I asked Marina if she had a new zombie report for her readers. She threw a shoe at my head and made a growling noise that made the hair lift on the back of my neck.
You see, she’s writing a new zombie story. We’re really hoping to have it finished before Christmas (she writes, I edit and produce). Apparently, my asking if she’s done yet (or asking her to write more posts for this blog) has the same effect as my kids screaming from the backseat of the car: “Are we there yet?!?” (It’s her own fault. I love Zombies Take Manhattan and I’m a greedy reader and, much like zombies, some is never enough.)
She did say if I was really, really good and quit bugging the snot out of her, she’ll let me read her work in progress on Monday. Well, shoot. That means I have to be good all weekend. That’s iffy.
It also means I can’t talk about the new story. I can say it has zombies in it. And, best of all, it features one of my favorite characters. Anything else, my lips are zipped.
That’s not much of a zombie report.
Zombie news, zombie news… I’ve already beaten my disappointment in The Walking Dead to death (I suggested to Marina that she include a scene where Rick and Carl show up in NYC and get eaten–oddly enough she didn’t think that was a grand idea…writers, hmmph). I did find a Jeff McComsey GUTTERS comic strip called “8 Easy Steps To Create a Walking Dead Storyline” that was pretty good. I read Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night, which was horrendously creepy and disturbing and gave me nightmares–meaning I loved it. I also watched (again) one of my favorite zombie movies
DANCE OF THE DEAD!
Maybe not the classic that Night of the Living Dead is, but it cracks me up every single time.
So zombie report fans, you have my sympathy. You, like me, will have to wait until Marina comes up for air. It’ll be worth the wait.
Whistling, twiddling my thumbs, being good…
I haven’t been posting much about books here lately. I’ve been very busy. Not only do I read, I also write and I also produce ebooks for other writers. Not that I’m reading less, but I have less time to natter on about it.
In no particular order, some books I’ve read lately that you might find fun and/or interesting to read, too.
The Moses MacGuire series by Josh Stallings.
When I first started reading about Moses I wasn’t sure I’d like him. He’s a burnt out strip club bouncer with a prison record and few socially redeeming qualities. He grew on me. Bad boys tend to do that. Stallings writes gritty, unapologetic thrillers with nasty bad guys, nasty crimes and a lot of surprising twists. As soon as I finished reading Beautiful, Naked & Dead, I immediately read Out There Bad. Pretty soon there’ll be a new Moses story, One More Body. I’m looking forward to it.
Moses McGuire a suicidal strip club bouncer is out to avenge the death of one of his girls. From his East L.A. home, through the legal brothels of Nevada and finally to a battle with the mob in the mountains above Palo Alto, it is a sex soaked, rage driven, road trip from hell.
“Out There Bad is the follow up novel to the critically claimed Beautiful, Naked & Dead. Armenian mobsters, Russian strippers, human traffickers, Mexican assassins, they all want Moses dead. Hell most days, even Moses wants Moses dead, but he’ll have to put his dark thoughts on hold. Somewhere between Moscow and LA a young girl has disappeared. The hunt for her will take Moses deep into the heart of Mexico. He will be taught once again that that which does not kill you, often leaves you scarred for life.”
On the paranormal side, two stories from two of my favorite authors: Ben Aaronovitch and J.F. Lewis. Aaronovitch writes the Peter Grant series about a London cop who ends up apprenticed to a wizard. Sort of Harry Potter meets Sherlock Holmes, but funnier. The latest is Whispers Underground where Peter has to solve a magical murder with a most mundane motive. Then we have J.F. Lewis who writes the wildly funny Void City novels featuring Eric the vampire and a screwball cast of creatures. A Corpse of Mistaken Identity is not a Void City novel, it’s a novella featuring a zaomancer (a very special resurrectionist). I really hope everybody runs out and buys this to encourage Lewis to write more about the zaomancers.
If someone dies an unnatural death, an untimely death, and you have to have them back, no matter what the cost… Marlo Morne can help, but there are rules, time is an important factor, and there are always clients who want those rules to be broken on their behalf.
For a change of pace from murder, magic and mayhem, I read a Regency romance, The Taming of Lady Kate, by G. G. Vandagriff, the second in her series: Three Rogues and Their Ladies. Written with wit and style and plenty of big sigh romance.
Back to murder and mayhem, but this time in sci-fi, Riding Fourth, by M. H. Mead. Let us call it carpooling run amok. This short story (available free right now!) is a teaser for a new novel, Taking the Highway, coming in December. Can’t hardly wait.
That’s not all I’ve read, but I have to get back to work. Ebooks don’t format themselves, you know.
You might think that chihuahuas and nursing homes would be a poor mix. Like beer and milk. Some people think that chihuahuas don’t mix well with anything. Some people think that chihuahuas are nasty little fuckers that yip and bite.
To be perfectly honestly with you, the worst dog bite I’ve ever had was bestowed upon me by a chihuahua. A lot of them are nasty little fuckers. If YOU only left the house in a purse, if YOU were cold all the damned time, if YOU lived in a land of giant feet, you’d be a nasty little fucker, too. My chihuahua is the Ellen Degeneris of chihuahuas. He’s not the prettiest but he seems like the prettiest because he’s funny and he’s so damned glad to see ya’.
I take my chihuahua to the nursing home now and then to visit my mother. She asks me to bring him. Sometimes she begs me to bring him. In spite of being desperate to see my chihuahua, my mother can barely remember his name. Not because she is in the throes of forgetting everything…the honest truth is she barely remembers anyone’s name because her head is so full of herself. Few toddlers are as selfish as certain old ladies, and that’s the damned truth. I know that my mother likes my chihuahua, but she REALLY likes the brief fame that a visit from my chihuahua brings her.
We sit in the lobby because having a little dog visit you at the nursing home is no good unless everybody can see the little dog visit you at the nursing home. At first it’s just us and Old Lady Who Obsessively Moves Furniture. I try to ignore her. She jabbers about the furniture and the fact that the furniture is misplaced. She throws her weight desperately against a sofa, which doesn’t budge. I finally get concerned that she is going to hurt herself and I move the damned sofa (which is on castors and slides through the lobby like a breeze over ice). That satisfies her, and she sits down on the sofa she just made me move and pets the cute little dog.
I don’t know if the aroma of dog gets into the recycled air or what, but people always start to show up when I bring the chihuahua to the nursing home. The first one to hobble in this time is Woman My Mother Argues With In The Dining Room Because They Both Want To Open Little Old Willy’s Creamer For Him. They haven’t spoken to each other outside of arguing over Willy’s creamer all week. Today, there is peace. My mother’s rival takes a chair and asks us repeatedly how it is that people can hurt cute little dogs like this cute little dog. We all agree that some people suck. Several times.
Next in is The Preacher. I’m not sure why he lives in the nursing home. He is one of the few residents who can walk unassisted. He’s so mentally sharp that I thought he was another visitor the first five times I saw him. Maybe his family is tired of hearing him preach and they kicked him out. I would get tired of having a fundamentalist preacher for a relative really quick. Maybe he’s actually an atheist and he just THINKS he’s a fundamentalist preacher and that’s why he’s in the nursing home.
Nobody likes The Preacher much. He is always dourly judging everybody. Apparently he threw a big ol’ “This is SATANISM!” downer monkey-wrench into the facility’s Halloween party, an event so tame that most two year olds would have bitched that it was boring.
My chihuahua, recognizing that the mouthpiece of Christ has arrived, gets on his hind legs and dances around. The Preacher claps his hands and dances with my chihuahua, weirdly risking eternal damnation to dance with a little dog.
We embark on a lively group discussion where everyone wonders whether my chihuahua could cure asthma, diabetic neuropathy, and corns. Chihuahuas actually have been said to have healing powers. It has always been a chihuahua sales pitch. It started back when all dogs had to be good for something. Chihuahuas weren’t good for herding cattle or…well they weren’t good for anything that people have historically wanted dogs to do. So they became magical.
The conversation stops when an old lady who looks like she lost a gang brawl wanders in. Black eyes, face yellow and blue with bruises and swollen tight; a line of stitches railroad tracks across on her forehead.
“She’s mean,” my mother informs me, like nobody else in the room can hear. Maybe they can’t. We have had to talk awfully loudly to carry on our conversation. I’m not willing to chance being overheard. I wonder to myself if Mean Beaten Up Old Lady really IS mean and if somebody waited until she was asleep and beat the shit out of her with a walker. She is STUNNINGLY beaten up.
Mean Beaten Up Old Lady sits down and says, “I have a question. Does anybody think I should see a doctor?”
“You already seen a doctor,” yells Furniture Mover, and taps her own forehead to indicate the stitches.
Mean Beaten Up Old Lady touches a hand to the stitches and is obviously surprised to find them there. “Oh. I guess I did see a doctor. I fell. On my face. LOOK! It’s a little DOG!”
So my chihuahua gets in Mean Beaten Up Old Lady’s lap and licks her hurt, fallen-on face. No miraculous healing takes place, unfortunately. I don’t think the lady is mean. I don’t know what gives. My mom tells me later that her source of gossip maybe wasn’t so reliable and maybe the lady isn’t so mean, after all.
Greetings all done, my chihuahua sits in the center of the floor and everybody admires him and talks about how great chihuahuas are. Except for someone’s sister’s chihuahua. That was a mean little dog. Except for someone’s mother’s chihuahua. That was a mean little dog, too. Actually, nobody has anything good to say about any chihuahuas except for this chihuahua right here. This chihuahua right here crouches like a Sphinx and wags his tail like mad.
I’m hoping people have noticed that my Zombie Reports have been a lot about The Walking Dead, lately. If you have noticed and you are annoyed, give me a break. Season 3 of The Walking Dead is the biggest zombie news since Florida immersed itself in zombie-making bath salts. So, here’s my Official Unofficial Recap of Episode 2, Season 3 of The Walking Dead!
(Those of you who both have DISH TV and don’t understand the word “recap,” you’ve been warned.)
The show picked up right where Episode 1 ended. Rick and his people are trying to save the life of One-Legged Hershel, formerly known as Two-Legged Hersel before Rick cut off his zombie spit infected leg with an ax.
The surviving prisoners we met at the tail end of Episode 1 are duly impressed by Rick’s act of savage ax necessity for all of three seconds. These prisoners are under the impression that they are Bad Asses, in spite of the fact that they’ve waited ten months for the guard who locked them into the cafeteria at the beginning of the walker apocalypse to return for them, something that even a lone, terrified four year old wouldn’t wait for after about a day. The prisoners continue to show us their stupids by ignoring zombie killing instructions, which results in a comically gory scene where they shank zombies in the guts instead of bashing in their skulls. I will not be surprised if prisoners in prisons all over the country start boycotting the show, since The Walking Dead has even less use for prisoner characters than it has for black characters. Although two new black prisoner characters ARE dead before we reach the thirty minute mark.
More about Hershel’s bloody stump. Blah blah, they don’t want him to die because they’ll miss him and because they’ll have to kill him when he rises from the dead and falls over because he only has one leg. Then Carl does something MIND BOGGLING. HE WANDERS OFF ON HIS OWN ADVENTURE. First he wouldn’t stay in the house, now he won’t stay in the cell. These people need to cut off one of Carl’s legs.
Carol suddenly has an emergency, and it’s a great time to have it, right in the middle of a real emergency (man with cut off leg maybe dying and becoming a zombie). Carol’s emergency is Lori is pregnant. Well, yes, yes she is. She has been for a while. We are worried about this right now because apparently Lori is overdue to have her Nerf Ball-sized baby, and Carol wants to practice cutting women open in case Hershel isn’t there to do it. Carol enlists Glenn to help her obtain a corpse to practice on. I’m surprised they even bothered killing their medical school specimen, frankly. If it’s practice Carol wants, what better practice could there be than performing the operation on a writhing, clawing, moaning female body? Lori isn’t likely to stay corpse-like still for a C-Section without anesthesia. While Carol practices, someone or someTHING watches her from the woods outside of the fence. I hope it’s a malpractice lawyer.
Back in the prison, Hershel stops breathing. This means he’s dead and this means he’s going to turn into a zombie. Lori performs CPR on him anyway. We are treated to a moment where we don’t know if zombie Hershel is ripping out Lori’s tongue or if confused, no-blood Hershel thinks Lori is his deceased wife. Turns out he was confused, and it’s a little anticlimactic. Lori is fine, nobody ripped out her tongue and nobody rips her a new one for endangering herself, her baby, and everybody else.
The last scene of the episode is Lori trying to get back with Rick because there are no lawyers left (except maybe the malpractice lawyer watching Carol from the woods). Rick’s zombie-like response leaves us to wonder if he has held onto his life but lost his soul. Because, my God, who WOULDN’T jump all over, “Let’s be a couple, again. What the heck, it’s not like we can’t get DIVORCED.”
If you watched The Talking Dead after the show, you saw the BIGGEST spoiler that has been ever been spoiled by a show connected with a show where people don’t want spoilers EVER. I’m not going to blow it here, because it was almost as big as showing us Sophia coming out of the barn the week before Sophia came out of the barn. Umm..AMC? Don’t spoil your popular show by trying to boost the ratings of your silly show. It’s about like leaving Hershel to die because you need to learn to cut people open in case Hershel dies.
The Walking Dead returns tonight with a shiny new episode. Many fans can’t wait, so I’m going to satisfy their curiosity with my Official The Walking Dead Predictions, which are based on nothing official other than I officially want to make them.
Prediction #1- Rick is highly displeased to discover that there is virtually no food in the prison. The surviving prisoners raided the grain stores early in the Walker Apocalypse and cooked it all up in their homemade still. Having a lot of product and very few customers, they are delighted to meet Hershel, who immediately trades them Maggie in exchange for a mason jar full of hootch. Maggie, tired of Glenn telling her that he’s inspecting her for scratches when she thinks he wants to get jiggy, does not object.
Prediction #2- Daryl returns to his convict roots and hooks up with an inmate named “Big Arrow.” Carol, realizing finally that her relationship with a gay man was her way of repressing her own sexuality, disappears while looking for the women’s wing. Her friends, fed up with searching for members of the Peletier family, do not go looking for her.
Prediction #3- T-Dog will say very little, if anything. He IS the black guy and is lucky to still be on the show at all.
Prediction #4- Rick will spend the episode gnawing on Hershel’s amputated leg and screaming, “Fuck off! I’m tired of taking care of you!” at everyone.
Prediction #5- Andrea and Michonne will have three minutes of airtime this week rather than two.
Prediction #6- Lori Grimes, terrified that the new life in her womb is actually new death in her womb, takes a renewed interest in her son, Carl. Carl is mortified by being forced to wear diapers in front of his love interest, Beth Greene. In attempt to look more mature, Carl paints a mustache on his upper lip and insists that everyone refer to him as “Dirty Sanchez.”
The season opener left us with one of the most memorable lines in television history…”Holy Shit.” Hopefully my predictions will prove to be true and this episode will be equally memorable.
Anybody else got any predictions?
If you have DISH TV, you were screwed. The third season of The Walking Dead started last night. Not only has DISH dropped American Movie Classics, but AMC took every possible opportunity during the premiere of The Walking Dead to tell us that people with DISH were missing the premiere of The Walking Dead. DISH TV subscribers, you have to be feeling good about yourselves, today! Although you didn’t see it, so you don’t know that AMC pooped on you all night. Until I just told you, now. Or unless you’ve gone to The Walking Dead AMC website, where you will see right up there that it’s NOT AVAILABLE ON DISH.
On with the show…time has passed since we left the survivors from Hershel’s farm sitting by the roadside, all out of faith in their leader, Rick, and totally screwed. We can immediately tell that time has passed because Lori’s pregnancy is showing. Either that or perpetually bony actress Sarah Wayne Callies has broken down and eaten a meal consisting of more than a Ritz Cracker.
The show did a good job in the opening scene of showing us that everyone has changed. No whining. No fighting. No moral quandaries for everyone to stop and discuss before they can break and enter and kill zombies and plunder a house. Until…a slimmer, older, but not taller, Carl finds some tasty dog food for the obviously starving group to eat. That is where Rick draws the line, wordlessly letting us know that HIS. PEOPLE. WILL. NOT. EAT. DOG. FOOD. Yay! Rick still has some of his totally ridiculous principles intact. Things haven’t changed THAT much.
I don’t want to post a lot of spoilers for the DISH TV subscribers who will have to catch up on Hulu. And I’m too lazy to recap the entire episode. I will say that Daryl Dixon seems inexplicably fatter (Norman Reedus, what have you been eating?). Carl’s head has somehow grown into his father’s hat, although the rest of him hasn’t grown at all. Rick has smarted up and he seems to now hate Lori as much as the rest of us do. The characters still make stupid decisions aplenty, like rushing into situations without having any idea what is ahead of them when they actually have the leisure to make some noise from safe places and find out. I’m afraid that the setting of the prison isn’t going to be that interesting. The creators have promised that it’s virtually going to be a character. It’s going to be a really damned grey character, if that’s true. I’m also concerned that the creators have given up any semblance of artistic integrity at all and have decided to react to fan cries of, “We’re bored with the farm, kill more zombies!,” by pummeling us all through Season 3 with the killing of zombies.
On the plus side, my favorite soap opera, The Walking Dead is back, and I can’t wait to see Michonne and Andrea make out!
Of course I’m trying to sell you something, so check out my ebook! Zombies, a bearded lady, and an illegal pet, all on the inside!
However, I’m also apprehensive. I remember the red coal hot barbeque fork tines of disappointment that poked my eyes out during the Season 2 premiere when the zombie herd staggered right past the bleeding T-Dog. In Season 1, characters had covered themselves in zombie guts so they could walk through Atlanta. The team that produces THE WALKING DEAD hadn’t followed their own rules. Earlier in the season, the zombies could smell. Now they couldn’t smell. I felt cheated as shit.
Zombie fans are sticklers for The Rules in a way that fans of other horror genres aren’t. Vampires go to the beach in broad daylight and nobody gives a damn. Silver bullets are optional when killing werewolves, mainly because it’s really hard to come up with silver bullets. Zombie fans care about The Rules because they are actually compiling their own survival guides while they are being entertained. You have to be careful about The Rules. People are paying attention. Close attention.
Later, on THE TALKING DEAD, I heard a member of the show’s creative team respond to the criticism over the You-Said-That- Zombies-Can-Smell-And Then-You-Said-They-Can’t-Smell issue. He said something like, “We never said that zombies are bloodhounds. We’ve never had zombies sniffing people out.” I got mad all over again. ZOMBIES WOULD HAVE TO NOT HAVE ANY SENSE OF SMELL AT ALL TO NOT SMELL T-DOG GUSHING BLOOD, AND YOU TOLD US BEFORE THAT THEY COULD SMELL PEOPLE!
But somewhere along the line, I gave it up. It’s not like there is ANOTHER zombie show I can watch. I have to watch the only zombie show there is. I can’t NOT watch the only zombie show there is. And that led to me relaxing other rules I generally have about my entertainment just so I could watch THE WALKING DEAD.
Rules about character continuity. Relaxed. Lori went to town alone to tell Hershel that his daughter was sick in spite of the fact that the men had gone into town to find Hershel because Hershel’s daughter was sick. Now, Lori would NEVER, EVER chance her son losing both parents. EVER. She is the character who is LEAST likely to go off alone on a ridiculous errand. And, beep beep, there she went. I was mildly annoyed, but I dealt.
Rules about maintaining a decent, believable plot in general. Relaxed. The only person who was still on Shane’s side by the end of Season 2 was Andrea. Nobody really trusted Shane. Almost all of them feared Shane. Yet the entire group was horrified when Rick confessed that he’d killed Shane. The reason they turned against Rick was the producers needed them to turn against Rick to set up what is going to happen in Season 3. Again, I dealt.
And I’ll probably keep right on dealing. THE WALKING DEAD is my soap opera. I’m like my grandma with her “stories” that she had to watch every single weekday, with people coming back to town with different faces to avenge themselves against their evil twins who’d stolen their husbands. Grandma knew that shit wasn’t real. THE WALKING DEAD isn’t real. BUT THEY’D BETTER WATCH THE RULES, THIS SEASON! OR I’LL BE MAD! I’ll watch. But I’ll be mad.
I, personally, follow the rules with my zombie fiction. Check out the great review of my ebook, ZOMBIES TAKE MANHATTAN!