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Oct 28, 2014

Guest Post - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

It's almost Halloween and what would the holiday be without at least one public service announcement. Sadly, I'm ill equipped to discuss anything outside of surviving an attack on one's collection of Transformers - a scenario that will probably be fairly rare for most on this All Hallows Eve.

Fortunately guest blogger Naomi Shaw was kind enough to step in and help me hide my shortcomings with a little info and her awesome infographic about that perennial favorite (and ever present threat): the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

Take it away, Naomi!

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

If you haven’t yet jumped onto the zombie bandwagon in popular media, you still have time. Zombies have never been more popular across so many different types of media, meaning that you have plenty of options from which to choose, any of which will let you catch up quickly so you don’t feel left out during coffee break discussions with co-workers.

Zombie TV Shows

Much of what is driving the current excitement over zombies is The Walking Dead. But here are three zombie TV shows that fans of the genre are watching.

1.    The Walking Dead--This show has set records for cable TV viewership for a non-sports show at 17.3 million.
2.    In The Flesh--A quirky and well done British offering, In the Flesh shows an attempt to incorporate “cured” zombies back into society.
3.    Z Nation--The SyFy channel has greenlighted the newest zombie apocalypse show in Z Nation.

Zombie Movies

Plenty of great zombie movies have been released--far too many to list here. But there are three referenced in the accompanying infographic that will help you familiarize yourself with the zombie genre as its appeared in a few different eras.

1.    Night of the Living Dead--This cult classic in 1968 was one of the most controversial movies of the time.
2.    28 Days Later--A fast-moving zombie outbreak leads to a breakdown of society.
3.    World War Z--The latest big-budget zombie thriller grossed $540 million worldwide.

Zombie Books

Books about the zombie apocalypse are plentiful. And although there isn’t one book that’s generating the kind of buzz that The Walking Dead is generating, here are five can’t-miss zombie-related books to expand your knowledge of the genre.

1.    Adrian’s Undead Diary: Dark Recollections by Chris Philbrook
2.    Aftertime trilogy by Sophie Littlefield
3.    As the World Dies trilogy by Rhiannon Frater
4.    Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
5.    World War Z by Max Brooks

Taking the Next Step

If you’ve now become a fan of the idea of zombies, you’re probably ready to take the next step: Preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Now keeping in mind the idea of the undead rising up and taking over the earth is pure fantasy for all but the most hardcore zombie fans, you may not want to invest a lot of serious time in prepping specifically for the zombie apocalypse.

On the other hand, as you can see in the infographic attached here, much of the preparation you might do for a zombie apocalypse will apply to all sorts of natural disasters, such as a hurricane or outbreak of an illness. The folks running the Ready.gov web site don’t care exactly why you create an emergency kit, as long as you do. Some items to include in a kit include:

     Clothing. Keeping warm is always tough in a disaster, so pack your kit with clothing you can wear in layers.
     Documentation. Have your driver’s license with you in any emergency situation … even the zombie apocalypse.
     First aid kits. Any emergency kit needs basic first-aid supplies, including clean bandages and anti-bacterial ointment, as well as personal prescriptions.
     Food. Keep some non-perishable food in your kit, including packaged nuts, energy bars, and canned soup.
     Radio. Remember that your cell phone may not work in an emergency situation, so a portable radio may be your only source of news.
     Light and batteries. A small flashlight with extra batteries are both important items to have in an emergency kit.
     Water and sanitation. Finding clean water will be challenging in a disaster situation, so keep some drinkable water, as well as some tablets or household bleach for purifying water, in your kit.

And if you want more information on specifically how to battle zombies, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide is a great resource. It also is a fun read, keeping the idea of zombies fun and amusing.




About Naomi:

Naomi Shaw is a journalist and entrepreneur based in Southern California. She lives with her husband and three kids. She has done enough research to believe that, in the case of a zombie apocalypse, her family would fare very well. You can connect with Naomi on her Google Plus Page

Oct 21, 2014

Have you ever wanted to track down a reviewer in real life and...

I'll stop you right there.  If you filled in the above with any answer in the affirmative, you need to back up a step and reconsider everything you're doing. In the past week alone there have been two reported cases of author stalking. In one case the author showed up at the reviewer's doorstep. That's scary enough and a situation that could have easily escalated badly. In the other, it actually did escalate, ending with the author in question allegedly assaulting the reviewer with a wine bottle.

To anyone showing any sympathy whatsoever to the writers in question: what the hell is wrong with you? There is no justification under any circumstances for this kind of behavior over a book review. Repeat after me, it's a freaking book review - that's it. Nobody beat up your child, ran over your pet, or smothered your frail old grandmother in her sleep. There is no cause for losing your shit over the fact that someone didn't like your book. Get over it.

Should you consider any other action, whether it be petty online revenge or taking your fight into the real world, I would highly recommend you reconsider your choice of careers (in the latter case, please seek help as well). By publishing your written work and putting it up for sale, you are guaranteed that someone will hate it. Hell, they might even hate you for writing it. There is no IF here. It's entirely a matter of WHEN.

There is simply no such thing as a universally beloved artist. If you can't handle that, do yourself and everyone else a favor and think twice before putting yourself in the public eye.

I don't care how bile-filled of a rant you receive, even if they despised your book from the very depths of their soul. There is only one response that is even remotely justified by anyone claiming to call themselves a professional in this industry: succeed despite them. That's it. You have a critic who loathes you? Move on, get better at what you do, and let them stew as you prove yourself the better person. In the end that is truly the sweetest revenge, and it's one in which nobody has to get hurt or fear for their safety.

Sep 30, 2014

The Best Vampires are Free Vampires

There are reasons we fear the night. He isn't one of them... 
But he is FREE!

Blurb:
Bill Ryder was a dateless dweeb...then he died. Unfortunately for him that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke to find himself a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Unfortunately for him, he was still at the bottom of the food chain.

Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst yet, they all want him dead...permanently this time.

Bill isn't exactly average, though. A vampire like him hasn't been seen in centuries. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve, unlikely allies, and an attitude problem that makes him too damn obnoxious to quit.

Join him in this hilarious tale of monsters, mayhem, and the unlikely hero who's not afraid to tell them all off...even if it gets his teeth kicked in.



Excerpt from BILL THE VAMPIRE (The Tome of Bill, part 1):

Sally and I left James sitting there, drinking espresso - damn that was going to be one wired vamp - and walked back to the village. As we got to within a few blocks of the loft in which I’d been turned, she informed me that we were about to enter their (our) territory, and that there would, no doubt, be eyeballs watching us.

“Stop slouching. Walk straight with your head up and facing ahead. You need to look like you own the place,” she said.

“I don't slouch.”

“You look like you're studying the sidewalk. You might as well have a sign that reads ‘Professional Victim’ hanging around your neck. Walk like I do.”

“Like my ass is available to the lowest bidder?”

“I'm surprised you haven't made me an offer yet. You look like somebody who needs to pay for it.”

“Thanks. Maybe I should just pledge my undying loyalty to Jeff.” I adopted a mock-sniveling tone. “Oh, and, by the way, master, Sally's trying to fuck you over behind your back.

“Touché. But it still doesn't change the fact that you need to exude a little bit of this thing we call ‘confidence’.”

She was an arrogant bitch, but she was an arrogant bitch with a good point. I stood straighter and tried to put a bit of a swagger in my step.

“Tone it down a little, Superfly,” she said out of the corner of her mouth.

“What? You said to walk with confidence.”

“Yeah, but that doesn't mean you have to shuffle like some seventies pimp.”

I tried what she suggested until she finally agreed that it was acceptable.

“Oh, there's one other little detail,” she said, stopping. “Just to give things an air of authenticity.”

I was about to ask her what, when she suddenly flung herself into a pile of trash on the sidewalk. Before I could even speak a word, she was back on her feet and launching herself face-first into the side of the nearest building.

“What the fuck?”

When she was finished with her insane self-inflicted assault, she stood before me - covered in grime, small cuts, and with several bruises on her face.

“Ta da!” she said with a smile. “Now it looks like I successfully tracked down the ferocious Freewill.”

Holy shit, this chick was psycho. What the hell had she and Ozymandias dragged me into?



Been waiting for an excuse to jump into this hard hitting, loudly swearing Urban Fantasy series?
Well wait no more!

Currently FREE for: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Ibooks | Smashwords
 

Aug 28, 2014

Author sales milestones as told by a D&D Gamer...

So, young writer, you wish to be an author, eh?  Well, sit down and I shall tell you of the doom that awaits thee - be it wondrous treasure or a shallow unmarked grave.

Many have traveled your path. Most have fallen. Some have become lords of their own fiefdoms. And a select few have lived long enough to become legend itself.

Here be the levels of acclaim that await you as you seek out adventure.

You wrote a book:  Congratulations. You have chosen to walk where others only dream to tread. Your friends and family might be content with the simple life of a villager, but you see a different path. Trading in your plow for a sword or spell book might confuse or even anger some, but you are confident that this is the life you were born to.

Your Very First Sale: Be it kobold or brigand, you have conquered your first foe and survived to tell the tale. Huzzah! Others may scoff, but you know this is but the first of many victories to come. You may be alone in raising a toast to your conquest, but deep down know that someday that will change.

1000 Sales: You’re a fledgling adventurer. Your mentors at the fighter's or mage's guild have grudgingly admitted your potential and cast you out to be on your way. With coin in pocket and honed weapons at the ready, you eagerly set forth on whatever journey the fates have in store for you.  At first you seek out minor foes, but your confidence and skill grows with every enemy you fell.

10,000 Sales: You have attained the standing of local hero, having cleared out the surrounding woods of orcs, dire wolves, and other such threats. When the village constable has an issue, you’re the first person he approaches to solve it.  You dream of becoming one of the heroes of legend, but for now are content to launch into action whenever the call is made, knowing that your time shall come.

50,000 Sales: A grizzled veteran, you have waged many a war and saved many a kingdom. Lusty tavern wenches (or knaves) await your return at every town you visit as well as do your seemingly endless enemies, but you welcome whatever challenge they offer. You begin to attract the attention of henchmen and squires hoping to learn your secrets to longevity.

100,000 Sales:  You have earned much fear and respect as an epic hero.  Your victories are not easily counted and bards sing songs of your conquests throughout the lands. Nobles, Warlords, and the highest circles of mystic power call upon you when the very world itself is in danger - knowing that you and you alone can stand against the menace. You would be a king by your hand save that the thirst for adventure still holds sway over your heart.

1 Million Sales: In a flash of divine lightning, you shed your mortal coil and ascend to immortality as a minor deity. Followers offer sacrifices and whisper your name in the hopes that they shall receive your blessing. When you speak, your words thunder through the heavens and are written down on stone tablets as law for all to follow.  Unbeknownst to most, though, you sit on your celestial throne with a troubled brow,  knowing that the heavens are not as eternal as mere mortals may think.  You are not idle in your pursuits, however. Should your Pantheon fall, you are taking steps to ensure your name lives on for all eternity.

Now you see what glory awaits those who are worthy. Go forth, write many a book, and be eaten by your fate

Aug 25, 2014

The Mourning Woods - the 2014 runner up for best horror!

The title says it all. The Mourning Woods (the Tome of Bill, part 3) took the Runner-Up spot for best independent horror novel in the 2014 eFestival of Words virtual book fair.

Woot!  Talk about awesome news. I am flattered, honored, and humbled all at once.  This is especially cool since, to be perfectly honest, I think The Mourning Woods plays more heavily to the humor aspect than to that of outright terror. Albeit being stuck out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by enemies, is nobody's idea of a picnic.

All that being said, scary or not, I think it's a hell of an adventure through the desolate woods of northern Canada for vampire/geek Bill Ryder and his friends as they strive to avert a war 4000 years in the making.

It had laughs, action, thrills, and probably some of my favorite lines from the entire series to date. This being my own personal favorite:

"I’ve known Francois for a very long time and he has always been, as you so eloquently put it, a dick."

Care to know what it means in context?  Well I guess you'll have to read the book.  :)



Three words: Vampires versus Sasquatch.

Bill Ryder: undead geek, dateless dweeb, and legendary vampire is back in his wildest adventure yet.

A war is brewing between ancient enemies from the dawn of time. If it can't be stopped, the veil will be lifted and all of humanity's darkest nightmares will be unleashed to wreak havoc. Bill and his friends are the only chance we have...Lord help us all.

The vampire nation dispatches Bill to a faraway land to broker peace, but it's not going to be easy. His enemies want him dead. Hell, some of his allies do too. Danger lurks at every turn and in places where he least expects it.

Now he must rely on his friends, master his fledgling powers, and use every four-letter word in his arsenal to stop the war, uncover the conspiracy, and solve the mystery that lies at the heart of the Mourning Woods.

***

The Mourning Woods (the Tome of Bill, part 3) is 90,000 words of foul-mouthed horror hilarity by Rick Gualtieri, author of Bill the Vampire and Scary Dead Things.

Aug 2, 2014

And the number 1 Worlds of Bill Fanfic is....

The Worlds of Bill Fanfic Contest is over and you have chosen the winners!

The Runner up:
DUNGEONS AND DREADLOCKS


1st Prize Winner:
THE HUNTERS AND THE HUNTED


And finally the winner of the Grand Price:
THE TROUBLE WITH TOM


Please join me in thanking the winners, and remember that, while it's too late to vote, if you haven't done so already it's definitely not too late to read them.

Oh and a reminder that you'll be seeing our grand prize winner again, once the story of our nerdy vampire Freewill has come to a close and the Tome of Bill Compendium: Volume 2 is released.

In the meantime, I'm hard at work on HALF A PRAYER (the Tome of Bill, part 6).  That being said,  I'll just shut up now and get back to writing it. ;)

Jul 19, 2014

Confessions of a Rich Douchebag

The past week has been an interesting one on the email front.  This isn't a bad thing. I love hearing from people - minus maybe scammers and bill collectors - but usually the most these various contacts have in common is "When is your next book coming out?" (which is a much more awesome question to hear than "When are you cutting off your fingers to spare us from another book?")

This week, though, I have gotten no less than three that started with some variation of "To whichever secretary or personal assistant gets this, please forward it on to Rick because..."  Add to that a fourth exchange in which someone mentioned that they were glad to hear I was a regular person and not some "rich douchebag" and I have to wonder if my email address has gotten mixed up with Donald Trump's again.

Each time it's been met with a bewildered "WTF?" from me, but then I realized this isn't all that different than similar such thoughts I've had in the past.  I've always been an avid reader, long before I ever dreamed of spewing forth my own words to paper.  Naturally, many of us are aware of the truly big sellers - the JK Rowlings, Stephen Kings, Tom Clancys, and James Pattersons of the world.  These are the folks that we turn on the TV and have a fair chance of seeing on a talk show, on the news, or a commercial. While we don't have access to their tax records, we can be fairly certain they're not exactly digging through the neighbor's trash for old cans of beans.

I likewise used to assume the same for many of the authors whose books I've picked up and read over the years. After all, if I found a book amongst the sea of others, that person must be pretty damn famous - sitting on a yacht drinking cognac from a crystal snifter while multitudes of hard-bodied models frolicked around them. Then, as I added more books to my resume, I began to become acquainted with some of these fine storytellers.  Don't get me wrong, some of them are doing pretty darn well indeed, but most are a long ways from snorting coke off a $10,000 hooker's ass. And that's where the fantasy begins to break down.

The thing is, just like any other profession, the big name superstars are few and far between. The vast majority are average Joes and Janes who are trying to make ends meat. The harsh reality is - and this goes double for anyone jumping into this fray looking for a quick score - it's very difficult to make a living as a writer. That illusion of authors taking Dom Perignon baths with supermodels is just that, an illusion (albeit a pretty damn cool one). As I said above, I can understand it too.  In the real world, though, many writers jump for joy if their work brings in enough to cover a trip to the grocer's each month.

Before you get the wrong idea, this isn't a sob story - no "poor me" here. I have been incredibly fortunate in my foray into this jungle.  My children may not be wearing $60,000 Air Jordans (and for that price you can be sure as hell those babies would be locked behind bulletproof glass), but they're not clad in potato sacks either. The awesome part is that many don't realize you don't need mega-millions for something to be life-changing. Going from, say, living paycheck to paycheck to being able to put even $50 in the bank at the end of each month makes a world of difference.

At the same time, while I am flattered that multiple (hopefully nubile) assistants are attributed to my operation, it's just me here - putting in a lot of hours at night so I can hopefully bring a smile to a few faces. I still hold a day job and this remains a part-time endeavor for me - albeit one that I am hopeful will some day be full time. In short, if you ever meet me on the street you can feel free to approach - sure in the knowledge that a legion of bodyguards isn't about to descend to beat you to a pulp.

Still, if the fantasy of me playing demolition derby with Bugati Veyrons while I burn $500 bills to keep my feet warm works for you, then by all means go for it.  I may not be a rich douchebag, but I certainly wouldn't mind being one some day...err sorta.

In the meantime, I shall continue to try my best to entertain. Now if you'll pardon me, I have some Grey Poupon to hand out at traffic lights...