Monday, 29 February 2016

Zero - The cover (which'll probably change)

I've finished the drafts and begun working out whether I've chosen the best words to express the ideas in my head. Once I've done that, I've a few facts to triple check and... oh, yeah, the ending to write. I'd forgotten about that. Well, sort of forgotten. I had an explosive, nail-biting, chapter in mind. When I got around to writing it, I realised the events would end up killing every character involved, and since at least one of them crops up in books I've already written, that just wouldn't do.

All of which is long hand for saying the book isn't finished yet, but it will be soon. (yay!) That brings us to the cover below. It will probably (almost certainly) change. Not by much, I'm planning on removing the line 'The Prequel'.

There's no way of writing Sholto's story without including all the things he knows. Bill & Kim don't find these out until Book 2 & 3. If I market this as a prequel, it'll spoil those twists. As such, my current plan is to market this as "Zero (Surviving the Evacuation USA 1)". This'll make no difference to the story. One day, I'm going to write a book where I pick a title and stick with it. One day.

This book will be followed by another novel set in the US, beginning in Washington, and filling in the parts of the conspiracy that Sholto couldn't expose. Yup, another conspiracy. This is the story of a rigged election, an honest President, and a plot to steal the White House. Oh, and zombies. There's a lot of those as well.

In other news: The audiobooks have been delayed again. I'm hoping to get them out in April. The only consolation I can offer is that I'm planning on getting this title recorded as soon as it's published. Apologies.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The Plague Wars - a recommendation

I don’t recommend many books, mostly because at the moment I’m trying to get my head around statistical analysis - these books rarely feature the apocalypse.

However, I can recommend The Plague Wars by David Van Dyke. I got an email alert this morning that the first three novels are out in a boxset priced £0.99. One of my own books is in a boxset organised by David, but I first came across this series long before, during one of my perennial hunts for audiobooks. I downloaded The Eden Plague on the strength of the title, and really enjoyed it.

Trilogy Synopsis: When the Eden Plague is loosed upon the world, the forces of order and chaos, good and evil must battle it out in a struggle for control and supremacy. A PTSD-damaged combat medic, a female Marine with no legs and a sniper with no remorse might be its only hope of survival. Can these flawed heroes drive back those who would enslave humanity? Or will the darkness spread and swallow them up?

Book 1 Synopsis: When veteran combat lifesaver Daniel Markis finds a mystery woman with armed invaders in his home and it all goes sideways, he turns to his brothers in arms to fight back. On the run from the shadowy Company, soon he finds himself in a war for possession of a genetic engineering puzzle that threatens the stability of the world. But who is behind it all - and are they even human?

Amazon UK:
So, if you're looking for a book to read this weekend, this is one to check out.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Amazon's prepared for the zombocalypse, are you?

This comes from Amazon's terms and conditions of use for Amazon Web Services, clause 57.10, sent to me by someone who actually reads these agreements before signing.


Text (I added the bold)

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

Screenshot (in case, for some reason, this clause is rewritten at some point in the future)

It made me smile.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Things a Writer Shouldn't Do. No. 42

A couple of days ago, I came to a bit of an impasse. I was having difficulty getting my brain into the right gear for writing about zombies. I knew what I wanted to write but couldn't get the words from my brain to my fingers. Frustrated, I went for a long walk.

Usually, I picture the scene, and play it out from each angle. Then I try to describe what I can 'see'. So, as I walked past the waterlogged meadow, I pictured Sholto and Helena (a teacher from New York who is the other principal hero of this story), walking through the woods of Pennsylvania. It just wasn't working.

The problem, I reasoned, was that I was only seeing the scenario from their eyes. What I needed was to think about the undead. Where had they come from. Who had they been before they were infected. What was their story? So, I continued my walk, this time imagining I was one of these predatory zombies. How did they walk. How did they move. What did they sound like.

I got a little carried away. I shuffled and shambled my way through the park, snapping my teeth, hissing, and gasping and... and then I saw the puzzled look on the face of the old lady taking her dog for a walk.

Well, I guess I'll need to find another park to walk through, but it worked. The scene got writ. The next zombie novel, the prequel story of how the outbreak began, and how Sholto tried to stop it, is moving on apace. I'm at 10 days after the outbreak, with 45,207 words so far. I'll probably trim that down, and get at least one more dose of writer's block, but I can say with certainty this novel will get finished.

I'm not sure whether I'll release this as a prequel to the main series or as Book 1 in a new USA series, and won't really be able to decide that for a few more weeks. So, as usual, the title may change from Zero to USA 1: New York. We shall see.

Have a great weekend, Frank.