Going Solo

Millennium Falcon cookie

Actual appearance of the Millennium Falcon in the new SOLO movie

I have seen it, and lo, it was good.

No spoilers here — that’s not how I roll — just a quick and enthusiastic round of applause for Solo. And I intended to write a much better review but it’s late and I’m tired and I am just gonna crank this out because Solo was great and PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.

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5 Nice Things to Do for Mom During the Zombie Apocalypse

Oh crap. Somewhere between the end of the world and the start of summer, you completely forgot it was Mother’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to have your mom along on this misadventure — and she’s still keeping an eye on the calendar — here are five simple things you can do to make sure her post-apocalyptic day is a special one.

Double up on watches so she can sleep in or take a nap. Studies conducted by yours truly indicate naps greatly missed by 99.9% of adults in the modern world. Imagine how much more you’ll miss them when the dead rise.

Make her a cocktail. It’s actually fine to drink during the zombie apocalypse — just don’t overdo it! If you can’t raid a supermarket or liquor store, try brewing some moonshine in the nearest bathtub. She’ll appreciate your industriousness.

Pick her some flowers. Unless you’re living in a supernatural and/or sci-fi version of earth, where the actual planet is in tatters, you’ll probably find tons of flowers springing up in overgrown gardens, by roadsides, or in meadows. Just make sure there isn’t something hiding under the foliage waiting for a tasty snack.

Get her some fancy dishware. I’ll bet you ten bucks that when humanity starts raiding the malls and box stores for survival gear, they’re going to straight up ignore the fine china. If your mother was a fan of this in the old world, get her a set. She will probably never use it and have to abandon it as soon as your latest hiding spot is overrun, but it’s the thought that counts.

Take care of the cleaning/laundry/whatever. I assume that at some point you guys tend to your post-apocalyptic abode, and let’s face it, it’s usually the mothers (and women) who get stuck with this gig. Turn on the generator, let Mom watch some DVDs and take your best shot at tidying up. And for heaven’s sake, stop swearing at the fitted sheet.

Monday Mythos – Early Zombie Awareness

As some of you know, I’ve been picking away at a mythology-based series for…oh, the last few years, at least. Yes, it’s largely based on Greek mythology, but I’ve also looked at the old stories of other cultures for ideas.

I will be upfront: this series does not contain zombies. At least not in the classical sense. But while researching I learned something interesting: the ancients were as concerned about the dead eating the flesh of the living as we are. I bring you what is perhaps the first piece of Zombie Awareness we have.

In Ishtar’s Descent Into the Underworld, the goddess of love and war heads to the realm of the dead. The gatekeeper doesn’t want to let her in. Ishtar, like any good badass, threatens her way through:

“Gatekeeper, ho, open thy gate!
Open thy gate that I may enter!
If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.”

The dead will eat the living. And outnumber them. And all this between 1900-1600 BC, a considerably long time before Night of the Living Dead. This fear — or fascination — is old..

This is the Akkadian version, which is shortened considerably from its original Sumerian form. The Sumerian version is far more detailed and elaborate, and Ishtar is known as Inanna…but Inanna does not threaten to kick in the door or unleash the dead, which is kind of a bummer, because damn.

So what prompted its inclusion? I haven’t dug into any research on this one, but I find the threat fascinating. Not just because it seems like a direct forerunner to “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth” but because it’s so specific. I’m going to do this this and that, oh yeah, and flesh-eating fiends are gonna rule the planet.

Did some scribe think, Wow, I bet the dead eating the living would be shocking, or…perhaps…work with me here…somewhere along the line…the dead rose up and ate the living, and it was added to this story after the fact?

…I guess I’ve got my next short story idea.

And that, friends, is the first edition of Monday Mythos. And do yourself a favor. Next time you’re questioning how much you really want something, remember this: To get what she wanted, Ishtar would let the fucking dead up to devour the living.

She’s fascinating, by the way – in all her incarnations. Google her!

My zombie-fighting soundtrack

Zombie Awareness Month Tip: You can’t fight zombies without a kickass soundtrack. You just can’t. It is physically impossible to defeat the undead without some fist-pumping tunes going in the background…so here are some Vibeke-approved songs for you to put on next time zombies break into your apartment.

END OF ALL HOPE by Nightwish – if this song doesn’t make you take out a dozen zombies in one go, you probably aren’t actually alive anymore.

EPIC LYRIC: “Angels, they fell first but I’m still here / Alone as they are drawing near … ”


SMOKING SNAKES by Sabaton – this song is actually about some badass Brazilians that fought Nazis in World War II, but it is also proven to make you faster, stronger, and more prone to striking epic poses during a zombie battle.

EPIC LYRIC: “Rise from the blood of your heroes / You were the ones who refused to surrender.”

HARD ROCK HALLELUJAH by Lordi – Yes, you can fight the undead to this…or maybe they’ll be so inspired by your killer dance moves that they’ll just make you their leader. This song makes for an excellent zombie-fighting montage. Fun fact: It came out in 2006 and yes, I wrote the earliest version of GNW with it playing in the background.

EPIC LYRIC: “On the day of Rockening, it’s who dares wins! / You will see the jokers soon will be the new kings.”

I was going to stop at three, but to celebrate figuring out how to embed videos in this thing, let’s go to five!

STAND UP AND FIGHT by Turisas. This is the sort of song you put on when the apocalypse has been going on for a while, and you’re tired of wearing leather and weird face paint all the time, but dammit, you’re gonna keep fightin’ the good fight.

EPIC LYRIC: “But would I run today just to die another day? / Give up now and every fight has been in vain.”

FULL MOON by Sonata Arctica – 90% sure this is actually about a werewolf who eats his lover, but really, this song has great advice for anyone dealing with supernatural danger – including running the heck away.

EPIC LYRIC: “Full moon is oversky and he’s not a man anymore!”

And there you have it. Five ass-kicking songs to crank up next time you’ve got a duel with the undead.

(Extra bonus: They can also be used to terrify family members into silence during long road trips.)

Stay breathing, gang!

Zombie Awareness Month is here!

Guys. Guys. I didn’t realize it was Zombie Awareness Month. I hereby apologize for this terrible blunder.

I’d like to point out that it’s incredibly important to be aware of Zombie Awareness Month. If this snuck up on me, no doubt a zombie could do exactly the same.

Always keep a sharp eye out. Watch your surroundings. I like to think most shamblers wouldn’t actually be able to sneak up on us, but there’s nothing like a stealth ghoul to ruin your day.

In celebration of this, er, momentous occasion, I’m leaving the GNW series at 99 cents for the month of May. Because dammit, Vibeke would want it that way.


Well, that was easy

Draft2Digital made it absurdly easy to get the GNW series up on iBooks, Kobo, and Tolino.

I think there’s probably some delay time before they actually go live, but they’ve been submitted, new blurbs and all, and now…we shall see.

And all before 10 a.m.! I AM A BEAST.

We have come a long, long way since I stayed up all night in October 2011, hand-coding GNW so it displayed semi-properly.

And that actually does it for most of my GNW Makeover Challenge, which I’ll post about more fully in a couple of days.

The Joys of Housekeeping

I have a terrible secret to share.

Are you ready to hear it?

Brace yourselves. It’s ugly.

I work in digital marketing.

“But Suz,” I hear you saying, “what’s ugly about that?”

It’s not that I work in digital marketing. It’s that I’ve worked in digital marketing for years and have never bothered applying anything I do at my job to my books. Keyword research? Feh. Snappier back cover copy? Whatever. Tests? I can’t be bothered.

It was partially self-defense. I do all this stuff for my day job. I don’t necessarily want to bring it home with me. But during the last few weeks, when I finally dove into stuff like series maintenance, I started to see exactly the sort of problems we usually point out to our clients. No SEO keywords (!). Back cover copy, which I thought was kind of kitschy and entertaining at the time, was. not. working.

So that’s been my project over the last couple days. I dug out the old copywritin’ skillz and redid the back cover copy on the GNW series. Did some SEO research and selected some keywords for various search engines. And now, for my next trick, I’m going to try to get some wider distribution going.

Brace yourselves. New platforms are coming.

…provided I can figure them out.

Bits and Bobs

I spent the better part of my afternoon doing some housekeeping.

I don’t mean I cleaned my entire house (although I did clean! Go me!) — I did some hardcore GNW-ing.

I added some back matter to all five (!) of the series books — along with updated acknowledgements and a brand-spanking-new About the Author page. The back matter is the cool part; it’s got my Also By list, at last, with links to the books’ respective pages on B&N and Amazon. Get Undead and Welcome to the Zomburbs also got new covers and mild title changes (namely dropping the Tales From Camp Elderwood moniker and shuffling them into the main Grave New World series).

Then, because I am a sadist, I went ahead and re-did the Books page on this very website. I’m just waiting on the B&N links for the anthology and the short story and that will be done.

Oh…and there was the small matter of redoing the back cover copy for Get Undead and Welcome to the Zomburbs. I tweaked it a bit for the three main books as well; full rewrites will probably be coming down in the next month.

Damn, I was productive today.

I am, how you say, tired.

But hey! It’s done! And to celebrate I’m setting all the zombie books at 99 cents for the next month. Those of you who wrote to me saying anything more than 99 cents was too much to pay for my work…your prayers have been answered. At least for a month. Hallelujah!


Is it a bit drafty in here?

Finished a book

This is what writing like an insane wildebeest looks like.

I meant to post this glorious little screengrab on the 4th, when I actually typed THE END (or at least slammed the laptop lid and collapsed into a blubbering heap), but…I didn’t.

Anyway, there it is. The rough draft of the creatively titled Grave New World 4, which is currently a hot mess of plot holes, questionable character decisions, and some of the weirdest zombie stuff I’ve ever written.

Needless to say it will undergo some changes in the revision…but there are a few things I can tell you about it.

1. It takes place a year or two after the end of Dead Men Don’t Skip.

2. Things have not improved all that much for Vibeke and her friends, but they haven’t gotten worse…yet.

3. Yes, Evie is still there.

I can’t really explain how I chewed through this story so fast. I started it on February 18, finished it on April 4…that’s like, what, 45 days? Somewhere around there? I can write fast when I put my mind to it — thank you, years of deadline-driven assignments — but this just fell out at insane speed. I’ve been writing Vibeke in some form or another since 2006. That’s twelve years with this character’s voice, with this gal and her friends, and I’ve still never ripped through a yarn at such a pace.

I’d say “It wrote itself!” but I tend to reserve that for stuff that pops out in close to its finished form. This…is not that. All the beats are there, the major plot points, but it is far from finished.

I’ve put it away for the time being to give myself some space before picking up the Red Pen of Revisions and slicing the thing open. In the meantime, I’m updating the blog (still transferring old entries over) and finally updating the GNW series with some much-needed front/back matter and a couple new covers for the short stories. Nothing crazy. Just minor touch-ups.

Catch y’all on the flip side!

Rumors of My Demise, Part II

Coffee cup on a wooden table

This post brought to you by a Nutella latte

Oh, man, it’s dusty in here.

So! Is everybody ready for another round of “Let’s Update the Blog”? It’s a time-honored tradition — every few years I look at this thing and decide I really ought to update it more frequently. I make all sorts of promises to myself and promptly break them all within a month.

But hey, it’s 2018, and the last post on here is from 2014.

You’ll notice the site is looking a bit shabby. I’m messing about with templates and trying to update it one page at a time. Which is totally fun and something I encourage everyone to do.

(Sarcasm, in case it wasn’t obvious.)

Anyway. I’m still here. Poking away at some work. I can’t say Big Things are in the pipeline, but stuff is happening and this place should start looking more like a website and less like a pawn shop soon enough.


I hope.

Fingers crossed, anyway.