The Official Pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion Part 2

 

Looking for a good book this holiday season? Check out Zombie Bastard by Jerrod Balzer.

A delayed curse is taking effect, engulfing a Missouri town with the undead. Leading the onslaught is a creature that lacks mercy or compassion, only an intense drive to see the curse through. Its fate was sealed years ago, simply for being born a bastard.

Trevor is dealing with a curse of his own: he has the runs. On a desperate trek to visit his ailing mother, he searches for a decent place to relieve the pressure before moving on. All he wants is to have a movement in peace, but that Zombie Bastard won’t let him.

Stars of ‘The Walking Dead’ to Invade Boston Comic Con

Boston Comic Con celebrates its sixth year with its biggest show ever. The convention runs from April 20 through 21 at the Hynes Convention Center.
Lauren Cohan (“Maggie Greene”) and Jon Bernthal (“Shane Walsh”) from the hit television series The Walking Dead will be in attendance both days.
The guest list features some of the most illustrious comic creators in the world including George Perez (Superman), Carlos Pacheco (X-Men), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Amanda Conner (Silk Spectre), Mark Bagley (Fantastic Four), Bill Willingham (Fables) plus many, many more!
Convention events will include Q&A panels, stand up comedians, a zombie movie marathon, gaming, and much more. You definitely will not want to miss the annual cosplay contest which features hundreds of fans dressing as their favorite characters from comics, video games, and cartoons! This year we are happy to announce famous cosplayer Yaya Han as our guest judge.
For this year’s show specials the convention will have a limited edition t-shirt featuring Captain America artwork by world-renowned comic artist Tim Sale and an exclusive My Little Pony variant cover drawn by Agnes Garbowska! Both of these are sure to sell out and become collector’s items! Get them while you can!
Tickets are $25 per day or $40 for the weekend and available at the door or through the Boston Comic Con website: www.bostoncomiccon.com.
The Boston Comic Con is a 100% independently run comic book show committed to bringing the biggest and best comic creators to New England. Run by fans for fans, Boston Comic Con is not affiliated with any other convention tour or corporate interests. Hosting over 40,000 square feet of vendors selling comic books, toys, posters, trading cards, and other pop culture memorabilia, this is a destination event for geeks of any stripe. Next year’s convention will be held Saturday April 20th and Sunday April 21st opening at 10:00 am each day at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.
For more information please go to our website at www.bostoncomiccon.com and follow us on Twitter (@BostonComicCon) and Facebook!

Pictures from Queen City Kamikaze 2013

Pictures from Queen City Kamikaze 2013

By Jason Harris and Susan Saunders

2013-02-15 23.58.29

A section of the NEHW table at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Stacey Longo and a convention attendee. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Stacey Longo and a convention attendee. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author T.T. Zuma talks with a visitor to the table. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author T.T. Zuma talks with a visitor to the table. Photo by Jason Harris.

Cosplay in action. Photo by Jason.

Cosplay in action. Photo by Jason.

NEHW members hanging out behind the table. Photo by Jason Harris.

NEHW members and friends hanging out behind the table. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Bill Rockwell with a zombie. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Bill Rockwell with a zombie. Photo by Jason Harris.

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The Horror in the Movies panel at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Susan Saunders.

Photo by Jason Harris.

The crowds at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author T.T. Zuma signing a copy of his book for a fan. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author T.T. Zuma signing a copy of his book for a fan. Photo by Jason Harris.

The Vampires in Literature and the Movies from Nosferatu to Edward Cullen panel at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

The Vampires in Literature and the Movies from Nosferatu to Edward Cullen panel at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

NEHW member Rick Silva, of Dandelion Studios. Photo by Jason Harris.

NEHW member Rick Silva, of Dandelion Studios. Photo by Jason Harris.

The new NEHW t-shirt. Photo by Jason Harris.

The new NEHW t-shirt. Photo by Jason Harris.

Loki and author Stacey Longo. Photo by Jason Harris.

Loki and author Stacey Longo. Photo by Jason Harris.

NEHW members having a good time at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

NEHW members having a good time at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

The fourth NEHW table at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

The fourth NEHW table at Queen City Kamikaze. Photo by Jason Harris.

Books and a Cthulhu on the NEHW table. Photo by Jason Harris.

Books and a Cthulhu on the NEHW table. Photo by Jason Harris.

Cube-thul and pillows shaped like blood stains. Photo by Jason Harris.

Cube-thulhus and pillows shaped like blood stains. Photo by Jason Harris.

An Outing to Boston Comic Con

An Outing to Boston Comic Con

By David Price

I had no intention to attend Boston Comic Con this year. My son’s girlfriend, Amy, had brought it up a few weeks ago, but no plans were made to go. On Friday night, however, she was over visiting and brought it up again. My son, Devon, had no desire to go either, so she was doing her best to convince him. Now, I haven’t been to a comic con in many years, but the prospect of going piqued my interest. I pulled up the website and checked out the details. There was going to be 74 featured guest artists there. 74! Wow, these things have gotten much bigger since the last time I went.

I use to collect comics. I stopped pretty much cold turkey back in the nineties, when all those endless crossovers became big. They drove me nuts, interrupting the ongoing story lines of your favorite series and also forcing you to buy books you didn’t want, just to keep up. It was a sales gimmick that I quickly grew to despise and drove me away from comics completely. I’m still a fan, of sorts. I see every comic book based movie that hits the screen and I’ve been pretty happy with Hollywood’s attempts to bring some of my old favorites to life. I still have probably thirty boxes of comics in storage. It’s like the fan in me is in hibernation, I guess, like my collection.

So when I looked over that list of 74 artists, I didn’t recognize quite a few of them. I’m guessing there are many who have entered the business since my comic collecting days. But still, there were a few that really caught my eye, like Bernie Wrightson, for instance. Wrightson is an artist I have admired since I started reading and collecting comic books. You see, what first drew me into comics were horror comics. I was reading them for a couple years before I even noticed the super hero books. Maybe it was growing up watching Creature Feature on Channel 56, but I’ve always had this fascination with monsters. Wrightson was of course, an illustrator on many of the horror comics that I grew up loving. These had titles like, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales of the Unexpected, and Vampirella. Did I mention he was the co-creator of Swamp Thing? Yeah, that too.

Wrightson didn’t stop with comic books, though. He did an illustrated version of Frankenstein, which is absolutely beautiful. Later in his career, he went on to do some illustration for my favorite author, Stephen King. Mr. Wrightson illustrated The Cycle of the Werewolf, The Stand, and even did some work on the Dark Tower series. Needless to say, I was excited at the chance to meet him.

Also on the list of artists, I noticed the name Bill Sienkiewicz. Wow! There was another guy who had impressed the hell out of me with his art. You see, Sienkiewicz brought a style unlike any other I had ever seen when he entered the comic book industry. In 1984, Sienkiewicz took over as the artist for the X-Men spinoff, New Mutants and brought an expressionistic style that was mind-blowing. I’m not sure it was for everyone, but I know he gained quite a bit of recognition and managed to work with some of comicbook greats at that time like Frank Miller and Alan Moore.

There were a couple other names that stood out to me like Bob Layton of Iron Man, Kevin Eastman of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Simon Bisley whose work I remember from Judge Dredd and Lobo. It was enough for me to want to go. To top it all off, my twelve-year-old daughter, who to my knowledge has never read a comic book, begged to go. Between my son’s girlfriend and my daughter, they managed to convince Devon to give it a try. I was happy to drive, so the plans were made. My daughter invited her cousin, Roberta, so she would have someone the same age to tag along with her.

Saturday morning, I picked up Amy and brought her back to the house. She was carrying this trash bag full of costumes because apparently the three girls were determined to dress up. They had the idea that people went in costume to these cons and they wanted to participate. I certainly wasn’t going to put a costume on, but I didn’t mind if they did. There wasn’t a lot of planning involved here, so my daughter Kay ended up as Alice in Wonderland, Roberta was a sort of Victorian age vampire, and Amy wore a Pink Floyd shirt and flag as a cape. With the girls dressed up and ready to go, we headed off to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

The first problem encountered is that the Hynes is near Fenway Park, and the Yankees were playing the Red Sox that day. Finding parking was an adventure. As we passed the Convention center looking for a parking garage, we saw this ridiculously long line outside of the building. That couldn’t be the line to get in, we said. Spotting several people in line dressed as comic book characters confirmed our worst fears, though.

The line moved quickly, however, and we probably only waited thirty to forty minutes to get in the building. None of us were prepared for what we found inside. It was wall to wall with people. You really couldn’t get anywhere without fighting your way through the zombie-like horde of comic book fans. At first, this really bothered my daughter. She complained to me quite a bit. I reminded her that she begged me to bring them. After a while, we all just got used to it.

Devon and his girlfriend went right over to the Newbury Comics table to check out The Walking Dead books. My family is a fan of the show, but none of us have read the books. He grabbed the first few, which was okay with me, since I wanted to read them, too. Amy grabbed a few things that she was really excited about, including a Doctor Who book as a thank you present to me. We stopped at an artist who did a portrait of my daughter and niece in anime style. This put them both in happier moods. When we hit the back row, I saw the line for Bernie Wrightson. I stepped up and he asked if I had anything to sign. I knew I had forgotten something. Oh well, he had some prints from his work on Frankenstein, so I bought one of those. More importantly, I got a picture with him.

Bernie Wrightson and David Price at Boston Comic Con.

We fought our way through the mob and did our best to take in the whole thing. I had just about given up on finding Bill Sienkiewicz when we finally stumbled upon him. I got another cool picture and my daughter got an autographed Cat Woman print. We tried to find another vendor called Madknits, who had these handmade stuffed little monsters, on the way out, but after bumping our way up and down a bunch of aisles, we gave up and decided to call it a day. The kids were hot, tired, and feeling a bit claustrophobic.

All in all, Boston Comic Con was very cool, but it definitely needs to find a bigger venue. The Boston Convention and Exhibition center on the waterfront is much bigger and more suited to something that attracts as many people as comic con does. They should probably consider upgrading, even though I heard that this was an upgrade from previous years. We all had fun, which was the most important thing. Well done, Boston Comic Con.

A Very Literary Guy Channels His Inner Zombie

This article originally appeared on the Miami Herald website.

A very literary guy channels his inner  zombie

By Connie Ogle

Colson Whitehead (photo courtesy of Whitehead's website)

Colson Whitehead comes by his affection for zombies honestly.  Sure, he’s considered a literary guy, one of those Writers with a capital W,  winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a MacArthur Fellowship, author of the  critically praised novels  Sag Harbor, John Henry DaysApex Hides the Hurt and a book of essays titled  The  Colossus of New York. But his recent foray into horror fiction didn’t  happen merely because he watched one too many episodes of  The Walking Dead.

“Other kids liked to do sports. I liked to hang around the house reading  horror comics and Marvel comics and Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft,” says  Whitehead, who appears Saturday at Miami Book Fair International to discuss his  latest novel,  Zone One (Doubleday, $25.95), about  the survivors stumbling through the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. “My  orientation to zombies goes back to the first [George] Romero trilogy. I saw  Dawn of the Dead in the theater. When I was in  junior high and early high school, it was the heyday of Betamax, and we’d rent  horror movies instead of being sociable teenagers. Kids today have grown up on  28 Days Later and  Resident  Evil and videogames, but my zombie is from the ’70s.”

Zone One takes place after the initial plague,  following the adventures of civilian-turned-soldier Mark Spitz — not his real  name; the moniker was given to him after a particularly close encounter of the  zombie kind — whose unit is tasked by the interim government with clearing out  Manhattan and making it ready for habitation again. There are still zombies  staggering around, but most are “stragglers,” a less aggressive monster  transfixed by the habits and places of their old lives.

The rabid zombies of  Zone One are tougher  to exterminate; early on, Mark stumbles into a nest of them in a long-forgotten  Human Resources department: “He was the first live human being the dead had seen  since the start, and the former ladies of HR were starving. … [T]hey were a thin  membrane of meat stretched over bone. Their skirts were bunched on the floor,  having slid off their shrunken hips long ago, and the dark jackets of their  sensible dress suits were made darker still, and stiffened, by jagged arterial  splashes and kernels of gore.”

So yes, there is gore, and there is flesh-eating and all those other horror  requirements in  Zone One. Whitehead does not skimp  on blood or bodies, and his lumbering zombies are Romero-style monsters, not the  speedy track stars of  28 Days Later. “The run and  tackle zombies are scary,” he says, “but for me zombies are about the terror of  the mob, of your community trying to devour you. That’s more horrifying to  me.”

And monsters, of course, can always be more than ravenous creatures trying to  eat your brain.

“With any kind of rhetorical device, whether it’s magic realism or a guy with  wings or vampires and demons, you’re using a construct to talk about people. My  first book,  The Intuitionist, was about elevators,  but it’s not really about elevators, it’s about transcendence and rationality.  … Mark’s travails are about survival. He and the other survivors are really  just trying to cope with a devastating event in their lives. It just happens to  be the apocalypse. But it could be a minor apocalypse.”

Whitehead never loses his sharp sense of humor at human foibles; after all,  apocalypse? We’ve all been there. One of the darkly funny elements of  Zone One is the reconstructed government’s insistence that  the units not destroy any property in their sweeps of Manhattan. After all,  people are going to want to come back, so don’t smash any windows if you have to  blow away the undead.

“My initial take on the psychology of survival is after the end of the world,  things will be a little more bombed out, but everything we hate about  contemporary society will come back, all the insane rules and the marketing and  the bureaucracy,” Whitehead says. “Someone will decide the reboot of society  needs a marketing slogan.”

Zombies are still big in pop culture these days, of course, what with AMC’s  hit  The Walking Dead, horror videogames, the  upcoming  World War Z movie starring Brad Pitt, even  Jane Austen interpreted through an undead prism in Quirk Books’  Pride  and Prejudice and Zombies. But Whitehead has his own take on why he’s  fascinated with this particular creature.

“My paranoid orientation toward zombies is really a fear of people,” he  admits. “I guess my interpretation goes back to when I was a kid, any moment  your friends and family stop to reveal themselves to be the monsters they’ve  always been.”

Author Talks about the Writing Craft

Stacey Longo’s account of speaking to a high school class about writing.

Stacey Longo talking about writing to a class of students (photo courtesy of Kim Kane)

On October 24th, I had the opportunity to speak at the ACT Arts Magnet High School in Willimantic, CT. The topic was Writing as a Craft and an Industry. I opened with a little background about my own writing career and my roots as a humor columnist. After listing my credentials, I explained how hearing Shroud publisher Tim Deal present at a Poe Celebration two years ago inspired me to jump from humor to horror. I also admitted that while I sell short stories about zombies, decapitations, and carnivorous beach dunes, my blog focuses on the humor to be found in every day life, from the perils that come with trying to raise two cats to the agony of eliminating the fish smell in the house two days after you’ve cooked cod for dinner.

My advice to these kids was simple:

1. Write all the time, about anything that strikes your fancy.
2. Read more than you write.
3. Read On Writing by Stephen King.
4. Know your market and what’s selling.
5. Read submission guidelines and follow them.
6. Keep your day job to support your writing habit.
7. Never, ever mistake the Twilight series for quality writing.

We held a short Q&A session in which the students had several questions, such as “Have you really met Nathan Schoonover?” and “Where does Nathan Schoonover live?” followed by the more serious question, “How serious is Nathan Schoonover’s relationship with his significant other?” I had foolishly forgotten how popular this paranormal investigator is with the teenage female demographic before
including him in my ‘Look at all the Cool People You Will Meet’ portion of my PowerPoint.

I left the kids with a short story I’d written about them and a stress ball with my website (www.staceylongo.com). And at the very end of class, one shy girl named Sam asked me if she could send me a short story she’d written about a lonely disemboweled zombie for feedback.

It makes me proud to see the youth of America so inspired!