Thanks to all the beautiful authors whose words have been my therapy and my inspiration, that have driven me to laugh, cry, and filled my heart over the years.
And you, dear readers, who step into our minds and hearts through our works and give us a reason to keep writing.
Since I could first hold a pencil, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Stories of all kinds filled my head. I'd be creating fantasy worlds during long church sermons, when I couldn't sleep at night, on the bus ride home, and any time I had moments to myself.
I read voraciously, and was quite young when I started stealing my mom's smutty romance novels. I'd have to hide them under my mattress, because my parents deemed them inappropriate for a child of my age (and probably rightly so!).
I loved books. All books. Reading has been my favorite pass-time, my personal escape, and the key to worlds I could never imagine or might never visit.
In college, I put away my dreams of being a writer, focusing on more practical careers options that have led me to my current career in marketing. However, the dream of being a writer always lingered. Last year, after working with indie authors on a research project for work, my husband encouraged me to do the ultimate research about being an indie author and become one myself.
I took up the challenge, and on July of 2015, I published my first book, dystopian romance REAPER.
The life of a writer is full of ups and downs; of hating my work and the exhilaration of a great review. Of days spent deleting text I'd just written, and other days pounding out chapters I'm excited to share.
Authorship is still more of a hobby than a career for me, but it has gotten into my blood, like heroin, and I need it now. I can't stop thinking about it, and looking for stolen moments to get high on my drug of choice, tucked in the corner of my living room on my laptop, creating the worlds and weaving words that have always lived in my head, and are now begging to get out.
Thanks to the authors who've inspired me, the indies who struggle alongside me, and the most of all, the READERS who voraciously devour the beloved words we've put to paper.
Happy National Author Day!
Welcome to this page of the Zombie Crawl!
Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY by telling me your favorite Zombie book or movie in the comments and filling out the entry form! (Details at the end of the post)
If you're here, it is probably because you share my obsession: you love anything apocalypse, post apocalypse, or dystopian. And what better apocalypse than a Zombie Apocalypse?
Have you ever wondered why so many adore the mindless, gory, shambling flesh-eaters? Why do we love Zombies so much, in literature, film, and on Halloween?
Below are the 10 reasons I believe Zombies hold such a special place in our hearts, even though theirs may not still be beating. In no particular order...
10 Reasons We Love Zombies:
1. Terrifyingly impossible.
Attacks from terrorist, catastrophic natural disasters, and the slow destruction of our natural world… These are all terrifyingly real things that threaten mankind. But Zombies? They’re just pure entertainment without the genuine fear that comes with these other apocalyptic scenarios.
We all logically know a Zombie Apocalypse is a scientific impossibility. Don’t just take my word for it. Cracked wrote an entire article about the scientific reasons that a Zombie Apocalypse would fail.
I’ll summarize for you:
While books like Max Brook’s World War Z (which was made into a much-less convincing movie) might make the impossible sound probable, we all are quite aware of how unlikely a Zombie apocalypse really is. Which is why we can enjoy our Zombies, Undead, Walking Dead, Lexers, or whatever we’re calling them today, without an uncomfortable underlying fear that hey, this might actually be mankind’s fate in the near future…
2. Killing them is guilt-free.
As an author, it is my job to make sure the bad guys or girls are really bad, so when I off them in the end, we can all cheer together. But often, we still feel a bit of uncomfortable pity or guilt for the death of another human being (and least I hope you do, you sociopath, you). Zombies remove this guilt, because they are already dead.
We can all cheer on the machete-wielding, crossbow bearing survivors that are madly stabbing, decapitating, or shooting the undead. Did he just stab a child? It is ok, because he was actually helping to free her from the horrible fate of zombieism. It is sad, it is terrible, but we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that they really aren’t killing sentient beings, but rather an already-dead monster.
No guilt, no sorrow, but plenty of gore. Booya, motherf*cker.
3. Society gets the punishment they deserve.
How many times have we seen people doing shitty things that we pray karma will pay them back for? Like that jerk who cut you off on the freeway, or the asshole who treated you poorly at work, or the really bad server at the restaurant who you’re pretty sure spit in your food, and maybe even urinated in your soup.
What better punishment for a entitled, ungrateful society than ZOMBIES. It is basically karma for our destruction of other species, our planet, and crappy driving habits.
4. Zombies give us an enemy to fight.
In many apocalyptic scenarios, like a natural disaster or the disappearance of natural resources or a nuclear holocaust, we don’t have anything to fight except nature. And there is only so much running from flood waters or shaking with fear while a earthquake destroys entire continents that is entertaining. We like to have a clear enemy to face. In a Zombie Apocalypse, the 'bad guys' are all around, and killing them is guilt-free (See #1 above).
Zombies are the perfect enemy because they are mindless, non-sentient beings to decimate without remorse. They are also terrifying, disgusting, and just dangerous enough to keep us biting our nails in anticipation of the next surge that will always, ALWAYS appear unannounced at the most inopportune moment.
Thank you, Zombies, for stepping up and being the enemy horror fans really need.
5. The great equalizer.
At the end of the world, we’re all equal. It doesn’t matter what kind of sports car you drive, or how big your mansion, or what brand of clothing you’re wearing (unless it is Kevlar, and then you might have an advantage). We’re all at risk for a bite, and nobody gives a shit about your money; it is basically fire kindling at that point.
The only people with an advantage are people with guns, survival skills, or a secret bunker underground equipped for years. (Since apparently the undead do not decay. Ever.) And even these folks usually meet a bad end. No one is safe. No one is superior. In the event of a Zombie apocalypse, we’re truly all equal in the eyes of the hungry hoards. They’ll eat anything.
6. Gore, gore, and (I can’t look away!) more gore.
It’s the train-wreck phenomenon. We hate to see the horror, but we can’t look away. Something about humanity is fascinated by terrible things happening to others. Perhaps we feel better knowing it wasn’t us. Perhaps we need the pure emotional response that comes from viewing tragedy. Or perhaps we’re just a really f*cked up race… Whatever the case, something about gore, violence, and tragedy calls to us on an emotional level that we just can’t look away.
Zombies give us the gore and horror in buckets. By the mouthful. And at the end of a machete. So get your eyeful, and rest easy knowing it was all stage-makeup and superior acting.
7. Zombie apocalypse breaks past society’s barriers and reveals humanity’s core.
Yeah, I know, now I’m getting a little philosophical for a fun little “listical”. But even the shoot ‘em ups need a moment of gravity.
My favorite part of writing post apocalyptic / dystopian fiction (or whatever the hell we’re calling it these days) is the chance to really consider the human psyche and how we as individuals and as groups will react to such harsh scenario. When faced with tough choices, like kill or be killed, what would a mother do? A sister? A husband? What would I do?
Zombie literature and movies allow us to glimpse the dark or good side of humanity when put to such tests.
At our core, are we all just animals, trying to survive? To procreate? To feed? Or can even the animals the live inside our humanity show love, give mercy, or endure the end of the world?
8. Zombies can be amusing.
At the end of the world, we all need a moment of levity. And if we can’t laugh at the shambling, moaning, and limbless monstrosities, what can we laugh about?
If you've ever seen a Zombie movie or read a book, you already know the scariest thing at the end of the world is OTHER HUMANS, not the undead. So go ahead and giggle a little watching the antics of the walking dead.
9. Zombies never get old.
See what I did there? We never get sick of Zombies, and they also don’t age. Because they’re dead…
Ehem, anyway, Zombies have evolved over the years. We’ve seen the fast running rage zombies, shambling undead, mutated creature zombies, even animated Zombies our children can enjoy. And we’ve loved them all.
10. Zombies make great Halloween costumes.
Do I really need to say more? What is more fun than dressing up (or down), smearing some blood all over ourselves, moaning like a mindless ninny, and wandering aimlessly down the street?
I can’t think of anything else better, either. Enjoy your Halloween!
In the picture to the right you will find a photograph of my 5th grade England teacher and myself at one of my book signings. Miss Bricketto started my love for satire and fiction by assigning books such as "The Ransom Red Chief" and "Cheaper By the Dozen".
After that, I became an avid reader. I love to read most genres, but tend to enjoy a combination of satire and romance best. Novels by Jude Deveraux, Janet Evanovich, and Nora Roberts are a guilty pleasure.
During my divorce in 2005, I found refuge in an anonymous online diary. I was very sarcastic with my entries and developed a very large following. I thought writing a sarcastic book about my experience as a military wife could be very theraputic, and it was. Still Breathing was published in 2007. I knew nothing about publishing, googled companies, and submitted my manuscript to the first company on the list. They responded shortly after. How lucky is that?
Publish America (now American Star Books) were a good experience for me. It didn't cost me anything. They made money off my book and I got a small percentage of the royalties. The only complaint I had was I think they charged my readers too much for the book. But then again, if it were my choice I would probably give them away just to have people read them. I published two more books with Publish America. Before She Was Babci which was a tribute to my grandmother, and Diary of the Dysfunctional.
My recent book, Kissing Frogs : A Modern-Day Fractured Fairy Tale, was by far the most fun to research and write. My greatest satisfaction from doing this book would be to make my readers laugh out loud. Although I wrote the "rules for on-line dating" in a funny way, I would also like for women to keep them in mind if they choose the on-line dating scene. Unfortunately, in my day job, I've seen several women become victims during an on-line encounter. I would never in any way blame the victim, however if a few simple precautionary rules were followed they just might have been able to avoid the assaults. As simple and as much fun as I want this reading experience to be, the social worker in me couldn't help putting in some safety tips.
Kissing Frogs centers on single mom, Ethel Funt's experience getting back into the dating scene via lovebycupid.com. She turns forty at the same time her son leaves for college. It captures her excitement, anxiety and laughable moments as she learns the rules of the pond have changed in the years since she dated and she must kiss many frogs before finding her prince.
I self-published Kissing Frogs via Amazon.com. This way I was able to make the paperback book available for just $8.99. It is also available in Kindle version.
Thanks to author Carys Jones for sharing her writing experiences. Finding the right time and place to write can help you become more productive and creative, but the most important thing? Just sitting down and doing it!
I pretty much write every day. There are of course exceptions but generally I try and stick to my daily routine. I write first thing in the morning as my mind is sharper then. I have daily word targets that I stick to. The targets are scrawled down along with my all my jumbled notes in my assortment of notebooks which are stacked beside my laptop.
The desk where I write is my self-created little corner of heaven. I’ve covered it with all my favourite things; like my Disney ornaments and pictures of my friends. On the walls are more pictures and also all the programs from the ballets I’ve been to with my Mum. I like to surround myself with things that make me happy, so that when I’m writing a particularly intense scene I can always look up and see something that makes me smile : )
I’m very disciplined with my writing as I’ve found that works for me. I set myself deadlines and do my best to stick to them. And I’m never alone when I’m writing. My beloved dog, Rollo, always comes and sits in his little bed of cushions on the other side of my desk.
Sometimes he snores so loud that I lose my train of thought but I love having him with me!
When she's not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.
She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.
To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.
For more information about Carys you can connect with her in any of these places: visit her website, her blog, find her on Facebook, Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter
It can become very tricky to keep writing into the same series, particularly when you continue following a related plot-line. There were several times I thought I'd written myself into a corner. But then my inventive characters were come up with a solution I would never have imagined, and off we'd go again.
I was very excited to write Vick's story after he played a more major role than I anticipated in Book 2, . He's got some real mommy issues, and is forced to face his twisted past.
And I got to show a softer side to our dear prickly Helen, who's worked so hard throughout our books to remain the upstanding citizen and future Senator of Law.
Marcus, Aerina, Lina, and Jay all continue to play out their stories here, and everyone's favorite evil President returns with some more parenting tips.
I hope you'll give the series a try. Both Romance readers and Dystopian / Post apocalyptic readers have enjoyed the books All the books are on sale on Amazon until Outsider's release date on September 22, so you can grab them all for under $3.
I also have a giveaway going on for anyone who pre-orders Outsider before Sept 22.
If you like your romance with a little heat and a lot of humor, check out her New Adult & Contemporary Romance books on Amazon or visit her website for more buying options.
1. She thinks about sex most of the day so she’s pretty much always ready to go. Let’s face it, for a woman sex is 90% mental, 10% physical. So, when a woman spends all day with sex on the brain it’s unlikely she’ll turn you down when your engine is revving.
2. She’s creative in bed. Romance/erotica is full of all kinds of sex: different positions, locations, and all kinds of kinky fun that you didn’t know you might be into. Believe me, when she reads a spicy scene full of things she hasn’t tried before she’s going to be really curious to give it a whirl in real life. So make sure you’ve limbered up.
3. She won’t mind if you ignore her for a few hours, because she’ll be ignoring you too while she spends time with her book boyfriends.
4. She knows how to talk dirty. I hope you’ve brushed up on your dirty talk because I guarantee she’ll be all over it, and have some filthy things of her own to add. Nobody talks dirtier than a bad boy book boyfriend, and she’s already written her own script in her head of naughty things to say to get you going.
5. She’s a hopeless romantic so even small gestures you make to show you care will mean the world to her. So go ahead, leave a note on the refrigerator that says ‘I love you’ and watch her melt…and then throw her panties at you. You’re welcome ;).
About K.M. Neuhold
I am a contemporary romance author with a love of nerd culture and a passion for writing strong, independent female characters. I am also an avid reader of romance, sci fi, fantasy, and horror. Follow me on Amazon, Facebook, or on my website.
My kids both share my love of books, and it is such an adventure to introduce them to classic favorites and discovering new favorites together. I wanted to share my love of writing, and the special feeling of being an author, with my preschool-age daughter Ariana and her classmates. After being a guest reader in her classroom, I had the idea of creating a book with the children. My daughter's teacher loved the idea, and I spent a morning working with the class to create The Springtime Egg.
The book written and illustrated by her class--Kaleb, Eve, Chandler, Ariana, Gabe, Aaron, Lorelai, Chloe, Caleb, Kaia, Xander, Gentry, Isaac, Camden, Charlotte, David, & Brayden--is now available on Amazon.com.
The kids came up with the idea of writing a story about a duck and her egg. Each child described their favorite weather and springtime activity that was happening while our egg refused to hatch. Finally, when spring was in full bloom, our egg hatched and a duckling emerged.
Once our story was complete, each child illustrated the page they described. I created the cover using the children’s illustrations. I put the book together and published it on Amazon. It is now available in print or ebook for Kindle or Kindle App.
I think it is so neat to teach them about the writing and publishing process, and to show them how even young children can accomplish something spectacular. I'm so proud of these kids!
You can see the book on Amazon. It is free to download right now on Kindle or Kindle App!
I created the infographic below with designer Andrew Frey (who has also created my awesome book covers!) to emphasize the importance of reading in children for their future.
As authors, we all have causes that are dear to our hearts and find their way into our books. Author Michelle Diana Lowe shares her attempt at using literature to give voice to sufferers of PTSD.
There is a great tradition of mental illness in fiction. The most memorable book on this topic is Charlotte Brontë’s, Jane Eyre. Since the first publication of Brontë’s classic novel in 1847, our understanding of mental health has changed considerably. Women who have a mental health problem are not locked away in attics, or spoken about by other people with fear or contempt, in the third person. No longer is mental illness seen as a disease, curse or punishment.
Contemporary women have a voice, to tell their own stories. Stories that are honest, real and absorbing. I am an author who has written a romance book that delves into the subject of mental illness. My debut novel is called UnShatter Me. It was published by US Publisher, UrbanEdge in August 2015. UnShatter Me tells the riveting story of nineteen year old Alena Pavlis, a college student who is trying to heal from a traumatic childhood experience. The novel explores her deep-rooted issues, the challenges she faces with PTSD and the problems she has in her relationship with boyfriend and fellow student, Phillip Gregson. The book shows Alena’s momentous journey to recovery and how she tackles her past demons. It is a raw, gutsy story with a strong romantic thread running throughout.
Some people say I am brave for writing this type of book. I say, I am doing my part to raise awareness of a very important subject that can sometimes be misrepresented in the media and press. In the literary world, authors have an opportunity to tell the true story of their hero or heroine, without negative stereotypes being played up or emphasized. We, as authors, give those with mental illness a real voice and platform to share their stories and experiences.
So far, I have read one book on mental illness that I found immensely compelling. This book is Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel. Prozac Nation is a really good read and I highly recommend it. Reading this book helped me to understand what having a serious mental health problem actually felt like. I got so deep into the psyche of the female protagonist and was so connected to her. As an aloof nineteen year old undergrad reading this book, I could totally relate to what the lead character was saying.
These are the five books on mental health that I would like to read this year:
1) She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
2) Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength, by Chanequa Walker-Barnes
3) Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf; Maureen Howard
4) I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, by Joanne Greenberg
5) Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
It is important that authors like myself write books on mental health and mental illness to raise awareness in today’s society and to allow those who do not ordinarily get a chance to speak, to do just that.
Thanks to Michelle Diana Lowe for sharing her story! You can grab a copy of her book UnShatter Me on Amazon.
If you'd like to be featured on one of the blogs I manage, please contact me.
Strong Women Characters