Dark Moon Presents Zombies – Review

  • Title: Dark Moon Presents Zombies
  • Edited by: Jason Shayer, Stan Swanson, Jennifer Word, and Frances A. Hogg
  • Available as: eBook ($3.95) and Paperback ($12.95)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983433538
  • Where available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.
  • Rating: 5 Balloons

A few weeks ago, Julia Jansen offered me the pleasure of reading Dark Moon Presents Zombies. I can’t resist zombie tales any more than I can balloons, and will always make time to read one no matter how many other projects I have cooking. All up, this one was a real treat for zombie aficionados like me. A short story collection, it provides quick reads you can enjoy at the doctor’s office or on a train. Each author offers a unique twist, and I feel compelled to comment on all the stories.

Shannon Farrell tells “Bouvier des Mort” from a dog’s point of view. The dog stands by his ailing mistress and never leaves her, even when she dies and starts to decay. After she reanimates as a zombie, her dog follows her everywhere she goes. When she feeds on people, the dog feeds too. This one sent chills up my spine.

AE Stueve’s “I, Zombie” portrays a meeting between “reformed” zombies,” people who have taken an injection to eradicate the virus from their bodies. This makes an interesting premise, and as I read, I kept wondering if someone would attack Dr. Yvonne, the pompous speaker who talks down to the “cured” zombies.

“Thicker Than Law” kept me turning the pages. Author John McMullen brings us into the horrific action from the first page with the threat of the “billies.” Protag Elizabeth discovers her brother is one of them. Worse, her parents have turned their home into a slaughterhouse, with her as an intended meal. Brrrrrr!

Dennis McDonald’s “Black Friday,” gives shopping after Thanksgiving a horrific meaning after multiple people die in a train wreck. Protags Cameron and Scott start the evening dreading a write-up from their boss. Their boss wants everyone ready for the hordes of customers, but the unspeakable greets the salespeople when the store finally opens. Definitely a page-turner.

GK Hayes tells “Papa Doc’s Zombie” in the first person by an elderly grandmother who assures her grandchild that her voodoo will protect them from zombies. It left me with a nostalgic feeling as I read about the grandmother’s youth and how she stood up to a voodoo priest. A worthy read.

Kate Putnam’s “The Five Rules” is the diary of Vodoun living in a world overrun by zombies. He talks about the everyday hardships of getting supplies, and that made me care about him as a character. Aside the horrors of becoming a Blue Plate Special for the zombie, I got a sense of Voduon’s depression and loneliness.

CW LaSart’s “All The Rage” is another tale that takes us into the everyday hardships of a group trying to survive a post-zombie apocalypse. Food is scarce, malnutrition has set in, and as for medical care, well there isn’t any, unless you can get your hands on antibiotics. LaSart turns up the heat by introducing a pregnant character, raising a new problem: how can someone survive with a newborn in tow? Another member of the group, Zak, bullies the other members. His insanity and strength makes him more dangerous than the zombies.

“Gingerbread Man” is a nickname for an ex-football player whose would-be career was cut short by an accident that severed his spinal cord. Now a quadriplegic, Andre “Gingerbread” is trying to escape in his motorized wheelchair, with a zombie in pursuit. Will he make it? Author Barrett Shumaker teases the reader with the zombie at first touching, then grabbing, and the suspense builds.

“Legio Mortuus” features zombies of the early Roman times. Severus, the prefect, makes an effective fighter with his sword, except the enemies he fights are all walking dead. These men are hungry as they show when they fall on a lone person. Beggar and noble alike become fodder for these monsters. Jason Shayer demonstrates great characterization skills, making me hope that Severus escapes. Does he? That’s for you, gentle reader, to find out.

The protag in “Death on the Newsfeed” is addicted to Facebook and his laptop. So engrossed in reading the “shares” that he ignores the destruction going on around him. CD Carter paints him as a cyber-stalker who cares only about his Facebook characters. I found Kevin somewhat pathetic. He doesn’t lift a finger to get himself out of danger. When the zombies outside break into his home, he ignores them too!

“Sound Set Off” is one of my favorites. David AET takes me into the action from the first sentence. His protag has the same first name, and he is up against it, locked in his house, little food, no water, and a hoard of zombies breaking through his windows. I followed him as he thought of ways to distract them so he could escape, even get away. He makes a great hero, and I kept rooting for him to escape.

“I am a Candle” is told from a zombie’s point a view. This was the first time I read a zombie tale like this, and Roberta Kowald crafted hers well. The narrator portrays herself as lonely, not one of the popular girls, and is dismayed that she can walk the earth. Her so-called friends hold a rite to bring her back to life, but other not-so-friendly zombies come back too. This zombie can think, and I found myself almost hoping she can “bite back” the people laughing at her.

Kendra Lisum’s “Broken Down Lives” portrays two young children who are seriously hurt, appearing dead, but they come around. As they get older, they start feeding on dead animals and remain four and six forever. Kathryn the mother is newly widowed and struggling to make ends meet, and she deals with the behavior by pretending this would go away. Denial only anesthetizes so long, and Kathryn deals with the budding horror in her own way.

Rebecca Snow’s “Step Right Up” features two monsters: the flesh-eating zombies and the greedy salesman who uses high pressure tactics to get people to buy his “zombie repellent.” As I read through the story, the salesman chilled me to the bones more than the zombies did. By far.

Stan Swanson’s “Hail to the Chief,” the last tale in the collection, makes a great political satire. Zombies invade the White House, and I can imagine having a zombie in the Presidential chair. Not too much blood and guts here, and drugs keep the zombies peaceful, but the satire makes this tale a delightful read. As an aside, I think we already have zombies in the White House.

Zombies presents oodles of horror fiction.

 

Interview with Award-winning Author Denyse Bridger

Tonight, I will be chatting with Author Denyse Bridger, whose tales and characters have enchanted many readers. A prolifice writer, she has penned close to 400+ short stories and novellas. Her dark fantasy works have earned her Eppie finalist in 2006; finalist for 2008 Prix Aurora Award, Book Lovers Cover Best Book Award (2009) and others.  So let’s hear what Denyse has to say about her creative genus and methods to her success.

BARBARA: I understand you’ve partnered with Branscombe Richmond to write motorcycle adventures (modern-day Westerns). How is that going, and how does it feel writing in a different genre?

DENYSE: This isn’t really a different genre for me, I’ve been in love with traditional Westerns for most of my life, so it’s relatively smooth to take the adventure and mindset, and project it forward to the 21st century. As Branscombe said when he proposed this, just replace horses with motorcycles and go from there. It’s working beautifully!

BARBARA: I see you’re working on a tale set in Italy. I’ve been there myself and find it a perfect atmosphere for romance. Have you gone there for your research/ How do you research other settings?

DENYSE: I have not been to Italy, but again we’re talking about something that has been an on-going love affair for me virtually my entire life. There is something so perfect about this country, the culture, and the amazing spirit of the people of Italia. They embody romance on all levels, with their passion for art, and love, and ‘la dolce vita! I hope one day to visit this dream place, so hopefully one day I can sit on a balcony in Sorrento, look out at the Bay of Naples, and write the magic. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than that. For the moment, I use pictures, read many books, rent DVDs, and drive my Italian friends crazy with questions that they graciously answer for me.

BARBARA: What do you see in the future for e-books versus paperbacks?

DENYSE: I think the e-market is slowly expanding and becoming more legitimate in the world of books, but there will always be a special kind of attachment to books that you can hold in your hands and touch. For me, I’ve been reading my whole life, and there is nothing quite like the feel of paper and texture in your hands as you settle in to escape to a different world. My first major release was absolute magic to me, to touch it and see it stacked on the table at the launch, walk into stores and see it on the shelf. It’s a feeling that can’t be captured with eBooks, honestly.

It is a general consensus that eBooks are the future of our industry, and it makes sense. Environmentally it’s logical, and from the traveler’s standpoint, it’s amazing. You can take your eReader and carry a hundred books in your hand, and you don’t have to worry about the weight limit from the airline!!

BARBARA: I’ve heard that “horror” has become a taboo label, and people are now calling it dark fantasy or supernatural thriller. What are your feelings on that?

DENYSE: Horror conjures up such negative images, maybe it’s not such a bad thing that the label has become somewhat taboo. Not all dark fantasy is about blood and gore, and that tends to be what people think of when they see the word horror, something that will terrify and sicken in some ways. There’s a brutality to the genre’s subconscious in many people’s minds, and that may be why many authors want a different classification. I think if you are writing supernatural beings, etc., that there is in most cases a redeeming humanity to those characters, and for that reason alone many authors don’t want it called horror. Because it’s not meant to inspire fear but emotional empathy. Horror brings to mind the cinematic kind of mindless violence that makes many stomachs turn, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Chainsaw, things of that nature. I’d rather be thought of as a dark fantasy author than a horror writer, and perhaps many others feel the same way.

BARBARA: What would you recommend for an aspiring author to hone their writing?

DENYSE: Write. Ultimately, that’s the best training there is. Persevere, and keep learning with each piece you write. Don’t listen to your friends and family, listen to what other authors have to say, and what editors have to say. Accept that there is no such thing as a perfect book, just the best book you can produce at the time that you write it. Once it’s done, leave it, take what you’ve learned from it, and make the next one better for what you’ve taken from the experience. If you constantly revisit old books and tweak and work them, you’ll never discover the new adventures that are waiting to be told. None of us are so good that we can’t benefit from honest and constructive opinion. You have to learn to take what works for you, and benefits you, and leave the rest behind. Bad reviews are a way of life, because there is no such thing as a book that is universally brilliant to every person who reads it. Accept that early and you’ll be a much happier author!

BARBARA: What is the once piece of advice you would give to authors trying to market their books?

DENYSE: Take your time and find the right publisher for your book. There is always a niche for what you create, and sometimes a smaller specialized publisher is a better fit than a big publisher, especially early in the writer’s career. So, take advantage of the internet resources and libraries, see where you think your book would find the best editorial acceptance, and fit with the catalog and reputation of the press. It wouldn’t make sense to submit a fantasy tale to a romance publisher, or a thriller to a children’s press, so make sure you’ve chosen well and appropriately.

Once you’ve found the right publisher, you have to then be prepared to be your own biggest cheerleader. The promotion and saleability of your book is in your hands, really. It’s a major job and requires dedication and a lot of time and work, so you have to be prepared to put in a lot more hours than you may realize. It’s a competitive market, and authors abound, so you will be one of many people vying for a reader’s hard-earned dollars and interest/time. Make it worth their time, and they will be loyal and supportive of all you do. Give them a shoddy product and it doesn’t matter if your second effort is worthy of a Pulitzer, you’ve already lost the audience. Treat your readers with respect, and they will never desert you.

BARBARA: I found your “coming soon” attractions intriguing. In particular The House of Secrets. When will this book become available?

DENYSE: With a little luck this book will be available next Spring. There is one more story to finish from the group of contributing authors, then I have to write my part of the tale. Ideally, it will all flow into one smooth, connected story. The Italian title is ‘La Casa di Segreti. And the idea is one that has been in my mind for a couple of years. When I made the decision to propose it to a group of authors, and turn it into an anthology of different voices, they were amazing, and very detailed in their research and dedicated to making the whole thing dovetail nicely. I’m very proud of what they’ve done, and I think readers are going to enjoy a really wonderful book!

BARBARA: Here in the USA, the economy has had a big impact on the way publishing is done. People seem to favor e-books because they are cheaper. Are you noticing this in Canada also?

DENYSE: I really don’t know if there’s been as much impact on the Canadian market, because the stats here show that people are buying more print books than ever, so whether that also means more eBooks, I really couldn’t say with any reasonable certainty.

BARBARA: You’ve been very prolific with your tales. How many hours a day do you spend at the keyboard, and where do you get your energy to keep going?

DENYSE: I tend to spend approx. 12-14 hours a day at work, interrupted by breaks of course. And real-life, which tends some days to make the days turn into 16 hours!!  Seriously, I do spend a lot of time dedicated to either writing, or doing all the things that have become part of the process and are now routine. The promotional posts, blogs, guests, coordinating it all takes time and energy. If you maintain a MySpace, or FaceBook page, those things also eat into the time. It’s all become part of the day to day routine, though, and at the end of it, if I get a few hours of actually writing time in, and see some progress made on a story, then I consider the day a success!

BARBARA: Which book won the Best Book Award, your latest?

DENYSE: Yes, the latest release, Whom Gods Have Favored. It won Best Book Cover in the month of May, and the cover is rather stunning and eye-catching. It was also nominated for The Covey Award in June, so that cover alone is getting lots of attention! I’ve been fortunate, really. This isn’t the first time a book of mine has been in the running for an award. My fantasy novel was a finalist on the ballot for the very prestigious Aurora Award here in Canada. Another erotic contemporary was a finalist for an Eppie; I have won Fan Quality Awards for my early fan fiction, and an international poetry award. My first professional contract was won in a competition, and I haven’t looked back since. Just as my first original fantasy tale was voted Best in Issue in the Reader’s Choice poll for the magazine it was featured in. I’ve been very lucky to have my work recognized and appreciated in this way. Just as I’ve been extremely blessed by the excellent reviews for virtually everything I’ve written.

One of the thing I was most proud of was being asked to be the feature in Sable Grey Magazine, which debuted in February. It was an honor to be part of something so widely read by so many readers. Sable is a wonderful and talented lady, and her friendship is an added bonus to a great professional introduction.

Thanks very much, Barbara, for having me as your guest. I’ll look forward to chatting with your readers, and answering any questions they may have. I hope they’ll drop by my website too. There are lots of fun things on the Freebies page and the Extras! Plus, I co-own a magazine of my own, designed for Readers of Romance. That’s on the links page, Sensual Treats Magazine. All in all, I keep pretty busy!!

Denyse Bridger
Website: http://www.denysebridger.com
My Blog: http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
My Passion: http://amoresenzaconfini.blogspot.com
Sensual Treats Magazine: http://www.sensualtreats.webs.com

WhomGodsFavored

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