Tag Archives: Undead Rising

Read ‘Undead Rising’ for Free!

Undead Rising coverThis week only, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is FREE for you, yes, YOU, to download and read on your Kindle device! (That includes all the Kindle products, plus any other things that happen to have the Kindle app.)

Undead Rising is a zombie apocalypse gamebook for adults—at the end of each section, you’ll come to a choice, and your choice will determine where the story goes next. There are more than 45 different outcomes…and if you get bitten by a zombie, you open up a whole new section of choices where YOU are the zombie.

Really, what could be more fun?

Go download it!

(Read it already? Great! Share a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please!)

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Warts and All

As if I hadn’t told y’all about 100 times, my book is out now! And that’s awesome and exciting and…really bizarre. I’ve crossed a threshold and yet…nothing is really different–yet.  Most of the differences are in how I’m feeling: jittery and super-overwhelmed.

Does every author feel this way?I’ve worked on this one book for nearly 3 years and yet I still have moments where my heart beats faster and I get all shaky and am just convinced that my book is terrible an no one will ever love me and I’d better just go pick out a nice box under the freeway already. Then I swing to the opposite extreme: my book is the best in the world and I’ll be the funniest guest on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and I’ll have publishers knocking on my door, on their knees.

Of course the truth is nowhere near as dramatic. I’ve sold–actually sold!–a handful of books in a variety of formats and got my shipment of 10 copies to give away to family. I’ve got some great reviews on Amazon and the beginnings of interest on Goodreads. That’s progress.

But there have also been problems: a friend who I’d given the book months ago finally got around to actually reading the book, and she found an error, which was embarrassing. Then my cover artist finally got her copy and noticed a formatting thing that I swear I never saw before… combined, these two things rendered my 10 giveaway copies practically useless. Luckily, CreateSpace’s tools made it easy to fix the error and replace the cover, but it’s still not exactly how I dreamed it would be. It wasn’t perfect.

My husband (rightly) points out that things are often not perfect (hey, I found a blatant typo in my 20-year-old copy of Ender’s Game!) and that I’m being too hard on myself. I’m trying that whole “it’ll work out” ethos.

I’m trying to keep that same tenacity with the marketing stuff. Man do I hate talking about myself–and, it turns out, promoting my book. But of course it’s necessary: even the greatest book won’t be bought if no one knows about it. I just spent about an hour on different social media platforms, just doing simple things–posting about my book, talking with readers–and yet by the end of the hour I was shaking like I’d downed four cups of coffee. My veins were thrumming with “what if they don’t like me? what if? what if?”

Deep breaths. Just keep on keepin’ on.

Those of you who’ve survived this stage, what do you recommend? Help me out here.

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Rise From The Grave (Without Actually Being a Zombie)

What if I told you there really is a way for you to be un-dead, in a very literal, and very helpful way? To be gone from this life and yet still helping people.

No, not as a zombie—they mostly just chase you for your brains. But in a way that will allow you to save someone’s life.

You can: sign up to be an organ donor.

I just recommitted to organ donation last week, when I renewed my request to be an organ donor. Here in Texas, you can do it through the DMV.

I’m an organ donor because of my friend David. David was my high school theater teacher, and he had to miss our actual performance of Romeo & Juliet because he was coughing too much to sit through the show. David has cystic fibrosis. It’s a disease where phlegm builds up in the lungs. Over time, David’s body was literally suffocating, drowning him from the inside out. He lost most of his weight, coughed so hard he broke ribs, and was on a first-name basis with the hospital staff.

But David is alive today because he was able to get brand-new lungs; well, lightly-used, or at least in better shape than the lungs he was born with. Now David celebrates a new birthday every year—the day he received the gift of a lifetime, new lungs.

Before his operation, David’s lung capacity was down to 7%. This year, it was at 110%.

Unfortunately, here in the U.S. and in most other places, essential organs like David’s new lungs are lost forever because organ donation is an opt-in rather than an opt-out. So you have to actually think about it, check the box, and make the commitment. Even when you’re gone, you could save someone’s life. What an incredible opportunity.

Go sign up to be an organ donor today and save a life sometime in your future.


Undead Rising coverNot enough zombies in this post? Why don’t you go buy my novel, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny, available in print and on Kindle. Much like with organ donation, there’s an afterlife: when you die in the book, sometimes you rise again as a zombie, unlocking new adventures.

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Readers’ Choice: Undead Rising – Part 1

Undead Rising coverUndead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is a zombie experience like no other—you, the reader, get to choose how the adventure will unfold! As such, it seemed only right that my blog readers should get a free taste of the book. What will you choose? Answer the poll to decide which way the story will proceed!


Today has not been your day. First you woke up late, and had to wait behind the most indecisive person in New York—good god, how long does it take to order a tall nonfat latte with a doubleshot of caramel and no whip? Is this your first time picking out a goddamn drink? Moron.—So you were barely caffeinated by the time you made it into work, narrowly dodging a cabbie’s nasty road splash (but still winding up with something indescribable and sticky on your shoes). Your boss Lisette looked annoyed, and you hid in your cubicle, hoping not to be noticed, and spent the first hour staring at your ex’s photo on Facebook. Why did it have to end like that? Forget the other fishes in the sea, you two had something good.

But you aren’t even able to cling to your reverie. A little before lunch (geeze, can you not even catch the smallest break?!) the first announcement came: CDC officials identified the outbreak in Chicago. It is some new virus, really dangerous. There are whispers of bioterrorism, but nobody knows for sure. It is now in New York, and probably airborne. Then, block by block, the mayor put the city into lockdown. This is serious, guys.

This is an official outbreak.

Check back on Saturday for the result!

Edit: After further consideration (and a closer read of Amazon KDP’s rules), I’ve decided not to post more of the book for readers. Sorry! KDP is, it turns out, rather strict about giving away too much. You’ll have to buy the book and try for yourself!


Want to decide for yourself? Buy Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny now! (Also available for Kindle.)

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Zombies and Adventure! ‘Undead Rising’ Now On Amazon

Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is now available for purchase on Amazon for Kindle and in print! This zombie adventure is not for the faint of heart–or the humorless.

Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is available RIGHT NOW on Amazon for Kindle and in print!

Don’t you want to know—would you survive the zombie apocalypse? Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny slams you into New York City just as it is struck by a zombie outbreak, leaving you to decide how to survive when your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers join the undead. With more than 45 different scenarios, it’s tough to survive, but even when you die, sometimes you become a zombie—opening up new, monstrous options, including eating celebrities, being used as a genetic experiment, and exploring the Mariana trench. Every time you read “Undead Rising” you have the chance to change your destiny—but every scenario will leave you flipping pages to try again.

Note: This isn’t a kids’ adventure. I recommend it for older teens and adults who need a dose of nostalgia, a little bit of creepiness, and some laughs.

Undead Rising coverAw yeah, look at that awesome book cover! Zombies are coming for YOU!

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How to Publish Via CreateSpace and KDP

I thought I was prepared for the self-publishing process; I’ve read just about everything I could get my hands on about how and why and where, etc. But I still found myself flabbergasted when I actually sat down to do it. While I think Amazon’s process is incredibly easy and user-friendly, it still is a bit opaque until you actually get into the system and start doing it. So I thought I’d lay out the steps I needed to take:

  • Create a login at CreateSpace.com and click “Add New Title.”
  • Fill out a basic form for your book’s title, author information, and edition number.
  • Add an ISBN.
    • You can either buy one from Amazon for fairly cheap, or input one you’ve bought previously. You can buy them directly from Bowker. You need a unique ISBN for every edition of your book.
  • Decide how big your book should be, what size paper you’ll use, the color of the paper, and upload your document.
    • CreateSpace provides a nifty template after you pick a size. If you’re like me, you will not at all be ready for this ahead of time and will spend more than a week carefully reformatting every page of your book.
  • After you’ve picked and uploaded the interior pages, you’ll be prompted to review them digitally, in a little in-browser review panel they’ve made. (I found this useful but not as easy to read as a Word document or print page.)
    • They also offer you the option of letting them complete the layout process, for a fee of about $200. Read the reviews, though; not every author is happy with their results (though others are).
  • Upload your cover art and make some decisions, like matte or glossy texture. If you don’t already have cover art, you’ll need to take their specifications/templates at this point and make one or hire a designer. If you’re not sure about hiring someone, you can use their cover designer, too, which is a neat little tool. (However, in my opinion, those look a little cookie-cutter.)
  • Amazon will review the files to make sure everything meets specifications, and will let you know if there are any problems that can be fixed automatically.
  • Then Amazon will send your compiled book for a quick less-than-24-hour review process, to ensure it doesn’t violate any of their standards.
    • I was seriously anxious during this process, but it’s really quick and painless. I just wanted my book!
  • If you’re satisfied after uploading your cover and interior, Amazon will offer a proof version, both digitally (free) and a print copy. You should absolutely order the print copy; some mistakes just don’t jump out at you until you’re actually looking at a print book. I had reviewed it three different times by different editors, and still found things I wanted to change. Plus you get to see how it’ll really look.
    • The downside is you’ll have to wait about a week for the book to be delivered to you (in the continental U.S., at least), and then will need to take additional time to thoroughly review it. You want to put your best work out there, so take your time!
    • If you want any changes, go back to the interior or cover pages and upload a new file. Go back through all the review steps again, as many times as it takes, until you’re really confident in the result.
  • CreateSpace will ask you if you’re really, really sure that you’re happy with what you’ve put together. You say yes, and then your book can be sold! (In…3-5 business days)
  • Make some marketing decisions. How much will your book cost? How much do you want in royalties? Where will it be sold? Will you enroll in any of their special programs?
    • Make sure you also set up the ways you want to be paid. You can do that under your profile.
  • Write the description that will make people want to buy your book! Pick some categories and search terms to help people find it.

Then CreateSpace will offer to help you publish on Kindle and pass you on to KDP. KDP only had three screens to traverse, but that made it more intimidating to me, not less.

  • Fill out your basic details. No need for an ISBN here; Kindle books don’t need them. Add your description, pick some keywords, decide whether to release now or in the future, upload your cover, upload your book file.
  • Verify you have the rights to sell it and pick where and for how much it will sell.
  • Decide whether you want to enroll in the Kindle Select marketing program, which means you can only sell through Amazon for 90 days.

Undead Rising coverOh, and by the way, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is now on sale at CreateSpace, Kindle, and Amazon books!

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Zombies Are Coming! (Zombie Simulator)

How long could you survive the zombie apocalypse? Thanks to this zombie simulator, you can plop a zombie down into the American city of your choice, set a few variables, and wait to see how long it would take for the zombie plague to get to you. If you play long enough, you can also figure out where a zombie plague might slow down or get “stuck”–these places would make excellent spots to hide out!
At the default setting, I feel pretty safe. I put a zombie in New York and it took well over a month to get to me here in Texas.
That said, this simulator isn’t perfect: the biggest gap is that it assumes all zombies will be exclusively on foot. I guess we’re supposed to hope that not a single person changes while riding a bus, car, train, or plane? It only takes one, and then you’ve got multiple vectors to worry about!
I think it’s also assumed that this is an exclusively human zombie virus; it’s a whole ‘nothing consideration if it could jump species! Avian zombie plague, anyone? (That would be an awesome new version of The Birds though!)
How long will you survive?

Undead Rising coverNot enough zombies in this post? Go buy Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny, available in print and on Kindle. Your choices shape the story! When you die in the book, sometimes you rise again as a zombie, unlocking new adventures.

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Undead Rising- Cover Reveal!

Look at this! It’s real! Fantastic work by artist Jessica Pace.

Undead Rising cover

 

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Publishing Nightmares: When the ‘What Ifs’ Come To Get You

I couldn’t sleep last night. It was my book, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny. Out of nowhere, I was just struck with this sickening realization that my book is, at its core, stupid. I mean, I knew that, all along: it’s supposed to be stupid-fun to imagine you’re being chased by zombies in New York; it’s supposed to be stupid-fun that you’re choosing what will happen next in the story, because that’s a rarity and a hefty dose of nostalgia. It’s stupid because no one really expects to have to put their zombie plan into place. In fact, I wrote it, at least in part, because it was a stupid idea that made me laugh and I had a great time doing it.

But last night, for whatever reason, I was swallowed by a tidal wave of shame. And because it was late and I was tired and fears were coming out of the depths of my brain, it ballooned. OMG, I thought. I can’t publish that. It’s not serious literature. Everyone will know me as ‘that author who writes really stupid books. I’m doomed.

I’m blessed in that I have a very forgiving husband. Because he moaned in his sleep, so I decided he was awake, so I woke him up. I told him I was going to publish a stupid book and no one would ever take me seriously ever again.

He told me it would be fine and to go back to sleep already.

This isn’t the first time he has had to talk me down from some big scary publishing fear that came out of nowhere. I keep finding more, actually. There’s a lot to be intimidated and afraid of.

I wish I could tell you that my fears were stupid by the time I woke up, but I can’t. My book is still kinda stupid. Fun, absolutely. But it will never be studied in high school English classes (and we can all be thankful for that). It’s not “serious.” But it wasn’t meant to be. There are lots of “not-serious” authors out there who nonetheless had a huge impact on readers (for example, the recently deceased Terry Pratchett. May his books be read forever.).

So it may not be bad to be a “not serious” author.

It probably won’t be the last time self-publishing wakes me up with a nightmare. What are your self-publishing fears? Why are they unfounded?

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Will You NaNoWriMo?

I’m an ardent fan of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The website and community offers an incredible motivation to writers of all kinds to stop talking about writing a novel and just sitting down and actually doing it. I love getting their pep talks in my inbox (here’s one of my absolute favorites, from Lemony Snicket), I love the word count tools to track my progress, and I love the way it gets everyone excited about writing!

But…I’m not sure I can participate this year. I’ve competed as a writer twice, and one year used the motivation as incentive to finish editing a novel that had been collecting dust. I’m so proud of those finished works, even while I figure out what to do next in publishing them. But I’ve got more of “real life” on my plate this year, between work things, family things, editing projects, and trying to keep myself in balance. I’m not sure I can push any of those other things off, to wait for a month, like I’ve been able to in the past.

I’m not going to step away from NaNo completely; like I said, I love it to bits and I think it provides more motivation in a month than I can generate in a year. So I’m going to try to compromise: I won’t officially take on the challenge this year, but I am going to try to use my spare time well, writing what I can when I’m able and otherwise trying to push forward on Undead Rising.

Because, even though I forget sometimes, NaNoWriMo isn’t the only time I can write a novel. I can write all year: I just have to make it a priority.

Will you be participating this year? What are your obstacles and how will you try to overcome or manage them?

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