Guest Review: Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel

Book Reviews, Guest reviewer, Misc.
***Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***

Harmony - A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel

“Rule number one in combat training: You can’t win a fight if you don’t believe you can.”

– Amanda Kelly & Mairym Castro, Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel

Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel Review

By: Stephanie

**BE WARNED – CONTAINS SPOILERS**

Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel by Amanda Kelly & Mairym Castro is a young adult novel that explores the resilience of the human spirit when confronted with an unfamiliar world of death and deceit.  Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel introduces Harmony “H” Booker, a self-assured young woman assimilating back into society following the termination of her enforced military program.  Unfortunately, H’s journey to normalcy is interrupted when an unidentified virus starts wreaking havoc on society.  Those unlucky enough to become infected transform into zombie-like creatures; no mental function, rotting flesh stench, and pupil-less eyes.  These monsters, nicknamed “stinkers”, also have heightened strength and agility.  This particular revelation proves difficult for H as she is knocked unconscious in her initial attempt at challenging these new enemies.  When she awakes days later, to H’s horror, her entire immediate community is either dead or infected.  Not only that, while unconscious, H’s eyes seem to have changed from their original chocolate-y brown color to a rather striking shade of purple.  As the only survivor with adequate training, H assumes the role of humanity’s last defense.  Her mission?  Save her family and any other survivors before the government resorts to drastic measures to eliminate this volatile threat.

In Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel, our illustrious protagonist, H, is first introduced pursuing one of her passions, pizza.  While attempting to alleviate her latest craving, the audience gains a quick insight into her personality, prior to the zombie apocalypse’s influence.  For instance, upon arriving at her favorite pizza destination (and place of employment), H is bombarded with questions regarding her real name.  Since she has only ever introduced herself as H, no one outside of her immediate family knows the truth.  This evasion exposes her fear of expressing herself as well as her inability to connect with others.  Despite her confident exterior, the avoidance of this simple information suggests an internal struggle, possibly resentment in regards to her identity.  Regardless of the true meaning, once H’s unusual background is revealed, her personality and overall outlook on life begins to make sense.

In order to elaborate on H’s upbringing, it is important to note that her father is a high ranking military general.  As a result of this relation, H was thrust into a compulsory yet secretive military program at a young age.  Without any personal input in this big life decision, H was forced to adapt into the role of solider, learning to accept the insensitive remarks, demeaning superiors, and demanding exercise regimes.  Using her backstory as perspective into her current actions, H’s proposed identity crisis seems plausible.  H was forced to evolve in order to survive her time in the military, only to have it be thrown aside when discharged.  This wavering personality progression has to take a toll on her true identity, which is why she advocates for her name to remain as H.  Her short nickname not only allows her to hide her true self, but it also buys her time to discover who she really is without the constant pain of the military.

With the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, H is required to reference her military training.  Her once abandoned education of tactical knowledge, combat expertise, and emotionless outlook is finally utilized.  While H employs her unconventional background to rescue the stranded survivors, H’s personality evolves to encompass her new dreary atmosphere.  In one particular situation, while liberating a sweet older man, H stumbles upon her missing father as one of the infected.  As expected, H is devastated; her military general of a father, despite his extensive training, managed to lose himself amongst the zombie pandemonium.  As she struggles against her zombified father, H is tackling an internal battle of her own; to kill or not to kill?  The very act of ending her father, or rather his infected remains, would haunt her for of the rest of her days.  He is her father after all; how can a daughter be expected to end the life of her father, despite the lack of any other foreseeable outcome.

However, H realizes how selfish and dangerous it would be to spare her father.  If released, her father has the potential to not only hurt herself but also countless others.  With great sadness, H makes the difficult decision to kill her father.  Once the deed has been done, H shuts herself off; refusing to process the consequences of her actions.  This dreadful interaction highlights key aspects of H’s personality, like her compassion as well as her sense of right and wrong.  For instance, when presented with the bombshell of her infected father, H sympathizes for what her family has lost but realizes that the right thing to do for the good of humanity as well as her father is to end it quickly.  Her internal debate also emphasizes her ability to forgive.  Thrust into a punishing hellhole is hard to forget and certainly harder to forgive.  However, as time progresses, it is evident that H’s resentment towards her father subtly subsides.  Only love and sadness reside in her final moments with her father.  In all, H is a strong yet determined character with a refreshing attitude (and excellent taste in food) amongst the gloom and doom of the apocalypse.

Prior to the end of the world, H was not much into romance.  Sure, she has had her fair share of relationships, but nothing that truly inspired her heart to skip or her stomach to flutter.  That is, until Jonah is introduced.  Barricaded in a makeshift shelter surrounded by comic books, Jonah’s first appearance was quite comical, filled with ridiculous yet flirtatious banter.  Despite H’s protests, Jonah tags along in her quest to save humanity and escape the quarantined zone.  Amongst their journey, Jonah’s actions and behavior hint at not only his personality but also his feelings for H.  For instance, when visiting a shelter (under the guise of military), Jonah comes to H’s aid when her fake story starts to fall flat.  In one situation, his demeanor and stance change into one of authority, pressuring the shelter’s guards to let them in.  And, in another, he is able to fight off the guards and get both himself and H to safety.

Since we are initially led to believe that Jonah has no combat knowledge, this is quite astonishing.  Upon H’s insistent questions, Jonah reveals that his mom was a Russian spy in the recent war, explaining his impressive know how in battle.  However, this confession not only expresses his resentment towards his past, but also his affinity for peace.  Specifically, he does not want to use violence as a means to an end; he believes that there exists another way, one that is less vicious.  Consequently, with his mom employed to utilize violence, Jonah regrets her decision and her overall influence; he believes in one thing but is taught to respect the opposite.  Another perspective that is revealed through his actions in this (and many other) circumstances is that Jonah cares for H.  He wishes to protect her, even in her misguided ways.  Later in the story, Jonah confesses to H that he cannot imagine what he would do, if she were to get hurt.  He simply cannot imagine it, because it would break him.  Furthermore, once H recognizes what her feelings for him mean, H allows herself to jump head first into a relationship with him, regardless of the consequences.  In all, Jonah was a great counterpart to H; where she was unrelenting, he was yielding.  Their romance and eventual relationship just supports the age old theory that opposites attract.

In summary, Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel was absolutely brilliant.  As a fan of both zombies and romance, I knew this would be a fast and exciting read.  The suspenseful yet gripping plot was an added bonus.  One specific moment that left me stunned is when the true intentions of the zombie virus were revealed.  The woman behind H’s secret military program was responsible for the outbreak all along; she released this man-made zombie virus with the end goal of controlling the minds and actions of the successfully infected soldiers with the flip of a switch.  As a result, these mindless soldiers (those who survived the virus with purple eyes) would do her bidding within a moment’s notice; allowing her desire of world domination to become a reality.  Fortunately, H and Jonah are able to stop her evil plans; not only curing the successfully infected (including H) but also exposing her plans to the government, effectively terminating the zombie outbreak.

An additional compelling aspect of Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel is the cast of sensational characters.  One such individual (besides our main duo) is a sweet old man named Bill.  In her initial rescue mission, H saves Bill from a horde of stinkers inside an abandoned gas station.  This liberation allows for Bill to not only live another day but also to become a minor parental figure to H for the duration of this insane crisis.  Despite her original beliefs, H actually needed Bill for her overall journey, his comedic relief as well as his critical wisdom influenced H to change; his incredible pizza making skills don’t hurt either.  Unfortunately, Bill does not survive to see the end of this apocalypse.  His shocking yet devastating death was excruciating to witness for not only myself but also for H.  An alternate ending, where he survives, needs to exist so that I can forget his death and remember what happiness feels like.  Overall, I cannot recommend Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel enough.  If you have a love for The Walking Dead and romance in general, definitely pick up this novel!

Harmony: A Pizza vs. Zombies Novel by Amanda Kelly & Mairym Castro was published on June 20, 2018.  To discover the harmony between falling in love and slaughtering the undead, follow the link below:

Amazon

Do you find yourself craving a slice of the Pizza vs Zombies world? Alleviate this desire by visiting the authors’ websites below:

Amanda Kelly Goodreads

Mairym Castro Goodreads 

My Rating: 5/5

Reign of the Fallen ARC Tour Review

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

*Disclaimer: This is a reposted review approved by this ARC tour’s host Brittany. Enjoy and preorder your Reign of the Fallen copy now! Opinions are my own.

 

Reign of the Fallen.jpg

Reign of the Fallen Review
By: Yours truly – Rae

“The giant Shade was baiting us. Hunting us, when we thought we were hunting it.” – Sarah Glenn Marsh, Reign of the Fallen

So… the Dead are still among the living and are essentially glorified zombies, you get paid handsomely to raise said Dead and are respected for it, and change is non-existent because it is bad… hello Reign of the Fallen. Let’s get started shall we?

Right away I connected with the lead character nicknamed Sparrow. I hated her, loved her, was jealous of her, and annoyed with her frequently depending on her mood and mine throughout Marsh’s story. Of course, Sparrow goes through a ton – raising the dead that could turn into a Shade “aka something you never want to meet in a dark alley unless you don’t want your soul anymore” and handling a new job as a Master Necromancer, with favor among the elite, isn’t exactly easy. Throw in missing Dead, a tearful (still not recovered plot twist), a brewing unrest, and giant-sized shades and you about sum up Reign of the Fallen. I can’t give away too much, I feel like there is a mine field of spoilers to navigate but I’ll continue trying.

Moving away from Sparrow, just for a moment, I have to fangirl appropriately over my man Jax. I love this character so much. He was a little weird with his love of meat on the raw side, the need to wear a formal old-fashioned cloak to parties, and his not so nice (blunt – oh he was so blunt) when speaking… that who wouldn’t love this guy? I need more from him and cannot wait to see how he develops along with the other ragtag group of characters. Evander was a sweetheart. I totally felt for him and his desire to explore and see the world. Simeon and Danial yes please – so adorable together and indivdually! Princess Valoria you can totally save the world girl, don’t stop dreaming. Kasmira… how can I not love weather controlling powers? Meredy… you do you because being a beast master is kickbutt.

What I’m really getting at here is that each character was unique from Simeon’s need to crack a joke to ease the tension to Jax and his anger at the uncontrollable situations he is in. I didn’t feel like they followed the familiar stereotypes of this is how they should or shouldn’t act. They have nasty habits, but they grow and they deserve it. I feel like Reign of the Fallen was really about the characters and change because change was everything in this book.

Which means I should touch on Sparrow again because she really goes through the ringer *insert plot twist I am not over and then multiple other twists I saw coming but hated anyway.* She is actually in a dark place the majority of Marsh’s story. Most of the time it isn’t pretty. She is drunk, drugged, and borderline suicidal. She also is selfish and guilted ridden. I know I don’t make it sound like she is a winning character but I connected with her because of her dark moments and faults. She has a lot of growing left to do.

Should I mention the bad guys… no wait spoilers. Bad guys are bad but with a purpose and not just thrown in to be bad.

Onto plot, scenery, and themes. I’ll keep this short and sweet. I wanted more scenery details of the time, even though the Deadlands “aka the place souls go after they die” was very cool.

I think I’ve rambled on enough. If you couldn’t tell I really did enjoy Reign of the Fallen and in truth, read it in a day much to the annoyance of my Shepherd pup.
Want to know more about the lovely Sarah Glenn Marsh? Visit her website here.
Want to preorder your own copy of Reign of the Fallen *wink/nudge* because you know you do. I’ll just leave this preorder information here.

 

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Happy reading!

Meet Susanne Lambdin

Author Interview

Meet Susanne Lambdin.

 

Susanne Lambdin is the author of the Dead Hearts Novels and The Realm of Magic trilogy. She received a screen credit for writing past of ST:TNG, Season 4, Eps. 76 “Family”, which focused on the storyline of Wesley Crusher meeting his father, Jack Crusher, on the holodeck when he turned eighteen years of age. Majoring in Professional Writing at the University of Oklahoma, she worked at Paramount Pictures for eight years before turning to Kansas to focus on writing fiction. Currently, she has seven published novels, with another eight novels to be released this next year.

Her love for fantasy, sci-fi and the supernatural started at a young age when she read Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and she is an avid movie buff and reader. Her favorite authors include Edgar Rice Burroughs, Anne Rice, J.K. Rowlings, and Frank Yerby. Her top films are “Jaws” and “Star Wars: A New Hope”, which she claims have solid storylines and characters that allowed her imagination to flow in her early writing years. She wrote Star Trek fanfiction in the 80s, along with many historical romances which were extremely popular in that decade; however, her preference is writing fantasy/supernatural novels with a horror and romance elements, along with strong female characters. She can be found at numerous comic cons throughout the United States, offering panels on “How to Write a Novel”, the “Cure for Writer’s Block,” and frequently speaks her mind on podcasts, which can be found on YouTube.

Follow her on Facebook under Susanne Lambdin or Dead Hearts Novels. On Twitter or Instagram under Susanne Lambdin. She has three websites:

Susannelambdin.com

Deadheartsnovel.com

The-Realm-of-Magic.com

 

Onto the interview!

Susanne Lambdin, author of the Dead Hearts series and The Realm of Magic trilogy to date, has taken on the task of answering a few questions about how she started out, why she went to L.A., and how many actors she has met (with humorous consequences):

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
At the age of 8, my older brother Sterling was writing his first novel. I thought to myself, well, if Sterling can write a novel, I could too. He gave me a notepad and a pen, and I wrote a 250 page novel called ‘The Lion of Arcadia’ based on my love for C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. I still have the novel, though I haven’t read it in ages but distinctly remember writing a romance scene. At that age, I now wonder what I thought was romantic and need to look, as I was already reading all the dime store novels my parents hid behind the classics like Dickens on their bookshelves. When my parents learned what I was reading, they were both furious and impressed. Since then, I have written a novel a year, and most of those will never be published, unless I decide to brush off the dust and get down to serious work.

What was your first published novel?
‘Morbid Hearts,’ the first book in the Dead Hearts series, written in 2012, is something I felt proud enough to publish. I started out as an Indie and now have a publisher. Most of my novels were historical romances. However, I decided I’m happiest writing in the fantasy/supernatural genres for young adults. While the covers on Dead Hearts depict zombies and readers assume it’s only about the undead, that’s far too simple an explanation for this series. I have created a world that includes myths from Atlantis, ancient Egypt and Greece, to time-travel, to demons and angels, to monster lore. Since I needed a challenge, I added an extra genre per book in order to be more creative with the story.

What was your first professional job?
Actually, I was a student at the University of Oklahoma when a rich couple who wanted me to write a movie script based on their idea about the medical profession approached me. I charged the couple $3,000, rewrote it several times, and decided I wanted to write both novels and scripts. After I graduated, I worked at the county courthouse as a bailiff for two years, and during this time, I learned that Star Trek: The Next Generation was about to go into production. I decided to sell my horses, pack my bags, and move to Los Angeles to write for the show.

Tell us about what happened in Los Angeles. Did you write for Star Trek: TNG?
Within six months, I landed a job at Paramount Pictures. At that time, people considered folks from Kansas hard workers and I ended up working for the president of motion pictures. Four months later, I wrote a script about Wesley Crusher and walked into producer Michael Pillar’s office, without an appointment mind you, and walked right up to his desk. He looked up at me, astonished, and I slammed the script down, saying, “If you’re looking for a good script for Wesley, this is it.” I turned around and walked out. Pillar called the next day and said, “You have big balls coming in here like that. Come back and let’s talk.” I did precisely this…I don’t think many young writers ever pulled a stunt like that but, hey, it worked!

Did you sell this particular script to the show?
No, but I was asked back several times to pitch story ideas. I eventually met a young man named Bryon Stewart, the mailroom boy, who told me that his father had recently died and it gave me the idea to write another script about Wesley Crusher meeting his dad on the holodeck when he turned 18 years of age. Bryon was a whiz when it came to technology and tek-talk. We worked together on the dialogue, since he had something personal to say to his own father. I hope you realize it seemed like fate, since I loved Patrick Stewart and wanted to write for the TV show because he was Captain Picard. We took the script to Ron Moore who gave it to Pillar and they ended up buying ‘The Wish’. This was turned into Season 4, Eps. 76 ‘Family.’ Our part is the story about Wesley who received a recorded message from Jack Crusher on his 18th birthday. In our script, the holodeck Jack Crusher was interactive and their conversations were wonderful but not featured in the TV show. Still, we both received a screen credit and carved our names into Star Trek history.

Who is your favorite Star Trek Captain?

This is not a simple answer.

The funny thing is in college I had a poster of Captain Kirk on the wall in my bedroom. I wrote fanfiction when it wasn’t fanfiction. I met William Shatner several times but remember being in the sound room, watching composer Jerry Goldsmith conducting the orchestra, laying down the soundtrack to Star Trek 5. Shatner came in with two young women, stared at me, and I asked if he wanted me to move off the couch. He merely nodded. He did this five more times, as more people entered the sound booth, until eventually, I lost my temper and shouted, “I’m not here for you, I’m here for Jerry Goldsmith.” I marched out and ended up getting into a fight with the president’s number one secretary, ended up fired, then rehired by someone else. While I was lamenting outside a stage about Shatner with a woman named Jane, she kept going on about how much she loved Shatner, while I said many rude things, only to notice he was standing right behind her, grinning. When I told Jane that Shatner was right behind her, she took one look at him and ran off crying, and he laughed at me. It was funny.
However, Captain Kirk is not my favorite captain. At the time I worked at Paramount, I was Captain Picard. However, I had met Patrick Stewart and he asked me to write him a script with a romance. I didn’t write precisely what he wanted and he ended up throwing the script at me on the bridge in front of Gates McFadden. It was my turn to run off crying. A few weeks later, Patrick Stewart was on the Jay Leno Show and he asked if anyone had ever written a script where he had to wear a wig. Now you know why the script was launched at my head; I’d done this very thing. The incident was mentioned and Patrick admitted he’d been in a bad mood that day.
Therefore, I have to say that I love Captain Benjamin Sisko. I’m a fan of Deep Space Nine, and actually submitted several scripts to the show but had to move back home before anything came to fruition due to the premature death of my beloved brother. I thought Ron Moore created something special with the space station and the relationship between Sisko and his nemesis Gul Dukat. Dukat is my favorite villain. The back-story between Bajor and Cardassia was full of myths and legends, offering so much more than people realize, which is why it’s special.

Who is your favorite villain?
Since we’re talking about Star Trek, I’ll stick with it and admit I recently wrote an epic novel that I posted on Star Trek Fanfiction in honor of Gul Dukat. He’s a marvelous villain, able to do acts of kindness, yet always bent on gaining power. He’s selfish, arrogant, conceited, yet vulnerable, especially when it came to his daughter and Major Kira. A villain who is able to expression their emotions and even love people, despite doing horrible things, is interesting to me. Had Dukat’s life taken a different turn, he might have ended up a hero, though he was the opposite side of the coin he shared with Sisko. For fun, I wrote an epic Dukat fanfiction that I recently posted on the Star Trek Fanfiction site to show what might happen if someone stepped in to turn him away from his path of self-destruction.

You have time to write fanfiction?
This was an old story that I rewrote and it grew into something fabulous. It was a break from my serious fiction, and I admit my heroine singing ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ at Quark’s, in front of Dukat and Damar, is one of my favorite scenes. Fanfiction is a great way to hone your craft and to make contact with people who love the same thing that you do.

What else are you working on?
I have six more novels to publish in Dead Hearts that are in various stages of editing. The third book in The Realm of Magic will able be out soon. I have a new sci-fi series that I’m working on, along with a Gothic paranormal romance (it’s in homage to the late actor Peter Cushing), so I have many projects active at the same time.

Who is your publisher?
Chris Kennedy. He is a wonderful man, publisher, and writes military sci-fi. Dead Hearts and The Realm of Magic are published under Theogony Publishing based in Virginia.

Is it better to have a publisher or publish independently?
Both ways are great. I see no reason why any writer should suffer rejection and waste years trying to find an agent or publisher. As long as an Indie author takes the time to write something marvelous and hire editors to polish their story, they should publish their own stories. I don’t think the public looks down on someone who publishes through a small press or with Create Space through Amazon.com. I recommend self-publishing and getting out there in person to sell your books.

I recently heard an interview with you talking to students from Health High School in Health, Ohio about fame. Do you care to explain what you said to the students?
First, I said that if they want to be writers because they want to be rich and famous to find another career. Writing should be about the love of the craft, the journey itself, and creating your novel. Being famous is a matter of perspective. You only have to impress yourself. If you write a good story, then you should want to be read, and if you make money – great. If you only want to write to make money, which people do, I think it’s the wrong reason to write. Writing should be a passion, a personal calling, and whether or not you become famous or rich is beside the point. I think you should write because you want to be read and to entertain people who love to read. It’s a symbiotic relationship, one cannot exist without the other, and touching the life of one person is success.
Someone recently told me to keep writing. It was a friend from Colorado and he told me that he had an unhappy childhood. He didn’t have friends and he spent most of his time reading. He read ‘Morbid Hearts’, and he told me that during the hours he read the book, he was in his own little world and he was happy. When he told me that a writer only has to touch the life of one person to make a difference, it really struck a chord and confirmed the reason why I write.

 

Have you met any other actors and have other stories that you’d like to share with us?
A couple of years ago at Crypticon in K.C., actor Derek Mears walked over and introduced himself. He has a long list of credits, he’s usually a villain or a monster, and currently he’s been on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Derek is a humble, kind man. He saw my table, all my novels, and he took the time to bestow his wisdom. He told me that all artists are part of one big family. It’s the same mindset that you only have to touch the life of one other person to be a success, and you should never judge yourself by someone else’s success or think you are less talented because you are not famous. He made a big impression on me.
Recently, at Wizard World in Austin, I noticed a pigeon in the convention hall that refused to go outside. I took the time with a bag full of cookies to coax the bird outside. It followed the trail of crumbs. At that moment, actor Michael Cudlitz, who played Sgt. Abraham Ford on TWD, walked out the door and spotted me. Embarrassed, I said, ‘This is my good deed for the day.” He laughed and said in the deep voice of his, “The road to hell is paved in good intentions,” and climbed into the waiting vehicle. The bird flew outside and I returned to my table. Not a minute later, the security guard walked up to me and told me that he’d worked there for two years and the pigeon always returned to the scene of the crime. In fact, the pigeon had returned to eat the rest of the crumbs inside the convention hall. I could only laugh.

How do you handle writer’s block?
It really doesn’t exist. You, the writer, can always write. If you’re stuck on a scene, it’s not you who can’t write, it’s your character who doesn’t want to do what you want them to do. When you write, your characters come to life and direct the story, the plot, and do things you don’t expect. Simply change something, either tell that part of the story through someone else’s eyes or change the location, but change something. If this doesn’t help, stop writing that particular scene and move on to something else in the story. Once your creative juices are flowing, you will find it much easier to return and write that pesky scene. Other authors will hash and slash their way through a difficult scene and force it out, only to then rewrite it later. There’s no reason to be in mental anguish when it comes to writing. Clear your head. Think of something different and start writing. The cure for writer’s block, in short, is writing something else that is fun to write. Let your characters help you accomplish this goal and stop making excuses not to write. Period.

Do you have any parting words for aspiring authors?
Don’t be in a rush to be published (and that means – don’t write to be rich and famous). If you want to be a writer, I assume you intend to write for the rest of your life. Take your time. Learn how to write, write a story and finish it, then hire a good editor. So many writers find it difficult to finish the story and spend their time editing and nitpicking on a chapter. I met a woman recently who had done this very thing for fifteen years without success. I told her to stop what she was doing and to finish the story. It sounds like an easy thing to do, and it is, but not if in the back of your mind, you are stressed about being published.
Stop worrying about whether your story is good enough . Write because you love to write. Share your stories because you want to be read. The rest will come with in time. Enjoy writing and have fun. If it’s not fun, if you don’t love the journey of writing a novel, and maybe you should find something else to do. Believe me…it’s a lonely world being a writer. You spend most of your time with your characters, so you’d better love writing because you are sacrificing a great deal to do this. Look, no one wants to be more successful than you do, but it takes time, effort, and hard work.
My motto comes from the movie ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ – ‘endeavor to persevere.’ Don’t give up your dream to write or to be published. Develop armor to protect your feelings. Don’t cry when someone doesn’t like your story. Don’t get mad when you’re rejected. You have to try and try again. Each time you write a novel you become a better writer. If you stop, years go by, and you haven’t written, it’s never too later to start again. Dream big and go for it. The only person stopping you is yourself, which means, it is never too late to write a new story, my friend.

 

Phew. What an interview!

Thank you Susanne for stopping by A New Look On Books! It was a pleasure.

 

 

Love Zombies? Mythology? Gods vs Gods? An approaching apocalypse?

Check out Susanne’s Dead Heart series and get ready!

Alone Blitz

Blog Blitz

Alone

by Kate L. Mary

Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic/Zombie/Romance

Release Date: March 29th 2016



Summary from Goodreads:

A zombie novel.

For the past two years, Jules has floated through life.

When the virus was released it changed everything about the world. Jules lost her mom and her home, forcing her to live with the father she barely knows. Now, even as society works to rebuild, Jules still feels like she doesn’t quite fit in.

Then she meets Roman.

Even before the zombies, he only had himself to depend on. Brooding and rebellious, Roman isn’t anyone Jules would have pictured herself with before the zombies came. But now she finds herself willing to give up everything to be with him.

The attraction is too strong for either one of them to ignore, but Roman and Jules soon discover that the uncertainty of their new world extends much farther than just the zombies. When disaster strikes, Roman must race against the most terrifying clock imaginable to save Jules, or once again end up alone.

 
 
Buy Links:
 
Excerpt:
    I’m still grinning when we step
outside. The wooden porch sags beneath my feet, feeling a little less than
sturdy, but that isn’t what makes my heart almost stop. My smile melts away and
my feet stop moving, and within seconds I’m shaking like a leaf.
    There are three zombies in the
yard. Three of them. I haven’t come this close to one since the first few
months of the outbreak, and now there are three.
    Roman steps in front of me and
shoves the shoebox into my hands as he pulls his knife out, all in one fluid
movement. “It’s okay.”
    It doesn’t feel okay. It feels
the complete opposite of okay.
    Roman steps off the porch, and
one of the zombies spots him right away. The thing groans and moves toward him,
chomping his mouth. Gray skin stretches across his face, and the deep gashes
that cut across the decaying flesh ooze with black goo. Thankfully, the other
two creatures are facing the other way and haven’t caught wind of us yet.
    Roman doesn’t seem afraid in the slightest
as he walks toward the dead man. His knife is held firmly in his hand, but he’s
steady. Sure of himself as he walks in a big arc around the zombie. He was
right. They are slow. But it’s still terrifying, and I’m still shaking,
gripping the box of batteries so hard the cardboard bows under the pressure.
Just as Roman reaches the back of the first zombie, the other two notice him
and head his way. My heart jumps to my throat and I reach out like I’m trying
to stop them, but no sound comes out when I move my lips.
    I try again, and this time his
name comes out like a strangled cry. “Roman!”
    He smiles like all of this is
nothing, then drives his knife into the back of the first zombie’s skull. The
thing drops to the ground, and Roman spins to face the others. He charges the
second one, a sad-looking woman whose nightgown is stained and tattered, her
gray skin barely clinging to her bones. Roman dodges her arms and loops around
her back, then jabs his knife into her skull just like he did with the first
one.
    Two down, but my heart is still
pounding wildly.
    The third one is so tall that
Roman’s head only goes up to the zombie’s shoulders. Next to him, Roman looks
like a child. Even worse than his size is the fact that he seems to be faster
than the other two. Less decomposed, even, like he’s just recently died.
    Roman circles him, but the
zombie spins too. His hands reach out to grab Roman, but Roman ducks out of the
way. His face tenses, and his eyes dart over to me. I watch, frozen in terror
from my place on the porch as Roman tries to get behind the zombie again. He
could stab him in a different location, but with as tall as the decaying man
is, it wouldn’t be safe. Only no matter how many times Roman tries to get
behind the corpse, it doesn’t work. The thing is too fast and too hungry.
Determined.
 
 
 
About the Author
Award-winning author of WHEN WE WERE HUMAN and the Amazon best-selling BROKEN WORLD series, Kate L. Mary writes everything from post-apocalyptic tales of the undead to new adult contemporary romance. A mother of four and an Air Force wife, her days are divided between keeping her household in order and creating new worlds for readers to get lost in.
 
Author Links:
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Alone by Kate L. Mary

Alone

by Kate L. Mary

Giveaway ends April 07, 2016.

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Greatest Zombie Movie Ever Spotlight

Spotlight Tour

Spotlight Blog Tour Hosted by Sourcebooks!

 

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

By: Jeff Strand

March 1, 2016; Trade paper, ISBN 9781492628149

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

 

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever cover.JPG 

Summary:

After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.

 

With only one month to complete their movie, a script that can’t possibly get worse, and the hopes and dreams of Alicia on the line, Justin is feeling the pressure. Add to that a cast of uncooperative extras and incompetent production assistants, and Justin must face the sad, sad truth. He may actually be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever…

 

Excerpt from The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:

“I don’t want to make terrible movies anymore. I want them to be big. I want them to be important. I want them to be longer than ten minutes.”

“All right,” said Gabe.

“We should change our filmmaking process. We should write a script first.”

“I thought you always said that following a script would restrict your creativity on the set, and that the best ideas are those that filmmakers generate on the spot.”

“I’ve said a lot of things over the years,” said Justin. “This time we need a script. We don’t have to stick to it word for word, but we should have one.”

“Is there a blister on my tongue?” asked Bobby, sticking out his tongue. “I can’t tell if it’s a blister or just a piece of fry.” Justin and Gabe couldn’t understand what he was saying, since his tongue was sticking out, but they’d known him long enough to get the general idea.

“It’s a piece of fry,” said Justin.

“It won’t come off. Why won’t it come off?”

“Okay, fine,” said Gabe. “We’ll have a script.”

“And a budget.”

“Dude…”

“You can’t make the greatest movie ever without a budget,” Justin told him.

“Now we’re making the greatest movie ever? I thought we were just making one that didn’t suck.”

“Do you know how old George Romero was when he made Night of the Living Dead?”

“Late twenties.”

“Right. So we’ve got a while to catch up. That example didn’t really make the point I was trying to make. What I’m saying is that we should be ahead of the curve. We should be making movies that people can’t believe were made by fifteen-year-olds. I want people to be stunned at what we’re making. I want people to accuse us of being genetically enhanced.”

“I’m all in favor of that,” said Gabe. “I just feel like we should set our sights a little lower. We keep saying we want to make a zombie movie. Maybe instead of the greatest movie ever, we make the greatest zombie movie ever.”

“The greatest zombie movie ever would, by definition, also be the greatest movie ever.”

“Point taken.”

“Zombie movie. Good choice, Gabe. And we’re going to commit ourselves to this project. No safety net. No excuses not to finish. Nobody is going to say this isn’t a real movie.”

“I really can’t get this fry off my tongue,” said Bobby. “The cheese is like superglue.”

Gabe ignored Bobby and shrugged at Justin. “Okay. So if we’re doing a real movie, how do you propose we raise the money?”

Justin stared into Gabe’s eyes with a steel gaze, and then after a dramatic pause said, “Any…way…we…can.”

“Such as?”

“I don’t know. Crowdfunding. A bake sale. Insurance fraud. We’ll worry about that later.”

“I think we should worry about it a little bit now.”

“I’m in an ambitious mood. Don’t bother me with reality right now.” Justin picked up a fry and dipped it into the runniest patch of chili. “We can do this. We can make a three-hour epic that will revolutionize the film industry.”

“Three hours?”

“At least.”

“How about we make half an epic and go for ninety minutes?”

“Actually, we should let the story decide for itself how long it needs to be.” Justin ate the fry. “Are you in?”

“I don’t like that you’re giving the story a consciousness of its own.”

“Are you in?”

“I’m in,” said Bobby.

“Gabe?”

“I’m going to Indiana for the summer, remember? The day after school gets out.”

“Okay, so that gives us a month. We can do it. Are you in?”

“You’re insane.”

“Are you in?”

“You’re also deranged.”

“Are you in?”

“You’re insane, deranged, and scary.”

“Are you in?”

As he had many times during their ten years of friendship, Gabe looked resigned to his fate. “Yeah, I’m in.”

Bobby seemed to notice something behind Justin. He smiled. It was a wicked smile, the kind of smile a person gets when the thoughts currently floating in their brain are nothing but the purest evil.

“What?” Justin asked, the evil aura making him suddenly uncomfortable.

“I know who we should cast in the lead.”

“Who?”

Bobby pointed to a booth at the other end of the restaurant. “Alicia Howtz.”

 

Goodreads Link

Praise for The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

“Strand’s penchant for tongue-in-cheek humor and witty repartee is on full display here. Justin, Bobby, and Gabe have numerous exchanges that will have readers chuckling, snickering, and laughing out loud…A funny and spirited romp.” –Kirkus

“Fans of comical books rejoice as Strand has hit the zombie trend on its head with this one…Aspiring filmmakers, zombie movie fans, and reluctant readers should be entertained by this title.”School Library Journal

“Readers will come away not only with stomachs aching from laughter but with the stars in their own eyes a little.” –Booklist

“[Strand] hits his stride with sarcastic conversation and the relationship dynamics. This novel will appeal to anyone trying to create something great against all odds—or anyone who needs a laugh.”-RT Book Reviews

 

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/Y7Owz 

Apple- http://ow.ly/Y7P3o 

Barnes& Noble- http://ow.ly/Y7Pdx 

BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/Y7Pm8 

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/Y89wD

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/Y8aIE 

 

 

Jeff Strand.jpgAbout the Author:

Jeff Strand wrote the script for the short film Gave Up the Ghost, which has zombies in it for a few seconds, and was an associate producer on the short zombie film Chomp. In the event of an actual zombie attack, he would run around crying and screaming, “We’re all doomed!” and contribute very little to everybody’s chances for survival. He’s written a bunch of other books, including I Have A Bad Feeling About This and A Bad Day for Voodoo. Check out this website at jeffstrand.com

 Author Links:

 Website: https://jeffstrand.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffstrand

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthorFanPage

 

 

 

 

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