekend warrior like myself. Winter is the best time for me to write, so I want to sling the words while I can.

Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them so I can complete the other one. It would be fabulous to release them both this year. Ideally, Serang before school lets out, and the unnamed team-up somewhere before Halloween.

It’s a tough goal, but it is possible with a bit of luck.

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Quest of the Broken Hearted, 99¢ all month long

Charles Yallowitz has released his follow up story to the Legends of Windemere series. Good news for us is the introductory price. I’ll let Charles tell you all about it.

A battered soul faces a city of monsters in
Quest of the Brokenhearted!

Cover Art by Sean Harrington

As Windemere moves forward, a broken spirit falls into the shadows.

Two years have passed since Luke Callindor was lost during the champions’ battle against Baron Kernaghan. Many mourn the loss, but none have been hurt more than the fiancée he left behind, Kira Grasdon. Plagued by grief and determined to prove he is alive, she has sacrificed her business, her reputation, and her hope. Surviving on the streets of Gaia, she has become an emotional husk of her former self. It is only by chance that Kira crosses paths with an old friend and learns of a path, which will either end her suffering or revive her shattered soul. As the rumors state, hundreds of adventurers have flocked to Lacarsis and none have returned.

Will Kira meet her death in the City of Evil or will she thrive among the monsters?

*****

Book Excerpt: The Farm

The blast of warm air hits and swirls around the area to make all those in metal armor feel like they are about to faint. As the wind billows out, it carries the fog away to reveal broken fences and an abandoned farmhouse. The porch is partially collapsed with a swing sitting in the mud, its chains still connected to the fallen roof. The front door is closed, but a large hole is in the middle as if something tried to punch its way inside. Rusty pots and tools are scattered about the ground, some of them having been plunged into the ground. Not far away is a large barn, which shows no sign of damage beyond peeling paint and cobwebs dangling from the eaves. A crooked weathervane sits above the hay loft, the bat-shaped object spinning wildly even though the wind has died. Wilted crops stand in the fields among those that have already rotted into mush. Piles of hay dot the landscape, each one having turned black and become surrounded by swarms of thumb-sized flies. When the last of the fog clears, the entire area is bathed in a sickly orange light that causes the adventurers’ skin to crawl.

An animal call erupts from a nearby pasture, the grass a light brown and showing signs of being repeatedly trampled. In response, the sounds of chickens drift from the farmhouse and they are soon joined by other familiar noises. The ear-wrenching symphony continues to grow as the adventurers spread out across the road and into the fields. Most are focused on the farmhouse door, so they are caught off-guard when the attack begins. Zombified pigs, horses, goats, and sheep burst out of the barn to charge the nearest warriors. With acidic foam flying from their mouths, the undead livestock crash into the armored figures and rip into whatever flesh they can reach. The goats and pigs cause the most damage, their teeth breaking through metal and bone while the horses do more harm with their hooves. Flapping wings from the farmhouse are a slight warning before a flock of chickens and ducks explode from the windows. Lacking teeth, they have a harder time killing their prey, who swing wildly and blindly cast spells that miss half of the time. Chaos is consuming the crowd when the first animal call erupts from the right and four knights are sent hurtling through the air. Flesh dangling from its horns and blood splattered across its rotting face, the zombified bull barrels into the adventurers. The grunting beast tramples everything in its path as it crashes into one of the fields and sends a broken cart rolling away. Turning around, the animal ignores the arrows that stick into its hindquarters and charges back into the crowd.

While the others try to retreat, Kira swings her sickle at the bull’s side and gets the weapon stuck between the exposed ribs. She holds on while she is dragged and uses the blunt end to swat chickens out of the air. As she passes a stallion, she swings her kusari-gama to get the chain wrapped around its hind legs. With the horse galloping away from the bull, Kira plants her feet and pulls hard on her weapon. Her strength combined with that of the zombified steed allows her to shatter the larger animal’s ribs. Spinning around, she whips the sickle into the side of the stallion’s head and uncoils the chain as it crashes to the ground. Without turning back, the adventurer dives to the side and narrowly avoids getting gored by the bull. The moment she hits the ground, she pounces to grab the jagged hole in its body and pulls herself close enough to punch inside with the blunt end of her weapon. Kira continues striking the rotting heart until the confused animal rears back and exposes its stomach for a pair of spearmen to impale it. They are unable to support its weight and are promptly crushed while the young woman flips up to slam her sickle into the base of its skull. Hanging onto the bucking bull, she violently twists the blade until the zombie finally falls over and rapid decays. The others are about to cheer when the call of another bull bursts from the pasture.

“They just keep coming,” Kira mutters as she watches more animals pour out of the buildings.

Grab your copy on Amazon for 99 cents throughout the month of July!

*****

Interested in more Windemere? Then don’t forget to check out Charles E. Yallowitz’s first series: Legends of Windemere

All Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or more interested vampires? Then check out War of Nytefall: Loyalty:

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

LET THE TOURNAMENT OF LACARSIS BEGIN!

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