So, it’s Wednesday & I want to try & do something new. I wanna talk openly about Black Female Horror Icons and their Characters.
Hey Survivor! It’s the end of July and man has there been some epic things that popped up this month. Take a look at five of my favorite things from horror, movies, music, and life.
Wow, it’s been a while since I sat down and talked to you about myself. It’s easier to talk about horror and writing than it is to let people into my world, but I think for my own personal growth, I have to. 2019 was gonna be my year for really taking off in the writing industry (it’s still gonna be my year, I haven’t given up) I hired a Personal Assistant. I got my cover for book three done. Got feed back for The Realm. Worked on my craft a lot. Read more books and connected with like minded people thanks to my involvement with The Voices of Color Podcast.
All of that and learning advertising was gonna help me finally conquer that hill. Then life hit me and while I was moving forward personally in both my life and day job, my writing goals took a hit. It wasn’t until I got to sit down with my son and just talk about nothing that I decided I need to dig deep and “Rediscover My Why”
Your “Why” is the driving cause for everything you do. It’s what makes you stand up and take a leap when you know for a fact, there is no one there to catch you and no one has ever jumped this far before.
My “Why” seemed to have gotten lost while I was writing and becoming involved with the writing community. A lot of the topics in most groups is about making money, which is 100% fine but I guess at some point my mind got wrapped around that and I forgot making money was only one of the steps to my overall happiness. I want to be a successful writer so I can work on my own time and spend as much time as I can with my family, namely my son Ayden.
Ayden has autism and is non-verbal. Yet, me and him sit down and get lost in each other for hours. He likes to watch me laugh and say the ABC’s in a demonic voice. I love to watch him run in terror from a talking bear and sing Old McDonald as he tries to run from one side of the room to the other. He’s my best friend and he loves to stay up late and wake up early, which is a nightmare for my wife. As I get dressed in the morning for the day job I think about all the adventures he’s going to have without me and all the things I’m going to miss.
This year is his final year at home before he starts school and the thought of him going off to school makes my heart skip ten fucking beats. I really want to home school him, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on my wife. It’s easy to say “Sit down and work with him on his numbers” while I’m at work interacting with adults and my peers. I know my wife can do it, I just don’t want her to do it alone.
I love writing and I think I’m pretty damn good at it and I’m only getting better. So, using writing as my side hustle to end my day job and be able to teach and watch my son grow just made sense to me. I’m not sure why I even wrote this, I guess it’s been rolling around in my mind and I just wanted to finally get it out. My “Why” is Ayden and for him I’ll work any job, I’ll write any story, and I’ll push any mountain to ensure I’ll have the ability to be with him and watch him grow, every moment of everyday.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have any home schooling, writing, or daddy tips of any kind, leave them in the comments below. Also don’t forget to join my newsletter so you can learn more about my work and my boring life.
A sad thing happened this year. Something that none of us saw coming (okay, we saw it coming but we took the ‘stick our heads in the sand’ approach) SyFy has chosen not to re-new Z-Nation!
The day I heard the news I was heartbroken. I’m living in a post Z-Nation world now and I don’t think I like it. If you’re like me, you’re most likely extremely sad and nostalgic for all the good old times You had with the show. If you have never seen Z-Nation then buckle up and hold on tight, this is your road map to something epic, special and dead!
This is Five Reasons To Watch Z Nation!
Reason One: It’s A Cult Level Dark Comedy
“Dead Alive”, “Drop Dead Fred”, “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “The Princess Bride” & “Z Nation”…What do all these lovely things have in common? A rabid and loyal fan base that discovered them when they premiered or stumbled upon them one lucky late night. These titles are bodies of work that were rejected by the rest of society but given a home in the ever growing nerd/geek community. A community of die hard fans who will re-watch or recommend something that’s 40 years old because it’s a ‘Must Watch!’ and has a nice sweet home in their hearts.
“Z Nation” like most of SyFy’s movies and programming is extremely underrated. It takes the dark concept of the apocalypse & finds a way to have fun with it! Since the first episode fans knew “Z Nation” was different. The fact that fans fought for it every season, tells you there’s some real Cult Level gold under all those dead puppies and kittens.
Much like the “Firefly” fan base, “Z Nation” fans have gone to bat for the show and so far it seems like all the effort is coming up short. I hope that the premiere of “Black Summer” The “Z Nation” spin-off (Update, since writing this there have been a number of interviews with King and the writers of Black Summer where they have stated it is not a spin-off of connected to Z-Nation in any way…I guess the fan base got confused with all those “Z-Nation Spin-off” Post that those involved were making before it aired.) will show the big wigs at Netflix that they have something major in the universe of Z Nation, which could lead to Netflix either picking up the show, combining “Z Nation” & “Black Summer” at some point or give us a “Z Nation” Movie so we can say goodbye the right way.
Reason Two: Creative Zombies/ Zombie Kills
The zombie genre as a whole is pretty basic bitch if you think about it. You have the living who have to travel, for one reason or another, and the dead who eat the traveling living. I love the genre like everyone else, yet I can admit that the formula isn’t too complex. But, every now & then you get some rare gems that take big risk with George A. Romero’s original concept.
“Resident Evil” & “Left 4 Dead” did it in the game industry & “Z Nation” did it for cable TV. Okay, I’ll take this moment to give mercy to the crawling zombie in the room. Yes, The Walking Dead is great and it really did break a lot of new ground when it comes to it’s release in comics, but the show is just a recreation of that magic. Z Nation is it’s own lightening in a bottle, created for TV, and it did it’s best to stand out above every other zombie story you’ve ever heard of.
One way they did that, is with their creative take on zombies and kills. “Z Nation” has given us, you’re neighborhood zombie fans, a smorgasbord of Dead Heads to runaway from:
Zombie Animals: Any animal affected by the virus.
Blasters: A special type of zombie created by the nuclear blast.
Phytos: A special type of zombie created by humans and combined plants.
Radioactive Zombies: A special type of zombie created by highly radioactive areas such the Edgemont Nuclear Power Plant.
Mad Zs: A zombie that is infected by a mutated form of ZN1 this mutation causes the zombie to become more difficult to kill (Head shots won’t save you this time)
Franken Z: A one of a kind zombie. Has multiple limbs and extremely intelligent, created by Dr Edgar Caligari .
Talkers: People effected by the black rainbow fallout, that die and turn into zombies but still have control of their motor skills and overall personality. They are able to talk and live somewhat normal lives as long as they have some form of brain within their day to day diet. Without brains they can regress and turn into full mindless zombies.
This list of Zs isn’t the only things to fear in the world of “Z Nation”, you have cannibals (Which we may see a lot of in Black Summer’s future) Juggalos, The Cartel, The rich psychos from Zona, zombie bears and countless tripy things like Murphy and Lucy being able to control zombies and other people with a bite. All this madness sets the stage for some crazy kills and I’m not just talking killing a pack of zombies with the liberty bell or a town full of zombies hunting down the mail man like some postal “It Stains The Sand Red” No, I’m talking character deaths.
“Z Nation” gave us unbelievable deaths from the very first episode. We got a lot of bait and switches when it came to who would be leading our pack of survivors. I won’t go into who dies and how, but unlike other shows, no one is safe in Z Nation, remember that.
Reason Three: Strong Female Leads
I want to focus on “Z Nation” as a stand alone amazing series, but for me to fully showcase that we have to look at other shows and what makes “Z Nation” different.
While the entertainment business is changing for the better now, “Z Nation” was ahead of the curve when it came to making progressive decisions in terms of casting and storytelling. While female leads are nothing new to prime time TV, “Z Nation” doesn’t focus on romantic interest or female vs. female conflicts. No, “Z Nation” takes its viewers on a whirl wind ride with epic strong female leads, that I like to call the ultimate final girls! When I say ultimate final girls, I mean women that tap into their inner T2 Sarah Conner. Women who look at the enemy and scream ‘You’re Next’ like Sharni Vinson in…well “You’re Next”
“Z Nation” has an epic line up when it comes to strong female characters:
Kellita Smith plays LT Roberta Warren, a US army reservist who has lost everything to the apocalyspe but still finds it in her to lead a rag tag team of survivors, and pull one last mission off for her country.
Warren is the defination of a badass, she doesn’t show weakness and she always seems to have a game plan, but that’s just the surface of the character. Smith’s proteral of Warren’s dark moments allowed us to see the broken hero who is battling through a dying world alone. She lost her husband, her best friend and when she was ready to give up on it all, she rose for another round with the apocalypse. Warren shows us the many complex traits that women have, from fighter to protector. Add on top of all that, she is a woman of color in a full on lead of a horror show, while “The Walking Dead” does have an epic hero in Danai Gurira’s Michonne, she wasn’t present from the very beginning and she didn’t take on a lead role in the program up until this most resent season.
Kellita Smith on the other hand has been a powerful force in the Z-Nation universe since the start of the show and took over the lead role after one of the shows most surprising deaths.
Anastasia Baranova plays Addison Carver, who zombie fans have labled the female Negan due to her weapon of choice, a spiked baseball bat. Anastasia character much like Kellita’s character grows and shows many different versions of herself throughout the series. She’s a protective lover, who finds herself without her partner and starts to explore relationships with other women, be it in a family sense with Lucy and that tribe of women or in a romantic sense with a survivor in that one hotel episode. Addison allows us to see the inner workings of a young woman, who is used to caring for a family but now feels lost without one. Many of Addison’s key moments are centered on being seperated from the group and finding her way back to them, mirroring her need to find her way back to the family she lost.
There are many great actresses who play key roles in each season of Z-Nation from Pisay Pao’s Cassandra to Ramona Young’s Kaya and most recently we had Katy M. O’ Brian who played George a strong female political leader in the apocalyspe who is trying to keep two different races from killing one another. There is so much going on in each episode of the show, but for me seeing these strong women from all these different backgrounds, seems empowering. “Z-Nation” is most diffenetly a show I would want my future daughter to watch.
Reason Four: Amazingly Diverse Casting
Which brings me to one aspect of the show that makes it standout above all other Horror/Fantasy programming, “Z-Nation” is packed with diversity. We have powerful women at every corner, people of color playing both heroes and villians. The cast has some of the best portayals of women and people of color in the horror tv genre, but this extends out to the writing and directing side of the series. We had writers like Eric Wallace (Teen Wolf, The Flash, Eureka) and a number of female hands that shaped the series like Jodi Binstock (Social Nightmare, Black Summer) and Jennifer Derwingson (And Soon The Darkness, Black Summer)
There has been a major shift in the entertainment industry as of late. Audiances are showing us they want to see stories being told from different points of views, the success of movies like '“Crazy Rich Asians” “Black Panther” “Get Out” and “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is proof that there is a market out there that hasn’t be given the products that they are demanding. “Z-Nation” was a great attempt at feeding that market on television. If you’re looking to dive into the mind of complex, emotional and funny characters then “Z-Nation” is the show for you.
Reason Five: Episodic Stories Encased In A Serial Season
The one down fall of “The Walking Dead” (TWD) also happens to be its strongest attribute in the beginning. “TWD” was a Serial Season in a sea of Episodic Stories, which means it’s main plot is the whole season, episodes can’t be watched out of order or enjoyed for what it is within it’s 45 to 60 minute time frame. But as the show continued on, we started to see filler episodes, stories that had nothing to do with the main plot of the season but was just there to meet the networks episode count. This caused for long drawn out seasons, where the main plot became less and less important in th viewers minds.
“Z-Nation” not only took a different stab at the zombie tv genre by adding comedy into the program but they also went about airing their program differently as well. They used Episodic Stories within a serial season. This means there was a key story being told within the season, that every episode added to, but beyond that, very episode had it’s own, stand alone story that was being told. You can pick up an episode from any Z-Nation series and while you might not understand the overall plot of that season you can still enjoy the episode for the condensed story that it is telling. This form of story telling allows for many moments to stand out in a persons mind and helps make the series something that is rewatchable even if it’s just to see the evil mailman get his in the end.
All in all, “Z-Nation” is an amazing show that I feel ended too soon. I loved every second of it and while it lives on in “Black Summer” (or not really according to this interview with star Jaime King) and it’s episodes on Netflix, I wish it got a proper send off, with a great final season or an epic movie.
Well these were my thoughts on why you should be watching Z-Nation. If you have never seen it, stop what you’re doing right now and watch it on Netflix!
Be Sure To Like, Share, And Sucribe For More Horror Gems.
Hey my horror nuts, I hope your day has been bloody glorious! While I normally love to write something that stabs at your inner killer, today I want to speak to our non-horror loving (the ones that close their eyes and scream “I can’t watch this”) friends. I want to talk about gift giving. Be it birthdays, holidays, or a random show of affection, gift giving is hard as hell. I’m here to make it simple, here are five epic gifts, to give to a horror fan!
A Year Worth Of Screams With Shudder:
Do you remember the good old days when horror used to fill our TVs? We had Dark Shadows, Tales From The Crypt, Tales From The Dark Side, Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theatre and so much more. Sadly TV isn’t what it used to be, in-fact cable seems to be dying a slow death, but that doesn’t mean Horror fans have to follow it to the grave. Nope, with the surge of streaming apps there are tons of ways to get our horror fix.
My all time favorite way is with Shudder, an all horror streaming app with a monthly rotation of movies and original content. Shudder is an epic one stop shop, if you like foreign horror, slashers, demons, comedies, Shudder has your fix. The best thing about this gift is it’s cheap and speaks to your horror fan’s heart. Right now you can get a year of Shudder for only $47.88 but if you just want to try it out on your pal then you can pay 4.99 for one month. There is no reason in hell you shouldn’t be getting this for a horror fan or yourself.
When you get it, be sure to check out Horror Noire, Shudder’s first original documentary. It dives into the history of the black community and their impact on the horror genre.
Find Out What’s In The Box, With The Walking Dead AnniversarY Set:
We can debate about how good or how bad AMC’s TWD is for days. I mean I’m still trying to figure out how many more seasons they could have with key characters like Maggie, Machoine & Rick leaving. That madness is a blog for another time, what will never be contested is how awesome TWD comic is. The storytelling, the artwork, it is a black and white love letter to George A. Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead”
Last October, Robert Kirkman’s life saver to the zombie genre turned 15 years old and while we all got some amazing treats on TWD Day the best thing we got was The Walking Dead Collection Box. This thing is so awesome, I don’t have words for it but thankfully Amazon does:
Walker fans rejoice! If you have a friend who’s into zombies, horror or comics then this is right up their alley. The price tag of $130 scares the hell out of me but maybe you’re braver than I.
Take Your Mornings To A Whole Other Horror Level With These TURKEY MERCK Mugs:
Is your horror hound a coffee or hot tea drinker? No? Do they have a massive amount of pens and no where to put them? Also no? Well, they’ll still love these hand crafted mugs from Turkey Merck.
The first time I ever saw one of these things was in a Behind the scenes video on Instagram where they dunked the mug into some liquid to seal it or something. It blew my mind and the fact that they do Zombies, vampires, witch doctors and everything under the horror sun makes it the best gift for a horror fan. Price? Umm around $300, don’t leave! It’s handmade, they’ll love it.
BriNg a Killer Into Your Home With the Hunt a killer subscription Box:
Do you remember a Christmas Story where all the little kid wanted was that red rider BB gun but everyone kept saying “You’ll shoot your eye out” well this is my Red Rider and the shot in the eye is the amount of time this thing will take up in my life! Yet, I’m still so ready for it. I land in the sub-class of horror fans that love murders and creepy mysteries, so I fit in well with the true crime community and this box is king over there.
You get six monthly box’s sent to you by a detective who needs your help solving this case. Slowly you start putting the clues together to figure out who this serial killer is and save this town and your detective friend’s ass (because I’m pretty sure sharing info on an on going investigation is grounds for getting fired.) My Birthday twin Stassi Schroeder from Bravo’s hit reality show Vanderpump Rules, is a horror girl with style and she’s picked one of these boxes up. So, if it’s good enough for that cancer, then it’s good enough for anyone.
You can get your would be Mindhunter a 12 month subscription for $25 dollars a month, so that’s two seasons of murder for $300…I feel like this list is turning into Oprah’s favorite things, nice until you see the price tag.
Let them be among their kind by gETting them tickets to a horror conVention:
Horror Conventions are little drops of sweet beautiful honey, that the horror Gods have given us annually all around the world. If you look hard enough, no matter where you are, in the states or UK, you’ll find a horror convention near by. Some of the ones I would love to attend this year are Walker Stalker Con, Stocker Con, Screamfest & Day Of The Dead.
As horror fans we sometimes don’t get to relate or geek out with people around us because for some odd reason they don’t enjoy blood, guts, and demonic forces hellbent on taking over the world. Why are our views and thoughts on Fredy Vs. Jason not ideal dinner conversation is beyond me but thankfully the horror community has horror conventions we can escape to and be among our horror hound clan.
Conventions have swag, meet and greets, autographs, everything a horror geek will lose they’re mind for. Trust me when I say if you get your horror pal a weekend pass to the local horror convention, they won’t need anything else all year and they will think of you first when the zombies come.
Well that’s all folks! If you have any other great gift ideas, leave them in the comments below. As always, be sure to like, share & subscribe to the blog for some more horror goodness.
Hey Survivor or opening scene victim, whatever you feel like today. I am so pumped to be back writing these blogs. I really hope to start putting out way more content than I was before, but forget about all that. I want to talk about our 2019 Scream Queens & how excited I am for all of these movies!
Taylor Russell- Escape Room
Escape Rooms are all the craze lately. You & a couple of friends get locked in a room (most likely themed, zombies is the one I wanna do.) & with the help of clues, you have to figure out all the puzzles and riddles to get out. Sounds fun right? Now take that concept, throw in mystery that is “Nine Dead” and the traps that gives “Saw” life & now you have “Escape Room” an off the wall mystery, thriller staring Taylor Russell.
Why I Wanna See This:
A few of the reasons I want to see this movie is because of the cast:
Jay Ellis from HBO’s “Insecure” & BET’s “The Game”
Tyler Labine from “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil”, “Reaper”, “Deadbeat” & way more awesomeness than I can list.
Deborah Ann Woll from HBO’s “Trueblood” & Netflix’s “Daredevil”
Taylor Russell from “Fallen Skies” & Netflix’s “Lost In Space”
All these young actors have been in things that I’ve enjoyed for years now. So, when I saw they were all gonna be in a movie together, I was hyped!
Throw in that it’s a horror movie with a newish concept (a room full of people, who have to fight to avoid death, brought by an unknown force for reasons yet to be explained… isn’t new but doing it in an escape room setting is 😝)
It seems from the promotions that Taylor Russell might be our lead & all around final girl, which is epic. It’s not common to have a young woman of color as a final girl. Jada & Brandy are the two big ones that stand out to me and much like Jada in Demon Knight, Taylor is gonna have to use her wits to make it out alive. I’m hoping this leads to more movie roles for these actors.
Jessica Rothe- Happy Death Day 2 U
If you haven’t seen Happy Death Day, stop reading this and find that movie! It was an amazing ride and it showed the awesomeness that is Jessica Rothe. In part one Jessica played Tree, a self centered college girl, who has to keep reliving her birthday after a mask killer murders her. That concept was cool, but it was Jessica’s portrayal of Tree that made that movie. Tree evolved from a selfish sorority girl who cared about no one (not even her dad)into an epic finale girl that you couldn’t help but root for.
Why I Wanna See This:
Part one was amazing but it left me with one major question, why? Why is this happening to Tree? What makes her so special to experience coming back from the dead and why did finding her killer end it? I’m hoping they answer all these questions in part two.
This time the Babyface Killer is after Tree and her frinends but if she wants to save them, she has to die and die until she figures out this new mystery. I really want them to dive into what it is that makes Tree so special and why does so many people want her dead 😂.
Amy Seimetz- Pet Sematary
Up until last year my only experience with Pet Sematary was from watching Pet Sematary 2 (Which I love By the way) I remember not being too pulled into part one when I was younger, so I never gave it a try. Well, last year those awesome people over at Shudder put up a ton of Stephen King movies and I decided to have a mini marathon. I have to say that I loved the original and it made me so excited to see this remake.
Why I Wanna See This:
While I loved the original, I know in this day and age they are able to take this movie to another level. If you don’t believe me look at “IT” the made for TV movie still gave us all nightmares but it didn’t deliver the level of terror that the remake has. There are a few scenes that I can’t wait to see and a lot of them involve Amy Seimetz who is playing Rachel Creed, wife to Louis Creed. While Rachel didn’t play a major role in the original movie, she did produce one of the scariest moments of that old gem. Yes, I’m talking about Zelda! I am so pumped and ready to see how Zelda is portrayed and I really hope we get a longer and more developed flashback in this one.
Octavia Spencer- MA
This sh!t right here 😳 I did not see coming. I also did not notice that Octavia Spencer has been playing around in the horror sandbox for years! She’s been in Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, Drag Me To Hell, & A Time To Kill (that is a damn horror movie, I don’t care what you think)
This go around, Octavia is playing umm 🤔 I’m not even sure what she is. From the trailer it seems that Ma is a loner who lives outside a small town and she allows the teens to party there but slowly they start to question Ma’s real intentions.
Why I Wanna See This:
I have two reasons why I want to see this movie, one is the pure fact that the villain is a black woman, that in itself is enough to take my money.
When it comes to horror, the black community is overlooked at times, slowly things are starting to change but for the Black woman the path seems even harder. They are never the ones to be feared or to solve a problem. The most you’ll ever see a strong black woman in horror is if magic or voodoo comes into play (I kind of feel like there is some black magic in this) so to get an award winning actress as the lead antagonist is an amazing step forward for the genre, half this list is an amazing step forward.
My second reason for wanting to see this movie? I have to know what the hell they did to Ma to make her so crazy and vengeful. I’m dying to see it all unfold.
Lupita Nyong'o- US
Lipita went from fighting to save the kingdom of Wakanda to fighting for her life in Jordan Peele’s New Horror Mystery “US” where a family on vacation are confronted in the middle of the night by a twisted psychotic version of themselves.
Why I Wanna See This Movie:
Because I’m Rooting For Everyone Black! Okay, now that that is out of the way, lets talk facts. Jordan Peele and Blumhouse gave us the genre shattering 2018 movie “Get Out” where a horror story was focused on the fears and views of the black community. It was about Us Vs. Them, but in this latest dive into social unrest it has the Black Community take on their inner demons. So, I am hyped to see what Peele & Nyong’O have in store for us. I always like family based final girls, to know that they aren’t only fighting for their lives but the lives of others, takes the tension to another level.
I saw “US” on it’s opening weekend and even recorded a podcast about it. My initial reaction was:
This is NOT! A horror movie!
I didn’t feel like it fit in my horror box but the horror genre is far to vast to be sealed in a box and as I’ve taken these days to think about the movie and peel back its many layers, I know for a fact, I love this movie. I liked “Get Out” more but this movie really got me thinking and made me want to create! That is the best thing about this movie for me, that it stayed with me. Go see “US” it’s already had the highest opening weekend for an original horror movie! Let’s keep it going strong!
Well that’s it, time to get back to writing horror and watching it. Let me know in the comments what 2019 horror movies you’re excited for.
If You need Some More Final Girl Magic Check Out Chapter One Of My Novel Planet Dead!
Skybound Kills Off ”Overkill’s The Walking Dead” Game after poor fan reaction and lackluster gameplay.
I was pumped for this game when I saw the first clip of it. There was a black guy with a baseball bat and he meant business and then the next trailer had a woman leave her attacker to die. I was so ready! But those were cut scenes, pretty little videos you sit through as you progress through a games story...think of it like high-end makeup on a pig, it might look pretty but in the end, it's still nasty. Yeah, yeah that wasn’t my best one but you get what I mean.
Have any of you guys played the game? I think the only TWD games I like are the tell tale ones, the mobile ones are cool but I never get pulled in enough to return everyday like I did with Tell Tale. Anyway, here is a review from Variety about the game.
What’s your favorite zombie game?
Planet Dead is the indie horror sleeping giant written by horror author & veteran, Sylvester Barzey. It takes the zombie genre and turns it on it’s ear with page turning action all while giving it a much needed dose of reality by Spotlighting strong diverse characters. This ain’t your daddy’s apocalypse!
Find out what everyone is talking about!
Okay, we’re back! I know, I took longer than I said I would but life happens. Right now I’m nursing a sick wife and son back to health, all while trying not to get sick myself. So, a lot of things got put on the back burner but I’m back! Let’s just jump back into this, here are some great Marketing Tools That I use in my writing business…oh and if you missed the first blog about writing tools, just click here
Like I said in my previous blog, indie authors are solo publishing houses. When we create something or have an event for our work, it’s all up to us to market said event or book. Having the right tools can make designing and sharing info so much easier. Here are some of my favorite marketing tools:
OMG, let me just start off by saying I mother fucking love Square Space! I used to use Go Daddy for my website but it cost a few dollars more and was annoying and limited when it came to website building. Square Space on the other hand was so easy to work with and allowed me to do a number of things my Go Daddy couldn’t do, like have this blog. For Go Daddy I had to use a third party blogger account and a ECwid account for products, and some other stuff which I had to convert to HTML to place on my site and it just never looked as good as I wanted it too. I had to jump through so many different hoops to get what I wanted without paying an arm and a leg (I don’t know why people say that, what’s the going rate for an arm and a leg these days? I feel like it might be cheaper than we think.). Well one month I forgot to pay my Go Daddy bill and I decided to make the jump and I honestly haven't looked back.
The Good: Blog, Store, Everything you need to start selling your books are all in one place. The set up is simple and the layouts look so smooth. I was able to drop my Mail Chimp account which was $30 a month for Square Space’s newsletter marketing system which is currently free. So I used to pay $60 or $50 a month for a website and mailing list, from two different companies, now I pay $30 a month for everything from Square Space and my site looks awesome, if I do say so myself.
The Bad: I was unable to set up a forum where my fans can discuss things in somewhat real time. Some of the cooler things were for the higher priced set which I went up too but in all paying 30 bucks to do everything I used to pay 60 bucks for is awesome in my book. It saves me some cash so I can start paying for advertisements for my books.
Anchor (App & Site):
I wanted to start a podcast to help promote my books and talk about subjects I cared about, but I had no idea how to start and I didn’t have the time to learn. Things like Podcast and YouTube channels can get an extra set of eyes on you. People like Joanna Penn, Jim Kukral, Bryan Cohen and many more have become well known names in the indie writer world, due to their podcast and YouTube channels. So, I thought why can’t I do the same, but for horror and zombies…the answer to the why is because it took too much damn time and I can’t justify a day of editing something that isn’t my book.
I almost gave up and then a friend of mine was doing big things with his podcast (Misunderstood Genius) and I decided to see what he was using, Bam! Anchor an awesome website and app that allows you to record a podcast and publish it to a number of different streaming sites, without any of the headache other programs have. Anchor is crazy simple, I hit a button, I talk, I save and I publish. I can put all my segments together on my phone and if I want I can grab a co-host from a number of other anchor users. Take a quick listen to my latest episode of The Planet Dead Radio Podcast
The Good: Simple to use. Free. Allows your fans to tip you for support. Uploads your podcast to a number of the top sites with the click of on button and now they have a sponsor program. All you have to do is do your podcast, say you want a sponsor and they look for ones that fit, then you get paid a little change for all that talking.
The Bad: Maybe I’m just not that tech smart but editing my files on Anchor seems hard or impossible. If I need to edit I do it in iMovies and then transfer the audio. I haven’t really looked too much into the editing because I normally just hit record and call it a day.
Canva (Website & App):
There is no app I have used more when it comes to marketing than Canva. Canva is an awesome free app that allows you to make promotional images for any social media platform as well as book covers! They have tons of free stock photos, a large selection of fonts and when combined with other apps can lead to some amazing marketing material.
The Good: It’s Free. All your past images you create get saved under your profile. They have great templates that fit for things like Instagram stories and twitter headers, so you don’t have to guess about sizes. Free Stock Images and if you want to pay for it, you can give access to others on your marketing team or street team so they know what promo images they can use.
The Bad: Most of the really good images or clip art has to be paid for, which isn’t too bad because they are normally $1. The app seems to be crashing a lot lately, not sure why, but aside from all that It’s a pretty good app.
This app can be used for anything but I feel it has really advanced my Instagram page, taking it to another level. My page was just some random post with no theme or thought to it. I was told about Snapseed by an amazing bookstagramer Debra Gillis and it has changed everything. There are amazing filters and editing tools that you can use to really make some eye popping images. For this one I’m not gonna do a Good & Bad because I really haven’t found anything I dislike about the app, I’m just happy I found it.
Anyway, those are the top apps that’s I use to create marketing materials and images. Try the free ones out and look more into Squarespace because I honestly love that company. If you know of any cool tools that I missed then list them in the comments below.
Well it’s October, that beautiful time of the year where everything spooky is praised and loved. It’s also the time of the year that The CW brings back their shows for the fall line up. I’m a big fan of their DC superheroes content. The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and now Black Lightning (They also have the Legends but I’m willing to pretend it doesn’t exist if you are) make up what fans call The Arrowverse, a shared universe of superhero shows with some amazing action and actors. But tights and family friendly fun isn’t all these heroes know. This blog combines two of my favorite things, Comics & Horror! Let’s take a look at some of the Arrowverse’s Stars Who Moonlight As Scream Queens!
Danielle Panabaker is Team Flash’s go to medical genius, Caitlin Snow, who suffers from a bad case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Caitlin loses her temper, she becomes the anti-hero Killer Frost, but playing a murdering Ice Queen wasn’t Panabaker’s first time dancing with evil. Danielle also stared in a number of horror movies like Piranha 3DD (2012), Girls Against Boys (2012), The Ward (2010) and the 2009 remake of the horror classic Friday The 13th with Supernatural star Jared Padalecki. The Flash better watch out, Danielle knows her way around a machete.
Find These Movies On Amazon:
Next up is Arrow’s resident jack of all trades Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel Lance on the hit tv show. Not only has Cassidy played a superhero but she’s also been, an alcoholic, a lawyer, a street fighter, a villain, an anti-hero and a demon? Yeah, fans of the second generation star will remember her run on CW’s other hit show Supernatural where she played heroes/baddies Ruby and Lilith. But TV is just one of Cassidy’s horror playgrounds, she’s also been in a number of horror movies, like; Wolves At The Door (2016), The Lost (2006), and some remakes of horror classics such as, When A Stranger Calls (2006), Black Christmas (2006) and A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010). People are always harsh when it comes to remakes, because we have this strong attachment to the original work, but I’ve got to admit, I like the Black Christmas and Elm Street remake. They may not be on the level of the original movies, but for the time they came out and the entertainment they provided, I thought they were great. Now if the remake of The Green Arrow could get their act together and put Oliver with Black Canary that would be great.
Find These Movies On Amazon:
My Personal Favorites
Juliana Harkavy & Katie McGrath
Normally the title of a Scream Queen depends on the amount of work the actress does within the horror genre, but I personally think the body of work is what should matter, Quality over Quantity right? Even if they have one horror title to their name (which isn’t the case here) if that title is the mother fucking shit! Then she gets a crown. These are my two favorite CW Moonlighting Scream Queens, Juliana Harkavy (who plays Dinah Drake aka Black Canary on Arrow) and Katie McGrath (who plays Lena Luthor on Supergirl)
These women stared in two of my favorite horror projects of all time, Harkavy’s 2014 Last Shift and McGrath’s 2016 Slasher. These things are epic! Last Shift is my favorite, paranormal movie ever. It stars Juliana Harkavy as Jessica Loren, a rookie cop whose first assignment is to man the phones at a soon to be abandoned police station that may or may not be haunted by the ghost of a Manson like family of killers. This movie took me on a ride, I just thought I was gonna watch another random movie on Netflix but I found a gem. Harkavy killed this role and is killing it on Arrow as well. If Last Shift isn’t enough to get her a seat at the horror table then might I also point out she was on The Walking Dead…Case Closed.
Now, McGrath is a Scream Queen and I don’t care what anyone says, because she stared as the final girl in one of the best horror tv shows ever, yes I’m talking Slasher! This was a tv series much like MTV’s Scream and Fox’s Scream Queens where a masked killer is on the loose and the final girl spends the whole season figuring out who the killer is, but Slasher does it ten times better. Slasher originally aired on Chiller (which went the way of soap net and other awesome channels) but I saw it when it came to Netflix and it blew me away! McGrath played Sarah Bennett a woman who returns to her hometown where she is known as the only survivor of a Halloween massacre (so like a horror Harry Potter) upon her return she learns of a copy cat killer & she must finally face her past.
These two can be picked up on Amazon but you can also find them on Netflix:
Well those are just some of The Arrowverse Scream Queens, if you know of any others then be sure to post them in the comments. If you want to stay updated when I write these blogs, get discounts, exclusive stories and access to The Survivor’s Den, sign up and become a Survivor Among The Living!
You ever wonder why fish kill each other when they're in a tank together? You would think they would just swim around, living their little fish lives but every now and then they turn on each other and fight to the death like their sharks. The inner workings of a goldfish always puzzled me, until now. Now I'm trapped in a little tank and I finally know why one fish would kill another because they lost a fin and they're annoyed as all hell by the sight of that damn Joseph fish!
"You're scaring me," Joseph said with his legs pulled up close to his chest. He was huddled up in the corner by the cell doors as if he was too fearful to step any closer to Ruby and I. To be fair, we may or may not have tried to suffocate him while he was sleeping.
"What?" I said.
"The way you're staring at me like you're thinking about killing me..." Joseph's legs came out and he pulled his self to his feet before staring at Ruby and softly saying, "again."
"Whatever shit for brains, the time for murdering you has passed," Ruby said with a wicked grin. I watched her comb her fingers through her long black hair and as I followed the strains I could see a long scar that ran around her neck. I quickly looked away before she could notice.
"You had a chance of getting out and you blew it!" I shouted.
"Yeah, I did. Because I was more than able to fight off five armed men. I didn't see you fighting them..." Joseph paused and closed his eyes tightly, he had that look on his face that Kevin would have, whenever he fucked up. I think it must be a universal look that all men got from time to time. I got to my feet and started walking toward him and then he put up his hand, "I'm sorry. I misspoke, what I meant to say is fighting isn't gonna help anyone. We need to stick together if we're gonna survive this," he said.
"There's no survive this, no way out," Ruby said. Her head rested back on the cell wall most likely revisiting her failed escape. I wonder if she blamed us if she would have shot us right when she saw us maybe she would have gotten away, "This is home, get used to it or end up like that guy," Ruby said pointing at the body in the other cell. The rat had crawled out the man's eye a few hours ago, now all that was left was a bloody mess on the floor. Joseph shook his head in disgust and turned away from the sight.
"We'll get...we'll get out-" My hand shot to my chest and I held it tightly. Sweat ran down my forehead and in an instant my world was turning upside down. Joseph's face became a blur. All their words sounded like a high pitch buzz. But nothing was worse than the heat my skin was giving off. The cell was now an oven and I was the only one being cooked for dinner. I dropped to my knees when cramps took over every muscle in my body. Muscles I didn't know I had started to twist and tighten. My eyes started to roll back into my head and as much as I wanted to scream out in pain, to let them get some kind of idea what bone breaking agony I was in, I couldn't. The words were trapped in my throat. All I could do was moaning.
Joseph rushed over to my side, his dirty black dress pants, dragged along the floor as he slid on his knees to me. "Damn, it!" He shouted and tilted my head back, cupping my cheeks in his hand. "Roll that sheet up," Joseph demanded.
"What's wrong with her?" Ruby asked frantically. I couldn't see her, but I could tell she was afraid. Fear was a tone that couldn't be hidden well, it would always push or peek it's way out, making itself known to the world. Ruby's fear caused her voice to drop low, like a haunting whisper.
"Roll up the fucking sheet!" Joseph hollered. Ruby quickly grabbed the bed sheet and started rolling it up as tightly as she could, then she rushed over to Joseph, who stanched the fabric out of Ruby's hands. "It's alright Jess, just hang in there..." Joseph said before pushing the rolled up sheet in my mouth, keeping my teeth from doing me any harm.
Ruby stared down at what must have been a horror show. A doctor, or whatever Joseph was, trying his hardest to save a one-armed woman. Then like a light switch, it finally clicked in Ruby's mind, "She' infected," Ruby said shooting a judgmental finger at me, "She's fucking infected," Ruby shouted and then she ran to the cell door. "Lamar! Lamar!" Ruby screamed into the empty cell block. If I wasn't twitching and turning on my death bed, I would have felt extremely betrayed. I thought me and Ruby were really starting to connect, maybe not braiding each other's hair and trading beauty tips, but I was pretty sure we were both in the same boat, the 'let's get our motherfucking asses out of here' boat. I was wrong, much like with every other choice I've made since the outbreak, this one was gonna bite me in my ass too.
Joseph sprung to his feet and grabbed Ruby by her shoulders, pulling her back from the bars. He spun her around and his hand went over her mouth, "Stop that, you can't just go around screaming shit like that," Joseph said softly. Their eyes locked and Joseph held Ruby's month tightly, "That word is a death sentence, don't ever say it again, do you understand?" Joseph asked. It took a moment, but Ruby nodded and his hand slowly started to lower from Ruby's lips. "She's gonna be okay, I'm helping her,"
"Like you helped that pregnant lady?" Ruby asked.
"That was different, she was bit, there was no way to get it out of her system," Joseph said while turning his head back to look at me. "I removed the infection from Jess. She's twenty-four hours into the forty-eight-hour window. She still has a day to pull through, and this is the first sign of the virus I've seen," Joseph replied.
"That two-day thing is a fucking lie," Ruby said.
"It's not. Some people can turn faster but if a person hasn't turned within-"
"I heard the fucking news broadcast, just like everyone else. Doesn't mean they were telling the truth." Ruby said. she leaned back on the bars and stared at me, "This is fucked up," she said.
"She has twenty-four more hours. Just give her a day, if she doesn't beat this, then I'll put her down myself." Joseph said.
"You want me to sit in here with a ticking time bomb?" Ruby asked.
"Yeah, because you owe us," Joseph said.
"I don't owe you shit pencil dick," Ruby said with a glare, she walked up to Joseph and shoved him in the chest causing him to stumble back, "I don't owe anyone anything," Ruby said.
I slowly pulled the sheet from my lips, "She's right," I weakly replied. Their eyes quickly panned over to me. I rolled over to my side only to feel Joseph's hand on my cheek. He was guiding me back down to the floor. I rested my head on the floor and closed my eyes, "You don't owe us anything, no one owes anyone anything nowadays," I said softly. The tears start to string as they pushed their way free of my eyes. I had a fifty percent chance I could make it and for the first time as the cold floor eased my burning skin I knew, fifty percent wasn't good enough. "But you escaped once and odds are good that you'll do it again," my lips curled into a weak smile for a moment and then I looked over at Ruby, "We're just asking to be there when you do," I said.
Light hazel eyes tried their best to burn a hole through me and then she did something I wasn't expecting, she laughed, "Fine, but if you turn-"
"She won't," Joseph quickly replied. His fingers were laced with mine, I didn't notice it before due to the heat my body was giving off, but they were. It felt odd, good, but odd.
Ruby rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest, "If you turn, eat him first." Ruby said with a smirk.
"Deal," I replied.
Joseph's hand quickly retreated from mine and he stared down at me. If you ever told a toddler 'no, you can't have Mcdonald's today,' then you are familiar with the look that was on Joseph's face, "What?" he shouted.
The door to the cell block pushed open and a line of women started walking through the cell block, well shuffling through the cell block. Their ankles were chained to one another and their hands were handcuffed. "All the way to the fucking end!" One of the men shouted he had a black and mild cigar poking from his lips and dark black dreads that cascaded down his back in a neat ponytail. I got to my feet slowly and I watched his every move as he pointed the gun at the women, "Stop! Stand still," The man shouted.
We were at the cell bars now, taking in the sight, "What's going on?" I asked.
"The last shift is over, which means lights out in a few minutes," Ruby said softly. Her fingers slipped away from the bars and she cautiously walked over to the middle of the cell. Her knees dropped to the floor and her hands fold and rested behind her head.
"What are you doing-" Something warm splattered across my face. My eyelids snapped shut to avoid it getting in my eyes, "Oh, fuck!" Joseph cried out. My eyes sprung open to the sight of red everywhere. The buttstock of the guards gun slowly pulled back through the bars. I watched the blood drip from the black metal.
"Assume the position, boy," The guard said. The black and mild was tossed to the floor. A gray puff of smoke came from his lips as he unlocked our cell. The muzzle of the rifle came in first and then it chillingly turned toward my direction. "You ain't special sweetie, get down on the fucking floor." I walked over to Joseph and put my hand on his cheek, before trying to pull him up to his knees, "Hurry the fuck up!" The guard shouted and I don't know what happened. Maybe it was losing Kevin and the baby. Maybe it was losing my arm or being locked up like a dog, but something in me snapped.
My blood soaked hair flipped to the side and I locked eyes with the man. A shit eating grin was painted on his face, "If it happens..." I looked over at the back of Ruby's head and then back to the guard, "I'm gonna kill him first," I said. The buttstock of the rifle rushed toward my face and then everything went black. Take notes people, this is not the way to act when your a prisoner and your guard has the upper hand. Get it? He has the upper hand...Yeah, it's still too soon.
There is no hiding it, The Walking Dead is the big man on the zombie genre campus. People love it even if they are horror fans. So, it would be foolish of me to ignore the impact it has had on the Genre. Season 9 is coming around and for those of you who need that zombie/drama fix, here are 5 novels worth checking out if you’re a Walking Dead Fan!