S.G. Browne

Wildcard Wednesday: The Mother Load

Last April, I was approached by my buddy, James Melzer, to submit a short story to an eBook collection he was putting together as part of a promotional launch package for his upcoming novel, Escape: A Zombies Chronicle Novel. The idea was to offer up a collection of short stories for free to anyone who pre-ordered a copy of his novel. I liked the idea, so I said “count me in.”

The Mother Load is an eBook collection of never-before published stories from Mur Lafferty (“Style Won’t Save You”), David Moody (“The Deal”), Jeremy C. Shipp (“Spider Clowns From Planet X”), Wayne Simmons (“Mary’s Boy Child”), Matt Wallace (“Knowing”), and yours truly (“Softland”).

I won’t give away what any of the other stories are about, but “Softland” is about a family of two brothers and their grandfather who live in central California and who have the ability to steal luck. It’s also the story upon which my next novel, Lucky Bastard, is loosely based. Though with a different storyline and different main characters.

So how can you get a copy of The Mother Load? That’s easy. Just pre-order Escape: A Zombie Chronicles Novel by James Melzer at any of the following online retailers:

Once you’ve pre-ordered Escape, YOU MUST FORWARD YOUR PURCHASE RECEIPT TO EscapeNovel@Gmail.com.  Once you do this, you will receive a .zip file that contains The Mother Load in .mobi, .epub and PDF formats for your eReaders within 24 hours.

The collection also contains an excerpt of Escape so you know what you have to look forward to.  You can also check out a synopsis and learn more about Escape: A Zombies Chronicle Novel by visiting the Official Website of James Melzer.

That’s it.  Any questions, let me know.  Happy reading!

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FAQs: To Write Or Not To Write

“All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”
— George Orwell

I came across this quote, and some of the concepts that follow, in Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife. Covering topics from managing goals to networking to maintaining peace of mind, Booklife is a fabulous resource on how to survive as a writer in today’s world. Even if you haven’t had a book published, it’s got a lot of great content for all stages of the writing career and just the challenge of being a writer.

One of the sections from Booklife that inspired me to write this is a short segment on “Reasons to Write.”  Why writers do what they do. What drives them. Why they spend hours alone in front of a computer making up imaginary stories about imaginary people.

There are a number of answers that you often hear, all of which, as a writer, I understand:

Because I can’t not write.
Because I love bringing something to life.
Because I want to share my enthusiasm with others.

I write for all of the reasons above. But mostly I write because it keeps me sane. When I’m not writing, I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing and so I’m not as content. I don’t sleep as well. I get more easily frustrated. I get grumpy. And nobody likes a grumpy writer.

But I also write because I want to recapture the pleasure of reading. I want to experience what I feel when I read a good book. I want to to get caught up in the story so that the world outside of the pages ceases to exist. And I want to share that experience with others.

In addition to his quote above, Orwell said he wrote for several reasons:

1. Sheer egotism
2. Aesthetic enthusiasm
3. Historical impulse
4. Political purpose

Orwell freely admits that egotism is a factor in his writing and he believes it’s inherent in all writers. I tend to agree. I don’t believe you can be a writer, particularly one who hopes to be published, without a certain amount of conceit. After all, when you’ve written something and you have the opinion that others would enjoy reading it, how can ego not play a part?

Of course, that’s just my perspective. So I thought I’d get a few others.

Below are quotes from a handful (including the thumb) of other writers who were kind enough to share their thoughts on why they write.  (To learn more about the authors or their books, just click on the photos or their names):

Amelia Beamer (Author of The Loving Dead):
Every sentence is an attempt to tell a story. Every story is a way to make sense of the randomness in the world.

Jonathan Maberry (NY Times bestselling author of The Dragon Factory and Patient Zero):
I write because there have always been stories in my head. When I was little, before I could spell, I’d tell stories with toys. I think in stories. Characters speak in my head all the time. For non-writers this is a serious concern and medical attention might be required; for writers it’s all those stories aching to be told.

James Melzer (Author of Escape: A Zombie Chronicles Novel):
I write because when I was a kid, Stephen King used to come into my bedroom every night to tell me tales about vampires and haunted hotels, scaring the crap out of me. I want to be able to do that through my own stories, and make a living out of it at the same time. So far, so good. It really is the best job in the world.

Jeff VanderMeer (Author of Booklife and Finch):
I don’t actually know why I write now, except that if I don’t write for awhile I get restless and antsy and feel like I am at loose ends. In a sense, I wind up not knowing who I am after awhile. When I started writing it was in part an escape from a family situation that was unhappy, but I think even then there was something else. Writing makes me happy. I was “borned” into it, maybe.

F. Paul Wilson (NY Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack series):
I’ve been asked this many times and I can’t think of a better answer than: What makes you think I have a choice? For me it’s not art, it’s not examining or defining the human condition, it’s not self expression, it’s love. I love fanciful stories–love conceiving them, love constructing them, and can’t imagine life without telling them.

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Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 5:32 am

10 Questions With James Melzer

James Melzer is the author of The Zombie Chronicles trilogy that began as a free podcast series on his website back in 2008. Since then it has been bought by Permuted Press and picked up by Simon and Schuster, with the first book, Escape, coming to print nationwide in March, 2011. He’s the host of the interview podcast, UNLEASHED, a freelance writer for RealTVAddict.com, Manolith.com, and a lover of all things horror and cats.

Tell us about your first zombie experience. How did you lose your undead virginity?
The first exposure I had to zombies was through George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I loved the film, still love it today and watch it at least once a month.

What’s your favorite zombie film?
While my first love was Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, I have to say that the sequel, Dawn of the Dead, is my all-time favorite zombie flick.

Other than a reliable weapon, what one item would be on your Must Have List for the zombie apocalypse?
Some form of deodorant spray. Zombies are attracted to the scent of humans. If I smell like AXE, maybe they won’t be as likely to come for me.

If you could have a pet zombie, what would you name it and who would you feed it?
Duncan, I like the name Duncan. I’m still trying to convince my wife to let me get one of those mini-great white sharks just so I can call him Duncan. So if I had a pet zombie (which my wife would NEVER allow in the house), I’d call him Duncan. I’d probably feed him all the people who said I could never be a writer. That would keep him busy for a while.

What’s the first thing you remember reading that inspired you to want to become a writer?
My very first influences were JAWS by Peter Benchley, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and Swan Song by Robert McCammon. Those three books made me want to be a writer.

Who’s your favorite author?
Stephen King. Cliche, I know, but that’s all I got.

What’s your favorite word?
Fuck. It has so may uses.

What’s your favorite non-zombie film?
Braveheart.

If you weren’t writing about zombies, what would you write about?
Well since I don’t plan to write about zombies forever, I’m gonna say anything with a supernatural/thriller element to it. I love the genre and it’s something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. Hopefully.

If you had a theme song that played when you walked into a room, what would it be?
Probably the Spongebob Squarepants theme.

Shameless self-promotion bonus question: What’s coming up next?
Right now I’m working on CTHULHU THIS! which is a mix of crime noir, EC comics and Lovecraft mythos. It’s a free web series that I’m doing over at www.jamesmelzer.net. I’m still currently working on the second novel in The Zombie Chronicles, called Invasion. After that I’ll be working my third full-length novel called Hull’s Landing. I’m also gearing up for the release of my first novel, The Zombie Chronicles: Escape, which is coming in March, 2011, from Simon and Schuster.

You can keep up with James and all of his zombie goodness by following him on Twitter or friending him on Facebook. Or visit him on the web where you can still listen to The Zombie Chronicles for free at www.jamesmelzer.net.

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Filed under: Interviews,Zombies — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 9:52 am